Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting Autotest to work on Windows for Ruby projects

This seems blogworthy, as I have spent much longer than I wanted to find a solution.

I was trying to run autotest - of the zentest package - on a ruby project on windows, but autotest didn't seem to be able to pick up changes to my files.

I will not pretend to have understood exactly what made it work for me, but these are things that I did and that might have helped.

Setting the HOME variable:

set HOME="c:\Documents and Settings\my_username_here"

moving my project files into a lib directory and my test files into a test directory:


going to the project directory and running autotest:

cd myproject
autotest -v

This should work. Every time I save a test file or a lib file, autotest picks up the changes and runs the tests.

thanks to Philippe Hanrigou for pointing out the right heuristics!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Year 2012

According to the current growth rates in five years we will be able to buy storage for about 30 years of audio/video of our life for 100 euros.
It will be cheaper to record everything that happens to us and search it than to take notes or even think that we should be taking notes.

How is this going to change how we search/organize information?
How is this going to change our sense of identity?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ruby Social Club night

The Ruby Social Club meetups have started and they are coming on one after the other!
drop us a call if you are in Italy. We are all over the place, so don't be shy and get in touch.
This is a short report on the evening on the new RSC wiki (thanks intinig!)

the pics are heavy but I didn't want to spoil them (you'll see)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Are you still reading me?

I haven't been blogging for a long looong time as I have been busy in a number of other activities.
Mainly stuff like giving some balance to my life and making up my mind for the next important steps in my life.

Apologies to all people I have not been talking to during these months.  It just needed to be done.

Now I have to decide if I should go on with this blog, wrap everything up and move somewhere-else which is more representative of who I am now and what I want to do.

So.. are you guys still reading my blog?  Do I still have some readers? Where are you from, what topics yuo would like me to cover?
Please, let me know so that I can take a decision.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

TheRubyMine is On

Finally we did it! TheRubyMine is online :-)
The big challenge now is to rally the whole community around it.. any advice on how to build deeper feeling of ownership and participation?

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Ruby Mine

Whoa! I can't believe we are almost there!!! It took us a while to get our act together but here it is: TheRubyMine

The title is in english, but the content will be Italian, for the guys around here :-)

We are going to go Beta - invitation only in just a few days..

Check it out. Leave your mail. Join the Vision.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

NOT Thinking in Java (tm)

It has been some time now that I have been thinking about organizing some "*Not* Thinking in Java (tm)" workshops.  It's not that I feel any angst towards Java per se, but attacking Java seems to be the trendy thing to do these days :-)

Forget about the Java thing, the sheep-thinking of the object culture is what bothers me.  I am not denying my past, since I have also contributed in little part to create it and evangelize it.  In the course of the past few years, we have gotten fat with objects and patterns and we have explored the limits of what can be done with objects.

That's the way it had to be, but I think that it is now time to explore alternatives.  Lisp, Erlang, Haskell and their friends and cousins.

Yesterday I saw a nice article on functional languages.  I really liked it.  Extremely well written, simple and very pesuasive.  Long, but light.  I advise eveyone interested in the topic to print it out and read it.  It's amazing how things can be different - and difficult things become easy - once you shift your point of view..

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dojo in Rome

My readers will know that we are trying to shake up the italian ruby scene with the Ruby Social Club events.  The next meeting in Rome will be hosted by Interact and we will have a proper conference room with projector, network and big screen.

We are thinking about some cool new presentation formats to keep everyone active and entertained.. what about the Dojo?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Invisible Rails Reference Guide

Some of my friends know that I have finally decided to start having a look at Rails.  I have found this fantastic reference guide by InVisible that seems to answer all my questions!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Javascript programming with MozLab

Wait a minute, wasn't javascript a java-like scripting language for browser? I will not deny that this belief also kept me away from doing any firefox extension development.

Today I discovered MozLab and there is no turning back :-) You can do ubercool development on the mozilla platform with Repl (a kind of Irb on steroids.. you navigate and manipulate live objects inside the browser!!!) That's enough to tempt the Metaprogrammer in me :-) Then, of course, you have MozUnit for the TDD and agile minded.

I wonder how many other languages are deeply misunderstood out there...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On Simplicity and Execution

I have recently started to use delicious, the social bookmarking system.  Today I also found out about delicious networks: you can subscribe to the delicious feeds of a number of users and then see them as a single unified feed. 

You can also subscribe to individual RSS feeds and be notified when someone you know and trust comes up with a new interesting link.

Why am I talking about this?  I started thinking about these delicious features because back in 2000/2001 I was thinking about something quite similar from a philosophical point of view.  I wanted to have a way to communicate to a network of trusted people the evolution of my interests and how I was structuring the nformation that I was getting from the internet.  I was thinking about a complex trust system, modelled using graph theory.  I had pieces of news moving across the graph, gaining strength as they received a thumb-up by more and more users.

I was theorizing about the rise of implicit communities, ephemeral islands in the net auto-defined by links of mutual trust and common interests.

Too much theorizing.  There were overwhelming theoretical problems there.  How to avoid dangerous trust-feedbacks of information within a network? How should trust be modelled?  What are the dimensions of trust?

That's all academic bullshit. 

Useful for after-the-fact analysis. 
Useless to get started doing things.

Everybody can have a good idea.  Ideas have become dead cheap.

Good executon means getting the simplest idea and get it implemented and used by people. 
The rest will follow, if it still makes sense.

I need people to shake me every now and again and tell me: "Yes, it's nice, cool, fantastic! but.. what can we implement and ship right now?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Article for Ruby Code & Style

I am planning to write an article for Ruby Code & Style, so I ask you, my good readers, what kind of article would you like to see?

You can answer in the comments or on kiaroskuro AT gmail DOT com.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Grady Booch

Grady Booch announced on his blog that he has health problems and he is going to undergo surgery in the very near future.  Grady Booch has been one of my early software heroes and I remember seeing him at OOPSLA back in '97.  I wish him all the best.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Burnt Out

In the course of the past week or so I haven't been very good at answering to people I am in touch with. I apologize to you all. I continuously feel very tired and I needed a bit of a break.

I have been in touch with so many people recently.. being busy talking, planning and organizing that my body could barely catch up with my activities.

I now start feeling a bit better and I will slowly go back to my coding, networking, book writing, socializing, plotting and planning. My girlfriend might appreciate some of my time too :-)

I am afraid that if I want to keep up with this rythm I'll have to take on doing some exercising. Andrea, a friend of mine, told me that there is a group doing yoga-like practice in the evening in a park just behind the Colosseum. It sounds good and I might go with him to check it out one of these days. I have practiced meditation for a while in the past at a Buddhist School in England and I know the value of cultivating a fresh unencumbered centered mind.

20th of May Padua Presentation

It's official.  I am going to give a talk about ruby to a great bunch of java coders in Padua on the 20th of May.
I feel slightly nervous since it has been a long time since I gave a talk, but I think it's a great opportunity to get back into shape.

I am only afraid that 45 minutes might not be enough to do justice to the language...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cyc Space

A Map of the Cyc universe, from

OpenCyc Technology - Formalizing Knowledge

I have been wanting to blog this for a while now.  I should really try to post some of the goodies that I have found on programmable language-resources on the web.  I would also like to elicit you guys to point out more sites and libraries, especially if they happen to support a Ruby API :-)
OpenCyc is an OSS system that can be used to formalize common sense reasoning within an inference engine.  The best thing is the wealth of data that comes with it.  Here is the documentation, and a brief summary of its capabilities.



Saturday, May 06, 2006

Chiaroscuro Radio

I was sure I would have never done it.  I would have never posted pictures of my cat, or inflicted my poor taste on my readers.

Still, it happened.  On the sidebar you can now find a link to Chiaroscuro Radio!

My musical taste has been defined at different times as:
Chiaroscuro Radio has been realized using Pandora, a software that can learn your musical taste.  It took a few days, but now it almost always picks songs that I like.

Little Boxes in the Spreadsheet

Tonight I should make the first release of Littleboxes, a micro-language (API? DSL? Lingo? dunno!) that allows you to use excel as a debugging writeboard from ruby.

You will be able to stream out Objects, Structs, Arrays, Strings, Hashes, etc.. to the spreadsheet so that you can better visualize the data you are working on.

Is there any feature that might turn out useful to you?  I have still got the evening to work on it before releasing the alpha version to the italian ruby community.  If you are not on the ruby-it mailing list drop me an email (kiaroskuro AT gmail DOT com) or a comment and I'll send it to you too.

In the meantime I'll leave you with some words from Littleboxes, a classic by Malvina Reynolds..

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little  boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and  a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of  ticky tacky
And they all look just the same."

and no, Malvina is not talking about Excel cells ;-)

Refactoring Emphasis in Language

Language is one of the most ancient forms of knowledge encoding and transmission, yet we have so little conscious knowledge of how we can use it to achieve the communication that we want.

Words are programs, psychoglyphs running into other people's head. Shaping words means shaping active executable knowledge.

While reading " sleight of mouth" by Robert Dilts, I found a couple of very interesting concepts.

Look at the following sentences and feel the difference, although they have the same informational contant at face value:

I call "But", "and" and "even if" Emphatic Tags and they can be used to move the emphasis between:

You can do a little word magick by restating sentences, while refactoring it for an emphatic change, and throwing them back with a more empowered meaning, even if you have never tried before.

The other emphasis trick is the enabler/toll stance.

Read the following and feel the different emotional effect in front of apparently identical information:

The sentence order makes a world of difference. The first part of the sentence sets the context, while the second part clarifies the meaning of the first one.

The if-opening sentence is a Toll Sentence. It's asking you for something, for a precondition, before giving you what you want. It's even hinting at the fact that you are not doing what is necessary. It feels like you are trying to convince someone of something.

The you-can-opening sentence is an Enabler Sentence. It offers you a wide range of options: anything you want, and it then points to the path to go and grab those options.

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