Chronos Date/Time Library - the answer for my RFC822 needs?

I just found the Chronos Date/Time Library for Smalltalk. According to the site:

Chronos is a reusable code library, written in Smalltalk, for the
creation of and computations with date and time values. It provides classes to
represent and perform computations with point-in-time values, temporal extents
(durations of time) and temporal intervals (specific periods of time, such as
the quarter from 15 July 2005 through 14 October 2005.) Chronos implements the ANSI-Smalltalk Standard DateAndTime, DateAndTimeFactory,
Duration and DurationFactory protocols.

Provides very flexible parsing of dates, times and date-and-time values from
character data--including full support for ISO 8601, RFC 2822, time zone names,
time zone abbreviations and time zone offsets.

Nice! I will be giving this a try as time permits. There is a Squeak port!


Parsing OPML in Squeak

I started writing an OPML parser in Smalltalk using Squeak and YAXO this weekend. At the risk of sounding like a Squeak/Smalltalk fanboy, I was once again left with a warm afterglow. I had a blast and I was able to write most of it in a couple of hours. The only part that I have unfinished is taking an RFC822 date and parsing it into an internal date. (Anyone have Smalltalk code? Anyone?)

I decided to write an OPML parser because I:
  1. Wanted to play more with Smalltalk.
  2. Wanted to play with parsing XML in Smalltalk.
  3. Had written an OPML parser in Common Lisp and wanted to compare.

So, I hate to say it, but I like my Smalltalk version better than my Common Lisp version. When I compare the code between the two, the Smalltalk version is much easier to follow. I think the key difference is that in Smalltalk I focused on the data structures (objects) and not on the algorithms (parsing and populating). Even though I used an XML parser in both languages (XMLS for Lisp), in Lisp there's alot of code around populating my object model. Not sure why the difference. Maybe the slot accessor syntax vs. method syntax?

Does this mean I love Smalltalk more than Lisp. No. But, I think it means I'm starting to love them both.


Ubuntu Upgrade is like Butter

I just upgraded a VMWare image from Fiesty Fawn to Gusty Gibbon (7.04 -> 7.10). I used the prescribed upgrade method. Everything went smoothly. The only hitch was that my scroll wheel on my mouse wasn’t working. Thanks to this thread on the VMWare forum, I was able to get it working. Like the others, I suspect that the problems are due to VMWare and will be addressed in a future VMWare tools update.

The Canonical guys are making running a Debian based Linux too easy. I’m going to have to give up my Captain Kernel Patch secret decoder ring.

Update 11/11/2007: I changed the labels on this post because I didn't follow the rules and put commas in between the labels. This makes it look like one big label and me look like one big idiot.


The social networking time suck

Maxed out on social software is a great post from Nat Torkington about the benefits of social networking software and the amount of time it takes to maintain your personal connections. There are some great comments on the post as well.

Email is Organic

One of the things that I’m not sure everyone appreciates is that email is a de facto part of modern collaboration. I’m sure for many people, this goes without saying. However, there is a vocal minority who find email to be a distraction, a poor substitute for vocal communication, a poor form of written communication, or a poor substitute for a discussion board in a content management system somewhere. Sure, it’s all of that. But, it’s more than that too. It’s an organic form of collaboration.

If you think about email in terms of starting discussion threads, you soon realize that most of your attempts to start a discussion are failures or minimally successful. You could judge this by the number of back and forth responses in any particular thread. Most email pings one or more people, gets a response, and dies. The communication value is high, but the collaboration value is low.

However, once in a while you hit a jackpot. A back and forth flurry of emails from a wide variety of participants with input from various perspectives. In these instances, the communication value is secondary to the collaboration value. Moreover, you’ve experienced an organic form of collaboration where you didn’t have to establish a topic in a discussion board, wait for responses, perhaps deal with a moderator, etc. Email has provided you with a rapid, organic collaboration experience.

Additionally, email allows you to collaborate on different levels. There are times when your collaboration is through the substance of the text you are sending one another. There are other times when the collaboration is through versions of files being sent back and forth. There are even times when email becomes a substitute for RSS or alerts to let the collaboration participants know you’ve updated a web site or another collaboration medium.

Finally, email is good at keeping history. Each message is a snapshot in time. For example, when I need to go back to a more successful version of the cabbage soup recipe I’m sharing with my friends, I can easily look up the version I sent last Thursday.

So, don’t hate your email. Let’s embrace it for the rapid, organic collaboration medium that it is.

Back to blogging

I’ve decided to try to take up blogging more frequently again. I’ve got some reasons – the primary one being that I need to get back in the habit of writing. It’s painful now when I sit down to write anything other than an email. So, I’m hoping that I can at least get back into the swing of writing something more formal than an email but less formal than a document. We’ll see.

What have I been up to? As a previous post mentioned, Carey and I had another child who’s now a year and a half old. We built and moved into a wonderful new house. I received a new assignment at work that has challenged me like none of my previous experience. So, it’s been a busy couple of years.

On a technical front – I’ve joined the Enterprise Content Management practice at Hitachi Consulting (not a new job, just a new practice for me), I’ve been learning Smalltalk and lovin’ it, I’ve built a Rails application for a friend, and I’ve started learning ASP.NET/C# as part of a charitable project. Again, busy couple of years.

So, I’m back and I’m pledging to post more frequently. I also hope to achieve new levels of relevance through a series of pithy observations… well… maybe I’ll just post more frequently. J


Netbeans as a Rails IDE

Jon mentioned to me the other day that Netbeans 6 is including Rails support. I put it on my list of things to check out. I just did a quick Google and found a great blog post with lots of purdy pitchures at the Life on Rails blog.

I'm going to have to get me some NetBeans.

Also, kudos to Sun for keeping NetBeans alive. You could have clearly given up as you were Eclipsed. I'm wondering if NetBeans 6 isn't a lesson in "try, try again" and "hold on tight to your dreams".