Older blog entries for Dacta (starting at number 32)

WoooHooo! I'm a kick-ass coder hero-man!

(Sorry about that...)

I'm finally doing some coding, and boy, it's nice. It's real coding, too - none of this wishy-washy Java stuff. I'm writing load balancing code in C++, and having great fun.

sohodojo: I wouldn't blame Freshmeat for not posting your spec. There are way, way to many free software projects that create a spec, a wonderful website, and then never do anything again. Have a look on SourceForge at all the unreleased projects that someone created, and then never did anything with.

Hi to Dave Hill, if you are reading this again. Dave is someone I knew/know in real life in Adelaide. I was just wondering if there was a single other Adealaidian who read this, when I get an email from him. It's a small world.

Doing C++ at the moment. As I pointed out in my last entry, I haven't done C++ for a long time. I decidied I had better learn STL, so I got Accelerated C++ after reading good reviews on Amazon. It's very different to any other book I've read - it is focused on writing programs using STL rather than teaching syntax. It's pretty good, but I'd have like it to have been a little more in depth. Still, I'd give it 8/10

Long time without writing, but I've been reading many times a day, while I was supposed to be writing a boring business document.

Got it done (sort of - out of my way, anyway), on Friday. One of the bosses of the company came to me today and said I'd done a good job, and sort of apologised for dumping it on me, when I had no idea about the business or anything. shrug - I did tell them in my interview that I had no interest in business, or in writing business specs.... They are good guys for the most part, though.

So now I'm coding.... or trying to. I've never felt overwhelmed by any programming problem before, but this job is ominous. Lets review, for those who haven't been following:

I'm modifying a Java/Servlet/JSP/Sybase application to talk to a COM/MTS middleware layer, which passes calls to some weird-as-shit back end thing, which is written in C++, but seems more like a COBOL system than anything.

Now, I don't know Java, haven't done C++ for nearly 3 years, and have no idea about COBOL........ The things I get myself into! I managed to find a bug in JDK1.3 for Windows, too.

Most of my family is in Jerusalem at the moment. Not really the worlds best choice of location, if you ask me.

I can't stand the way free software people complain about MS FUD, and then go and claim stupid, wrong things like that Mozilla/K-Meleon start up time on Windows is good, but IE has a big advantage becuase it preloads or some crap! I'd like to point out that this arguement only holds water if Active Desktop is on - apart from that it is pure FUD. Please, please get your facts straight.

A copy of Andover's Open Magazine (the dead tree version) arrived today. Not too bad, but nothing special. A lot of it had nothing to do with open anything, though. Weird.

I haven't got Kid A yet, but I've been listening to OK Computer a lot. Finally got around to getting U2's Actung Baby, to nearly complete my U2 collection. I remember when it came out, I didn't like it, but if I listen to it now (nine (!!!!) years later) I can't believe how fresh it sounds. Also Powderfinger's Odyssey Number Five - an outstanding album - maybe the best Australian album since... I don't know - for a long time anyway.

Very good post by rebecka in the Computer Science vs Engineering article (can't remember the real name, but that is what it's turned into). Read it.

I know lots more about coding than about business. I care lots more about coding than business.

Some thoughts I wanted to jot down before I forget them:

No form of technology, not matter how advanced or well implemented will change human nature. It is human nature to argue, and no automatic tools seem to be able to do anything about it. (see: Slashdot, K5 moderation systems, Advogato trust matrix, Wiki) Not that arguing is always bad.

Groupthink is a big problem on web discussion pages, and most techincal moderation solutions only increase that problem.

Early adoptors often adopt new things not because they like new things, but because they like the way things used to be "before everyone else came along". I'm not sure if this is true - I need to think about it some more.

Community feeling isn't scalable, but new people joining a community don't realise that what they have joined isn't the same as what it was before. Or maybe there is a critical point above which communities don't scale. Or maybe there is an event which triggers community collapse. Or maybe not.

bma: I'm a Delphi programmer by profession (or was until a month ago), so I'm with you on the Borland tools being much better than VB thing!

I said VB for the reason that you put forward - everyone hates it, but it does what it is meant to do very well (most of the time, anyway).

Flamewars in Advogato diarys, CPMers (my term for pre-DOS attack people) vs the new users on K5. What's up with the world? Slashdot is looking the sanest place to read at the moment!

aaronl, you should do an internship (with an open mind) at a VB programming shop. I'm not saying that to belittle you or anything - just that I believe that MS has done a pretty good job with ActiveX/COM (apart from the obvious security problems), and seeing it in use might be an eye opener for you. (Actually, I think most Linux programmers should do this, too).

Basically, component architectures allow not-so-talented programmers to build reliable, large applications quickly by using prewritten parts. It's like C programmers use libraries. Yes, there is some "bloat" associated with using genralised code, but the decrease in development time and the increase in reliability more than makes up for it in most cases.

I'm sure you already know this, but I wanted to point it out anyway.

kuro5hin has been.. interesting the last couple of days. There have been roughly 20 stories a day submitted, and most of them have been single paragraph adverts for peoples private website projects. Not good.

Found out what I'm going to be doing at work. Intergrating our (Java/J2EE/JSP/EJB) system with another C++/MTS/NT system. Considering my C++ is pretty rusty, and my Java is about 2 weeks old, this is going to be... fun. At least I won't be bored!

Watched the Olympics yesterday. Some pretty good stuff. (4x100m freestyle final... nothing like beating the US) Then I watched "The FAT" on ABC (This is the Australian BC, btw). They weren't allowed to use Channel 7's Olympic footage, so to show Ian Thorpe's race, they set up a big tank with lane markers and used goldfish for the swimmers. It was bloody funny - they had this huge fish (about twice the size of the others) for Thorpe. They did a medel presnetation as well.. the fish in glasses of water.

I guess you had to see it....

Been doing lots of XML/XSLT. XSLT is very, very cool. I've got something semi-working that takes Google Search results, runs it through the W3C's HTMLTidy program to XHTMLise it, then uses a XSL stylesheet to generate a RSS file. I'm not quite sure what the point of it is, but I had fun doing it, and I think it's a pretty cool hack.

There seems to be action on the Kuro5hin front. They are saying it will be back up in the next two days. Hurray!!

Have any other Aussies notcied how all our diary's seem to show up close together? I guess there aren't many other people in our timezone...

Speaking of Australian issues - ajv is on the auDA Competition Policy Panel. Well.. we might not have competition in the .com.au market, but at least we have a Panel! Sorry.. not aimed at you, of course, but I guess you know my (and most other Australian's) frustration.

I saw a thing on the 7:30 Report on ABC tonight. They were talking to some American economist, and he gave the Australian goverment an increadible (and well deserved) roasting on their IT policies (If you can call a set of misguided, unenforcable and embarassing stop-gap measures a policy. IMHO their only value is as a paper plane for our much-loved Prime Minister to sit on while he tries to catch up with Wright Brothers.)


Got a little way with the XML/XSL problem - I still can't make it work when the entire XML file has a default namespace (is that the terminology?). Oh well - having fun, because I still don't have any real work to do.

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