Friday, June 27, 2008

The Java Embassy

Today at work somebody mentioned seeing that somebody at Sun had the job title "Java Ambassador". This lead us to thinking about whether there is a Java Embassy in London, and if so, how it would work. I've expanded on that to bring you an alternative to that old classic, how to shoot yourself in the foot:

Java embassy: let's say you work in the embassy and want to adjust the height of your chair. Chairs are immutable, so instead you order a completely new chair, which is higher than your old chair. When it arrives, you leave the old chair lying around. Eventually, when the building is too full of chairs, work stops for the day while the garbage collectors go around and throw away all the chairs that aren't in use. Visitors to the embassy are not scanned for weapons or cameras; instead, they are put in straitjackets and blinkers to make it impossible for them to do anything illegal.

C embassy: you're supposed to obtain forms from the central office, complete them, and return them. However, if you forget about a form, it will lie around the embassy forever, and will never be touched just in case you're coming back to finish it. Eventually, the embassy will collapse under the weight of the incomplete forms.

C++ embassy: similar to the C embassy, except that some forms will self-destruct if you leave the embassy, making it easier to prevent space shortages.

Python embassy: every single item (including a pen) has a big piece of paper attached to say what it is and how many people are using it. Every time you want to use a pen, you have to order a new pen, use it to write something down, then throw it away. When it was discovered that this is inefficient, management decided to keep around pens for a few common colours. Also, the staff tend to dress strangely and say things like "this passport has expired and gone to meet it's maker. It's bleeding expired."

Functional programming embassy: this embassy does not maintain any long-term records at all. However, it's very simple to find your way around: every embassy is either empty, or consists of one office and another embassy.

Perl embassy: this is the ugliest embassy in the neighbourhood, with all kinds of bits glued on and strange corridors that don't always go to the same place. In spite of this, it's usually possible to get things done. If you ask for directions, you're probably be told, "well, the simplest way is to go up three flights of stairs, to the end of the corridor, then take the lift. Or, you could walk around the outside, in the unmarked door at the back, then left. Or if you know how to read this map, you can look around for something that matches it. Or, ..."

Ok, that's all my ideas for now, but add comments!

Monday, June 09, 2008

It burns us!

Wow, time flys. Then again, so does a banana, if you throw it hard enough.

So, things have been happening. I've been to two formal halls in Cambridge. One was quite large and had a high table way up at the front where they muttered some Latin at each end of the meal. The other was crazy-small - just our group of about seven plus about three others, and none of the ceremonial stuff.

Yesterday the weather turned out beautiful. One thing about the English weather is that being generally crummy, you really appreciate it when it's nice. We went punting for about 5 hours, had a picnic on the punt (wasn't anywhere that nice to get out at the time), and I managed to get sunburnt.