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Monday, June 23, 2008

Screencast: Using Property Testers in the Eclipse Command Framework

Eclipse 3.4 (codename Ganymede) is on the verge of release. Having struggled with the Eclipse Command Framework, I decided it would be valuable to provide a screencast demonstrating the component I thought needed the most clarification, and where I spent the most time spinning my wheels: the property testers extension point.

Was this worth the amount of effort I put in to it? I can't count the number of hours it took to create my first screen cast - I needed SnapZ Pro X, IMovie '08 and finally, Gliffy, Screen Flow and The Gimp. One thing I learned through this exercise: making a crisp screencast is hard work.

I hope it is useful to you.


Using Eclipse Property Testers with the Command Framework from Robert Konigsberg on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The winner of Who vs. Whom

I have been happy to watch old episodes of Get Smart since they are getting some airplay in conjunction with the recent movie release. Some things about the old show are interesting. For instance, I was shocked by the more flexible use of racial stereotypes and words that would now be considered slurs (something even emphasized in the title of the show's final episode, I Am Curiously Yellow.) I wanted to pick out some of the parts of that episode in a separate post, but for now this will have to do.

The following is a clip from an episode from their first season called KAOS in Control. Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 are trying to interrogate a suspected KAOS agent. In this scene, Max is the only one who doesn't understand the difference between 'who' and 'whom'.
MAXWELL SMART
OK 99, I think we can start with the interrogation now.

99
Check 86!

MAXWELL SMART
OK Ratchett, start talking!

99
Who pays you?

MAXWELL SMART
Who do you report to?

99
(whispers) Whom.

MAXWELL SMART
Whom?

RATCHETT
Look, I'll tell you everything!

MAXWELL SMART
Just a minute Ratchett. (To 99) Are you sure it's whom, 99?

99
Yeah, I think so because, um, whom is the objective, you see, in view of a preposition.

RATCHETT
(impatient) I would *like* to *make* a *statement*.

MAXWELL SMART
(Facing one direction) Who do you report to? (Facing the other direction) Whom do you report to?

RATCHETT
(Exasperated) It's *whom*.

MAXWELL SMART
It is? Oh! Well, then in that case maybe you can tell me, *whom* had access to the retrogressor!
So you see, the joke is on Max because even when they explain how to use 'whom' he immediately misuses it.

I thought about how hard it must be nowadays to make jokes about the nuances of the English language. There was only one way to resolve this: Search Result Battle!
A search for "Who do you report to"
[http://www.google.com/search?q=%22who+do+you+report+to%22]
yields 10,200 results.

A search for "Whom do you report to"
[http://www.google.com/search?q=%22whom+do+you+report+to%22]
yields 872 results.
So it doesn't look good for 'whom'. Popular opinion sides with Maxwell Smart. Sheepishly I must admit I would have agreed with him too.

If you're interested in the clip, I've attached it below. The particular scene starts at about 0:43.


Update (June 23): My friend Maria summarized the whole article in five words: "Grammar jokes are not in."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Time for me and The Facebook to part ways

To my friends on The Facebook:

The time has come for me to close my account on The Facebook. It's been great and it's been nice to reconnect with many of you, but now, not only do I find myself spending more time on it than I would like.

This isn't a referendum on The Facebook, it's a referendum on my time. See, I spend a lot of time on The Facebook, and I just don't feel that I'm getting the value out of it that I'm putting in to it.

The clincher came this morning, when I chatted with one of my colleagues:
Me: Can you help me with something that will take just a moment of your time?
Him: Sure, whatdya need?
Me: I need you to make a decision for me. But I'll give you no data. All I want from you is 'yes' or 'no.
Him: Shoot.
Me: I won't give you the question.
Him: Or really, no data?
Me: Really.
Him: I've flipped a coin.
Me: OK.
Him: Tails.
Me: So was that Yes or No?
Him: Oh, I don't know. It's tails.
Me: OK that doesn't help me. Let's try again.
Him: OK, this time tails = no.
Me: OK.
Him: It's tails.
Me: Perfect. The question was "Should I delete my Facebook account?"
Him: So you're not going to delete it?
Me: No, I will.
Him: What?
Me: There's this poem which I'm about to butcher [ed: which I then did.]
...
The poem comes from Piet Hein, and I'm copying it from Nelson Minar's weblog:
Decision Making
Whenever you're called on to make up your mind
And you're hampered by not having any
The simplest way to solve the dilemma you'll find
Is simply by flipping a penny

No, not so that chance shall decide the affair
As you're passively standing there moping
But as soon as the penny is up in the air
You'll suddenly know what you're hoping

Helpful advice at a time like this.

This doesn't mean I no longer want to be in touch; I do. It just means I would just be happier using other online media to do so. You can still find me on Twitter, FriendFeed or even my occasionally updated blog. If you use gmail or AOL instant messenger, give me your account information, and we can chat that way. Or you can even send me email through the traditional means, and I certainly hope you do.

Keep in touch. - Robert

Good Math

Conversation between me and my wife about our dog, Maggie:
Her: "She only pooped three times today."
Me: "No, she pooped four times!"
"You're a liar."
"I'm a liar? OK, let me count. How many times did she poop with you today?"
"Zero."
"And how many times did she poop with me today? Hmm.. let me think. It was FOUR! So how many is that in total?"
"Four."
"And what's the percentage increase between the number of times she pooped with you compared to the number of times she pooped with me?"
"... Zillions! A Zillion percent!"
"Infinity. I'm infinitely more productive than you. Remember that tomorrow."
":("
"That's what you get for calling me a liar."
This really belongs on twitter, but I couldn't get it under 140 characters.