Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

Google Ate My Brane

After visiting Google for the Summer of Code Summit the other week, I thought I might actually try out some of the web services they’ve come up with, rather than just sticking with search and maps, and see if they did anything for me. To my surprise — as a certified hater of webapps generally […]

Todo Lists

A while ago I read Steve Yegge’s rant about Agile development, though I’ve forgotten who linked to it. The thing that struck me as interesting was the bit about “work queues”: With a priority queue, you have a dumping-ground for any and all ideas (and bugs) that people suggest as the project unfolds. No engineer […]

The GPL Keeps Me Awake At Night

Well, actually that confuses cause and effect. Anyway, a draft of the GPLv3 is out, and, at least at first glance I’m pretty impressed. Let’s add a break, since probably everyone’ll be throwing their two cents in soon enough anyway. The GFDL’s problems don’t seem to be present, happuly: the DRM restrictions are limited to […]

Code Comments Hate My Freedom

Stewart and Michael have chimed in on whether comments in code are evil or not. Michael reiterates the industry wisdom: Getting the level of commenting right is hard, especially if you haven’t written much code, or if you are unfamiliar with the domain or the implementation language. But commenting done right can greatly assist yourself […]

Shell Hacks

Complex and inefficient shell snippets? Sign me up! Here’s my version: dselect update cat /var/lib/dpkg/available | sed -n ‘p;s/^.//p’ | sed ‘s/../&\ /g’ | tr A-Z a-z | grep ‘[a-z][a-z]’ | sort | uniq -u It doesn’t quite match the original — having the letter pair appear twice for a single package will disqualify it, […]

Coding and Codeine

I originally wrote this entry in the middle of last month when the news of the moment was that Linus was giving up Bitkeeper. Then I went to and got distracted, and by the time I got to thinking about finishing it off and posting it, it didn’t seem relevant anymore, so I deleted […]

Test Cases

One of the curious things about testing software is that as far as increasing your confidence in the code is concerned, it’s better to have a test suite that finds bugs, rather than one that doesn’t. The problem is that for any piece of software that ever works, you can find an infinite number of […]

Worth Repeating

In his epic battle with Adrian over exceptions, Ben mentioned: Save your work? That’s for sissys. Use a journalling file-saving model. Save everything the user does immediately. You can support the traditional file save/load facility using checkpoints or other niceties but I fail to see why any application in this modern age of fast hard […]

Thoughts on Darcs and Merging

One of the harder aspects of version control is dealing with merging issues. Normal development is straightforward — all you’re essentially doing is providing an annotated “undo” feature. darcs manages that, IMO, perfectly. And to be honest, that’s probably 80% of what I want form a version control system. But dealing with merging different lines […]

UI Thoughts

One of the central ideas in Jef Raskin‘s book The Humane Interface is that the “zooming” interface — rather than 2d windows that you shift around and overlay on each other, you have a huge canvas that you can zoom into and out of, as well as move around on. Obviously your screen only displays […]

Darcs Hacking!

Cripes. This was meant to be a quick followup note about some more quick darcs hacks. So much for that — I’ve had to write an outline for this post for heaven’s sake. (Side note: if someone wants a new title for their blog, the above’s free of charge!) So, when last we met, darcs-repo […]

Darcs and Repositories

I think it’s reasonable to consider two sorts of “repository” when dealing with darcs — public repositories that are used to reflect a particular line of development, and private working directories that are used to actually do development. Unfortunately there’s some overlap here, pretty much taking the form of “copying your working directory around”. The […]

Hacking with darcs

Continuing the darcs theme, it does seem to be fairly pleasant to actually use. Having darcs record go through and prompt you for each change (which you can avoid by saying -a) makes for interesting habits — I’m finding I’m much more inclined to commit once per feature addition, and when I happen to fix […]

Hacking at darcs

After a little more looking at darcs, I think I’m willing to live with its flaws. I don’t think I mind the lack of a nice repository for long-term storage — I haven’t managed to grow to like any of the others I’ve seen (cvs, tla, subversion, aegis), anyway. Tarballs will do in the meantime, […]

Looking at darcs

I’ve been coming to realise that I’m not really as satisfied with arch as I’d like to be; in spite of being an ardent fanboy for a while now. My main requirement for software is that it be simple and stay out of my way; and while arch is fairly simple, it’s evidently proven not […]