Archive for August, 2010

Amy Jo Kim: Game mechanics

August 26, 2010

Video available here.

I have not watched all of the video yet, but even the first 15 minutes are very interesting and tell you about basic stuff you can do to engage users more deeply with your site.


Paul Graham: 21 things that are hot and 5 that are not

August 26, 2010

Video available here.

Paul Graham talks about trends that he thinks are hot. He also mentions things that you should avoid getting entangled with.

Kathy Sierra at Business of Software 2009

August 26, 2010

Video available here.

Don’t make a better [X], make a better [user of X].

Very interesting and fun talk. The basic point of the talk is that to have a sustainably growing customer base for your product, you should direct your efforts by contemplating how and in what respect your product makes your customer more awesome. One important point here is that the more awesome the customer becomes at something, the higher his resolution of his perception of the world will be. That in turn will drive him to seek out for tools that help him to navigate and handle this new world he is seeing now. In this way, you don’t have to sell the customer new features, the customer will sell himself! Watch the whole video, it is very entertaining and she makes a lot of interesting points.

Educational talks and articles

August 26, 2010

I am adding a new category to my blog (“Educational”), which is basically just a listing of educational and interesting talks and articles available on the web. The reason for this is that while these talks/articles are often very interesting and can often be applied to how you build your software etc., they tend to be forgotten after a week or two if not immediately applied. So this list helps me to remember stuff I learned. At the same time, it gives YOU access to a lot of the stuff I find interesting and worth learning/remembering.

Servlet 3 spec download only with Oracles approval?

August 23, 2010

Last time I checked, I could download this JSR spec without any trouble. Since when need download transactions for public JSR specs be approved? Maybe just a minor misunderstanding, but to me this is just further proof of the bullshit Oracle is trying to pull off Java related recently.

Who is afraid of Facebook?

August 22, 2010

Or Google, or Apple for that matter. I don’t have to mention Microsoft here, nobody is afraid of THEM anymore.

Do you have to be afraid of  a company that rolls out “Places” a long time after for example Foursquare made its mark? A company that actually had a Foursquare cofounder as its employee, only to let him go?

Is Facebook here to stay? I dare to say, no way. Mark Zuckerberg is no Steve Jobs, he is no Bill Gates, and he is no Eric Schmidt. By the way, Eric Schmidt is no Steve Jobs, either. Back to Facebook. Facebook is seriously lacking in vision and technological leadership. It also does not value privacy enough. Many smart friends of mine do not want to register with Facebook. And there is a reason for that.

So… Can you attack Facebook with a new social network head-on? Definitely. Use the privacy and useless Farmville notification inroads that Facebook gives you today, and beat them with the same bravado that Rocky has shown when facing Apollo Creed tomorrow. Give your best, and in the end, your best will get the best of Facebook.


August 21, 2010

There isn’t going to be an interpreter for Babel-17 on September 1st. Two other projects are currently swallowing up all of my time. My new goal is October 1st. The interpreter will probably well be done before that deadline, but to complete the integration into Netbeans I will need some time, too.

Nevertheless, the need for Babel-17 becomes more and more urgent. It is likely that the next few years will see a programming language emerge to rule all others, just as Java has done it for several years. While Scala is the best programming language out there right now, it will have a hard time to attract all those Javascriptists and Pythonistas out there. The type system is just too complex, especially when designing libraries instead of just using them.

Currently I am coding in Scala, Java, Javascript and Objective-C. For user interface design I use Swing and Cocoa and HTML/CSS. All on the same day. Ridiculous? Yep. It would be nice to code all that in Babel-17.

And the winner is …

August 9, 2010

Currently there is almost no time to work on Babel-17. And unfortunately, it does not look like this is going to change in the near future. The good thing is that this makes the decision of what path to choose for the further development of Babel-17 easier. The interpreter part of Babel-17 will be written in Scala and actually be name- and stack-based, and not continuation-passing. This means that the reference implementation will lack features like tail calls, recursion that is bound only by the heap size, not the stack size, and quick variable lookup via deBruijn indexing. It also means that about 2300 lines of code that have already been written will not make it into Babel-17 v0.21.

The upside is that the reference implementation will be pretty simple to understand and maintain as the Babel-17 spec progresses. The hope is that with a good spec and a faithful, easy to understand reference implementation of the spec, it will become possible to find collaborators who want to code (in Babel-17, preferably) Babel-17 compilers that target platforms like C, Java, .NET, iOS and JavaScript.