After 4.5 years in development, Smart has been branded as 1.0. A big Thank You to everyone who contributed along the years.
In his post Quantity Always Trumps Quality, Jeff Atwood made a very interesting reference to an arts-related book:
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
If I tell you that you’ll get better at doing something if you do it repeatedly you’ll probably stare at me with a look of obviousness, but even then the correlation made above still feels a bit surprising to a lot of people. Why is that so?
I have a guess. In our society we tend to believe that art and innovation is something for the gifted, rather than the product of hard work. Just think of any great famous painter or musician and you’ll likely have in your mind the concept of a uniquely gifted genius, rather than someone that worked uniquely hard after a goal.
Perhaps that’s why we tend to forget long learned lessons. Some 23 years ago Frederick Brooks already pointed out in The Mythical Man-month that we should plan to throw away the first version of the software, because it most likely will be a poorly designed prototype that provides insight into the problem for the actual production version. Even then, it’s still rare to see the practice intentionally in use nowadays.
Today, Sunday, on the mailman day, I decided to change my reading habits.
You’d certainly laugh if I told you how many mailing lists, blogs, and IRC channels I try to follow (won’t include IM networks here as I don’t really read them asynchronously). What I look for is pretty obvious: I want to exchange volume for quality.
The first thing I’m doing is unsubscribing from all high-traffic lists I’m part of. The reason is clear: one hundred messages a day can’t possibly be all interesting. I’m not saying there are no interesting posts among these, of course. But with such a vibrant community of followers, a few smart readers usually bring up the most interesting discussions in more selective formats. I’ll track these instead.
For the same reason, I’m unsubscribing from most feed aggregators. Planet and similars are a great way to subscribe to many feeds quickly, but let’s face it.. how many posts in an aggregator with lots of feeds are interesting to a single individual? While getting off from them, I’m selectively peaking the feeds that interest me and subscribing to each.
Then, for the not-so-high volume sources, I’m checking the last 5 posts or so (or days, for IRC channels). Anything that hasn’t had information worth tracking will be phased out too. Interesting topics eventually will find their way to the sources I’ll still follow.
I want to read less, to read more. I want to go faster through the queue of pending books, and also follow a wider variety of topics with less pain.
My brother Diogo is in town! Good to see him after so much time.
PyCon 2007 was fantastic. It was great to meet everyone there, and we had two awesome sprinting weeks around it.
I’ve recently visited a confluence with a good friend of mine. Kayaks, paddling, walking, driving, swimming, aslphalt, sand, water, grass.. it was awesome.
Version 1.9 of editmoin was released.
Some work in Smart is coming in the upcoming weeks.
Hopefully I’ll be able to speak more openly about (some of the) interesting things I’ve been working on in the near future.
After a somewhat long effort, all posts were moved to the shiny new blog on labix.org, including comments!
The new blog is based on WordPress, and brings a few new features that I was missing in LiveJournal. I of course missed control over the environment, but most importantly, I was missing tag-specific RSS feeds, so that people can keep track of topic they have interest in, rather than every topic that interests me. For instance, to keep track of Python-specific posts, one may link to:
The new toy makes me feel motivated to post news about interesting things I’ve been working with lately (some cool stuff is coming, but some of it will unfortunately take a bit longer to become public), and perhaps even some past work I forgot to keep track of.
I’ve also installed a WordPress plugin to crosspost entries to LiveJournal, so that new entries are still seen there. Please, update your links or remind someone to do so if possible, as this will eventually be disabled.
I’d like to communicate that I’m shaking my life a bit, and even though I have a lot to say, I’ll try to be relatively short.
From Progeny Componentized Linux page:
Our future development efforts will center around bridging the gap between Debian APT and the APT variants that have emerged in the RPM world, as well as adding support for emerging efforts to standardize software repository formats.
It’s really sad to see a company like that, with Ian Murdock behind it, not giving credit to a project which was forked from a Debian software, and that gave back to the original project so much. Perhaps the only way to fight against that kind of behavior is working even harder to produce good software.
Hey, Progeny, want some new ideas to reinvent.
Today we’ve finally finished the migration process of our RepositorySystem to Subversion 0.32.1. The dump and load piping process, necessary to upgrade the Subversion repository due to some changes in the format which occurred in version 0.28, took about 12 days, running over 18GB. The migration process itself, including replacing the machine it runs on for one with more disk space, took a single day. Additionally, we have now a ViewCVS running on the same machine, giving colorful access to the repository.