“Looks like I pissed off the internet”

A friend messages me: “is that you on the picture? I found this on Hacker News”

„Haha, hey, that’s me indeed!” … „Wait, wtf”

TL;DR: I don’t fancy being used as a Bad Example and an advertisement for your Brilliant Startup. Also, using somebody’s picture without permission and censoring his comment is Not Very Nice.

After readinng the article linked above I left the following comment below:

> You guys need help getting dressed in the morning so you don’t leave the house in a Hackathon shirt and cargo pants.
Oh, how convincing: fetch my picture from the hackathon and tell me to not dress as if I was dressing for a hackathon. Nice.
As somebody pointed out already, it may be nice to ask for someone’s permission before publishing a picture in this context, especially since the original website, from where I believe you took that picture from, has my name is written down below the image. Oh by the way, ISTR it had a watermark as well, just outside the frame you included; it’s very nice of you to not credit the photographer who values his work.
As far as I like the idea of helping geeks (please, no “nerds”. Respecting each other is not _that_ hard) to dress better, your “advertisment” is not particularly sophisticated. I hope that the rest your ideas are more interesting than this one.
For some reason the comment didn’t make it through moderation. Whoops. So I took the liberty to respond to the post on my own blog.
Now that I read this I think I could’ve reacted in a less angry way (although it was still not „the internet angry”, as a friend of mine pointed out), but the points stand.
So, a little backstory: On the Perl 6 hackathon in Oslo there was a picture taken with all the participants, myself included. A strictly programming event, who would be surprised that people would be wearing t-shirts from previous conferences? Apparently somebody would, and thus will use us as an example of guys who „need help”.
That’s not very nice.
Disregarding the legal aspects of publishing a picture of people, after carefully removing the watermark, and portraying them as anti-social and helpless, I find it hard to imagine how an advertising of this sort could appeal to the very same people you’re targeting with your post. Apparently, reading the comments which did make it through moderation, some people included on the pictures actually liked the idea, so it may just be that I know nothing about marketing. My bad.
A few hours after posting the article to hacker news, @jordynclee posted on her twitter: “Looks like I pissed off the internet”. Woo, how did that happen? Mayhaps insulting people whose photos you use without their permission is not the best idea of all?
Now, dear @jordynclee, I’ll continue on listening to opinions of people who respect other people, and keep on doing business which doesn’t involve ridiculing others to achieve my goals. Thank you for your constructive criticism.

On ignoring TODOs

A while ago I was looking for a way to organize myself. I read GTD for Hackers, and then eagerly split my TODO into Next Actions, Projects, Waiting For and Someday/Maybe. It all looked nice and organized, and I felt like I’m really doing something to get organized and stuff.

Except that my problem wasn’t really about forgetting to do stuff. It was about not wanting to do stuff. You know what procrastination is? No? Well, I’ll explain it later.

Then I noticed that I usually get motivated just before the deadline of some sort. My calendar was full of deadlines, and a day before I usually sat there and did what was to be done. So I thought, how about artificial deadlines?

Since then, instead of putting stuff on a TODO, I put it in a calendar for a random free day in the near future. Then if I don’t have time to do something, I can postpone it, depending on how much time I still need to complete it.

It appears to be working fine. It’s more about getting motivated than getting organized, but I feel that I cannot be the only one who is looking for “how to get organized” when I really need “how to get motivated to actually get stuff done”.

Hope this helps.

How to use your Kindle as a notebook

So amazon has released those new, shiny Kindles for low prices. Does that make my Kindle Keyboard (that’s how they call it now anyway) obsolete now? Not on my watch. So what’s a good thing about a physical keyboard, on a device you don’t really type on? Turns out it can be useful if you can find a reasonable use for it.

I used to carry around a notebook of a size of a post-it sticker in my back pocket. I’m nowhere near the idea of carrying my Kindle in a back pocket, I’ve had it broken already, thank you, but can it be as good as a notebook as a good, ol’ piece of paper? First of all, we’ll need a decent app for it. But those are not available for customers outside of the US. Crap.

But there’s this feature for adding inline notes in a book you read, right? So if I could carry around an empty book just for putting notes on it… that could work. So I assembled one, and all the inline notes appear on the “My Clippings” entry just fine. Works fine now, let’s see how it will work in the field, over time.

So, what do you use a keyboard on your Kindle for?

What is Production Ready?

“When will Perl 6 be production ready?” – they ask from time to time. I know the feeling, there was a time I wanted to know too, and after a year working on Rakudo, I can truly say,

I have no freaking idea!

I’d really like to tell you, seriously. If you ask #perl6, they will start tricking you into thinking that it’s ready enough and they’re actually using it, right? Tricky bastards. But, what do you actually ask for? What is this mighty Production Ready?

I dedicated some thinking to this today. What makes something Production Ready? I can think of two possibilities

  1. The creators declare it Production Ready
  2. People start using it in Production Environment

The first one is a bit tricky to achieve when it comes to Perl 6. As we know, Perl 6 is a language. How can language be Production Ready? Think, think. Is there another example of something which is rather a spec than an end-user product, and is either not declared as finished, or the spec freeze date is ridiculously far in the future? Right, it’s HTML5. Spec is a draft, it’s nowhere near finished, and neither of the implementation implement all of it. So what makes HTML5 production-ready? I don’t think it’s declared ready by its creators. It’s that people didn’t bother with official opinions and started actually solving problems with it. Took the existing implementations and made use of it. Therefore, we can safely assume that by “Production Ready Perl 6” we really mean “A Perl 6 Compiler I can use to get the job done”. So what are the current compilers lacking for the majority of people?

Yes, I’m asking you. You don’t really know, do you? You didn’t even try them? It’s just that people don’t use them too often, so they’re probably crap, right? Ok, there’s some logic in that.

There is a possibility that Perl 6 is already capable of solving your problems. You should try it. But! Enough of the advertising business, I’m wondering here.

“So what is your Production Ready?”, you may ask. What do I expect from Perl 6 before it will be Production Ready for me? It’s not, I’m not gonna lie. It’s solving my problems, it pays my bills, but it lacks this Something that will make it Purely Awesome. In my opinion, there are two major things we’re missing:

  1. Speed. Not all things I write need to be blazingly fast, but what is the point of amazingly expressive language, if the bottleneck of the development process is program runtime?
  2. Access to Perl 5 modules from CPAN. Yes, I know of modules.perl6.org fairly well, believe me. Still, it will take ages, if not infinity to make it as awesome as CPAN is. Blizkost is a bridge between Perl 5 and Parrot and it’s capable of running simple stuff already.

That’s it. I can live without most of the things. But what I’m really looking for, is a better Perl 5. It needs CPAN, and it needs to be less slow that it is. I’m not looking for a C performance. I could live with Perl 5 performance here probably.

That’s what I’m missing. And what is Your Production Ready?

On the language wars

Disclamer: I don’t want to provoke another instance of something I’d be writing about, so I’m going to refer to languages as to meals.

We all like eating. Some of us prefer only one or two kinds of food, but most of us have experiences with many types, yet there are this few ones which we prefer. But more often than I’d like, we yell at each other that our types of food are better, instead of serving our favorite meals with happiness on our faces. Or we insult each other because of the type of food someone else prefers.

Isn’t it sick?

I’m not a professional cook, but I tend to wander there and around in the cooking community. Let me tell you a few stories I experienced in the recent time.

So there’s a cooking convention, and a two cooks are showing some stuff they cooked using Mushrooms. At the beginning, they start to exaplain, why Mushrooms? “Oh you know, we like Mushrooms, and would any of you like to cook these using Pasta? Are you willing to punch yourself in the face after cooking Pasta? And if you enjoy using the cookbooks about Pasta, you must be masochists!”. I’m glad I was watching it recorded rather than live, as I might have looked stupid standing up and leaving the room. But really, this were some serious cooks, why do they yell at other types of food instead of showing why their are nice? Seems not very professional, and shows Mushroom lovers in a bad light.

But the sad thing is, many of them are like this. On the cooking reddit (sometimes written as “cookit”), in every article or news headling about a new meal with Pasta, dozens of Mushroom lovers appear yelling how madly they hate Pasta. Really, comments are filled with this cretinism. They shout at how Pasta is old-fashioned, difficult to eat and how it looks bad. Then why do they need to tell this to everyone, while they see how they keep being downvoted? I asked one of the redditors, why so much hate against Pasta? “It’s not hate, it’s disgust”, he replied. Hey, stupid! No need to spoil somebody else’s taste, why don’t you cook something good with your beloved Mushrooms instead of shouting at how madly you hate Pasta? Sadly, they seem to attack Tomato lovers too, everytime telling everyone how Mushrooms are better for everything and everyone should quit cooking Pasta and Tomatoes and move to Mushrooms instead. I once even saw something horrifying on the Mushrooms mailing list, although I don’t usually read those. There was a quote: “and what defines a Mushroom activist anyway? Blowing up Pasta meals worldwide?” What on earth is wrong with you people?

Luckily, not everyone is like this. I tend to see friendly Mushroom lovers, which sometimes cook Pasta too, although I usually see them on Pasta related IRC channels. Good to know there are good people in this community. Good to know they’re cooperating with us, there are so many wonderful things we can cook together. For example, do you even know the awesome things you can cook with exotic animals, like Parrots?

Now, you may have alredy guessed what kind of food is which language in this story. But there’s a reason I didn’t write a cheatsheet anywhere. It could be related to any of you, probably to me also. Just try to think about from a wider perspective. Hating other people’s food does not make you a better cook. It’s not nice either, when someone jugdes you basing on the type of food you cook, or eat? Shoving your opinions down peoples’ throats is always bad.