Mar 23, 2004
Iron Lute

I have a case of the multi-disciplinary writer's block.

I'm having a hard time writing the outline saving code in Iron Lute. I have an essay I want to post here, but it is obstinately refusing to go into focus. (I may yet just post it in a nebulous state, as I'm not convinced it's ever going to focus, by its very nature, but I think it's important that I write it.) I also have a technical post on the inner workings of Iron Lute which I'm having a hard time writing; I've mostly written it, but it's quite dull.

Yes, that's right, even more dull then the existing postings! I figure someone ought to be interested in those because I would be, but I wouldn't want to read this posting as written.

Going backwards, I know why the Iron Lute essay is dull, though I am surprised. For a change of pace, I was going to show a failure I've experienced, to contrast the successes I've mentioned to date. I've been able to explain why it should have been a success, but explaining why it is a failure has proven difficult. (Perhaps this is because the only real failure is that it is too difficult to use, not that it "doesn't work", and it's hard to show in prose why that is. You really have to try to use it yourself to understand why it is hard to use.) I am intrigued by how this is almost exactly the opposite of conventional journalism, where disaster stories write themselves (assisted with a heavy helping of cliches and standard idioms) but good news is hard to write.

I haven't been able to work on the code out of lack of motivation. I'm sure it will come back, it always does, but that's one of the major downsides of Free Software; it gets released when I'm good and ready and if that means I want to take a month off to play video games, well, that's what I'm gonna do. ;-) (OK, it's only been the last week, but it has been quite relaxing and rejuvanating. I'm sure the code-monkey will get back on my back here soon.)

Finally, the essay has been just plain, ole' fashioned hard to write. It's about negativity in weblogs and journalism, and how it is affecting me, and I believe others, emotionally, but I've had a hard time keeping a strong thesis in it, mostly because the emotional effects are quite diverse. Hopefully it will come together, because I feel quite strongly we need to start critically exploring the new media world we are building to see how we fit in as humans, and indeed, whether we fit in as humans.

Here's hoping at least one of the blocks breaks soon.

Iron Lute progress update
Mar 15, 2004
Iron Lute

Just a quick note: I'm still working on the XML save format for Iron Lute outlines. I'm trying to use a library I've put together for XML serialization and it's not going so well right now. I think it still has potential but I may need to re-work it into a "version 2", because version 1 is sucking pretty badly.

Computers in Education
Mar 15, 2004

What is the purpose of computers in education?

To cut the feedback time down.

That is all they can do, and all they should do.

Why? Feedback is vital for learning. Without feedback, you have
nothing that most people would think of as "learning".

Read the rest (590 words)

Linux vs. Windows: The Real Difference
Mar 11, 2004
Microsoft reacts to marketing pressure to make design decisions favoring running a few processes faster but then finds itself forced first to layer in backward compatibility and then to engage in a patch-and-kludge upgrade process until the code becomes so bloated, slow and unreliable that wholesale replacement is again called for.

Despite the obvious Linux slant, this is probably one of the most coherent discussions of the structural differences between the Linux kernel development process and the Windows kernel development process, resulting in the differences between the Linux kernel and the Windows kernel, that I've ever seen. Recommended.

Yes, I Am A Number...
Mar 11, 2004
We've been reduced to the status of consumers and nobody
seems to object. Think of the imagery: a creature with a huge mouth
and an enormous gut, no brain and no soul. Consumers get points for
consuming junk, the more they consume, the more points they get. They
can retrieve these if they can remember their PIN numbers because
unlike the customers of another era who had names, consumers have
numbers. When they've gorged enough, they can consume more, and they
seem to believe that these points are bonuses....

Read the rest (673 words)

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