June 27th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] sumana_feed at 06:52pm on 27/06/2017
One of Changeset Consulting's clients is working on modernizing a legacy web application; we're improving both its structural underpinnings and its user interface and outgoing APIs. It is like we are Chief O'Brien in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, surveying and retrofitting Terok Nor. But that's not a fair comparison; O'Brien has to not only grapple with alien engineering approaches, but with the resentful and deliberate trashing the Cardassians inflicted on the station before handing it over. I haven't seen Stargate Atlantis but perhaps that's a better analogy; with every component of this long-asleep lost city that we resuscitate, a new console or room shimmers to life. Which is pretty rewarding!

The original authors wrote this application in Java. I've never worked on a Java application before, so the last few weeks have been quite an education in the Java ecosystem, in its tools and frameworks and libraries. We're improving the installation and deployment process, so now I'm more familiar with Ant, Gradle, Maven, OpenJDK, JDBC, Hibernate, and WildFly. I've gotten some API documentation in place, so now I know more about Spring and Javadoc.

As I was explaining to a friend this weekend, the overwhelming thing isn't Java as a language. It is a programming language and you can program in it, fine. The overwhelmption is the seemingly endless chain of plugins, platforms, and frameworks, and the mental work to understand what competes with, supersedes, integrates with, or depends on what.

Imagine you come to visit New York City for the first time, and wish to visit a specific address. First you need to work out where it is. But you do not have a map; there is no unified map of the whole place. Surely you can figure this out. Watch out: if someone doesn't tell you what borough an address is in, it's probably in Manhattan, but then again maybe not. There are multiple streets with the same name, and "31st Street and Broadway" in Queens is quite far from "31st Street and Broadway" in Manhattan. The avenue numbers go up westwards in Manhattan, eastwards in Brooklyn, and northwards in Queens. And so on.

You ask around, you see sketches of maps other people have made on their journeys, and eventually you feel pretty confident that you know the rough distance and direction to your destination. Now, how do you get there from your hotel room?

You probably don't want to walk all the way; for one thing, it's illegal and dangerous to walk on the freeways. This is why we have the subway (express and local), and buses (express and local, both privately and publicly run), and government-regulated taxis (street-hailable cabs and private car services), and bike rental, and commuter rail, a funicular/tram, car rental, ferries, and so on. Also there are illegal rideshare/taxi services that lots of people use. You try to learn some nouns and figure out what sort of thing each is, and what's a subset of what.

A MetroCard works on some of these modes and not others, and some transfers from one ride to another cost you nothing, and you can't use an unlimited-ride card twice at the same station or on the same bus within 18 minutes.* You can bring a bike on some MTA-run services but not all, not all the time. There are whole neighborhoods with no subway service, and whole neighborhoods with approximately no street parking. At rush hour the trains get super full. Service changes at night, on the weekend, and on holidays. Cars and buses get stuck behind accidents and parades. People and signs in Manhattan refer to "uptown" and "downtown" as though they are cardinal directions; they often correlate to "north" and "south" but not always. Metro North trains terminate at Grand Central, but Long Island Railroad trains terminate at New York Penn Station, which is named after Pennsylvania because it's where you can catch a train to Pennsylvania,** and there's a Newark Penn Station too but over a crackling loudspeaker those two station names sound very similar so watch out. And so on.

You're lucky; you find a set of cryptic directions, from your hotel to the destination address, based on a five-year-old transit schedule. It suggests you take a bus that does not exist anymore. Sometimes you see descriptions of travel that you think could be feasible as a leg of your journey, and you read what other people have done. They talk about "Penn Station" and "the train" without disambiguating, refer to the subway as "the MTA" even though the MTA also runs other transit, talk about "the 7" without distinguishing local from express, and use "blocks" as a measure of distance even though some blocks are ten times as long as others.

Aaaaagh. And yet: you will make it. You will figure it out. New Yorkers will help you along the way.

The decades-old Java ecosystem feels overwhelming but this application overhaul is like any other task. Things are made of stuff. Human programmers made this thing and human programmers can understand and manipulate it. I'm a human programmer. I made Javadoc do what I wanted it to do, and now the product is better and our users will have more information. And every triumph earns me a skill I can deploy for other customers and groups I care about.

* Just long enough for you to enjoy a little break from the podcast you're making with President Nixon!
** Also see St. Petersburg's Finland Station.

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
My grandmother Nellie had a younger brother, Jack, who was friendly and cheerful and helpful and became a baker (and all-around general cook, but that was later). He taught my mother his recipe for piecrust, and it never failed either of us: behind cut -- my comments in ( ) )

Jack was the kind of character that I wish I'd met when I was older -- I think I met him once when I was 4, which wasn't that memorable. As I said, he was a baker, and he was engaged to this girl that everyone in the family liked (which might have been difficult, since Jack was the youngest of 9 and the family tended to be protective of their littlest brother, never mind that he was in his 20s.) And on the day of the wedding ... she didn't show up. Neither did his best man. They'd eloped.

It broke his heart. He couldn't stay in the Ottawa Valley any more; it was just too uncomfortable. So he took a job as a cook on a ranch in Alberta, took the train west, and came back at Christmas when he could. He taught my mom to knit, because he knew how to knit his own socks, and held her skeins of yarn for her while she wound them into balls, telling her stories of the ranch all the time. He taught her how to make piecrust, and a cake that wouldn't fall, and a lot more. Nellie would write to him and get frustrated when he didn't reply -- someone from the ranch would stop at the post office in town once a week or so -- so after two attempts that got no answer one year she put on the address, "If not claimed within two weeks, addressee is deceased; please return to sender." He wrote back really fast after that, and made a big joke of it.

When he came back during World War I, both his parents were dead (his mother a few years earlier but his father died in about 1917-1918) and were buried out in the little cemetery by the river church, without a headstone. He went around to visit all his brothers and sisters, asking for a little money to pay a stone cutter, and got nowhere. And yeah, he could understand that farmers and small merchants had a hard time during wartime, but there was family pride at stake too. So he dug into his own pocket, and one day a gravestone, a tall, elegant granite marker, appeared over their graves. Engraved on it was, "Sacred to the memory of Daniel and Catherine McNeely," and their dates and I think (it's been a while since I saw it) a pious verse of some sort. But in another line, underneath, "Erected by their son, John McNeely." (Never mind his three older brothers, and five sisters.) Nobody in the family took it badly, and some found it really funny, but under it all people were grateful that it had been done. And they all thought it was very much a Jack thing to do.

When he died in the late 1960s, after several years in a nursing home back in the Ottawa Valley, near family, he was buried near his parents, and the marker was altered to add his name and dates.

So, please, use Uncle Jack's Piecrust Recipe, and welcome, and pass it along. I don't want it to vanish into the place where good memories go when nobody remembers them any more.
jreynoldsward: (Default)

As usual, June is flying by. Between MisCon and 4th of July, it always seems like I’m flying around getting things wrapped up for the end of the school year and then jumping into summer stuff. It’s no different now that I’m working online instead of in a classroom. OTOH, I’m less tired from working online, so that’s a win.

The late spring meant we’ve been dragging on getting the garden running and getting in the wood. But at last, we got the garden finished off in early June and it is happily growing at our friend S’s place in Clatskanie. This past week in Enterprise, we did get two loads of wood hauled, plus horse show stuff…

But there’s so much to blog about and I keep putting it off because, well, who wants to spam the linkage? I’m thinking now that I need to write some things but just not publish them. The alternative is not blogging at all…and I am discovering that I really don’t like that option, either.

So yeah. Time to start writing blog posts and timing them. I will post one soon talking about the two short pieces I have available on preorder right now. I also want to post about politics, because I’m contemplating a few things. I also want to write and post something about a few things I’ve been considering about writing process that has solidified to some extent by now. And then I also want to blog about the horse.

Meanwhile, I’m putting this one up. Hopefully we’ll see a flurry of posting soon.

Mirrored from Peak Amygdala.

Posted by Fred Clark

Kelly J. Baker studied one of the darker corners of American history, writing Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930. Baker wishes this was simply the esoteric specialty of a historian, but her topic of study remains disturbingly relevant today. She’s written about that continuing relevance in a Religion & Culture [Read More...]
dine: (adam hair - pensnest)
redbird: women's lib: raised fist inside symbol for woman (fist)
brigantine: (uss enterpoop aaaigh!)
tealin: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tealin at 06:32pm on 27/06/2017 under ,


To my great bafflement, it has taken this long for Golden Hill to be released in the US – a multi-award winning highly readable romp through colonial New York, you’d think it’d be obvious, but there you go.

Anyway, here is the main character, Mr. Smith – I roughed these out last year when I read the book, but have only just made them as pretty as I’d like.

Do give Golden Hill a shot if you like
  • fun
  • peril
  • interesting characters
  • meticulous research
  • very satisfying historical fix-it fic

Mr Smith is superficially similar to Moist von Lipwig, which made it a little difficult for me to get a grip on the book at first, because I couldn't see into his head as clearly as Moist's (whose internal world is what really sells the book, IMO), but boy oh boy that was totally worth it for the sake of saving the reveal for the end – the sort of reveal that makes the re-read at least as satisfying as the first.

I don't know about you, but I find most of my recreational reading these days ends up being very serious news and commentary about how much of a mess we're in. It's nice to get a break like this and lose yourself in another time and place, without being devoid of meaning.

Supplemental material – including a rather comprehensive catalogue of 18th-century slang – can be found on the book’s Tumblr.
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sheafrotherdon at 12:07pm on 27/06/2017
Today is PTSD Awareness Day! Do you have questions about PTSD that you've been afraid to ask? Wondered about stuff that you couldn't find an answer to online? Been curious about something? Feel free to ask me - I am so, so happy to talk about everything I know about PTSD. ♥
yhlee: two voidmoths at war (hxx Raven Stratagem)
posted by [personal profile] yhlee at 10:47am on 27/06/2017 under
An interview [Lightspeed Magazine] by Christian A. Coleman. Note that the interview mainly discusses Raven Stratagem, so there are spoilers for Ninefox Gambit. I also hint at what's coming in the third book, Revenant Gun.
Mood:: 'busy' busy
jhetley: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jhetley at 11:37am on 27/06/2017

More cornflowers sighted, first goatsbeard, mock orange smelling up the place. Rhododendrons done, seed heads on the curled dock turning brown. More roses.

No identifiable roadkill, just blood patches on the asphalt. Cleanup crew is fast.

Got out on the bike, not much wind, temperature about 70 F. Did not die.

15.27 miles, 1:13:16

aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Default)
posted by [personal profile] aldersprig at 03:35pm on 27/06/2017
MARKED - Oops, hiatus. :(

So I’m on vacation and totally forgot to actually get my twitter contact info while I was gone so I can’t… do the polls.
Argh.
Sorry about the hiatus! We’ll be back with the poll next Monday (the 3rd) and pick up the updates again on the following Thursday.


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