A REPL for...C?

September 18, 2007 | programming
I’ve talked before about the value of a good REPL (scroll down to “The REPL in .NET”). Unfortunately, the programming language I write the most code in, C, lacks one. Or at least, it used to. The aptly named C REPL provides a REPL for C. Their trick: compile a DLL for each line of code, then load it into a new process. Presto: instant, portable interactive C.

Over-Securing WordPress

September 18, 2007 | programming, technology
I’m generally quite paranoid when it comes to server security—doubly so because I’m no guru at it—so I tend to take a shotgun approach. The virtual server running bit qua bit has a restrictive firewall setup, has root disabled, only allows secure IMAP/POP/SMTP, disallows password login through SSH, and mails me daily security audits, among other things. I also monitor Debian’s security-announce list like a hawk. (If you’re the sysadmin for a Debian server and you’re not on that list, sign up....

Debugging IE Layouts

September 17, 2007 | programming
As approximately 30% of my readers undoubtedly noticed, Internet Explorer had serious issues displaying the redesigned bit qua bit properly. Unfortunately, since IE lacks developer tools like the excellent Firebug and Web Developer toolbar, trying to figure out exactly what IE was choking on threatened to become a game of guess-and-test—the main reason that I’ve been so slow to get it fixed. Today, by happenstance, I came across a bookmarklet called Xray. You simply throw Xray into your toolbar,...

LiveJournal is Bizarre

September 15, 2007 | technology
After reading about Michael’s attempt to turn his homepage into an aggregator for all his computer activities, I got inspired to try LiveJournal again. I last used LiveJournal when it was cool because it was running on Linux, and Linux was really cool because it had the singular ability to wipe out huge chunks of nominally backed-up data if you didn’t understand how UMSDOS worked. Since (as you “old-timers” have already figured out) I was thirteen at the time, I had of course forgotten my...


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 copilot.com 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...