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

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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Meanwhile FFIs

Microsoft continues to get its dynamic language support going for the CLR.

Meanwhile using foreign function interfaces appears to be a somewhat viable approach for integration when SOAP/XML-RPC won't do...


From James' Cincom Smalltalk blog...

Also of interest is the fact that the JVM remains frozen, making sure that actual progress in Java-land is limited. Microsoft seems to realize that's a mistake, and looks like they will be extending and changing the CLR as time goes by (in particular, they seem interested in adding better support for dynamic languages). Meanwhile, the Java folks are stuck with an early 90's vision of what a VM can and should do....

Funny thing is... there is a fully capable instruction set in silicon underneath each of these VMs. But the source language has to fit through what in these cases are crippled VM instruction set "keyholes", losing all of the useful higher level information on the way, before getting executed in that silicon.

Can we call a halt to this madness yet?

The Wi-Fi Business

Starbucks is just trying to cover its costs. Sure, leasing a broadband connection with a Wi-Fi base is cheap. But add a billing system - secure login server, transactional database, credit card processing, tech staff, customer service operators standing by - and the outlay skyrockets to $30, $50, even $70 a day, particularly if there are lots of support calls. (Ironically, most of those calls will be about problems with the billing system itself.)... Wi-Fi isn't a luxury or even a commodity. It's a condiment.

Let's look at Wi-Fi in a different light. Where's the vision and the leadership? I believe Wi-Fi is the highway system, the printing press, and the bill of rights rolled into one mechanism.

If we leave out any of these three concepts then we lose.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Don't go straight down - curve and bend

When you drill an oil well, you don't go straight down, you curve and bend - maybe later when you find the reservoir, you will go straight down, but not during exploration.

Richard P. Gabriel's Patterns of Software book is now on-line (as a PDF noted in many Internet locations already). My favorite parts are in the autobiography.

GCJ to save Java?

A friend of mine, prominent in the patterns community, told me when the Design Patterns book came out he believed that book would extend the future of C++ by a decade. He may have been right. (Since then other factors such as Boost have had a big influence as well.)

I am here today to make a prediction myself.

I believe that the GCJ compiler for Java will have a substantial influence on that language's future, maybe extending Java's future by a decade. This compiler will itself boost Java on the server, and in conjunction with Eclipse/SWT revitalize Java as a key language for desktop applications.

Moreover a secondary effect will eventually be to influence Microsoft's dotnet approach.

GCJ is a presage of the end of the virtual machine.

Understanding Computers and Cognition

From Loosely Coupled...

speaking the same language as someone else doesn't necessarily imply you'll understand each other

A nice thin book that should be a part of every computer science degree program is Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design by Winograd and Flores.

And anyone who names his software "SHRDLU" has my vote.

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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.