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Journal Journal: New software guy meed Old software guy

The problem with always writing new software is that you never learn to maintain old software. Old software maintenance is harder, takes longer, and is far less glamorous... paying far less. Yet there's a species of "new software" guys out there that run around building new systems all the time leaving horrid messes. I wonder if the success of some companies isn't that "new software guy" invented something or that "old software guy" came and fixed things silently in the night.

User Journal

Journal Journal: oh noes! 3

I just said something stupid on the internet!

User Journal

Journal Journal: What a...

fabulous, crabulous day! Hurray!

I want a Futurama themed topic. Make it a bust of bender and call it "Futurism" I wonder if the copyrights would fly?

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: The economy... It's not so bad...

... at least to look at things aren't so bad in the technology sector. I'm not looking for work but one of the things I do every six months is see how many jobs are open out there and how many of them I'm over qualified for. It looks like there are about 1,600 positions within 100 miles of me that I'm over qualified for.

I check for jobs I'm over qualified for because I figure that means I can easily land those jobs in a big hurry if I have to. Since the US dot-com bust I've always been paranoid of getting laid-off with no notice and for no cause.

In other news a young fella I drink beer with decided to take a job in Syria. Syria... I know... but he's excited about it and can't be dissuaded. So I guess he's got his big adventure... his quest if you will. I honestly think every young man needs his dragon to slay, his quest, his adventure. With out it they become bitter old men who swill beer in tacky sports-bars (aka pubs). Once a fella has lived his quest he becomes an old man who swills beer in tacky sports-bars that tells stories that make young men go on quests.

I wish him luck. I can't wait to hear his stories when he gets back from his contract... in two years.

Now I've always wanted to work and live in Australia. I won't do that until my kid is done with high school and college but I figure maybe old men need to go on quests too. And on the topic of questing...

I think my son will be one of those environmentalist nut-jobs I hate... just like my father. Well, at least he'll have a cause he believes is just and all that. I deeply respect that. So I've tried to get him to meet with and spend time with some environmentalists that are doing work with marine animals (an interest of his) we'll see how all this works out.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How long has it been? 1

I have user id 5735... but only because I ditched an older account. I can't remember the name of that old account. Oh well. I think I've been on Slashdot since before comment moderation. It's been a weird ride. I have noticed more changes to Slashdot in the last year or two than the previous five. But, for the most part the /. system doesn't seem all that broken to me. The new features seem to make things slow and buggy ... but that's their job. We wouldn't want things to work too well otherwise we'd have to stop calling them "technology"


Journal Journal: A sad truth... 10

... I am no longer employable as a C/C++ programmer. My experience in C/C++ is now so old and so spoiled by Perl and Java those are the only languages I can actually day dream about getting employment in. I'm going to try to do a C/C++ project on the side but this will be a hobby project. Sadly, I don't pass mustard with the hard-core geeks anymore. I am a Perl/Java weenie.

Journal Journal: I wanna program for the Wii but they won't let me. 2

So I was thinking... I've got some extra dough and I've never actually _bought_ an SDK. Why not buy the SDK for the Wii. I mean it's not like I'd *force* them to sell my game or to even put any kind of endorsement on it. I'd just like to play with some Wii hacking at night from my home office.

So how does one get a Wii SDK? Well, you buy one. It runs about $2,000 USD. Buy you have to apply for the privilege of buying one... check out these requirements...

An Authorized Developer will have demonstrated the ability to develop and program excellent software for Nintendo video game systems or for other game platforms. In addition, an Authorized Developer will have a stable business organization with secure office facilities separate from a personal residence ( Home offices do not meet this requirement ), sufficient resources to insure the security of Nintendo confidential information and in order to ensure an effective environment for working with Nintendo and/or its Licensees

Well, crud. That rules out the home office. I'd need to have a separate office ... and get this ... it would have to have some kind of "security" so that way I could keep Nintendo's secrets. Yipes! It looks like you don't just do game development on a whim like you do web development.

Unfortunately, It looks like the most open and free of the game platforms is currently the Microsoft XBox. No Really. Check this out OpenXDK an open source kit for XBox.

Still, I have my heart set on doing some Wii coding because I want to swing the Wiimote around like I did the CaveGL wand when I was doing VR work. Now I do have hope in WiiWare but I understand that this may in fact open you up to a potential $1,000,000 fine from the ESRB if you produce a game that accidentally has a tree that looks like a wanger or a pair of twin peaks in it. But, that could just be Microsoft FUD mongering. They want you to use XBox.

So I don't get it. What does Nintendo think is so secret in their Wii? Honestly, after the thing shipped we all figured out the IR and accelerometer tricks... (and though: wow why didn't I think of that?)

User Journal

Journal Journal: [pointless complaint]

[general whining]

[witticisms masquerading as intellect]

[FUD mongering]


[invitation to wallow in banality and FUD]
Please comment.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ideas for Slashdot 2

  • Journals as RSS feeds
  • celebrity journals
  • social bookmarking journal features
  • vote up or down stories
  • slashdot micro-communities
  • slashdot brand openId
  • slashdot video
  • best of slashdot
  • monthly "most talked about stories" digests
  • Slashdot novella
  • Slashdot collaborative project documentation system
  • Slashdot magazine
  • Slashdot story organization by votes
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Journal Journal: Slashdot is powered by your submissions 2

Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

If that's true then why do so many of my submissions get rejected? I'm pretty sure Slashdot is powered by other people's submissions. Unless they mean that mine are used like guano in some kind of submission furnace.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I like my job... 1

I get 4.5 weeks of vacation a year. I guess I don't really need a fatter paycheck after all. My perspective on life has really changed now that I've used all that vacation two years running.

Journal Journal: The coming technological storm... 2

According to Kurzweil your IT systems will be twice as powerful in 3 years. By 2013 or so we should be able to model a human brain in entirety on the world's most powerful machines. In time that power will hopefully trickle down to you and me. If you are like me, you write software, how are you going to use all that power? How are you going to produce all those features people need so rapidly?

If you've read my blog at all you'll know I'll tout the advance of the DSL and the dynamic language. I see these technologies on the JVM at a key inflection point between backwards compatibility and increased efficacy. They are transitional technologies at a key period in technological history.

The win in DSL, dynamic languages, and frameworks is always how succinctly you can get to your core thought or core idea. I don't really care about the ORM, the Ajax, the email most of the time. Most of the time there is a core idea I'm trying to work out.

In 24 months I need to be in the place where I can effectively divide the problems in front of me down into their key ideas. Keep the competing paradigms apart from each other. And then combine them at the right moments of confluence with a minimum of dissonance.

Get to the core thought, the core idea, ignore as much minutiae as possible, get the problem solved. Keep the idea clean. Keep the core thought from being tangled in a mess of details that have nothing to do with the answer you are after.

Advances in the way we create software will be key to the advance of the technologies of the future. If you are writing software today you will have to be prepared to leap a mighty chasm approaching us at break neck speed. That chasm will be paradoxically caused the increase of computational power available to us.

The problem of "traditional" programming that it is very procedural which can feel plodding at times. It takes forever to say anything meaningful. Yet before long we will have the ability to command computational power that could out strip our ability to speak into these systems with these sometimes unnecessarily verbose languages.

Consider that (in the video linked above) Kurzweil says that a scant 30 million bytes describes the whole of the human brain. The reason 30 million bytes could possibly hold the whole design for the human brain is that the brain's design is fractal and self organizing. A uniform underlying design is repeated with variation to create a whole. This is a similar goal to what we have in DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) code that means we express an idea and leverage that idea again and again.

In the case of our brains, that assembled whole adapts to inputs to form intelligent variation leading to astounding complexity and abilities. The subtle variation introduced by input creates the mote of a soul... or at the very least all the personality traits we recognize as a living person. If only we could write software that could reorganize itself like that.

Functional programming, rules engines, and dynamic languages promise to free us from those mind-killing details that we don't really care about anymore as application developers. But they don't really address the need to create adaptive systems or systems that are able to span across computational mediums.

I predict that there will have to be new programming languages that run in new ways that allow for fractal designs like the human brain. I happen to think these still need to be languages because they are still conversations between a creator and the created system. I dream about these systems acting like holograms or fractals in their nature.

If you cut a hologram in half you get two identical but smaller and fuzzier holograms. If you look at one part of a fractal you see the whole. I think human designed software can have the same quality. The idea isn't new I've heard the opposite idea called "dirt" and perhaps that's a good word but in my mind these form knots ... asymmetric distributions of thought where one idea unrelated to another must intersect in incongruent ways. Perhaps "dirt" is the antithesis of "fractal" or "crystal" design.

I say "fractal" or "crystal" because "modular" isn't strong enough. You can make modules all day long but if they don't allow for cleanly intersecting concerns then you don't haven't done much more than take a messy room and shovel it's contents into random boxes. You haven't actually organized things you've just cut down on the size of the mess you have to sift through.

Good code focuses on one concern at a time and tries to ignore details that are incidental. It should be that in daily programming activities we can use tools like AOP and DSL to focus on the foremost thought ignoring details of execution. Good code is reusable because it encapsulates one concern in a way that is clean enough and simple enough to be easily lifted out and reused.

That's good stuff because if you're like me you really get paid for some high level thought and some high level idea and not the millions of tiny details you have to move through to get there. Code is not "cool", technology is not "cool". Ideas are "cool" what you can do with technology is "cool". And when technology helps us get through to ideas faster that means more "cool" ...right?

So there must be a storm of new "cool" brewing on the horizon getting ready to blow us all away.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Nothing is cool now... 5

Where is the cool? Where is the awesome? I don't see it. Maybe I'm getting older and this is what happens to you you see hype for what it is and you don't see the cool anywhere anymore.

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Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde