The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Andrew Sullivan loses a friend

The journalist and blogger's beagle Daisy died today at the age of 15. I'm getting sniffly just posting this:

This was not like waiting for someone to die; it was a positive act to end a life – out of mercy and kindness, to be sure – but nonetheless a positive act to end a life so intensely dear to me for a decade and a half. That’s still sinking in. The power of it. But as we laid her on the table for the final injection, she appeared as serene as she has ever been. I crouched down to look in her cloudy eyes and talk to her, and suddenly, her little head jolted a little, and it was over.

I couldn’t leave her. But equally the sight of her inert and lifeless – for some reason the tongue hanging far out of her mouth disfigured her for me – was too much to bear. I kissed her and stroked her, buried my face in her shoulders, and Aaron wept over her. And then we walked home, hand in hand. As we reached the front door, we could hear Eddy howling inside.

Her bed is still there; and the bowl; and the diapers – pointless now. I hung her collar up on the wall and looked out at the bay. The room is strange. She has been in it every day for fifteen and a half years, waiting for me.

Now, I wait, emptied, for her.

Read the whole thread. Make sure you have tissue handy.

Updating tools, at home and at work

This past week, my company put me in charge of operations. The job includes responsibility for our tools and technologies: bug tracking, client request tracking, code repositories, internal knowledge sharing, and Agile process management. Right now we use a collection of tools that we've used for three years: Beanstalk, Sifter, Zendesk, Yammer, and a home-grown Agile tool called Storyboard.

Well, Storyboard runs on the Azure SDK 1.4, which Microsoft will stop supporting at the end of November. Beanstalk, which just turned on support for Mercurial a year ago, has decided to turn it off six weeks from now. Sifter and Zendesk are all right, except they don't really give us the integration we want with each other or with Beanstalk—which, anyway, is going away.

We haven't picked a new tool set yet. But the search has led me to think about changing my own development tools, starting with this blog.

I mentioned about three weeks ago that I'd started playing with Orchard, an open-source content management system that came out of a Microsoft demonstration project.

I want a blog/CMS that can handle the 3,800 entries I've created here. I also want to continue tagging each entry with its location and local time (like this, whose time stamp would look really bizarre without the local time zone), which means I need an extensible application.

Oh, and it either needs a kickass import engine or a way for me to write one.

I can't say for certain when I'll migrate, given how busy I am with everything else. I hope I'll get this done in the next few weeks.

Yes, automation is key

Earlier I surmised that automating the process of extracting my old jokes from the ancient braverman.org site would take less time than hand-copying them. Well, duh. It only took two hours to write the script, lint the very few entries that needed it, and push the lot up to The Daily Parker.

So, for those of you who have missed all the jokes—there are just under 200 of them, all published from May 1998 to November 2004—start here, then skip to here, and then keep clicking the calendar control.

I'll call out my favorites once I re-acquaint myself with them. This one goes at the top of the list.

Now, programming trance ended, I am off to bed.

How U.S. government over-reach may kill the Inernet

Observer columnist John Naughton explains how the practices Edward Snowden revealed have hurt us:

[H]ere are some of the things we should be thinking about as a result of what we have learned so far.

The first is that the days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered. It was always a possibility that the system would eventually be Balkanised, ie divided into a number of geographical or jurisdiction-determined subnets as societies such as China, Russia, Iran and other Islamic states decided that they needed to control how their citizens communicated. Now, Balkanisation is a certainty.

Second, the issue of internet governance is about to become very contentious. Given what we now know about how the US and its satraps have been abusing their privileged position in the global infrastructure, the idea that the western powers can be allowed to continue to control it has become untenable.

His conclusion: "The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system." And no European country wants to deal with that.

So, great. United States paranoia and brute-force problem-solving may have destroyed the Cloud.

Almost 15 years ago...

...braverman.org published six proto-blog entries.

This brings the total ancient blog entries restored to 63, leaving around 140 still to be dug out. It takes about 5 minutes per entry to convert right now, so I may automate the process. Since writing some automation will probably take less than 11 hours, I may just do that over the next couple of days.

More ancient content

After a short experiment yesterday at lunch, in which I put up three original braverman.org posts from 1998, I've added all the content from May 1998.

A couple of things came up during this process:

1. dasBlog, whose open-source project has ceased active development, won't display any of the entries for a particular day if any one of them has any errors in its HTML. That is really annoying.

2. In frustration, I started looking for other blog engines, and came upon Orchard. I'm intrigued. The extension model seems like it would work really well for me, it's in active development, and it's cool. I have a little time this weekend to play with it.

For now, enjoy the jokes from 15 years ago.

Bringing back the archives

My first website, braverman.org, debuted in New York on 16 August 1997. We didn't have things called "blogs" back then, but over the course of about four years I posted jokes, stories, and poetry—almost all of it submitted by other people—two or three times per week. It was kind of blog-like, except I had to add actual Classic ASP pages to the site until I figured out a way to automate it in May 1998.

I'm going to start re-posting the archives, with their original time stamps...

Here are the first ones, from May 1998.

Context switching

Not only does my time evaporate into multiple projects these days, but the number of context switches I've experienced over the past few days hurts. Here's today's timesheet:

Yeah, but I shoot with this hand. I worked from home Wednesday so that I could jam on some documentation. How'd that work out?

Blogging, by the way, helps me switch contexts. I think.