Archive for August, 2007

Why Use a Language-Powered Domain Specific Language?

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Following my previous post on Domain Specific Languages (DSL), I had the pleasure of reading some responses. Aristotle does not like using eval (source): I mean, evaluating another source file every time you instantiate an object in that class? Awesome! If I had to maintain his code I’d refactor that part out of existence with […]

Using RCS to Version Control Your Unix Host

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Ever make a change on that Unix host you manage and need to undo it? Good thing you made a backup, right? You even gave it an extra extension, .bak, so that you would know it was the backup. But wait a minute, this file also has copies with extensions .backup, .20070813, .20051221, and .john. […]

Force and Excellence

Monday, August 13th, 2007

I read a quote this week that sums up a large part of why policies often fail to achieve their objectives: Just remember: people tend to resist that which is forced upon them. People tend to support that which they help to create. —Vince Pfaff Policies fail because they are forced upon people without any […]

Parsing Dates in Unix with Ruby

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Ever need to write a script that can read a human readable date and turn it into something a computer can use? How often do you have “August 10, 2007” in a string and need that converted to a number of seconds since January 1, 1970? As it turns out, Ruby includes an excellent module […]

Security of Ruby’s Kernel#rand

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Last night I was at the Chicago Area Ruby Group, and there was a presentation by Trevor Turk on his El Dorado project. While he was showing us the code I saw the method that generates the application’s authentication token. I could not help but notice that the security of the authentication tokens depends greatly […]