Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, March 13, 2004

I missed this yesterday. HP has launched HP Music, an iTunes powered digital music site.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Epson and Cosina have announced the R-D1, a "rangefinder digital" camera with a six megapixel sensor. Though only a prototype, the R-D1 appears to accept Leica M and L mount lenses. Funky.

But looking at the camera, something seems odd. Can anyone tell me what the film advance lever does?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator. Aaaargh!

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Very cool. Big Bad Geek points to a note from Jens Alfke, uber developer, about the history of iChat [original note on Jens' home page]. Interesting stuff if you are an Apple geek. Particularly interesting is that iChat was born a multi-protocol IM client.

I had no idea that Jens worked on iChat. I remember him from his excellent work on the OS 9 Java VM, and, of course, as the author of the Stickies utility.

Rumor: Apple is working on 13-inch laptops.

I find this rather exciting because, 1) I'm a geek, and 2) I think 13" is the perfect size for a laptop screen. A thirteen-inch LCD is the smallest size where 1024x768 is usable, yet allows for a thin, compact overall size. I have a Dell laptop with a 13" screen that I think is just perfect.

Derek Lowe, Things I Won't Touch.

I have no sugar in the house (quite purposefully), and I'm in the middle of quite a craving. I'm considering walking to the store to get something sweet.

Chris Brumme posted some interesting stuff about garbage collection in the next version of the .Net runtime. This article, plus some others that are floating around the net, provide a lot of detail about the workings of .Net's memory management. Note that I'm reading this from the perspective of a person most familiar with Java and its runtime.

The .Net runtime seems to implement a mark and sweep GC scheme, but where classes are marked as collectable by presence in a system RegisteredForFinalization queue. Of particular interest, because objects must be explicitly registered for collection, not all objects are checked for finalization. A finalizable object and any object reachable from it, is added to a ReadyToFinalize queue. So an object need not be registered as finalizable to be garbage collected. I find this aspect of .Net GC fascinating, and I'd like to think about it some more. I'm assuming that, rather than a design decision, this was a requirement due to .Net's language neutrality and language mixing at runtime.

Chris also strongly suggests not touching other finalizable objects in a finalizer. This, plus the act of registering objects as collectable reminds me of the memory management scheme in the Objective C runtime in MacOS X. Of course, MacOS X allows you to allocate objects out of any number of pools, each backed by some different scheme; I'm not sure how .Net links object allocation and deallocation.

If not all objects are automatically reference-counted, it suggests that the .Net developer has greater control over, but bears a greater burden for, memory management. Given .Net's focus on component and service orientation, this seems like a bit of a problem. It is rather difficult to manage component-level services from within a component that may be embedded in another, distributed across runtimes, etc... But this is a difficult problem to solve in any scheme.

One thing I like about the .Net garbage collection is that finalizers seem more likely to be called than Java's finalizers. It seems that if the process terminates normally, the ready to finalize queue is processed. This is nice; Java's whimsical garbage collection is one reason few people put meaningful code in the finalize() method.

I'd like to do some more reading about how GC and object allocation are related, and about how .Net's GC scheme deals with weak handles. But it certainly is fascinating to have so much information about code still in development.

Monday, March 08, 2004

NY Times: Spalding Gray, the writer and theatrical raconteur, was confirmed dead today, two months after his wife reported him missing, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner's office said. He was 62 years old.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I can't believe I have to do this, but bass, people. As in, how low can you go, death row, what a brother knows?

All you people making fish jokes have lost all your street cred.

From now on, I'd like you to address me by my hip hop moniker:

Cool E Bass

Thank you very much.

The U.S. economy gained 21,000 jobs in February.

Oops. Did we say the economy gained 21,000 jobs? Actually, the government hired 21,000 more people. But close enough.

And that is a kind of strategy, anyway. We'll all end up working for Disney, GE, Time Warner, or the government. Who needs more than three companies?

And while we're quetly trying to reclassify fast-food jobs as "manufacturing" jobs (well, we are building quite a burger!), lets go whole-hog and get rid of those arcane and confusing sectors like manufacturing, farm, and service.

Lets cut up the economy into realistic sectors, like:

  • landscapers
  • delivery men
  • drug dealers
  • rich kids with trust funds
  • people who sell viagra and weight-loss pills over the internet
  • security guards
  • friends of the president who have sweetheart no-bid government contracts
  • people who used to have a real job but now bounce between stultifying, unfulfilling part-time jobs that they'll probably quit in three months.

Then we'll see some serious job growth numbers.

And those people without a job? They are getting unemployment insurance, right? Well it sure seems like they are getting paid for something, so they must have a job. Lets count them as employed, too.

Damn! Full employment, Bush style.