Presentations and the Zen Aesthetic

Presentations and the Zen Aesthetic is a great writeup about how presentations can be made to the essence of simplicity. I personally think it applies directly to a lot of other things, most recently including software design.

I’m sure some of my coworkers are sick of hearing me burst out “if you’re not using it, delete it” when I take a gander at code, but I think it is the first step to refining and making something really elegant. When I was adding to UnitKit, Duncan was very patient with my blundering style and directed me to work with much more elegant solutions. More of that is needed, I think. I do the same thing with writing (well, obviously NOT here). Cram a bunch of stuff in as I think of it, and then go at it viciously with the paring knife. It always seems to come out much better.

Mind Camp – a few days later

Wow, so a whole bunch of people have dug around and written about Mind Camp.

Scoble, while taking the a pot-shot at Google, has some links if you’re interested. If you want pics – check out Flikr with the tag mindcamp10.

I think Ted’s writeup is the most complete, and captures the event pretty well. All sorts of tidbits that are clamoring around in my head, even now. Avi Bryant’s Dabble DB was incredible (gus caught that too in his delicious links). There was another fellow there with Avi, and I feel terrible for not remembering his name. I do remember Todd Blanchard‘s ObjectiveCLIPS which was really cool, and in which I almost passed out from just being tired. Sunday morning was not the best time for sessions…

One of the most intriguing sessions that is still roaming around in my head was the first one I attended – where I accidentally nicked Buzz Bruggeman‘s chair while he was talking. We chatted a bit during and after that session on computers and augmentation of human capabilities, and some time late that night he wandered over to me and gave me a lovely Windows Longhorn jacket (very nice shell), for no reason that I could tell other than we’d had a good conversation and he thought it would fit me.


Avi wrote me – his partner in crime that afternoon was Andrew Catton, co-developer of Dabble and co-founder of Smallthought. I couldn’t find a blog from Andrew, but he and Avi have been cited in a paper about explicit programming, so I’ll leave it at that link.


Mindcamp is over, and it was really good. Very worthwhile, although I’m a bit tired after the whole thing.

So what do you do? Well, you follow it up with taking in Jarhead with a friend for a sunday afternoon matinee. Wow – that’s a damn good movie. It hits close to home for me, as that whole piece of craziness was exploding while I was wandering around Europe after graduating from college. It was really heavily on my mind, but then I think it was really heavily on everyone’s mind at the time.

It wasn’t a big “blow ’em up” movie, but it was intensely personal and mad props go to Jake Gyllenhaal for his portrail of Swoff. I enjoyed him in Donnie Darko, and although I haven’t seen him in the intevening roles, he’s progressed very well as an actor.

There is a lot of chew on from the movie. Little tidbits are even now (hours later) coming back to poke and prod at my mind.


Getting… Sleepy…

MindCamp has been variously boring and really interesting, depending on the moment, discussion, and relative proximity to random happenings all around. I’ve got to say it is much more successful than I expected.

There’s folks that I’ve written back and forth with over the past several years that I’d never met until tonight. Others that I’d worked with previously who I hadn’t seen in a year or so. In general, it’s been a huge diversity of folks and topics. Gus took off for the night, but I’m going to stick around and run through the night. The population definitely dropped off about 10pm – we had easily 150 earlier today, and as I’m writing this we’re down to maybe 60 or 70 people scattered about several room and one really large room.

The most interesting topics today were augmentation (early in the morning) and visualization of language (late tonight) that really had diverse folks involved in them.

Not sure where I’m going to crash yet (lots of space, it’s just getting a corner that I like at this point). I expect getting somewhere nailed down is the next order of business.

Testing web apps (Python, Twill)

Michele Simionato has an article up at OReillyNet on testing web applications, focused mainly around python and Twill.

Twill is a neat little mini-language thing, and he mentions Selenium at the very end of the article. I wish he’d looked a little more into Selenium. The more I see of it, the more I think “Damn, that’s a framework to really get to know and use” – at least for testing purposes. As we move more and more into using Javascript to push the envelope for web applications, getting a good system of testing that stuff is critically important (I hadn’t a good clue on how to chase that very subject down 12 months ago), and the FIT-style display of tests and results is a very powerful mechanism.

Note – I haven’t actually used Selenium yet, but I think its something I will before all is said and done.

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