This is a test to see if the database server issue that froze this blog is resolved.
I’ve finally gotten validated by SubscribeStar, which means I can get payouts through it, which means those of you who want nothing to do with Patreon can contribute through it: https://www.subscribestar.com/esr If you’re not contributing, and you’re a regular here, please chip in. While I’ve had some research grants in the past, right now nobody… Continue reading My SubscribeStar account is live
First, my complaint to Simply NUC about the recent comedy of errors around my attempt to order a replacement fan for Cathy’s NUC. Sorry, I was not able to beat WordPress’s new editor into displaying URLs literally, and I have no idea why the last one turns into a Kindle link. ——————————————————- Subject: An unfortunate… Continue reading How not to treat a customer
The way I learned to use the term “user story”, back in the late 1990s at the beginnings of what is now called “agile programming”, was to describe a kind of roleplaying exercise in which you imagine a person and the person’s use case as a way of getting an outside perspective on the design,… Continue reading A user story about user stories
I had business outside today. I needed to go in towards Philly, closer to the riots, to get a new PSU put into the Great Beast. I went armed; I’ve been carrying at all times awake since Philadelphia started to burn and there were occasional reports of looters heading into the suburbs in other cities.… Continue reading Rules for rioters
Yesterday evening my apprentice, Ian Bruene, tossed a design question at me. Ian is working on a utility he calls “igor” intended to script interactions with GitLab, a major public forge site. Like many such sites, it has a sort of remote-procedure-call interface that allows you, as an alternative to clicky-dancing on the visible Web… Continue reading Designing tasteful CLIs: a case study
I’m having a rather odd feeling. Reposurgeon. It’s…done; it’s a finished tool, fully fit for its intended purposes. After nine years of work and thinking, there’s nothing serious left on the to-do list. Nothing to do until someone files a bug or something in its environment changes, like someone writing an exporter/importer pair it doesn’t… Continue reading Two graceful finishes
Another in my continuing series of attempts to coin, or popularize, terms that software engineers don’t know they need yet. This one comes from my apprentice, Ian Bruene. “Builder gloves” is the special knowledge possessed by the builder of a tool which allows the builder to use it without getting fingers burned. Software that requires… Continue reading Term of the day: builder gloves
Earlier today, armed demonstrators stormed the Michigan State House protesting the state’s stay-at-home order. I’m not going to delve in to the specific politics around the stay-at-home order, or whether I think it’s a good idea or a bad one, because there is a more important point to be made here. Actually, two important points.
I didn’t invent this term, but boosting the signal gives me a good excuse for a rant against its referent. Lassie was a fictional dog. In all her literary, film, and TV adaptations the most recurring plot device was some character getting in trouble (in the print original, two brothers lost in a snowstorm; in… Continue reading Lassie errors
Once again I’m inventing terms for useful distinctions that programmers need to make and sometimes get confused about because they lack precise language. The motivation today is some issues that came up while I was trying to refactor some data representations to reduce reposurgeon’s working set. I realized that there are no fewer than three… Continue reading Payload, singleton, and stride lengths
This is a story I’ve occasionally told various friends when one of the subjects it touches comes up. I told it again last night, and it occurred to me that I ought to put in the blog. It’s about how, if you want to have productive insights, you need a certain kind of nerve or… Continue reading Insights need you to keep your nerve
I’m a long-time advocate of more ordinary citizens getting themselves firearms and learning to use them safely and competently. But this is a public-service announcement: if you’re thinking of running out to buy a gun because of COVID-19, please don’t. There are disaster scenarios in which getting armed up in a hurry makes sense; the… Continue reading PSA: COVID-19 is a bad reason to get a firearm
The historian Robert Conquest once wrote: “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.” Today I learned that the Open Source Initiative has reached that point of bureaucratization. I – OSI’s co-founder and its president for its first six years… Continue reading The right to be rude
Yikes. Despite the withdrawal of the Indian paper arguing that the Wuhan virus showed signs of engineering, the hypothesis that that it’s an escaped bioweapon looks stronger than ever. Why do I say this? Because it looks like my previous inclination to believe the rough correctness of the official statistics – as conveyed by the… Continue reading Chinese bioweapon II: Electric Boogaloo
I’m utterly boggled. Yesterday, out of nowhere, I learned of a fundamental divide in how peoples’ mental lives work about which I had had no previous idea at all. From this: Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day. My reaction to that title can be rendered… Continue reading Head-voice vs. quiet-mind
I recently took some criticism over the fact that reposurgeon has no documentation that is an easy introduction for beginners. After contemplating the undeniable truth of this criticism for a while, I realized that I might have something useful to say about the process and problems of documentation in general – something I didn’t already… Continue reading Missing documentation and the reproduction problem
I think it’s useful to coin pithy terms for phenomena that all software engineers experience but don’t have a name to put to. Our term of the day is “finger trap”.
I think this is my favorite Internet meme ever. Yeah, Hong Kong, we actually have a problem with Communist oppression here, too. Notably in our universities, but metastasizing through pop culture and social media censorship too. They haven’t totally captured the machinery of state yet, but they’re working on that Long March all too effectively.… Continue reading Be the America Hong Kong thinks you are
Nobody stepped up to design a Loadsharers logo, so I did it myself. Here it is: Yeah, I’m not much of a graphic artist, but I can do a semi-competent job of whacking together a simple logo when I need to. If you’re an actual pro and think you can fix this or do better,… Continue reading Loadsharers has a logo