Archive > April 2003

PHP Con Wrap-up

29 April 2003 » In PHP, Travel » No Comments

Getting to New York for PHP Con was easy, getting back though was miserable. I had to drive from New Haven to Boston in a dreary, disgusting, all-obscuring rain that continued all day. Probably one of the worst drives of my life. But the conference itself proved to be good.
Some recommendations for places I visited this time:

  • Gallagher’s – a very good steakhouse
  • 53rd Street Cigar Bar – located in the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers
  • Le Souk/Harem – Middle Eastern-themed lounge, complete with belly dancers and hookahs

Bizarre person of the month: a long-haired blond man wearing nothing but tight underwear and cowboy boots and hat, all white, strumming the guitar in the middle of Times Square and singing “I’m a little blonde girl…”

PHPCon and Boston Marathon

23 April 2003 » In Other, PHP » No Comments

Serendipity works in mysterious ways indeed. I wasn’t planning on going to PHPCon in New York, but after chatting with Sterling a couple of weeks ago it seemed like a good idea. And the management unexpectedly gave their blessings at the last minute. I should be in the city tonight – give me a shout if you want to get together.
I didn’t realize that Boston Marathon was such a famous event. I decided that it behooves me to see one while I am still in Boston, and took Monday off. Good thing I got downtown early enough, another half hour and the streets would close and I’d be stuck on Com Ave instead of right at the finish line. The crowds thronged Boylston street, and the patios of eating establishments were crammed with patrons, standing shoulder to shoulder, barely holding onto their drinks and yelling for a new one as soon as the current one was drained. It seemed the Marathon was just another excuse for a prolonged happy hour. The men’s leader was predictable, but women’s race was won by a Russian, Svetlana Zakharova. I still can’t imagine how they can sustain an almost 13 miles per hour pace.

Resume update

16 April 2003 » In Me, Work » No Comments

I wasn’t entirely happy with the way my current resume was organized, so I decided to rewrite it. The results can be seen here. Yes, this does mean that you can send me job offers or point me to companies that are looking for someone like me. Preferably in the Boston area, but elsewhere will be fine too.

AlltheWeb Update

15 April 2003 » In Tech, Work » No Comments

Yesterday we pushed out the new release of AlltheWeb. This one, while smaller in scope than originally intended, has nevertheless some fairly nice and even hidden features. There is also a short announcement about the new stuff that is a bit more verbose. And WebmasterWorld started the discussion of the new features, generating some wild theories along the way.

Ninja Power

14 April 2003 » In Funny » 1 Comment

Some days I wish I was a ninja, just for the hell of it. Without the joys of Frisbee-seppuku, of course.

Moving to 21st Century

10 April 2003 » In Other » 5 Comments

I got sick of typing in my entries by hand, and installed MoveableType. I guess now I have something called permalinks, comments, trackbacks, and what not. Knock yourself out. No archives yet though.

Readability of XML

09 April 2003 » In Rants, Tech » No Comments

Today I was reading an article in Dr. Dobb’s Journal entitled “XML & Relational Databases”. It discusses the advantages of presenting the SQL query results in an XML format, due to better abstraction, clearer presentation of hierarchical relationships, platform independence, and human readability. Wait just a second, human readability?
This brings up a pet peeve of mine. Don’t get me wrong, XML is a good, flexible format and has many uses, but why must every XML-related article tout the fact that it can be read by mere humans? What is the inherent advantage of this “feature”? Not only does it increase the space required to store the XML documents, but the XML processors must deal with the larger amount of data, which must affect performance on some level. Who benefits? Companies making storage solutions and processors.
There has to be a better way. I don’t peruse low-level machine code, so why should the computer be stuck with handling the verboseness of XML? Equality for all, I say. There should be a compiled version of XML that the software can work with natively, and if a human needs to look at that data, well, they can just run an XML viewer or editor. To respond to expected arguments of “with plain-text XML you don’t need a special viewer or editor”: that’s fine, keep your config data or whatever else in XML, the software should be smart enough to compile it automatically. But it’s silly to have two computers communicating with each other via human-readable XML files (think SOAP), even if they are compressed — generate XML, compress, send, receive, uncompress, parse, process. There are definitely superfluous steps there.
And now Microsoft says that the next generation Office will store everything in XML. Well, okay, but what I am really going to do with plain-text multi-megabyte documents living on my hard drive, except using them in Word? Open them in Notepad and admire the hierarchical structure? Give me a break. Compile them instead. Leave the space for more MP3s – a format, mind you, that doesn’t use musical notation for storage.