What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

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20041023 Saturday October 23, 2004

Rock stars and actresses What is it with rock stars and actresses? Hopefully there's no home made videos of them but apparently Lars Ulrich and Connie Nielsen are a thing.

Remember Lucilla in Gladiator? Yea, that's Connie Nielsen.

Here's a guy with two sons and a wife of 7 or 8 years going to fashion shows, art auctions and movie premiers with his Danish girlfriend. Oh, Lars: you're so damned hollywood! Apparently the paparazzi in Denmark have kept tabs on them as well.

Back in the old days o' Metallica we had loads of fun but didn't go to fashion shows, art auctions and movie premiers. We didn't sip fine wines either. Oh well, I hope the dude is happy.

( Oct 23 2004, 07:29:35 PM PDT ) Permalink

20041022 Friday October 22, 2004

Technorati's referer-driven cosmos There's a it's-so-simple-it's-cool feature on Technorati. You can construct a link to get the cosmos for a page simply by linking from it a specific URL.

After raising the notion with Tantek, he plugged the trivial bit to enable this on the Technorati site..
Check it out http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/referer.html (ok, so I'm not very popular in this big 'ol cosmos but anyway...). This is what you do:

Try it!

( Oct 22 2004, 07:54:11 PM PDT ) Permalink

20041021 Thursday October 21, 2004

Technorati Party All work and no play makes Ian a dull boy, so to keep me jazzed Technorati is having a party!

OK, I lied. It ain't about me, it's about our new office and the major milestones that Technorati is achieving, the agony of startup setbacks and the ecstacy of... having fun! The details:

Thursday, October 28, 7 p.m.
Technorati, 665 Third Street #207, San Francisco
A party to catch up, and celebrate the move to our new offices!
rsvp@technorati.com. As space is always limited, please be sure to RSVP.
Bring Your Own Lampshade

Here's Dave's original post.

( Oct 21 2004, 04:34:11 PM PDT ) Permalink

20041020 Wednesday October 20, 2004

Eclipse and Test Driven Development I've got some coding going on in Java, Perl, Python and PHP at the same (thus often self-query frequently: "Oh wait, which language am I working in for this bit?"). I've been using, at least partially, Test Driven Development with my current Java effort and It Is Good.

I've used Eclipse extensively in the past but since there was kinduva a long hiatus in Java development for me, it felt both novel and familiar to install it on my powerbook for the stuff I'm currently working on. I think that liberated feeling of knowing that That Thing Works So I Can Move On Now is referred to as being "Test Infected." Which, unlike the flu, is a good kind of infection. One of the things I've been trying to be more consistent about is writing tests prior to, or if not, concurrently with, application code. I strongly recommend reading Kent Beck's Test Driven Development (who BTW appears to have a work in progress about Eclipse), TDD is a quick read but more than any particular valuable agile techniques per se it offers a good outlook on how to think about what you're doing when you sit down to write code.

Well, I was writing a few initial test cases for a class I was working on and noticed something new (to me anyway) when I clicked on an error that Eclipse flagged. The non-existence of the method in the called class was identified and Eclipse offered to stub it out on my behalf, this is a huge win as far as expressing an API in a test case and continuously filling in the functionality development "TODO" list. Everytime I want to add a new public method, I'll write a new test case and let Eclipse bootstrap the implementation.
Read it:
Now if I could get that level of simplicity and automation working with Perl, Python or PHP, I'd be jammin'! Sure, there are testing frameworks for each of these but Eclipse really streamlines that whole TDD cycle.

Forget about the flu shot hysteria, get "Test Infected"

( Oct 20 2004, 11:04:06 AM PDT ) Permalink

20041019 Tuesday October 19, 2004

The MUNI gods frown on me I specifically didn't walk from BART today because of the downpour of rain, I transferred to MUNI to take the N-Judah down towards the Caltrain station. What a mistake!

Sure, I have a rain parka but that's not the point, I wanted to avoid having my backpack get saturated. So after waiting about 10 minutes, a two car N-Judah rolls into Embarcadero station at aroun 8:40 or so with the robotic audio announcement "two car. mission bay. now approaching...." A crowd piles on; I don't think the MUNI scheduling people have realized that a lot of people work near the ball park.

Out on the surface streets at Harrison, the driver announces that it's the last stop and that the next N would arrive in 3 minutes! Why would they cut the route 3 stops short?! Everyone spills out into the deluge of wind and rain; the shelter there hardly has adequate room, so most of us are getting wet. BTW, that was train cars number 1481 and 1483, in case any MUNI hacks are reading this. Almost 10 minutes later, I ended up getting back on the first train as it showed up on the opposite side of the platform, going the other way -- I was getting concerned that the rain would soak through my backpack and get my powerbook wet. On the way back to Embarcadero station, I saw the "next train" -- it was packed; looked like there would barely be room for all of the folks who'd withstood the rain waiting for it. I finally got another train and got to the office by 9:10am. Thanks for the convenient adventure, MUNI!

( Oct 19 2004, 09:36:51 AM PDT ) Permalink

20041016 Saturday October 16, 2004

Enhancing web application component "testability" with IoC I heard from some friends who are mid-flight on a project using Spring, Hibernate, Struts and Tomcat. A lot of the complaints that can be lodged against J2EE are philosophical and technical but there are some down and dirty practical reasons to un-EJB-ify.

The objections on principal may be technical
  1. Intrusive inheritance hierarchy and mandatory interfaces, narrowing and recasting, gratuitous class proliferation and so forth (does the framework work for you or do you work for the framework?)
  2. Container managed debugging nightmares
The philosophical objections are perhaps a general complaint about the Software Industrial Complex
  1. J2EE is handed down from The Cathedral
  2. JSR's and the JCP don't constitute inclusive openness, it's a "club" that you're either in or out of
  3. Java is not open source
The practical problems of EJBs
  1. Using the containers can be a morass of deployment descriptors and dependencies, slowing down project spikes
  2. Component dependency on the container requires extra plumbing for testing, which also anti-agile. Specifically, if you want to use CruiseControl and Cactus together, get ready for a visit from an old friend named the OutOfMemory exception
  3. .

While the practical problems of test-friendliness seem to be addressed by IoC, it sounds to me like some of the morass-of-deployment-descriptors problem are inescapable. Mapping services into POJOs declaratively (as Spring, Hibernate and Struts all require) isn't a walk in the park; until there's a linter and/or metadata/xdoclet support for easing how services can be mapped in given a specific runtime context, the pain of diddling XML config files and finding errors at runtime are going to be part of the landscape. Nonetheless, automated unit testing without cactus is a huge win in my book -- leaving CruiseControl to run unit tests and having Cactus runs reserved for manually-invoked integration tests sounds like the way to go.

I'll be steering clear of the traditional J2EE containers such as JBoss or Weblogic.

( Oct 16 2004, 09:33:02 AM PDT ) Permalink

20041014 Thursday October 14, 2004

Add To The Reading Queue I should take a week off of work so I can sit around and read (like that could ever happen).

So many books, so little time

Hibernate in Action
If the slashdot review glowed any brighter, it'd spontaneously combust.
Agile Database Techniques : Effective Strategies for the Agile Software Developer
Weighing YAGNI against the PITA'ness of data model changes has bit me before. Data modeling and iterating over model revisions are often the hard part in agile development cycles. I'd expect Scott Ambler to offer useful insights into lightening what is often the heaviest part of a projects development.
The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
As one who actively looks for opportunities in subverting the dominant paradigm, I'm interested in Clayton Christensen's follow-up to The Innovator's Dilemma.

Someday real soon, I'll build a little app with Amazon's ListLookupOperation to integrate wishlist items with my blog and perhaps fold it into an Attention.XML data source.

( Oct 14 2004, 10:36:56 AM PDT ) Permalink

20041008 Friday October 08, 2004

Who is the Master of Puppets? Could this be a picture of a wired George Bush on Salon.com?

See for yourself, Bush's mystery bulge I hope Kerry brings it up in tonight's debate, may be pat him down.

Master of Puppets

I will occupy
I will help you die
I will run through you
Now I rule you too

Come crawling faster
obey your Master
your life burns faster
obey your Master
Master of Puppets I'm pulling your strings
- Metallica, 1986

( Oct 08 2004, 11:49:12 AM PDT ) Permalink

Interfaces and wire protocols for web services A lot of great feedback emerge during and after the Technorati hackathon.

The hackathon percolated a lot of interesting ideas. One of the bits of feedback that caught my attention was from Chris Fry:

There are some drawbacks however to not having a WSDL and to not using SOAP. (1) You are bound to HTTP; (2) If you version the contract how do you notify your clients? (3) Related to 1, no SOAP Headers; (4) No public contract other than your documentation.

This sounds great, getting Technorati developers out of the wire-protocol-awareness business (unless they want to be in it) is one of my goals for future development efforts with the Technorati API. The direction I'd like to take it is an "all of the above" implementation where API consumers can fiddle with the low level if they want to (via REST w/XML, REST w/XOXO, xml-rpc or whatever interface to du jour is desired) but also provide a SOAP interface for those who want to use WSDL to skip all of that.

We have some work to do internally at Technorati to get us to that point though.

( Oct 08 2004, 10:58:31 AM PDT ) Permalink

Google's Velocity Accelerating If you measure development velocity as the number of funcitonality points per time interval, then Google is definitely accelerating.

Check it out:

Gmail Atom Feed Coming?
According to internetnews.com, Google is enabling feeds of gmail mailboxes to make feed readers lightweight mail clients (well, readonly clients). I'm imagining subscribing to mailing list digests through gmail and reading them through a feed reader will become an adopted practice. Additionally, gmail's search capabilities are getting some augmentation.
Google Searches Books: Google Print
As has been widely publicized, Google Print seems to be Google's response to A9 ...so far Google Print has been down half the time I've tried to use it but I wouldn't bet against them executing well on it.
Google queryable via SMS
I'm imagining all kinds of goodness out of this... querying Froogle for prices while you're shopping bricks-n-mortar venues, looking up local bars and restaurants (and Dodgeballing them!)
John Doerr says that he doesn't see browser in Google's future but still, if it quacks like a browser builder, it's probably a browser building duck.

So what's next from Google? An Orkut that isn't all-Brazil-all-the-time?

( Oct 08 2004, 10:31:29 AM PDT ) Permalink

20041005 Tuesday October 05, 2004

Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam Wow, the pictures this morning are fantastic!

If you haven't checked it out, stop what you're doing and check out Mount St. Helens right now! ( Oct 05 2004, 10:03:09 AM PDT ) Permalink

20041004 Monday October 04, 2004

The Bad Time Of Year With the Astro's defeat of the Rockies yesterday, the Bad Time of Year has begun.

Sure, this is always the time of year when the weather gets a little colder, the sun sets earlier and the volume of junk mail catalogs arriving from the postal service goes up. But what makes this Bad is obvious: the Giants aren't playing baseball until the spring. I just can't wait until spring! Any claims that the lack of October play is Felipe Alou's fault is just silly. The last few years' bad deals with Sidney Ponson and Damien Moss and bad luck Rob Nenn have taken away payroll that coulda been used more productively -- those situations are more blameworthy. But hope springs eternal and this spring we should see Jessie Foppert and Jerome Williams in the rotation and if some good luck (and payroll availability is on our side) Moises should be a Giant and batting behind Bonds. ( Oct 04 2004, 10:04:14 PM PDT ) Permalink