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LOLCODE, the LOLCat Programming Language

Cat at computer: “I can has programming language?”

The moment Anil Dash published his now-famous blog entry on the grammar used by lolcats, Cats Can Has Grammar, the door to studies that were equal parts silly and serious was opened. Not to be content with mere lexical and semiotic analysis of lolcats, some folks have taken it to the next level: the LOLCODE programming language.

LOLCODE is your standard Algol-style programming language (Algol is the grandfather of just about every popular current programming language) married to the lolcat captioning style — that is, ALL CAPS and I CAN HAS SILLY CAT GRAMMER AND SPELING KTHXBYE.

Here’s HAI WORLD, the LOLCODE version of “Hello, World!”:

Here’s something that outputs the numbers 1 through 10, a classic beginner’s exercise:

And finally, here’s a program to print the contents of a specified file:

If someone’s working on an IDE for this language, I have very important stylistic advice: it should make heavy use of the Impact font, just like all those lolcat captions. Bonus points if it’s Impact with a white fill and black stroke!

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Zombies Less Annoying Than MySpace Users

Zombie biting iMac at the San Francisco Apple Store.
“Hey, buddy! You bite it, you bought it!”

I’ve always suspected it, but now I have proof. Consider what happened when a flash mob-like gathering of zombies in San Francisco passed by the downtown Apple Store:

It may be worth noting that the Westfield Mall and Disney security tried to bar the zombies from entering, but Apple store security did not. In fact, salespeople were jostling one another for a position where they could take the best photo of the zombies (or themselves with the zombies, or their brains being eaten by the zombies).

MySpace mom and daughter.
Note the blank, soulless eyes, the mindless expressions, and the hunger for destruction and human brains. These are MySpace users.

Contrast that with why Apple Stores have made it so you can’t access MySpace pages on their display machines:

An Apple Store employee (who does not work in the Fifth Avenue store), confirmed to CNET News.com that this has been an ongoing problem. “MySpace is a big issue for the Apple stores because people come in, Photobooth themselves (using Macs’ built-in webcams), then stick their picture up on their MySpace account and loiter at machines for hours,” the source said in an e-mail. “It is especially troublesome at the flagships and high-volume stores, and for a while there was no official word on how to deal with it.”

Based on these two stories from this week, I must conclude: the shambling, bloody and moaning legions of the undead are far more easy to put up with and less disruptive to business than the shambling, moody and whining legions of MySpace users. And now we have proof.

Excerpt from Wondermark! #223.
Excerpt from a Wondermark! comic. Click the image to see the full comic.

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“Hi, I’m Ruby on Rails…”

Since there’s considerable overlap between the Cult of Mac and the Cult of Rails, it was inevitable some Rails enthusiasts would make Rails advocacy videos borrowing from the style of the popular “I’m a Mac / I’m a PC” ads.

Gregg Pollack and Jason Seifer of the blog Rails Envy are posting a series of Rails-themed “I’m a Mac”-style videos, one each day leading up to RailsConf, in order to get everyone fired up for the conference.

Here’s yesterday’s ad, in which Java plays the “PC” role:

Here’s today’s ad, in which PHP — who bears a strange resemblance to Java — is the PC:

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The Cult of Rails, The Cult of Mac

Mac, Mac, Mac…

One of the first things I noticed at last year’s RailsConf conference was that Mac laptops far outnumbered PC laptops. Outside of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (and possible FOO and BarCamp), you normally don’t see this sort of Mac-PC ratio.

I took the snapshot below last year. It of a group of attendees hanging out between sessions. Note that every laptop in the shot, including that of conference organizer Chad Fowler (4th from left) and presenter Adam Keys (5th from right) — is a Mac:

Geeks sitting with their Mac laptops at RailsConf 2006

Here’s a closer look — a video of a sea of Macs on developers’ laps:

Fearless Leader Uses a Mac

David Heinemeier Hansson: The Hottest Hacker on Earth

While most Rails projects are eventually deployed as production apps on Linux-based servers, OS X is the preferred development environment for Rails geeks. That’s no surprise, considering that Rails creator/figurehead/supermodel David Heinemeier Hansson is himself a Mac guy, as he writes in this article on his blog, Loud Thinking:

Paul Graham is writing about the Mac adoption amongst hackers in general and his own return in particular:

“All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs… The reason, of course, is OS X. Powerbooks are beautifully designed and run FreeBSD. What more do you need to know? I got a Powerbook at the end of last year. When my IBM Thinkpad’s hard disk died soon after, it became my only laptop.”

It’s great to see that over the past few years it has become the norm, not the exception, that good programmers are wielding Macs. There’s the odd exception of Linux here and there, but the writing’s on the wall: OS X offers the best personal computing experience available today.

While I can certainly understand the reasons why some people go with Linux, I have run all but dry of understanding for programmers that willfully pick Windows as their platform of choice. I know a few that are still stuck in the rut for various reasons — none of them desire.

I would have a hard time imagining hiring a programmer who was still on Windows for 37signals. If you don’t care enough about your tools to get the best, your burden of proof just got a lot heavier.

It’s another interesting chapter in the rise of the Mac among the not-quite-mainstream programmer crowd, a trend that first became apparent during the first O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference back in 2002. All through RailsConf 2006, I was reminded of Tim O’Reilly’s remarks in his 2002 WWDC keynote, Watching the “Alpha Geeks”: OS X and the Next Big Thing.

The Nonconformists

Seeing they were in the minority, RailsConf 2006 attendee Christian Metts handed out “Certificates of Nonconformity” to people sporting non-Macintosh laptops and took their photos. These RailsConf nonconformists were also photographed for posterity, and the photos have been collected in this Flickr set.

The most famous of the nonconformists was none other than the enigmatic Rubyist known only as why the lucky stiff, who posed in classic “why” fashion with his certificate:

“Why the Lucky Stiff” poses with his nonconformist certificate
Click the photo to see it on its original Flickr page.