Mr. Hansson doesn’t get to shart on sharding

(A draft of this article appeared on Wednesday because I hit the wrong button on WordPress. I apologize for the confusion it may have caused. What can I say except, “Freedom is messy.”)

This morning Andrei sent me an article from David Heinemeier Hansson titled, “Mr. Moore gets to punt on sharding.”

Since Andrei and I work at pretty well-trafficked websites which couldn’t operate without the very thing David is advocating against, normally I’d just laugh naïveté in his observations—it’s been eight years since the the Internet goldrush and all that’s happened is that a new generation is repeating our mistakes and rationalizing the inevitable fail that ensues.

But there are tons of people who quote David Henemeier Hansson’s words to me at conferences and on the blogs. For every speaking engagement in which I’ve saved someone from a huge architectural misconception, Mr. Hansson has indoctrinated ten more future programmers who will make that same mistake. Like a glacier during global warming, I move forward one inch during the winter and retreat a foot during the summer.

If I don’t do something about this… well someone’s gotta think about the polar bears?

Su Lin
San Diego Wild Animal Park, Escondido, California

Nikon D3, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR

Okay, this is not a polar bear, but I couldn’t get a good photograph of one. This is a different bear similarly endangered due to habitat destruction.

No, Mr. Hansson doesn’t get to shart on sharding. I’m going to Bush Doctrine it before I see this shitfart come out of the mouths of any of my colleagues.

Continue reading about Defining sharding, dispelling myths, and delivering consequences after the jump

San Diego at Pittsburgh (and the coin-flip)

On the flight from my old home (San Diego) to my new one (San Francisco), the captain announced that the San Diego Chargers had beaten the Indianapolis Colts in overtime to set up a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. John Cole reminds me that it’s been 14 years since their last infamous playoff matchup.

Here is a story from that time.

Continue reading about About “Three More Yards” and the overtime coin-toss after the jump

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.


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