Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bruce Schneir's 7th Annual Movie Plot Contest

Courtesy Sean P. Anderson
Sadly, my entry for Bruce Schneir's 7th annual movie plot contest is far over the 500 word limit.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Veure Combat

Your Main Character Screen
In my post about the Veure roadmap, I mentioned that combat was one of the features to be added.  I had estimated that it would take about 2 weeks to get done, but my initial merge of the combat code took 35 hours. Not only did I get it done in half the time, it required that I add:
  • Cloning Vats
  • Brigs
  • Sick bays
In short, in just a week, I finished several weeks worth of work. That being said, this is a type of programming that is hard in a different sense from what many developers are used to.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Marriage in the USA is about genitalia

Brendan Eich
Public Domain Photo
As most people know by now, Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO of Mozilla over controversy regarding his financial support of efforts to deny same sex couples the same marital rights that opposite sex couples have. Many people feel that Eich was treated unfairly. Rather than cover that topic, I want to cover the topic of marriage in the USA (and in most of the Western world). It's a topic that I feel many people have looked at in the wrong light.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Veure Roadmap

Bulk Carrier
I've had a lot of interesting private reactions to my Veure post. Right now we're making plans on pushing it forward and seeing how we can make this work as a business.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Veure - The Game That Isn't

It's a sad fact that life has an annoying way of taking precedence over dreams. Several years ago I was working on a project codenamed Veure (the Catalan verb "to see"). People in my field would routinely ask me what it was about, but I didn't answer. I wanted it to launch as a surprise. Today I have to face the reality that my vision is greater than my free time. Running a successful business with my wife, traveling to conferences all over Europe and the US, along with trying to raise a daughter have meant that free time is something I have in limited supply.

Veure was nothing less than my attempt to create an MMORPG in Perl, but I'm a stubborn cuss and refuse to admit that Veure is dead. Who knows? Maybe this post can rekindle interest in it. 

(Clicking on any image brings up a larger version of it).

Ship's manifest for the Bootlegger "Serenity", a modified Corvette
with a small, hidden cargo area supplementing the main cargo.

Monday, 17 February 2014

FusionCharts mocks open source but uses it extensively.

Back in 2000, I was working for a company named Maserith Information Systems. I was busy building a Web application for teachers to create and share lesson plans. I was writing it in Perl and it ran on a Linux box. I happened to mention that to a bank manager and he sneered. "Open source? You get what you pay for."

And in a classic case of l'esprit d'escalier, it wasn't until I was leaving the bank that I realized I should have asked about his bank's free checking.

Frankly, I thought the days of mocking open source were behind us. It's become such a powerful force in the world and I doubt there are any major businesses which don't rely on it in some way.

And that brings me to http://www.fusioncharts.com/. On their front page it reads:

JavaScript Charts for the Grown-Ups
Because hobby projects don't cut it for enterprise-grade applications

When they're talking about "hobby" projects, they're referring to open source projects and the sneering "Grown-Ups" is aimed at open source developers. We're not "Grown-Ups", we're kids living in our parent's basement, apparently.

So what's an "enterprise-grade" application? The term isn't well-defined, but I think Facebook might be uncontroversially called that. As of this writing, they're the second most popular site on the Web, according to Alexa.

And what "not for grown-ups hobby projects" does Facebook rely on?

  • Linux
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • memcached
  • Cassandra
  • Hadoop
  • Hive
  • Erlang
  • Thrift
  • Varnish
  • XHProf
  • Tornado

That's a damned impressive list and, I suspect, not an exhaustive one. Many of those projects were developed by businesses and then later released open source and others, such as Linux, were simply developed by non-Grown-Ups (with apologies to Linus).

However, what really amuses me is that the "hobby projects" line is full of hypocrisy. Here's what a few minutes of reading their html, some curl requests and a quick scan of their job adverts reveals they apparently use:

  • Linux
  • Apache
  • PHP
  • Zend
  • CakePHP
  • Smarty
  • Either MySQL or PostgreSQL
  • jQuery
  • modernizr
  • Prototype
  • Cappuccino

So to Fusion Charts I would say this: if you want to rely on the work of open source developers such as myself (and I guarantee that you have my source code on your servers), that's OK. I don't mind at all. But if you're going to then insult us, grow up.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The US Government's Data Mining Program

Unless you're living in a cave, you've probably heard about the US government's classified data mining program known as PRISM. First discovered when we learned that the US government required Verizon to tun over all of their customer's call data on a daily basis, PRISM is a NSA intelligence program that, well, we'll let the NSA's leaked slides explain for themselves.