Moss's Bloglet

About

This is the personal weblog of Moss Collum, a programmer living in Boston, MA. I used to have a description here of what I tend to blog about, but whenever I try to nail down a few main topics, I end up getting interested in something else. If you want to know what to expect, browsing the recent archives should give you some idea.

If you've found this page through Google, I hope it helps. The search tool may help find the exact post you're looking for. If you want to see what I've posted lately, you can go to the front page of the blog.

If you're someone I know, you probably already know about this blog and come here regularly, but if not, please leave me a note: chances are I'd be delighted to hear from you.

If you want to contact me, you can email me at gmail (where my address is my first name dot my last name), or just leave a comment here.

Note that the "Bloglet" of my page title is the Perl script I use for my blogging, not the other, better known Bloglet.

Journal

"You don't know what the IMF is, do you?" _
respond? (4)
10:52:01 PM, Friday 12 March 2010

-

 Speaking of BLT, anyone else need back onto it? _
respond? (16)
11:13:12 PM, Sunday 7 March 2010

-

I habitually do small programming projects as exercises. Sometimes I'll set out specific constraints to help me focus on certain skills (this is a great set of them, if you're looking), and sometimes it's just a chance to work on something relatively unconstrained by an existing code base or the need for business value.

For exercises like this, it doesn't matter too much what you write: it just needs to be big enough to involve interesting design decisions, and small enough to be finishable in not too much time.  So the last few times I did this, I wrote versions of the code test that we use in our hiring at work. It's exactly the right size for this sort of thing, but has one big problem: I don't really feel comfortable posting my different versions of it online.

So this round I'm trying a bit of an experiment: I'm rewriting the m14m Blog Tracker. I don't know that I'll necessarily start using it in place of the current one--it is just for practice, after all--but I'll probably keep hacking on it for a while. It's a good exercise project in that it's easy to get something workable with just a few pieces, but it also has room to grow. And since it's something I actually feel comfortable sharing, I've gone ahead and put it up on github. I'm hoping that it can act as a source of concrete examples when I want to talk about programming: code that I can use to point out problems, demonstrate techniques, and bring up difficult issues. But long-term plans aside, it's up there now, so anybody that wants to take a look at it can feel free. It contains some clever ideas, and some really stupid shit, and a blog tracker that's now almost able to show one entry on one blog. Fun times!

  _
respond? (1)
10:23:51 PM, Saturday 6 March 2010

-

If anybody reading this is also in a position to review submissions for the Agile 2010 Conference (a bit of a longshot, I know), I'd suggest taking a look at mine, "Pairing Games as Intentional Practice". _
respond? (1)
03:53:51 PM, Wednesday 24 February 2010

-

Two things I believe pretty firmly, although I would be happy to be proven wrong:

_
respond? (11)
10:35:23 PM, Wednesday 17 February 2010

-

 Verdict: the Twitter widget makes itself easy to restyle using CSS, so it can stay. Still not totally sure if it's in the right place yet. _
respond?
10:44:22 PM, Monday 15 February 2010

-

 Experimenting with a Twitter sidebar. We'll see how well it works out. _
respond?
10:19:01 PM, Monday 15 February 2010

-

 A while ago I posted to Twitter wondering what a software company modeled after the Mondragon cooperatives would look like. Just yesterday, Sumana linked to a post by Damien Katz, "Thoughts on an Open Source Company", about his vision for Couchio. It wasn't intended as an answer to my question, but it's a surprisingly convincing one. I'm particularly struck by the preference for self-organization and the rule against layoffs and firing. I'll be interested to see how it works out in practice, and what other answers might appear. _
respond? (2)
02:42:45 PM, Monday 15 February 2010

-

Live from the Boskone Dead Dog Party
Live from the Boskone Dead Dog Party
_
respond?
07:51:39 PM, Sunday 14 February 2010

-

Lighting Flower
Lighting Flower
_
respond? (1)
09:26:33 PM, Thursday 11 February 2010

-

Also, I'm delighted by this video of someone using an old modem from 1964 to connect to the internet. Quite apart from the nostalgia factor (modems remind me of BBSes!), I just can't get over how gorgeous the thing is. I just wish anyone was making electronics this beautiful today. _
respond? (1)
12:41:25 AM, Tuesday 9 February 2010

-

Memo to self: come back to the AskMe cilantro thread and cook everything in it. _
respond?
12:29:03 AM, Tuesday 9 February 2010

-

 This political ad is... kind of amazing. I'm not really sure what else to say about it.
via MetaFilter _
respond? (6)
07:13:07 PM, Friday 5 February 2010

-

Snow!
Snow!
_
respond? (2)
08:38:36 AM, Thursday 4 February 2010

-

Flying Over Ireland, Yesterday
Flying Over Ireland, Yesterday
_
respond?
06:00:01 PM, Sunday 31 January 2010

-

Here's Hoping These Don't Fill Up
Here's Hoping These Don't Fill Up
_
respond? (1)
06:06:08 PM, Friday 22 January 2010

-

Your government is basically made up of people who are richer than you--often much richer than you. With this greater wealth comes a drastically different perspective on life: different fears, different desires, and different assumptions about how the world works. I think it would be good to talk about this more, even if people find the topic embarrassing. _
respond? (4)
12:37:25 AM, Tuesday 19 January 2010

-

This reflects what she and her husband Vincent refer to as "polycentricity," a normative approach to governance which stresses the degree to which higher levels of government should not crowd out self-organization at lower levels. Her work implies that both pure marketization and top-down government control can have badly adverse consequences for resource management, because they rob individuals of the capacity to govern themselves, and because they both lead to the depletion of important forms of local collective knowledge.

Clearly I should read more. _
respond?
02:46:57 PM, Monday 18 January 2010

-

This is pretty cool: a sample OS X application with complete unit tests. _
respond?
02:03:49 PM, Monday 18 January 2010

-

The 2D fight back starts here! _
respond?
01:24:44 PM, Sunday 17 January 2010

-

I think the best thing about this query is that the result describes why I did it in the first place. Off by 8.13% really isn't too bad when I remember to think of it as science instead of math.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 _
respond?
11:03:21 PM, Wednesday 13 January 2010

-

_
respond? (5)
11:09:25 AM, Sunday 10 January 2010

-

Mysterious Device in Park St
Mysterious Device in Park St
_
respond? (1)
08:52:59 PM, Thursday 7 January 2010

-

This collection of pictures of fantastic subway architecture has been open in Firefox for so long that I don't even remember where it came from, but it seems like it deserves blogging. _
respond? (3)
11:11:46 PM, Tuesday 5 January 2010

-

The opposite of sudo. _
respond?
10:26:10 PM, Tuesday 5 January 2010

-

This interview from the Economist podcast, talking with Barbara Ehrenreich about the virtues of pessimism, made me happy. It's a great antidote to all the positive thinking bullshit out there, and kind of makes me want to read her book. (Or any of her books, really, since I haven't yet. I know she bugs some people, but I've certainly enjoyed everything I've heard her say in short forms like this.) _
respond? (5)
10:55:08 PM, Sunday 27 December 2009

-

The Funnest Calculator Ever
The Funnest Calculator Ever
_
respond? (2)
09:20:39 PM, Friday 18 December 2009

-

The Blinds Left an X-ray of a Spine on the Wall
The Blinds Left an X-ray of a Spine on the Wall
_
respond?
08:32:35 AM, Friday 11 December 2009

-

Wall of Beer
Wall of Beer
_
respond?
09:21:13 PM, Monday 7 December 2009

-

Not a Sustainable Position
Not a Sustainable Position
_
respond?
01:17:38 AM, Sunday 6 December 2009

-

Autumn Polyhedron
Autumn Polyhedron
_
respond?
04:28:40 PM, Wednesday 18 November 2009

-

Tree at Spy Pond
Tree at Spy Pond
_
respond?
04:19:33 PM, Wednesday 18 November 2009

-

Hate crime legislation is a unique issue in that, every time I've seen an argument about it on the internet, some of those who started out opposed to it have changed their minds by the end of the discussion. _
respond? (11)
10:22:38 PM, Thursday 29 October 2009

-

Equanimity is lots of fun. _
respond? (8)
11:09:07 PM, Friday 23 October 2009

-

Java developers! Improve your tooling!

IntelliJ IDEA has gone open source, at least for a basic version. I'd urge anybody doing Java development to check it out. Individual tastes vary, but I find it worlds better than any of the other Java IDEs out there.

Also, Cucumber, a fantastic Ruby tool which lets you write automatic acceptance tests that can also act as human-readable documentation, is now available for virtually all the JVM languages. _
respond?
04:38:27 PM, Thursday 15 October 2009

-

Awesome Steampunk Cakes. Fuck yeah. _
respond? (2)
10:03:24 PM, Wednesday 14 October 2009

-

older entries

Archives

Search blog

Browse by date

Twitter

Recent activity

last entry 398 days ago
comment by lz1x8v12ci 590 days ago
comment by kl4k9u79xy 590 days ago
comment by kf1v9f47eh 590 days ago
comment by Taigosoda 590 days ago
comment by 8t49fqs2fd 590 days ago
comment by 4j61duv4si 590 days ago
comment by outletaxktqqrolaol 590 days ago
comment by KicAmbireerix 630 days ago
comment by neloHelaFlaks 638 days ago
comment by iSamLu 638 days ago

Elsewhere

Friends

Julia (LJ | OD)
The St. John's College Blogmass
LiveJournal Friends
Mitsu
Sumana
Kritikal

Other blogs worth reading

Three-Toed Sloth
Gideon Strauss
Alex Massie
Wiki
Weblog Kitchen
Eeksy-Peeksy
Flashcoders (wiki)

Links to here

via Technorati
via Google
referer stats