You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf

Rio and Alex and I went to St Gabriel’s. The man who had served as the organist and choirmaster there for nineteen years died very suddenly the other week, and the place is still feeling shocked. Mother Donna Jean preached a rather interesting sermon on the parallels between the story of Abraham’s call and the story of Nicodemus. I asked her about other Johannine uses of the metaphor of night to represent the lack of understanding and she joked that I should be preaching next week; I said that was possibly the scariest thing anyone had said for a while. I was a little frustrated that the last hymn was one I didn’t know but the score for Cwm Rhondda was staring at me from the next page. (I am not responsible for that video.)

Later I finished writing a program to compile Metacity Journal entries: in other words, it goes around and finds bug activity, checkins of code and translations, mentions on blogs, and so on, and makes a blog post out of them. Here is the first output. I will be publishing the code, of course, but it will need a bit of tidying.

Later we all went for a walk in the park. Riordon stopped and said “I’ve got something in my shoe”, and when she took it off, balancing on one foot on the towpath, and shook it, out fell a US quarter, a US nickel, and a British 5p. I told her that she must have swept her hearth particularly well, according to the old rhyme. She said that she had actually been cleaning the floor in her room, but that she had been keeping shoes downstairs, and the good folk were hardly going to be able both to see her floor and examine her footwear.

After that we came home and I closed a ton of Metacity bugs.

“When I get a little money I buy books…” I have been wanting for a long time to read three particular books to Rio that I loved as a kid. They are: The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler by Gene Kemp, Nothing to be Afraid Of by Jan Mark, and I Like This Poem, which is an anthology edited by Kaye Webb. Amazon in the US doesn’t know TTTOTT, though it has the other two second-hand, which I don’t mind at all and indeed prefer in a lot of ways. Tonight I thought I’d order all three from Amazon in the UK; I was quite pleased to find that most of them were available for prices as low as a penny in some cases until I saw that shipping would be £20 to me in the US and £8 even to my parents in Hertfordshire. I think this must be the result of reasoning in a weak currency, because $20 to ship three books, or $40 overseas, seems rather excessive to me. Is that really what postage costs, and do any of you have advice or even an old copy of TTTOTT that you can send me in return for postage, gratitude, other trinkets, love, bug fixes, sonnets written praising you…? Update: My sister Mandy tells me that the book is called “Tyke Tiler” in the US, for obscure reasons, and it may therefore be findable after all.

Software we’d like to see: I have always been in slight awe of IMAP. It does everything POP3 does, everything SMTP does (and a lot better)[1], everything NNTP does, and it does its own useful things as well. You even could use it, if you were monomaniac enough, for a ton of other things, including as a replacement for FTP, or as an RPC transport. If some Emperor of the Internet was to decree tomorrow that henceforth nobody was to use POP3, even the people who only want what POP3 does could run IMAP and just only allow or only use its “recent” mode. Really, I think there are two things that puzzle me about it:

  • Why anyone is still using POP3, and more so, why they are still using SMTP.
  • Why everything-but-the-wire-protocol of IMAP is still travelling over a custom protocol and not REST. It seems to me as though it would mean we could reuse existing and well-tested code, it would mean you’d get all the existing bonuses of the HTTP protocol like its ubiquity and gateway support and so on, and the IMAP protocol is very REST-like already: it would be a pretty simple one-to-one mapping.

I haven’t seen anyone seriously suggest this, although Google showed me a thought-experiment as a teaching aid. If I was still working for an email provider I would suggest it, but I’m not.

[1] Ryan Lovett has pointed out that IMAP specifically doesn’t allow for sending mail, and he’s right: I misread the RFC and thought I saw something that wasn’t there. I’m sorry. I do think it should be included into a system such as the one I discuss above: something which allowed access to a group of messages/files over HTTP in the style of WebDAV (although possibly simpler), so that you could read and write and sort them into folders, and then also have a way to send them and to search for ones with flags like “recent”, would be a hugely useful grand unified protocol.

I fixed the “partlock” bug in Joule, which annoyed a small number of people a whole lot. Also, I thought you might be interested to see the usage of the cupid script:

The community was quite quiet this year compared to last, I think. I would show you the world map for just the script if I could figure out how to generate it. I can only seem to get Google Analytics to show maps for the whole site.

(Very brief) link soup:

(I apologise for those of you reading this on blogo/tthurman who think it clashes; I’m trying to make it look like and so far I’ve only got as far as playing with the CSS.)

Published by

Thomas Thurman

Mostly themes, triaging, and patch review.