Thar Be Rough Waters Ahead

As I noted yesterday, I'll be presenting a paper on Quill at the upcoming Tcl/Tk conference. This was a sudden decision, and so I'm scrambling a bit. I spent most of yesterday and all of this morning* working on the paper (which is now finished, at 19 pages of dense technical prose).Thing is, I often spend that time working on blog posts for the coming week. It's now noon on Sunday, and I've got nuttin'. On top of this, I'll be needing to spend time over the next couple of weeks getting … [Read more...]

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The TCL/TK Conference Approacheth!

On Saturday mornings recently I've been writing about my views on the esthetics of software development, and I plan to continue with that because it interests me and helps me articulate what I've learned at a deep level but never verbalized. (What, you thought I wrote these posts for your benefit?)I've got to take a hiatus from that today, though, because the 21st Annual Tcl/Tk conference is approaching. It takes place the second week of November in Portland, Oregon, and I'm going to be … [Read more...]

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Hold Tight, said the Boogie Woogie Washer Woman

I think most people are familiar with the Andrews Sisters singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"; it's a classic, and a lot of fun. Recently, though (thanks to Pandora, natch) I've been familiar with a couple of other Andrews Sisters tunes that really bring it the full goofy.First, there's "Hold Tight", which is a warm, tender, and upbeat love song to...seafood.And then, once you've eaten (because shrimps and rice, they're very nice, so saith the Andrews), you can get your clothes washed … [Read more...]

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Stephen Maturin on Grumbling

I chose this quote from Patrick O'Brian's Desolation Island because it seems to me to particularly capture a lot of what I read on-line. HMS Leopard is in the Great Southern Ocean, trying to avoid a whacking great Dutch warship, and Stephen Maturin is pondering two of her officers:He had the impression that both Grant and Fisher were in a state of powerful fear. There were no evident, direct signs of it, but both complained very often: a stream of blame and disapproval of the modern state … [Read more...]

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Think About These Things

It's rare that one of the Sunday mass readings really resonates with me, but today the epistle leaped out and (gently and mercifully) took me by the throat and wouldn't let go. The passage in question is Philippians 4:6-9, and it says this:Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ … [Read more...]

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Review: Desolation Island, by Patrick O’Brian

I've been working my way through Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series over the last few weeks; and in a comment of my review of The Mauritius Command a reader asked me to say a few words about the "inner" and "outer" stories I was speaking of, as she wasn't familiar with the terms. I replied directly to her comment; but on the principle that others might be confused as well, here's my reply:Those are my terms to describe what's going on; I define them in my review of Master and … [Read more...]

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The Method in Aristotle’s Madness

Today I'm continuing last week's discussion of Aristotle in response to Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry's post "How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything." Last week I discussed the questions Aristotle was trying to answer; this week I'm going to discuss his methods vs. the methods of modern scientists.In Ancient Greece, the very type of true knowledge was mathematics. Here certainty was possible; and the Greeks were good at it, both arithmetic and (most especially) geometry. I've … [Read more...]

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Christ Promised a Crown of Thorns, not a Bed of Roses

When I was rather younger, and attending an evangelically-flavored Episcopal parish, I participated in a program called Evangelism Explosion. In a nutshell, EE was a program to train parishioners to go door-to-door presenting the gospel; it involved memorizing dozens of pertinent scripture references (we had flash cards) and a detailed outline of a presentation of the Gospel, culminating in an invitation to give your life to Jesus.One part of the presentation was a personal testimony … [Read more...]

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Software: When It Don’t Work, It Ain’t Pretty

So last week I broached the topic of beautiful software: beautiful, that is, from the skilled programmer's point of view.In a discussion on that post, fellow-Patheosi Frank Weathers (fresh off of some Mustang-related supercharger replacement therapy) noted that software is like hardware: it has to work.That is, pace Don Knuth, computer programming isn't an art; it's a craft, a tekhne: the art of making something useful. If the thing made doesn't serve its purpose, it isn't properly … [Read more...]

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