January 30, 2007

January 26, 2007

Updates to EventNett

New features added to EventNett this month:

  • Added a Map view that plots the current search results in a Google map
  • Included a map in event and location pages
  • Added iCalendar files for downloading into Outlook, Sunbird, etc.
  • Enhanced event schedule entry when adding a new event
  • Added a Location view that lists all locations and the number of events at each
  • Added a thumbnail calendar view of each event's schedules in the event page
  • Added a FAQ page
posted by sstrader at 2:53 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

January 24, 2007

Everything is a class

A good general rule of OO is to look at everything as a class. If you design with classes in mind, you get all of the benefits of polymorphism-encapsulation-inheritance and all of that other crap you need to spew out in interviews. This approach of class-centric design should be remembered even when using raw data types--a point that is easy to forget.

I recently ignored this rule on some simple code I was working on at home. The code manipulated an array of days ("Monday," "Tuesday," etc.). Halfway through coding some bloated utility functions, I came to my senses and quickly refactored. The value of OO--encapsulation specifically--was immediately apparent. Sometimes you get sloppy and forget, and sometimes you file it under "To Be Fixed Later." Far too much corporate code gets written in that way. It's easier to add comments to your code as you're writing it than at a later time (which never comes). Similarly, it's easier to encapsulate data earlier.

This shoud be, and indeed does sound like, a very duh point, but it's one that gets ignored.

So anyway, the day array began as a simple string array. A collection class provides sort and search and management methods, so I didn't design any further than the collection class. Almost immediately, utility methods started appearing: convert from a delimited list, convert to a delimited list, check for a weekday, check for a weekend. All of these were small but invasive to the surrounding code. In a situation where a simple true or false result was needed, access to the collection required a search and comparison that included one or more temporary objects. If only one spurious type is involved, then your code would not get too mangled. However, many similar nearly-basic types are used throughout programs, and those incur an unwieldy increase in local noise in the form of utility code. As local objects and line lengths increase, readability decreases. It's never one or two extra lines that you're adding, it's the potential for 10s or 100s.

I caught my lazy error early, and the simplification to the code was ... breathtaking. An added bonus--as always with encapsulation--was that the newly created class provided a chance to add additional safety checks that would be avoided the in already-complex surrounding code. Again, this seems like a simple Programming for Dummies recommendation because it's so obvious, and yet it is too often avoided with no good excuse. LOC numbers may go down, but so do headaches.

posted by sstrader at 2:21 PM in Programming | permalink | comments (0)

January 22, 2007

Wiktones

I may be in line for a Wikipedia editor smack-down, but after several comments I decided to move my transcription of the audio clips in The Kleptones song "Question" to its own Wikipedia article. I'd rather have added some sort of intellectual article, but what can you do?

posted by sstrader at 4:12 PM in Music | permalink | comments (0)

January 18, 2007

More hope

FactCheck.org has a dutifully sobering look at one of the Dems' bills.

This has been noted by many and deserves reiteration: Pelosi's Democrats are following through on their 100-hour promise. I repeat: my people are the shit. Now, the only fear is that some doofus will try to fuck it up.

posted by sstrader at 5:55 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

Avenue Scrubs

The Scrubs musical airs tonight. Music and lyrics by the guys who did the-painfully-hilarious Avenue Q. I stopped watching Scrubs because I got tired of Braff's over-coy mugging, but this could be a nice diversion.

posted by sstrader at 12:03 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

January 17, 2007

Lost Highway

The opera Lost Highway is premiering in NYC the end of February, and I'm agonizing over whether I should go. It's at the Miller Theater. The music is by Olga Neuwirth (who has successfully put absolutely no audio clips of her work on the interweb) with libretto by her and Elfriede Jelinek.

Her moody and mysterious opera combines live musicians, singers, actors, electronics, and video—a full arsenal of stagecraft to bring Lynch’s film to life with gripping immediacy. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience some of Neuwirth’s best music to date!

Oh, decisions.

posted by sstrader at 12:15 PM in Music | permalink | comments (1)

January 16, 2007

Subtle, but different

A many-months-old analysis of the unfortunate political abuse of the translation of Ahmadinejad's statement against Israel is getting passed around. What appears to be a more studied and precise translation is: The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. What gets passed around by war-mongers (pleasantly called "hawks") is: The regime occupying Jerusalem must be wiped off the map. Slightly different, huh?

(Jonathan Steele's analysis has a nice overview of the difficulties, but I would have liked to have seen the source material with transliterations. Language Log has several references to the Iranian president, but unfortunately nothing on this.)

posted by sstrader at 8:34 AM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

January 15, 2007

Studied

[ updated 18 Jan 2007 ]

Aha. I see that Jon Stewart pre-emptively made my point adding the Levin-Reid Amendment in for good measure. And, of course, he was hilarious in his pre-emption.

Touche.

I have yet to hear a coherent policy out of the Democratic side with respect to an alternative.

- Dick Cheney

Here're some Democrats that have offered an alternative: Vernon Jordan, Jr., Leon E. Panetta, William J. Perry, and Charles S. Robb. They're one half of the Republican-led Iraq Study Group. You can also look for Democrats in the U.S. officials (includes civilian and military) in the 10-page list [ pdf ] of those people that the ISG committee interviewed.

Sadly one word--surge--is more catchy to the president than a list of 79 researched-yet-difficult recommendations. The president is taking the easy way out, and Cheney is dutifully diverting attention.

posted by sstrader at 8:38 AM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

January 11, 2007

H. Lee

Got this from the wife: Reclusive 'Mockingbird' author attends show. How great that Harper Lee is still alive and visiting kids. (I'm sure she's particularly happy about still being alive.) That book's really stayed with me since I finished it. I know it's stupid to recommend a classic--it's a classic, duh--but I am. What brings an author to write only one (or only one notable) book? What are some other examples in the arts?

posted by sstrader at 3:43 PM in Language & Literature | permalink | comments (0)

January 9, 2007

Ye olde videowe gamme

Listened to The Long View on BBC 4 today. The show centered around the similarities between this generation's view of video games and 18th Century's disapprobation of fictional novels. Both sparked fears of a distracted and decadent public more intent on self-entertainment than societal responsibility. I've often said that reading is as much as a consumer act as watching television, but I completely agree with the humorous warning contained in the BBC show's comparison. They spoke specifically of the novel Pamela (note that The Long View has been added to the end of the Wikipedia entry for Pamela), which apparently had a following in 1740 equivalent to today's popular TV shows.

This "fear of corruption" seems to me to be equivalent to the absurd concerns that television is getting so amoral that we'll soon be watching hardcore porn on prime time. If you can agree that banning navels and banning the word "pregnant" goes too far, then you've already been corrupted beyond what the 1960s would allow on TV shows.

posted by sstrader at 11:28 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (0)

Jay-walking-crazed Tufts historian harrassed by Atlanta police

Reporter's Notebook: Highlights from the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association

What is that, like five or six cops that have him pinned to the ground?!? Truly, there's nothing more deadly or dangerous than the Wiley Historian.

BBC News puts Atlanta on the map with some unwanted attention. Oddly, they soft-peddle it with a simple diagnosis of culture clash. That's a bit too kind.
posted by sstrader at 1:43 PM in Culture & Society | permalink | comments (1)

January 8, 2007

Secret law stays

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of Gilmore v. Gonzales. Papersplease.org has a succinct writeup (someone please flesh out the Wikipedia entry!):

John Gilmore is disappointed that the Supreme Court refused to act on the danger posed by the unconstitutional position of the TSA, and its refusal to release the text of the law that it uses to require travelers to show identification. ... This country has a remarkable history of publishing its laws, to give the public notice of the behavior the government demands of them. John has pursued this effort because, as he said on www.papersplease.org, [u]ntil Americans have the ability to know the contents of the laws being applied to them, our Republic is in danger.

You read that correctly: he's asking simply that the law stating that you must show ID to fly be made public. Yipes.

posted by sstrader at 8:05 PM in Politics | permalink | comments (0)

January 4, 2007

Idea

Whenever I get in the job market again, I'm going to redesign my resume to be in landscape so that I can turn my work history into a timeline with call-outs containing accomplishments from each job. I would completely hire someone if they came in with something like that.

posted by sstrader at 7:51 PM in Personal | permalink | comments (1)