Monday, November 26, 2007

Why "Type-Safe" Languages Don't Cure All Ills

Whenever I show someone the wonder that is a dynamic duck-typed language like Ruby, they always balk at the idea initially. “Where are my types?” “Won’t that cause a whole world of headaches with incompatible data types?” “Isn’t it safer to use types so that bad data doesn’t get in?”
What if the problem has to do with metric vs. ‘standard’ (i.e imperial) measurements? Types won’t save your ass then, they certainly didn’t save the Mars Observer.

From The Top 10 IT Disasters of All Time

5. Mars Climate Observer metric problem (1998) 
Two spacecraft, the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander, were part of a space programme that, in 1998, was supposed to study the Martian weather, climate, and water and carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. But a problem occurred when a navigation error caused the lander to fly too low in the atmosphere and it was destroyed.
What caused the error? A sub-contractor on the Nasa programme had used imperial units (as used in the US), rather than the Nasa-specified metric units (as used in Europe).
I actually remember one of my profs. discussing this very thing in class last Fall, but he wasn’t even talking about dynamically typed languages, he just offered it as an aside during a discussion about types.
I figured I’d post it since I haven’t blogged in months. Woo. So ends the hiatus. Damn microblogging (Twitter) has kept me off the blogspot for too long...

Friday, August 24, 2007

This Is Not My Beautiful Neighborhood

This is not my beautiful home.

I’ve driven through Lakeview twice since classes have started, and every time, I am confronted with things that surprise and trouble me. Needless to say the house has about a year of overgrowth on it, so its not easily noticeable from the street. Needless to say, things that meant something to me in that neighborhood, family, friends, girlfriend, school, are no longer there. Its one thing when someone grows up and a neighborhood just naturally changes, the inexorable march of Time does a great job of that on its own.

Its another thing when Time replaces the local Coffee & Company with a Fucking Starbucks.

Driving to school yesterday, I noticed for the second time the tourist trap Landry’s Seafood on Lakeshore drive. That place was already lost to me since its change from the fancy Bart’s on the lake, with its delicious hush puppies and The Best Urinal Ever. But still, there was something comforting about Joe’s the chain, with its Applebees cum Jaws aesthetic and shirts making double entendre’s about venereal disease.

I must be falling into the trap that most people from New Orleans do, the belief that the way it was will always be better.

“Change is evil!”

“No high-rises uptown!”

“No riverfront development in the Marigny!”

“Halt all progress! Now and forever!”

But putting locks on the 17th street canal that look like they belong in the isthmus of fucking Panama? That both confounds and astounds me.

5th grade social studies AHOY! Never thought I’d get a chance to use a word like isthmus in anything other than a geography project.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sidetracked

(Requisite backstory: I used to have many retarded debates with an ex girlfriend about the nature of art and the merit of digital art programs. Needless to say, being a non-artist, I disagreed with her a lot. Good times.)


I was going to blog about how my old, Lake Pontchartrain soaked neighborhood has changed since I'd last driven through it, but something else caught the periphery of my senses, and like a ferret, I must acknowledge it.
Reading a not so fresh Penny-Arcade (below) it made me think:

Would some artists just cut to the chase and call Photoshop a game in itself, a pale comparison to the reality of actually putting ink/paint to the page? 

Would they call Photoshop something like Art Hero?

Would those people be douchebags? 

Probably.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sweet Beauty

If I was ever going to buy a desktop, I think it would be this one. Fresh, for 2007, you SUCKAS!

I really have no need for a desktop other than to use as a webserver, but that, my absent audience, is beauty. As if the white ones didn’t already look gorgeous. Call me a sucker for brushed aluminum.

Photos imminent


I don't think I have a desk amazing enough to house something so delightful. 

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Elusive Mac User


I’ve read two articles recently from digg about the whole Mac v. Windoze thing, both of them on CIO.com, a site for Chief Information Officers presumably. I read both of them, on my Macbook Pro, using NewsFire, my awesome RSS aggregator that I got along with the rest of Macheist, so they’re not telling me anything I already don’t know. I drank the kool-aid the day I bought my first iBook.

They did however tell me things that are tired and stereotypical. Don’t bother reading the one from the CIO of Harvard Med School, its like 15 pages long. To sum up, Macs are for ‘graphic artists’ and perhaps ‘knowledge workers.’ I don’t even know what the fuck a knowledge worker is, I’m just a dumb programmer.

I, as a programmer and an avid Mac user find these assumptions to be old hat. Take a look at some of the guys on my sidebar. All excellent programmers, and by excellent I mean fucking excellent. I say daily that I hope to be nearly as good as them when I reach their age. All of them, certified Mac freaks. Warms my heart to see that the programming community is making the switch, they’re like a future snapshot of the rest of the computing world in a few years.

What I’m getting at is that the basic Mac user is no longer just a ‘graphic designer’ or a housewife who doesn’t know the mouse from the monitor, they are often some of the most intensive users of any computing platform, the elusive programmer.

I know its a dumb gripe, but I just wanted to continue the voicing of the opinion of a growing portion of the software community that the Mac is a viable platform for everything from rolling simple websites in iWeb, to quickly accessing the ability to roll out enterprise apps.

Hell even German web app developers that make kickass web frameworks use Macs. Weird huh?



That shirt looks good on you, but it would look even better stuffed into the neck of a vodka bottle and flung burning through our office building's window. Let's fucking do it and never look back
-xkcd        

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Let Play Catch-Up


I’ve purchased one comic book, nay Graphic Novel, since August 05 (Graphic Novel sounds so much more distinguished :P). Losing letters P thru Z in my collection kinda made me rethink my whole comic book addiction. So, I’ve been downloading comics. Stealing them. I couldn’t afford them anyway, so its not like the publishers are losing my money. Weak argument at best.

So I’ve been catching up on the cliffhangers i had in my bloated folder when the water came. Nostalgia, memory of what my life was like 2 years ago. Crazy that the funny books can summon up those feelings, but it feels like by catching up on those lingering books is one of the best things I can do in terms of ‘moving on’ in every sense.

On to the reviews. Ultimate FF. Crossover. The one with the Reed Richards zombie. Its the basis for the Marvel Zombies book that people feel so strangely about. I had been stuck since 05 on the ish where Ultimate Reed meets Other Reed. I had a lotsa crazy ideas about just what they were doing, none of which were right. I thought that it was going to be Reed from Earth-616 , meaning the regular series. I thought they were going to explain the UFF’s age since they already had an appearance in Ultimate Marvel Team Up. I thought they might put into ‘regula’ continuity the Ultimate Universe.

Nope. Zombies.

Now, set aside cynicism for a minute and think about how NIFTY that is. I think I like unexpected shit almost for the sake of its sheer improbability. Take the Stormwatch: Final Orbit story for example, Warren Ellis kills the Stormwatch station with a crossover/guest appearance by Aliens. The ones from the movie by the same title. How often does a book get some serious, world changing ramifications from crossovers? Almost never, especially crossover from other universes.

I find that anything episodic can easily become repetitive or formulaic without someone, with complete love and reverence for the material, getting in there and fucking shit up old school for a little while. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Fantastic Four. Still not their biggest fan, but I read the Ultimate incarnation. I also have read the Marvel Knights miniseries called simply 4. The reason I read Ultimate books is because they take the old continuity and turn it on its ear, and not being too attached to the characters, and their canonical origins, I can enjoy it. The only reason I read 4, is because it was about the family aspect of the FF. They lose all their money and have to move out of the Baxter Building. Reed becomes an absent minded professor, who forgets to pick up Franklin from school. Theses things interest me. The boring minutiae of life. The things that provide Real Conflict.

The kind guys in purple shorts and funny helmets can’t generate.

http://pharyngula.org/images/galactus.gif

I also finished up Ultimates 2. In the interest of not ruining it, I will say this: If they ever made a movie out of either of those 13 ish stories, it would be pure redundancy. Bryan Hitch would have to be given co-director status a la Sin City. The storyboards would already be done, just look to the comic. The book is already so cinematic in its execution that, while I would love to see it on the big screen, it would be an unnecessary translation. So good.


i’ll bring home the turkey if you bring home the bacon

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Late To the Party, As Usual. I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way


Just watched the most recent Spiderman. What kind of fan am I, taking my sweet ass time seeing the film right? I shouldn’t have listened to everyone’s criticisms, its not like I listen to them anyway. The general timbre of the comments were of course negative, but I heard one friend say it was the best film yet.

I’m somewhere in the middle. Many leveled criticisms about the execution of the Venom suit and its effect on Peter. Emo haircuts were mentioned. Cheeziness abounds.

I seem to recall the middle of Spidey II having a heavy dose of cheese when he gave up the costume in the middle of the film. Its part of the trilogy character. Spiderman has always been made up of low-rent villains and campy one-liners when fighting said villains. These aspects of Parker in the films contribute to the overall feel of the character. He’s doesn’t even take himself seriously, neither should the audience.

I was a little pissed about how little he wore the fucking mask. Maybe I’ve been reading too many comics that revolve around identities getting revealed and their impact on the character (Civil War, Daredevil) but I mean, come ON. It must be hell for a filmmaker to shoot a character whose masked the whole time, and I’m sure the mask ensures that all of Tobey’s dialogue was ADR’d, but you know what? Thems are the breaks when it comes to superhero movies. Leave the fucking mask on. Seriously.

Probably the best envisioning of Peter Parker has been from Brian Michael Bendis. Easily. He’s one of the best writers of dialogue I think I’ve ever read in the medium. Perfect examples of it can be found in his earlier crime comics in any of a number of interrogation sequences. Pure dialogue.

But back to Parker. Bendis’ interpretation of him is one of an immature kid or man-child (Ultimate or Not-So-Ultimate) whose brain shuts down in panic situations, but leaves the mouth running. Bad jokes while fighting villains are a reflex action. I’ve heard him refer to his boots as booties. He even says tuchas. TUCHAS. I don’t think Cap would’ve called his foot accoutrements booties.

The point of this whole useless review: if everyone would lighten the hell up a bit, they might enjoy some more films of the genre. I mean, how seriously can one take a person in tights?



see, i'm perfectly aware, where it is that our love stands, but the plain fact is that you owe me 8 grand, if it helps jog your memory, i lent it to you on tuesday when we were drinking

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Boot Camp Craziness

Leopard. Apple can sure hype a product beyond belief. Its uncanny. Unheimlich even. I wasn’t that psyched about Leopard until the keynote at WWDC. And now I’ve already got my credit card ready for a hot new student edition of their forthcoming OS. But I’m curious about some strangeness surrounding an announcement about the included Bootcamp that was on the Apple website before the keynote, then was strangely deleted. Here’s the text from the site:

That's right, no pesky restarts to get into Windows. Instead, the Apple menu will have a "Restart into Windows" option, which will put your Mac into a "safe sleep" state, then boot Windows. Over on the other side, you'll be able to Hibernate your Windows install, then switch back to OS X right where you left off.

Interesting! That’d be a neat trick, if only Jobs mentioned it in the keynote. It was subsequently pulled from the site, but not before Ars Technica referenced the quote in two articles
here and here. The only reason I remember that bit of copy from the site is that it was one of the features I was generally interested in. I mean seriously, fast restarts? I could get in and out of Windows with the ninja quickness? That would be awesome. Way better than a Parallels or VMware solution, at least, theoretically.

But now, the claim has been stricken from the website! I need to contact my man on the inside who’s at WWDC and see if he knows anything... This is truly more important than a reflective dock and transparent menu bar.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What Scene?


I was going to blog about how I went to a show put on by the local douchebag at NOLA DIY, but then I started musing on ex girlfriend type crap. Therefore, only this stub will remain. Not going to turn this into a Livejournal. Suffice to say that the motto of the local outfit in charge of putting on shows, ‘no cliques, no trends’ doesn’t exactly describe the timbre of the shows. Not in the least. Never has. I’m too pissed off to continue.

So I stop.

“What scene are you talking about? You try to separate a people from a sound?” - Falling Sickness

I can see why real bands like the Sickness stopped playing this type of BS. Stifling.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Welcome to the Working Week Part 2, Electric Booogaloo

This has been an informative week. Working with some of the guys from Relevance has been at times interesting, inspiring, entertaining, and a bit overwhelming at times. I mean hell, these guys have been in the game for almost as long as I’ve been using computers, so y’know.... In deference to them, and in the hopes that this tiny blog picks up on their ‘ego search filters’ here goes the name drop. Stuart Holloway and Justin Gehtland are some damn nice guys.

Its one thing to talk to them for 10 minutes a day on a conference call, its another thing to be invited into their lives for a few days. The informal work atmosphere, their helpful attitude when Christian and I would ask the dumb questions that novice programmers ask when dealing with an awesome dynamic, web-based, framework like Ruby on Rails. Hell, I even saw Stu do some meta-programming to improve test coverage for any method that overrode to_s. It never worked 100% but the theory will stick with me.

That’s the kind of thing I will take with me from this working experience. The mentoring is priceless. Thank Jeebus Gray Insurance is footing the bill. I don’t want to know what they charge for training.

Enough gushing, Now to talk about my new Twitter addiction. I found out about Twitter from reading some of the Rails community blogs/news tidbits/mudsligings, so I thought I’d give it a try. After all, its built on Rails.

In a concise, hyperbolic Twitter style paragraph it is:

ADD Blogging.
Blogging on Speed.
Something Else Buzzwordy.
Rails-A-Licious.

It appeals to me on some kind of subconscious level. Now that I have Twitteriffic.....Sweet Christmas. I use it at least twice a day. I don’t know if the desire to update strangers on what you’re doing regularly is why I do it, or if I have such an ego that I think that people care, but often times other people’s activities or musings on them can be funny, poignant, or informative. I know that I’m probably saying what others have been feeling for the duration of the service, but still, its true. 140 characters to express oneself is harder than it seems when used to blogging. But when there’s no time to blog, or what is going to be said doesn’t warrant a whole blog, it gets Twittered.

Speaking of the Rails community, being up in NC I got a taste of what people who belong to the ‘community’ think about. I had read about some kind of ‘beef’ if you can call it that between DHH and Alex of Twitter about whether or not Rails could scale to multiple databases, and it had been discussed at dinner one night. After all, almost all of the guys had just come from RailsConf, so they were talking about how the outside world viewed the ‘community.’

The Greater Good. Heh.

Wow, That really felt like Meta-Blogging. Blogging about blogging......twittering. I guess I need to blog more often so that when people Google me, they won’t end up with search results about Elaine Chao. Or do something amazing. The amazing Jorge........

I like the sound of that.

No I did not mean to search for Jorge Cao.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hell, Its About Time


Starcraft II. Damn. Like any good RTS fan, I’m all about this like a Zerg on a Terran’s fayce. Damn spellchecker just doesn’t understand me. I’ve watched the gameplay videos. I’ve read IGN’s coverage. I’ve even photoshopped “Hell, its about time” onto the SCII logo for a desktop background.

I can’t deal with Blizzard’s trademark answer to the question ‘when’s it coming out?’

‘When its done.’ Period. Damn perfectionists. At least their programmers don’t have to labor under unrealistic deadlines. That’s cool.

I need to update this thing more often. I don’t really. I’ve been too busy Riding the Rails. Oh, Rails, you make coding fun! Who would have thought that an insurance company would be so forward thinking about their Bond Management software, to make a web-based application using a Object Oriented scripting language with a web-development framework that’s only 2 years old, and was designed by a 26 year old. For reals.

As said by the now effigy-ed Tychus Findlay, ‘Hell, its about time.’

Enough, I’m going to buy Starcraft ONE.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

100 Best Comics Since Before I Was Born

Wizard got this brilliant idea recently (and by recently I mean May 2006) to make a list of what they feel are the best 100 single issue comics of the last 30 years. I didn't read the article, I only know this because someone went through the trouble to find all 100 issues and compile them in a torrent, for my very own downloading pleasure. Nice.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of "Best of" lists. I'm certainly not a fan of the AFI '100 Years, 100 Laughs' list. I mean, I find transvestite humor as funny as the next guy, but Tootsie; To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar; and Some Like It Hot are all in the top 10, with Some Like It Hot being #1. Not a great list, in my opinion. No one will totally agree with anyone else's list, but at least they can give one some ideas for viewing/reading material worth looking at.

For the most part the list has some staple books on it. I've tried not to peek at the top 10 comics, as I am reading it from 100 to 1, like a countdown, one that will take days. So far, I've seen The Punisher, Daredevil, Batman, Jessica Jones of Alias fame, some book called Legion of Super Heroes (twice!), but every once in a while I run across something like this.

Ugh. Do I HAVE to read this? My OCD compels me to. I don't know if I can do it. This always ends up happening. I have this crazy desire for complete-itude and so I don't skip it. I just put the whole compendium down, and forget about it. Regardless, it's a good list, it makes me want to read more of the ones that stand out.

UPDATE:

My brain still hasn't adjusted to the whole Y2K thing, I never got the firmware update I guess. I just realized a list of comics that spans the last 30 years limits them to 1976! Goody, even though the 80's had some absolute shite, at least all of the 60's and most of the 70's Silver Age bullshit is stricken from the list. I guess I won't have to skip around as much as I initially thought.

Friday, March 09, 2007

..........

I swing from the highest tree, lynched by the lowest branches of me, praying that my physical will set me free, because I'm afraid that all else is vanity, mere language is profanity...
-Saul Williams

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Fire Inside................

I’ve gotta start doing timely posts like this. I feel like talking about the Aqua Teen Boston Bomb Extravaganza, but that was like, SO 4 DAYS AGO. So instead I’ll recount the evenings events, in the interest of being punctual with my news.

Arena rock. Black costumes. White instruments and amplifiers. Front firing floodlights flashing in tune with the drums. A song that sounded like Guns and Roses SO GODDAMN MUCH I was singing “I don’t need no civil waaaaaar-ow” as loud as I could. This is what AFI has become.

At least Sick Of It All was good.

At least I didn’t pay. Thank you, Canada.

So they went from this




to this???


Fashionable indeed.

Wow. Kids these days. I’m not one of those people that’ll stoop to saying things like “fucking all ages show!” cos I certainly enjoyed my fair share when I was a wee one. I remember being at the Shim Sham Club (One Eyed Matador’s) and having to stay away from what I lovingly referred to as the “big kids table,” A.K.A the bar, and instead being relegated to the dance floor and a single table with a pitcher of ice water for all the dancing children. I remember taking the bus to go downtown to see The Toasters and Mephiskapheles play at the House of Blues, and being denied entrance. All ages shows are an important part of a scene that is comprised of young fans.

BUT JESUS. It’s always sad to see a band denounce it’s roots in favor of popularity. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a local DJ who stopped playing the Drum and the Bass in favor of something more “danceable.” He’s not a millionaire, but he’s compromising his taste to again be in the favor of the fans.

A performer is not the same thing as a musician apparently. Who would’ve known. I feel so naive.

“I’d like to play me latest chart topper, it’s called ‘Me Fans Are Stupid Pigs’.” -Bart Simpson
Thank you Against All Authority, for being so close to AFI alphabetically that I was forced to find solace in your rock sauce.

At least Sick of It All was good......

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Zombies

I like zombies. Not in the Quisling kind of way (read the part about World War Z, unless you REALLY want to learn an obscure new word that just means traitor), but in the way most consumers of popular culture since the remake of Dawn of the Dead have been. Here’s where I flex my old school muscle and say I’ve been a fan since I was old enough to seek out Romero’s films, how cool am I?

After listening to the audiobook for World War Z, I sought out the book so I could throw a little monetary support to Mel Brooks’ kid, you know, cos they like that kind of thing. Money I mean. Not that the film deal with Brad Pitt’s production company won’t bring him plenty of that. I’m in a tangental mood tonight, I couldn’t even tell a cohesive story to a coworker without derailing myself about 20 times tonight.

After reading the book, now I’m hooked on Robert Kirkman of Invincible fame’s new zombie book, The Walking Dead. Go here for a #1 of both of the books I just mentioned, they rock. This begs the question, what’s the fascination with zombies? It’s not just me, all these things are within 5 years of each other( Dawn remake, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, WWZ, Walking Dead) so somebody else must be thinking about these things too.

My manager asked me what me and my fellow consumers fascination with Zack was all about. All I really could say was that it’s been in the public consciousness since the 60’s thanks to Romero, and that people have a tendency to have a bit of an obsession with things that scare the crap out of them. I could never have formulated such an eloquent and apt description as Simon Pegg has in the afterword of book 2 of The Walking Dead. Unless of course I was hot off of the set of my genius zombie satire film and was asked to write an excellent afterword for an equally excellent book about zombies. Then I coulda nailed it.

Now I’m off to continue my obsession with consumption and classism by watching more of season 1 of The O.C. It’s like the 24 of primetime drama. And I fucking mean that. I don’t just toss Bauer’s name around. I’d be too scared to see what he’d do to me if he found out.



Sunday, January 21, 2007

Broken Cars and Broken Dreams

Just when everything is starting to make sense in my life. Finally, TRULY single, not enrolled in school so I can figure out my life, and WHAM. Volks spins out of control due to a tire blowout on I-10W into some nice old people who were good friends with my surrogate grandfather, Paquito.

Funny how life works. Nice people really.

So today begins my self imposed car probationary period. I can’t afford the raise in insurance, and am tired of asking my father to pay for my fuck ups.

Insurance rates drop at 25. Guess when I’ll stop riding a bike? It’s better for the environment anyway. Better for my cardiovascular system.

This human is a pipe bomb.

It sure did look nice

Tabbed Browsing: Why I Love It, An Ode To The 21st Century Equivalent To A Dictionary At The Head Of The Bed

Tabbed browsing. I use it. I tout its virtues daily, mostly to people who don’t really care anyway.

Today I finally realized why I love it so much. I use those tabs as a way to keep track of the things that I have been doing/researching over the day. Usually what will happen is I will get more than a web browser’s width worth of tabs and I will trim the fat, much like I store the text messages from people that I find funny and such. I was looking up the so called “War of Currents,” the struggle between George Westinghouse and his Alternating Current versus Thomas Edison and his Direct Current, when I realized that it was all Sarah Vowell’s fault.

Other topics I perused while reading Assassination Vacation: The soldier who wouldn’t surrender, and the Russian view of Nihilism as a political movement, Nardonik.

The reason I keep the tabs open is so that I can remember the weird shit that I look up while doing something like reading or web surfing. Now I realize I have a repository for all those weird links besides my del.icio.us, my own personal journal.

By today I mean December 26, that’s how long it takes for my ADD addled brain to remember to do things.