Is it as fun as it used to be?

Archive for the ‘Ya Gotta Smile’ Category

James Johnston to Hannah Suffel, 27th April 1851


The honour of a devoted heart now beating with hope now trembling with anxiety is offered to you – is yours. Reject it; scorn it, it is yours – I do not write to tell you that I can love you that I wish to love you that I ask the privilege to love you, I write simply to tell you that I do love you and that which a passion so ardent a feeling so profound that in spite of all the obstacles which interpose, I have been compelled to venture this declaration.

To say that you are beautiful, graceful, accomplished – that you are fair and lovely – that you are admirable in all that makes women admired is but to echo the words or embody the thoughts of all around you – All acknowledge your attractions but I feel them and I cannot be so false to my own heart as to conceal the emotions from the object to which they tend.

Lady my position is humble but not so are my aspirations and my hopes for I have dared to love you – I have not the gift of fortune yet I am seeking what the wealth of the universe could purchase from me – Your love let it be still as it has been the bright star of my destiny. Let it be the goal of my ambition and you shall see how bravely I will endeavor to deserve what I will aspire to the favour that can give unbounded happiness to.

Your devoted admirer

James Johnston

They were married eight months later.

James hand wrote this himself, in startlingly good penmanship. The letter is frequently on display at [Upper Canada Village]( — ‘Upper Canada’ is an old name for the province of Ontario Canada.

They were my great-great-great-grandparents (maybe another great in there). I have no real information beyond that, other than, I suppose, they had at least one child :-)

Written by hutch

December 30, 2008 at 7:20 pm

A Tempting Solution to Bothersome Browsers

Using this plugin, your MSIE users will see your website with a grayscale color
This plugin helps people moving away from Internet Explorer: it turns
the colors of your website to a grayscaled version.

You can get it here

UPDATE: This was an attempt at humour, even though this plugin is so tempting it hurts… Nah! I’m resolved! I’m going to use it somewhere!

Written by hutch

October 27, 2008 at 7:26 am

Bad Unix Jokes

In csh:

hutch% got a light?
csh: got: No match.

A long time ago it used to say “Sorry. No Match.” — things are a little ruder these days.

Sorry about that. Some kind of flashback I think.

Written by hutch

September 11, 2007 at 11:22 am

Hamiltonian by xkcd

Hamiltonian a cartoon by Randall Munroe

I almost choked on my pizza when I read this :-) What a flashback to a former life (I used to do a lot of scheduling and optimisation heuristic design).

Written by hutch

March 2, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Ya Gotta Smile

The Hockey Pond

Arni Mikelsons and his company Northern Village, has produced a video called The Hockey Pond in support of The Friends of the Earth’s campaign to combat global warming. Friends of the Earth have issued a press release, Kyoto Anniversary – Canada Delaying the Kyoto Game featuring the video.

One month ago, Arni Mikelsons tried to play hockey on Guelph Lake. But what is usually frozen in mid-January was open water. Arni videoed his attempt, which can be viewed here, to tell the tale of that day. What you will see is Arni, his dog, and a demonstration of how to paddle a canoe with a hockey stick.

“It’s not right to have open water in my hockey pond,” said Arni Mikelsons. “While governments bicker, deny and continue to study future options, global warming is already affecting the lives of Canadians. I want action by my government. Cut the brawling and delays. Honour Canada’s Kyoto Promise.”

It is well worth a look (it is funny) either on Northern Village’s site or even Youtube.

Written by hutch

February 19, 2007 at 9:32 am

Schneier on Security: Non-Terrorist Embarrassment in Boston

Schneier on Security: Non-Terrorist Embarrassment in Boston, more here at Technology Liberation Front

This is an absurdity and a farce… or it should be.

Governor Deval Patrick told the Associated Press: “It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny.”

Unfortunately, it is funny. What isn’t funny is now the Boston government is trying to prosecute the artist and the network instead of owning up to their own stupidity. The police now claim that they were “hoax” explosive devices. I don’t think you can claim they are hoax explosive devices unless they were intended to look like explosive devices, which merely a cursory look at any of them shows that they weren’t.

But it’s much easier to blame others than to admit that you were wrong

Written by hutch

February 3, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Yay memes

Bill Clementson’s Blog: Yay memes

Oh, this is just silly, too silly not to join in :-)

history|awk '{print $2}'|awk 'BEGIN {FS="|"} {print $1}'|sort|uniq -c|sort -rn|head -10
 159 ls
  97 cd
  75 vi
  19 du
  18 ruby
  14 grep
   9 cp
   8 cvs
   7 rm
   7 command

Written by hutch

September 28, 2006 at 8:08 am

Posted in Ya Gotta Smile

Joel on (Ruby) Software

Joel on Software — Ruby Performance Revisited

Everybody else has already commented on the original story. I couldn’t be bothered. Partly because I thought the whole thing boring. Partly because I couldn’t get a handle on why Joel was saying what he appeared to be saying. Partly because what I think doesn’t matter because this isn’t really a debate. I don’t often agree with Joel on technical stuff, and so what? He has the good habit of writing stuff that provokes some thought. This sequence of posts on the suitability of Ruby and Lisp and whatnot to real-world-actual-web-applications was, to me, no more than that… an amusement, an entertainment.

But his article got people’s backs up. Predictable, and I can’t blame anybody for responding. More entertainment too, so why not?

But now I’m thinking that maybe too many people take Joel’s word for things. Maybe this isn’t such a good thing. But really, what does it matter — anyone who takes Joel too seriously shouldn’t be taken seriously themselves.

So. First off, Joel’s original article tried, I think, to make some kind of argument that to be safe you should choose what amounts to programming languages that a lot of people use to do similar things. He concludes with a little story about wasabi a language his company developed for a bug tracker. Hmm. Okay. This is English we’re using here, there has got to be a word for that break in logic. You’d think anyway. But I can’t think of what that word might be because I can’t imagine what he was thinking.

Anyway, Joel goes on with a new article, linked to above…

By way of clarification, I’m not concerned with Rails performance, I’m concerned with Ruby performance, and here’s why.

This makes sense. Fine.

I’ve seen lots of comparisons of Ruby’s performance with bytecode languages like Java which I would consider slow, and I see a lot of reports of performance claiming Ruby is 10x slower, 50x slower, etc. Besides the random blogobuzz, Ruby comes pretty darn close to dead last in the Computer Language Shootout Benchmarks.

Yes, indeed. Nobody says that Ruby is fast compared to any particular language. Ruby, in my experience, is about 12x slower than Java. The computer language shootout is an entertainment and can’t be taken seriously. The thing is that people who actually have to get something done, as opposed to appeasing their bosses, don’t care about that. Wonder why?

Without knowing much about the implementation of Ruby, I would guess that the biggest issue is around late binding and especially duck typing, which prevents type inference or strong typing, which means that function calls will always be slow because you can never get something compiled down to the point where a function call is just a single CALL instruction (on x86)…

Okay, now we can start to draw conclusions as to what Joel is up to. Is this really a classic trees-not-the-forest myopia? Or something else?

Here is where I should be inserting outraged counter arguments. Hold on, arguments to what? That’s nonsense he’s spewing, there’s no point pursuing this line.

Time to politely change the subject.

Written by hutch

September 14, 2006 at 12:05 am

Posted in Ruby, Ya Gotta Smile

BLDGBLOG: The cantilevered void house

Written by hutch

September 10, 2006 at 12:58 pm

Extemporaneous Speaking

Martin Fowler:: Extemporaneous

Most of my public talks these days use a third mode – extemporary speaking. In this style I begin with little more than a rough outline of my talk, and compose everything else as I go.

This is generally how I ‘perform’ any presentations that I do. There is a trick — how do you stay interesting?

One tip that’s been useful to me was one that someone else told me came from Tony Benn. Essentially this says to cover three main points in your talk, and let each main point have three main sub-points. I’ve often found this to be a useful starting point for the structure of a talk.

Okay, but I think this isn’t necessary. I blathered on once for almost two and a half hours with three points on a card. Did it work. Maybe. I was the last speaker and I was the only thing between the audience and free beer (well.. actually it was a lot of free booze, in the most general sense). Nobody left. Hmm. Next time I think I’ll bring the bar into the room… If the audience is willing to put up with me, why shouldn’t I put up with them?

Those people I worked with… they were really polite.

Written by hutch

August 18, 2006 at 10:50 pm


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