The Programming Imagination (Part 2)

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Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…
~ John Lennon (lyrics from Imagine)

Hello World (Redux)!

Should you be ready for some mental calisthenics—yo, a quick trip to the online dictionary confirms that I’m correctly recalling this million-dollar word as standing for “gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement”—let’s get some warm-up going:

  • When someone (not you, of course!) throws all concerns for a properly designed domain modeland caution—to the wind, what they are likely to end up with is a case of nickel-cell anemia. Now we’re limbering up, though I’d rather we also jettison off all things anemic!
  • Moving along to a more light-hearted calisthenic, let’s ponder on what one might call a Neanderthal who is prone to meandering… Hmm… Hey, a Meanderthal, but of course! (For the low down on this, look no further than Item #14—OF MEANDERING NEANDERTHALS—in another essay entitled Domain-Driven Design (DDD) Defies Dogma)
  • Now, should Miss Ann—she of the Green Gables—throw a small, green, and globular vegetable in a fit of hysteria, and I happen to be observing her act of flinging the hapless vegetable (slap on the wrist for doing that, Miss Ann, slap on the wrist), would you stop me from dubbing Miss Ann’s Breakfast Club-inspired act as one of misanthropy?
  • Okay, okay, I get the less-than-subtle signals to quit this calisthenics thing—Hey, are you all, like, a bunch of couch potatoes or something?! Not you, dear Reader, them… But… Just one last calisthenic (I promise!) and I’m out of here…
  • So, what quandary might we need to get ourselves out of, should we find our sorry rears in the fine land of Decatur (in the realm of Africa to be sure) where we need to indicate that our car is ready to make a turn at the road intersection we’re fast approaching? May I suggest an indicator—we’re in Decatur, for crying out loud—even as I stave off howls of lachrymose, existential angst from readers just like you.

Woohoo! Warmed up by those mental gymnastics—at one level, those were merely neologisms I whipped up, but, whatever—we’re ready. Let’s go. 

Welcome Back, You All

Oh, and totally by the way, hey, welcome right back to our new blog site, with the second brand new essay written just for our new digs (I sure was pleased when I noticed that the blog visitors counter had soared past the 100,000 mark just the other day: Thank you all, you keep me going!)

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The Network Is The Computer

Louis Pasteur,
So his colleagues aver,
Lived on excellent terms
With most of his germs.

~ W H Auden

A classic case of how chance ever favors the prepared mind—especially as we just treated ourselves to a blast from the past in the lacunae and life of the discoverer of the principles of vaccination and microbial fermentation—surely has to be this thing about how “the network is the computer.” I mean…

Okay, so this goes back to the days when mention of the word “intranet” led to heretical pronouncements of typos; people blithely reading magazine ads thought the jingo was meant to say “internet”! But the visionaries stuck to their tasks, feverishly weaving the loom of the modern digital world—never taking their eyes off the wisdom of Alan Kay’s words that “The best way to predict the future is to invent it“—and did not rest until they had put the fully woven fabric of that world in our outstretched hands.

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On The Unbearable Lightness Of Atomicity

Martin Buber
Never said “Thou” to a tuber:
Despite his creed,
He did not feel the need.

~ W H Auden

Yo, we tread here on delicate ground. So, shall we make sure to get this right, lest our ship ran aground? Object are created, before being found; immutable variables bound; remember, though, that divide-by-zero errors simply can’t be rounded down; so check out how pure functions are born, healthy and sound. Yeah, this ain’t no pitcher’s mound; a tad tinged, I do confess, by sleuth-work we’ve come to associate with that inimitable crime-hunter who appeared, for example, in the tale of the Baskerville hound.

Hey now, the rhyme here is getting out of bound… (And I sure ain’t ready for another core dump of memory, or a hairy stack trace or, sheesh, an exception message profound!)

Dear Reader, turn around

Check this—trust me, this is not a random suggestion!—and I’ll give you my penny for your pound: When Object Orientation Met Functional Programming

(Oh, did I forget to tell you about another great deal—in addition to the one above about how I’ll give you my penny for your pound—having to do with the Brooklyn Bridge going on sale, and that a better deal than it simply can’t be found?)

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Engage Your Senses (All Of Them)

Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.
~ Niels Bohr

Not to worry: Relax,  we are not planning on invoking college—or even high school—Physics, should that subject have brought about a Maalox moment or two in your life. For advice and resources on cultivating this aspect of the imagination, look no further than the section on the work of David Perkins (over yonder in MA, on the other side of Charles River, specifically in the Harvard Graduate School of Education), and which had appeared—I mean, I know it, because I wrote it!—many moons ago at these coordinates: Top Thought Leaders to Follow

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Some Things Are Negotiable (Others, Not So Much)

Content negotiation is useful. One use is to shepherd a new data format into a world which initially does not typically accept it. It allows those systems which do accept the new format to advertise it and so participate in the new technology.

~ Sir Tim Berners-Lee (on the finer points of Content Negotiation)

Should you find yourself haggling for a good deal in the market-lined streets, may I suggest that you remember Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s aforementioned wise words: Yes, transplanted—hook, line, and sinker—straight from the world of bits and bytes to the real life. Here is what you need to do… Check this. Read it. I’ll wait for you…

Hello? Still reading? Ah, that quite all right. Keep smiling, and carry right on.

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Try Your Hand At (Some) Lyricism

Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”

~ Wislawa Szymborska

Lyricism is the heart and soul of the imagination. Period. Take this from me—someone who has been there and done that—to mean that if I can do it, so can you!

Okay, should you be feeling bold enough to find out everything you ever wanted to know about lyricism (but were afraid to ask), check out these unfiltered, straight-from-the-gut series of discourse:

  1. On Writing: Or Why I Write
  2. On Writing: Or How I Write
  3. On Writing: Or Wow I Write
  4. On Writing: Or Now I Write
  5. On Writing: Or A Row With How I Write

The imagination of yours truly is unabashedly on display at the coordinates above, all five of them; proceed, dare I add, at your own risk…

Enough for now? Cool, I thought that would do. For now, anyway, right?

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Follow The Signposts…

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

~ Bob Dylan (lyrics from Blowin’ In The Wind)

Harking back to the words (“The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed“) of the “noir prophet” of the cyberpunk sub-genre of science fiction (William Gibson), what conclusion(s) can you draw right this second?

I’m waiting, no rush. Please take your time… Tick, tock. Tick, tock…

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