Tag Archives: general


It looks like the Collegian now has someone on staff who believes in updating the website. This is goodness and light. I only wish they’d post all the articles, rather than just 2 or 3 of them. I’d especially like to see the letters to the editor online, with the possibility to have online discussion about them. It’s also good to see discussion from the intranet site make it back into the newspaper conversation. It’ll be interesting to see if, and how much, the two conversations feed one another.

Edward Tulane

Last night we finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Dicamillo, once again, is simply amazing. Although the style is simple enough for kids, the character is believable, and the book is heartbreaking all the way to the last page. It’s a story of a toy rabbit who gets lost, and learns what it means to love. To tell you more would be unfair. You’ve got to read it for yourself.

Dicamillo is also the author of The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie. I think that, of the three, I’ve enjoyed this one the most.

How did that get there?

I have been listening a lot lately to Jonathan Coulton, and have been delighted with most of his stuff. It’s fascinating how, when one dispenses with such things as tact, one can have fascinating insights. The songs Shop Vac, and Someone is Crazy, in particular, are descriptions of folks that I’m sure all of us know – perhaps some of us are that person.

Some of you probably encountered Coulton when his song Code Monkey did the rounds of the geek community a little while back. That is indeed one of his better songs, but there’s a lot of good stuff where that one came from.

Marley was dead

The time has come again. Tomorrow night I’ll be doing my third annual performance of “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas”, by Charles Dickens. It takes about 3 hours, including brief breaks between the staves, and I’m expecting about 8 people to show up. At least, that’s how many people have told me that they are coming. Others have indicated that they might, so hopefully they won’t show up 15 minutes into the reading.

I’m rather less prepared that I was last year – there’s a lot more going on in my life now than there was this time last year, and I still haven’t unpacked from my trip last weekend. But I think it will be enormously enjoyable. At least, for me. And, after all, this event is for me. I just let people show up so that I can have an audience. 🙂

Somewhere, there is a DVD iso image of last year’s performance. I don’t know where it is, or if I even have a copy, but I know Skippy has a copy somewhere. And there are mp3s of last year’s performance too. I’m pretty sure that the story will turn out the same way it did last year, so if you want to attend virtually, you can listen along, starting at 6:30pm Eastern time.

Yes, I know it’s not Christmas. Christmas was even more hectic than this month, and so I postponed a few weeks.

— Edit:

Found them:

Stave One
Stave Two
Stave Three
Stave Four
Stave Five


Today we crossed 300 people in the #apache IRC channel on Freenode. I remember when we crossed 100, and bemoaned the changes in the nature of the conversation. And, now that we’re at 300, the feel is indeed less friendly, more hostile, more angry people, more rude “helpers”, more RTFM responses, more people looking to be spoon-fed rather than actually participate in solving their own problems.

I think it’s probably possible to restore a bit of courtesy and friendliness, but I imagine it would be pretty hard.

WordPress podcast, and measuring success

I just got done listening to the WordPress podcast, and I’m very impressed both with the quality of the production, and the quality of the commentary. That two guys can natter on for an hour, and still be interesting and informative, is pretty impressive.

I’m fascinated, however, by the remarks about Habari. In particular, I have a growing interest in how people measure the success of a project, and this podcast tweaked that interest a little more.

It appears that a lot of people measure the success of a project by things that are utterly unimportant to me. High on this list are:

Install base: Habari can’t be a success because WordPress already has a huge install base, and, starting from scratch, Habari has only 3 users.

Number of themes: There’s only one or two themes.

Number of plugins: WordPress has a lot of plugins and is therefore successful.

These intrigue me, not only because they are completely disjoint from how I measure success, but because the last one is, to me, a clear indication that WordPress does a lot of stuff wrong – at least, after listening to the list of new plugins listed on the podcast.

Yes, it’s neat to have lots of people using our stuff. I imagine that’ll come with time. But it’s not a measurement of success. I got involved in Habari for rather different reasons.

I wanted to work on some cool code. I actually enjoy programming, when the code is elegant, beautiful, and innovative. Habari code is those things, at least now. And it’s fun. If folks end up using it, bonus, but that’s not the measure of success.

Also, I wanted to produce a package that does what I want it to. One of the fundamental principles of Open Source is scratching one’s own itches. If we end up with a product that I can use, that does pretty much what I want it to do, and which I can tweak to do other stuff I want it to do, then it’s successful.

As for themes, that’s a non-issue. Habari will be able to use WordPress themes, so however many themes WordPress has, Habari has ’em to.

Finally, plugins. Well, that’s interesting. One of the plugins that was mentioned on the WordPress podcast allowed you to reorder pages. I don’t even understand what the problem is, let alone why you’d need a plugin to solve the problem. When something hugely obvious, like reordering pages, requires a plugin, this makes me wonder both about the community process (why wasn’t this just a trivial patch to TRUNK, rather than a third-party plugin) and the code (why on earth should it be so hard to reorder pages that it requires a third-party plugin?) Of course, this is likely a bad example, and I’m sure the plugin does useful nifty things that would be impossible otherwise. But there are large numbers of plugins that seemed to me like they should be core behavior. My canonical example is the dashboard. The first thing that I do when I install WordPress is install a dashboard plugin, so that the administration dashboard is actually useful, rather than being a list of RSS feeds of blogs in which I am utterly uninterested. Why I would want a list of blog entries on someone else’s blog as my main administration interface completely escapes me.

Anyways, thanks for the podcast, and for the insightful things you had to say about Habari. We’re having fun, and we’re producing interesting software, so we’re already successful. I find your measuring stick interesting, but I think you’re using the wrong one.

Dilbert and his creator

I’ve been reading The Dilbert Blog for several months now. Today, I have finally removed it from my aggregator. I’d just had enough.

Some of the time, it’s very funny. Most of the time, it’s mildly offensive. Some of the time, it’s profoundly offensive. I guess I just got tired of being offended, and the occasional funny wasn’t making up for the usual offensive.

I don’t mind that some people are atheists, or agnostics. What I mind is people of one philosophical persuasion feeling the need to defecate all over the beliefs of other people on an ongoing basis. Yes, Scott, I get that you disagree with my view of the world. What I don’t get is your unbridled rage and venom that you feel the need to spew so regularly, and so violently.

You’re a good writer, Scott. But the vitriol just doesn’t fit you. It comes across as hatred and rage, and I wonder what it is that you’re reacting to.

I don’t mind being offended. I’m not so full of myself that I can’t deal with being offended. But it’s no longer entertaining, and the occasional insight and occasional humor simply doesn’t pay for the venom.

ApacheCon Planners Meeting

We’re just about ready to get started on the ApacheCon planning for ApacheCon EU 2007 in Amsterdam. We’re in the Peachtree Westin, downtown Atlanta. Not everyone has showed up yet for the 9am meeting. Hopefully they’ll be here soon, so we can get this show on the road.

The hotel is very nice. The surrounding area is wonderful. This is where we’re doing the 2007 US show in November.