March 27th, 2003

Feelings and thoughts now talked about in Spanish: Santiago Gala about the circle of knowledge. Thanks for the compliment, Santiago (I think, since I don't speak Spanish, except for "dos cervezas").

Andy's cool?

March 26th, 2003

Andy is on top of the Google ranking. What's the big deal? I'm the most popular Tom Klaasen for quite some time now, and I know a lot of others who fall in the same category. Heck, even this guy beats his daddy.

Finally, the truth online

March 24th, 2003

Hehe: where GeoURL only knew Brussels in the past, it has finally discovered the real center of the world. I know one or two people who won't like their new "near" designation. :-D

Business ethics

March 23rd, 2003

Welcome to the real world rants about unknowing consultants. He concludes with

business ethics : oh so important to build a trust relationship with your customer ...
Sorry Werner, I think you're overlooking something here. While there might be unethical Java people out there, I think the majority of the people you encounter, are not unethical. They're just unknowing. This morning, under the shower, I came up with a good reference: I bought a house two years ago. While it was in pretty good shape, the electricity needed rewiring in some rooms. Having replaced a plug for a lamp once, I thought I would be able to do this myself. Luckily enough, my father-in-law is an electrician. When he started talking about "double carr" and "stiff wire", I knew it wasn't me who was going to replace the wires...

The good news is: not everybody is unethical. The bad news: it is a lot harder to see that a programmer is not good, than to recognize a bad electrician.

via Steven

Afterthought: maybe I'm just plain naive, and are those people well enough aware of their ignorance. But I like to believe in the goodness of people. Anyway, the question remains open: how should good people differentiate themselves from less good people? This could give us an indication of which group we belong to, too.

Circle of knowledge again

March 21st, 2003

Steven writes: Outer Web Thought Log: Open Source uptake in Belgium. Aside from getting me curious to know who can be considered competition to Outerthought in Belgium (I can only come up with one), Steven also ponders about how to position yourself. Always nice to see I'm not the only one thinking those thoughts.

BTW, did you notice this?

... to exchange thoughts and feelings open and freely ...

You should put a hyperlink in there, Steven ;-)

Update: Got to love Google: Yves Vindevogel (via the Cocoon Wiki) also seems to be a Belgium-based OSS/Java/Cocoon guy.


March 17th, 2003

My guess for the immediate future of Antwerp: VLD joins Vlaams Blok to form a coalition in the community counsil. The coming days will tell if I'm right...

On other world news: UN loses. Either they decide to go with the US tonight, which means they give in to the whims of some president, thus admitting they are powerless, or they don't, and the US attacks Iraq, and the UN remains powerless.

Let's hope I'm wrong on both points, because this doesn't look too bright a future. Not enough to wear shades, anyway.

Disclaimer: all this political stuff is not backed by any strong opinion, just by thoughts floating in my mind. Which is where blogs are for. I should put something like this in my MT templates, I guess.


March 16th, 2003

Funny: Code Intensity. $2.49/gallon == 2.31/gallon == 2.31/3.7843 liter == 0.61/liter. Expensive? Now compare to this ("Belgi" is Dutch for "Belgium", where I live. And "loodvrij" is "without lead"). Maybe we can inspire that Bush-guy where he can find money for his budget deficit now (most part of the gaz prices here are taxes) ;-)


March 16th, 2003

Short comment on this: JavaBear

  • Put your comment on the appropriate level. Implementation details don't belong in the method's javadoc, but maybe in the method's comment. "The counter i is increased with 2 each time because..." does not belong in the method's comment.
  • Don't only comment why, but also what. Have you never encountered some string manipulation code, that forced you to execute it in your mind before you figured out what it does? "This removes every third character from the string, but keeps the last 6, the middle 4, and deletes the first 3" might prove very time-saving.

Now moving on, discussions like this become very fast very boring. But I couldn't resist.

Tab Completion in Windows

March 14th, 2003

Refered to by a fellow worker: Fuzzygroup :: Making Windows Like Unix - Tab Completion. I didn't know that. It only completes file names in the current directory, so it's still slightly different from un*x, which also completes commands in your path, but still...

BTW, this article is in fact two articles: the tab completion stuff, which is interesting, and the author's resum�, which made me laugh (read till the end!). Sign o' the times, I guess...

Freedom Fries

March 12th, 2003

Read this: Yahoo! News Full Coverage - U.S. - GOP Lawmakers Rename French Fries to 'Freedom Fries' in House Cafeteria. Yeah, that'll teach them. Especially since everybody knows that French fries are not French at all, but Belgian...

via DayPop via Matthew Langham

Struttin' with Struts

March 11th, 2003

Just found Struttin' With Struts - Lessons. Seems like an interesting tutorial for Struts newbies. I know I wish I had something like this a year and a half ago.

via Matt Raible

How to create tech jobs

March 10th, 2003

Have I told you already how I agree with Norman Richards? No? Now I did. Not that I see a lot of "dead wood" in my circle of perception, but I know they're out there.

Blogging mainstream?

March 10th, 2003

Articles like - Blogging goes mainstream - Mar. 10, 2003 seem to indicate that the "business people" are starting to smell money in the blogging area. So enjoy it while it lasts, kids, because soon, you'll be slammed with ads like any Internet page nowadays. (For the youngsters: yes, there was a time when you could surf a whole day without encountering a single advertisement.) And then the class action suits will follow: "This guy aggregated my RSS feed, but filtered out my ads." And so on and so forth. The usual crap you get when money sharks touch the fun stuff.

via Erik Thauvin

Nick Chalko goes to war

March 9th, 2003

Nick Chalko, whom I've always respected for his hard work at Krysalis, seems to be eager to go to war. An opinion that differs slightly from mine. No Nick, nobody cares that you want to go out and kill Saddam. He killed enough people in his time. But who we do care about, is the Iraqian dad of a 13- and 16-year old whom you're going to kill too.

Terry Jones

March 9th, 2003

Found this in my mailbox the other day:

A letter to the london observer from Terry Jones (yes, of Monty Python).

Letter to the Observer

Sunday January 26, 2003

The Observer

I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street.

Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what.

I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is. As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people.

Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want!

And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us.

That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way.

Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for bombing Iraq. Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it?

How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's committed an act of terror.

What about would-be terrorists? These are the ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves.

Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims?

It's the same in my street. Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all out. My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.

Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say 'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come.

It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing - and, in contrast to what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.

Of course, I don't know if this really is by Terry Jones, but it's well written and expresses the feelings many of the non-americans (and from some information that leaks through, even a few americans) have, I think.


March 6th, 2003

In Outer Web Thought Log: Sam goes Python (again), Steven refers to my referer log. For the curious: you can find it here. Code is on SourceForge.

It's not much, but the log parsing was fun. And yes Steven, I have more features than you do ;-)

Forrest: the response

March 4th, 2003

As I wrote last week, I've used Forrest to build some documentation for my client. I've presented it to some people already, and all reactions were "ooohh..." and "aaaahh....". Some even asked where they could find this tool, so they could play with it themselves. And those are not Java people! Great.

When I present Forrest, I start with "it's a site", and "it's generated from xml". "You put your xml through a command line tool, and then you get this html". Occasionally, I change the skin, rebuild, and get some more "ooohhh". But the final feature that makes them go "I want that" is the auto-generation of the PDF files. Great, they think, two files with the effort of typing one. And right they are :-)

The only thing that looks like a drawback (give a finger, and they'll want an arm) is that all PDFs are per-page. It's not (yet?) possible to generate one big PDF from the whole of the site. It's on Forrest's Dream List though, so I keep my hopes up that it will get there some day. In the mean time, I've quickly pondered what difficulties would come up when you implement something like that, and it didn't look too easy. You'd have to build a PDF file while crawling the site, instead of just aggregating a static collection of PDF pipelines. At least, that's how it looks from the outside. And that is probably the reason that it's not implemented yet. Ah, time, sweet time...

But overall: fantastic job, Forresteers. You really made it possible to concentrate on content instead of fighting with the text editor's whims.

Circle of knowledge

March 4th, 2003

Sean 'Early' Campbell & Scott 'Adopter' Swigart's Radio Weblog has a reference to a "scientific" prove of the "circle of knowledge" theory. I'm glad that my view on the world is scientifically quantifiable.

Belgian elections

March 3rd, 2003

Bruggen showed me the way to De Standaard's Poll advice. I was surprised. Apparently, I have a lot in common with the Spirit party, which I marked as 'irrelevant" (because too small and too dispersed internally), and I hardly agree with SP.A, while I was thinking about voting for Patrick Janssen (if he is electable).

This seems to indicate that I'm not as well-informed as I believed I was. However, my preference was maybe not inspired by the programmes, but by the persons. Spirit is a club of highly intellectual we-should-doers, while Mr. Janssen is more of a doer. This doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything SP.A does, but I do believe that the city of Antwerp needs a strong personality to lead the city, instead of a Mrs. nice grandmother. But there don't seem to be many strong personalities who are willing to take lead of our city.

Note to self: in a previous life, Mr. Janssen was head of an advertising firm. Maybe, just maybe, can that explain my perception of him.

Todo: inform self better before half May.

Later: the upcoming elections are for government, not for city counsel. This again demonstrates that I really should get started informing myself. Of course, some parties have only one programme point: "we want in!" (N-VA). Bellybutton staring like that hardly encourages me to get an informed opinion.

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