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

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dichotomies

Jim Waldo comments on a resurrected Jini and OSGi thing...

In fact, OSGi and Jini are service architectures built for completely different contexts. OSGi is a service architecture for services that are in the same address space. It allows you to build programs out of cooperating services. And for that sort of thing, it is pretty good.
Exactly what makes Erlang so nice as a "service-oriented" programming language:
  • Invoking services in another process is easy.
  • There is no distinction between a service in the same address space and one in another address space.
  • There are no guaranteed service behaviors, i.e. Erlang faces head-on the problems inherent in distributed systems.

Practice Begets Simplicity

Smalltalk is a much simpler language than Ruby. The ideal implementation is correspondingly simple. This has several positive implications, as Avi Bryant points out...

Dan Ingalls did a lovely binary compatible re-implementation of the Squeak VM in Java as an exercise to learn the language, in a tiny fraction of the time that JRuby has taken, because everything important, down to the parser, compiler, process scheduler, windowing system, and IDE, were implemented in Smalltalk anyway and so could be reused. That’s the kind of trick I’d like to see Ruby able to pull off.
There are a number of idiosyncracies in Ruby, in spite of its relative simplicity. Part of the problem is Ruby has been around well over a decade with just one implementation by essentially one developer.

Consider that in Smalltalk's first decade it changed fairly drastically and did not settle until toward the end of that decade. Also consider during that time there were a handful of implementors, many users, and the intent was to change the language for the better.

Not For Long?

Yes, Seaside is mighty nice. But for two reasons:

  • Browsers still suck as an application platform after so many years.
  • Programming languages still suck at distributed processing after so many years.
Tweny years ago had someone suggested that in 2007 something like Seaside would be the leading edge of developing distributed systems for end-user interaction, I would have blown my coffee out through my nostrils.

Yes, Seaside is mighty nice. Sadly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Iraq - That's Right

MoveOn is holding a virtual town hall on the Iraq catastrophe.

You can attend a local house party and view/participate from there if you'd like.

Here is a banner and link you can put on your blog if you'd like.

Join MoveOn.org's Virtual Town Hall: Iraq

They are asking which candidate has the best position on Iraq in your opinion. Here is my opinion, which I don't believe is so very far off from many opinions, if not expressed in the same way...

It is a *fucking* mess and getting out of it won't be easy, but I hope several people eventually go to jail because of it. I won't vote for anyone who does not admit it was a mistake, should never have occurred, and vows to apologize to the world as the next president of the United States. Enough bullshit.

That's right. I probably will not vote for president in 2008 unless I change my mind of this.

Innovation Happened Elsewhere

Paul Snively on language innovation...

Ironically, I think it's exactly Sun's hanging onto the Java language spec for so long that's led to the level of experimentation in other languages targeting the JVM that we're seeing. I find it fascinating that the JVM hosts a Scheme as good as SISC and a statically-typed OO/functional language as good as Scala.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stem Cell Therapy May Combat Type 1 Diabetes

In the any news is good news dept....

A pilot study of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes found that stem cell therapy eliminated the need for insulin therapy for varying periods of time.

This is the first trial to look at stem cell therapy in humans with this form of the disease. But experts stressed that the research is preliminary and urged caution when interpreting the results, which are published in the April 11 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association...

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system attacks the pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin -- the hormone that transports sugar from the blood to cells for energy.

"In type 1 diabetes, the immune system is out of balance," Skyler explained. "Ordinarily, all of us have some cells with the potential to destroy the pancreas, but the regulatory immune system prevents those cells from becoming sufficiently active. In type 1 (diabetes), there's a greater proportion of activity of the destroying cells and lesser activity of the regulatory cells. The goal is to try to bring that back into balance."

Dynamic Language Symposium 2007

Montreal? October? Dynamic languages? I am *for* it.

How To Tell Stuff To A Computer

Some interesting things happening on knowledge representation, by way of Bill Clementson.

Paul's Cliff Notes

Paul Graham continues...

When I wrote that Microsoft was dead, I didn't mean it literally. I couldn't have. Companies aren't alive, so they can't die.

In fact "Microsoft is Dead" was what we in the trade call a metaphor. I meant something else. Over the last couple days there has been some disagreement about what I meant....

So maybe I'd better explain exactly what I did mean...

Technology companies are projectiles. And because of that you can call them dead long before any problems show up on the balance sheet. Relevance may lead revenues by five or even ten years.

Rock

This Rock thing from Sun looks interesting. From the blog of Jonathan Schwartz...

Rock is 16 cores - we haven't said how many threads per core. Nor have we said why this chip heralds the golden age of effortless parallel programming, or how it brings fault tolerance to the masses. But stay tuned, I think we're planning on talking up both in the next few weeks.
Yeah, I think there'd be some cool software to write for these.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rediscovering Smalltalk Kind Of

Rubyists are rediscovering Smalltalk, or at least its idioms, often one at a time...

>> class A
>>   def a_whole_new_me
>>     self.class.new
>>   end
>> end
>> a = A.new
>> a.class
=> A
>> a.a_whole_new_me.class
=> A
>> class B < A; end
>> b = B.new
>> b.class
=> B
>> b.a_whole_new_me.class
=> B
Attention all Rubyists, buy these books...

April Portland Smalltalk Users Group

James Foster and Dale Henrichs of GemStone will present a beta version of the talk on running Seaside in GemStone that they'll be giving at IT360 / Smalltalk Solutions in three weeks...

What: Portland Smalltalk Users' Group
When: Tuesday, April 10, 7:00 - 9:00PM
Where: GemStone Systems
See Eric Winger's blog for more information. From the blurb...
The Seaside framework provides a layered set of abstractions over HTTP and HTML that can be used for developing sophisticated web applications in Smalltalk. Seaside was developed in Squeak and ports are available for VisualWorks and for Dolphin. While the Seaside framework elegantly addresses HTML generation and application flow-of-control issues, it still leaves a few challenges for the developer-including persistence and multi-user coordination. In this seminar we will demonstrate a port of Seaside to a new dialect: GemStone/S. As a multi-user, persistent Smalltalk implementation that has no native user interface, GemStone/S provides an excellent environment for serving HTML and keeping domain objects persistent.
Subscribe yourself to the email list for the Portland Smalltalk User Group for main-lining the fun directly into your inbox.

Gambit Wiki

Gambit Scheme now has a public wiki.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

No Comment

Bill de hÓra writes...

I found myself strangely unmoved, unsurprised, unshocked, unconcerned. I saw that a firestorm has not been lit across weblogs, as would have been the case not even a year ago. It seems that no-one cares anymore

Success By Failure

James Robertson notes...

Failure is way, way safer than trying something that isn't "mainstream".
I have seen many people succeed personally essentially by enabling the failure of their organizations. I guess I shouldn't knock it.

Latent Technical Complexity

James Robertson's notes from SPA 2007, speaker Dave Thomas (the longtime Smalltalker Dave Thomas)...

The problem: we're in an incredible complexity mess due to the badness of the current languages. This has generated a plethora of tools to try and compensate for that, but it only makes for a bigger pile. We have what Dave calls "Latent Technical Complexity".

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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.