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American Idol: 4 Contestants

The final four. Last week was wrong; this week I hope to see Josh voted out. I'm a bit behind on watching this, but I've avoided all blogs that post about American Idol so far. I'll link to them at the end, but I didn't want them to taint my view of the show. I'll keep things short though, very busy these days.

The Mythical Man Blog

When I was in college I read The Mythical Man Month. It's one of those books nearly every CS major since the invention of CS has had to read. Basically, this guy messed up a bunch of projects, cost his companies a few gajillion dollars, and learned one amazing lesson: throwing more people at a CS project (hardware, software) does not speed up development.

Perhaps AOL should learn that if this is true about AOL looking to develop their own blog software:

Considering how popular the ?medium? has become, and because AOL is actively searching for new revenue streams, the news is hardly surprising. What is interesting is that according to Winer?s source, AOL Time Warner has 400 people secretly working on the project. To put that in perspective, 20 AOL employees are assigned to the Mozilla project.

Ho hum. At least AOL has a few million to spare on stupid mistakes. Right? Don't they? :-P

Convergence

The topic of "convergence" recently came up on a mailing list I used to read. Convergence in this sense is more than "your computer as the center of everything," but instead "your computer is is everything." The conversation came about a result of Microsoft's continued "push" into this area. The area in which your computer controls your TV instead of simply interacting with it. Your computer is your stereo. Your computer is your surround sound system instead of having a separate receiver.

Michael Winter had a funny post I thought I'd share (with his permission). The question? Who would want a phone attached to their monitor?

OneWord: Feature

It's a feature, not a bug they cry. I wonder what features that iLoo thing from a few days ago has. Blue screens of death scare the crap out of you? Good thing you're sitting on a toilet already. It's funny how I see the word "feature" and immediately think of software. Feaure events, features in magazines, featured entertainers, those are all features too. But I think of software features. I'm a geek, yes.

This 60-second entry was brought to you by today's word from OneWord™.

QotD: Richard Nixon

Question: If you could have asked Richard Nixon one thing, what would it be?

My Answer: I would ask him what the best thing about being the President of the United States was. I can imagine many of the downsides. What I think is interesting is what motivates people to go after the job in the first place.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

Common Folk: Me Too

Jamie takes issue with my off-the-cuff entry about the differences between "common folk" (I'm going to continue to put those words in quotes) and "computer folk" (those too).

I disagree with a bit of what she's said, and given that she and I had discussed the entry in person, am a bit surprised she's so drastically misunderstood the tone and overall nature of the post. As such, here are some clarifying remarks and a bit more on my opinion of "nature vs. nurture" as it regards "talent" and "gifts."

HipTop Desktop Sync

I noticed while filling out this HipTop desktop syncing software survey (go fill it out if you've got a HipTop, err, SideKick!) that I had to choose the "25-34" popup for "Age." Bummer.

The "Web Desktop" thing is crap.

So said I. Go fill out the survey, even if you haven't got a HipTop, because you know you want one. :-)

Gimp and PS 7.0 Upgrade Woes

I tried to install Gimp today. I installed Apple's X11 (beta 3), I downloaded GIMP. Then I downloaded gtk. Then I downloaded pango. Then I downloaded glib. Then I tried to ./configure everything. Then I downloaded some pkg-manager or something. I tried to ./configure and ./make it. Twenty minutes later I gave up.

This wouldn't be a problem if I could somehow figure out a way to install my (legit) copy of Photoshop 7.0 (upgrade version) on my 12" PowerBook. It won't boot into 9 and 7.0 Upgrade doesn't take "insert a version 5.5, 6.0, or 6.5 CD" as valid proof of previous ownership. This machine doesn't even have Classic on it. I'm not sure what to do.

Developer Tools

A short while back I wrote about the impact of free developer tools. Lately, however, I've been itching to spend $250 or so on a truly professional IDE. One that doesn't quit as often as Project Builder likes to quit because CVS updated a file it had open (or whatever causes it to tank). Itching!

Jeff writes about Eclipse, citing previous posts by Buzz Anderson and Michael Tsai (whose article is little more than a quote from Buzz Anderson, but with a good discussion tacked on).

Company Policy

I saw this somewhere, and I've had it for awhile. Where better to archive it than my blog? Cuz currently it's a text clipping floating around my hard disk.

It starts with a cage containing five monkeys.

Inside the cage hangs a banana on a string with a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

SQLite

I'm doing some work with SQLDatabase from Blackhole Media, which interfaces with the lovely SQLite embeddable database. Everything so far is working quite well - it's been compiled with UTF-8 support, and so on.

However, I'm continually frustrated with the CLI tool. It is the most rudimentary thing I've seen, and it's quite annoying. This is a bit of a rant, but I'll try to be constructive.

QotD: Platonic Marriage

Question: If you had to marry someone you know un-romantically, and spend the rest of your life as their spouse, who would you choose?

My Answer: Naked Weekend Crystal. That one was easy. :-)

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

Accessor Methods

Not to start a holy war, but I came face to face with one of those little things about which some people get pretty uptight. While looking through the CURLHandle example, I found that Dan Wood had implemented his setter accessor method in this way:

- (void)setThing:(id)newThing
{
    [newThing retain];
    [thing release];
    thing = newThing;
}

The Common Folk

I recently joined a mailing list for Aztek owners. It was my first "non-computer" (i.e. not cocoa-dev or macosx-admin or ui-development) in awhile. As the messages began to roll in, one thought struck me:

"Regular people are stupid."

That was the thought, and I'm just being honest in writing it. It's since changed to "Regular people are different." While both are far too simple to be true, what is true is that there remains an odd discordance (did I use that word right?) between us "computer" (and largely programmer or developer) types and these "common people."

The SARS Genome

Saw an entry on Core/Dump today with the SARS genome. I copied it here, but I encourage you to click his link and pay him a visit. I'm archiving it here for my own amusement.

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