Archive for the 'blather' Category


Free and Inexpensive making headway in business

Monday, August 19th, 2002

It’s heartening to see this Bloomberg Article about open source databases gaining acceptance in companies and government. While it’s true that MySQL doesn’t meet advanced needs, there are a whole buncha wasted dollars going towards Oracle and MS-SQL licenses where MySQL would more than suffice.

I’d also like companies and government to discover the remarkable value to be had from inexpensive and free content management systems like PostNuke, Drupal, SlashCode, PMachine, Radio, and many others. Many, many projects can benefit from the kind of knowledge sharing these tools provide without having to break the bank.

Using these tools, content management systems comparable to those which just a few years ago would cost scores of thousands of dollars in licensing and hardware even before the consulting fees to implement them can now be built in mere days on lean hardware with little or no licensing fees.


Gig-less in Toronto

Wednesday, August 14th, 2002

My longtime steady gig has finally fallen prey to cutbacks, so I’m actively waving my shingle for pretty well the first time in 5 years. Since 1997 I’ve managed to keep myself busy with work – the steady 3-day/wk gig plus adhoc stuff to fill the rest. This year it’s steadily fallen off until now where even the piecework is beginning to be sparse. I know the need is still there, but finding someone to authorize budget for even the one-time things, much less willing to commit to an ongoing setup, is difficult at best.

I’m pretty confident that September will see people returning from holidays ready to make the decisions that will get projects rolling, so lets hope it all falls into place soon. Tim and I are also working on releasing BlogChat sometime in September.

You can find out what I do by visiting my business site and perusing my engagement history.

Of course, by this time next week I could be complaining about having too many projects on the go. That’s the nature of the beast.



Monday, August 12th, 2002

Neat DHTML animation at Solaricom. Works in IE and Mozilla.


Dijkstra’s statements considered beneficial

Thursday, August 8th, 2002

The author of many of programming’s seminal treatises, Edsger Dijkstra, has died in the Netherlands.

Dijkstra’s letter to the Communications newsletter of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1968, titled Go to statement considered harmful, has long served as a rallying point in arguments supporting structured programming. Other early important writings from him are:

Programming Considered As A Human Activity
A constructive approach to the problem of program correctness
Stepwise program construction
Towards correct programs
Requirements of programming tools

And one of my personal favourites:

The humble programmer

If you are a programmer, you owe it to yourself to read as much of Dijkstra’s work as you can.


Deception is ok if you’re a big corp

Wednesday, July 31st, 2002

Adam Curry points to this story about Sony’s practice of using planted actors acting as tourists or bar patrons to hype their product.

Reminds me of the story of Jonathan Lebed, the teenager who precipitated stock gains for himself by hyping them in trading-related message forums under various pseudonyms.

Jonathan’s been subjected to hours of grilling by federal agents, months of stress and legal uncertainty for him and his family, various penalties and sanctions.

Sony just considers it a smart marketing plan.


I’m not wired with decaf

Tuesday, July 30th, 2002

I’m sitting with my decaf outside at ther Letieri cafe, Queen St and Spadina Ave, Toronto, on a lovely sunny day. Neither the net connection nor the coffee are wired.

Now that’s comfort.


Chatting down under

Wednesday, July 24th, 2002

Just had a yak with Glen Murphy in his new dChat thang. Paul Sowden was along too. My, my, what a small world when three people who’ve never met each other, from their homes in in London, Toronto and Melbourne can meet up together on a virtual streetcorner and all know who each other is and gab like longtime mates.


Human Reliability

Monday, July 22nd, 2002

I really put a lot of effort into being reliable – meeting expectations, following up on promises, arriving on time at appointments. I put even more effort into recovering from the inevitable circumstances that get in the way of being reliable – phoning to warn that I may be late, delivering that little bit more to balance compromises that had to be made, emailing to apologize or explain lateness or inability to attend. I’m ALWAYS thinking about the other person’s perspective.

Dunno why, but in return, I’m always the guy arriving 5 minutes early but still pacing and looking at his watch a half hour after the appointed time. The guy sitting waiting for the promised phone call that never comes, as neither does the call or email explaining the missed appointment. The guy who just lets it slide and moves on when the other person strolls in an hour late with nary an apology for having wasted my time.

I’ve been a “pleaser” for much of my life. I expect I will continue being a pleaser. But no more doormat for me. Anyone who displays the kind of lack of respect associated with this type of inconsiderate behaviour gets one chance. Unless they redeem themselves without my prompting, then NO MORE.

I will not wait more than 15 minutes for someone, ESPECIALLY if I know they have a cell phone. I will not put off doing anything for me while waiting on someone else’s promised input.

As it happens, this particular rant isn’t about anyone specific, but if you were thinking it was about you, then it’s time to kick yourself in the ass for being such a putz and start being a little more considerate.