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[ANN] RubyJS -- convert ruby to javascript   15 Jan 07
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Michael Neumann has announced his latest project :-).
 Hi all,

 Long time since I announced my last project....

 With RubyJS you can transform a subset of Ruby into Javascript code.

 What works?
 * Classes, modules, inheritance
 * Instance methods, class methods
 * Exceptions (rescue/ensure)
 * Meta-programming stuff like 'attr_reader'
 (any meta-programming stuff works that does not appear inside methods)
 * Iterators, yield
 * "require" (with platform-specific extension ala Google Webtoolkit)
 * Inline Javascript code
 * Some kind of compile-time method lookup  ;-)
 * Numbers, String, Array, Hash, Proc (a lot of functionallity is missing!)
 * Testing with Rhino-JS
 * A lot more  :)

 There is a lots of room for optimizations and improvement  :)


 Best use Mercurial ( to check it out:
 hg clone static-

pdftk - the pdf toolkit   30 Dec 06
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If PDF is electronic paper, then pdftk is an electronic staple-remover, hole-punch, binder, secret-decoder-ring, and X-Ray-glasses. Pdftk is a simple tool for doing everyday things with PDF documents. Keep one in the top drawer of your desktop and use it to:
  • Merge PDF Documents
  • Split PDF Pages into a New Document
  • Rotate PDF Pages or Documents
  • Decrypt Input as Necessary (Password Required)
  • Encrypt Output as Desired
  • Fill PDF Forms with FDF Data or XFDF Data and/or Flatten Forms
  • Burst a PDF Document into Single Pages
  • ..

The nice thing is that one can use it all from the commandline :-).

  • Examples Merge Two or More PDFs into a New Document
 pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf cat output 123.pdf
  • Split Select Pages from Multiple PDFs into a New Document
 pdftk A=one.pdf B=two.pdf cat A1-7 B1-5 A8 output combined.pdf
  • Burst a Single PDF Document into Single Pages and Report its Data to doc_data.txt pdftk mydoc.pdf burst.

Oops .. saw this lonely bag lying at the airport   29 Dec 06
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I saw this poor bag fall at SLC airport .. and then it staid there .. I feel sorry for the poor passenger who saw his bag out of the plane window :-).

Wink: make nice flash movies of your software   29 Dec 06
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Wink is a great tool for Linux and Windows to record your desktop sessions. We used it to capture screenshots of a legacy app we had to port, that did not run on our OS.

It’s a jewel one should have in its tool-shop.

Chart of R colors   26 Nov 06
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This chart of R colors can come in handy.

Cycles of Observers   11 Nov 06
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Good post by John Carter to the
 Let me relate a few war stories...

 Once I had a very very complex problem to solve.

 I had not the foggiest notion in which order to compute what.

 So I took the cowards way and hooked in the Observer all over the place
 so I didn't have to think in what order to do it.

 It was very slow and buggy and I was no closer to understanding in the
 problem than before. It did work occasionally though.

 I put in enough logging to see what order it did things in (when it
 worked). After glaring at that for an hour I saw the pattern, recoded
 it as a couple of tight while loops.


 Very fast, very understandable, easily maintained, no bugs and no observers.

 Story two...

 Once I took over the maintenance of some code that had several
 observer pattern instances scattered around it.

 It was fragile, buggy, and erratic.

 After much loss of hair and many hours of poring over log traces I
 figured it out.

 There were complex loop paths through several observers. No mere
 mortal could really understand what would happen if object X updated,
 since the possible impacts and possible variants of paths were almost
 limitless and depended crucially on the order of registration of

 After a brief killing spree amongst the instances of the observer
 pattern the code was still buggy, but at least no longer fragile and

Praisal to Dolphin Smalltalk   11 Nov 06
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"I planned 6 weeks to convert from ST/V to Dolphin, realizing that much of the non-GUI code was re-usable.—Here’s the killer, remember this was my First real Dolphin project, and second ‘smalltalk’ project.….The conversion took only 2 days, mainly because I could build and test in a workspace, and used SUnit Testing for non-gui stuff as needed. "

Human Computation   01 Nov 06
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Very good google video.

Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005. Previously, Luis obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University in 2000. He is the recipient of a Microsoft Research Fellowship.


Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs. This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human brainpower using computer games. For example, the ESP Game, described in this talk, is an enjoyable online game — many people play over 40 hours a week — and when people play, they help label images on the Web with descriptive keywords. These keywords can be used to significantly improve the accuracy of image search. People play the game not because they want to help, but because they enjoy it.

I describe other examples of "games with a purpose": Peekaboom, which helps determine the location of objects in images, and Verbosity, which collects common-sense knowledge. I also explain a general approach for constructing games with a purpose.

Matz keynote, RubyConf 2006   29 Oct 06
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Flash-video of the keynote of our "dictator".

Euruko 06 T-shirts   13 Oct 06
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Stefan updated the traditional Rubychan painting for this year’s conference.


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