Older blog entries for stefan (starting at number 19)

Just released a new version of synopsis. We have made amazing progress in the last couple of weeks, largely due to chalky who did a wonderful job at integrating the C++ parser and writing a flexible HTML formatter.
I'm very enthusiastic about this, as this is one of those rare situations where I have been able to colaborate pretty intensively on a project. While the other project I'm working on seems to catch a lot of attention, I'm mostly working alone on it these days, which is a bit boring. I very much welcome this refreshing change.

goingware writes: In my particular case, I had two class heirarchies. At the top of one class heirarchy was an abstract object editor, and subclasses were particular kinds of object editors. In the other class heirarchy the base was a drawing tool, and the subclasses were particular tools. In my case, only particular subclasses from one heirarchy were meant to operate on particular subclasses in another heirarchy, and I think there you can argue that RTTI is needed.

I assume you mean dynamic_cast and family. You may be surprised to read what Vlissides has to say about that topic, being a direct result of his work on Unidraw. It's a pitty such excellent work hasn't become more popular.

pphaneuf: Yes, I had a brief look at your sourceforge site, but I found (almost) no code, just pretty talk. I'm using CORBA myself a lot, and speed and efficiency does matter a lot. I didn't find any specific criticism of CORBA (or others) in your docs, so what exactly do you want us to review ?

Still working on porting Unidraw to Berlin. What confused me was the way it had been ported and partly integrated into Fresco. It's a true mess, to say the least. It is clear from a quick glance at the code that it had been done in a hurry, probably just to get some impressive applets up and running to show the power of Fresco's architecture.


Raph said: is it just me, or is the climate surrounding the debated US presidential election becoming really nasty and hostile? I don't understand where all the hostility is coming from.

I agree. Though I think the real trouble is even more serious. As I asked already, why take people an ellection, which shows equal support (within the margin of statistical error) for both candidates, and pretend there was a winner ? (Besides, I totally dislike this term, it has a taste of gambling). Ideally, they would recognize that no single party can serve the elector's will all alone, so they would need to sit together at a Round Table and do their best together. But that just ain't possible.

Instead, both sides demagogically praise the virtues of democracy and throw with mud. It seems this will be the state of affairs for the next couple of years...

Well, I'll be glad when it's over (hopefully by December 12), and hope that there's no serious lasting damage done.

Hopefully, people will realize that this kind of soap opera doesn't have anything to do with democracy. The winner is of course (surprise !) Corporate America, no matter who 'wins'. At least outside America, people are making lots of fun of all that. Is America still trying to sell their way of life to everybody else ?

Whether you consider that a damage, is certainly a question of perspective.


rogue nations

the The Hague conference is over, and no agreement has been reached. This is due to a couple of nations, which tried to dilute the original Kyoto goals up into hot air.

Cynically, these are the same nations which claim to be the world's leading hightech nations (and coincidentally those which are responsible for more than a third of the world's carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases') emission). Now they claim they are unable to meet Kyoto's targets without falling back to tricks like trading 'emission rights' (in other words, to buy the right to pollute and poison the world), or by counting 'greenhouse gas sinks'.

What is all their technology good for, if not to assure a worthwhile life for the next generations ?

Phoon: I'v never heared of any OS project that hires programmers. It's entirely your task to find projects which you'd like to contribute to. In particular, most of the time that doesn't even start with coding. Take part in discussions (feature requests, design, etc.) and generally ask questions to get an idea of the overal picture.
Also, running programs and reporting bugs, or helping out with web site maintainance is important, too. Just don't sit in your corner and wait for anybody else to pick you up...

Skud said The other thing is that in Ottawa, and even in Quebec, most francophones also speak English. If I were to stumble over ordering lunch, they'd just switch to English to save the trouble of figuring out what the hell I wanted.

I remember how I was insulted when - a couple of years back - I started a conversation in French, and as soon as the other person realized my accent (which wasn't even English !), he/she switched to English, in an attempt to help me. How would I ever learn French ? :)


"the American people has spoken"

I just don't get it. They are making so much noise about whether votes should be recounted or not, but miss the obvious. In an election in which the statistical error is in the order of thousands (and not being reduced by recounting !), how can a few hundrets decide about who is going to be the next president ?
The only sensible explanation is that it is totally insignificant (much as the election itself).

Besides, as the USA are messing around in every corner of the world, real elections would need to take into account votes from every person on the planet, as everybody is affected by the consequences of their politics.


lilo, I realized just now that you reposted on October, 29th. The column on the right of advogato's main page doesn't reflect that.
I didn't say that human beings per so overconsume, but rather that we, citisens of the 'first world', do so, now. A two thousand years ago it wouldn't have mattered much (or may be in fact it didn't matter), but now, well, we have to ask ourselfs how long our current lifestyle can be sustained. And, there are two aspects to this: one is the limitation of resources (some might argue that from an ethical point of view we shouldn't even consider everything around us as resources), a totally different point is the obvious mental disorder, this form of lifestyle creates (well, may be not so obvious to some).

If the market is truly free, I don't consider it a threat to my destiny. You may disagree.

This seems a key phrase. We obviously don't agree on the notion of freedom we use. For me, freedom is a matter of choice (much like the term sense). Even though there are other uses of the term, such as 'free fall', or 'free electron', this is clearly a different context.
From all I can gather about what people may mean when they speak about free market, it appears more to be thought of as some sort of 'natural way of life'. So there isn't any choice coming into play, is there ?
Now, consider my point of view. In a truely humane society, man would chose his destiny. No, not a state, or enterprise, or whatever politico-economic institution. I'm speaking of people, people being empowered (through knowledge), emancipated, to actively participate in shaping their society. I don't buy a second that society is not an entity. What is culture ?

And as to my remark about political correctness, I'm sorry, I didn't phrase very carefully. I didn't mean to attack you because of your culture. I was frustrated because I often hear the accusation of wanting to take control over others, if all I suggest is that people get actively involved in social affairs. This accusation comes mostly from people here in North America. I never heared this when I discussed such issues in Germany, for example. That's why I assumed it was a cultural issue.

Finally, you suggest we change the subject, as it becomes clear that we disagree. Well, I can certainly accept your wish, yet I would find it much more interesting to discuss because we don't agree ! How much worth is a discussion in which all participants know they agree ?

schoen: it seems I'v missed a couple of arguments as well, as I wasn't close enough to a keyboard over the weekend. Luckily though, I almost totally agree with graydon, and since he is the more eloquent and more comfortable with English, I don't feel I'm contributing much, so I let him fight alone.

Beside, discussions, especially heated ones like this, tend to produce subthreads which deserve to be treated independently. Too much of what has been said would require further analysis. If ever you have to share a thought or two, go ahead.

It is really silly. From all the good points graydon was making, the least important (and the one I happen not to agree with) was picked up by others (not to have babies). Lots of nitpicking, just to demonstrate that almost nobody seemed to actually understand the essence of the argument. Instead, lilo suggested that I was against consumption as such. Sillyness...

lilo said: I would hope that nanotechnology would eventually help give people more economic options"

so you suggest we produce more (nanotechnology) to get our overconsumption (of energy, resources, space) under control. Well, it happens that is what we are conditioned to do all day. Go buy some medicament with some bad side effects. Then you take another one against the side effects...

control versus power: I was suggesting that we make an efford to take our human destinity into our own hands, instead of letting the 'free market' drive it. The response, as always, was a claim that I'm a power hungry wannabe dictator. I just don't get it. Have you ever considered the concept of emancipation ?

My correlation between "concern for social issues" and "desire to assume control over others" is based on what I know of the history of the human species

I'm not in a position to comment on your knowledge of human history. However, I'v observed that especially among Americans it is politically very correct to make bold claims about human nature, especially terms related to the concepts of selfishness and fitness. Reading such comments makes me wonder whether we are living in the same world. At least not in the same society...

lilo seems highly confused after an excellent diary entry from graydon

Noone is suggesting that we watch more TV. And the mere existence of web sites is of course no problem either. It's the rate at which stuff proliferates, be it web pages or cars. This is growth getting out of control, it's a cancerous tumor.
Each one of us is consuming a lot, and of course finds good reasons (a posteriori !) to defend that fact. A healthy approach would be to step back, to distanciate yourself from yourself and your surrounding. I guess that's what self consciousness is all about.

As to needing 'pretty dictators' as excuse for not being able to feed the whole planet, that's plain rediculous. You mean, it is the fault of all the Mugabes, Ghaddafis, or Husseins that there is such a huge gradient in wealth between what we refer to as first and third world ?
As graydon points out, it is our inability to reason, the all so modern religion of 'free markets' which is at the heart of all that, both, the world's poverty, as well as the uncontrolled growth we are experiencing.
Isn't it strange, how keen we are on technological excellence, controlling even the genetic foundation of future generations of living beings, but at the same time throwing up our hands if it comes to having the slightest control over us as a society / culture ?

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