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rjray (1649)

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Journal of rjray (1649)

Monday August 01, 2005
12:17 PM

OSCON: D-Day, First Tutorial

Starting the day with the XUL tutorial. Alas, not as good as I had hoped. The speaker is flat, and is mostly reading the slides without giving too much additional commentary. With the rise of AJAX and other technology, I think XUL (and Firefox in general) have a lot of growth potential. But it is very telling that, of all the laptop screens I can see from my seat, none (including my own) are displaying anything remotely related to the talk. I would have rather heard design principles, talk of how to move from a {Swing,SWT,Gtk2,...}-oriented GUI mind-set to XUL. What he is currently saying, can be gotten from the slides or the online documentation from the Mozilla project.

Next up after this is The Inner Workings of SQLite. I'm quite looking forward to this, as I've been a real enthusist for this Db tool for a while now. The pre-printed slide-pack for this is something like 175 slides, so I expect Dr. Hipp to be talking about as fast as Damian Conway does.

This is painful. I am so not a morning person.

Sunday July 31, 2005
04:07 AM

OSCON 2005: D-2 and Counting

In a few hours, I'm on a plane up to Portland for this year's Open Source Convention. I'm giving a talk on Thursday, entitled "Don't Drop the SOAP: Why Web Services Require Complexity". It's a subject I feel pretty strongly about, and I have all my thoughts and notes together.

What I don't have is my presentation/slides done. This is the worst-prepared I've ever been for a talk. My year has been hell, and on top of it I've had some health-related problems the last few months that have taken more out of me than I've been willing to admit. I have no doubt that I will have my shit together by the time I sign-in tomorrow evening. But I'd feel a whole lot better if the shit were already together.

Anyway, I'll see as many of you as can make it.

Saturday July 23, 2005
05:31 AM


I'm restless.

I'm restless in three distinct areas of my life. Fortunately, I have three distinct blogs, each covering (more or less) one of those three aspects. So I'm making three entries at (roughly) the same time.

I'm restless in my profession. I feel almost like I have to go in a drastically-different professional direction, in order to keep any sense of freshness, of learning new things, a regular part of what I do. I don't mean a change of professions-- programming always has been, and surely always will be my passion.

But I seem to have found myself in a place where the things I do are difficult, are complex, but are not terribly challenging. Part of the problem seems to be Perl itself. Not in shortcomings of the language (per se), but in the fact that the number of places that treat it like a serious, large-scale-software-development language are few and far between. It's almost like the "fast" girl back in high school: it's fun to take out for scripts and even the occassional web-commerce app, but you don't want to be caught writing a full-on IDE like Eclipse in it.

Maybe Perl 6 will inject some life into it for me. Now, I know there are still a lot of Perl hackers out there who are way ahead of me. But I've never had any interest in obfuscated Perl, or in trying to find the most fiendishly-clever way to do something. I've been content to write clean, readable code that people find easy to use, and I find easy to maintain. It's no surprise that the majority of the open source software I've crafted has taken the form of tools for use by developers. They're generally more appreciative of factors like reliability, maintainability and clarity. More so than the average user, at least. I think there is still a great landscape of good software waiting to be written in Perl. But I'm not going to get to any of it on my current path.

Whether because of emotional fatigue over the job, or physical fatigue from external sources, I don't get as much time to spend on my OSS projects as I would like. It's probably a combination of the two, but the fact still stands. I'm such a geek, that my fantasy for if I should ever win the lottery involves buying a good home, setting up the rest of the money in funds and investments, then living off of the returns and interest for the rest of my life, writing code for any OSS project that tickles my fancy. I'd love to be contributing to either Perl 6 or Parrot, without having to choose between it and the few hobbies of my own that I try to foster.

To make matters worse, I've never really had a job that put me in a place to work towards my true passion: language design and compilers. While at Red Hat, I tried to convince them to let me contribute to Perl 6 in a way similar to how they contribute to other non-kernel OSS projects. They have people who do little more than hack on GTK+, GNOME, RPM, etc. It didn't work out, which is just as well as I was pink-slipped within a year or so of that proposal. I find areas like Aspect-Oriented Programming very interesting, and I'd love to have more time to learn about virtual machine programming theory, in particular the Parrot VM and the .NET CLR. Very, very few people are lucky-enough to be able to get paid to do these things. And for these sorts of endeavors, I'd be practically an entry-level candidate. I'd have the years of general experience, but not any practical, or directly relevant experience

Other languages are starting to lure me away, with promises of having a different class of problems to solve. I've recently been re-learning Lisp. I've been on Java for quite a while now. It truly is like programming in a straightjacket, but there's some comfort to be had in that if you look at it right. And Eclipse is just a dead-sexy environment to work in. There's a prototyping of Perl 6 being done in Haskell, and when I was sharing office space with the ex-Cygnus folks who'd been acquired by Red Hat, they often sang the praises of Standard ML. I even long to write C again, or at least settle for C++. Then there's writing: I want to write more. I have two book ideas, and a handful of article ideas. Again, like the OSS projects that lay gathering dust, I seem to lack the time to spend on them.

Something will have to change in the near future, I just don't know what or how. And the not-knowing is contributing mightily to the sense of restlessness.

Friday December 24, 2004
06:14 AM

RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE

The file RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz has been uploaded to CPAN, and will soon be accessible as Mirroring may take up to 24 hours.

/home/users/rjray/bin/, on behalf of rjray

Thursday December 09, 2004
04:34 AM

RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE

The file RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz has been uploaded to CPAN, and will soon be accessible as Mirroring may take up to 24 hours.

bin/, on behalf of rjray

Tuesday November 30, 2004
05:12 AM

RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE

The file RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz has been uploaded to CPAN, and will soon be accessible as Mirroring may take up to 24 hours.

/home/users/rjray/bin/, on behalf of rjray

Thursday July 22, 2004
02:11 AM

Forgive Me, Bretheren Monks

I have strayed from the True Path of Perl. I have not only taken it upon myself to learn Java, but earlier today I released my first open-source Java library.

Though I expect any absolution to be costly and demanding, please at least consider showing mercy towards me on the grounds that the code itself is designed to bring elements of Perl to the impoverished of Java. Indeed, I've even licensed it under the most-revered Artistic License. For all I know, this may be the first Java library licensed under Perl-originated terms.

I'll go about my penance, now.

Saturday June 26, 2004
03:24 AM

Extry Extry: Winer Leaves the RSS Advisory Board

I don't know how much direct influence Dave's even had in the last year or so, but I'm still pleased as punch to see him distance himself from any technology I care about.

Now, let's have us a little chat about SOAP, and XML-RPC...

Wednesday April 14, 2004
08:03 AM

RPC::XML 0.54 Uploaded

It seems that the SOAP interface is either not working, or has changed somewhat. My usual module-upload-notification script did not actually post an entry.

So anyway, I've uploaded a new RPC::XML package to CPAN. I don't really want to think about how long it's been since my last CPAN upload (that's actually a topic for a later, longer entry). But there were a lot of changes that I wanted to get into circulation. I also have a few other patches that I didn't have time to apply just yet. I'm leaving for a short vacation in a few hours, and I wanted this out the door before then.

Tuesday September 16, 2003
05:57 PM

The Books of Perl

Dear Die-ary,

Today, I happened across and their nifty index of Perl books and rating thereof. But there must not be many people visiting, as so few of the titles have been rated by more than 3-5 readers.

Perhaps I can help draw attention to this terrible plight and encourage more people to visit.