08 August 2003

Dev Shed - Using Subqueries In MySQL (part 1) - Opiate Of The Masses

Dev Shed - Using Subqueries In MySQL: "One of the newest features in MySQL, and one of its most eagerly-anticipated ones, is subqueries. Subqueries have been on the MySQL wishlist for a while; they've finally made an appearance in MySQL 4.1" You don't know how much subqueries are useful until you can't have them.

06 August 2003

Jon's Radio

Jon Udell: "Define a simple RSS 2.0 module for job metadata. Deliver a job feed that's enriched with data in that module's namespace. Invite one or more RSS aggregators to support it. It would be a win-win for everybody. " Oh yeah, I would certainly kill for a job-aggregator, especially now...

Slashdot | Bob The Builder Gets A Personality Transplant

Slashdot | Bob The Builder Gets A Personality Transplant: "'Bob the IT support guy!' 'Bob the IT support guy!' 'can he fix it?!?' 'No he can't, because that's not his department, it's a software issue and it was raised with management over a month ago'"

05 August 2003

I Love Bruce Schneier

Counterpane: Crypto-Gram: July 15, 2003: "When you see counterproductive, invasive, or just plain stupid security, don't let it slip by. Write the letter. Create a Web site. File a FOIA request. Make some noise. You don't have to join anything; noise need not be more than individuals standing up for themselves. You don't win every time. But you do win sometimes."

Clerks Joke Of The Day

Joe Gregorio - The Well-Formed Web:"And of course, who can forget Mark Pilgrim:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
X-Clerks: I'm not even supposed to BE here today!

04 August 2003


Raymond Chen: Why do you have to click the Start button to shut down?: "Short answer: The same reason you turn the ignition key to shut off your car."

30 July 2003

Web Developer job ad

Avocadia: Unclean! Unclean! - "So you were a top Web Developer, once, many years ago, until the "correction". Now nobody cares and you are shunned in public, much as lepers were in the fifteenth century. Your modern-day equivalent of the chiming bell and vile burbling exclamations of "Unclean! Unclean!" is the obnoxious ringtone on your expensive mobile. There’s a good chance you listen to either Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus or elaborate Paul Oakenfold remixes, with a bit of bootlegged Chemical Brothers thrown in for good measure."

hard times

Electronic Frontier Foundation:"How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing (And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)"

25 July 2003

Status Of The Jython Nation

Russell Beattie Notebook - Friday, July 25, 2003: "Jython needs help, however. Guido even petitioned help at the last Python event. It seems that there's a lot of users and not a lot of developers and now Jython is a few years behind where Python is on the development curve. Another problem with Jython besides it's libraries is that the code runs up to 10 times slower than its CPython and Java counter parts, yet I'm sure that there are ton of real heads out there that could improve that with optimization of the libraries... "
Tip of the day from DevArticles:"The magical .phps extension - If your PHP configuration is set to allow it, renaming any .php file to .phps will allow it's source to be read on anyone's browser who opens it. The code will be color-coded, exactly the same as the [PHP] tag in vbulletin. This is helpful when you need to debug a large script. Remember to remove any sensitive information before doing so however (db passwords, db table names, etc..)."

23 July 2003

Mozilla State Of The Union

The Mozilla Development Roadmap has been updated: "It's clear now that we will not be able to switch to Mozilla Firebird by the Mozilla 1.5 final milestone. Instead, we expect Mozilla 1.5 to coincide with Mozilla Firebird 0.7. But we intend to implement the new application architecture in the next several milestones".
Meanwhile, Netscape has been basically shut down by AOL, and the Mozilla copyright burden is now on the Mozilla Foundation shoulders. This means that now Mozilla will be marketed as and end-user browser, and not just as a development test-bed for future Netscape versions (as it was).
Is this good? Yes: now everything is clear, and if I go to the mozilla homepage I can easily find that A) Mozilla is a browser, and B) where I should go to download it.
At the same time, is this bad? Yes, because the Netscape brand was very well known between non-tech users, while Mozilla isn't yet there. Thus, MS now is probably even happier about the browser-war result than before.

Inscrutable Spam

Chris Sell: " I will have to build a simple time travel circut to get where I need myself. I am going to need an easy to follow picture diagram for a simple time travel circut, which can be built out of (readily available) parts here in 2003. Please email me any schematics you have. "

16 July 2003

Jon Udell: The Mozilla Foundation

Jon Udell: The Mozilla Foundation: "I implored AOL to do the right thing by Mozilla, and it seems that is happening. Today AOL announced financial and logistical support for the newly-hatched Mozilla Foundation. Excellent!"

MozillaZine:"It has been learned through public and private sources that AOL has cut or will cut the remaining team working on Mozilla in a mass firing and are dismantling what was left of Netscape (they've even pulled the logos off the buildings)."

Uh? Who's right? What's happening? How will thiss affect the new (very ambitious and risky) Mozilla roadmap?

15 July 2003

A Suggestion for Aggregators

The FuzzyBlog :: Scott Johnson's Blog: "Now what I'd recommend to aggregator vendors is that they standardize on an aggregator:// protocol so that other tools which produce RSS can easily embed that into applications."

Well, it would be nice indeed...

Post-human Japan again

Wired 11.08: Fat Pipe Dream: "Softbank has spent close to $2 billion building out a gigabit Ethernet network and leasing copper wire from Japanese telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. The result is a service, offered under the Yahoo! BB brand, that provides Internet access to Japanese homes at 12 megabits per second - eight times faster than what Americans are used to - for about $21 a month. "

This guy is definately crazy, but the technical point behind his madness is interesting: the pure GbEthernet-based network carries perfect data and requires small maintenaince, thus the "voice" costs (that is, VoIP) are almost null, and the available bandwidth is stunning. Too bad Europe won't ever have a similar thing (no one has that much money and that much crazyness), but newly-built places like Phoenix or LA could, one day, feature similar things.

11 July 2003


phpDocumentor: PHP Auto Documentor: "phpDocumentor is a JavaDoc-like automatic documentation generator for PHP written in PHP. It is the most versatile tool for documenting PHP."
Yet Another Tool To Evangelise For....

The Quest For The Perfect News Aggregator Never Ends

Phil Ringnalda, apart from being the original BlogThis! creator, and a smart guy, pointed me to SharpReader, the best aggregator I tried so far. It's a .NET application, unfortunately :( thus the "award" is a bit unfair, but well, it's really a simple and solid application (NewsMonster developers, did you get that solid loud enough?)

09 July 2003

Dot Net As Distributed Object System

Dot Net As Distributed Object System: "TimBernersLee had a brilliant epiphany when he realized that broken links are OK. In any complex adaptive system, successful systems are always somewhere around the edge of chaos, and brokenness is a part of the game. Take a look at New York City. If these distributed computing guys who are making life hard tried to build New York City, I'm sure they would have failed or never finished, because it would need to be exact and intellectually pure (the MIT approach). Water always flows, electricity only went out once, and FDNY really has their sh*t together; yet, people still get hit by cars, shoot heroine in Hell's Kitchen, construction never ends, and potholes magically appear often."


Blog of the day: Carlos E. Perez's ::Manageability::. Sometimes just a bit too "over my head", but worth considering anyway. (yes, I'm working hard...)

08 July 2003

"CyberTerrorists" won't ever have a clue...

Counterpane: Crypto-Gram:: "The worry is that a terrorist would cause a problem more serious than a natural disaster, but this kind of thing is surprisingly hard to do. Worms and viruses have caused all sorts of network disruptions, but it happened by accident. In January 2003, the SQL Slammer worm disrupted 13,000 ATMs on the Bank of America's network. But before it happened, you couldn't have found a security expert who understood that those systems were dependent on that vulnerability. We simply don't understand the interactions well enough to predict which kinds of attacks could cause catastrophic results, and terrorist organizations don't have that sort of knowledge either -- even if they tried to hire experts."
(Oh My God! I Love BlogThis! I'm All Wet! Yes! Yes! Again! YESSS!)

Switched back

I've been "switched back" from OSX to WinXP, due to the bloody Dreamweaver trial expiration thing. The good thing is, I can use Mozilla more than before (the previous Wintel machine was too slow to run it properly, and on OSX I used Safari pretty much all the time). Now I'm experimenting goodies like NewsMonster and BlogThis! integration. After all, if it wasn't for the horrible WinXP "skin" and the bloody spyware everywhere...

Adobe drops Mac support in new version of Premiere

Adobe drops Mac support in new version of Premiere. Earlier this year, we were wondering if it could have been useful to buy it, and eventually we dropped the idea for the time being. Lucky sods. Anyway, this is a considerable blow to Apple creative community, for which the OSX move has proved to be a major pain.

07 July 2003

Regexpin' around

Very geeky day, digging through lines and lines of text to be inserted in a RDMS... My only help was JEdit and its RETest plugin. At the end of the day, everything is where it should be (well, almost) and I'm happy about that.

04 July 2003

XP Upgrade Day here

As it often happens, an empty day of install-reboot-patch-reboot routines. Now we have WinXP on all the machines (except my iBook, of course). I've also installed the php5b1 on a Win machine (waiting for an OsX build, I don't want to mess around with the compilers and stuff these days), ready to be tested. Found this interesting tool, gModeler [beware, Flash link!], a very interesting UML tool developed with (and for, mainly) Macromedia Flash. I have to agree with the "flasher" here in Voodoo: it's now a mature technology, if only it wasn't proprietary (and not so heavily misused)...

03 July 2003

PHP5, the future, Heartbeat status, and a packet of crisps

I'm pretty new to this TrackBack thing... Should I link directly to the post or to the "TrackBack" link on the page? mah. Anyway, Php|Architect expresses a reasonable opinion about the Php5b1 issue. Yes, it's better than before. No, it's not the Holy Grail of web scripting. Yes, everyone should try it, and IMHO it could also be worth a few "experimental" websites. Hopefully I'll have to build a project management coordination tool for Voodoo in the next few weeks; I still don't like the .NET idea, I won't touch VBScript again (I swear!), thus it's now between java, javascript and php. If we choose the latter, I'll push for using the version 5 and do proper OOP design, despite the (relatively small) problem of multiple inheritance not being available.

On another note, yesterday I added some things to the framework. I'm currently working on the database abstraction problem, i.e. how to move away the query building from the Item implementation thus sharing it between different target languages. It's a bit hard, mainly because I need some extra logic for joins and many_to_many relationship tables.

02 July 2003

Design, Design, Design

Lots of UML diagrams to do... Poseidon CE is very buggy on my iBook. Does someone know a good UML tool for OSX? Being free would be a great advantage ;-)

30 June 2003

On a 100-based coolness scale, this makes 89

Agiledox, "a small project to collect ideas and tools for automating documentation". It generates documentation from TestCases, looking at the method names; if your methods are properly named (and they often are, given their nature), the produced output is absolutely worth. HERE you can see things moving in the software world, not in that childish Echo/RSS flamewar. PS: as you can see, I'm cutting the crap... Still missing the bloody archives, though.

My Kingdom For A Jon Udell

Go read, you techies. Yes, it's about the bloody RSS/Echo/whatever diatribe, but no, it's not another Holy War post. Udell knows what Real Users want, and how small the geekdom is for the real world. Another interesting post is this from Paul Philp, with some economics theory.

The Heartbeat Project

That is, my MSc project. The aim is to produce a "CMS-generation framework" that should be easy and flexible enough to allow easy extension via subclassing. Ideally, the user should be able of defining a simple CMS in a configuration file, and let the framework do all the work. The produced CMS should be also XML-enabled to allow semantic communication with other systems, with the final target being the framework itself to build "clouds" of systems semantically interoperating and coordinating. I'm following an XP-like workplan, building prototypes and refactoring along the way. The chosen implementation language is Java, for a number of reasons, the first being its good OOP capabilities and its popularity. The first relevant problem was to abstract the item composition, defining how an item is built from simple attributes (text or integer fields, etc) and complex relationships (one-to-many, one-to-one). This way, the framework behaviour could ignore the physical storage and, above all, the language chosen for the final application to be generated. I think I got the problem right when I stopped thinking the relationship was an extension of an item attribute, and chosen the composition way; quoting the Gang of Four's "Design Patterns", to "prefer composition over inheritance" was really helpful. As it is now, my abstract ItemRelationship class links an arbitrary item attribute to a specific item, allowing the one-to-one and one-to-many relationships relevant to the object definition. In the prototype implementation (whose target language is php), this allows to deal pretty easily with the basic stuff like Foreign Keys pointing to other items' ID, and also consider different relationship kinds (aggregation vs. composition). I wouldn't be honest if I say I'm not proud of this result. For the next step, I have many choices to do. The first is, what problem should I tackle? The main ones are to extract relevant interfaces allowing to dinamically switch between implementations (the various scripting languages) and storage facilities (RDMS and XML). i think I'll follow a Factory pattern for the first and a Strategy pattern for the second, but I still haven't made up my mind. More "pragmatic" problems are to build the ConfigurationParser and Outputter classes, basically interfacing the system to the "physical world" of text files. The parser will probably have to wait, because its implementation would have to be refactored very soon; I prefer to build test classes to mimic its behaviour until I won't have defined all the interfaces for the system to expose. The Outputter, instead, should be pretty straightforward, not so much subject of refactoring in the future, and above all, it would already produce an usable output for everyday work. Even now, a tool generating production-ready php classes would be very handy indeed. (This must be one of those moments, when the R&D department comes out with something that is not the original development target, but it's still very useful, and they release it, and then sometimes this small "pet project" becomes something like the original Gnutella client...) I'm afraid I can't release the code yet, for a number of reasons. Maybe this autumn, but not now. It's not I'm shy (I would love to share my results), it's that sometimes the "off-line world" needs prevail. PS: Kudos to Industrie Toulouse for this old post, that has been a companion for my thoughts. I should probably also thank Martin Fowler, but there's enough people already doing that ;) PPS: It seems like using a blog as "research stack", as said by that old fart warrenE about his Blogger-powered site, really works. After all, they have been created mainly for that purpose. Oh, fuck off and die

PHP 5 Beta 1

It seems like php is going to be "the poor man's Java" ;)
Check out the Zend Engine 2.0 Object Model.

28 June 2003

RSS, ECHO, and too many geeks in the kitchen

(let's hope this new blogger thing works...)

There is this new syndication format called RSS, and there is this bunch of people reinventing it. And then there is Jon Udell, that really understands what's going on and what is at stake.

24 June 2003

Back on Track

And after twenty years in Nicaragua, eventually.... HE'S HERE!!!!

Yes, I'm back. So what? Fuck You. Die Puny Humans.

Serious Things

Giulio summarises various things going on in the blogsphere. Someone is asking for a new RSS format. Fucking hell. People, make your mind up. You spent YEARS to produce a common syndication format. RSS is not about technology, design, conceptual models, or other Stuff-Big-Techie-Heads-Have-To-Produce-To-Change-Our-Lives. RSS is about POLITICS. It's about coordinated acceptance of a common standard for everyone to use. You change the standard, and it will take YEARS for this change to be effective. Look at html. It took AGES to to completely move on from version 3 to 4, and it ended up with what, Explorer 5. Do you want to do the same with RSS? Good Luck. You'll repeat exactly the same situation: years of misused "standards", horrible hacks, unaccessible resources, and so on.

RSS 2.0 works just fine, and it's being accepted more and more. Do the right thing: leave it alone! Use your spare time in other ways. Go to the moon, take a trip to Brazil.