Autotools must die

Me, on the GPSD mailing list: Once upon a time, I did not hate autotools. Yea verily, it was the morning of the world and all things (even autotools) seemed fresh and new). I’d say this innocence lasted until about, oh, 1995. But autotools was a kluge. And it did accrete kluges and crocks around… Continue reading Autotools must die

Victimology bites

Dr. Richard Friedman’s Sabotaging Success, but to What End?, published 2010-03-22 in the New York Times, is about an instantly recognizable pattern — people who sabotage themselves so they can feel like martyred victims of an uncaring world. The piece is insightful and even funny in a bleak sort of way, but as I read… Continue reading Victimology bites

In search of: FTL taxonomy

I’ve been troping again. This time I found and repaired the TV Tropes page on Faster Than Light Travel. It had previously made a distinction between three subtypes of FTL drive: “jump”, “warp”, and “shortcut”. The “shortcut” category was confused and confusing, and I’ve renamed it to “portal” and fixed the definitions of both “portal”… Continue reading In search of: FTL taxonomy

Social Security and the fiscal event horizon

The Ides of March, 2010 may be remembered as the day the entitlements crash began. Social Security liabilities exceed inflow, and SSA has begun tapping its vault full of Treasury bonds. “Too bad” (as the AP story notes) “the federal government already spent that money…”

Categorized as Politics

Subversion to GIT Migration: A Tale of Two Gotchas

I’ve been wanting to migrate the GPSD codebase off Subversion to a distributed version control system for many months now. GPSD has a particular reason for DVCS; our developers often have to test GPSD sensors outdoors and aren’t necessarily in range of WiFi when they do it. GPSD also needs to change hosting sites, for… Continue reading Subversion to GIT Migration: A Tale of Two Gotchas

On Learning Haskell

I’ve had learning the computer language Haskell on my to-do list for some time. I’m actually stepping up to learn it now, thanks to a temporary lull in my other activities and a vicious cold that has left me disinclined to strenuous work. I may associate Haskell with the taste of zinc gluconate for the… Continue reading On Learning Haskell

Categorized as Software

Sink, the Bismarckian state!

Hmm: On 24th February I wrote, in a comment on this blog: We’re about to reach the end of the historical era that began when Bismarck first implemented state socialism in the 1880s. The changes will be huge and wrenching; I wouldn’t even put the dissolution of the USA outside the realm of possibility. Two… Continue reading Sink, the Bismarckian state!

Categorized as Politics

Greed kills: Why smartphone lock-in will fail and open source win

In a previous post, How smartphones will disrupt PCs, I explained how and why I think small, ultra-portable, general-purpose computers that we’ll think of and use as “smartphones” are going to displace the PC. I promised then to explain why the software of these devices will be open source. Go read Androids Will Challenge the… Continue reading Greed kills: Why smartphone lock-in will fail and open source win

Lies and consequences

In the horrible-inevitability department: Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets. My first thought when I read this was: “Creationists opposing AGW hysteria? Wow. So those stupid fucks are good for something after all.” My second thought was: “It’d be a damn shame if AGW ends up discrediting good science with the public, but if it… Continue reading Lies and consequences

Cocoa party! Yeah!

First there was the Tea Party movement. Which I’ve been keeping my distance from because while some of the small-government talk appealed to my libertarian instincts, it seemed to have a whiff of grouchy-old-fart social conservatism about it. While I’ve nearly achieved the calendar age required for grouchy-old-fart status, I don’t want anything to do… Continue reading Cocoa party! Yeah!

Categorized as General

The Nose of Peace

My regular readers will know that I’m sometimes fascinated by the extent to which mammalian body language crosses species lines — and, indeed, is so well conserved that families as far apart as felids and primates can communicate in ways that are emotionally satisfying to both parties. We take this for granted, but it’s really… Continue reading The Nose of Peace

Categorized as Science