Glenn Vanderburg

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Dear Michael,
Sun, 15 Jun 2003 (03:23) #

I absolutely love your open  letters  to  programs. Today I showed a couple of them to Mike Clark during a panel discussion, and he had a hard time maintaining his composure, he was laughing so hard.

I wish I'd thought of that. Keep it up!


Blapp gets perfect!
Fri, 25 Oct 2002 (11:32) #
Well, maybe not perfect, but close.

Michael has added a feature I asked for: a "recent links" panel. Here's a picture. I've been trying to find time to start working on that myself, but Michael beat me to it.

I can't wait to start using it!

The knowledge exchange
Thu, 24 Oct 2002 (15:36) #
I'm not vain enough to think that everyone who comes across this weblog is going to find all of my thoughts fascinating. So I've been giving thought to why I do this. The old "a writer has to write" thing seems like a cop-out, and besides, if that were the answer, why've I never been interested in creating a private journal?

Part of the answer can be seen in the way I started blogging. This entry flowed from my fingertips one morning, almost fully formed, and I thought it was fairly good ... but so far as I could tell it wasn't sellable. Many of the things I write are that way: they're very small pieces that would be difficult to turn into full-fledged articles (and I wouldn't have time to do it anyway). Thinking about that led me to approach O'Reilly about a blogging spot on their site.

Another part of the answer lies in the heading on my "blogroll" over in the right margin. A few weeks ago, discussing blogging with Mike Clark, I described the blogging community as "like Usenet, but with only the interesting people." I like that phrase, and it's a pretty apt description. I recall that even in the heyday of Usenet (i.e., before AOL and spam) I tended to gravitate toward posts by people who were interesting. (Of course, dull people blog, too. But the point is that you can choose which blogs you read.)

Communities like that are important. So important that people have to keep reinventing them. After Usenet degraded, mailing lists experienced something of a resurgence, as did IRC. For a while, in the software development world, Ward's Wiki filled the void. These days, much of that community seems to be rebuilding itself using weblogs.

All of these things are just different ways of extending our communities of interaction, finding other people to be a part of them, and increasing the opportunities for sharing ideas. Five years in a row now, at JavaOne, Duncan and I have made it a point to have at least one extended meal together. It's a great opportunity to share ideas (baked or not), things we've learned, things we're working on, and things we're thinking about. Each of us always comes away with a head spinning with new things. Dave and I have lunch every two or three weeks, for similar reasons. Greg Vaughn and I regularly have extended IM chats that help keep us energized with new ideas. Dave, Chris Morris, Joe Tatem, and I recently organized the Dallas Pragmatic Practitioners, and it's the best "user group" I've ever been a part of -- largely because there's so much opportunity for informal discussion, where you learn so much from the ideas and experiences of others. (I can think of several other people or groups I could put in this list, but I think you've got the idea.)

Blogging is one of the ways I contribute to this little "idea ecology" that I'm a part of.

Here's an immediate example: last Thursday, Mike Clark wrote some interesting things about EJBs, and Duncan responded. The combination of those two posts resonated with a discussion we'd had at the Dallas Practitioners meeting two nights prior. (Synergy!) Until today, I've been too busy to write my own response knitting the three together, but you'll see it next.

Wed, 18 Sep 2002 (18:28) #
I have a distant cousin named Albert Vanderburg. Online, at least, he goes by the name "Panther". We've never met, although we have exchanged email from time to time. Albert is, shall we say, an "outlier". (I don't think he would argue with that assessment.)

Panther lives in Hawaii, and is homeless. Nevertheless, he has maintained a blog since October 8, 1997. That's a pretty early entry into blogspace! (Dave Winer, who claims to be one of the earliest -- although I don't know how to judge the accuracy of that claim -- started on April 1, 1997.)

Blosxom needs help with intra-blog links
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 (16:28) #
I'd like my entire blog to be self-contained. That is to say, I'd like to be able to move it to a different URL someday, if necessary, and have everything still work. (Permalinks that others had saved wouldn't work, but that can't be helped in this case.)

Right now I don't see a way to link to another blog entry without including the full URL, like this. It would be nice if blosxom supported a special tag for this, or at least applied the $url template variable to the body of the entry. (Of course, then it would need to provide an easy way to escape dollar signs in entries, so perhaps the special tag would be best.

Another Blapp idea
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 (16:23) #
Here's another idea for Blapp. Not often, but occasionally, blog ideas occur to me faster than I can write them. Right now I'm recording the ideas in a sticky until I get time to write a proper blog entry, but it would be nice if Blapp would maintain a little list for me to dribble those half-baked thoughts into.
Blosxom needs secondary categories
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 (15:43) #
I suppose it's a litte ungrateful to say this two days after category support arrived in version 5 of Blosxom (or whatever it really is in Rael's strange version numbering system). But it's still true ... you should be able to put Blosxom entries in multiple categories. Here's a great example: this entry could reasonably fit into several other categories (Computers/Internet/Blogging because it deals with Blapp, Computers/SoftwareDevelopment/Methodologies because it deals with bazaar-style development, Computers/SoftwareDevelopment/Tools because it deals with GUI builders, Computers/SoftwareDevelopment/Interfaces because it deals with inherent problems of GUI development ... you get the idea).

I understand the need to have a primary category, but secondary categories wouldn't have to reflect the disk storage model.

Blog dates
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 (15:14) #
James has a real point about Blosxom's date management. It's true that the date attached to a blog entry should be a "publication date" rather than the "authoring date" (O'Reilly's weblog system gets this wrong). But once published the date shouldn't change. I do sometimes edit entries after publication, to correct spelling or other minor mistakes. But I don't want the publication date to change.

An additional problem is that blosxom's permalinks are based on date. If the publication date can change, those links aren't so perma, are they?