Elgoog Reversal!

In the spirit of yanking the plank outta my own eye (again) … here is a comment offered by Eric D. Fish, Webmaster, Alltooflat.com.

Just so you know, Elgoog (the google mirror) has been up and running for several months now, and Google is well aware of our existence. As far as we can tell, they think we are pretty funny (which is good, ‘cuz we do too). Thanks for the link –

Thanks Eric. What was on the back of my mind was the Amazon Lite Redux’d … another clever implementation that was forced to change. Glad to see Google is giggling with your cool work … I too enjoyed it up until typing backwards gave me a headache!-)

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Some Windows 2k Tools

I have yet to install XP. Call it raging paranioa, call it laziness. Win2k is a relatively stable development platform – so why at this point in time replace it?

That said, from time to time, I do need to tweak, clean or fix something that goes a bit wacky. Today, registry problems. If you’re in the same boat, may I suggest the LabMice – Windows 2000 Utilities. If that doesn’t cut it for you, or if you want to blow your foot clean-off with some nifty developer-oriented tools, perhaps the Windows 2000 Resource Kits Page will offer something of use. Then there are those “other” power tools I sometimes need.

Yeah, I know, I wouldn’t have these problems if I was using Linux. But getting my employer needs me to devo .NET stuff, so there ya go.

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rorriM elgooG

Here’s an interesting little something to start the week off with: elgooG.

Why not leave me a comment predicting how long it will take for Google’s lawyers to shut down this clever little parody? Here’s mine. If this gets picked up by the A blogs, 1 day. Otherwise, a week.

Or if you’d like, let me know what type of searches you come up with. Personally, it amuses me because there’s finally use for all the obligatory-but-useless “reverse string” samples in every beginner’s programming book.

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Executing a .JAR Application on Win2k

I received an e-mail via a “comment” today directing my attention to a client application for posting blogs to Blogger.com entitled Chronicle Lite. I downloaded the .JAR file.

.JAR file? What’s that you ask? The Java Glossary defines it as “Java classes forming an application, Applet, or weblet can be bundled up into something that looks very much like a ZIP file. JavaBeans are also packaged in JAR files.” In other words, instead of having a program named ChronLite.exe, you execute the JAVA runtime using the .JAR file as an argument. I bit “UNIXy” I know, but this insures cross-platform compatibility. Of course, this also means you need to make sure you’ve installed the JAVA Runtime or SDK. Since I code, I have the SDK.

If you’re using Windows, you also need to make sure your PATH environment variable includes the JAVA \bin directory containing the executable java.exe. If you don’t have JAVA on your system, you need to go to Sun and download the appropriate product for your needs. If you’re running on a Windows 2k/Mil/XP it wouldn’t hurt to check and/or set this variable via the Advanced Tab of the System Properties control panel:

Windows 2000 Advanced Tab of System Properties Control Panel

Check to see if your path includes your
Observe, append, ammend &/or otherwise make sure your path includes your JAVA path, on my Win2k system that is C:\j2sdk\bin or:

Observe, ammend, append your path

Assuming I downloaded the .JAR file to the directory “C:\foo” and for convenience, renamed it to ChronicleLite.jar, I need only issue the following command line directive – or RUN the following:

\j2sdk\bin\java -jar C:\foo\ChronicleLite.jar

Notice, I used the “java -jar <filename>” syntax. As always, your mileage may vary – though in this case, it may help to read the Java Glossary : JAR file page.

Oh, by-the-by. Since this site uses MovableType, I had to test the probram on a test site I have over at blogger.com. I think I’d like less hot keys and a few more idiot buttons when it comes to formatting.

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Friday Fun : Real Programmers

While the following usenet humor by the ever popular anonymous is getting a bit dated – some of it is still applicable. I’ve marked in bold text those statements that have caused me to knod my head in amusement and/or agreement. Why about leaving some comments with some suggested updates to this deprecated, but still applicable adages?


Don’t eat quiche. Real programmers don’t even know how to spell Quiche. They like Twinkies, Coke, and palate-scorching Szechwan food.

Don’t write application programs. They program right down to the bare metal. Application programs are for dullards who can’t do system programming.

Don’t write specs. Users should be grateful for whatever they get. They are lucky to get any program at all.

Don’t comment their code. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand and even harder to modify.

Don’t draw flowcharts. Flowcharts are, after all, the illiterate’s form of documentation. Cavemen drew flowcharts; look how much it did for them.

Don’t read manuals. Reliance on a reference is a hallmark of the novice and the coward.

Don’t use Cobol. Cobol is for wimpy application programmers.

Don’t use Fortran. Fortran is for wimpy engineers who wear white socks pipe stress freaks, and crystallography weenies. They get excited over finite state analysis and nuclear reactor simulation.

Don’t use PL/1. PL/1 is for insecure momma’s boys who can’t choose between Cobol and Fortran.

Don’t use BASIC. In fact, *no* programmers use BASIC after reaching puberty.

Don’t use APL, unless the whole program can be written on one line.

Don’t use LISP. Only effeminate programmers use more parentheses than actual code.

Don’t use Pascal, Bliss, ADA or any of those sissy-pinko computer science languages. Strong typing is a crutch for people with weak memories.

Never work 9 to 5. If any real programmers are around at 9 a.m. it’s because they were up all night.

Don’t play tennis or any other sport which requires a change of clothes. Mountain climbing is ok, and real programmers often wear climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the middle of the machine room.

Disdain structured programming. Structured programming is for compulsive, prematurely toilet-trained neurotics who wear neckties and carefully line up sharpened pencils on an otherwise uncluttered desk.

Don’t like the team programming concept. Unless, of course, they are the Lead Programmer.

Have no use for managers. Managers are a necessary evil. Managers are for dealing with personnel bozos, bean counters, senior planners and other mental defectives.

Scorn floating point arithmetic. The decimal point was invented for pansy bed-wetters who are unable to “think big.”

Don’t drive tricked-out Mavericks. They prefer BMWs, Lincolns or pick-up trucks with floor shifts. Fast motorcycles are highly regarded.

Don’t believe in schedules. Planners make up schedules. Managers “firm up” schedules. Frightened coders strive to make schedules. Real programmers ignore schedules.

Like vending machine popcorn. Coders pop it in the microwave oven. Real programmers use the heat given off by the cpu. They can tell what job is running just by listening to the rate of popping.

Know every nuance of every instruction and use them all in every read program. Puppy architects won’t allow execute instructions to address another execute as the target instruction. Real programers despise such petty restrictions.

Don’t bring brown bag lunches to work. If the vending machine sells it, they eat it. If the vending machine doesn’t sell it, they don’t eat it. Vending machines don’t sell quiche.

[EOF]

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Why do we need XHTML?

For the faithful among you who’ve read Chapter 14 of “The Book” – and should all have read it by now, you know that at some point, further industrialization of the web will compel most if not all of us to give up our horse-n-buggies in favor of the automobile. HTML being the old nag, and XHTML being the kit car version of the Lamborghini Countach (hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big).

Yeah, I know, “my page aint broke, why fix it?” Tim Berners-Lee (the true inventor of the Interenet, not Mr. Gore), is quoted as saying “XHTML 1.0 connects the present Web to the future Web, It provides the bridge to page and site authors for entering the structured data, XML world, while still being able to maintain operability with user agents that support HTML 4.” In other words, we want your pages to start looking and feeling like XML the same way we want everyone here in the States to drive on the right side of the road and to stop on red.

But what about my needs” you may be asking? Good question. By moving towards XML-ish documents, well eventually, by moving towards bona-fide XML documents, we separate content from formatting. Pages become data-driven. Output format is determined by the client. Or so the theory goes. It also means you can aim the same data at a computerized target with the same ease as a carbon-based creature. Either way, resistance is futile, you will be subsumed.

That said, I know the anxiety such paradigm shifting pronouncements must inspire in the hearts of many of you maintaining your church’s website. And given some of the complexities of XHTML, I’d say some of your fears are to a small degree warranted. Still, this is a doable thing provided you start doing your homework now instead of the night before the exam. You can start by studying this: Kosmoi: Introduction to XHTML: Why do we need XHTML?.

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Mark Pilgrim – How Aggregating Indeed

When I posted my blog “How Aggregating – Google to Launch News Search Site“, I followed up by emailing Mark Pilgrim to see if he was going to offer a cool Python interface that might lob news from the Google API over to the Blogger API. His reply caught me off guard because:

  1. He pointed out an ambiguity in my original post as I implied the Google API could be approached with XML-RPC.
  2. He also brought to my attention an ethical issue I overlooked because I was viewing things from a purely technical point of view.

Hence, I’ve categorized this message under take a plank out of my eye – and am posting his messages because they are informative, instructive and accurate:

> Perhaps some Python for the following idea?

Not a chance. Google goes to great lengths to block all scrapers and other scripts that try to automatedly pull content from anywhere on their site. Their SOAP API only covers the main search results (no image search, no directory search, no groups search, no news search). In other words, unless they provide an interface for it, it’ll be next to impossible to grab the raw data and repurpose it.

Here is Mark’s reply when I asked permission to reprint the above email:

Please do. It’s an important point in general, that web services are up to the producer, not the consumer. I know there’s lots of unauthorized scraping and such going on in the world, but Google fights that pretty hard. We can all evangelize the idea of providing RSS feeds, but if they don’t want to do it, we can’t — and shouldn’t — route around them.

Thanks MARK! Sometimes I get so keyed up with new toys and ideas, I sometimes forget that it’s only fun until I put someone gets hurt!

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