Sorry for the radio silence. I've been sick as a dog, and coding. When I was in college people said if you were on drugs while studying for a test, you should use the same drugs while taking it. Maybe this code will only make sense to sick programmers...
There is big news in the world, of course; President Bush's State of the Union Address, the machinations of the U.S. diplomats trying to line up U.N. support for war with Iraq, and foreign posturing. Maybe I'm too tied in to the news; every day it seems to swing one way or the other. I still think:
My crystal ball is cloudy, but is tough to imagine a peaceful resolution.
So Ted Turner has left AOL, along with $99B. The rats are leaving the sinking ship. Of course, unlike Steve Case, who was AOL's largest shareholder prior to the acquisition, and who made out like a bandit, Turner was Time Warner's biggest shareholder prior to the deal, and lost the most. Geoffrey Colvin wrote a great article in the latest Fortune magazine about how overvalued AOL really was.
Several friends have pointed out How to Be a Programmer. (The site seems to be holding up, despite being slashdotted.) This essay starts out a little high-falutin' ("to be a good programmer is difficult and noble"). Then it rapidly gets into detail and IMHO really pins the crucial skills down. Even stuff like "how to deal with difficult people" :) Some of the stuff is a little thin - like "how to evaluate interviewees" - but other stuff is terrific, like "how to tell the hard from the impossible". Anyway, it's recommended reading...
The dog that didn't bark, of course, is the ability to play movies from a PC located on the network. Even if Tivo doesn't provide this capability, the legion of Tivo hackers will... So that would mean you could watch a Kazaa'ed movie on your home theater. Bad news for the MPAA, I'd say...
On the lighter side, English pig farmers are now required by law to provide toy balls for their pigs. I am not making this up.