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jjohn (22)

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Perl hack/Linux buff/OSS junkie.

Journal of jjohn (22)

Saturday August 06, 2005
06:34 PM

All good things...

My Fellow use.perlers,

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one programmer to dissolve the blogginating bonds which have connected him with others, and to assume among the powers the Web, the separate (but not quite) equal station to which the laws of CGI and of CGI's God (St. Berners Lee) entitle him, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that not all blogs are created equal, that some are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable features, such as posting pictures and controlling background colors.

We, therefore (meaning me), appealing to the Supreme Judge of public opinion for the rectitude of our (mine, actually) intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good readers of my blog, solemnly publish and declare, that this blog is, and of right ought to be a free and independent site.

And may God have mercy on my poor soul.

That is all.

Wednesday August 03, 2005
03:41 PM

those aren't friends

From Chris Juergensen's site on the Lydian mode:

«Just like the previous two modes, to figure out on the spot what major scale you need to be playing. Let's say you are jammin with your friends Bob and Pete and the chart they give you says you have to play a solo over a G maj7#11 vamp. You need to figure out what major scale you need to be playing so you just remember your lydian scale mode rule which is: lydian mode = major scale up a perfect 5th. Remember how this works? If G is on the third fret, D is a perfect fifth from that note. All you have to do is play a D major scale over the Gmaj7#11 chord and you'll be groovin' away with the lydian mode.»

Friends don't let friends vamp on Gmaj7#11 chords. Only junkies messed up on Chic Corea or the Mahavishnu Orchestra would have such abnormal and unclean thoughts.

UPDATE: What's sad is that I googled for both of these names and still got them wrong. Sigh...

Friday July 29, 2005
07:57 PM

Firefly -- good!

Saw the premier of the TV series tonight. It's amazing what gets cancelled and what doesn't. That Mr. Whedon can sure craft a pith sentence.
Sunday July 17, 2005
01:14 PM

a metaphor for our times

Dogs can be territorial, but this is absurd. Doesn't he know that a dog divided cannot stand?

Friday July 15, 2005
05:05 PM

Alton Brown isn't afraid of Scientologists

Go get 'em, Alton!

Since it's not a proper blog with persistent links, here's the body:

«Dear Tom Cruise,

Your lack of belief in the existence of clinical depression tells me one thing: you didn’t spend $10. to see War Of The Worlds. If vitamins can possibly help me out of this spiraling funk, please let me know which ones. Dinos? Pebbles? Freds?

Please, I’m crying out for help.»

Monday July 11, 2005
09:07 PM

what I did last weekend with Plumerai

Finally, I have a solution to my blogging needs: get nate to do it. For reasons I'm sure I don't understand, I go by the alias Loud Joe in that journal. Is it something I'm wearing?

Anyway, it's always fun to help out with audio engineering. I've been doing a lot with music that I haven't posted. I'd like to emit an EP one of these days. I've got two tracks in reasonable condition for this effort, one track that I'm on the fence about and one rocker of a track that's nearly there. More on this project as details emerge.

Update: Ah, here's what I did the weekend before last. It involves a lengthy trip to Home Depot, several hundred pounds of building materials and manly power tools. This should help complete those occasional gaps in the obsessively detailed notes that my stalkers keep.

That is all.

Thursday June 30, 2005
08:31 AM

For torgoX?

Sunday June 26, 2005
08:25 AM

Sauron found

Hubble snaps "Eye in the Sky." What's worse, he's looking right at us!
Friday June 24, 2005
03:15 PM

Perl shrugs is reporting:

«When it comes to programming skills, .NET is hot but Perl is not, according to the report. .NET requests rose 52 percent, HTML postings climbed 38 percent and XML demand increased 37 percent, Dice said, but the demand for tech professionals with Perl experience has declined 12 percent since the beginning of the year.»

Ouch! HTML and XML are in more demand than Perl. That can't be good. On the other hand, I wouldn't say Perl is exactly dead either. It's still part of the very popular LAMP paradigm and is a wonderful language for business logic code (where PHP isn't). What I think this article suggests is that there are a lot of corporate infrastructure gigs popping up (hence the .NET spike) and not so much start-up activity. Start-ups, being sensitive to cost, will likely gravitate towards open source tools. I predict that the more the business climate favors start-ups, the more open source jobs will become available.

Of course, what Dice doesn't show are those start-ups that aren't advertising, but may be making a great deal of hay with Perl and other OSS tools. This might be called the "dark job market", after the fashion of unused internet capacity ("dark net") or the hypothetical mass in the universe that we can't directly detect ("dark matter").

I've had somewhat what morbid thoughts about the state of Perl for some time now. I don't think Perl is addressing business needs as directly as it did in 1995, which isn't surprising considering how different things are today. I feel that we're in some crazy retread of the late eighties, but instead of the sluggishness of PC hardware development, we're in a malaise of software stagnation. I'm unclear to exactly what the bottleneck is, but it is likely to be removed soon. No one can really know if Perl will be able to compete for a niche when the flood comes.

I don't have much hope for Perl's competitors either. Python and Ruby have no significant advantage over Perl (which isn't to say they have no advantage). PHP is a great domain-specific solution; java is far more bed-ridden than Perl; .NET is today's snakeoil. Maybe, as Cringley suggests, Flash will swoop-in, transformed into the all-singing, all-dancing solution to all our computer needs. But, I sort of doubt Flash has all that much longer to live.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm ready for the New Wave to begin.

Wednesday June 22, 2005
09:43 AM

iPod Shuffle: music without labels, man

Several weeks ago, I bought a 512MB iPod shuffle. Without question, this is the most excite consumer electronic device I've come across since I saw my first walkman in the 80s (I don't include the PC as a consumer electronic device). There is almost nothing I don't like about this beast. It's got a long battery life (~10 hours); it's very light and tiny; it's got a respectable storage capacity (about 140 songs at the bitrate I encode MP3s at) and nearly NO MOVING PARTS! It's simply awesome. So taken with it was I, that I bought one for my brother's 45 birthday and now he's a fan.

Some have wrung their hands at the lack of a display on the shuffle or the limit size of the storage. These complaints are fundamentally misguided. The shuffle is not meant to be the sole repository of your MP3 collection (a linux box with a RAID system is :-). Those using iPods for this purpose are, I think, foolish. The shuffle is fills the niche that the cassette walkman did, listening to random tunes on the go.

The problem with the iPod is that it is too much of a computer and not enough of an appliance. Let's start with the hard drive. I don't like 'em. There, I said it. Hard drives are complicated little beasts that spin platters and will, someday, have a head crash. Notebook hard drives are to be especially despised. Low RPMs combined with a strangled I/O bus produces an utterly retro computing experience for laptop users. And notebook hard drives are at the heart of the iPod. Do iPods need terrific I/O throughput? No. And what's more, I don't want to be thinking of I/O at all when I want some tunes on the go. I want to be a computer Barbie. I just want it to work. Always. The first time. For this, the shuffle delivers.

Before I dig too deep a hole, I should mention that I think the iPod is a pretty cool computer hack. But I think it's a terrible appliance. It can do too much.

So, the shuffle: fun at any speed. Get one.

For my next Apple purchase, I'm looking at getting a Mac mini with 512MB of RAM. I need it for Safari (*cough* browser compatibility *cough*), so I don't need a lot of horsepower. Should be interesting.