23 August 2010

blogging domains

Today I've relaunched (yet again) my blog.

I'm trying to retire my old domain, because it's hard to type, hard to spell, and doesn't really mean anything.

So, in trying to shuffled everything over to, I've now got the Fnokd! site ported over to Awestruct.

This includes some modifications to Awestruct to support cool stuff like tag clouds. Pretty happy with how dynamic a static site can be. Mix in IntenseDebate for comments, and a pile of static files works impressively well.

For those of you keeping track at home, that means you can find stuff I write here and at a variety of other places:

ANTLR is Ter-rific

06 June 2007

blogging java jbossorg

Mark Proctor has posted an interview he did with Terence Parr of ANTLR fame. Ter is one of the nicest and smartest guys I know.

Ter ParrBack in the day, teaching myself how to program in C++, I decided to write my own scripting language. I'd tried (f)lex/yacc/bison, and they were either not friendly to C++, or not friendly to the way my brain works. Then I stumbled across PCCTS and recursive-descent LL(k) parsers. For once, the grammar productions seemed to make sense. The generated code seemed to be readable and make sense.

Praise be unto Terence Parr, creator of PCCTS.

Then he abandoned C++ for Java, and created ANTLR. Now it's up to version 3.0. And has a book.

ANTLR Book ANTLR is one of those libraries that you either love or have never heard about. You've probably enjoyed the benefits of ANTLR none-the-less.

Being able to create a parser for a new little language (or "DSL" to be hip and trendy) opens up a whole world when implementing new software. It makes it easy to think of formats beyond XML or CSV. Users get tired of being stabbed in the eye with XML's pointy brackets.

JBoss Blogging

16 March 2007

blogging community jboss

James Governor of RedMonk had a less-than-flattering comment about how JBoss blogs.
I think part of the problem is that a lot of interesting JBoss blogging occurs at places other than Basically, you simply have to look further than For example, the JBoss Rules team blogs hellagood over at the JBoss Rules Blog. The Hibernate/Seam guys are blogging on the Hibernate Blog. Many other individual JBoss folks blog on their own personal blogs. So I don't think it's so much that JBoss bloggers are boring and corporate. Instead, I think it's more a problem of not pulling all of this interesting content back in a single easy-to-find place. Yes, indeed, I'll allow you to argue that it shouldn't require you to look so hard. I do realize that folks view as "the voice of JBoss" but in reality, no single voice exists. A lot of the voices do use, but many do not. My team is ultimately working to help bring all of this interesting activity into a single place. That'll make it easier to see it all. Hooray for RSS. As far as blogging about "projects" instead of "issues" goes, I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. An "issue" is ultimately just a choice that has to be made. Developers make choices all the time. He's right, we do blog a lot of announcements, which summarizes the results of choices that were made and issues that were dealt with. Perhaps we could blog more about choices before and during those critical points. Then we'd be blogging about "issues" instead of just results. It would be better to blog things as the occur, instead of after-the-fact. It would certainly help increase the community involvement. Plus, the blog would read as more of a narrative. And everyone likes a good story. Particularly if it has drama, anguish, hope, crisis and resolution. Like a day in a developer's life, ultimately.

On Blogging

03 February 2007

behavior blogging cats

BrianMy good friend Brian "I love a good tamale" McCallister apparently blogged about a blog entry that Hernri wrote about an IM conversation he had with Brian.

That's so meta.

They both made the point that they haven't enjoyed blogging because it felt like they were writing articles. It gets tiring sounding pedagogical all the time.

But when you blog about work all the time, and define yourself by the work you do, it's easy to fall into the CompSci Professor mindset. You learned something new or figured something out, and so you want to teach others. That's cool and awesome, but can wear you out after a while.

For the past while, I worked at an uber-stealth web 3.0 start-up. By definition, I couldn't blog about my job. I stopped blogging for a while. But the urge to write kept coming back. I had to instead focus it on non-work topics. Like music. Or random observations. Or mental musings on different ideas.

So, if you're finding it difficult to summon the will to blog, take a moment and look at your blogging habits. Have you historically been a "Java blogger" and written about things that somehow relate back to your work? Then go have a beer with a non-Geek friend, watch the sunset, have a good discussion. Then blog about that. Instead of trying to explain why nobody should use Ruby on Rails, try to make a similar argument as to why moe's new CD sucks.

Expand your domain. You are more than the job you perform. Your blog should be also.

When in doubt, just include a goofy photo or illustration to distract readers from the lack of content.

But try to avoid blogging about your cat. Nobody cares.

Syndication Experiment

25 January 2007

blogging music

circle.gifJoe invited me to blog at Music Sucks. And now I've started. But going back to wanting to earn karma for all of my blogging, I'm now reverse-syndicating my blog posts from Music Sucks. They all end up back here within an hour or two of going live at Music Sucks.

No comments or trackbacks are allowed at this end, and the permalinks point back directly to Music Sucks.

I'm also hoping that perhaps lijit can help me out some, since it seems to maybe be heading in roughly the right direction, in gathering all of my feeds. We'll see how that works out. Ultimately, I'd like anything I do that produces useful RSS to end up back here. We'll see what sort of tangled network I can come up with.

Implicit Podcasting

25 January 2007

blogging music podcasting

If you use WordPress and occasionally link to an mp3, you're creating an implicit podcast.

Ye Olde Timey Radio Poking around, I realized that iTunes would consume the RSS 2.0 feed from WordPress as a podcast, and load up the first mentioned mp3 in a given entry as the podcast. If you link to multiple mp3s, alas only the first is caught, at least by iTunes. It doesn't seem to want to play friendly with multiple enclosures per entry.

Or maybe I'm just doing it wrong.

So I now get random new music loaded onto my iPod by giving iTunes the RSS 2.0 feed from Music Sucks.

Funnily enough, even the founder of the site didn't know it was producing a podcast for him. I think it's key that the technology has gotten to the point where someone who blogs about music magically gets a podcast.

It just makes sense.

If you like music, then Music Sucks.

13 January 2007

blogging music

Music Sucks. So my friend Joe is one of those crazy cool Contegix kids.

He's a music maven and has set up a new blog for music stuff, Music Sucks. He's particularly proud of his most recent interview with Alex Chow of Islands.

Joe's also invited me to be an occasional guest blogger, so any of my future ramblings about music will appear over there. Add it to your aggregator henceforth.

Karma Columnist

16 December 2006

blogging pontificate technology web-20

columns.jpgBlogs and such are supposed to be about both aggregation and syndication. With aggregators such as Bloglines or NetNewsWire, I think we've thus far got a pretty good handle on aggregation. Or at least personal aggregation. In true populist web2.0 form, the user is supposed to cut out the middleman, and just go straight to the blogs he wants.

No intermediaries.

But how does he find those blogs? Technorati? Google? Somehow simply searching for information sources by keyword will cause relevant and worthy blogs to appear? I personally haven't had a lot of success with that.

There are super aggregators, like Javablogs or Ruby Corner, but these aggregate on a very broad topic (ie, Java or Ruby), from anyone who wants to be a part of it. And many times the aggregees don't even bother filtering their feed to assure that Javablogs only gets Java posts and Ruby Corner only gets Ruby posts.

The result? A lot of junk (via javablogs).

Perhaps cutting out the middleman isn't quite so great. The middleman also acts as a voice of authority, helping you to find your way. While technologies may enable populist, expertise is not. Some sites, such as Squidoo encourage these voices of authority. Unfortunately, Squidoo only allows a single authority for each topic.

Maybe the newspaper model isn't so bad.

Editors act as authorities and give personality to the paper. Or at least before the day of the Associated Press, they did.

My corner market has at least 6 different local papers, from the daily paper to the various free weeklies. Every point of view can be expressed on the topic of "the news." Nothing forces a single authority. You can pick your middleman to match your own view.

Growing up, we had "the newspaper" which had a morning and an afternoon edition. With different names. But the same publisher. The morning paper's editorial page contained a conservative slant, while the afternoon paper's editorials were decidedly liberal. You could subscribe to the paper that was more aligned to your liking.

On the web, though, there is no concept of "the newspaper" beyond what traditional newspapers put on the web. Blogs enable anyone to be a columnist. How do these two meet?

Through aggregation.

Individual bloggers continue to blog on their own, but a 3rd party (the hated middleman) optionally gathers up some select subset of blogs on a topic and republishes (syndicates) them in a more cohesive form.

Lazy (or busy) readers can find these aggregations and feel confident that if they trust the editor, they will receive a lot of good posts from a variety of sources.

Why not simply do a group blog, with multiple authors? For one, there's the logistics of setting up a multi-user blog system, authors keeping up with credentials, etc. Secondly, blogging is personal. Even if it's shared and aggregated, the posts are still hand-crafted by the bloggers and they feel a certain attachment to their work.

Personally, I like to keep my work on my own blog.

Keeping up with regular blogging can be difficult. Often bloggers think to themselves "jeez, it's been 2 weeks since I've written anything." If they go write something for a group blog, their own soapbox doesn't show evidence of the effort. If authors truly syndicate themselves to these middleman aggregators, they get to participate in a larger publication while still winning personal blog karma by being active on their own blog. Plus, they can use the tooling they're happy with, and let RSS sort out the differences.

I ultimately feel that the columnist model works. But a columnist without columns to fill is just a blogger on a soapbox. It takes the middleman to bring many columnists together to weave a larger context.

Annc: The Ruby Underground

16 December 2006

blogging java ruby web-20


Following on the heels of my last post, I'd like to announce the Ruby Underground. It's simply a selective aggregator of Ruby blogger content. There's already plenty of sources for generic ruby content. Tons of 20-something youngsters (yes, I'm old) are out there talking about Ruby on Rails and such.

The Ruby Underground tries to address a slightly different audience. Thus far, all contributors to the underground are either current or former Java hackers. They've been around the block a time or two and feel squeamish watching all the SQL that ActiveRecord throws. Yet, they have an affinity to the beauty of Ruby.

While "enterprisey" is typically a derisive term, I think the Ruby community could use some "enterpriseyness" to help bring it, um, to the enterprise.

Anyhow, the Ruby Underground, as noted, is just an aggregator. If you already read Bob, Brian, Dion, Kurt, Lance, Martin, Paul and Simon, it probably has nothing to offer you. On the other hand, you'll miss out when other bloggers are invited to be contributors.