Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Programming Grapevine

Two non-Haskell programmers from Linspire went indoor rock climbing last night. One was wearing a Firefox t-shirt and someone next to him asked if he worked for Mozilla. He explained that he actually worked at Linspire, to which the guy said, "Oh, you guys use Haskell there, don't you?"

It's nice to know that the word has gotten around.

Well, David Fox and I left last summer and Jeremy Shaw has one foot out the door, so the Haskell presence at Linspire is just about over, but we continue to use and maintain many of the tools and libraries we built there. David and Jeremy have been cleaning up the version number policy in the Debian package builder (called the autobuilder) so that we can build Debian repositories of Haskell software. There is still some work to do, but you can look at our darcs repositories to see if there is anything that might interest you.

To see what we're up to now, see Section 7.1.6 of the Haskell Communities and Activities Report.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Even a blind chicken finds a kernel of corn every once in a while.

Translated, that means, if you take enough walks at sunset and snap enough photos, eventually you will get lucky. I took this photo this evening at Windansea beach in La Jolla:

No, it's not just a nice sunset. I mean really lucky. Look at this closeup of the left center of the image:

That dolphin jumped only once that I saw. I just happened to press the shutter at the right time.

If only I'd been using a real lens. The little 4X zoom lens on my Canon A630 is really at the edge of its range here.


My friend David has always had a knack for brevity and wit, the most recent example being this snippet of Haskell:
mebbe x = maybe x id
Not as clear as fromMaybe, perhaps, but much funnier.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I visited New York City at Christmas time, attending the Christmas Eve service at All Souls Unitarian Church, which I attended regularly growing up. I don't attend any church regularly, but if I did, this would be the one, as the ministry and congregation have a very open, rational, and gentle approach to religion. Even so, my mind generally wanders during the prayers because I find them a bit bland. My ears perked up this time, though, when Forrest Church said: "Want what you have; Do what you can; Be who you are." That's a nice thought for someone who gets distracted easily by new projects.

He expanded on that idea later in the prayer:

And let us do what we can,

Not climb every mountain,

But, dismissing pipe dreams,

Climb one splendid mountain,

Doing—not less than, not more than—but precisely what we can,

That our life may be filled with attainable meaning.

In the light of the new year, it seems a bit bland, but I guess that's the way of prayers: they resonate with your emotions. I was decompressing from my pre-Christmas rush to complete some projects and this caught me like a rogue wave. Here's the full text of the prayer.