life is a rum go guv’nor, and that’s the truth

A community is its problems

One way to define a community is by the problems it cares about.
How does one begin to participate in a community?
If you accept my characterization of a community, you begin participating in the community when you begin caring about the same problems that the community cares about. If you wanted to create an entry path [...]

Posing and Solving Problems

Last night we listened to the hilarious Ze Frank. Amongst the laughs I gleaned a few principles which I think apply to things I care about.

Playing with something is a better way to begin learning about it than to be told all about it.
When people begin creating things they begin learning the language of design.
It [...]

RailsConf: Clean Code

In summary: write tests, run tests continually, design modules so that they are open for extension but closed for modification (you can add functionality without changing the existing code) refactor periodically, clean up your code before it stinks. Here are some interesting quotes:
“It was too easy to make a mess in Smalltalk” Ward Cunningham (Dynamic [...]

RailsConf2007: Your First Day with JRuby on Rails

RailsConf2007. We ran in circles last night trying to find a restaurant that had been recommended to us and ended up eating at Wendy’s. Yum Apparently the double tree didn’t have our reservations. Gratefully they gave us a room anyway.
I’m here at the First Day with JRuby on Rails tutorial with Charlie Nutter [...]

implementing a recommender system

I’m going to start implementing a recommender system soon. It seems like recommender systems get a bad rap from many people. My experiences with them have not been so stellar either. I think my basic gripe is that they speak up when they shouldn’t, that is when they don’t really have anything good to recommend [...]