September 12, 2007 | personal
As I stand on the dawn of a new year, I find myself drenched in the past. This is the first Rosh HaShanah in five years I won’t be spending at Duke, and the first in two years I won’t be spending with someone I love. Perhaps for that reason, I am completely unable to get the smells, the textures, and the sounds of college out of my head. The smells, in particular, carry with them an unreasonable power to move me through time. I don’t merely remember, I feel I can actually smell the luscious...

VisualStudio Improvements

September 11, 2007 | programming
I was happy to read today that the VisualStudio team is working on significant performance improvements for VS.NET 2005. One of the things that frustrates me most about working on Fog Creek Copilot is simply that VS.NET can sometimes be so slow that I actually lose my train of thought. Hitting a breakpoint in some of our programs can lock VisualStudio for five to ten seconds. Building the small website can take a full minute if the master Aardvark.dll assembly has been modified. It’s...

Duke in the News

September 10, 2007 | personal, politics
It’s so nice when bad things happen to bad people. Now if they could just do something about the other idiot in this affair…

Who Killed the Electric Car?

September 7, 2007 | personal, politics
A few days ago, I watched Who Killed the Electric Car?, a documentary covering the growth and decline of electric cars in the 90s. The movie focuses on the GM EV1 as its poster child, interviewing several EV1 drivers, sales personnel, and parts manufacturers. Because I had only a dim memory of the EV1, or even of the concept of electric cars being on the road, I found a lot of the documentary fascinating. To be sure, the documentary has a clear message: the electric car was killed because it was...

Psyches and Schedules

September 7, 2007 | personal
Over the last two weeks, I’ve altered my schedule in a very simple way: on most days, I get up earlier and go to bed earlier. At one point, I was a morning person. Sleeping 'til 8 or later was a rare treat; most days, I got up at 6:05 AM sharp. For the first two years I was in college, I made the radical change of getting up at 7 instead of 6, but otherwise kept the same schedule. In my last two years of college, though, I fell apart. Most college students sleep from about 2 AM—10 AM, and if you...

Citadel: Easy Groupware

September 5, 2007 | technology
For the last several months, I’ve been powering bit qua bit’s mail system with Citadel. In the yonder years, Citadel was a very powerful BBS for Unix systems. As the bulletin board days drew to a close, and its developers began searching for a way to keep Citadel relevant, they hit upon the idea of turning it into a groupware system. The current version of Citadel runs on most Unix platforms, supports secure IMAP, SMTP, and POP3 out of the box, provides the GroupDAV protocol for synchronizing...

New Open-Source Squeak Book

September 4, 2007 | programming
I was pleasantly surprised today to discover Squeak by Example, an open-source book on writing programs with Squeak Smalltalk. If you want the bleeding-edge version of the book right now, you’ll need Subversion and an up-to-date LaTeX installation, but a four-month-old PDF version is also available if you don’t want to muck with all that. Combined with Stéphane Ducasse’s compilation of free Smalltalk books, I don’t think any Smalltalk neophyte should be wanting for learning material.

Copilot for College

September 2, 2007 | personal, programming, technology
My day job is working on Fog Creek Copilot, a powerful, cross-platform remote assistance solution. This week, Tyler and I were talking about how it’s too bad that Copilot didn’t really exist when we were in college, because we always ended up doing tech support for our families over the phone, which always went something like: Me: What do you see now? Family Member: A dialog box. Me: What’s it say? Family Member: It’s got a stop sign with an exclamation mark and says that the server can’t be...

The more you know...

August 31, 2007 | technology
It turns out that you can have WordPress automatically show a post after a specific time. To do so, simply set the post’s time stamp in the future. Presto! The post won’t appear either in RSS or on the main page until after the time you’ve set, and in the management interface, shows up as a “scheduled post.” I’ve actually been using this feature for awhile now: I wrote most of this week’s posts on Sunday afternoon, but set their post times so that they’d appear steadily throughout the week. This...

The Open XML Debate, Revisited

August 30, 2007 | politics, programming, technology
From Slashdot, which is slowly redeeming itself, comes a link to Microsoft admitting that it bribed members of the Swedish ISO committee to vote for OOXML. Unsurprisingly, the Swedish ISO committee just voided its own vote. Due to time crunch, they will not be casting a vote at all in the Open XML ratification process. I find it depressing but predictable that I’m unsurprised.