A very large difference in ease
Jun 19th, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Sim­ple Web Devel­op­ment with Xojo. Do you find it frus­trat­ing to cre­ate web apps? HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and AJAX can be chal­leng­ing, and frame­works such as Node, React, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET, PHP and Java are often over­whelm­ing for those just begin­ning web devel­op­ment.

There is a sim­pler solu­tion: Xojo. Using a sin­gle pro­gram­ming lan­guage and a sin­gle IDE, you can go from zero to a work­ing web app in an amaz­ing­ly short amount of time with Xojo. [Xojo Blog]

In my expe­ri­ence the dif­fer­ence in com­plex­i­ty is enor­mous. Not long ago I was assigned to write a GWT com­pos­ite wid­get con­tain­ing over a dozen oth­er wid­gets. To be sure I under­stood the writ­ten spec, I first cre­at­ed a work­ing pro­to­type of the wid­get as a Xojo con­tain­er con­trol so that I could show it my boss and con­firm that I under­stood what he want­ed. Once he had con­firmed it, I imple­ment­ed the same UI using GWT. The Xojo ver­sion took an hour and had a dozen lines of code. The same UI in GWT took a week and 150 lines of code.

Quote of the Day
Feb 21st, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Pri­vate prop­er­ty own­er­ship has noth­ing even remote­ly to do with polit­i­cal bor­ders. Prop­er­ty lines are deter­mined nonag­gres­sive­ly, they are sub­ject to mar­ket forces, own­ers are strict­ly lim­it­ed in what they can do by con­sid­er­a­tions of pro­por­tion­al­i­ty and equal lib­er­ty (if you smoke in my house or tres­pass on my lawn I have a right to throw you off my prop­er­ty; I don’t have a right to lock you in a cage or throw you out of the coun­try). They are wild­ly dif­fer­ent in scope and pow­ers grant­ed and process­es by which they are estab­lished, enforced, divid­ed and real­lo­cat­ed. One is a spa­tial expres­sion of indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty and the oth­er is a col­lec­tive assault upon it. Equat­ing the two is sophistry on a par with “Banks are a good place to put your mon­ey. The Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er has two banks. There­fore, the side of the Mis­sis­sip­pi Riv­er is a good place to leave your mon­ey.”

Rad Geek

A very temporary improvement
Jan 23rd, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Drone Strike in Yemen Like­ly First of Trump Admin­is­tra­tion. . A sec­ond strike on Fri­day, Don­ald Trump’s first day in the Oval Office, killed three alleged mil­i­tants, accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press, which report­ed that Yemeni gov­ern­ment offi­cials (who often feed U.S. intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion on tar­gets) attrib­uted the strikes to the U.S. [Hit & Run]

When Trump took office it was the first time in six­teen years that a Pres­i­dent wasn’t already a war crim­i­nal at his inau­gu­ra­tion. Trump didn’t even make it a day before chang­ing that.

Some unsurprising news
Jan 20th, 2017 by Ken Hagler

Already on pro­ba­tion, Syman­tec issues more ille­git HTTPS cer­tifi­cates [Ars Tech­ni­ca]

As some­one who worked for Syman­tec for six­teen years, I am com­plete­ly unsur­prised by this. Syman­tec liked to boast of being a secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny, but that’s nev­er been any­thing but an adver­tis­ing slo­gan. They’ve nev­er real­ly made any seri­ous effort to be remote­ly secure.

I’ve moved
Dec 28th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Last week­end I moved to a new apart­ment. I’d got­ten fed up with the ter­ri­ble man­age­ment at the last apart­ment com­plex, so I left as soon as my lease expired. The new place is about the same size, also has Google Fiber, and has an even bet­ter view–I can see Town Lake from my desk.

It’s amazing how cowardly Americans have become
Dec 18th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

4 Schools Go into Lock­down, Call Cops on Man with an Umbrel­la. It’s a gun! No, it’s a sword!

What­ev­er it was, two dif­fer­ent peo­ple spot­ted a man car­ry­ing it near Poly High in River­side, Cal­i­for­nia. They saw some­thing, and said some­thing. As a result four local schools went into lock­down mode yes­ter­day.

Police hunt­ed for the men­ac­ing mani­ac and final­ly, accord­ing to The Press Enter­prise, “a cam­pus super­vi­sor at Poly spot­ted a man who matched the descrip­tion giv­en by both callers.”

The weapon he was car­ry­ing?

An umbrel­la.

The lock­downs were lift­ed, but the threat con­tin­ues: Rain is in the fore­cast. [Hit & Run]

That was the high school where I was an inmate in the 1980s. I took ROTC while I was there, which involved about a hun­dred stu­dents march­ing around with bolt-action rifles (albeit rifles which had been ren­dered inca­pable of fir­ing) at least one day a week. No lock­downs were involved.

The end of CityDesk
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

RIP City­Desk – Joel on Soft­ware. In those days all the cool kids wrote their own blog­ging plat­forms. I wrote City­Desk. In what turned out to be a mon­u­men­tal­ly wrong bet, I thought that peo­ple would want to blog on Win­dows, with all the slick WYSIWYG edit­ing good­ness that wasn’t yet avail­able in ear­ly ver­sions of HTML. City­Desk kept your entire web­site in a SQL data­base (Microsoft Jet, the back­end of Access) and had a fron­tend like a word proces­sor. Every time you need­ed to pub­lish, it gen­er­at­ed the entire site as a set of html pages, which it then uploaded to an ftp serv­er for you.


Over the years the City­Desk code base (VB 6.0, anoth­er bad bet) stopped run­ning on the lat­est ver­sions of Win­dows. Nobody else cared but by that time I was using a cus­tom ver­sion of City­Desk which only ran on Win­dows XP. So until recent­ly, I had a vir­tu­al machine set up with Win­dows XP run­ning in there, and a copy of City­Desk.


Matt Mul­len­weg over at Word­Press has been try­ing to get me to move Joel on Soft­ware over to Word­Press for so long it’s not even fun­ny. I final­ly gave in. [Joel on Soft­ware]

I used City­Desk myself to man­age my main web­site for a num­ber of years after the sad demise of User­Land Fron­tier, before final­ly replac­ing it with nanoc around the time I moved to Austin in late 2012. It was an unusu­al prod­uct in that it was actu­al­ly bet­ter than any Mac alter­na­tive at the time (some­thing that’s usu­al­ly true only of games).

New job
Dec 8th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

I’ve just start­ed a new six-month con­tract as a pro­gram­mer with Integri­ty Dig­i­tal Solu­tions. I’m in Tem­ple for the week for train­ing, but after that I’ll be work­ing from home. It looks like it will be a pret­ty good job.

Watch out for hysterical politicians
Oct 7th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Clowns, Kids & Satan. The secu­ri­ty expert Bruce Schneier coined a term for this: Movie plot threat. We imag­ine the threat to our kids is just like the one we’d see, or have seen, in the movies. It’s eas­i­er to pic­ture Bozo with a bazooka than a car crash when mom or dad is con­fused by their GPS (which in our car seems to be about a third of the time), so that’s the threat we focus on…to the point where we start exag­ger­at­ing unlike­ly out­comes, or even see­ing things. [Free Range Kids­Free Range Kids]

Even now there are peo­ple being per­se­cut­ed (espe­cial­ly in New York City) because of laws writ­ten by politi­cians who had con­fused West Side Sto­ry with a doc­u­men­tary. I hate to think what sort of future per­se­cu­tion will result from politi­cians think­ing that Killer Klowns from Out­er Space was a doc­u­men­tary.

Not so offline as the Gestapo would like
Sep 21st, 2016 by Ken Hagler

Court: Group’s 3D printer gun files must stay offline for now The federal civil suit originated three years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Distributed, published designs for the "Liberator," the world’s first 3D-printed handgun. Within months, Defense Distributed received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, stating that 10 files, including the designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This letter came despite the fact that these files had already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and continue to circulate online. [Ars Technica]

This reminds me of the 1990s, when the Evil Empire tried to keep encryption technology away from people using the same tactics. It didn't work then, and it won't work now. Here's a BitTorrent link to download the files in question.

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