The Intellectual Wilderness There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

2020.09.23 17:57

Erlang: [video] The GUI experience on Windows with ZX and Vapor

Filed under: Computing — Tags: , , , , , , , — zxq9 @ 17:57

I’ve written and spoken a bit about how ZX makes it easy to create, distribute and launch templated GUI projects in Erlang. I also showed how the (still ugly) GUI program launcher Vapor can make it easy for non-technical desktop users to use those programs.

So far I’ve been doing my examples on Linux where everything works in a familiar way and the terrain is fairly well known to us as developers, so in this video I want to show a bit about how things feel to Windows users who run client-side Erlang via Vapor using the standard Erlang runtime installation provided by Erlang Solutions and point out a few things that I find significant or can be improved in the experience.

If you have any insights into the issues highlighted in the video or have ideas about cross platform client development in general please let me know!

2020.01.13 11:22

OS Market Segments

Filed under: Computing — Tags: , , , , — zxq9 @ 11:22

Despite Linux and OSX only having somewhere between 2~5% desktop market share each, if I write an article about programming that gets picked up by aggregators and the trade press my site stats for Linux desktop visits jumps from about ~20% to 60~70% for about a week (OSX will jump from around 8% to 15~20%). It even overwhelms the bot numbers; quite a feat.

This is true whether the language is Python, Erlang, Guile/Scheme, or whatever else (all of these work on Windows just fine — of course there is a jump in *nix visits when I write something about Bash).

The inconvenience of trying to do multi-non-MS-language development (especially multi-node on the cheap, in house) on Windows really shows up in the stats. There is no possibility, for example, of a single person developing a multi-node game server or infrastructure system on their home network on Windows using repurposed/junk hardware. You can work on a single-node component (client-side, for example), but license entanglements, legal fears and money prevent flippantly spitting out a few prototypes.

That model of Windows is doomed to eventually adapt to this reality or die. If it weren’t for legacy small business data trapped in ancient applications and games Windows would already be dead — and the games can easily hop platforms.

2019.06.18 18:43


Filed under: Computing,Society — Tags: , , , , — zxq9 @ 18:43

IRC will never die.
It will never die because its minimal implementation is useful.

Windows will die, but only after rotting all the way through.
It will continue to persist for the next few decades not because its minimal definition is useful (there is no minimal definition), but as a consequence of deliberate strategic choices that were highly effective at fostering dependency (not entirely unlike social welfare programs).

Linux will never die.
Its super power is the same as its curse: it is Shoggoth.

2016.02.15 20:38

Hazards of the Windows yen-mark backslash

Filed under: Computing — Tags: , , , — zxq9 @ 20:38

The fact that Windows fonts still default to displaying backslashes as yen-marks has been a perennial annoyance for me. A conversation about it today provided a wonderful illustration of just how irritating this can be.

Here is what I saw:Here is what someone else saw:

This is just a humorous example of technology gone stupid, but it can be a very real disaster in source code (escapes are suddenly uncertain) and quite a few pieces of small business software (and even modern websites right now) have ridiculous output problems where a price is listed as “\50,000” — which isn’t such a big deal until you have a grid with invisible borders and see something that suddenly looks like a pricing equation instead of a statement of price: “500,000pc \ 50,000” Oops!


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