Archive for the 'blather' Category


wireless moles

Tuesday, August 21st, 2001

Dave and Doc are in Colorado at Jabbercon.

Doc tells of how a kind soul plugged in an 802.11b base station to bring connectivity to the masses. Neat.

Sounds like an interesting new industrial espionage technique. Get into the building, under some anonymous clerk’s desk, throw in a cheap hub to split the connection and a wireless base station, and you’ve got a conduit right into their network. If they don’t do 802.11 themselves, they won’t even consider that they could be compromised.



Saturday, August 18th, 2001

Seamless. Put it in a sentence and you’ve got immediate buzzword compliance. Look around on the net and you’ll see it used in context perhaps one time out of a hundred. It’s popped into marketing blurbs with no thought whatsoever to its relevance. Doesn’t anyone read this crap before it gets published? They might as well say their software smells like the first day of spring – it’s just as relevant.

Dunno about where you are, but here in Toronto, the first day of spring smells like six months worth of dogshit thawing out on the lawn.


coding completely

Thursday, August 16th, 2001

Chris points to some code indentation styles.

I’m definitely a K&R style braces/indentation guy. Also, I’m a two-space guy. Two spaces is just enough to show you structure, doesn’t make line lengths crazy, and is easy to enter/delete when typing.

What about the tabs argument? I absolutely prefer to use spaces and not tabs, and I set up my editors to replace tabs with spaces. I find that otherwise, in a project touched by a few people, you get some tabs, some spaces, and it looks different and/or broken in everyone’s editor with different tab-size settings. Use spaces and it will always look the same. Editors these days are smart enough to tab two spaces and indent and outdent blocks etc without tab characters in the code.

I’ve converted some hardcore tab guys on this issue. Takes them a while, but pretty soon they can’t find any real reason to use tabs instead of spaces in code. I’d be glad to hear of any show-stopping reasons in favour of tabs, though.


wing ding

Wednesday, August 15th, 2001

I think someone could make a killing by separating chicken wings into two pieces as you often find them, but then selling just the biceps. They’re the ones that always get eaten first.


know your roots

Tuesday, August 14th, 2001

I’m having a discussion with Chris Nott about Code Complete and more generally, the learning of classic programming fundamentals. I touched on this a week ago, but it deserves a bit more mention. I’ll just quote something (warts and all) I wrote to Chris:

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen idiots with useless compsci degrees who haven’t a clue who the fuck Dijkstra or Yourdon are or what any of their contributions were. Imagine an architect who hadn’t heard of Christopher Wren or Frank Lloyd Wright. Sheeesh.

My Dad has said to me that he doesn’t understand how I manage to get idiots to pay me big bucks to program for the internet for them when everybody’s 15-yr-old brother can do this stuff. I say:

“Sure, Dad. So when you want to build a 27-storey office tower, I’m sure you can pay Bob down the street who drywalls basements in his spare time $10 per hour to design and build it for you. Just let me know so I can stay out of reach when the first light breeze comes along.”



Monday, August 13th, 2001

Blackholebrain personifies his currency.

…just cost me about 3 Ben Franklins…

I take it Ben’s on the US $100 bill. It reminds me of cinema noir scenes, bribing stool pigeons with images of Andrew Jackson.

I’d like to see a this in a Canadian movie:

Flatfoot: So ya won’t talk to me, willya, wise guy? Say, maybe you’ll talk to my friend William Lyon Mackenzie King…?

Stoolie: Listen copper, I don’t know no Mackenzie King, see. Mebbe’s you got another friend called Borden – Robert L. Borden? Yeah, sure, I could see myself singin’ like a boidy to Mister Borden, and his twin sisters Liz and Elizabeth…

From the Canada Post site:

Note: Canadian postal codes are always formatted in the same sequence: alphabetic character / numeral / alpha /numeral / alpha / numeral (e.g. K1A0B1).

Would it really have been less precise to say:

Note: Canadian postal codes always use the following format: letter / number / letter / number / letter / number (e.g. K1A0B1).

Humans never say in conversation “alphabetic character” and “numeral” when they mean “letter” and “number”. Corporations shouldn’t either.

Funny how they get it exactly right on the French page:

Remarque: Au Canada, le code postal se présente toujours de la façon suivante :lettre-chiffre-lettre-chiffre-lettre-chiffre (p. ex. K1A0B1)

Newcomers to the country have a hard enough time learning new languages in which to do business without us further burdening them with understanding the vocabulary, intentional vagueness and semantic nuances of business-speak.


Re: open hand

Friday, August 10th, 2001



lost connections

Thursday, August 9th, 2001

In England, there’s an expression for everything. I heard one today – sent to Coventry – it means being left out of the communication loop. These idiomatic expressions don’t really travel well. I guess then that in Toronto when communication breaks it’s a given that someone has been sent to Guelph or some such thing.