September 15, 2003
@ 12:58 AM
  1. It's time for The Puyallup Fair again. Last year was my first time attending a state fair and I was surprised by the juxtaposition of events. From hip hop artists and country singers to dog shows and roller coasters it was definitely an interesting mix. The concert schedule lists "Wierd Al" Yankovic, Busta Rhymes and the B-52s as making an appearance this year. All this and a rodeo too.

    From what I gather, the Puyallup Fair is the last major outdoor festival of the year. So it's going to be another six to nine months of shitty Seattle weather until the next festival season comes around. Gotta love the Pacific Northwest.

  1. Now that hip hop is the new pop I'm continually surprised by how deeply into pop culture it's been seeping. I'm currently being tickled by the fact that it is now commonplace to see ads on TV for hip hop inspired children's dolls such as the Bratz and Flava lines of toys.

    I seem to complaints about the harmful effects to young black girls who grew up but only had blonde, white dolls to play with. I wonder whether the people who used to gripe about this are happy that now that the creator of Barbie is producing toys modelled after "minorities" it is due to the popularity of one of the largest reinforcers of negative stereotypes around; rap music.

  1. In the next few weeks the W3C will be hosting a Workshop on Binary Interchange of XML Information Item Sets which is described thusly
    The purpose of the Workshop, then, is to study methods to compress XML documents, comparing Infoset-level representations with other methods, in order to determine whether a W3C Working Group might be chartered to produce an interoperable specification for such a transmission format.
    Now this is a horrendous idea. I've seen first hand the kind of messes get produced when the W3C decides that they'll take a bunch of contradictory requirements then have a couple of P.hDs from companies that have completely different goals hack up a specification. Can you say 'grand compromise that is too complex for the simple cases and not powerful enough for the non-trivial cases'?

    I've avoided commenting on the W3C's binary XML workshop because every time I started writing about it I end up using the words "incredibly stupid" somewhere in the post. Thankfully, someone's come to the rescue. Read the post entitled Binary XML Standard Considered Harmful by Omri Gazitt for some reasons why trying to standard on binary representations of XML is at best an unwise activity.

    Omri used to run the WebData XML team (which I'm on) but now works for the XML Web Services team and is in charge of their XML protocols work. He knows what he is talking about.

  1. So with hip hop being as popular as it is Hollywood has decided to inundiate us with movies I like to describe as "hip hop meets white crock". The basic premise of such movies is "lame white person meets cool hip hop infused black person, hilarity ensues". So far this year we've been shovelled Bringing Down the House, Malibu's Most Wanted, and Marci X. As the year progresses the quality of the movies has progressed from good to mediocre to fucking awful. I dread to see what the next movie from this genre is going to be.

  1. Proof that any idiot with a functioning keyboard can get a technical article posted online: Why getter and setter methods are evil

  1. I recently saw the first episode of Meet Joe Schmo, a fake reality television show where all but one of the contestants is an actor whose job is to convince an unfortunate dupe that he is on a "real" reality show. I can't tell if this is clever satire or just another depth to which television has sunk.

  1. As mentioned by Arpan in his blog we recently had usability studies for the next version of the System.Xml this week. Well designing APIs, it is always good to be aware of the habits of the average developer who'll be using your bits and usability studies are a good way which we get to do this first hand.

    A lot of the places where we suspected things would be counter-intuitive were percieved as stumbling blocks by the participants in the study. More interestingly was that a number of suspicions I had about how people figure out how to use an API were borne out.

    One thing that is clear, is that developers are most comfortable when they can come up with a simple rule for how a feature or technology works. Usability problems come about when either (a.) there isn't a simple rule that describes the API/technology well enough or (b.) the intuitive simple rule is wrong.

    An example an intuitive but wrong simple rule that a developer might come up with is this post by Cedric Beust entitled Thousands of bugs in the Character class where he incorrectly assumes that there are thousands of bugs in the Java java.lang.Character class because the code
    doesn't always return true. On the surface this might seem like a bug until you stop and think about it critically. The fact is that there are lots of characters where the notion of "upper case" and "lower case" are meaningless. For instance the addition symbol(+) is neither upper case nor lower case and invoking Character.isLowerCase or Character.isUpperCase will return false.

    However like most developers Cedric Beust didn't read the documentation where the behavior of the method is clearly spelled out. The lesson here for people designing APIs which I've taken to heart since watching the usability study is that just having the information somewhere in the documentation is not good enough because most people won't read it. Consideration should be made during the design process such that methods, properties and events act how people would "guess" they behave just from their names and/or paramter names. Intellisenseis the documentation for a large number of developers.

  1. For the folks pissed of at SCO's recent actions in the Linux arena here's a nice T-Shirt I'm sure you'll enjoy.

  1. Every couple of years the software industry rebrands old ideas with sexy new names so they can charge more for the same old thing. While still trying to recover from the rebranding of message-based RPC mechanisms into service oriented architectures I was hit square in the face by all the grid computing hype. Grid Computing? Isn't this what the folks at SETI@Home and Distributed.Net have been doing for a couple of years? Why all the hype now?

  1. Miguel De Icaza, one of the brightest stars of the software industry now has an RSS feed for his blog. Subscribed.

Get yourself a News Aggregator and subscribe to my RSSfeed

Disclaimer: The above comments do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. They are solely my opinion.


Comments are closed.