I Learned something new: Piracy attacks map

This surprised me (in hindsight, it should have been no surprise), but I had kind of assumed that piracy (the sea vessel type) was a thing of the past. I couldn’t have been more wrong: see the Piracy attacks map.

A Pleasant Surprise: RoR at Audible.com

I’ve been listening to audiobooks while I commute for a long time, now, and I’ve been a customer of Audible.com for almost as long. Today, I got a pleasant surprise.

I was browsing the Audible site when I notice a link at the bottom of the page titled Work at Audible. I clicked it, curious to see what’s up at one of my favorite vendors, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that they are looking for a Ruby on Rails developer!

A patent was just issued for the Linked List — no kidding!

If there was ever an example of what is wrong with software patents, this has got to be a classic:
http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT7028023&id=Szh4AAAAEBAJ&dq=linked+list

If the patent office can issue a patent for something as ubiquitous as the linked list, and do it in 2006 (nearly 40 years after Knuth described it in his Art of Computer Programming series), then how can they be trusted to properly investigate prior art on anything?

With your help, perhaps we can stamp out software patents in our lifetime!

Ruby is now a “mainstream” programming language

Read about it here.

Ruby Book Sales Surpass Perl & Python

It was just last December that Tim O’Reilly said that Ruby book sales had surpassed Python book sales. Now Ruby book sales have also surpassed Perl book sales.

Tim O’Reilly posted the graph below which shows the books sales since 2003 for the most commonly used dynamic programming languages.

Click here to see a fullsized version of the graph. Notice the rise in JavaScript book sales, too (obviously due to the popularity of Ajax).

UPDATE: Tim O’Reilly just published an annotated version of this graph (which I like even better), so I have updated this blod posting to use it.

IntelliJ plugin for Ruby/Rails

This really makes my day. JetBrains, the makers of the fabulous IntelliJ IDEA, are adding support (via a plugin) for Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

It was just a very brief mention at the very end of on hour long video presentation of Team Server and IntelliJ 6.

You can watch the video here. If you only want to see the Ruby/Rails part, then fast forward to about 1 hour and 12 minutes into the video.

via Richard McMahon.

Interesting Answers from Great Programmers

Stiff sent a list of ten questions to a smattering of the world’s best programmers. This included such luminaries as James Gosling, Dave Thomas, Linus Torvalds, Guido Van Rossum, and more.

Surprisingly, most of them answered. The answers were very intesrting. You can definitely see the personalities come through in their answers. Read through the questions and answers and see, for example, if you can pick out who consistently has “human” centered answers and who consistently has “technically” centered answers. This came through most clearly in the answers to What do you think makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others?.

Fascinating!

One of my favorite answers was Steve Yegge’s answer to What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? (mostly because it mirrors my own opinion):

I think web application programming is gradually going to become the most important client-side programming out there. I think it will mostly obsolete all other client-side toolkits: GTK, Java Swing/SWT, Qt, and of course all the platform-specific ones like Cocoa and Win32/MFC/etc.

It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s very slowly been going that direction for ten years, and it could well be another ten years before web apps “win”. The tools, languages, APIs, protocols, and browser technology will all have to improve far beyond what you can accomplish with them today. But each year they get a little closer, and I’ve finally decided to switch all my own app development over to browser-based programming from now on.

Microsoft and Apple definitely don’t want this to happen, so a necessary first step will be for an open-source browser such as Firefox to achieve a dominant market position, which will in turn require some sort of Firefox-only killer app. (A killer app would be something like iTunes, something that everyone in the world wants to use, badly enough to download Firefox for it.)