Nov 27

Seven Eight Warning Signs of Junk Science

I’ve written before about scientific error cascades and the pernicious things that happen when junk science becomes the focus or rationale of a political crusade.

The worst example of this sort of thing in my lifetime, and arguably in the entire history of science, has been the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) panic. Now that the wheels are falling off that juggernaut, I’m starting to hear ordinary people around me wonder how I knew it was bullshit and hot air so much in advance…

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Nov 24

A relative achievement

Spencer Lehman. At age 75, a U.S. national champion pole-vaulter. My favorite uncle.

Mother’s brother, for you Norwegian-speakers (update: I misremembered, it turns out to be Swedish that distinguishes ‘morbror’ from ‘farbror’). And you know that archetype of the Malibu-dwelling hippie stockbroker that shows up in comic novels about California? That would be him.

Nov 17

The Smartphone Wars: Samsung Busts a Move?

Well, now, this is interesting. Cyanogen hints via Twitter that we may get a 4.0 Cyanogen ROM in two months.

The news coverage I’ve seen so far misses what I think is the most important bit of context – that Cyanogen’s eponymous founder and lead developer got hired by Samsung a few months back. Samsung is subsidizing this move.

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Nov 16

Against decentralized bugtracking

I’ve spent a lot of time and bandwidth on this blog thinking out loud about version-control systems and software forges. In my last post, I announced that I was going to try to sneak up on the problem of designing a better software forge by enhancing Roundup.

Over the last three years I’ve gotten a couple different versions of the following response to my thinking-out-loud: “Centralized forges and bugtracking are old-school thinking, as hoary as centralized VCSes. Why shouldn’t all that metadata live in the project repo and be peer-merged on demand the way code is?”

This is a good question, but I think the people advocating systems like Bugs Everywhere, scmbug, and ticgit have invested a lot of cleverness in the wrong answer.

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Nov 14

Sneaking up on the forge problem

I’ve written before about the problems with today’s software-forge sites – how they’re craptacular piles of PHP driving direct SQL queries with almost zero scriptability that become data jails for open-source projects. I’ve hinted that I think there’s a potential solution based on Roundup, a brilliantly simple and powerful message queue manager disguised as a mere issue tracker.

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Nov 14

Attack of the 50-foot reposturgeon

Well, I thought I was done hacking on this for a while. Then one of the projects I did a conversion for disclosed the existence of a second repo for their website, which I had to merge into the code repo. As a subdirectory. Which meant pushing all the file paths into a subdirectory. Which meant the new “paths sub” command; I wrote “paths sup” as its natural dual.

Also in this release: automatic preservation of untracked files under git and hg.

Fear the reposturgeon!

Nov 10

Reposturgeon from the Black Lagoon!

reposurgeon 1.8 is out, and with this release it has all the conversion features I’ve been able to think up while doing the last couple of conversions. This version creates real tags from the lightweight tags generated by git-svn, and also consolidates matched D/A pairs from Subversion into renames.

An “edit multiline” variant of the “edit” command zeroes in on commit comments that need to be tweaked into the approved form for hg and git (summary line, plus optional blank line, plus optional details).

The selection-set syntax has a new element: =H selects tip (or H for head) commits.

A new ‘sort’ command can make the DAG after a graft or merge display better in tools such as gitk.

With this release, I think I’m done for a while – barring bug reports, of course. I’m shipped a new version of my DVCS Migration Guide to go with it.

Fear the reposturgeon!

Nov 03

Names and consequences

freshmeat.net abruptly changed its name to freecode.com a couple of days ago. As a consequence, the little program I wrote to submit release announcements to it is now renamed freecode-submit.

People who ship releases frequently enough to find freecode-submit essential might also want to look at shipper, which I wrote to automate other aspects of release shipping as well.

shipper is how, when I want to ship a release of one of my projects, I can normally just type “make release” and the right things will happen – webpage updates, freecode release notification, SourceForge release, and release-tagging in the project repository.