New Column, New Interview

July 17th, 2010  |  Published in General  |  Bookmark on

A couple newsworthy items:

IC Call For Special Issue Proposals

January 21st, 2010  |  Published in General  |  Bookmark on

IEEE Internet Computing will be assembling its editorial calendar for the 2011-2012 timeframe at its upcoming editorial board meeting. We solicit proposals to guest edit theme issues. For detailed instructions please see the web site. The deadline for proposals for this cycle is March 1, 2010.

Progress to acquire IONA

June 25th, 2008  |  Published in General  |  Bookmark on

Looks like Progress is going to acquire IONA. Probably a decent deal for both.

Six Degrees, Capone, and me

February 15th, 2008  |  Published in General  |  Bookmark on

A bit off the usual topic of this blog, but yesterday being Valentine’s Day and all, late in the evening I was busy doing what no doubt a whole lot of other people were also doing: watching the documentary of “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” on The History Channel. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre is, of course, the name given to the event in 1929 in which members of Al Capone‘s gang murdered seven people either in or associated with Bugs Moran‘s gang.

The phrase “six degrees” in the blog title refers to “Six Degrees of Separation,” which is the idea that each person on the planet is separated from everyone else by an average of only six steps. Each person you know is one degree away, each one they know but you don’t is two degrees away, etc.

During the show, a picture flashed on the screen that reminded me of how many degrees of separation there are between the infamous Al Capone and me: only two. The picture was that of his older brother Ralph, whom I met as a child. Ralph lived in the Sky View Nursing Center in Hurley, WI near where I grew up in Upper Michigan. The mother of one of my teachers also lived there, so that teacher would occasionally take the whole class over to visit the elderly people in the center, bring them small gifts we’d make in class, have us sing songs to them, and have each of us visit with one of them individually. By sheer luck I was assigned to visit Ralph Capone. I don’t recall him saying much, but when I saw his picture in the documentary last night, I wished that I knew then what I know now. Think of the questions I could have asked him!

He died in 1974, not too long after my visits with him, and my mom cut out his obituary from the Milwaukee Sentinel and gave it to me. I still have it in a scrapbook.

Rejoining the blogosphere

September 22nd, 2007  |  Published in General  |  Bookmark on

Welcome to my new blog! When I left IONA, I figured it would be just a month or two before I could return to blogging. I guess it took a little longer than that, though, given that seven months have already gone by.

Many have asked what I’ve been up to for the past seven months. All I can tell you is that I can’t tell you. :-) I work for a startup in Westford, MA, USA, in an industry that’s totally different than the one I used to work in. On the surface it might seem daunting to leave an industry where you’re kind of considered an expert for one in which you’ve never worked before, but at the end of the day, software is software, and expertise extends farther than you might think.

One thing I can tell you is that I am having a blast. The team I work with is experienced and very strong. We’re all old experienced enough that egos are largely left out of the office, so many of the typical bikeshed problems that plague groups of developers just don’t seem to happen. Well, OK, some do :-), but they seem to get solved quickly. In general, though, a lot seems to get done very quickly and at a very high quality. It’s hard work, and my days seem to regularly extend to 16-18 hours, but that’s exactly the type of situation in which I thrive.

The best part for me, though, is getting to work in multiple programming languages on a daily basis. Too many shops in the enterprise integration and web services world I left behind just want to write everything in Java. Zzzzz…snore. I never really warmed up to Java because I find it totally boring. To me, it’s like C++ with the fun bits taken out. If I want to use a C++-like language, I’ll use C++. OTOH if I want a language other than C++, then I want it to be very different from C++. You know, things like Python, Ruby, and Erlang, and of course the requisite Emacs-Lisp hacking that one is wont to do.

But more on all that, and various other topics, later. I should have a reasonable amount to talk about over the next while, as I’ve learned a lot by switching industries. Until then, thanks for welcoming me back into your news feed.