March 3rd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Arc’s Out:

Arc is still a work in progress. We’ve done little more than take a snapshot of the code and put it online.

I’ve working on this for a long, long time and realized I’ll never get it done properly so I’ll release it anyway.

Why release it now? Because, as I suddenly realized a couple months ago, it’s good enough.

It’s shit but I’m famous enough that people will be talking about it for a long time. People will think it’s good even if it’s really just a bunch of macros on top of Scheme.

I worry about releasing it, because I don’t want there to be forces pushing the language to stop changing.

I’m not going to change it, but if you idiot enought to want to use it, remember that there’s not documention. In other words, don’t call me if you can understand a single line of the code.

Which is why, incidentally, Arc only supports Ascii. MzScheme, which the current version of Arc compiles to, has some more advanced plan for dealing with characters. (…) But the kind of people who would be offended by that wouldn’t like Arc anyway.

I don’t understand and don’t care for any other character set other than my precious ASCII. I learned it forty years ago and I’m not giving it up now. No way. Ah, that why Yahoo! completely rewrote the application I sold them. Bunch of losers.

Why? Because Arc is tuned for exploratory programming, and the W3C-approved way of doing things represents the opposite spirit.

Also, I don’t understand anything about new and modern standards and technologies like XHTML and CSS. And I’m not waste my precious VC time learning them. And I don’t care about you people who dare to make the Web less complicated. Did I mention why Yahoo! had to rewrite the program they bought from me?

Tables are the lists of html. The W3C doesn’t like you to use tables to do more than display tabular data because then it’s unclear what a table cell means.

I told you. I don’t understand anything about HTML.

So experience suggests we should embrace dirtiness. Or at least some forms of it; in other ways, the best quick-and-dirty programs are usually quite clean.

Look! A dumpster! Let’s have some fun!

Arc tries to be a language that’s dirty in the right ways. It tries not to forbid things, for example. (…) For now, best to say it’s a quick and dirty language for writing quick and dirty programs.

I lost so much time with this shit that the world should share my pain. Basic, watch yourself. It’s Arc time! Agora é a vez do Arc.


February 7th, 2007 § 87 comments § permalink

You know your financial situation is critical when you need to borrow money from your son, who is only two-and-half years old–and he only consents if you agree to pay him a 150% of interest for a single day.

Abuse of power

March 27th, 2006 § Comments Off on Abuse of power § permalink

We hadn’t even reached half of the way till our destination when the MP3 player batteries drained. Despair ensued. Until we thought about a solution: plugging the MP3 player on the USB port of the laptop. Copying the files wouldn’t have solved the problem, since the player earphones could not be dettached from its body. Anyway, bliss.


March 23rd, 2006 § Comments Off on Lag § permalink

Okay. After almost one year using the Internet with a minimum download speed of 600kbps and a maximum speed of 4mbps, going back to 56kbps is, to say the least, torture. Hotels without broadband should be outlawed. See you Friday.

Murphy Week

March 15th, 2006 § Comments Off on Murphy Week § permalink

Murphy decided to camp in my office this week. Considering he was an engineer, I’m not surprised he always prefers to wreak havoc on areas were machines and humans collide.

To begin with, I managed to delete root’s home directory on my server. You know how. Not surprisingly, it was the only home directory not in the daily backup — ironic, considering the daily multi-level backup of the home partiation where all other users are. To make things worse, the directory contained three very important scripts which I had to recode promptly. At least, I took some time to optmize them. At three o’clock in the morning. Next, I upgraded MySQL from release 4.0 to release 4.1. Everything fine, except that I forgot to restart the most important service using MySQL: the e-mail server. It took me three days to realize no e-mail was being sent or received by the system. Fortunately, it was a weekend, and only one customer called to (kind of) complain. Restarting the e-mail server fixed the problem.

At last, today, after working on a project for almost six hours, I overwrite everything I had done with a single command. On the only of my projects which is not under version control. It figures.

Murphy is decidedly hanging around.

Superman, Superman…

June 12th, 2005 § Comments Off on Superman, Superman… § permalink

Recently I bought a Superman DVD collection, which was being offered for a good price in a Brazilian online store. I never read many of the comics — I’m more and more sure I don’t like comics at all — but I always liked the movies. Excepting the fourth, of course, which is utter garbage.

Even featuring such old and pitiful special effects, with plots that would shame any writer today, I still like the movies. Maybe because I first watched them when I was very young and loved the whole concept. Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor is quite nice, by the way.

It had been so long since I had last seen the movies that I didn’t remember much of them. Except for some key scenes whose details still lingered in my mind, and the basic story of each movie, I had forgot most of the dialog and plot development. I didn’t even remember that Marlon “oh, the horror, the horror” Brando appeared so much in the first movie. Also, nothing about the “I came to uphold justice, order, and the American way of live” line.

It’s funny to think today about the values endorsed by the movie. I was reminded of the lines spoken by Bill in Kill Bill: Volume 2 about Superman and Clark Kent. When Bill is talking to Kiddo about the superhero mythology, he says the Clark Kent is how Superman sees us: weak, unsure of ourselves, cowards. His words contrast vividly with one of the few Superman comics I ever read, “Peace on Earth”, in which the Man of Steel tries to easy famine on Earth for one day, Christmas day, and fails miserably, not only because of mankind’s greed and arrogance, but also because of his own limitations. Interesting visions of the same character.

I won’t risk myself by going deeper into this subject, and that’s not the point of this entry anyway. After Niven’s Men of Steel, Woman of Kleenex essay, I confess I never saw the Kryptonian in the same light again.

So I should not have been surprised when the following dialog took place when we were watching the movie:

“This is a 1978 movie, isn’t it? Look at Lois Lane’s dress. Decent, cute, a family thing, huh?”

“I guess so.”

“So, what’s is that about the protuberance you can see on Superman’s red undies all the time?”


“And what was that about the pink color? Also, Lois Lane isn’t the only subject on which Superman is using his X-ray vision, don’t you think?”


“And he’s a bit of a sadist too. I mean, who would drop his lover from such heights just for the sake of scaring her but a sadist? He was smiling when he did that!”

“I’ll pass commenting on that…”


June 9th, 2005 § Comments Off on Disasters § permalink

Some people make of clumsiness a entire art form. A co-worker told me the following true story about another co-worker:

The guy was in a meeting, with lots of Important People™ seated around him. Sometime in the middle of the meeting, his time to speak came. He began to talk, and, soon, warming to the topic, started to gesticulate as well.

Up and down, up and down his arms goes, until his right arm hits a coffee cup near him. The cup takes flight and lands a couple feet from where he is, blazing a trail of hot coffee across the table. Miraculously, not a single drop of coffee lands on any person in the path of the cup.

Utterly humiliated — and a bit desperate too — the guy attempts to fix the situation by apologizing to the people around him. Unfortunately to him, he hits another cup with his left arm.

We are still laughing about this. And, after he calmed down, he laughed too.

Crazy answers to crazy questions

June 6th, 2005 § Comments Off on Crazy answers to crazy questions § permalink

Who was Caim’s wife?
Obviously, one of his sisters. Or did you believe he was capable of assexual reproduction, children sprouting from his head or something like it? Before you ask, incest and genetic drifting are mutually exclusive concepts.
Is God able to create a stone so heavy He can’t lift it?
Of course. Do you remember the person that was both Man and God? There were lots of stones he couldn’t lift, each of them created by God.
Who created God?
Hello there, you temporally-bound snail.
What did exist before God created the universe?
Only God. Not even nothing existed, since nothingness is a physical function. Zero-point enery and all that.
What is hell?
Hell is the perception of the absency of God. Fire and brimstone are only collateral effects.


April 14th, 2005 § Comments Off on Keys § permalink

In the past three Wednesdays, which is the day my wife is not at home when I come back from work, I forgot to take my keys when I left in the morning. I didn’t forget them any other day in those weeks. I think the universe may be trying to tell me something.

This thing with names…

December 10th, 2004 § Comments Off on This thing with names… § permalink

I don’t think my name is that complicated, but that doesn’t prevent people from misspelling or mispronouncing it. A heritage, I think, from the way the history began.

My name has a funny history behind it. My mother had this boyfriend whose name was Ronaldo. The guy wasn’t the man she dreamt of and their affair was rather brief and, according to her, very unpleasant at the end. Anyway, when I was born, a few years later, she told my father when he went to name me legally: “You can name him anything you want, except Ronaldo.”

Inevitably, Ronaldo I am. My father, to this day, can’t explain what happened.

Maybe because the way the whole thing started, I’m fated to have people mixing up my name every time I was introduced to them. I am often forced to repeat my name endlessly as people don’t seem to remember it after a few minutes.

Once, when I went camping with a large group of people from various churches related to mine, I started the four-day camp being called Ronaldo. In less then twelve hours, my name had been changed to Reinaldo. From Reinaldo, it became Renoldo, via an American who wasn’t able to pronounce it correctly. From there, things went downhill. In two days, my name got changed again to Rodolfo. If it could change so much, I wasn’t surprised when it finally morphed to Adolfo. After the four days, that became my de facto name for most of the people there. People thought I was joking when I said my name was Ronaldo. (For the skeptic readers, this is a true story.)

I can understand the change from Ronaldo to Reinaldo. Both are forms of the Germanic Reginold (which means he who rules by the advice of others). From Renoldo (which is similar to Reginold in a certain way) to Rodolfo, however, the distance is much bigger. But if it can bridge this gap, it can surely change further. Rodolfo (famous wolf) is not that different from Adolfo (noble wolf).

Among foreigners, Renoldo is my most common name. But there is also Rolando, which tends to morph into Orlando. Since they are forms of the same name (meaning famous land), it’s easy to understand why. But I’m not an errant knight, and I’m neither Rinaldo nor the Furioso.

Nicknames are trick too. When I was a teenager, Ronaldinho was at his best, young and fast, still playing in Brazil. Predictably, people used the same nickname for me. Considering that I more liable to kick legs than the ball when I’m playing soccer, people probably were dropping subtle hints about my appearance with this nickname.

Ronaldão, the superlative form of my name, came after marriage. I have this nagging feeling that it may have something to do with the constant growth of the circumference of my belly.

That’s why my son’s name doesn’t start with an r.

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