Ron Pawnz

Just to make sure ppl don’t get the wrong impression after one of my last posts about Ron Jeffries..

Here’s a fresh quote of his from the pragmatic programmers mailing list:

Yes. I’m still trying to find out whether he’s trying to communicate “change is expensive”, or what? And if he thinks change is necessarily, I was thinking we might talk about ways to make it less so.

That’s after people stop bitching at me for thinking improvement might be possible.


A Black Day For Freedom Raided

Lucky enough there’s always the world of IRC.. :)

Anyway, in context of this event, think about this: How many copies of the new Super Mario DS have been sold on the first day? How many copies of Oblivion? How many of Dave’s commercially released albums have I bought for about $30 each (because of overseas shipping)?

It would also be interesting to compare the numbers for Splinter Cell 2 and 3.. The latter with Starforce protection. I bought the first two versions of Splinter Cell. But not the third. Ubisoft fortunately listened to its customers and is not using Starforce anymore.

Also take a look at the box office numbers for the new X-Men movie. Problems with piracy anyone? Seriously: F*ck off! :) (But I do think it’s weird that people spend money on all these crap movies. But hey, that’s just me.. On the other hand, compared to the DaVinci code thing, the X-Men are probably good value for the money.. :)

Well, in a world gone mad..


Believing the Hype

Inside this post are some interesting facts about Ruby. Look here and here (PDF).

Don’t get me wrong! I really like Ruby! It’s just that it has some serious issues.. :)

Here’s a thought: Could the JVM gain JRuby an advantage?


Board Games

There is no reasonable explaination why, but it scares me that some people like board games.. With people, in this case, I mean ‘famous’ guys in the software development field. Is there a relationship between their ‘greatness’ and playing games like Settlers of Catan.

Here are the two posts that scared me :)

Martin Fowler’s BoardGames and Dave Astels We’re hooked on ‘Settlers’. To make things worse, the latter reminds me of this.

I have to think about what it means that they are being hooked on board games, when I prefer a nice game of Counter Strike or Battlefield..


Long Work Hours

After reading this Artima as a follow-up on Ron Jeffries’ Impact of Overtime on Productivity (two interesting views on quite an interesting topic) the thing that stuck with me is one of the comments to the Artima article:

Frankly, I think even 40 hours a week is overkill, but anything over 40 is immoral and unethical. Many of my coworkers died in the past few years and their deaths really remind me of how precious and short life is, and how important it is not to let your job, peers and management overwhelm you. I feel that work environment is partly responsible for some of my corworkers’ early demise.

I assume this guy must be somewhere in his 40s. I’m nearly 33 now.

Apart from some bike riding whenever the sun is shining, I really enjoy spending my time sitting at the machine. But I guess that’s OK. As long as it doesn’t create any stress.

That’s probably at the core of these two articles: Two approaches to coping with stress. Ron Jeffries’ assumes a context with a good team with good management. In this scenario it may be possible to avoid stress mostly or completely. Frank Sommers on the other hand talks about ‘reality’. But what he probably means is an environment with more average developers and management. There you can’t avoid stress and you have to compensate with nice holidays. Well, I’m over-simplifying a little bit here.. :)

I’m probably lucky that I can work in an environment where I pretty much make my own schedule. I learned avoiding Frank Sommers’ reality as much as possible. I guess I wouldn’t mind working in a Ron Jeffries context. But this kind of setting isn’t that easy to find.

I have to write a follow-up on this topic. I think it’s a common problem for the ‘upper league’ to confuse ‘their’ reality with ‘ours’.


New Harvest

It’s probably a good idea for you to spend some time reading this. If you think your time is too precious, just read the second and the last paragraphs.




In case you haven’t seen this link in my sidebar, yet:

It’s my lady-friend’s site. She’s a freelance graphics artist. Apart from all her beautiful fantasy artwork the one thing I love the most are The Fluxes™. She created them for one of the Symbian (mobile phone) games a friend (of D-Lusion fame) and I wrote a few years ago. It should still be around somewhere on The.Berlin.Factor or Intensi.Code.

Here’s my favourite flux image that I proudly wear on a t-shirt:

The Fluxes

The game is a BomberMan-clone where The Fluxes™ run around throwing these acid-slime balls on each other. Good fun. Well, BomberMan is a classic. All credit must probably go to Hewson..


Notes on SPAM

Just stumbled across this: A New Blue Frog?!

Not sure if you followed the Blue Frog situation. Another perfect fit for thinking: “In a world gone mad..”

Anyway, I hope these guys succeed with the P2P approach. But I can already see some dark clouds moving over the participants. I wonder when the first ppl start dying.. Think about it. It’s all about money. And we “humans” tend to kill for lesser reasons.

Oops. Not trying to sound too dark and/or dramatic here. But..

I wonder if such a system could be tampered with by the spammers. And turned against the users. Just a thought..

Maybe more interesting than this another-pointless-rant™ that I just produced, is this:

I use a simple combination of ProcMail, BogoFilter and SpamAssassin in combination with Exim and an IMAP server to automagically create whitelists and update the bogo-wordlists from each user’s SPAM folder. I tell my users (which basically is my lady friend and I :) to move any spam that should slip through into the inbox over into the SPAM folder. We also have to check the SPAM folder from time to time to move out all new ‘contacts’.

Our ISP filters about 99% of the SPAM already. But I still receive about 20 SPAM mails daily. But they all end up in the SPAM folder before I see them.

Also interesting: I moved to a new ISP about half a year ago. And I have the feeling that the previous ISP did a better job concerning spam. Maybe one SPAM email per day. If at all. Without me having an own anti-spam setup. Must be a coincidence that the old ISP was more expensive, too :) However, the amount of traffic and the content of our web-sites changed. So it’s hard to tell if there aren’t other factors contributing to the spamicity of my email accounts.

My personal anti-spam setup, however, seems to cope especially well with these funny spam mails that embed images or use fancy HTML to spell something like L E V / T R A.. whatever that is.. :) And it’s funny that spammers think they can fool an anti-spam system by adding some ‘intelligent text’ to an email. As if I would receive such emails at all.. Easy job for bogofilter.. :)

In a world gone mad..



Here’s an extract of my web-site log for this month:

1 	99018 	52.04% 	Internet Explorer 6.0 (Windows)
2 	82229 	43.21% 	Netscape 5.0 or Firefox

This is half a year ago:

1 	49784 	62.01% 	Micro$oft Internet Exploder
2 	27555 	34.32% 	Netscape

I like that development..


Biking Season – A good start :)

Last week I started the biking season. I’ve been riding a Chase since August last year. Nice bike.. it’s on the pictures below..

Anyway, after a 15 minute cruise through the city I arrived at one of Berlin’s bigger parks. I’m basically a street and trial driver, not very much into anything really dangerous. God only knows why on my first day of this year’s biking season I decided to take a few shortcuts down a hill in that park.

I know most of these routes and I know what to expect at the end of them.. But somehow I got confused.. :)

Eveything looked OK from above:

Trail 1Trail 2

Unfortunately I realized only after the ‘drop’ that this is how the end of the shortcuts looks:

Drop 120060511(003).jpg

I’m not sure which of these two shortcuts I took, I’m just happy that I landed OK and merely got a nasty wound at my left leg from the pedals.. because I slipped from the pedals after the ‘touch down’..

Boy was I lucky.. :)

Good start into the season!

Ride on!


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