Ruby on Rails
Ta-da List


March 27, 23:37 | Comments (8)

The chemicals of despair

Yesterday, after three days with little progress on my journey into the realm of J2EE, I felt a deep-rooted sense of despair that lasted for several hours. It caused my entire professional progression and future ambitions to come under review.

While these dark thoughts were clouding my mind, I was able to observe and evaluate my feelings from a third place. From this observational position, the despair was quickly analyzed and disregarded as utterly silly.


March 24, 13:40 | Comments (5)

Artifacts as processes and other distinctions

Dave Thomas of the Pragmatic Programmer's have long advocated a break from the logical positivistic view of software development. Along with his partner Andy Hunt, he wrote The Pragmatic Programmer in 2000 that encompassed such metaphysical abstracts as The Broken Window and Don't Repeat Yourself.

But with his latest blog entry Artifacting, he's finally committing his allegiance to the world of phenomenology. Thomas suggests that we look at software development artifacts, such as requirement and design documents, by restating the artifacts as processes, or verbs, instead of results, or nouns. Artifacts, the physical paper product, are an insignificant footnote in comparison to the months of it's creation.


March 21, 13:38 | Comments (9)

We don't need to be many, just loud!

While the center of Copenhagen was swarmed by demonstrators last night, the ensemble that just passed by my window was more humble in numbers.

But with the drums, and the chanting, and the honking of cars stalled behind the escorting police car, it sure did sound impressive.

I wonder how often demonstrations mean more to the people demonstrating than to those demonstrated against? I reckon, fairly enough.

March 19, 17:03 | Comments (10)

The luxury of silence and space

Switching from two faceless, grey boxes to a single smiling iMac has brought more than the internal joy of doing so. The external benefit and subsequent epiphany of the luxury of space has been almost as significant. My desk has evolved from overgrown to undergrown.

Before the desk was barely visible under the weight of a 22" CRT, a crystal mouse pad, a document tray, and two outdated technical books serving as an laptop stand. And equally crowded underneath: Three extension cords serving twelve cables in, a scanner, a printer, a trash can, and more than enough dust to qualify as a health hazard.

Now it's all gone. I'm down to a single extension cord, the amount of cables has been cut to a manageable count of four, and the dust has been revealed and removed. I can stretch my legs without worrying I'll short circuit something.

And with server in the hallway shut down, I don't have to close the door to isolate myself from the noise.

Paying a premium for silence and space is money well-spent, he wrote.

March 14, 17:19 | Comments (1)

The coordinated monopoly

Why bother doing the dirty work of "cutting off the air supply" of your competitors, when you can have state-sponsored organizations do it for you? This must be what Microsoft is thinking. For the second time in no time, an organization funded by the Danish government has decided to live in the fairy-tale world of the single holy, hobgoblin operating system.


March 14, 16:09 | Comments (19)

My iMac desktop about yours?

March 13, 14:02 | Comments (8)

Borders are no hindering

U.S. attorney Paul McNulty speaking with the rush of an international extradition still fresh:

"No matter who you are or where you live, if you steal the intellectual property rights of individuals and businesses, we will not stop at our borders to find you and bring you to justice."

Sovereignty is negotiable.

I wonder how much leverage the U.S. would have to exercise to get a suspect of copyright infringement extradited from Denmark. Would local punishment maximums matter? If the limit is two years of jail time in Denmark, could he be sentenced to ten years once extradited across the ocean?

What about laws without equivalents? A U.S. company press charges against a DMCA violator from Finland, a U.S. attorney makes the call: "Extradite or (we complicate trade|rewrite Finnish references|exclude you from our missile shield)...".

March 12, 23:13 | Comments (23)

Two Minutes Hate

With an Axis of Evil composed of Rogue Nations threatening the world with a trinity of Atomic, Biological, and Chemical Weapons, the battle for the rhetorical supremacy was all but secured. It wasn't exactly a covert operation, but apparently adequate.

And then the "so-called" representative Bob of the "so-called" Republican party along with his launch bullies had to shine the 200W spotlight on ill-conceived rhetoric. Freedom Fries. Ay caramba! Bush's rhetorical helpers must be cursing themselves to sleep tonight.

This is linguistic path lit bright for the common man to ponder the whole array of rhetorical devices being used by a lot of Stupid White Men. It's quote treat for straw man arguments. And it's the incarnation of everything Europeans are accusing the American government for: Arrogance, diplomatic retaliations, hot-headiness. You name it.

I still can't bring myself to pronounce it without a smile of disbelief. Freedom Fries. Yes, this is almost victory gin.

March 08, 12:46 | Comments (18)

UMAX PowerLook II scanning under OS X not a possibility due to driver rot. UMAX apparently doesn't think it's good for business to support older scanners with driver updates for current operating systems. That's a mighty same since it renders my 2400dpi PowerLook II all but useless once I've discarded my two remaining PC's (which runs the scanner just fine under XP).

Don't take my word for it, though. Daniel Settles, who works as a technical consultant for professional designers, printers, and publishers, have spend a lot of time researching the possibilities for the PowerLook II and OS X to live in harmony. He reached this conclusion:

"I do Mac tech support and consulting for professional Mac users and always recommended UMAX due to their good tech support and good scanners and excellent software. That is no longer the case and I no longer recommend UMAX products."


March 06, 18:05 | Comments (17)

Going from apple to apples

For twenty-four hours, I've been in intimate awe of a hovering 17" TFT and it's round, white, and gorgeously futuristic base. As the adjectives suggest, I'm thoroughly impressed. Adding to the looks, it's virtually silent and much snappier than my iBook.

So the love connection was imminent. And it has already grown so strong that the clunky, stuttering Mandrake box in the hallway and the living-room Athlon PC (with accompanied 22" CRT screen) appears as nothing more than reminiscences of my computing dark ages. They have to go.

The iMac also brought much joy and redeemed anticipation to my girlfriend as she assumed authority of the iBook. We wouldn't have survived another evening fight over who could use the Mac (since none of us really wanted to folly with the PC), so it came in good time.

Now all that's needed for true computing bliss is another 512MB of RAM. The current count of 256 is an insult to the memory-hungry OS X.

March 01, 16:27 | Comments (1)

Observational transformations

"He is so weird" is a observational transformation that is perpetrated in variations all the time. The author transforms a subjective observation into a objective attribute, but neglects to make the transformation explicit and fails to argue its validity.

The problems with observational transformations are:

  • A defining and misrepresenting attribute: Out of the infinite number of attributes that belong to a single person, only one (or a few) gets to represent all the others, which probably doesn't do the rest justice and hence acts as a misrepresentation instead of a definition.

  • A closed case once performed: With the defining attribute(s) identified, it's quickly deemed irrelevant to investigate further, which places everything but the most apparent attributes at a grave disadvantage. Subtlety loses.

  • A viral nature: Defining attributes are so attractive that they don't need to be delivered with much persuasion to spread quickly. Once spread, the link to the original author is lost and along with it access to the implicit arguments that formed basis for the transformation.

Learning to avoid and discourage observational transformations rests on the ability to distinguish between behavioral, appearance, and inherent attributes. The former two exists only as an interpretation and are hence bound to subjectivity, which makes them questionable candidates for defining attributes. The latter, exemplified as "this man has red hair" or "she is 18 years old", belong in the realm of objectivity, and thus makes valid candidates.

I recommend that you try evaluating your observational transformations with the distinction above in mind before uttering said transformations. Hopefully, you'll be able to see when the transformations are lacking in support, avoid lush inductive generalizations, and appear less brass to your fellow man.