About willduquette

Beautiful Code One Screen at a Time

As I wrote last week, the software's source code is the design; and that means it needs to be clear and easy to read; and that means it needs to be clear and easy to read at the lowest level, as it appears when you're looking at a bit of it on your screen.Here's an example, one routine from Quill's support library: # lshift listvar # # listvar - The name of a list variable # # Pops and returns the argument from the front # of the list stored in the variable.proc ::quill::lshift … [Read more...]

Marty Robbins: Old-Fashioned Cowboy Music

Until I started listening to Pandora I didn't appreciate the difference been "Country" music and "Western" music. I was a rock'n'roll kind of kid, and despised anything heard on "Country+Western" radio stations, and so I never picked up on the subtleties. My tastes have broadened as I've gotten older, though, and bit by bit Pandora's been chipping away at my prejudices. (I made the mistake of adding Johnny Horton as a seed to one of my Pandora stations, and after that, well....)One of the … [Read more...]

Jack Aubrey on Proper Table Manners at Sea

The beef is not impressed.

Captain Jack Aubrey of His Majesty's Navy has invited several officers and guests to dinner; but due to circumstances beyond his control he has no private stores, and they must eat what the crew eats.‘Perhaps you would be so kind as to cut up Mr Jagiello’s beef for him,’ said Jack to Mr Hyde, nodding at his guest’s bandaged hand.‘By all means, sir,’ cried the lieutenant, and he set to his laborious task. The beef had been to the West Indies and back, and now, in its raw state, it co … [Read more...]

Jim Morrison, #synod14, and Living Life on the Hedge

Hard to see through.

I remember hearing a radio documentary about Doors frontman Jim Morrison many years ago. One of his bandmates kept saying approvingly, "Jim was a guy who lived life on the edge." And he did; but it was the edge of a cliff, and eventually he fell over the edge and died young. And I wondered, "Why is living on the edge supposed to be a good thing?" Decades later, I'm still wondering.But last week's Synod on the Family discussions got me thinking. One of the themes of the Synod is the … [Read more...]

Review: Hawk, by Steven Brust


There are three authors whose latest books I have regularly bought in hardcover on initial release...and then immediately read them aloud to Jane. The first is Terry Pratchett (although I've been avoiding Raising Steam); the second is Lois McMaster Bujold; and the third is Steven Brust.Hawk, the latest novel in Brust's long-running "Vlad Taltos" series, arrived in the mail last week, and I finished reading it to Jane rather late yesterday evening. It was a treat, and the two of us … [Read more...]

CT 14: God Not A Species Predicated Of Individuals

Individuals of which a species is predicated.  Or, perhaps, two species.

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.It's been a month since the last entry in the series, so it's time to recap. Thomas began by showing that there is a first, ultimate cause of all caused things; he calls this ultimate cause "God" for convenience, though he's still in the process of showing why it's reasonable to equate this first cause with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He's determined a … [Read more...]

Why the Synod Doesn’t Worry Me #synod14

St. Peter's

Things seem to be quieting down now after last week's bombshell of a relatio document, and though I've argued for calm I can understand why folks are getting nervous. We've had bishops saying and doing nutty things, and politicking to move the synod this way and that, and it sure looks like some of the synod fathers are willing to give away the doctrinal store.But I have to say, it would have to look a lot worse before I'd get worried; and here's why.First of all, it was ever thus. In … [Read more...]

With Software, the Code IS the Design

Don't try to build one of these without a good set of blueprints.

When you want to manufacture a new piece of hardware—an engine, say, or a stand mixer, or a washing machine—the first thing you do is design it. Some people equate "design" with the visual appearance of a product, as in the iconic look of an Apple iMac. I'm using design in a more technical sense: before you manufacture a product, you need to work out a whole bunch of things:What it's supposed to do How it's supposed to do it What it looks like How it's assembled out of parts Wha … [Read more...]

She’s Had Enough of Me

Pandora never ceases to amaze. Here's a blues number (I guess you'd call it blues) by the Darrin James Band that sounds like what Bob Dylan might have sounded like if he were a blues singer on a day when his voice wasn't TOO weird.This is a live version; I like the studio version much better. Still, if you ignore the overlong guitar solo it's interesting. … [Read more...]