LIFE on Google

I read a while ago that the LIFE photography archive was on Google, but I didn’t really think about it until I stumbled across it while checking out the new version of CoolIris, which I’ve mentioned before.

On a whim, I tried looking for the famous cover photo of the LIFE article on the Lindy Hop.

The Lindy Hop
In CoolIris you can easily see that this version of the image was scanned from a physical print that has creases in the upper right. Here is the magazine cover, August 23, 1943.

I’d have taken a video but for some reason the video in SnapzPro doesn’t work with CoolIris on Safari. :-(

The name “Lindy Hop” came because a news article on Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 flight of the Atlantic. It is said that the newspaper headline of the day read “Lindy Hops the Atlantic.”

Speaking of which, I wondered if they had a photo of the man who introduced aerials to dancing: Frankie Manning.

Yep, there’s one.

I met Frankie Manning once in 1998. I used to take photos and video of my friends dancing, so I asked him, on a whim, to give an intro to the website on camera. He looked into the videocam and said:

Welcome to the UIUC Swing Society web site. Those hep cats are really swinging!

Haha. I should dig up that video. Good times.

PHP without PHP

Original article posted to PHP Advent 2008. Happy Christmas!

Take a simple PHP trick and follow it on a huge tangent to the philosophy of good web architecture.

It’s an honor to be asked to share my ideas with the PHP community. When Chris and Sean asked me to write an entry for the Advent Calendar, I had to accept. Like last year, this article will be quite long. If you need something short and sweet like the other advent entries, you can just read the first section. But if you read it all, there might be a worthwhile concept buried in this logorrhea.

Continue reading about My PHP advent article after the jump

Wishing for compliments

I went to a prep school starting in middle school.

It was the sort of place out of Dead Poets Society. East coast, jacket and tie required, all boys. The only way you could loosen your tie was if the teacher gave you permission to, and if you got caught with it that way between classes you got a disciplinary report and detention. The only way you could avoid the sportcoat was if you won a letter in athletics and had it sewn onto a blue crewneck by your mother.

Since the school was expensive, I took it rather seriously. All I did was study and do a head-down zip between classes nearly cutting off the kneecaps of the upperclassmen. I was, by all rights, the ultimate geek, and the middle school hovered dangerously close to the rule of 150 that seems to herald clique-formation.

Luckily it was just south of Dunbar’s number.

(Well that and my brother went to the school. When I got admitted, he forced me to exercise until he was satisfied I wouldn’t be put into the “PE” group. He also said that if he caught me wearing both straps on my backpack, he’d “pound on me”—obviously aware sibling physical abuse is a much more effective geek-motivator than being a social outcast.)

Continue reading about All about a compliment after the jump

Shinseki appointed head of the V.A.

Eric Shinseki, a former chief of staff of the Army, Japanese-American and first Asian American four-star general, Hawaiian and wounded Vietnam Veteran, has been appointed to head the Veterans’ Administration on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Here is what he said to Congress just before the Iraq War:

Sen. CARL LEVIN (D), Michigan: General Shinseki, could you give us some idea as to the magnitude of the Army’s force requirement for an occupation of Iraq, following a successful completion of the war?

Gen. ERIC SHINSEKI, Army Chief of Staff, ’98-’03: In specific numbers, I would have to rely on combatant commanders’ exact requirements, but I think–

Sen. CARL LEVIN: How about a range?

Gen. ERIC SHINSEKI: I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We’re talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that’s fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground force presence.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, Deputy Secretary of Defense: It’s hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.

THOMAS WHITE: All of us in the Army felt just the opposite, that there was a long history of that being absolutely true, that the defeat of the Iraqi military would be a relatively straightforward operation of fairly short duration, but that the securing of the peace and the security of a country of 25 million people spread out over an enormous geographic area would be a tremendous challenge that would take a lot of people, a lot of labor, to be done right.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ: In short, we don’t know what the requirement will be, but we can say with reasonable confidence that the notion of hundreds of thousands of American troops is way off the mark.

It wasn’t about the war, it was about the peace. And Eric Shinseki was right.

Poladroid

On Josh Spear’s suggestion, I decided to try out Poladroid. In a nutshell, it turns your digital images into crappy Polaroids.

Hubert and Brian
A photo I took last night of Hubert of übergizmo and Brian of Gizmodo at the uber10 party

At first I thought, What’s the big deal? John already has a polaroid framer and the uber-insane Hockneyizer. That was until I used the UI:

Continue reading about Poladroid fun after the jump

Terry the bully

Am I an intellectual bully?

The two faces of PHP
The two faces of PHP
District Bar, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G
f/2.8 at 1/50 sec, iso 12800, 45mm (45mm)

Certainly some of the comments expand on that by attributing all manner of atrocities to me, the accusation by “Joe” is especially amusing:

funny, i’d never heard of chay but stumbled upon a few posts he made about ruby on rails whilst researching the value of ror vs php. i found his posts fit very much into the “intellectual bully” category. he was more concerned with “being right” as you put it, with fairly basic arguments actually “the top 10 companies use X, therefore X is right”.…i agree with the previous poster, coding is not a competition. we want to solve problems with the right solutions. there are many solutions to a given problem, much as that would break chay’s heart.

Yes, Joe, I’m a bully! 😀

Let’s take the evidence at hand (i.e. reality) instead of the arguments based on fallacies (ad hominem: “i’d never heard of chay” or false equivalence: “there are many solutions”) and such. As I see it, the examples of bullying here are:

A) Asking a candidate to define design patterns
B) Asking a candidate to distinguish C++ vs. Java
C) Writing an article comparing Rails vs. PHP

Continue reading about My bully nature after the jump

Defining Design Patterns

My friend and colleague, Paul M. Jones, calls me out as a bully. Apparently from the way interviewees complain to their headhunter about me, I am.

Like W after 2004, and fully intend to use this new capital accumulated by my just-annointed “bully-mandate” to tell him (and the interviewees) off as being sore losers who can’t handle the new asshole I tore in their shit last night. 😉

In the real world, when a candidate fails to answer a question, I say, “Don’t worry. It’s okay,” and move to a different topic area as I have lots. I’ll also point out that none of these candidates actually were around when I gave my evaluation. They’d see that the only trouble they get into is if they lied to me or express something wrong with absolute confidence. Those show a lacking the ability to be able to work well in teams or learn new things. The question is designed to test those qualities in a candidate—not whether they can recite some book definition of a design pattern.

Okay, fine, but what about Paul who stands up to The Great Bully? Well let’s get down to the nitty gritty of defining (programming) design patterns…

Three Wise Monkeys
Three Wise Monkeys
District Bar, South of Market, San Francisco, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G
f/2.8 at 1/50 sec, iso 12800, 29mm (29mm)

Continue reading about Defining Design Patterns after the jump

Challenges and Choices (Making Frameworks Suck Less Part 2)

As promised, as the election is over, I will get back to blogging non-political things.

And hey, I haven’t posted a continuation of my web frameworks presentation yet!

Good thing too because, if you don’t know, I’m giving a talk on that tonight at CBS Interactive (CNET) in San Francisco. Come see it or watch online at 7:30PM Pacific.

Software is about making choices

"Making Frameworks Suck Less" 2
Challenges and Choices

So the second thing is Challenges and Choices. When I wrote my Rant on Rails, some people jumped on me, but I don’t think they gathered the basic assumption I was coming from.

It is not so much an assumption as a fact: when you develop software, it is about making choices. It is about tradoffs. You can do “A” but you can’t do “B.” You can’t have both A and B. I know it sounds like it’d be great and I’d like to have my cake and eat it too, but really, I’d rather be playing Counterstrike—I only have so much time to devote to writing software, that software can only execute so many times, things like that. I can’t make something do everything.

One example of that is in design patterns.

Continue reading about More part two after the jump.