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Archives for May, 2005

computer scariness

I was happily using my computer yesterday when it froze. I waited for a few minutes (thinking “Linux isn’t supposed to do this – at the worst, X could crash, but why would everything freeze?”), and then rebooted it. At this point, things got a little scary: it complained right at the start about a […]

finished gta: san andreas

I’ve finally finished Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, only five months after starting it. It would have gone a lot faster if I could have played it while Miranda was watching, obviously, but it is a pretty long game. I don’t have a lot to add to my earlier comments. I said back then that […]

jane jacobs

Reading Christopher Alexander reminded me of Jane Jacobs, so, since I had a copy of her latest, Dark Age Ahead, on the to-read shelf, I decided to read it next. She’s quite an author. She’s most famous for her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, but she’s hardly a one-trick pony. […]

the cat returns

We recently watched The Cat Returns. One of only two non-Miyazaki Studio Ghibli movies that I’ve watched, the other being Grave of the Fireflies. And the two couldn’t be more different: the latter is very good, but very, very depressing; I honestly have no idea when I’ll be up for watching it again. Anyways, The […]

e3 2005

E3 is over now. The PS3 looks good; presumably somewhat more powerful than the Xbox 360, but it’s hard to say for sure, and some of the ways in which Sony is promoting its graphical superiority seem, honestly, kind of silly. It can connect to two TV’s? It can do 1080p, not just 1080i and […]

pasta rouille avec thon

Last night I was planning to go to a talk, but I decided at the last minute to stay at home instead. Which meant that we didn’t have any dinner planned, and neither Liesl or I was up for anything elaborate anyways. The solution was the excellent Pasta Rouille avec Thon. It has the virtues […]


E3 has crept up on me, but press conferences would seem to be going on as I type this. I followed the Xbox 360 unveiling last week; looks pretty cool. There were rumors that the console was going to be a bit underpowered, but Microsoft has apparently changed its mind: three cores each of which […]

a pattern language

I just finished A Pattern Language, by that favorite architect and urban planner of programmers everywhere, Christopher Alexander. (Actually, while Alexander gets the lion’s share of the credit in subsequent references, the front cover lists “Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, with Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King, Shlomo Angel” as authors.) My main reaction was “this […]

kalpa imperial

I see that I’ve forgotten to mention Kalpa Imperial, by Angelica Gorodischer, which I read a few months ago. I ran into it because it’s translated by Ursula K. Le Guin; I approve of her books, and her taste in general, so I figured I’d give it a shot. And it’s delightful. It’s a collection […]

next steps towards xp

As I mentioned recently, my group has been experimenting with some XP-inspired agile planning. Now that that’s stabilized, the question is: where next? It’s still my plan for the group to end up at full XP, if possible. (Asuming our experiments with it continue to turn out well, of course.) It’s also still my plan […]

geek pleasures

A coworker of mind just pointed me at the Self-Referential Aptitude Test.


The baseball season is a month old, yet I don’t seem to have commented on it yet. I guess I’ve been thinking about other stuff, or maybe it’s because of all the Food Network stuff that we have on the DVR. Admittedly, being able to pause games is nice, except that it’s really depressing to […]

aging software

For a while, I’ve been thinking of changing my use of a couple of pieces of software: Galeon, the web browser that I use, and XEmacs, which I basically use for everything other than web browsing. (It has a web browser, too, but it’s less than optimal.) These are, of course, two rather different situations. […]

errors of TeX

At work, I’ve recently been reading through a collection of papers on software development. Pretty boring, largely, until I got to the last article: “The Errors of TeX”, by Donald Knuth. Which was great! It turns out that Knuth kept a log of every single change he made to TeX from the beginning of debugging […]

managing categories

I’m in the mood to blog about managing, so I thought I should add a “Managing” category. But how to fit it into the hierarchy? I manage programmers, and I expect most or all of my managing posts to be about programming as well. But programming is already the only subcategory I have; to add […]

agile planning

At the Sun Engineering Conference a couple of months ago, I went to a workshop by Ron Jeffries on agile planning. That inspired me to try out the (XP) technique that he was proposing: the idea is to plan all work in terms of “stories” that you estimate will take between 1 and 3 “points” […]