Jun 18, 2007

Norm Walsh invited me onto Dopplr, and like a fool I joined. Why, oh why, did I bother? I never leave home. All my “fellow travellers” know where I am. And it just makes me jealous knowing they’re jetting off to… let’s see… Montreal, Sebastapol, San Francisco, Redmond, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Limoges, San Jose, Toulouse, Berlin, Seattle, Monterey, Lahaina, Tokyo, Geneva, Naples, Prague, and so on.

Maybe I’ll pretend my immobility is a principled stance against superfluous air travel.

The right kind of indoctrination

Jun 16, 2007

Preparing dinner. Our three-year-old suddenly exclaims, “Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!

Too much Bob the Builder (who, for those without three-year-olds, has decamped to “Sunflower Valley” and now lives a zero-carbon lifestyle, constructing eco-friendly sunflower-oil-extraction factories and the like).

Get ‘em young, that’s what I say.

How to get women into computing

Jun 16, 2007

I’ve been thinking about the low proportion of women in computing since reading Tim Bray’s post about the lack of women at RailsConf:

Geeks, you know, they’re admittedly obsessive about computers, but once you get past that they’re on average a pretty eclectic, amusing, and warm-hearted bunch. And in recent years I haven’t met a single one who wasn’t upset about the missing gender. If a booming female Voice From On High spoke out, saying, “Do this and we’ll rejoin your profession”, well I bet a lot of us would do whatever it was. But failing that, in the meantime the problem isn’t getting better.

Partitioning overlapping markup

Jun 11, 2007

Wendell Piez forwarded me an interesting poster by Bert Van Elsacker on automatic fragmentation of overlapping structures. That’s taking something like:

<bold> this is bold <italic> and italic </bold> text </italic>

and turning it into something well-formed, like:

<bold> this is bold <italic> and italic </italic></bold><italic> text </italic>

When you do this, you have to decide which elements can be split and which can’t, and their relative priorities. Wendell suggested that perhaps Creole might help to do this. I have been thinking about is using Creole to add annotations to markup (something like, you add attributes to the Creole patterns and they get copied on to the matched ranges, or are used to create new ranges), but I haven’t done that yet, and actually I think you probably want a different kind of language to do it (a new kind of schema language like James Clark suggested), because the way in which you break up overlapping structures has a lot to do with how you’re going to process them.

FLY pentop computer

Jun 8, 2007

My dad got me a FLY pentop computer for my birthday! Basically, it lets you draw your own interface on special paper: draw a box, some numbers, some operators and an equals sign, and you’ve got a calculator; draw a keyboard and some circles for drums, and you can make music; write details of an appointment, and it’ll store it and repeat it at the designated time.