The Loss of a Great Rubyist, A Dream, A Note

Yesterday I learned here that one of the great Rubyists I’ve never heard of, Guy Decoux, aka “ts,” had died.

Last night in my dreams that memory mutated, and I dreamed that _whytheluckystiff, creator of Shoes and many other whimsical Ruby projects, had died! I remember thinking sadly about Shoes left unfinished, never to fulfill _why’s dream of helping children learn to hack.

Today in my feed reader I came across _why’s note on the passing of ts, and was relieved to learn that a dream was only a dream.

Tangent: I’m finding myself very resistant to writing on this blog these days, as opposed to just writing to friends, or posting something to myface or spacebook or whatever, or bleating it to the handful of friends who follow my twitter feed, or just emailing it. I don’t know why. Just don’t feel the need to contribute to the Blog Oh Sphere, at all.

Eliza as Disciple of Socrates

Eliza for Socrates:

“The following is an implementation of the artificial intelligence program “Eliza”, which has been painstakingly trained using Bayesian fuzzy neural networking inference technology, to take on the personality of one of Socrates’ interlocutors, such as Glaucon in the Republic.”

Haskellist on Git Code

Linux’s current version control system is git, which was written by Linus himself, and which, like Linux itself, has many enthusiastic fans.

Like Linux, git is considered to be extremely fast and powerful, but also arcane.

Like Linux, git has many tutorials written about it on the internet, telling people that it’s really very easy once you get to know it, and it lets you do wonderfully powerful things by means of very terse command-line incantations, and most of all, it’s very, very, very fast.

Like Linux, git has many detractors who maintain they have enough spare time to deal with slower-performing systems with less terse but more comprehensible interfaces, but not enough spare time to read dozens of tutorials on the internet trying to attain the level of familiarity with the system that permits them to issue those terse commands, and spend the time they just saved on command-typing writing tutorials to bring others into the fold.

A Haskellist who dug into the Git code while trying to reimplement some of it in Haskell as a personal project, had the following to say —

evan_tech — gat, a git clone in haskell: “Git is a jumble of random nearly-commentless code, full of globals and strange state and not at all clear control flows. On the other hand, it’s also much more Unixy than the code I’m used to reading, doing all sorts of tricks like using mmap() instead of read() (because the latter just involves an extra copy, y’know?) and forking. I am simultaneously impressed and terrified of what’s likely going on in my kernel.”

(Via Programming Reddit.)

For the record I don’t have the chops to confirm or deny his impressions.

There But For The Grace Of RSS Go I

Man, it’s hard for me to believe that a year or so ago I was hooked on Reddit.

My current relationship with reddit is this: I get the RSS feed for in my RSS reader. I find lots of interesting programming articles there. I virtually never read comments — I usually go straight to the linked page if the title interests me — and I never, ever upvote or downvote anything.

I never get annoyed because something is popular or unpopular, because I don’t know if anything is popular or unpopular, I just know it was in the feed.

I never get in arguments in the comments, because it would be a lot of trouble to click through to the comments, and I never bother.

I only read programming-related stuff, never politics. Ever.

This gives me what I always did enjoy out of Reddit — interesting articles on programming topics, that I might not see elsewhere.


Through some stray click I ended up at the Reddit home page today, and I was appalled that I had once devoted brain cells to this thing. Either it’s gotten worse over the past year or however long I’ve been avoiding it, or my tolerance for strident psycho nerds was once frighteningly high.