Older blog entries for compiler (starting at number 83)

Architectural Abstraction

Ever notice that Frank Gehry never seems to talk about walls? His view of a building is of light and shadow and volume. I'm an engineer. My view of a building is slabs and ductwork and convection. It's the same building, but we see it differently.

The future of software is in this multi-platform, multi- client, wildly distributed network called "The Internet". I'm such a visionary, I know. It bears consideration that network clients will see artifacts in as varied a manner as people see buildings.

It's difficult enough to build software with a single manifestation of an artifact (an email message, for example). Supporting multiple, and ideally unlimited, manifestations is immensely more complex. Once again, software needs to be done differently.

So how does nature do it? Our minds hold intangible models that form the basis of our cognition. These models are fully encapsulated, accessed only over a physical carrier such as air, or paper, or electrons. The conversion of our mental models is not perfect, as the exaltation of "great artists" and "great communicators" exemplifies. The conveyances are the common primitives defined by the rules of physics.

How is software limited by the conveyances of the web? Significantly. Bits are a very primitive building block -- akin to atoms or bricks? Bits must be molded with great craftsmanship to carry a message.

What makes XML a better conveyer of information than bits? The ability of software to "sense" it. Viola.


Visit this site, and buy one for a celebration.

Star Trek on the web

I like web discussion groups. Yes they are intelectual slums. Yes they are slow and ungainly. But still I like them, and here's why: Bablefish.

Remeber way-back when AltaVista put the BableFish translation service online? That was cool. I was in the midst of planning a six-week trip to Europe at the time, and BF helped me correspond with the owners of inns and travel bureaus. Once the trip was over, I didn't think much about it until a came accross discussion groups using the technology to auto-translate posts into the reader's language, regardless of the post's original language -- wow.

Simple? Yes. But still amazingly cool.

I can talk to almost anyone, anywhere in the world using these forums. That is a very good thing. Wonder how Afghans see the conflict in their country? Try th is (keep in mind that the translation technology isn't all that good before assuming someone is an idiot) and see Germans, French and Americans posturing and puffing in a language agnostic forum.

Mr. Kirk's universal translator is closer than it seems.

First Winter Storm

Sunday (October 21) I stole away to hike the Table Rock Wilderness. Awesome. As NYC holds the wonders of man, the PNW holds the wonders of nature.

It wasn't a great day for hiking with blowing rain and low rolling clouds. I couldn't see 100 yards for the fog sometimes. But it was a glorious six miles. So far removed. The staid giants (Douglas, Hemlock and Noble) quitely speak of shattering forces.

Sad reality returned at the reunion with the car. State troopers have patrolled there for a long time, that man's eyes were different Sunday. Uncertain.

XML for Diagrams, or DiagramML

First needed an export/import format with fealty to the model, but unadorned. I'm not one to choose a complex solution to a simple problem (okay, maybe I am but that isn't the point). Enter DiagramML. I think it will work, but consider it a proposal for now. Is there an alternative? :)

6 Oct 2001 (updated 23 Oct 2001 at 19:50 UTC) »
What a great day

Here in the PNW, Fall is glorious. Warm dry winds scatter desiccated leaves, each scittering harshly against quiet streets. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

Don't deride anything "Jewish"

Or Dave will call you names.

There is some really evil shit happening between Israel and Palestine, and the devil doesn't take sides. If I were Jewish, I'd be feeling pretty damn meek. I mean, why does Israel exist? Religion. What is Osama fighting in the name of? Religion.

Mayor Hypocrisy here. The fervent refusal to recognize legitimate objections to the Israel's policies is just stupid. A lot of people are pissed, and not completely without reason.

Of course, just saying this makes me a "racist bastard", I'm sure. Gee, that smacks of fanaticism now doesn't it?

22 Sep 2001 (updated 22 Sep 2001 at 05:07 UTC) »
Here come the carpet baggers...

Well now, Doc has managed to turn the attack on the Trade Center into an "I told you so" on his gig. It's all about conversations, Doc -- always has been, always will be. Such crap. Even managed to slip in a link to the book, I see.

Doc, you were on to something good there for a moment, but then you just had to masterbate on it.

Of couse, Dave is promoting himself pretty-well too. F**king disgusting, IMHO. It was great, marvelous really, that he made the effort to broadcast stuff not found on the mainstream news. Once he started patting himself on the back, however, he became an opportunistic bastard. Sorry, but that's how I see it. And this is just caving in. Why should the march of technology slow down? It's just as important as it's ever been.

These guys aren't great examples to follow. Do selfless deeds and keep them to yourself. Weblogs and "conversations" are interesting, perhaps one more than the other. But -- and that's a BIG "but" -- watch those damn egos!

Afterall, what motivates Mr. Laden if not ego? He doesn't take credit for his deeds, so they do nothing for his cause (at least, not his stated cause). It's all about feeling important. Some poeople seem to need more of it than others.

My theory is that there is a finite amount of ego in the world, and that it is hoarded at the expense of others. Without enough ego, a person can be sloathful and generally pissed at the world. Too much makes a person undervalue others. So, leave some ego for other and use as little as you can.

19 Sep 2001 (updated 19 Sep 2001 at 22:34 UTC) »
The f**kers did it for money!

Cold-blooded killers. Well, at least their motives are familiar.

Interestingly, this puts them in the ranks of "organized crime" which gives the gov't a clear run at financially ass- raping their supporters: The Swiss are meticulous record keepers (all transactions recorded in detail, even the serial numbers on cash) and "The Base"'s Swiss accounts are being opened for the investigation. Sent a check to support you local terrorist lately? Get ready to bend over...

19 Sep 2001 (updated 19 Sep 2001 at 19:52 UTC) »

Their leaders will continue to tell them lies, they will have no access to any other version. They have no discourse, only edict. That sucks, because they march blindly to destruction.


The Taliban have never faced the U.S. military. They think they have, but they're so tragically wrong. Fanaticism is alive and well here, too.

In the end

Ultimately, Islam will remain. The US will remain. Isreal and Palestine will remain. Only "The Base" will be gone, and soon forgotten. His cause is futile, it seems.

Yakk, was, actually

No longer.

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