Archive for August, 2004


Damn. He’s Right.

Russell Beattie’s impression of the iMac G5. And here I thought maybe I stood a chance of getting one of these things.


Now Hiring Java Web Developers

I’ll be writing about this more here before long, but it’s been a challenging couple months as I make the transition from programming almost exlusively in PHP (while longing to work with mod_perl) to exclusively in Java. It’s a whole different world.

If you want to be a part of that world, I encourage you to apply for positions open in the team I work on. Unless you’re a moron, in which case I’d prefer you stay away. We’re starting to do some cool stuff. For the last couple months, we’ve been working on building a clean architectural foundation and introducing agile processes to our workflow, breathing new life into the reigning development model here. We’ve got a new web development supervisor starting in a couple weeks, so there are still some unknowns, but he seems like a very cool guy to work with, very hip to the sorts of things that can be done with web apps. See the ad in the Star Tribune and let me know if you have any questions.


It must be true, I saw it on TV!

I am very out of touch with whatever the mythical average American might be, but Nick Coleman’s latest column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune gives me pause. Coleman spent time talking with patrons of a bar near Anoka Technical College, where John Kerry recently paid a visit.

In a place full of carpenters, plumbers, auto mechanics, factory workers and other blue-collar guys who used to vote for Democrats almost as devoutly as they used to drink beer (most were sipping soft drinks), I could only turn up one John Kerry voter.

The rest plan to vote for George W. Bush.

It’s a telling story, full of outrageous conspiracy theories (“[Teresa Heinz Kerry] seized the Heinz fortune and uses it to support radicals and international terrorists”). and unsupported assertions (“He tries to come off as a hunter. But he’s not a hunter. He’s a phony.”) that leave me flabbergasted.

The kicker: “To say that about him on TV, well, they must have the proof of it, or else they wouldn’t air it.”

Right. It’s on TV, so it must be true. Of course TV networks screen political ads for accuracy.

[Brief pause while I shake with violent incredulity.]

People believe this shit, or give it enough credence to make them hesitate, which is why I fear George Bush will win. “Are there any morons?” Tim McGuire once asked. “Why can’t the political parties get down and talk about the issues and assume everyone is capable of processing the information.” Because, Tim, the lies and moronic statements are more effective. I keep wanting not to believe it, but I keep being bitch-slapped by reality.

One niggling, almost unrelated point: it’s no longer Anoka Hennepin Technical College, and hasn’t been for some time. It’s just Anoka Technical College. I never saw any of the press get this right in stories about Kerry’s visit, and it perturbs me.


Alleviate and Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury

Alleviate RSI the Hacker Way. A few years ago when she was teaching strings, Kiara did serious and permanent damage to her hands and wrists by tuning 100 violins a day. I should have learned from her experience, but I still have poor habits that I need to break. Posture’s my big problem, far more than keyboard or mouse misuse. Fortunately, I’ve yet to experience any serious RSI symptoms, and if I keep stumbling into little reminders like this article, maybe I never will.


IT Conversations: Alistair Cockburn

Fantastic (and long) interview with Alistair Cockburn. It turns out to be a very good overview of agile software development.



Buried in my bookmarks is an inconspicuous folder where I keep links to articles and essays that have significantly influenced my way of thinking. It’s fun to look back at what I was reading four or six years ago and thinking, “that kicks ass!” A quick sampling:

And now there’s a new one to add, to follow up on Ousterhout: David Ascher’s Dynamic Languages-ready for the next challenges, by design. Not so much because it’s changed the way I think, but because it’s so right.

And on a similar note, Getting Groovy with XML.