Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some Answers?

Hmmm. Seems like it may be Parkinson's after all. Let's see what L-dopa and a good, old-fashioned acetylcholinesterase inhibitor do for me. It would be nice to have both my mind and body back again -- I've kinda missed having them around for the ride.

Have you ever had a project where you have written every line of code, and know what everything is doing right down to the iron, yet can't figure out why the whole system won't play nice together? Medicine can be a lot like that. I've had neurologists measuring this, scanning that and analyzing the other thing for quite a while now. It took a GP to put it all together, blow the whistle, throw the flag and issue a fifteen-yard penalty for excessive bullshit in the backfield. Now that everybody is re-focused, we ought to be able to make a bit of progress.

On a lighter note, today marks exactly twenty-three years since my last drink. You know, this diagnosis thingy might just turn out to be the best birthday present I've had in a very long time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Like butter scraped over too much bread

Today, I was supposed to attend the Toronto edition of LotuSphere Comes To You. I'd been looking forward to the event, hoping to catch a glimpse of some of what's to come, and maybe get a bit of that convention high that happens when a bunch of enthusiasts get together for a common purpose. Sadly, that was not to happen. Today was, instead, one of those increasingly frequent days when my arms and legs simply would not do what I wanted them to do when I wanted them to do it.

As much as I hate to admit it to myself, I have reached the point where I can no longer look after myself in any reasonable sense of that phrase. Yes, I have been working with the local social services agencies to try to find a supported living situation, but I've been fighting the process as well. I'm just forty-seven years old and most of the time my self-image is that of someone who hasn't quite gotten to thirty yet. I don't feel like someone who is ready for the nursing home. And then I run into a stretch of time when I can't dress or feed myself, and I feel so effing helpless.

Contrary to what may seem to be the overall tone of this posting, my spirits are pretty high for the most part. As far as I can, I've been a pretty active participant in this life of mine, and I've been able to maintain some sense of usefulness. When I can, I've been picking some of the low-hanging fruit on the Notes and Domino 6 & 7 Forum (although I would rather be taking on the bigger problems), and I still have little trouble finding people to work with who are worse off than I am in the wider world. It's getting a little harder, though, since I can no longer really make any commitments to be anywhere or do anything in the future. Life really has become a one day at a time affair, so I have to do what I can right now since there may not be a chance later.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Good Idea Jammed

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

News from Lotusphere '08

Okay, I'm not there. I'm not bitter or anything -- really, I'm not; I'm doing a lot better, but there's just so much THERE there this year (again) that I'd probably look like the sci-fi robot thinking about the Cretan paradox right about now if I were there. I can read the news releases and blogs and whatnot, though, and wrap my tiny little mind around the summaries.

So what's really big? Notes on Ubuntu is going to be big from a marketing perspective, I'd think. The Designer for 8.5 looks to be a bigger deal for folks like me, what with the Eclipse-born syntax hinting and class browser and so on. Foundations? Been asking for something like that for a while (see the ND6 beta forum). Bluehouse? Sounds good to me. Real integration with SAP? A genuine off-platform migration stopper, and a great alternative to Outlook/Exchange for those thinking of having their business SAPped. But all of that stuff is merely good news. There is bigger and better.

No, the biggest news by far in everything I've read is something that's barely gotten a mention: the xPages design element. And it's not so much xPages as a whole, but the server-side JavaScript it allows. A language with first-class functions. On Domino. I hope I'm not dreaming.

Yeah, I know that we've gotten accustomed to seeing JavaScript in the browser. It kinda seems like a toy language to most developers, but that's because they're not doing a whole lot with it. Validate this field, update that one, throw some text over here and change the colour of that thingy over there. Even AJAX, all by itself, doesn't seem like much to get excited about -- unless you look under the hood of those plug-in libraries you're using.

Most of us have never programmed in JavaScript to any extent. We may be using JavaScript to get the job done, but we're mostly writing Basic, C or Java code using the JS vocabulary. JavaScript isn't a miniature Java, it's Haskell in disguise. Well, maybe that's going a bit overboard (can you say "side effects"?), but it's not too far from the truth, either. I can't wait to see what the implementation looks like. I wonder if they'll step it up to ECMAScript 4 at some point.

Now if we could just get a Rhino-style JS engine for agents....