August 2003

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I have come to the conclusion over the years, that the worst possible way to run any kind of volunteer online community is through democracy. Democracy is a high-overhead compromise that rarely works in the small- to medium- purpose-oriented communities that tend to arise online. And yet, people keep trying it.
In honour of a recent comments thread on Hani's blog, I hereby declare Monday, September 1st to be "Post pictures of your cat to Javablogs" day. All are invited. If you don't have a cat, find one!
The assumption of the OS security model is that all actions a user takes should be considered equal, and the user's authority is delegated infinitely and unchecked through software. This is the deadly assumption that causes almost all malware to spread. We should not assume that the user trusts the software he or she is running.
To enable sender-validation in sendmail, enable this option: bird, squiggley line, sideways man, fish.
Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I’ll use regular expressions." Now they have two problems. ---Jamie Zawinski, in comp.lang.emacs
It turns out the bug that sapped a day of my productivity has been known since April, and nothing concrete was done about it. Go RedHat.
Debian is a volunteer project, so the people who put the packages together do it for free. RedHat is a commercial organisation, so they need to pay their packagers, and in turn that cost needs to be transferred back to us, the user. It also doesn't help that compared to apt/dselect, RHN is pretty clunky.
Yes, I've momentarily jumped on the audio-blogging bandwagon. Fear.
It's tempting to try to make it impossible for people to write bad code. It's also often a waste of time: what you want is to make it impossible for people to write bad code when they should know better.
James Gosling recently weighed into a discussion on Apple's java-dev mailing-list. Here are a few choice quotes.
The accepted, and often unquestioned wisdom is that reinventing the wheel is bad. I attempt to redress the balance by providing a few situations where such reinvention is a good idea.
I am afflicted with occasional bouts of insomnia. They are nothing serious, they just manifest as me finding myself at 1:30 in the morning thinking: "Wow. I'm not at all tired, am I" when I have to be at work the next day.
Maybe I'm being a neanderthal here, a historical throwback due to my life as a computer nerd. Maybe the modern-day Metrosexual man scoffs at my inability to work out if that jacket really makes me look like a prat or not. I doubt it, though. After all, the archetypal Metrosexual is David Beckham, and I bet Posh picks out his clothes.
Some long-running processing is occurring in your program. You really have no idea how long this event is going to take, but you want to keep the user as happy as possible while it is running.
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