Archive for October, 2010

Stop Googling

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

online poker news

Yesterday, one of my inter-web buddies IM’d me and asked if I had used Typhoeus before. I said yes, so he asked me if it was possible to follow redirects using it. He said he google’d it and nothing turned up.

I sharply responded, “LOOK AT THE CODE!”. We had some banter back and forth and a few minutes later he was automatically following redirects. It seems these days that developers often think if something does not turn up in a google search, it does not exist.

Posted via email from Kevination

Put Another Nickel In

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
So, I finally signed up for a paid music service: Slacker Radio. I'd been listening to the free version for a few days. It seemed to have the right set of features for my expectations — bunches of genre-specific channels, and a recommendation I can have fun confusing. (It's a game I like to play: stump the recommendation engine. I feed in Steely Dan, Massive Attack, Sarah Vaughan, Frédéric Chopin, Weird Al, and a Gregorian chant or two; and tell it "recommend something, I dare you".) But I got sick of the commercials, so I upgraded. Technically, I'm still on the free trial, but I had to enter my credit card info even for that.

Speaking of manifestations of the terpsichorean muse (and the Firefox spell checker gets a point for knowing how to spell 'terpsichorean'), I've got a persistent earworm: "Something the Boy Said" by Sting has been running through my head for several days now. I don't dislike the song; but it's not my favorite, in fact it's not even my favorite from that album. I have no idea why it's stuck in my head, and has stayed there despite listening to it several times. (That often cures an earworm for me, but no such luck in this case.) On repeated listenings — real and obsessive-imaginary — it does strike me as a very Police-y tune, in the vein of "Wrapped Around Your Finger" or "Tea in the Sahara"; I can easily imagine Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland playing it. (There'd be more flourishes in the drumming, though; I don't know if that would make it better or worse.)

The album that song came off of, Ten Summoner's Tales, is one of my desert island picks, even if the list were as short as five albums; there's a lot of very good material there. (Though as is often the case, the flagship single from the album, "Fields of Gold", leaves me unmoved.) "Seven Days" and "St. Augustine In Hell" are great fun; "Shape of My Heart" is simply sublime; "Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)" is … forgivable; and the 'eleventh tale', "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" is a nice bouncy finish. It's good enough that I didn't regret the breakup of the Police after that; if that's what it took for Sting to do that kind of music, good for him.

I haven't paid attention to Sting in a while; I was WILL YOU SHUT THAT BLOODY BOUZOUKI UP!

… sorry. Anyway, seeing him listed in the 'soft rock' and 'easy listening' category, along with Celine Dion and Kenny G, left a bad taste in my mouth. It also rubbed me the wrong way to see him doing softer, acoustic remakes of his older works: to me it seems like a way of pleasing crowds and selling discs without covering any new ground musically. Granted I've heard only part of his modern output, but nothing I have heard of his has grabbed me since "We'll Be Together".

But, I've never believed that music comes with an expiration date. I think I'll queue up Synchronicity in Winamp and chill for a bit. See you when I'm back from 1983.

Posted via email from Kevination

D versus Go: Geek Smack-down!

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Er, not so much. It’s the rarest of things, a rational, polite discussion of two competing technologies: in this case, Google’s Go programming language, and the independently developed D programming language. From the sound of it, Go has simple goals and meets them admirably; while D — at least the second version of the language, where development is now concentrated — is more ambitious but not yet fully baked; Go and D are apparently designed as successors to C and C++ respectively.

There are plenty of other contenders out there. There seems to be an idea in the air, that we need a new system programming language. I tend to agree. C++ was meant to be a successor to C, but by forcing all features to be upward-compatible with C, it left behind C’s primary virtue of simplicity. Java was intended as a successor to slash replacement for C++, but it left C even farther behind, adopting a virtual machine and sacrificing the ability to run on bare hardware. The dynamic languages — Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby — saw fair to unseat Java, at least in some domains, but did so at the expense of pure performance.

Meanwhile, those building the infrastructure — operating systems, networking stacks, and compilers and interpreters for all the above languages — continued to use C, whatever its shortcomings, because nothing else quite fit this very large and important problem domain nearly as well. Now people are starting to notice that our critical infrastructure is all in a language designed nearly forty years ago.

It’s no sign of disrespect to Dennis Ritchie and his colleagues to think that maybe we’ve learned a thing or two about programming languages in the last four decades; if nothing else, we know by now what all the pain points are in C. One would hope we could come up with something better by now, as long as we keep our focus on the right problem domain: system programming.

For someone like me, it’s fun to watch something like this unfold; it’s like the Olympics for computer geeks. Without the vuvuzelas.

Posted via email from Kevination

xkcd: Beautiful Dream

Friday, October 1st, 2010

I had a similar dream about readers of and readers of The Daily Kos.

Posted via email from Kevination