Another reason why I hate Java

It’s the whole problem that there are layers and layers of crap between you, and what you want to do, and every one of those layers can have bugs.  In this case, the bug is in Jakarta Ant.  The problem is that it took me two hours to figure out that it wasn’t something that I was doing, but that it was something in Ant, or the interaction with Ant and OSX’s Java, or… well, I don’t know where the problem is, and I don’t really care.

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Single Malt Scotches

For the past few weeks, I’ve been sampling single malt scotches. It all started when we went to visit Brett and Marnie in Paris, and were trying to think of a hostess gift for them.  Marnie likes Cognac, so we thought we’d bring them a bottle – there’s a whole story around that which I won’t get into, involving the TSA and difficulties in transporting bottles of flammable liquid on an airplane – and in doing that, I spent a lot of time online researching Cognac, and found it fascinating.

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American Manufacturing is dead to me

Ok, ok… I’m making this statement based on a single Japanese company.  It isn’t fair.  Zojirushi (the Japanese company in question) makes peerless products, though.  They’re well-designed and have outstanding production quality. On the recommendation of our friends Asher and Harumi, we bought a Zojirushi rice cooker a couple of years ago.  Mind you, I never realized what I’d be getting into when I went shopping for a rice cooker; Zojirushi themselves make, like, two dozen different models, and they aren’t the only company in the business.

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Erlang vs. Haskell

Well, I’m on the Erlang train, now.  It’s really hard to resist some of the platform’s features; in particular: The dead-simple threading and message passingThe syntactic sugar for binary matchingThe VM, which provides support for dynamically modifying code at runtimeAll of the support for supervisors, which provides massive reliability with minimal effortWhat I don’t like is the syntax.  Erlang is a horrible, horrible language when it comes to syntax.  It’s verbose, and awkward, especially when coming from a language like Haskell.

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My Adventure with OSX

I recently bought a Mac.  I’ve had it now for a couple of months, and my opinions about it have stabilized enough for an essay on the topic.  The summary: it was a mistake. It isn’t my first Mac.   I’ve owned, used, and programmed on several different OSes in my life: Apple ][s, MVS, Amiga OS,  NeXTSTEP, Windows, MacOS 9, and Linux. Now, the Apple ][ OS was outstanding for the fact that, with a little experience, you could fully understand all parts of the system.

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Dear Google: Stop Reminding Me About Chrome

I get these pop-ups on Google’s web search page telling me to install Chrome (when I’m not using Chrome), because it’s a faster way to search the web.  Do you get them? Well, dear Google, the reason why I’m not using Chrome at the moment is because your browser doesn’t support Java on OSX, and there are several web sites that I use that rely on Java.  Like it or not, Java is a standard; there are a lot of things you can’t do with Javascript, and IMO, Java is a lesser evil when compared with the alternative of ActiveX.

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Canonical's Misrepresentation of Support (Ubuntu)

I’ve noticed something disturbing about the Ubuntu distribution.  Mind you, Ubuntu is free software, so I don’t expect much from it.  However, I find this behavior disturbing.  I’d prefer if they simply didn’t pretend to offer support, rather than what they do do, which is waste everybody’s time. Here’s an example, and here’s how it goes: User reports a bug.  Often, user spends a lot of time actually looking into the problem, and provides dmesg dumps, lspci dumps, and so on.Ubuntu team responds that this still isn’t enough information, and requests increasingly obscure dataUser provides the data.

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I Give Up. I'm Buying A Mac

I can’t resist any longer.  I’m going to give OSX a chance to piss me off for a while now. It actually isn’t my first Mac.  At one time, I owned three Mac clones, running OS9.  Boy, that sucked.  I ended up with them mostly by accident; I bought one, and then got two given to me over the next year by people who hated OS9 as much as I did, but had more good sense to get rid of it much sooner.

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Sweeteners

We’ve been on the South Beach diet for nearly four weeks now, and it’s working.  Painfully slowly, but the scale is trending steadily downwards.  We’ve both lost 16 lbs so far, and it hasn’t sucked too much.  Most of the time, we’re not starving. One note on the book: I know that they do it because it’s “motivational,” but I find the case studies in the book to be ludicrous. They’re all, “I don’t even look at ice cream in the store anymore.”  Yeah, that’s technically true, but it’s misleading; you don’t look, because it’s so fucking painful to not be able to have that stuff.  Chips isle?  Big no-no.  I come out the other end crying.  Bakery?

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The Intersection of Distributed Bug Trackers and End Users

Lately (the past year or so) I’ve been using a tool called Ditz to manage my software issues.  Ditz is a distributed issue tracking system; it stores issues locally in a format that is easy for version control systems to efficiently track.  There are some interesting theories about these sorts of trackers (of which Ditz is but one); for one thing, issues can be branched and merged, which means that each branch can have a different state for the same issue – a feature that most issue trackers lack.

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