Say what you mean

HEY! Software developers! Yes, you. Wake up!

An insiduous disease is spreading its way through the development community, leaving confusion in its wake. No-one wants to talk about it – but someone’s got to take a stand.

I’m talking about jargonitis.

Is your open-source project “designed to enhance the ability of the community to develop tools to plug into frameworks for the construction of software components?” Are you “exploiting an extensible platform for hosting innovative software tools for the development of cross-platform components?” Have you started a “revolutionary technology development platform to leverage an open source application framework?” If so, then I’m afraid you – yes, you – have been infected with jargonitis.

The primary symptom of jargonitis is logorrhea: a runny stream of useless verbiage. Word salsa like “designed to enhance the ability of the community to develop tools to plug into frameworks for the construction of software components” doesn’t mean anything – or, more accurately, doesn’t mean anything more than “improves plug-in development”. The extra blather actually drains the meaning that is there, until the point gets lost in a sea of undifferentied grey jargon, and readers of your project web site drift away.

“Technology infrastructures for implementation frameworks” – feh!
Software comes in three major flavors: applications, tools, and platforms:

  • Applications do something.
  • Tools let you make something.
  • And platforms provide the building blocks out of which you build applications and tools.

So the next time I roll on to SourceForge, or Freshmeat, or Apache, or the Eclipse project home page, I want to hear about “visual editors for graphs” (applications that do something) or “IDEs for developing web applications” (tools for building things) or “APIs for collaborative applications” (platforms for building things on). That’s right: write nice, clear, concrete descriptions that say what you fricking mean.

If I see any more “technology projects to develop toolsets that leverage application frameworks” I’ll come smack ya.

You know who you are.

-the Centaur

Take a walk on the Darth Side

Hey! Vader’s got a blog! Some highlights:

Have I mentioned before that I am surrounded by idiots? Let me cut to chase and just tell you up front: the rebels got away. All of them … My elite squadron of StarDestroyers proved itself utterly incapable of a securing a single unescorted freighter travelling less than the speed of light.

I mean, come on. I’ve seen drills that were more challenging.

…You try to be an effective manager, you weed out the bad apples like the late Admiral Ozzel — only to find that an insidious culture of incompetence has somehow transformed your deadly pan-galactic armada into a fleet of spaceballs…

Do you want to know what the worst part is? My left leg is still on the fritz. Whose trachea do you have to crush with your mind to get a little service around here?

I can only say BWAH HA HA HAAAA! Oh. Ha. Whew … where’s my spleen?

-the Centaur

Don’t Panic…

it is all you dreamed it could be.

Is it the original radio play brought to life word-for-word with the faithfulness of Sin
City? No. Do some of the reviews on line have a point? Yes. But, as my good friend Glenn said as the preview showing’s credits scrolled to a close: “They imposed a more conventional narrative structure – but that’s hardly a criticism!” or as another friend said “Given the constraints of making a movie people who haven’t read the books will watch? Get over it.”

Or, as another friend said: “I never read the books, and I enjoyed it.”

Go see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And have fun!

-the Centaur

Ask and you shall receive

SO, NASA is delaying the shuttle launch to make sure it dots all the I’s and crosses all the T’s on safety.

Hurray! NOW I’m happy.

Check it out, fix anything broke, check it out again, clear it, and if it blows up this time no one will blame you because you did every dang thing ya could, rather than just rushing it out there!

-the Centaur

If you need a home in Atlanta…

… you might consider talking to Kelly Carnahan over at Atlanta Townhomes. He’s helped at least one of my friends find a good home and has been patiently helping me find something (a) nice (b) close (c) affordable and, most importantly, (d) structurally sound.

This last part is perhaps the most important bit – see the picture of the cracked beam on icy hand of fate? Well, rather than just wandering around and saying “mmm, buyable goodness,” Kelly (and the home inspectors he works with) actually look out for the customer and help them pick the best home – and then when the customer makes a choice, they *really* *inspect* the *home* with an eye to structural and resale deficiencies to make sure Kelly’s proud of the sale.

Kelly has already saved me from at least one a possible $75K mistake and hopefully is steering me closer and closer to a Really Nice Home Really Soon Now. So I recommend him highly.

More developments as they happen…

When is enough enough?

So the Shuttle Discovery, about to re-launch America into space after a near two-year delay, has a crack in its fuel tank.

NASA scientists, in consultation with the manufacturer, have apparently decided that this crack is too small to deal with and will roll the fucker out any damn way so we can get on with our next national tragedy.

At what point do we say “enough is enough”?

What *is* it about the NASA bureaucracy that lops off the balls of anyone high up enough to say “Stop. Roll the fucker back into the bay. *Find* the *problem* — I don’t believe for one minute that a crack in the insulation does NOT mean that there aren’t deeper problems somewhere in that tank. And while you’re in there, find out whatever ELSE we missed — we are not launching another $2 billion bottle rocket on MY watch.”

No. Really. We’ve been down this road. We don’t need to go down it again.