The boring rants of a lazy nerd

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Fandom - uncommon fic for archive

I know of several weird things that happened at SQ.net, but this fic really surprises me. Expecting the usual R/H & H/G I keep getting an increasingly stronger Snape/Harry feeling from a Theowyn's work-in-progress "Harry Potter and the Enemy Within", where Harry keeps missing chances to hook up with Ginny. If this turns into actual explicit Slash, it would be a first for me. Well, actually I've followed and fangirl'd (this verb doesn't have a male counterpart, does it?) one ambiguously-gay fic in the past, but I've stopped reading it when it seemed to turn Slash.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Misc - Update

  • Via someone on the AnandTech forums (I'm a much less frequent visitor there than I used to be. It feels stale, but maybe it's just me.) - ThinkGeek's April Fools products for 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. LOL
  • When we've read "All My Sons" in school, I assumed the author was long gone (Usually I'm less prone than my peers to cast everything before my time to a single time period, but it happens). Then I hear about Arthur Miller's passing and it rings a bell. At least now I've read the obituary.
  • I discovered gerbils are completely unknown to my parents. You must understand my parents know everything (unless it was censored by the Soviet propaganda machine or happened after I was born so they had no free time to keep up), and finding they have never heard of the little critters was strange (they are not mentioned in the Soviet encyclopedia. Why would the existence of gerbils be hushed up in the KGB?). I learned about them in primary school, because they are a very common form of wildlife in sandy Ashdod.
  • A programming idiom I've never heard before, but have frequently used: RAII. I'll have to make a little informal report at work, to stir up some thinking about a standard way to handle this in our projects, since I've already seen some less-than-perfect code.
  • Have been learning ANTLR for work. Found myself reading about the halting problem for fun. Eek.
  • Orson Scott Card's new book "Shadow of the Giant" will be out soon. First three chapters are available on his site. w00t!
  • Latest episodes of "Enterprise" are actually better. I've been watching them as 0-day bittorrent releases for a while, and I'm almost sorry it's been cancelled.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Tech History - spreadsheets

It's not-so-common knowledge these days (among my generation, at least) that the killer-application for personal computers (circa 1979) was VisiCalc - the first electronic spreadsheet. Its creator, Dan Bricklin, has a web page (he's a real pioneer blogger, in fact) on which he has a history section. It's very interesting, and it includes a reference manual and working version 1 software. Yes, actual working spreadsheet application for the IBM PC from 1981 (27K download), reportedly works out of the box on Windows. I confirm it does work on my machine (using dosemu) and I guess it should work in dosbox (if you're not on a PC-compatible).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tech - Groupware

Via Tim Bray, Jamie Zawinski's excellent post on the topic of open source groupware.

Groupware being one of the top reasons I started screaming and shouting every time they cautiously raised the topic of commission*, I completely agree with jwz - it's just not sexy enough to succeed as open source.
Even our managers, who need their link to our Exchange** server more than oxygen, hate Outlook** and all it represents, and although all developers/designers need some collaboration software, to the point where I think it's the #1 most important CASE*** tool beyond the standard issue whiteboard, I too feel more comfortable with wiki, IM and plain email (my "employer"'s approach to VPN is a bit more drastic than Sun's though…).

Apropos software that can get a twenty-something laid:
I've been thinking about reviving the FFDB project as a "for personal use" thing and developing it informally, since I didn't get enough support in an attempt of actual case study or just requirements analysis.

* - didn't happen lately, I think I've made my point clear.
** - it's no secret we're all-Microsoft on the desktop at work.
*** - Rational and Mercury - take a hint. Actually, forget it. I don't care about shelfware anyway.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Fandom - reccs

I'll post here reccs I got while commuting to work today. I do not necessarily endorse those myself, but that's just because I haven't read them yet. I'll R/R, and update here. Also, should write down observations about living on less than four hours of sleep per day for weeks. Executive summary: don't do it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Programming - Perl, in Latin

Those who think Perl looks like cartoon characters swearing and hate the worship at the altar of terseness that plagues the Perl hacking culture, should consider this: you can write Perl in Latin, and yes it will work, without much loss of language features or performance. That is easily the best way I've seen to write unmaintainable code to ensure continued employment. As the saying goes: Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur. I'm dying to show this to our IT staff... :-)

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