"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Arianna Online

"How can the United States allow public executions of the Viet Cong?," the distraught military wife asked. "My husband is a prisoner of war in North Viet Nam and I am concerned for his treatment. What has happened to Americans, do we no longer value the ideals that my brother died for in World War Two and we thought my husband fought for in this war?"
Via Arianna Huffington's blog (feed).

Not Ready to Bet on AOP

At some point we need to go beyond AOP. We propose a simple and time-honored solution: to find "good enough" solutions for certain aspects and then to hide them inside abstraction layers.
Aspect-Oriented Programming is a dead end, at least without a simple language as the foundation. Seems like the Oz language may be serve as that foundation, as reported.

IKVM

IKVM is a marvel whose time is yet to come. Why certain companies are not pouring funding into the project is a mystery to me.

IKVM is a translator from Java bytecode to CIL bytecode that will run Java programs in Mono. It's a technical marvel. I've been able to access Java class libraries from Mono, and the other way around. It's a real eye-opener...

Another Sobering Read

From the Washington Post...

THE PRELIMINARY report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, released last week, is a sobering read -- or perhaps we should say another sobering read. It is the second major report in the past year to detail the dire state of America's coastal waters. Last summer, the Pew Oceans Commission starkly warned that the oceans as we know them will not survive without dramatic policy changes making a commitment to preserve oceanic biodiversity.

Profiting on the Client

There are only three companies that make big profits directly from PCs: Intel, Microsoft and Dell. As I see it, the opportunity going ahead lies in providing software for a monthly subscription fee with thin clients available at costs-plus to drive consumption in the emerging markets.
Is IBM headed in this direction?

On Apple and Steve Jobs

From Forrester on Apple and Steve Jobs. You know you want to read it.

Central

I thought Macromedia Central would have generated more interest or at least more discussion. Is the functionality not needed, or is it needed but just in another format?

For example, the ideas may be right, but they should be delivered in dotnet, Gnome, Mozilla, or Eclipse.

Should these ideas be made avaible to the client in a mix of these technologies? How?

Is it up to the desktop vendor, i.e. Microsoft, to get the ball rolling? Maybe WinFS and Avalon is their answer, and we just have to wait until 2007 or later to find out.

SAP Developers in Bangalore

"We started 2004 with 750 engineers in SAP Labs India. At present we have 900 developers. Before 2004 ends we want to hire 500 engineers more," SAP Labs India joint managing director, Martin Prinz, told PTI from Bangalore.
This is *huge*, and means it's a great time to be an SAP developer in Bangalore. There is a lot of competition for these skills. Of course this is not so good news for SAP's customers trying to hold on to their experienced developers there, at current wages.

The situation is similar to the US about ten years ago, when SAP was rolling out like gangbusters across the states. Developers were hard to come by, especially those with real experience as opposed to those with just one project in one module of R3.

Friday, May 14, 2004

From Harper's Index

Average amount a Bush Cabinet member will save this year due to cuts in capital-gains and dividend taxes : $42,000

Median U.S. household income in 2002 : $42,409

Harper's Index

Two million?

Does BizTalk really consist of nearly 2 million lines of C# code?
Egads.

Advantage, or?

"I think it's a unique competitive advantage that we've focused on this," said J Allard, a corporate vice president on Microsoft's Xbox team who is overseeing the initiative as the company's chief XNA architect.
The quote serves as a reminder that it is not just the developer platform mindset that leads to global domination... Just goes to show that one man's advantage is another man's illegally achieved monopoly. But get over it, right?

Innovation in Privacy and Security

Marc Stiegler illustrates innovation in privacy and security is also associated with dynamic languages. (In Marc's case, E, a secure Lisp/Smalltalk-like language that runs in the JVM.)

you could have one [component] endowed with the power to go to your financial institution domains, and one with the power to go everywhere else (this is not implemented in DarpaBrowser, but it is a straightforward extension). A malicious browser would have trouble stealing your bank password, since the [component] that has the data can't talk to the browser developer's home site
I wonder is someone at Microsoft following these innovations (which are really decades old, yet still innovative and longing to be "mainstreamed"). While Longhorn, in 2007 or so, will bring objects instantiated in XML, databases embedded in the filesystem, and movies playing transparently over your list boxes, would they have the foresight to adopt real innovations into their Palladium designs?

Once again, this innovation in privacy and security, so directly beneficial to the "average consumer", arises naturally from the dynamic, "first-class" objects and functions found in Lisp and Smalltalk even 30-40 years ago. Rigid language syntax checking or type theories will make your systems neither more expressive nor more secure than these simple innovations.

Theory, Practice, and Progress

Related to the "progress from the margins" discussion is the "theory vs.practice" discussion.

Theory is good, and rigid type systems are just bad theory implemented. But even good theory follows practice. Meanwhile the practice advances from the dynamic, non-rigid, margins where free thinkers innovate.

I hope she has long hair this time

Seen on "why the lucky stiff".

Progress from the Margins

All the progress in software is coming from the margins at the moment - people experimenting with Python, Ruby, Smalltalk, Lisp, and other dynamic systems.
The truth of this will become evident as the java and dotnet communities migrate to the languages listed above and their cousins. The arc is long but indisputably pointed in that direction.

Microsoft comments on Microsoft and Games

A comment from Microsoft on why you should be afraid when they enter your market. The reason is exactly the following, no matter what your market is, no matter who you are. Microsoft *gets* this, and you almost certainly do not.

I think the thing that holds them back is it's not in their DNA. Sony is a hardware company and Nintendo is an intellectual property company and we're the software platform company. It is in our DNA, and it is an essential part of our strategy. I think it will fuel incredible category growth and benefit our partners a great deal.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

You want fries with that?

I get excited waiting for a t-shirt to arrive in the mail. What if it were a Symbolics XL1200 Lisp Machine? Glenn Ehrlich is getting one.

The Enemy Within

Why, in the face of rampant looting in the war's aftermath, which dug us into such a deep and costly hole, wouldn't Mr. Rumsfeld put more troops into Iraq? Politics. First of all, Rummy wanted to crush once and for all the Powell doctrine, which says you fight a war like this only with overwhelming force. I know this is hard to believe, but [Rumsfeld] hated Colin Powell, and wanted to see him humiliated 10 times more than Saddam.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Tablet PC Test Drive

I was in a store tonight and gave a Tablet PC a test drive for the first time. In fact it was the first Table PC that I've seen.

This model was a "swivel" convertable. The hardware seemed fine. I like the concept, but...

The software sucks. Badly. Really, the pen interface seems slapped on top of the typical mouse-based Windows. And the total experience is *horribly* schizophrenic. The pen/tablet experience is trying to get along with its mouse-based alter ego, but they just seem uncomfortable with each other. Their like relatives who see each other once every year or so. They have something in common, but no deep understanding of each other.

Kind of sad that we're expected to get excited about this in 2004. Hardware vendors who've invested in the Tablet PC should be terribly disappointed that Microsoft has not been able to invest what is needed to do the job right.

I'd probably pay more for a Tablet PC than a notebook, but not $1000 more. But I'd certainly not pay anything at all for the product currently on the shelves. Egads. New level of bad.

Disinfopedia

Have you seen Disinfopedia?

For example, an entry on Operation Rockingham.

What about the seeds?

"Today (the biotech) industry mentioned a number of times that if (the Supreme Court) ruled against them, it would stop the development of new seeds and plants," Schmeiser said. "What about seeds and plants that have been grown and developed by farmers for years?"

Monsanto says if Canada wants to be friendly to innovation -- and business -- the court should rule in the company's favor. About 30,000 farmers in Canada use Monsanto's seeds.

Schmeiser says the canola crop he had developed over a period of 50 years was destroyed when genetically modified seeds blew into his fields from a neighboring farm. He has refused to settle out of court with Monsanto like many other farmers have, and he now owes the company about $140,000 in judgments, has legal fees of $230,000, and has rented out all but 140 acres of his farm. Still, he says he'd do it all over again, because the future of North American farmers depends on the outcome of his case.

Language Matters

Can one think in XBRL?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Why?

Question: "Why are languages like C , C#, and Java so prevalent?"
Dave Ungar: "Why do people smoke tobacco?"

Nintendo DS

This Nintendo DS looks spectacular. It has so many functions, and the way it was presented today was very effective in getting all those features out -- the wireless feature, the touchpad feature, the dual-screen feature, one screen in 3D, the other in 2D. So many things that developers can focus on, and so it's not just an add-on product, it's a completely new product, a completely new category.

You Don't Say

Very cool. A 2004 Computerworld Honors Case Study on Kapital, a JP Morgan financial risk management sytem developed and maintained to this day in... Smalltalk.

Kapital started life back in 1992/1993... Technology is essential to the success of any high volume derivative business. The technological underpinning of Kapital is based on one of the earliest and some would say most pure object oriented development languages currently in existence – Smalltalk. The current incarnation of this language called VisualWorks has been married with a database technology called Gemstone. The combination of Smalltalk and Gemstone was the technology of choice at the start of Kapital. It continues to be the technology of choice today...
It's not too late to adopt a language that works!

No Doubt

Sure, there are some genuine improvements in there (e.g. managed code), but most of the changes come down to modernization.

This argument could probably be made about a lot of the technology we consider innovative - it's just a re-invented wheel with a trendy-looking paint job.

The Key

From Jon Udell...

...the key difference, in my view, would be a lower activation threshold and smoother growth curve -- i.e., the ability to start with something simple and concrete, and evolve to the more complex and abstract.

...The "tools will manage the complexity" argument is always compelling, but also always worrisome to me. Over and over again I've seen stupidly simple formats and protocols triumph over highly-engineered counterparts...

"it is surprising that so much of accounting is navigating a hypertext" [David vun Kannon]

The Oil We Eat

A critical essay on the food, oil, security connection from the February 2004 Harper's magazine.

TVRWC

What "vast Right-wing conspiracy"?

The Professional Haskell Programmer?

This illustration of Haskell programming styles left out one example, the professional Haskell programmer. 8^)

int fac(int n) {
    if (n == 0)
	return 1;
    else
	return n * fac(n - 1);
}
(Found via Sean McGrath)

Monday, May 10, 2004

MBF slips into Longhorn

Too bad. I understand (sorta kinda) the bundling idea from a sales and marketing perspective. From a software management perspective, I can't help but think all these various components are over-dependent on each other.

I saw this before and it was a catastrophe.(This guy gets a number of things right about what went wrong). That doesn't mean it's a given in this case, but it should be a heck of a concern for someone.

mozilla is the emacs of browsers

mozilla is the emacs of browsers

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Archives

The old archives are still here. New posts are given their own meaningful URL.

Comments

And now more exciting with comments and maybe even "comment spam".

I've not added comments to my previous posts. If you'd like to comment on one of those, put it here and I'll enable comments on the specific item.

Play nice.

Spreadsheets

The spreadsheet is still the mode of business data. And this is for life threatening issues.

Amin Adatia
KnowTech Solutions Inc

Seen on the dwlist email list.

Hope Yet

Maybe Java softened me up to Python, but it seems that Python has softened me up to LISP.

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.