Podcast #8

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This is the eighth episode of the StackOverflow podcast, wherein Joel and I discuss the following:

  • As of our next podcast, we will be hosted at ITConversations -- the NPR of podcasts. A good outfit to be associated with!
  • Yes, Joel does pronounce "wav file" as "wohv file". I have no idea. Ask him.
  • Joel keynoted the Rails conference. Josh Susser said "If you missed it, count yourself lucky." Apparently at least David Heinemeier Hansson liked it.
  • It's true that I objected to David's attitude towards people who don't use Macs, but it's possible to have objections to specific statements people make, or specific beliefs they may have, and still respect them as a person. Disagreement does not mean we are mortal enemies. David has a lot of smart, interesting things to say. That just wasn't one of them.
  • "The programming community is larger than any one particular tribe." But why are certain communities more insular and insecure than others? Joel relates this to cognitive dissonance.
  • I remain a big fan of Clay Shirky and his latest book. How big a fan? It's Clay Shirky's Internet, We Just Live In It. I believe every working programmer who touches the web should read his latest book, Here Comes Everybody.
  • On addressing criticism -- "there arise a new, young generation of rebels who remember not when you were the young rebel, writing new things, and making no claim to authority."
  • I found Paulo's thoughtful criticism of our podcast and I wanted to address it. To quote Randy Pausch: "That’s a lesson that stuck with me my whole life. When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care."
  • Joel feels like he was misunderstood on the topic of exceptions. Well, if you were writing a memory allocator for an operating system, anyway.
  • Joel and I do agree that threading is hard. It's amazing that web apps largely get a pass on this, thanks to the architecture of the webserver model.
  • I give a shout-out to Rick Brewster of Paint.NET who calls the (excellent) threading code he wrote in Paint.NET "easily the most complex code in Paint.NET"
  • We're using SQL Server 2005 as the underlying database for stackoverflow.com. We engage in a brief discussion of the pros and cons of Oracle and MySQL databases in our (limited) experience.
  • Joel describes his frustration with the way some writers turn single anecdotes into statements of truth, both on the internet and off. Of course Joel and I are both guilty of this, too.
  • In my better blog posts, I tend to use more of a meta-aggregation model, where I do research and summarize what I found. I point to a lot of different opinions, then offer my own -- but I try to diligently avoid clinging religiously to my opinions. In the face of new, better data, I can be convinced. I firmly believe in strong opinions, weakly held.
  • When it comes to Domain Specific Languages, we definitely prefer them to a bunch of XML. I am particularly fond of SQL and Regular Expressions as mini-DSLs -- I believe in embracing the concept of languages inside languages.
  • Joel and I are still very excited about Microsoft's DLR (IronPython and IronRuby) as an escape route from the superficial differences between the Coke and Pepsi of C# and VB.NET.
  • welcome Geoff Dalgas to the stackoverflow.com programming team!
  • As usual, thank you for all the questions and for the Wiki edits!

We also answered the following listener question:

  1. Tendayi Mawushe: In the enterprise Java world, you can't do much without writing a lot of XML. In response to that, a new idea little domain specific languages is emerging. What are your thoughts on this?

If you'd like to submit a question to be answered in our next episode, record an audio file (90 seconds or less) and mail it to podcast@stackoverflow.com. You can record a question using nothing but a telephone and a web browser.

The transcript wiki for this episode is available for public editing.

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