Monthly Archives: November 2006

At Least C# isn’t a copy of anything

Someone at Reddit posted this wonderful list of innovative Microsoft products.  When most people make positive comments about the software giant, they generally say things like “sure they are a monopoly but think of all the great technology they have created.”  While I have a great deal of respect for the company that Microsoft is, it is important to realize that, much like Dell, they almost NEVER creates innovative new technology.  In the last 5 years (post bust) computer start-ups and open source advocates have done more to advance cutting-edge information technology than Microsoft has done during the entire course of their existence.  This doesn’t make Microsoft a good company; it doesn’t make them a bad company.  It is just a fact of history.

Suse RPM #2

Quick link that I meant to post a long time ago.  Seemed relevant for some reason.

Suse has NOT made me happy lately.  I built my first Suse box at the new job, and then (not a day later) they go and make this agreement with Microsoft.  Why is it that Novell can never seem to learn from the failures in it’s own history, or the results of dealing with Microsoft in Linux’s history, OR the effects of this kind of deal in Microsoft’s history.  I need a new distribution.

It is finally done

So I finally finished Ulysses. I have been poking at it for the better part of 18 months; the longest time I have ever spent reading a single book. It’s not simply that it is an intellectually challenging book, but the book itself is something like a garden path sentence in that reading it straight through causes you to miss much of the underlying meaning.

Ulysses holds another distinction for me; it is the first book I have ever read the cliff notes for. I purchased the cliff notes because I desired to have a dialog about what I was reading. The cliff notes didn’t allow for the give-take of discussion but they did provide an additional view of some of the symbolism in the book.

So, what is my recommendation? I will never read the book again; but I am keeping my copy as it is an amazingly quotable book. I would NOT recommend it to most people but if 1) you enjoy total literary immersion and 2) you have a group of like-minded piers to discuss it with; then it could be an interesting cognitive exercise.

Overall, Ulysses is something of a mixed bag. Like puberty, I am glad I did it; but I wouldn’t want to have to do it again.

What We Say has a list of programming quotes that anyone who is a developer will get a chuckle out of. Here are a couple of my favorites:

It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.
–Nathaniel S Borenstein

[The BLINK tag in HTML] was a joke, okay? If we thought it would actually be used, we wouldn’t have written it!
–Mark Andreessen

Pointers are like jumps, leading wildly from one part of the data structure to another. Their introduction into high-level languages has been a step backwards from which we may never recover.
–Charles Hoare

The Fast and the Futile

Windows is SLOW… Don’t get me wrong, it’s not too bad when you first boot a cleanly formatted system with nothing running by default, but after you install your first dozen applications; it really starts to drag. I suppose it’s not really Microsoft’s fault that Hewlett Packard decided you need to have six new services, two tray icons, four desktop icons, and a start menu entry just to install a printer driver. Here are a few links to “fix” Windows XP (a number of them apply to 2000 as well) when it starts getting a little snail like.

The Dark Side

Once you travel down the path, forever will it dominate your destiny.  I am actually going to post some information useful for working with Windows!  I never thought I would see the day but here I am and here it is.

While I am absolutely positive that everyone else in the world is already familiar with this command; I just discovered it. From the Windows Run command type “msconfig” to get a list of processes that start on boot and initialization information.  Also check out Autoruns.  It’s a tool for removing startup applications (and other software) that doesn’t respond to “normal” removal techniques, ala qttask.exe…)

Keep it Quiet

I have 4 computers running in my “man cave” at home, and another couple scattered around the house. Withe so many computers running all the time, the noise level of these things has become more apparent for me. Thankfully there is a robust market of silent PC upgrades available for the decerning computer geek. Check out this list of the top 5 silent computer upgrades.

I breif History of ~

Subverting your homedir is an article covering setting up, managing, and using subversion for your home directory. It’s based on a similar article published a couple years ago describing in detail how to manage your home directory with CVS. This just adds the extra goodness that Subversion provides.

The benefits for those who go through the settup work are 1) a complete history of all changes to your personal files, configuration settup, and documents, 2) Multiple redundant backups of your data, 3) Access to all (or just part) of your personal settings/documentation from anywhere there is an internet connection, 4) Automatic configuration for any machine you have access to, 5) and The ability to delete files at any time from any location your using your SVN home settup (because the files are never really gone forever… they are just “retired” to SVN.)

I’ve Read Four

Wil Wheaton, well known geek and Star Trek actor, has listed his five most important books for geeks to read.  Authors like Isacc Asimov and William Gibson have basically defined science fiction as we know it; while authors like Bruce Sterling have helped define a social sub-group.  It’s a good list if you want to start understanding the hacker culture.

The article is also nice enough to link to one of the books (The Hacker Crackdown has been free for almost its entire life) and to a website of ascii porn… Nice of Wil to cover all of the geek bases for us.