Filesystems Aren’t a Feature

Coding Horror: Filesystems Aren’t a Feature. Really insightful. You know, leet PHP dudes (*cough*Topher*cough* ) tend to have no use for the filesystem, except as a place to put your frontend stuff. If it matters, tuck it in the database. If you need it, search on it.  Database items don’t have “filenames.”

Only difficulty I can see is with media.  You can’t do a text search on songs or movies without pumping some metadata into them. But things like MusicBrainz are good at automating metadata tagging, and people seem to dig tagging, what with the success of stuff like Flickr and

To be honest I tend not to carefully categorize my stuff into heirarchical folders; I tend to leave it all sitting on the Desktop or in the home folder or in half a dozen other places.  I see stuff I’ve been working on recently with ‘ls -ltr’.  Huge amounts of cruft accumulate which I clear out once in a while when the ‘ls’ listing gets too ugly.
Apparently GNOME’s Seth Nickell is working on a project to deal with files in this way; it’s called Storage.  Not exactly ready for prime time, that I know of.

I guess this is the general principle behind the Mac’s Spotlight, which is cool.  Current incarnation is a bit scattershot for me; I prefer the more selective and focused Quicksilver.

Part of the deal is that there are files and there are documents.  There are ten billion files on my computer that I do not care a whit about.  They exist for technical reasons and I never want to see them.  Documents are things I care about.  Songs, email messages, notes to myself, images.  Then there are programswhich are kind of in a netherland — I care very much that I have a web browser, but I care very little for the fact that in installing it I installed 503 files:

ed@inky:~$ dpkg -L firefox | wc -l
and it has created 850 new files in my home directory since then:

ed@inky:~$ find .mozilla/firefox/ | wc -l
That’s all useless trivia.  It’s as meaningless to me as the metal used in the wires that hook my keyboard up to my motherboard.  Very important behind-the-scenes info; useless to the user; even annoying.

In fact, with regards to the browser, I have 108 bookmarks, each of which is individually important to me, but guess what, they’re all in one file —

ed@inky:~$ grep -i href .mozilla/firefox/*.default/bookmarks.html | wc -l
So if we’re going to consider this stuff on a UI level, we have to separate “file” from “document.”  A heck of a lot more things are “files” than are “documents,” and some things are “documents” which are only fragments of “files.”  That’s something that as far as I know Spotlight does not respect, which is one reason why it’s unwieldy.

The Top 2% Of Developers

The Top 2% Of Developers via Reddit.

A “great developer” in one context, on one project, is going to be a mediocre or worthless developer in another context, on another project.

Yeah, clearly. Well said.

This sort of thing is the reason I roll my eyes when Paul Graham starts going on about “Great Hackers,” which usually means “people like Paul Graham.”

But being a dotcom startup bazillionaire lets you say pretty much any damn thing.

A Million Jockers, Punks, and Queens by Stephen Donaldson

A Million Jockers, Punks, and Queens, Stop Prisoner Rape: Sex among American Male Prisoners and its Implications for Concepts of Sexual Orientation by Stephen Donaldson

This was a really thought provoking article.  Unfortunately most of the thought is about unpleasant and brutal things, so I’ll put the rest of my comments behind a “read more” break.

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Welcome Back

Thanks for putting up with the short hiatus. More below, personal stuff, skip if that ain’t your bag baby.

UPDATE: apparently I’m sick as a dog.  Probably why I’ve been feeling crappy the past few days; it was creeping up on me, my body was telling me something was very wrong, but in the absence of overt symptoms I just read it as “life sucks.”

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