Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Now this is targeted marketing.

...and the followup questions...

  1. How did you figure out what the billboard says?
  2. If you wrote a program, what language did you use?

[via kasia]

Yikes. Ward Cunningham just took a job at Microsoft. They have lots and lots of really smart people working there now.

Witness: James Nachtwey's photography of war, famine, and disaster.

"Only half of our users experience painful boils."

Friday, December 12, 2003

Wow. I wasted most of the day messing with, cajoling, pleading with, and sternly reprimanding a Weblogic server.

J2EE is a cool framework that provides logs of exciting, high-level functionality, but man -- the tools suck.

And this isn't just Weblogic's problem. JBoss, WebSphere, and SunOne also have bare-bones, poorly documented development environments.


Thursday, December 11, 2003

Nine naked men just walking down the road would cause a heap of trouble for all concerned.

I'm drinking Red Bull and listening to Metallica. Everyone in the office should really stay away for a while.

"This is not an accident, this is art."

"Hey, look! If I am logged in as an administrator, and I delete my operating system, it causes problems on my computer! I've found a bug!"

Don't delete your operating system, you simpleton.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

JellyBath? Click the Product Info -> Jelly How2 links for a QuickTime Video.

Normally, people don't mess with me. In fact, people don't chat with me, ask me directions, or make small talk with me. I give off some vibe like I don't want to be bothered. I'm quite repellent, apparently.

Except, God knows why, when I'm buying a cup of coffee.

Maybe it is a function of the volume of coffee that I buy. I'm somewhere every morning. I always get the same thing (a large coffee with a shot of espresso). I guess familiarity breeds courage.

I've had similar problems in the past. First, a woman in a Starbucks got a little friendly, so I started going to the Starbucks across the street [No, I'm not Joking. This is New York, where, as in "Best In Show," Starbucks do open on both sides of the same street]. Some guy in that Starbucks took a hankerin' to me there. I couldn't win.

And it is happening again.

Lately, I've been getting a cup of coffee before I get on the train, at a cute little place where I live. It is particularly cute because these two older women run it, and they are always engaging in goofy banter. Great fun.

Anyway, I walk in and order a triple double parker (their name for a redeye). Normally, I don't actually have to order my drink. This one woman usually sees me come in and makes my drink before I can ask.

But today her partner got to me first. I ordered, she fixed the drink, and I paid for it.

But let me set the scene a bit more. These two women are a little older than I. I'm guessing early sixties. They are totally in shape, water-aerobics-every-day kind of sixty, though. No kidding. I hope to look that good at their age. But they are maybe 30 years older than I am. Ok. scene set.

As I'm paying for my drink, the woman who normally gets my coffee notices that I've snuck in. She sees that my coffee is already prepared.

She then says, "Oh darn, I wanted to do him," shoots me a lascivious look, and lets slip an evil cackle. No joke. And she continues to giggle as she fills another order.

This really caught me off guard. I do believe my penis shriveled slightly at the sound of her naughty giggle. Or my ass twitched. Either way something happened in the area of "my loins," something that made me feel funny.

Once again, I've been objectified by a coffee vendor. Just thought I'd share.

Good God. Stanley Lippman (yes, that Lippman), is working for Microsoft, and has a 'blog.

I love this, in the sickest, most twisted way.

I love this, in the sickest, most twisted way.




Tuesday, December 09, 2003


Lest anyone wonder what to get me for Christmas, one of these would do nicely.

And, no, if it didn't light up, I wouldn't want one.

Rubber Ducky

Monday, December 08, 2003

Is there any more quintessential New York moment than watching a guy who doesn't know what train he is on giving directions to a guy who doesn't know where he needs to go, both using a different language?

ComputerWorld: Middle Managers: They're Already Gone

"Half your IT middle managers may be planning to quit as soon as the economy improves. Recent surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that many have already checked out psychologically and are just waiting for the chance to move on."

More overtones of Oceana: State Department censors General Wesley Clark's war crimes testimony.

~stevenf: A Shared Blank Document.

Very interesting. Verges on geeky performance art.

So a new MacOS developer magazine is starting up. Cool. <sarcasm>I don't have nearly enough magazines to read,</sarcasm> so I thought I'd give the new MacDeveloper Journal a try.

Ah, it is only published as an e-magazine, using the mildly annoying Zinio reader.

But look at the price: $50 for four issues? It is an e-magazine; no paper. The largest overhead cost to a magazine is eliminated, yet this is priced easily twice that of a real-live paper developer journal.



There is absolutely no theme to this week's pictures. I don't care what you say.

Limecat is most certainly not pleased.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Kyle read Robin Sharp's article on software development role fragmentation, and is now wondering the same things I was a few months ago.

While I don't agree with many of Robin Sharp's absurd blanket statements ("Most IT directors are senile"), I find myself agreeing with much of his premise.

"At one client I got an administrator to change my roaming profile as they had somehow created two of them. Can you guess what happened? Yep, they deleted my source code!"

Yup, happened to me, except that it was my e-mail, not my source.

"A great deal of the current inefficiency in software development comes from senior IT managers who are persuaded by administrators to impose unnecessary policies on developers. The administrators have been given too much power, and often take up adversarial positions against the development managers. The current operating mode of most organisations is entirely negative. Administrators now utilise development hurdles (such as database installations) to enforce policies."

This rings true for many corporate software development organizations, and I don't understand why. It seems to be a byproduct of department size and how the department is organized, as smaller groups don't see these issues as often.

I have to agree very strongly with Mr. Sharp when he says: "... this particular administrator knew that nothing bad would happen to him as a result of his gross ineptitude, therefore he didn't give a damn." Yes, indeed. Accountability is key. Yet it is so often lacking up and down the chain of responsibility.

A great deal of this organizational ineptitude is leading the push to outsource IT functions. When department leaders suggest that a team of developers unfamiliar with the business, 5000 miles away, can do the job better than those sitting in the next room, perhaps corporate management will start to realize where the real problem lies.

...and speaking of software Gods, if you port Linux to a digital camera, you are one.

So Rob Martin writes an article titled "Debuggers are a wasteful Timesink." Rob, being an über developer God and generally brilliant person, people pay attention and react.

Debuggers, my friends, are tools. Tools aren't good or bad. They just are.

I suspect that Rob was being intentionally provocative. In a more measured moment, he might have tried to make the distinction between a debugger used as a code construction tool and one used as a code inspection tool.

But that kind of subtlety is often lost on people, particularly in the ADD-infused combination of software developers and the web.

Developers who use debuggers as tools during code construction are using them as crutches. Used while writing code, debuggers encourage a "code first, think later," "hmmm it seems to be working" style of development. Rob is correct, that sucks. As a construction tool, pair programming, thoughtful unit tests, and walkthroughs promote far better code.

But one sign of a good developer is mastery of a debugger. The ability to inspect the runtime behavior of code, to stop its execution, halt one thread while others execute, to see the value of variables; this is invaluable when inspecting a system.

Looking at code in an editor gives you a static understanding of the system; looking at code in a debugger gives you a dynamic view of the system. An excellent developer masters both views of the code, and knows when each is appropriate.