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Inessential

Brent Simmons’s weblog.
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Evergreen Status

Inessential By Anonymous on 22/08/2017 pm31 22:22:00

The current goal is a Spring 2018 release of Evergreen 1.0. Which is rather ambitious, I know, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it was Spring 2019. But that’s the goal. The build is currently broken, has been broken for months, and will continue as broken for at least another few weeks. Here’s the scoop: I decided to do syncing in 1.0. It will probably be just one system at first (most likely FeedBin, since that’s what I use) — but this meant looking at the data and database level and figuring out what’s needed to make it usable when syncing. I’m in the middle of making the needed changes. (Originally each syncing system was going to have its own database code, but... Read the article
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Republicans Have Been Playing with Racist Fire For All of my 49 Years

Inessential By Anonymous on 18/08/2017 pm31 22:28:00

From Nixon’s law-and-order and “silent majority” and southern strategy; to Reagan’s campaign kickoff in Philadelphia, Missouri, his “welfare queens,” his war on drugs; to the Willie Horton ad, the culture war, Rush Limbaugh, gerrymandering, voter suppression, birtherism, and “calves the size of cantaloupes” — Republicans have, for my whole life, very deliberately and consciously cultivated white grievance and racism. I was born in 1968. This has been going on the entire time. I always figured Republicans were playing with these ugly matches because it was a means to an end: it was how they could gain enough power to do what their donors actually want — which is to sell off America piece-by-piece for their private, short-term gain. But then comes Trump, and then... Read the article
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Republicans Have Been Playing with Racist Fire For All of my 49 Years

Inessential By Anonymous on 18/08/2017 pm31 22:28:00

From Nixon’s law-and-order and “silent majority” and southern strategy; to Reagan’s campaign kickoff in Philadelphia, Missouri, his “welfare queens,” his war on drugs; to the Willie Horton ad, the culture war, Rush Limbaugh, gerrymandering, voter suppression, birtherism, and “calves the size of cantaloupes” — Republicans have, for my whole life, very deliberately and consciously cultivated white grievance and racism. I was born in 1968. This has been going on the entire time. I always figured Republicans were playing with these ugly matches because it was a means to an end: it was how they could gain enough power to do what their donors actually want — which is to sell off America piece-by-piece for their private, short-term gain. But then comes Trump, and then... Read the article
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Square World

Inessential By Anonymous on 04/07/2017 pm31 21:02:00

I keep thinking that the election of Trump has turned us all into conservatives. I mean “conservative” in a more old-fashioned (and I think truer) sense than what is generally thought. I don’t mean Republican — the Republican party is a radical reactionary party, not at all conservative. I mean that we liberals and progressives have learned that national respect for truth, expertise, and empiricism is something we’re in danger of losing. It’s not a given. We can’t take rule of law for granted; we can’t assume our institutions won’t fly apart. Everything good we’ve built is also the foundation on which further progress is made. The fight right now is to preserve those good things. * * * When I was 16 years old I... Read the article
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James Dempsey and the Breakpoints Benefit App Camp for Girls

Inessential By Anonymous on 03/06/2017 am30 07:05:00

On Wednesday night I know where I’ll be — playing keyboard for a few songs at the James Dempsey and the Breakpoints concert benefitting App Camp for Girls. You should get tickets. It’s a fun time for a great cause. Bonus: James writes about how this concert is full circle for him. It’s a special night. Read the article
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Evergreen Diary #1: Open Source

Inessential By Anonymous on 02/06/2017 am30 02:27:00

Evergreen is a new feed reader for Macs. It’s not actually done yet — in fact, it’s not even alpha yet, much less beta. It’s still in the painful-to-use stage, for sure. I’ve been working on it (among other things) on nights and weekends for a couple years. For much of the time I planned to make it a for-pay app — the plan was a free Lite version and a for-pay version. But as time went on I was less and less motivated to make a for-pay app. Doing all that stuff — dealing with licenses, money, a store, support, and everything else that goes along with a commercial app — just didn’t sound like any fun, and it would have taken time... Read the article
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“App: The Human Story” Screening in San Jose

Inessential By Anonymous on 26/05/2017 pm31 21:57:00

Here’s the scoop. It’s Sunday, June 4 at 5 pm. There’s a panel afterward with a bunch of people from the movie (including me). You can get tickets. You should get tickets — the event benefits App Camp for Girls. Plus I think you’ll enjoy it. :) Read the article
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JSON Feed

Inessential By Anonymous on 17/05/2017 pm31 22:22:00

I was hesitant, even up to this morning, to publish the JSON Feed spec. If you read Dave Winer’s Rules for standards-makers, you’ll see that we did a decent job with some of the rules — the spec is written in plain English, for example — but a strict application of the rules would have meant not publishing at all, since “Fewer formats is better.” I agree completely — but I also believe that developers (particularly Mac and iOS developers, the group I know best) are so loath to work with XML that they won’t even consider building software that needs an XML parser. Which says to me that JSON Feed is needed for the survival of syndication. I could be wrong, of course. I... Read the article
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Frontier Diary #8: When Worlds Collide

Inessential By Anonymous on 01/05/2017 pm31 22:34:00

I spent the weekend making a bunch of progress on the compiler. It has two pieces: a tokenizer, which I created by rewriting the original C code (langscan.c) in Swift, and a parser. The parser in OrigFrontier was generated by MacYacc, which is similar to Yacc, which is similar to Bison, which is on my Mac. The thing about the parser is that it’s C code, and the rest of the app is Swift. How do you bridge the two worlds? Easy answer: with Objective-C, which is a superset of C and which plays nicely (enough) with Swift. So I renamed langparser.y — the rules file that the parser generator uses — to langparser.ym so that Xcode would know to treat the generated... Read the article
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Frontier Diary #7: Pretty Much Everything Throws

Inessential By Anonymous on 27/04/2017 pm30 22:30:00

A script can throw an error, either intentionally (via the scriptError verb) or by doing something, such as referencing an undefined object, that generates an error. OrigFrontier was written in C, which has no error-throwing mechanism, and so it worked like this: most runtime functions returned a boolean (for success or failure), and the return value was passed in by reference. If there was an error, the function would set a global error variable and return false. The caller would then have to check that global to see if there was an error, and then do the right thing. This was not unreasonable, given the language and the times (early ’90s) and also given the need to be very careful about unwinding... Read the article

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