2004/06/29

Re: Remote Bf synching


Spotted in Smalltalk Tidbits, Industry Rants

Blogging from Bottom Feeder to BlogSpot


This may be written up somewhere but here are my entries in the Bottomfeeder Blog Poster plugin settings:


  • Blog API == Blogger API
  • Blog ID == a six dgit number at the end of the URL of yourBlog e.g. 123456
  • I do client side markup
  • ftp url == ftp.blogspot.com
  • Profile Name == any string to uniquely identify which blog you want to post to (BottomFeeder use only)
  • Posts to retrieve (whatever)
  • Username and Password == your Blogspot logon info
  • On the Blogger API page : App Key == 1, Blogger URL == http://api.blogger.com/api
  • Under Settings->API , ensure blogger API is selected (need to do this each time for ome reason)

Grady on UML "vs" DSL


What a guy !! Grady Booch on developerWorks : Blogs: "However, I think, as does Simon, that Keith misses the point when he distinguishes DSLs as something totally different from the UML. The last thing the world needs is yet another (non-open standard) programming model or language injected in an already complex space. Our experience has shown that domain-specific design and architectural patterns specified can (and should be) expressed in the very same language that one may use on a whiteboard or napkin, namely, the UML. "

UML & DSL: Simon says....


I find myself in agreement with the following points:developerWorks : Blogs:
My position is that the creation of domain specific languages that do not seamlessly support the ability to transform information along the refinement scale are not helpful to us. So, for example, a component designer that is a stand alone tool unconnected to the class designer that provides the next logical level of refinement (classes being used to construct components) is a pot hole in the road from concept to actual implementation. Now, this is not as I have said to indicate that domain specific languages are bad, just that many of us in this industry love to create new languages be they graphical, textual or conceptual. We have to beware of the tendency to build these disjoint languages that force the user to keep stopping and jumping across another gap.
My summary: present different views to different users, but in a way which keeps transformations (including mental ones) easy (e.g. all views based on common metamodel)


Now, does the UML help us in this? Well, actually as it stands no, it has many pot holes all of it’s own! But, one way to look at the UML is a pre-existing set of domain specific languages, with at least small and well understood gaps between them. For example most everyone is familiar with the class model, the component model, the state machine model – all of these can be treated as sub-languages, and have been successfully applied in projects.

My summary: common set of concepts which can be tailored


Now, the danger is then to say that the UML is enough surely for any problem (got a hammer here – anyone got a nail?). Well therein lies a big, big hole waiting for the unwary. The UML is a general purpose language, like English and as such can be vague in a particular domain, so we have created specific usages of the English language for engineering or science, even standardized the meanings of terms for defining specifications (RFC 2119). In this regard it is clear that the UML needs to have particular usage patterns documented as sub-languages, or domain specific usage.


But then, there are simply concepts in use today that do not map well to any UML sub-language or usage pattern. Well, the OMG has already thought of that and provided the Meta-Object Facility (MOF) which is the underlying language used to construct the UML – making MOF a domain specific language for constructing domain specific languages? Here at IBM the open source Eclipse Modeling Framework implements the MOF specification and provides both run time capabilities and tools for defining new modeling languages (and you can see examples in the XML Schema Tooling on eclipse.org).

My summary: UML can be extended, and if that isn't enough then new dialects based on MOF can be built. Still the transformation gap is small.

Anyone seen a scenario mapped out in the two approaches? When the terms and concepts seem so slippery a practical example always helps.

Quick now, what IS the difference between UML and DSL?


The DSL, MDA, UML thing again... | Lambda the Ultimate

Can you have one metamodel across differnet domains that, nonetheless can be tailored? If you do, can the transformation be small variations on one another ? Can we ever expect them to be totally automated? (no) What is a domain anyway : industry, level of abstraction?

This seems to be one of those arguments where the terms involved remain unresolved and ambiguous (at least to me)

2004/06/28

High Court move over police chief


BBC NEWS | UK | High Court move over police chief

Apart from the details of this case, how do we come by such badly written laws here in the UK? Why do we write a law which apparently gives the Home Secretary the power to suspend a Chief Constable, but for some reason this has to be actinide through some other body such as the local Police Authority ?

Either we let local areas have authority or we don't. If we want to allow the case where the Home Secretary can ride rough-shod over this pretense at autonomy, then he should do the dismissing and inform the Police Authority.

This is a horrible fudge of a law, and I am glad it is coming back to irritate the politicians who regularly enact Laws with so little principle behind them. Actually, I hope it does more than irritate them!!

developerWorks : Blogs

2004/06/27

Lisp <-> Java


Bill Clementson's Blog

AKMA Sanity


This is a great summary of the situation:Not to many winners in this argument

Russell Beattie Notebook - Rampaging Computer Science: "'The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.' --Bertrand Russell"

Java Community high on complexity?


Via David Buck: Russell Beattie Notebook - Rampaging Computer Science

I certainly felt this way about J2EE!!

I was there


I was at one of these tals ; very good it was too:tim.oreilly.com -- Various Things I've Written: Tim's Archive

2004/06/26

London-Brighton Bike Ride


What am I thinking of? Forgot to Blog about my cycling epic!

Last Sunday, 20th June, I and 26,999 other "cyclists" bowled out of London on a nice sunny Sunday. We were about an hour late starting due to our transport , but also because of the huge queue to get the start/finish card stamped.

Cycling as a team proved almost impossible, but other tthan that and buses actually wanting to use the bus lane everything was fine.

Out in the country everything was lovely except hills on narrow lanes where most people got off to walk and blocked the road completely.

My legs got tired at about 40 miles - took a break and also sorted out why my new Camelbak water carrier was giving out so little water(kink in pipe).

At about 50 miles you hit the only real hill on the course, but it is nasty - again the road is quite narrow, so most people walk. The experts ( and people with proper clips on their pedals) are determined to cycle up; with a lot of tired people this is a recipe for disater. Oh, and it started raining big time, and Brighton being by the sea, the wind was cold.

The next 4 miles to the sea front were awful: rain, wind, large roads where the police bunch the cyclists up to let them cross - it took over an hour to do this.

By the end, I was really cold - my teamates looked even worse and were shaking.

Then we got a lift back to Winchester.

So, for next year, I'm looking for a cycling challenge which is far less crowded : any ideas ?

2004/06/24

Hilarious: Irony Deficiency


WebMink: "(Yes, you're reading that correctly. A man named Kafka has been deployed to field questions about a prison where the criminals are only vaguely charged with crimes, can't speak to lawyers and likely will never get out.)"

2004/06/23

Think tanks lack transparency


Deltoid : When Think Tanks Attack: " And the Albion Monitor writes:

[Citizens for a Sound Economy] is just one of several tax-exempt orgs that have divided over $750,000 from Microsoft and waxed in outrage over the proposed breakup of the software giant. Other beneficiaries include the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, National Taxpayers Union, and about a dozen more obscure names such as Citizens Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the Small Business Survival Committee, the Independent Institute, Americans for Technology Leadership, and the Association for Competitive Technology.

Together the groups wage a disinformation campaign almost identical to the attempt to debunk global warming waged by Big Oil that we described in a 404 report two years ago. The strategy requires discrediting Microsoft critics while building a sham Â?grassrootsÂ? movement in support of the corporation.
"

Folks should be free to fund what they like, but who is sponsoring whom should be transparent, to avoid conflicts of interest.

LISP and SOA


1st European Lisp and Scheme Workshop: "Sheng-Chuan Wu, 'Lisp for Service Oriented Architecture Programs'"

Worth further sytudy - a quick scan shows many intersting points, but I'd lie a bit more detail.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Prisoner torture 'not sanctioned': "I have never ordered torture - I will never order torture -
President George W Bush"

George, I believe you. But your administration faces an uphill battle to convince folks that, whilst it was done without written orders, it was not done in an environmnent which pushed getting intelligence above nearly all else.

More finding LISP


I find myself wondering about LISP as well as Preston:Preston L. Bannister ? Finding Lisp.

But I'm not sure how he squares these two paragraphs:

  • "Both were written using UCI Lisp. [....] The folks in the Ada programming environment project generated an Ada parser, interpreter, compiler, and integrated editor for a subset of Ada in a remarkably small amount of time. This was only possible by leveraging off the Lisp environment. " AND
  • " In fact the combination of Java and XML covers much the same ground"

I should have thought the ADA environment probably used features such as LISP macros etc. ; how do Java and XML help there?

2004/06/22

Finding Lisp: "One of the things that struck me is that more than any other language, Lisp, because of lambda calculus as well as the convenient notation provided by s-expressions, lends itself to source-level transformations. Macros are the most obvious user-level expression of this capability, but Lisp compilers also make very heavy use of this capability to reshape code symbolically before they actually start generating object code."

Oh, Dave


Comments: "JF, you're repeating an incorrect fact about the avoidability of the outage, and it's pretty disrespectful to put the word in quotes, do you think I'm lying? You're pretty gutless about that, if you think I'm lying, say so, and say why, and tell us who you are and how you know. Anonymous personal condemnations are worthless. How can we condemn you when we don't know who you are, except that you're a coward.
posted by Dave Winer at 03:05:05 AM on June 22, 2004 "

Please don't do this. And point to where a clarification of the real reason for the outage is then. Thanks

2004/06/21

A great achievement: SpaceShipOne


This is fantastic:BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Private craft makes space history, but then the BC article follwos up with this comment: "When the X-prize is won, it could open up the skies to future tourist trips to the edge of space for those bored of the usual beach holiday."

Well, it sure could, but is this a sign of out times? Did Christopher Columbus sell Ferdinand and Isabbella on his epic voyage, with tourism? No! They wanted to make money from spices!!

How about: "SpaceShipOne ushers in a new pantheon of reality TV show!"? Now we're talking!!

2004/06/19

Iraq - al-Qaeda


FT.com / Comment & analysis / Editorial comment:"The Bush administration has misled the American people. It has isolated the US, as American diplomats and commanders pointed out this week. And its bungling in Iraq has given new and terrifying life to the cult of death sponsored by Osama bin Laden. Above all, it inspires little confidence it is capable of defeating the spreading al-Qaeda franchise, which always was the clear and present danger."

"Don't listen to people who disagree with you"


michaelw.net In defense of Dave: "Anyway, my friend and I quickly realized that we had developed an excellent litmus test for software engineers and program managers at Microsoft.

This principle can easily be extended to other areas too. The people who bitch and moan are just doing you the favor of self-identifying as people you won't waste cycles on in the future. The fools who listen to the bitchers are self-identifying as fools."

If Dave doesn't listen to some of the "bitching and moaning" and learn for the future, then he is missing out. And any "friend" that encourages him to ignore such comments is no friend at all.

Clear thinking ?


GROKLAW: "Any business that would rather use a license like this than the GPL just isn't thinking clearly. "

2004/06/18

Dave Winer


Scripting News: 6/18/2004: "After years of service, actually decades, I feel I have earned the benefit of the doubt. "

"it's a rare thing when people consider your feelings"

Dave, this is what you are missing - people are hurt at how little you thought of them!

Yes, I think some of the ranting is much over done, BUT ....

You have only partially done the right thing. Now is a good time to stand up and say that you realise that you could have done this better (and saved lots of people, including yourself a lot of heartache). You just didn't think it thru, and now you blame the ranters, look reproachfully at your friends ( many of whom HAVE gone out on a limb for you) and say nothing about your own actions.

New slant on Whitewater


This is a new slant, at least for me:The Iraq War Reader

2004/06/17

More on home/family schooling


Here is the entry that Ted refers to:Philip Greenspun's Weblog:

Read the comments - some great stuff there. In fact, I should have read it before my previous post!

The idea of collaboration had not occurred to me (I wonder if there is so much of that in the UK?) Also, the idea that you could get a day's school education done in less time, thereby having more time to do other stuff is also interesting.

The comment about "oh, they were English (home schooled) children, that is why they were polite" made me smile. Call me jaundiced, but I think that the English middle calss fixation on manners ( maketh man) is definitely eroding!

Home Schooling


This is indeed a wonderful thing for any parent to hear:Ted Leung: Home Schooling

I admire parents who can do home schooling - I'm sure the concentration, planning and time would just overwhelm us. On the other hand, I would worry slightly about the longer term social aspects - I'm not saying that the child is isolated from society, but they have a different view. Is this a problem? To some extent it depends on how you view life: do you need to be equipped to deal with the dirty tricks people will throw at you, or does your child have self-confidence and ability to shape life around them?

2004/06/16

Google search for Model Driven Architecture


What is this ? Will let you know

2004/06/15

Microsoft distances itself from AdTI


GROKLAW: "'With growing numbers of businesses turning to Linux, its pros and cons are fair game for debate. But cynically manufacturing confusion isn't debating. Even Microsoft didn't like the way this report turned out, though it indirectly helped subsidize it. A company spokesman called the study, 'an unhelpful distraction from what matters most -- providing the best technology for our customers.''"

Hope they stick to that themselves of course; please fight it out on technology - not spin, paying others to produce crooked reports etc.

Whatever the politics, do the right thing!


This look encouraging; people of various political leanings are all saying enough is enough. Chris Nolan is right - this is beyond politics:Chris Nolan - Politics from Left to Right: Paging Hannah Arendt

Industry Best Practice


I am not qualified to assess Paul Graham's comments about the advantages of Lisp. For instance, what about Lisp and database access, which I have discussed elsewhere. But his point about the risk aversion of people in LargeCos is great:Revenge of the Nerds: "This is the kind of possibility that the pointy-haired boss doesn't even want to think about. And so most of them don't. Because, you know, when it comes down to it, the pointy-haired boss doesn't mind if his company gets their ass kicked, so long as no one can prove it's his fault. The safest plan for him personally is to stick close to the center of the herd.

Within large organizations, the phrase used to describe this approach is 'industry best practice.' Its purpose is to shield the pointy-haired boss from responsibility: if he chooses something that is 'industry best practice,' and the company loses, he can't be blamed. He didn't choose, the industry did."

It is generaly assumed that innovation fuels growth, but this implies risk. But which risks should you take and which should you minimise? If you have an established development shop, then the technicalities of a new product might be viewed as sufficient risks without adding a new language to the mix. On the other hand, shouldn't the company fund some sort of research project so that net time around the new language is not an unknown ? Otherwise you end up like the Knight from the cartoon going into battle, not having talked to the machine gun salesman.

And some more .....


Passion, entrepreneurship, and the rebirth of local economies: " It's trying to put responsibility where responsibility can be, in fact, applied--grassroots. Let me tell you what I've done in my life.

I was so disgusted by what I saw, that when Ernest Schumacher published Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered in 1973, I went ballistic. I said, this guy is telling us the truth about what development is! And I wanted to follow him. I wanted to look at alternative development. What can we do that makes sense?

And so I left Italy, I left my agency. Initially I went to Africa, to Stellenbosch University in Cape Province, and then I went to Australia. And I researched anything that was a caring, intelligent way of helping people help themselves. And I came up with the most radical thing. I could not find anything as radical as what I've done."
All via Crossroads Dispatches

Sirolli Institute


Enterprise Facilitation:Ernesto's Story

I feel the same way about top-down initiatives in big companies !!

And isn't Open Source collaborative development similar ? A large number of people get to contribute how they want, when they want, with real passion born out of free-will, other than compulsion.

See my next post for a bit more. It has ben a long time since a web contact has instantly seemed so right. Ricardo Semler and his philosophy of giving employees their heads was similar.

So why do we have these big organisations working in such a "command economy" fashion?

2004/06/12

Serious cycle training


Better late than never, but I finally got ina serious ride today - 45 miles. The front of my legs are aching, walked up a few hills at the end.

Not sure whether next Sunday's route is more or less hilly, though I know there is one killer hill right at the end. Oh well.....

2004/06/11

More rebuttals to AdTI


Yet more people that they interviewed are pointing out flaws in the arguments:GROKLAW

MBA Case Study ?


GROKLAW

Charles William Milller


More on this exciting revelation:History of soccer. How football came to Brazil

Reagan on Freedom


In May [1989], at Moscow State University, Reagan said that mankind is emerging "like a chrysalis" from the economy of the Industrial Revolution and is entering the information age, the economy of the mind. "The key is freedom -- freedom of thought, freedom of information, freedom of communication." (via Crossroads Dispatches)

Great points about being a leader, but we live at a time, when so many freedoms are under threat. Just because they are not physical , the threat to free speech, building on others' ideas etc. are a burden being imposed on us and future generations,...by stealth.

Agile and Evolution


Thin Air:Bodily Processes

I miscued on this one, thinking the single responsibility meant that multiple organs had the same responsibility, but in fact, the point is that some organs have multiple responsibilities. I assume that this is to do with evolution tending to find resourse-lite "solutions".

And amen to this: "The problem with BigDesignUpFront is that it relies too much on the intelligence of the designers." The designers are intelligent that this sort of behaviour impreses the boss!!

Summary of Python and Java


PythonComparedToJava - Irmen's Python Wiki

Software Analysis Tool:Moose


Via the European Smalltalk User Group:Moose

Works for Smalltalk, C/C++, Java, Ada apparently. Will be giving it a try later .....

Little known Southampton export


Living just up the road from Southampton ( and it being the home of the nearest Premier League club), Simon Phipp's revelation was of great interest:Southampton-Brazil Football Link

And now we re-import Brazilian Soccer Skills Classes for our children!!

2004/06/08

AdTI on the ropes?


Prof. Tanenbaum delivers more damaging blows:Rebuttal to Ken Brown

The sponsors of the book should demand their money back.

Blogging to minor stardom


brianstorms weblog: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse. Brian gets his blog published in a newspaper.

My Aunt lives in San Diego - time to ask her to snag a copy.

2004/06/04

wxPython tutorial


An excellent, comprehensive view of how to use wxPython:The Farm: The Tucows Developers' Hangout :: Exploring wxPython: The stdout/stderr Window and MessageDialogs

This really is (for its scope) the best resource I have seen; the table showing the eresults of various options is great.

Mitch on OSAF


ONLamp.com: Inside Mitch Kapor's World [Jun. 03, 2004]

Many intetresting comments, including: The dual-licensing model that's been used successfully by a number of open source projects such as MySQL and Sleepycat for their implementation of Berkeley DB is gaining a huge amount of currency and popularity. We identified that from the very outset as being promising.

2004/06/02

Paul Graham on language Design


Not a new article: Being Popular

Found it via: O'Reilly ONLamp:Paul Graham on Hacking

Hi from New York


First US trip in some time - reasonable flight though several minor niggles over the state of the AA plane.

Here for a small conference, heading back to the UK for Saturday.

Weather ? Just like the UK :-) Alternating sunny and heavy rain.

Is this an investment strategy?

Slashdot | SCO and Baystar Strike a Deal