Defensive Programming

is one approach to writing software. It is a path with many followers who do not know what else to do other than “always assume the worst” to guarantee flawless function. Mind I didn’t say anybody is succeeding, least of all me. Alternatively of course one can document all preconditions and bury the clients of the API with exceptions. The latter is better from my current point of view. But that is not my point right here, right now.

Defensive Programming does something else for you and the world: it turns you into a paranoid conspiracy theorist (or so). The quota of these is much higher among geeks than anywhere else and now we know where it all starts.

On a side note, my colleague just said on the phone: “I am calling about the naked women ….” and doubles over with laughter, if you want to know more, you need to visit our office 🙂

I am at home

because the mechanic for the heating maintenance was 45 min. late. He says he tried to call me. I say I was home and would have heard a call. He shows me the number: it is my work number because that is where I can be reached during the day. How should I know he would try to call me at 7a.m. to tell me he will be late?

So give out your mobile number if you want to be sure not to be waiting in vain.

Trademarks?

Another funny incident involves lawyers and porn. The law firm representing nintendo has sent out a cease and desist for trademark infringement because the user of a discussion board posted in his profile about his favorite games some of which are nintendo games.

Now get this: when asked about the letter, the lawyers couldn’t even reach the page because their firewall blocks access to porn sites and it seems the site in question is a soft-porn site.

Spiel 2004

My loot:
– Die Macher
– Yinsh
– Gipf
– Kill Dr. Lucky
– Cannes
– 7 issues of KotD I was missing
– 3 D10, 2 D6, 2 D20
– Liber Cantiones

I would have liked to test more games, but there just wasn’t enough room at the big publisher’s booths. I talked to someone at the Kenzer&Co booth I would have liked to know who it was. We spent too much time drooling at the Crystal Caste dice without buying any. I enjoyed Cirondo and probably should have bought it. We got Gipf and Yinsh signed by the games author. We got a close look at the deluxe version of the Liber Cantiones. 666,- is just a bit too expensive. The book is probably worth it. But I am just not rich enough currently.

Bandits live longer

We watched The Magnificent Seven and The Return of the Seven yesterday and today. I was curious what other movies Yul Brunner had made because I could not seem to remember any but I was sure I had seen some on TV years ago.

IMDB of course told me about Anna and the King and Westworld which I remembered. The Ten Commandments is another well-known movie he was in and when I read it I also remembred Solomon and Sheba. IMDB also informed me he died of lung cancer in 1985.

Afterwards I checked out Steve Mc Queen: he also died of lung cancer. And while the actor who played Calvera (the evil bandit who was raiding the village) still lives even though he was older than any of the 7, out of the original Magnificent Seven six of the actors are dead, five of which died of one or another illness of the lung be it cancer, pneumonia or emphysema (I had to look that up). The two exceptions are Robert Vaughn who still lives and James Coburn who died of a heart attack. Four of the actors died within the two years: Charles Bronson (2003), Horst Buchholz (2003), James Coburn(2002) and Brad Dexter(2002). What weird coincidences. So I guess it is safer to play the evil bandit who doesn’t have time for smoking and looking cool …

Review: Godwalker

(Minor spoilers included)

I have recently acquired and read the novel “Godwalker” by Greg Stolze. It’s the first (and maybe last) novel that takes place in the world of the rpg Unknown Armies (and may therefore cause the world to end). It took me about three sessions to finish reading the book which is a good sign. As I have GMed Unknown Armies and bought each and every rulebook (not that many) I am probably a bit biased and I may not be able to tell wether the novel would be a good introduction to the game and it’s mood or wether it would be enjoyable out of context.
Continue reading “Review: Godwalker”

Linux Sync

Someone asked the other day and I said: “Nope I am not syncing my palm with linux. Never tried!” Yesternight I tried and managed to sync my Tungsten with both jpilot and evolution on Linux via USB. My next try will be bluetooth. In the end it was as complicated as typing apt-get install jpilot.

My question: can I sync my thunderbird addressbook? Because that would be truly fancy.

Programming Books

I’ve been shopping for books lately:

Pragmatic Project Automation (just got it can’t tell yet)

Elements of Java Style a lot of the stuff should be self-evident, but it’s nice to have a handy collection of rules. Eclipse does most of that work for me. And some of the rules were news. So I’ve learned something.

Effective Java, I am half through with the book. As with the ‘Elements of … Style’ there is a lot of stuff in the book that I am already adhereing to, in those cases it’s nice to find validation of one’s own practices, but I have also found a lot of things that I am now dying to try and find those places in my code where it can be improved. And: there’s a lot of discussion waiting to happen after I am done with it because I am not going to accept everything just like that because it is in a book. Some things just need to be questioned and if they are validated by discussion all the better. One way or another discussion about programming practices is a good thing for developers. The book is a very nice and easy read … which is a premiere for a “Fachbuch” in my case.