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Archive for October, 2006

The Death of Best Practices

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Jonathan Mendez has some words to say about best practices (though not as much as I’d like):

Best practice by definition is the best possible way of doing something. Most marketers look at implementing best practices as executing standards to make improvement. Unfortunately, this one-way, one-size fits all standardization mentality is not an effective practice for digital marketers. It’s lazy marketing. Old school. Our world needs to be ruled by looking at our audience as different segments, not homogenous masses, and delivering relevance. What we learn from doing segmentation is that what is best for one audience does not always work for another. There are no standards. There really is no such thing as a best practice.

So what to do when we don’t know what will deliver the best results?

Get off your butt and think.

Full story: The Death of Best Practices.

Written by Tom Adams

October 30th, 2006 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Technology

Is your IDE tilting at the dynamic language windmill?

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Quite a few programmers love having powerful IDEs. These IDEs perform certain simple refactorings somewhat automatically, they can take a compiled language and make it seem a little more like an interpreted language, they can find certain types of errors as you type…

In short, they do a lot of drudge work on the programmer’s behalf. What’s not to like about this? Nothing. These are useful tools. I have been working with Eclipse lately when editing Java, although I really don’t care one way or another. I like what it does but I’m fundamentally indifferent to its existence.

I find that IDEs are nice, but even the most sophisticated IDEs are… static. They make one-time changes to code. I’m far more interested in languages that let me write code that writes code, in languages that let me write code that doesn’t need a lot of rewriting and fixing across the board when I make a change. (This is just my perspective. I’m still learning a lot about the intersection between theory and practice in programming languages.)

But this is why you’re tilting at windmills when you ask me why I don’t eschew Ruby for Java just so I can “rename class.”

Source: Is your IDE tilting at the dynamic language windmill?.

Written by Tom Adams

October 26th, 2006 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Java,Languages,Ruby

Australia’s RFID Passport Turns 1!

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We should all send little Johnny and Alexander a card to celebrate the first birthday of Australian passports containing RFID chips.

In anticipation of this event, Bruce Schneier has a nice little article extolling the virtues of RFID chips in passports. Speaking about US passports:

If you have a passport, now is the time to renew it — even if it’s not set to expire anytime soon. If you don’t have a passport and think you might need one, now is the time to get it. In many countries, including the United States, passports will soon be equipped with RFID chips. And you don’t want one of these chips in your passport.

By itself, this is no problem. But RFID chips don’t have to be plugged in to a reader to operate. Like the chips used for automatic toll collection on roads or automatic fare collection on subways, these chips operate via proximity. The risk to you is the possibility of surreptitious access: Your passport information might be read without your knowledge or consent by a government trying to track your movements, a criminal trying to steal your identity or someone just curious about your citizenship.

If you need to find out if your passport contains an RFID chip these images should help. The little logo (“gold international ePassport symbol”) on the cover is an international standard identifying passports with RFID chips.

Written by Tom Adams

October 24th, 2006 at 12:32 pm

Cornucopia of Links

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Written by Tom Adams

October 12th, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism

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Some links that I’ve been reading, relating to the US Administration’s hypocrisy surrounding Iraq & North Korea.

Did the U.S. Provoke N. Korea? (emphasis mine):

The Bush administration says that this sequence of events was a coincidence. Whatever the truth, I found on a recent trip to Pyongyang that North Korean leaders view the financial sanctions as the cutting edge of a calculated effort by dominant elements in the administration to undercut the Sept. 19 accord, squeeze the Kim Jong Il regime and eventually force its collapse. My conversations made clear that North Korea’s missile tests in July and its threat last week to conduct a nuclear test explosion at an unspecified date “in the future” were directly provoked by the U.S. sanctions. In North Korean eyes, pressure must be met with pressure to maintain national honor and, hopefully, to jump-start new bilateral negotiations with Washington that could ease the financial squeeze. When I warned against a nuclear test, saying that it would only strengthen opponents of negotiations in Washington, several top officials replied that “soft” tactics had not worked and they had nothing to lose.

Isn’t it interesting to see that the government of North Korea also uses the same rhetoric as that used by the US. I wonder how much thinking the US administration does from North Korea’s point of view. Putting your faith in “hard” tactics is no way to overcome a problem when both sides are resolved to them (hard tactics that is). Conflicts all over the world show this on a daily basis. The logic behind this is clearly lacking.

Challenging the Culture of Obedience:

Let no one deny we are patriots. We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded, and we are distressed at what our President, his Administration, and our Congress are doing to, and in the name of, our great nation.

Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.

A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating President.

That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience–a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid–afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure

This article is interesting. A friend of mine has spoken about this very thing from a personal viewpoint.

Written by Tom Adams

October 10th, 2006 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Politics,World