John Topley’s Weblog

Musings

Obituary: The File System 1973—2011

2011 saw the passing of the file system as an end user-visible feature within mass market computing devices. Ask someone with an iPhone or an iPad how they work with files on their device, creating, opening and saving them and chances are that they will look at you quizzically. You may get a response that mentions saving photos sent in an email or perhaps syncing documents via iTunes, but files? We don’t need no files.

Software Craftsmanship And Apprenticeship Patterns

One of the aspects of the world of software development that I find interesting is that as a group we seem to be constantly searching for the perfect metaphor or analogy to explain to non-software developers what it is we actually do. Some have said that writing software is like building a house, but others disagree and claim that it’s a more organic process akin to something like gardening.

The Apple iPad

I've been following the Web’s reaction to last week’s Apple iPad unveiling with great interest. It’s clear that this was no iPhone announcement, meeting with near universal acclaim. From watching the video of the event the applause seemed subdued in parts and any talk of game-changing was not unanimous.

My Computer Book Addiction

My name’s John Topley and I have a little secret that I want to share with you today. No, not that one. The fact is that I’m addicted to buying computer books, to the extent that I often buy them but never finish them. I could spend days in the Computing section of one of the big bookshops in Charing Cross Road.

What’s In Your Wallet?

Continuing the “What’s In Your Wallet?” meme started by my good friend John Conners, here are the contents of my wallet at the time of writing.

1982

Time for a quick quiz. What do the following have in common?

Atomic

Two amazing facts that you may not know about atoms.

NASA And That Vision Thing

I was born too late for the Apollo era. If I could choose to observe any momentous moment in history, then I wouldn’t choose to see the invention of the wheel because we don’t know when it was invented or by whom. There probably wasn’t much to see anyway—some guy discovering that you can more easily roll a round rock than a square one.

Thought For The Day

Enterprise Java leads us to a point where choice becomes a bad thing.

24 iPhone Impressions

I’m no mobile phone expert. My current phone is a Sony Ericsson Z200 which is a few years old and doesn’t have a camera, FM radio or MP3 player. I bought it because you can make calls with it and because it’s very small and quite robust.

Now That’s What I Call Broadband!

I’ve just run my ISP’s speed test tool which is something that I occasionally like to do to see how fast my broadband Internet connection is, and to see whether I’m getting anywhere near the 8 Mbps that I’m supposed to.

World Wide What?

It’s hard to believe, but the World Wide Web turned fifteen on the 6th of August. Hard to believe because the Web has more or less gone away. Before you think I’ve gone completely mad in the face of its ubiquity and pervasiveness, allow me to explain.

Reality Metaphor

I've just had a strange thought. Imagine what it would be like if you took the desktop metaphor popularised by MacOS and Windows and turned it inside out and applied it back to real life.

Learning To K.I.S.S.

Do the best programmers know how to Keep It Simple, Stupid? Is simplicity in itself a desirable goal? I didn't used to subscribe to the idea that simple was always best. I thought that sometimes complexity was the only answer.

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