Windows Versions of NetNewsWire

April 10, 2008 | technology
Sadly, there’s no such thing as NetNewsWire for Windows, but today I downloaded FeedDemon, which is made by the same company and also offers synchronization with NewsGator, and was extremely pleasantly surprised. If you, like me, have a Mac at home and a PC at work, it’s definitely worth a look.

An Ode to Primer

April 10, 2008 | personal
One of my absolute favorite movies is Primer. Written, directed, and scored by an engineer who also serves as the film’s leading actor, Primer stands as a testament to what science fiction can be. Too many science fiction works either are nothing but social commentary that use science as a glorified MacGuffin, or else have plots that exist primarily to rant about new scientific ideas. Primer has neither fault, beautifully embracing hard science while having a riveting interpersonal drama based...

Write Your Own Google Apps

April 8, 2008 | programming
Google has announced Google App Engine, which allows you to write applications that run on Google’s infrastructure. I personally would be a bit nervous using the service for anything important—unlike Amazon S3 and EC2, making your own service-compatible alternatives is not feasible, leaving you inextricably tied to Google—but I suppose it could be useful for certain applications that need high scalability, integration with other Google applications, or both. Note that all 10,000 initial...

Mercurial v. git

April 7, 2008 | programming
RockStarProgrammer has a great article on the differences between Mercurial and git at a technical level. This is exactly the article I wanted back when I was trying to pick between the various distributed version control systems.

Free speech for everyone! Except you!

April 7, 2008 | politics
One common misconception that I have long since given up trying to correct is that constitutionally guaranteed free speech means that others must provide you a platform from which to spout your views. It does not. You have a right to say what you want; I have a right to tell you that you cannot do so from my lawn. You are responsible for disseminating your views, not me. So, at a high level, I don’t have a problem with Starbucks’ refusal to print the phrase “Laissez-faire” on their customized...

JavaScript for Emacs

April 7, 2008 | programming
Steve Yegge has been working for quite some time on a way to integrate JavaScript with Emacs, allowing you to code extensions in JS rather than elisp. To that end, he recently announced the availability of js2-mode, a new mode for Emacs that brings heavily revamped syntax highlighting, indentation, and on-the-fly parsing for JavaScript code. I’ve recently been having an internal fight with myself on whether to use vim or Emacs. Although I’ve used Emacs for an incredibly long time, have a massive...

Pilots, Programmers, and Perl

April 4, 2008 | programming
I don’t normally post chat conversations, but some are simply too good to ignore: Me: So I’m getting back into Perl. Devin: heh Devin: does your boss know? Me: ? Me: I don’t get why I’d need to notify Joel Devin: well, you know Devin: it’s like when a pilot starts drinking again Devin: the airline should be notified I think Devin may have a point.

Life of the Simple Folk

March 31, 2008 | personal
For most of my life, I’ve been deeply involved in technology. My father taught me GW-BASIC when I was five. I had traced Smalltalk down to the bytecodes by the time I was twelve and from there to 68k assembly a year later. I insisted on disassembling most of the objects we had in the house in an attempt to figure out how they worked, and to build my own (which, unfortunately, tended not to work as well as the originals). In many, many ways, technology has defined me for most of my life. Yet at...

A Gentle Story for the Sabbath

March 28, 2008 | personal
Not remotely related to science or technology, but this nice story of a mugging taking a beautifully positive turn is more appropriate for the end of the week anyway.

Nuclear Power, Continued

March 27, 2008 | politics, technology
As I indicated curtly in my previous post, I’m a huge proponent of nuclear power. Though there continues to be substantial political debate whether global warming exists—largely because responding to it would be economically damaging—the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is, and has been for some time, that global warming exists and is man-made. (See the IPCC statement, and a discussion of its significance in Nature—one of the top several scientific journals in the world, and...