Objective-C 2.0: the Bad, the Horrible, and the Ugly

August 8, 2006 | programming
Apple announced Objective-C 2.0, the first major change to the language ever. The features should all be great—support for properties, inbuilt iterator syntax, much higher abstraction in the runtime, and more—but ultimately, though many of these modifications attempt to solve real problems in Objective-C, they nearly universally solve them inelegantly and inconsistently. One of my biggest complaints comes with the iterator extension. In Objective-C 1.0, to iterate over a collection, you had to…

WWDC Monday: Meeting the Savior

August 8, 2006 | personal
Amazingly, the woman at registration was right. I fell onto the floor got up at 5:30 AM, groggily showered, grabbed a bagel and some OJ at a patisserie that was apparently run by the bitter sister of Soup Nazi, was politely asked for “loose” change about forty-two times by people who admittedly looked like they probably needed it, and then went to Moscone to find a line that already arced its way around the convention center. Apple let us approach the Presidio in steps. First, at seven, they…

WWDC Sunday: Preparing to Wait

August 6, 2006 | personal
Today was…long. The fun started when I got a call at 7:20 AM reminding me that my car was coming at 8. For some reason, I’d had in my head it was coming at nine, and so decided that I’d wake up at about 7:30, spend 45 minutes packing, take a quick shower, and be ready to go. Instead, I pretty much literally just dumped a wad of clothes into a suitcase, jumped into the shower, and proved that you can easily run with a 35-pound suitcase if you have enough adrenaline and don’t really care about…

IMDB: Idiot-Manipulated Database

July 26, 2006 | personal
Good news: Benjamin Pollack is now listed as starring in Aardvark’d. Bad news: Banjamin Pollack is still listed, too. Great News: I apparently have been a writer, producer, and editor.

The Filmography of Banjamin Pollack

July 17, 2006 | personal
I have always had a hate-hate love-hate relationship with the media, particularly when I’m in them. On the one hand, it’s cool being in front of that many people, but on the other hand, the media’s success in actually quoting what I say and getting my name right has been fairly abysmal. One of my first TV appearances, for example, was made when WISH-TV, a local CBS affiliate, showed up at school one day and wanted to interview me and two classmates for our work on the Legacy Initiative, a…

Getting an Apartment in New York

June 5, 2006 | personal
There are lots of things to love about New York, but I’d like to think that even the most diehard New Yorker would admit that the housing situation is as easy to decipher as a message sent by an Enigma machine in Sanskrit, and about as pleasant to deal with a hungry Reaver. In recent days, I’ve been in a fight with various New York agencies as I try desperately to get permission to give them a ton of money. You see, I’m trying to rent an apartment on the Upper West Side directly adjacent to…

Gearing Up

May 21, 2006 | personal, programming
After a semester of virtually no coding, I’m preparing to return to New York to do more work for Fog Creek on Fog Creek Copilot. This will be the first time in my career that I’m returning to a code base that I haven’t seen in a bit over a year. In some ways, this is very exciting. Knowing that something I put so much time and effort into has proven to be truly useful to a large number of people is extraordinarily gratifying, and getting a fresh chance to fix all the little things that I ran…

Return to the City

January 1, 2006 | personal
I love New York City. Sure, it has its flaws: the air reeks in summer, people are surprisingly rude and insensitive (and desensitized to people acting that way), the city whines, groans, and clanks at a painful volume, and the crowds move with all the speed and grace of a human mudslide. Despite that, I love it for all the things that it gets right: the superb mass transit, the unsurpassed arts, and the melting pot of worldwide culture that lets you wander in and out of America while staying…

When Cussing Should Be Okay

May 16, 2005 | programming
So, today I spent roughly two hours hacking the MySQL driver for Squeak to add the DESCRIBE command and adding MySQL support to ROE. ROE is an awesome package that lets you write queries directly in relational algebra in your Smalltalk code. It generates all of the SQL to actually execute the query and delays execution until as late as possible. The effect is very nice. I’m currently working on a tutorial for how to use ROE in Seaside, and as part of that, I thought it’d be nice to add MySQL…

The Art of Missing the Point

April 17, 2005 | programming
Sometimes, you’re confronted with someone who so stubbornly refuses to understand what you’re saying that you just want to cry. Let’s ignore for the moment that a lot of the hype around Rails is…well, hype. Even with that in mind, contrast the tutorial video for Rails with the tutorial video for Trails, a JSP-based framework that aims to do the same thing. Even if you completely ignore issues like scaffolding, the difference between these two videos makes me downright sad. For example: Methods…