October 2007

SecTor Conference

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2007

SecTor conference banner

If you’re interested in security and in the Toronto area on November 20 and 21st, the SecTor conference might be for you. Eldon Sprickerhoff tells me that it’s organized by TASK (Toronto Area Security Klatch). Although it’s a local grassroots effort, I’m told that they’ve corralled “a great group of speakers – basically, some of the best speakers from security conferences around the world” to speak at this event.

SecTor takes place on Tuesday, November 20th and Wednesday, November 21st and takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Registration is CDN$950, and if you use the promo code “ESENTIRE”, you’ll get a 10% discount.


Quick Book Review: Ruby by Example

by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2007

Cover of the book “Ruby by Example”If you’ve already got some programming experience under your belt and are searching for a book that’ll get you up to speed with Ruby very quickly, I strongly recommend Ruby by Example (written by Kevin Baird and published by No Starch Press, whose books on coding have impressed me).

As the book’s name implies, it covers the the Ruby programming language (with a little bit of Rails thrown in) through dozens of annotated examples, which covers not only the language but Ruby idioms as well. Experienced programmers will appreciate not being dragged through yet another set of introductory chapters (“this is branching…this is a loop…these are classes and objects…”). Any introductory material is saved for topics that might be new even to experienced programmers, such as chapter 6’s — Functionalism with Blocks and Procs — which may represent some of the best coverage of the topic in any Ruby book. (Even better, it’s available as a free sample chapter!)

Pair Ruby by Example with Agile Web Development with Rails (you could throw in Everyday Scripting with Ruby as a bonus) and you’ve got a killer combo for getting started with web development using Ruby.

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by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2007


Happy Hallowe’en! If you’re feeling that your jack o’ lantern just doesn’t enough nerd oomph, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories’ Cylon-O-Lantern might be what you need. Here’s a video of the Cylon-O-Lantern in action…

Can’t see the video? Click here.



by Joey deVilla on October 31, 2007

I’ve been tied up with all sorts of work- and life-related things, hence the lack of posts over the last few days.

By way of apology, allow me to offer the so-bad-it’s-good nerd TV show from the 1980s, Automan! Loosely based on the movie Tron and driven by the then-new interest in personal computers (this was the age of the original IBM PC and the Apple ][). It had all the earmarks of a cheesy Glen A. Larson production, plus all the technobabble of that era and made the old Buck Rogers series look like hard sci-fi by comparison.

Click here to see the video at full size.


If You’re Happy and You Know It…

by Joey deVilla on October 24, 2007

Computer monitor: “If you’re happy and you know it, syntax error!”
Photo courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.


Google Translate’s Strange Results

by Joey deVilla on October 23, 2007

Here’s something pointed out by a guy on Reddit, who took his cue from an entry in the French blog Zorgloob: take a look what happens when you enter sarkozy sarkozy sarkozy (as in French president Nicolas Sarkozy) into Google Translate and select a French-to-English translation:

Screen capture of Google Translate’s French-to-English translation of “Sarkozy Sarkozy Sarkozy”: "Blair defends Bush"

Here’s some other input that yields interesting output:

Is it an Easter Egg by some politically-minded pranksters at Google? Or users abusing the “suggest a better translation” feature? Or a quirk of the way it translates, which one Reddit reader says is based on training by “feeding it documents which have been translated into many languages by the likes of the UN”?


The REAL Reason GOTO is Considered Harmful

by Joey deVilla on October 23, 2007

Man standing on a table in King Arthur’s court: “So then I typed GOTO 500″ — and here I am!
Comic taken from the book Thinking Forth.
Click the comic to see it in its original context.

(If you’re wondering why someone would GOTO a number, it’s likely that you’re too young to have worked with versions of BASIC that required line numbers. Consider yourself very, very, very lucky.)

Cross-posted to the Tucows Developer Blog