Sunday, December 07, 2008

GM Bailout Just Money Down the Drain?

So, some federal legislators are balking at the auto industry bailout-far more than the financial bailout. They're saying it won't fix the system.

If so, why did so many of them think the financial bailout would work? Shoot, I remember reading in the NYT a few weeks ago that most banks were taking the money and rather than using it as intended to unthaw the credit market, just sitting on it.

Worse comes to worse, this money, even if it doesn't "save" the big 3 would at least be spent, providing middle class wages for tens of thousands of people in a time of tremendous doubt.

To me, that makes the auto bailout sound even better than money in a bank.

Monday, November 24, 2008

If Citibank is too big to fail....

Doesn't that just mean it's too big?

I hope Obama, when he gets in forces these banks to split up as one of the conditions for a government bailout.

It seems like the status quo has too many eggs in too few baskets.

NYT Article
Paul Krugman Blog Post

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fox Newz says Palin didn't know Africa was a Continent


But check this one out, same data but on Bill O'Reilly's show:

He thinks someone we can teach basic civics to is still qualified to be VP. Maybe VP of their high school class, but VP of America? Come on. Hell, she most likely spells it Amerika.

Friday, October 24, 2008

JRuby-based war files. They're great, and it allows me to get away from memcache-backed sessions(and use java based, non-crappy sessions), but now in development I'm back to a java like development workstyle:code....war...wait.....deploy....wait....test.....code.

And, of course, fairly regular application server restarts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Al the Shoe Salesman

Obama has a tax calculator on his web site, and they got Ed O'Neil, aka Al Bundy, to fill it out "in character".....funny, informative and not at all negative.

Makes you wonder why McCain can't do something like this. Oh yeah, because he....can't.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Can America Afford the Illusion of Exceptionalism?

As always, the election season gives us an opportunity to learn about how our fellow citizens think about our country, our path forward, the road behind, and the nature of country.

I bleed Democrat...but I can understand the Republican ideals of limited government. Granted, I believe it's not 100% optimal for growth, but at least it has it's own internal logic.

But I don't think I'll ever understand the belief in American Exceptionalism. This belief that we're God's new chosen people. Why, intrinsically America is the best place short of Heaven.

It seems that it's the single element that has most driven the Bush administration. It's the reason we're in Iraq. It gives us a Not-Invented-Here mentality that is the reason we don't have better health care system, better educational system, and a better environment. It holds back our view or the world, which is no longer(if it ever even was) the cesspool of incompetence some seem to intrinsically think it is. Ultimately, it's an unproven, romantic ideal that, after George Bush, we can no longer afford.

And this means I can never be a Republican.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wanna watch the first Obama/McCain debate?

The NYT has a page up, with the full video as well as footnotes on what the candidates are saying.

Watch it here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Like 9/11, No One Saw it Coming...

Oh, maybe they did.

Say, have you seen that barrel of tar I had sitting around here?

Robert Reich

I've linked to his blog before, but Robert Reich, the Clinton Secretary of Labor, has posted some interesting thoughts about our wall street bailout on his blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dog Days

A fantastic video from the NYT:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Common Lisp: Preserve Case

Sweet! I found a way to preserve the case of symbols entered into the repl!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

No Child Left Behind is a joke

My town's school district, despite having the highest proficiency in both math and reading in the state of Minnesota(with scores of 84 and 90%), failed No Child Left Behind this year.

Bushies. What a joke.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Word For Word Podcast: How the rich get richer

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

A NASA photo via wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From an email today:

I was wondering if I could pick your brain a bit regarding learning to program, in general. [Some PHD] has me teaching two people RoR and neither is terribly interested, nor does either have any experience.


I pointed them to the "Little Schemer," but since they'll only be here for a few weeks we need to get them doing practical stuff........he decided to get them this.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Old 97's/Rhett Miller-Question

I loves this song.

Everything is a Lisp

Tonight I found a library that bundles an Actionscript 3/ECMAScript 4 compiler(that itelf is written in Actionscript 3/ECMAScript 4) into a library for Flash and Flex.

It's not done, but it sure is cool.

Here's a blog post on it.

Monday, June 30, 2008

RTMP bucket

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


At home I've been working on an AMF serializer/deserializer for common lisp. It feels like I'm finally getting some traction with lisp-I'm actually starting to understand some code people post to usenet/etc.

next step: rule the world.

FISA Bill-Speech by Senator Christopher Dodd

If you haven't been paying attention, the House and Senate are on the verge of passing a bill that provides the Executive the ability to run warrentless wiretaps(circumventing the FISA court and it's retroactive warrant system, it seems) and provides retroactive immunity for the telecom industry's shannegans. This is an industry that cooperated with the Bush Administration in the current, illegal round of warrantless wiretaps.

Here is his speech. Contact your Senator to prevent a closure vote(a vote for closure will end his filibuster).

Friday, June 20, 2008

A nice post about Red5 from their mailing list...

So what is Red5 ?

As a non java-geek it's like to explain it to my collegues like this (in english that should be understandable for a 12-year-old) :

Red5 is a piece of javacode that runs on a server and listens on a port for commands. Since it's java you can run it on near every platform (Unix (like Linux) , Windows , OS/X). It's no binary, it's a class that is execute by Java that needs to be installed on the server. Like Java v1.6 JRE/JDK.

You can extend the basic javacode by writing an 'Application'. The application is a class called 'Application'. The application extends the builtin javacode and has event-handlers, private and public methods, properties etc.

You can connect from Flash (Player) (SWF) to Red5 but also from Flex, standalone Java-programs (including/using pieces of the Red5-sourcecode).

When you connect to Red5 you connect to an instance of the Application-class. This instance has a name like a directory, a path, "/" by default (aka root).

The instance behaves like a singleton ; it's executed once when the server starts. The class has events like 'appStart' (and 'appStop') which fire as soon as the application-class is loaded by the server. The instance is 'always on'. Once started it stateful. If you don't restart your server the instance will remember all properties until you change them or shut it down.

If your client connects to the instance you can call/execute functions of the instanced application/class/singleton. If you'd modify a public property then another client that would connect later would be able to read the data from that public property. This is the basic 101 for

Imagine we'd have a basic 'chatroom' application that has 30 clients which connect to Red5.
You could execute a function on your client that calls a function in the application-class which fills for example a public string. All other clients could read that string.

The server can also call functions on the client, if the client allows this. That way the server can push data to a client even while the client is 'sleeping'. The protocol used for sending data back and forth is 'AMF v0 or AMF v3'. AMF3 allows more complex datastructures to be sent over the line than AMF0.

The 'room' thing is like a 'new' instance of the application-class (well not really but this is easier to get the idea).
(it's a scope (subscope) of the main instance/singleton))

This new instance also has a name like a directory structure like "/room1".
If 10 clients would connect to that instance and modify a public property
then only those 10 clients would be able to read that property. If you'd
disconnect from "/room1" and don't clear the instance/scope then it
maintains state. You could connect to it 1 week later and 'continue'. (If
the server hasn't restarted or the garbagecollector hasn't 'removed' the

You get the idea when 20 other clients connect to instance "/room2" and 5
more connect to "/room827".

You'd see 3 rooms on the server : [room1] [room2] [room827] each having
different clients connected to.

The video(streaming) thing isn't more complex ; a client connects to a
'room' (like '/room1') and starts a "netstream" object/class on his client.
The data will be magically transferred to red5 and red5 will identify the
stream by a name (e.g. "stream1"). All clients can open a "netstream" class
on their client too and ask for 'stream1' to play from the server. The
server then happily starts sending data to all those clients.

Streaming video is nothing more than 'copy incoming data (from a file or
another client) to other clients'. Red5 does not encode, recode, transcode ;
it just copies data to and from clients. Currently Red5 knows how to 'copy'
data for the Sorensen Codec (flash 6) and the VP6 codec (flash7+). A Flash
Player client can ONLY publish a stream using Sorensen Codec (it does NOT
have a built in VP6 encoder). Flash 9 can READ the H.264 encoded data but
CANNOT encode H.264 and stream to Red5.

Red5 cannot accept H.264 encoded streams YET, ppl are working on that. Red5
will not recode, transcode or decode the H.264 stream, it will only
distribute it. More or less like a normal fileserver. You'd copy a zip-file
to a fileserver and if other clients connect to the fileserver they can
download that zip-file. The server itself does not decompress/recompress
that zip-file in any way.

Red5 CAN drop frames while sending data to a client that does not have
enough bandwidth. It just drops audio- and video-frames resulting in bad
video (most of the times). If you want to serve various qualities of the
same stream then you should encode those streams in advance or publish ,
from a client , more than 1 stream e.g. one with a 50kbit bitrate and one
with a 500 kbit bitrate.

Think of Red5 as a satellite ; the sat will receive a signal from the ground
and distribute it to many clients. If your client cannot receive a certain
'HD'-stream it should subscribe to a SD-stream. The satellite won't recode
the HD-signal for you.

The server doesn't care if the stream is a live stream (being publish at the
very moment) or a FLV file (videofile, FLV format, like WMV, MPG, etc)
stored on the server.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I haven't posted a video in a while:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Server Side of Flash/Flex: Options and Armchair Evaluations

I've got a project I've been working on privately for a while now(six months!?) that requires server integration. My app needs (secure)video streaming and AMF(think an Adobe-controlled, fast binary web service specification).

To those ends, I've been evaluating Red5 and pyamf.

Red5 is an open source product that provides both of these features(plus shared remote objects). Pyamf, as it's name suggests just implements the AMF protocol.

Red5 may do everything short of flossing your teeth, but the development environment seems kinda stupid. The architecture seems to have more moving parts than necessary. It's JEE based, so lots of restarts as you work, and everything is interface based (and also really poorly documented). But, apparently, it's just brain dead simple to stream hosted videos. So I'm going to use it for that.

Pyamf does one thing and seems to do it well. It's documentation is light, but the user email list is quite active and since it does one thing, simply, it may not need that much. It's also compatible with Google App Engine, with is one of the server implementations I'm considering(really, the only one. I don't want to manage more web servers/dbs than I've got to and I don't want to cross into the weirdness that is rails shared hosting). So I'm going to use pyamf for client-server integration. Now I just gotta get better with Python.


Red 5 Tutorial

I think this guy is doing a presentation at Flashbelt here in the Twin Cities in MPLS(I can't go). Red5 looks like an awesome project but it's documentation seems fragmented and incomplete.

These look like good video tutorials....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I love Xah Lee

I've always kinda lurked in usenet but for the last 6-7 months or so I've been lurking in comp.lang.lisp (it's a programming language). A frequent poster is this nutjob named Xah Lee.

His posts are horrible. They add nothing to the discussion, they are filled with the most insane boasting, and they make no sense whatsoever. But I love them. They are usenet car wrecks.

Here is Xah Lee's site. It's fucking insane.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fuck you Dave Thomas

Ruby on Rails Dave Thomas(not Wendy's Dave Thomas):

The fact that you don't have have any of the options for date formatting in your Programming Ruby is a fucking letdown. Sort of like your book. You treat Ruby like a glorified version of Perl, ignoring most of the closure goodness.

So fuck you. And for good measure, fuck you David Heinemeier Hansson. I hate your fauxhawk and your framework still sucks. The only reason it's been adapted at all is that it sucks less than other action-based frameworks out there.


The date formatting stuff is at the back of Programming Ruby....doh!

American Gladiators is back on TV?

Oh my God is it 1990 all over again does this mean I have to listen to Vanilla Ice? Has TV really gotten that bad? Don't people have anything better to do than watch this crap, they're all fat but watching 'roid freaks on TV? I can't wait to see the XXL sized Halloween costumes for your fat spawn.

I've got a little brother's girlfriend staying at my house the next couple of weeks....she had the local Fox station's 9:00 news on when I got home last night. Shit. It's almost worse than the 'Roiders back on TV. The local news is one big advertisement for American Idol and MySpace....meanwhile, on PBS at least, there was a Frontline episode discussing the role of Dick Cheney in expanding the power of the executive branch. Interesting. Why isn't this on the news?

I never watch TV anymore('cept sometimes when I find stuff like that Frontline episode). No wonder why. Fucking TRASH.

The government should take away their broadcast license.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Interesting blog post from the Luddite at, on Ron Paul.

Strict Libertarians are neat in concept, not neat in the White House.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Paul Krugman has the best fucking blog.

The economist/columnist's blog is a gem when it comes to interpreting the economy.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Oh my God....

You JUST KNOW this will be awesome.