Archives for November 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Simple Sharing Extensions for ENT

Some time back when Paolo and I were developing the Easy News Topics specification for including topic metadata in RSS2.0 feeds I was considering the ways in which a weblog taxonomy should be considered a living entity subject to change with new topics being born, topics getting married and using the same name, old topics withering away and dying, and so on.

At the time I was playing with the notion of publishing a changelog for an ENT cloud that could be used to keep track of these changes. This morning I started reading the Simple Sharing Extensions for RSS and OPML specification by Ray Ozzie and George Moromisato of Microsoft.

It immediately hit me that SSE was a great mechanism for distributed taxonomy without requiring a central respository. By allowing the user to keep control it also solves the problem of what to do about conflicts/unwanted topics: Let each user decide what their outcome should be.

As a first step in exploring this I am will be attempting to build support for SSE into the ENT support within Squib.

22/11/2005 09:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Curiouser and Curiouser on Rails!

Okay the weblog is back in action, no longer being published using Radio but now using Squib which is my new open source weblog tool. It's heavily influenced by my 3 years of using Radio: like Radio, Squib is an application that runs on your computer and publishes a weblog to a remote server as a static set of pages (it talks to the Radio Community Server using the RCS upstreaming protocol). Unlike Radio, Squib is written in pure Ruby using the Rails framework and currently clocks in at around 1,000 lines total.

Right now it's in pretty rough shape and probably only usable by someone desparate to escape Radio (let's say maybe your copy of Radio kept upstreaming 0-length files) but wanting to keep compatibility with an existing Radio weblog (same permalinks, etc...)

Over the next couple of weeks I aim to fix the gaping holes. Source should be available from RubyForge any day now.

18/11/2005 00:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
Saturday, November 05, 2005

No more 12" PowerBook?

Am I reading the scuttlebutt right?

The 12-inch PowerBook is no longer on Apple's roadmap -- as reported in August -- and the new Intel-based 17-inch model is slated for release several months later.
Is this saying there will be no 12" Intel based PowerBooks? Is that why there was no update to the 12" PB last time around? Is the the 12" form factor is dead..? Waaaaah!

How can this be? So many of those whose love of their PB encouraged me to switch are 12" PB users. Are we such a minority? For me the 12" PB is the perfect blend of style, function, and form factor. Where do I register my dismay to Apple?

05/11/2005 15:02 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Help! Google have assassinated my blog!!

This isn't good, not good at all. If I do a Google search for myself my weblog no longer appears in the search results!! Last time I checked it was No.1 hit, now it's gone altogether.

I wondered if it was Google wide but Paolo and Ross seem unaffected and there are links from other blogs in the search results. My blog is just gone...

What have I done for Google to single out my blog for special treatment? And how can I make them love me again?

Update: I notice that my blog appears as a result in other searches, e.g. Curiouser and Curiouser!. It occurs to me that my name doesn't appear prominently on the blog and I wonder if a change to Googles algorithms has made this relevant now?

01/11/2005 17:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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On the psychology of .NET programming

Here's as good a reason for avoiding .NET (if you can) as I've ever heard:

API Proliferation Twenty years ago, in November 1985, Windows 1.0 debuted with approximately 400 documented function calls.5 Ten years later, Windows 95 had well over a thousand.6 Today we are ready for the official release of the .NET Framework 2.0. Tabulating only MSCORLIB.DLL and those assemblies that begin with word System, we have over 5,000 public classes that include over 45,000 public methods and 15,000 public properties, not counting those methods and properties that are inherited and not overridden. A book that simply listed the names, return values, and arguments of these methods and properties, one per line, would be about a thousand pages long. If you wrote each of those 60,000 properties and methods on a 3-by-5 index card with a little description of what it did, you’d have a stack that totaled 40 feet.7 These 60,000 cards, laid out end to end — the five inch end, not the three inch end — can encircle Central Park (almost), and I hear this will actually be a public art project next summer. Can any one programmer master 60,000 methods and properties? I think not. One solution, of course, is specialization. I myself have specialized. This evening I hope no one will ask me questions about web forms or ASP .NET or SQL Server because those aren’t my specialty. I do Windows Forms, and my language is C#. [ Charles Petzold - Does Visual Studio.NET rot the mind? ]
And this is only counting the core!! Is .NET 112 times better than Windows 1.0? Well, maybe it is, but I'm not sure it's 45 times better than Windows 95!

Petzolds ruminations on the way Microsoft tools shape the developers philosophy are interesting. As someone who programmed for dos and then Windows 1.0 upwards (i even wrote a few Windows applications in assembly language, now there was a trip!) I can honestly say I preferred the old days. I remember around the time MFC took off realising that the beast had grown too big. The beast never looked back.

These days I program in Ruby (and am learning some Haskell) and I've never been a happier coder. Rails is still pretty grokkable and the core team are doing their best to keep the core, core. Over time everything gets crufty and rots inside out, you just have to hope you can deliver a lot of useful stuff before that happens. It might be too late for .NET already.

01/11/2005 12:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments: