Friday, September 20, 2013

See James. See James rocking it.

Don't miss James Ladd presenting the innards of Redline Smalltalk on the JVM at JavaOne in a few days!

Tweet announcement

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Clojure: from zero to grok

What's often missing when trying to learn a programming language is something between the 10 thousand feet overview and the medium to high tutorial assuming you've bootstrap yourself.
Eric Normand is offering insanely affordable Clojure learning videos. It's a Kickstarter campaign with only 6 hours left!
You can donate in all confidence, the main goal has been reached, but we need your help to reach the first stretch goal.
If you've ever wondered what all the hoopla about Clojure is, you can find out for a few bucks.
You'll learn enough to put it aside if you don't like it, or if you're lucky, you'll ignite a passion!
Click on the link. Do it now 8)

Update July 25th 2013
The videos are now available on

Monday, February 25, 2013

Redline Smalltalk: so long and thanks for all the fish

This is the last push for the Redline Smalltalk indiegogo campaign.

I give my heartfelt thanks to everybody who lent a hand, be it a donation or getting the word out.

We got an amazing spectrum of persons helping, from friends who donated so I would stop pestering them about Redline to pillars of our field like Grady Booch.

From the Redliners emerge these qualities: kindness, excellent programming chops, and a non-negligible amount of geekness 8)

To those who already donated: Please push out our campaign far and wide with your communication canals. Challenge your friends and coworkers to match or exceed your donation. Make a friendly competition out of it. Get your company to make a corporate donation.

To those who have yet to donate:  be kind, be excellent, be a really hoopy frood who knows where his or her towel is. Be a Redliner!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why Smalltalk?

Why would anybody be interested in an old language like Smalltalk?

I know quite a few of my readers are, among other languages I am sure, Scala programmers. I quite like Scala and its balance of OO and functional programming on a serving of static typing with inference. Scala has been the perfect vehicle for me to grok functional programming.

I am fond of learning different languages who makes different trade-offs and are suited for different architectures or goals.

What I find in Smalltalk, is a message-passing approach to OO mixed with functional-like features like blocks on a serving of dynamic typing. This is definitively a different beast that what we have been accustomed to consider as OO languages. Ironically, that old-school language feels like a breeze of fresh air!

Smalltalk has a wonderful variety of implementations, Pharo and Squeak being the dominant open-source options, along with the notable Amber who targets JavaScript.

There is yet another implementation that deserves attention, for it makes the same decision as Scala to target the JVM. It is called Redline Smalltalk, is definitively a real Smalltalk, and I believe is poised to reinvigorate Smalltalk.

I urge you to take on Redline as your "new" language to learn for 2013, or if only to help foster a healthy, varied ecosystem on the JVM, to make a small donation on Redline's indiegogo campaign. Read the article and watch the video on the campaign site to learn more about the rationale and the dedicated, passionate and friendly human beings behind Redline Smalltalk!

Help Redline, and you help all the JVM languages by having one more compelling reason for the JVM infrastructure.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Are you a Redliner?

Redline Smalltalk is a real Smalltalk for the JVM.

Redline Smalltalk is nearly done, but needs a little push to get out polished and in a timely manner.

Don't miss out on getting Redline passed the tipping point!

Click here to donate to the indiegogo campaign 8)

The above link also contains additional information about the goals of Redline and why you should donate.

If you've contributed before to a language you liked that got successful, here's your chance to be part of the revolution... again!

If not, now is the time to be part of something great from the start!

I'm a Redliner. Are you?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Google and LinkedIn: Stop im(mobile)izing me!

A rant.

Google newsgroup mobile site:
If there's a place I need my "mark all as read" option, it's more on my cell phone than my desktop.

Gmail Android mobile app:
I can create a new label using the mobile website but I can't using the app?

LinkedIn app on the iPad:
I can't edit my profile or add a new group? Is my iPad a read only device?

Hopefully these options are there but I just haven't figured out where/how.

PS: is there a mobile friendly way of writing a Blogger post on a mobile device?

Update November 25th 2012
Since the original publication, LinkedIn app on the iPad now allows profile modification. Thank you.

Also, I discovered there was a Blogger iPad app while perusing the list of Google apps on the iTunes Store for the first time 8)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cloud Robotics Hackathon March 2012

I participated in the Cloud Robotics Hackathon in Montreal at the beginning of March.

It was my first hackethon and it was great. I registered with two friends, Alain & Benjamin. We joined forces with 3 strangers, Aurélien, Renaud & Stéphane, who turned out the be not only competent, but decent friendly persons.

The event itself was quite well organized. They accounted for primary needs like robots & WiFi, as well as secondary needs like food & shelter ;) Seriously it went without a hitch and we could really concentrate on our robot while the organizers and volunteers were working really hard for everything to go around smoothly.

We got out free robot kit courtesy of RobotShop on Saturday Morning. Beforehand I had wished it would come already assembled so we could have more time for the actual programming. It turned out I had so much fun participating in the assembly that it really was better it wasn't assembled beforehand.

We had quite a diverse team of programmers & sysadmins. It was all out first experience with a robot and we had tremendous fun. We split into smaller groups to work on different part of the project. The (unpolished) end result is a robot which you can send simple commands over a  PHP script through the cloud and Bluetooth. An example of a simple command is go forward 456 centimetres. The fun part is if the robot detects an obstacle in front of it, it tries to autonomously go around it. The robot also accumulates its moves and send them back over the cloud where they are logged and are used to display a map of the robot's path. Obstacle are shown in a different colours and little drawing shows when the robot turned clockwise or counterclockwise.

I never thought so much could be done in just a weekend. A big thank you to my team mates, the organizers, volunteers and sponsors! A special thank you goes to my family for their kind support.

I really enjoyed the cooperative atmosphere. Everybody was freely and proactively helping each other. For example some electronic genius shared a problem and a workaround related to the usage of the Android Kit and pin number 8 of the board.

Here are the links of the video presentation we had to submit and of the video of the presentation in front of the judges.
Robot Hackathon Montréal 2012 - No pain, no game!
Montreal Robotics Hackathon 2012- Team No pain No Game

P.S. We used, Arduino, Python & PHP.

Update: Incredibly, we won third place. Hurray!