Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ward Cunningham Interview

The job was really to take C++, which was a fairly static language, and show people how to write dynamic programs in a static language. That's what most of the patterns in that book were about. And in the process, patterns extended the life of C++ by a decade, which is not what I thought would happen. What I thought would happen is people, when they learned these patterns, would look at them and say, "Wow, these patterns are hard in C++ and they're easy in Smalltalk. So if I want to think in terms of these patterns, I might as well use a language where they're easily expressed." And extend the life of Smalltalk by a decade. But the opposite happened.
I always suspected that the patterns everyone got so excited about were basically a way of overcoming static typing. Ward confirms it :-)

Friday, May 25, 2012

System Modeller

Wolfram Research present "System Modeller".

I've always been interested in this kind of software, so I need to check this out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Anyone else noticed that in terms of Unix Time we're in a 1337 era?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wiki Renaissance

I believe we're in a wiki renaissance. The Smallest Federated Wiki signals a new era of wiki, slick enough for the age of HTML5, mobile devices and the "internet of things".

So here's a quick manifesto (in progress) that I'm writing about what's at stake in the new era, how it's the same as and different from the previous one. 

Friday, May 11, 2012


Just looking at the quickstart demo of Meteor, the hot new web framework people seem to be getting excited about.

First thought. Seems to me that far more important than using the same language for the client and server is being able to write the client and server code in the same file.

That is something I've been waiting for for a long time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Interesting this new surge of dynamic IDEs. First there was Brett Victor's awesome demo. Now there's LightTable (promoted on KickStarter, discussed on Quora)

Sporadic thoughts.

Is this implemented in the browser? (Bespin? CodeMirror)? Perhaps we're seeing this explosion of innovation as IDE authors move to the cloud.

A Kickstarter project? That's cool. But motivated by early investors getting licenses? Does it also mean that this next wave of software innovation will be abandoning Open Source as a model?

Elements of Jonathan Edwards's Subtext in the tree of updates. Of course, he's paying attention.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Quick SFW Generator

Smart Disorganized Individual philosophy is about doing things piecemeal; engaging in small opportunistic actions as and when the inspiration strikes. Today was just such a quick burst with the Smallest Federated Wiki.

I love SFW a lot, but it's a bit of a pain to bring a page or large chunk of writing from elsewhere into it. Adding one paragraph at a time is a nuisance.

So here's a quick tool to create an SFW page from an arbitrary large, multi-paragraph chunk of text. Just paste your text into the box, add a title and choose whether you want ordinary paragraphs (of the kind that most SFW installations use) or whether you want "wikish" (the UseMod derived format which is somewhat compatible with UseMod / SdiDesk markup). Hit the submit button, and it will deliver a json file suitable for dropping into the pages directory of your SFW installation.

Update : the source-code for this is part of Project ThoughtStorms on GitHub.  (Note: I may have broken other import scripts in the refactoring to make this import script work. Please log an issue if you find this.)