Why Ovid Doesn’t Do TDD, Julie Learns to Program, and More

  • Anecdote Driven Development, or why Ovid doesn’t do TDD
    Listener Philip sent me this excellent musing by Perl hacker, Ovid. I think his experience represents the quiet majority. While I don’t share the remorse over not being able to say I strictly adhere to TDD, I do tend to take a more practical view of when and where the benefit of writing automated units tests is really worth the often not inconsiderable cost.
  • Adobe is bad for open government
    My friend Gavin sent me this excellent post by Clay Johnson of the Sunlight Labs. Folks too easily mistake the ease of access and share of PDF as good enough for sharing information from critical sources. Johnson does a good job of highlighting just how difficult PDF as well as Flash make it for analytical projects like Sunlight Labs to parse, extract and re-purpose this information versus even plain old ASCII text. XML is being touted as the gold standard, but any unencumbered, easily computer parsed format would be better than what Adobe is selling, especially since nothing truly prevents them from breaking format compatibility over time.
  • Canadian anti-spam bill passes committee without copyright lobby provisions
    Professor Geist shares the good news as well as explaining how even during the review big content and its captive legislators kept trying to re-introduce these problematic dilutions of the consumer protection bill. It still has to be put to a vote but this is a critical success regardless.
  • Google launches music search
    The NYT does a good job of clarifying exactly what the new service is and what it is not. It is not a music story like iTunes or Amazon but rather another extension of its core search through various partners. For Amazon, at least, there could be an opportunity to play ball and drive more customers into its MP3 store. iTunes’ walled garden would seem to make that pretty much impossible for Apple.
  • Julie learns to program
    Via Nat’s Four Short Links at O’Reilly Radar. This is a very earnest account of a non-programmer tackling the challenge of learning to code. It isn’t a tutorial or any sort of guide, just the engaging story of Julie’s personal progress grappling with her first programming language.
  • Twitter bans satirical, fake persona account
    Mike Masnick has the particulars of the story at Techdirt. You cannot really get all that incensed about this story since Twitter is essentially a private service and can ban whomever they choose for whatever or no reason at all. To me, it provides another reason that reinforces a discussion that went round the blogosphere a few weeks back, that we really need to crack social messaging from private, centralized players like Twitter and Facebook into open, federated systems.
  • Advance in phase change memory
    Jon Stokes at Ars points out some new research buy Intel and its partner Numonyx in increasing the density of a storage technology first proposed over thirty years ago. Unlike a lot of these kinds of stories I follow, this particular technology, the non-stacked version, is already shipping in some projects which makes me optimistic about this new development hitting market faster than some other approaches to increasing storage densities.