Leaving Korea for the USA

From my aunt’s e-mail thread.

The attached photo is of us at Kimpo airport waiting to board a flight to the USA. We all look miserable and sad because we are leaving life as we knew it back then. I remember the propeller plane, so loud. I remember waking up from a nap on the loud plane and heard my siblings talking to each other — hard for me to believe because they hadn’t spoken to each other for more than a year (and used me as a messenger when they needed to communicate).

Leaving Korea for USA
Leaving Korea for USA

Left to right: ?, Aunt Tamaye, Uncle Francis (in front of Aunt Gia), Grandma, Dr. Tae-Bong Kim, Teresa (my mom)

Continue reading the discussion of the photo after the jump

I come to bury PHP, not to praise it?

(I received an answer request from someone on Quora for this question. At the time of my writing, there were only two answers, both that boiled down to “use Python.” While I feel I was asked to balance out that with some PHP cheerleading, I can’t bring myself to do that. Nor, can I hop on the bandwagon.)

Between PHP and Python which is better for a startup?

My answer reads like a Zen koan: it depends on the nature of the problem; it doesn’t really matter. It becomes the nature for future problems; that makes it matter.

Continue reading an to see that the koan does actually make sense after the jump

Who they are, who we are

I understand Trump appeal, he is a man who speaks for the “people”. The question for me is not Trump because there is away going to be some asshole who comes along, what bothers me is the alt-right movement altogether. It’s like why is there so much hate that is being taken as logic among this group?

The “alt-right” almost ended our revolution before it was declared. They tore at our republic before it was founded. We fought the bloodiest war in our history with them. When it was finally over, they found a way to void it within a decade so their sin would forever be our sin. Even as recently as 1968, George Wallace carried five states solely on their message. After that, the Republican Party rebuilt their entire party around them. Heck, the anti-abortion movement is their proxy contrived for polite company.

They had many guises and went by many names: slavery, “fit vs. unfit”, “separate-but-equal” “states rights”, movement conservatism, “cognitive elite”, “religious freedom”, and, most recently, yes, the alt-right.

Even before they became “Redeemers” at the first hint of threat to their power, they embedded a nomination rule to ensure they had veto power within the Democratic Party. When that was finally excised to elect FDR, they migrated to the Republican Party and they are only now just discovering that their tiny plurality in their former party comprises the majority of the motivated base of their new one (hence Trumpism).

No, the “alt-right” under some name has always been with us and will always be with us. It is our original sin and a part of the American identity. When they rear their ugly head, they need to be fought and “roundly defeated by the abiding decency and good sense” of the rest of us. And yet, at the same time, sadly, we must admit, they are us: We, the People.

Nobody said democracy was easy.

Comfort yourself with the knowledge that they have always been the losers in our history. They were the losers when they said a black man is three-fifth of a person, they were (are?) losers when they said that a woman couldn’t vote, they were losers when they sent blacks to the back of the bus, forced birth on women, and kept gays from marrying. And, yes, they will be the losers again—they that say build this wall, deport that Muslim, and show your birth certificate at the bathroom door.

Why do Python programmers hate PHP?

Why do Python programmers hate PHP?

I saw a colleague answer this question and thought I’d give a go:

Are sure it’s just Python programmers? I think that relatively speaking Ruby developers and Java developers hate on PHP more (and Perl and Javascript developers less).

From a software language design perspective, the PHP language is an ugly hack. One of the creators of Java said that when he thinks of PHP his heart goes dark (showing a complete black slide in his presentation for emphasis). The more structured the language (and Java and Python certainly are), the more offensive this ugliness is. (Ruby gets this view not from the language but for being the home of a lot of programmers who were trained in Java in school and for Ruby on Rails being a popular framework in the webspace already crowded out by PHP.)

However, there are t-shirts out there of me saying back in 2006, “PHP is a ball of nails, but when you throw it at a wall, it sticks” and that still applies today—it’s ugly, true; but it works. If anything, the language is far more ubiquitous on the web now than then, though that’s mostly due to the popularity of applications written in PHP such as WordPress and Facebook rather than any success in the language itself. The language has proved remarkably successful due to its adaptability and limited focus on what problems it tries to solve.

I imagine that this popularity-in-spite-of-aesthetic-beauty is offensive to those working in the web who think themselves above the direct, simple, and crass. That reality may sit so ill with some people that they feel the need to disparage PHP which becomes an object of their derision and the villain in their story. It’s only natural for a cohort in the minority to feel that way toward a market leader: Apple Macintosh users used to act like that toward Windows PCs, Windows Phone users act this way toward iOS and Android, etc.

The irony is that PHP is a market leader in only one tiny aspect of the programming market: the server-side, non-event-driven web. It has no footprint in the client-side web, none in application space or even the mobile app space, no recognized products in non-web tools and applications; and is just a rounding error in the DevOps space (to pick just one area where Python seems dominant/ascendant). It even makes no pretension to be a programming language to facilitate learning programming (another area Python is better suited to). Since all these areas are growing as the niche PHP represents is static, I find it ironic people still wage language-religious jihad against PHP.

That’s like hating on a horseshoe monopoly after the automobile has been invented.

And I say this as someone who has programmed PHP for 16 years and gives keynote speeches in the language.

Cousins

From my aunt’s e-mail thread.

Here is a photo of the two cousins (Terry and Tammy) with Teresa and Seung

Terry Tammy in Pittsburgh
Terry Tammy in Pittsburgh

I got that sweater on a vacation to New Orleans when I was in grade school. I remember my father taking us down Bourbon Street and afterward my dad teasing my brother for “tripping all over himself.” I myself wondered why all the people in the posters there were wearing black tape for clothing.

Continue reading and seeing more photos from the past after the jump