Monday, December 29, 2003

Santy Claws Was Good To Me!

Well, I'm back at work this morning. I had a great xmas! It was great sitting in my new house and just enjoying time with my wife. It doesn't get much better! Oh yeah, I got some cool stuff as well. My wife got me a Gameboy Advance SP (who says you're too old for these things is TOO OLD!), Intellivision 25-in-1, and a Atari 10-in-1. Her nanny got me an original Atari 2600 (lots of madness). My sister got me a bunch of cool shirts. And last but not least, everyone else got me gift certificates and grits. All in all, it was great...=)

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Nintendo Metal

I can't believe this. But, check this out: Game Over. Metal and video game music? This is too cool...There are people on my same wavelength....VERY COOL! Perhaps, my wife and I are not the only strange folks in this universe (of course, my wife will argue that she is not strange, but she puts up with me....thus, she is).
Casio Nova

All rock stars should be this cool! Check it out here. No attitude and all fun. I need this CD! I love the "anyone can do this" attitude and that anything can be musical and cool in the right hands. I LOVE IT!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Small Lint

OK, I've been using this at work lately (and on my own code for a little while) and quite frankly, I am amazed at the number of code smells this thing finds. Usually, it points to a bigger problem, but just by looking at a few rules of sloppy programming (and inexperience), it's incredible what it finds. All of the Smalltalk environments that I know have it and I'm going to spend some time this weekend to play with the Dolphin port. Just want to say GOOD WORK! We need more tools like this in Smalltalk! Now, is there an equivalent in Java? I know eclipse has some warnings you can turn on, but nothing to the extent of Small Lint...WOW....=) Chalk this tool as YACST(tm)(Yet Another Cool Smalltalk Tool).
Right On Brother

I gleamed the following from comp.lang.smalltalk. All I got to say is "RIGHT ON BROTHER!" I got tired of doing things the "curly way" and I am much happier. Here's the post:
    From: Nevin Pratt (nevin@smalltalkpro.com)
    Subject: Re: Smalltalk to J2EE Migration

    Date: 2003-12-23 19:04:16 PST


    Lance Parkington wrote:
    > I could never understand why the UK employers will only fund Java
    > projects. No wonder IT disasters are constantly repeated. I've just
    > spent an entire year migrating an application to Java that took one
    > month in VisualWorks ;-)

    Did you enjoy the work? If not, then why did you do it?

    Yes, I know sometimes we have to put food on the table. After all, my
    wife just had baby #10 last Friday (a beautiful boy), so I know the drill.

    But life is too short for that to always be the answer-- that I did it
    "to put food on the table", or "to pay the mortgage".

    And the same advice goes to every reader of this newsgroup. Work hard
    to get yourselves into a position where you can "just say 'no'" when you
    are asked to take a dead-end boring, unfulfilling job like that. Come
    up with a personal battle plan that will let you eventually put an end
    to doing things like that.

    Lance, if you really did enjoy the work, then I apologize for what I
    just said, and I congratulate you for finding enjoyable work. But I
    know I couldn't have done what you did-- it would have drove me nuts.

    Nevin

Monday, December 15, 2003

12/12/2001

This past Friday marked the 2 year anniversary of one of my favorite musicians, Chuck Schuldiner. So, I've been listening to a lot of his music lately. One of the true original voices in metal was lost 2 years ago today. I feel deeply saddened and I wish I could have met him. To simply tell him how much his music meant to me. Chuck's music was getting better with each release and I wonder what he would have released next. His last two albums still get at least one play a month (if not more) from me and are a constant reminder to be true to yourself. Chuck used to say, "Believe in music, not rumors!" How true...=) Just wanted to write a little something in remembrance and to thank Chuck for all of the great music.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

I Want One!

Oh, please, Santa, I want one! This is just too cool! This was announced on the Squeak List via Dan Ingalls:
    We three three elves (Michael, Ian and I) have been busy. We finally made it
    through the challenges of booting Linux from Compact Flash, and I've negotiated
    with my supplier (for weather stations) for a "Squeak PC" configuration at a
    special price. Since it's a cool thing, and seasonally appropriate, I thought
    I'd send out an announcement.

    After unwrapping you get...

    A black box that is just the right size for an LCD display stand
    (1.75"x9"x11.5"). Also a 12v power supply that plugs into the wall. Inside is a
    533MHz VIA Mini-ITX motherboard with 64M of memory installed. There are no
    fans in the box, and it still stays cool. On the front is a slot that accepts a
    compact flash card, which appears to the processor as an IDE disk drive. The
    Squeak PC is shipped with a 96M flash installed which includes 1) A compact
    Linux 2.4 boot system, 2) A full Squeak 3.6 (plus OSProcess and Games) with
    Linux VM, and 3) about 60MB of free space (!). ON the back is a host of
    connectors that include stereo audio in and out, network, 2 USB, RS232, mouse,
    keyboard, display, video and printer port. There's much more about the
    motherboards at
    http://www.solarpc.com/bepia.htm

    The unit is complete and ready to boot. All you add is keyboard, mouse and
    display. With no fans and no disk, the only moving parts are the boot button
    and hte electrons. It is silent. The 12v setup is nice, since you can buy a
    UPS for the price of a battery, or power it straight from your car.

    The price is $250.

    The supplier is SolarPC.com. They make a specialty of Mini-ITX products. Check
    out their web site at
    http://www.SolarPC.com
    or jump straight to the order page at
    http://205.147.44.194/store/commerce.cgi?product=SolarPC
    (The Squeak configuration is at the bottom of the page. If you get the message
    "The identity certificate is invalid", just say OK and proceed).

    The Flash is set up for Squeak but, of course it could be anything else that is
    happy with this Linux. Other squeak images should run fine (you can import them
    via FTP, or a USB memory stick), and other compact Linux-compatible systems
    should run fine as well. Of course you can put in more memory, and use bigger
    Flash or even a hard drive, but we wanted to make the SPC simple and cheap. If
    people get into this, we can start a wiki page with useful info and fun hacks.

    Ho, Ho, Ho...
Bad Idea

I think certification of software engineers is a bad idea. Why do I think so? Maybe because most of the "certified" programmers that I have interviewed have been awful. Certification tests only make sure you've read a book and can memorize. Plus, I don't see software engineering as engineering at all, but as a craft to be mastered. I see myself as a skilled craftsman (well,ok, a journeyman). Would you ask a blacksmith for his certification? NO! You look at his previous work! Why don't we do the same? If software engineering needs to be "reformed", then that's what we should demand! Anyway, I can't believe certification is still talked about, but here is the article that spawned my little spat: Massive Software Engineering Is A Must.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Classic Video Games

Cool! Click here to play.
Captain Lo-Res

Remember those cheesy lo-res adventure games? I sure do! Take a walk down nostalgia lane with Captain Lo-Res. Warning: It's hilarious!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Heros

I was reading an old copy of Keyboard magazine when I ran across an article on "Musical Heroes". The article made a big deal about knowing your heroes and picking them carefully. The point was to challenge the reader to create music that is inspired by your heroes, but not a mere copy. It also challenged the reader to pick unlikely heroes even if they were from different eras. So, what's my point of this post? I think we should pick "technical heroes" and not ones from our era. I could say that Alan Kay, Martin Fowler, and Paul Graham are technical heroes in the same breath that I could mention Alice Cooper,Jean Michel Jarre, Mr. Bungle, Parliament, etc as musical heroes. But, that wouldn't be the whole picture and I believe that there lots to be learned from the past. Musically, I love Esquivel which is not my generation (actually, it's my dad's) and technically the author of "Psychology of Computer Programming". Again, what's my point? Never pick heroes from just your generation. I think a lot of the old technical books hold a tons of valuable information (personnally, I was shocked to read older AI books and find the roots of OO inside, but of course that's old hat to some folks...I'm a youngun, forgive me).

Well, it's not much of a point, but I'm sticking to it...=)

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Whoa - J2EE application suckage

James Robertson posted the following on his blog: Whoa - J2EE application suckage. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to push alternatives doesn't it? I think most of the result of that survey is just plain bad ole architecture, but Java and J2EE don't give developers a lot of good examples to look at do they? And yeah, I agree J2EE for its complexity should DO A LOT MORE. It's complexity is abysmal and we still have better tools for databases in 1994.
Cool Alice Cooper News

Check this out...I guess I know what I want to see when I go to hollywood now:
    ALICE COOPER was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier today (Dec. 2). Check out pictures from Wire Image, Celebrity Photo.

    About 300 fans greeted Cooper at the ceremony in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.

    Cooper, 55, signed autographs and posed for pictures with a fan's pet python around his neck, according to the Associated Press.

    The rocker recounted his early days in Hollywood when he and his band members didn't have enough money to shell out $1.29 for steak and eggs.

    "We would walk over the names of Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, never, ever thinking that our names would ever be on the Walk of Fame," Cooper said. "That is really quite a privilege to be here."

    Cooper's star is the 2,243rd on the Walk of Fame and sits between those of Gene Autry and Hugh Hefner.

    "I promise every time I walk down this street I will polish that little star," Cooper said.
Talking Orbs

Just go and check it out here. Very cool stuff indeed! I keep thinking they would look so pretty in my house! Also, check it the other projects as well (including the "head" midi controller). FUN FUN FUN!

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Proof Positive That Electronic Music Is Still Alive

Go now and check out AY Riders! I've been listening to both of their CDs non-stop (they are both free and for download)! They are just great fun! Do you remember the Atari 2600 game sounds? Do you remember the Commodore 64? Well, all of these tunes are made by the Atari ST and other computer made from the same sound chip. Very cool stuff! Anyway, I found the band from Micro Music. HAVE FUN! Who says you need thousands of dollars to do good music?

Monday, December 01, 2003

Smalltalk and Lo-fi Do-It-Yourselfers

Maybe it's just me, but I think Smalltalk would be the perfect platform to write custom music applications for all of the lo-fi do-it-yourselfers out there. All you would need to do is hook up to a low level midi and audio interface! Hmmm, I found a couple of open source cross platform libraries already...Now, I just need to get a cracking. I'm thinking Squeak would be excellent for this...=) What better way to introduce Smalltalk to more folks, but to the trackers, 8 bit, and other lo-fi folks out there. My next project is born! I'm thinking something like Buzz, but open source and much more user friendly (of course). I'm not thinking of mimicing trackers, but just provide a library for easier manipulation of music objects....Now, that I think of it, this sounds a lot like Siren doesn't it? Hmmmm...Decisions, decisions...=)

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