Squeak Revisited

I can’t remember exactly when I discovered Squeak but it was probably the late 90s. Even in it’s earliest releases, it was awesome. In case you haven’t heard of Squeak, it is a modern implementation of Smalltalk, based on Smalltalk 80. It was written by Dan Ingalls, Alan Kay, Ted Kaehler, and Scott Wallace at Apple in the 90s to explore Alan Kay’s idea of the Dynabook.

Smalltalk is the epitome of object oriented systems. It is, in fact, one of the most copied languages around. For example, the NextStep library was based to a large extent on the Smalltalk library. Objective C draws many of its OO concepts directly from Smalltalk. To someone like me, who has been doing OO programming for something like 20 years, Squeak is like coming home.

I’ll have to admit, Smalltalk is hard to get your mind around. I have been playing with Squeak off and on for years. Mostly, I’ve marveled at the rich applications that came bundled with the package. Each new distribution brought more nifty graphical applications that, more than just being examples of how to write applications in Squeak, were incredibly useful in their own right.

The thing that has changed recently for me is that I discovered the online book Squeak By Example. This has broken down all of the last mental barriers that were hindered me in developing Squeak applications on my own. It is an excellent tutorial for anyone with any knowledge of programming at all. I wonder if it isn’t a great book for people that have no knowledge of programming at all. But that’s a topic for another time.

Squeak has rekindled the utter joy of programming in me. I highly recommend that you download it and Squeak By Example, or SBE as it refers to itself, and have fun. Set aside a good chunk of time. You won’t want to put this one down.

A Pause to Reflect

So now I’ve got this really nice blank piece of paper in front of me. I’ve gotten myself into the habit of writing on it frequently. Where have all my ideas gone. I wrote them down somewhere. I guess I need to find that file or notebook or whatever.

I know what I’m interested in. Programming, video making – both vlogs and actual video production with scripts and editing and such, playing music, composing music, writing, building robots, ham radio, creating web sites, the list goes on and on.

I suppose I should write about those things and see what happens. I act so ADHD though. I flit from one thing to the next. I can’t do them all at once so I have a hard time sticking with anything for long enough at a stretch to accomplish anything to speak of.

Drupal Resolution

I finally figured out how to configure PHP on my server. It was documented in my provider’s help desk pages. I guess I won’t move yet. I will probably wait until I can afford to buy a slice and keep this site. “Don’t fix something that’s not broken” I always say. I promise I’ll write a post that is about something more substantial than my web hosting configuration adventure real soon now. In the mean time, at least I’m posting more frequently.

Drupal Woes or To Slice or Not To Slice

The domain name finally propagated and I tried to install Drupal. Now, it complains that one of the PHP configuration variables is set to an unsafe setting and refuses to let me install until I fix it. This is infuriating. I spent about an hour researching the issue and discovered that there may be a way that I can resolve the issue on this server but it entails another round of emails with tech support. I have hit my head on this problem enough times that I’m tempted to buy a 256M slice from slicehost and move everything, my domains, this blog, etc., over there. Don’t get me wrong. I like my web hosting provider. I think I’ve just moved beyond the services that they provide. I suppose I could ask if they provide a similar service to slicehost before I just jump ship. Food for thought.

Drupal Adventures

I’m putting up a Drupal site today. Not because I have anything against WordPress. I love WordPress. I just want to explore the wide variety of content management variations that Drupal supports beyond just blogging. It may not be any better than WordPress but I’ll never know unless I investigate and experiment with it. Occasional Comment will remain as it is for the foreseeable future. Not that there are hoards of readers that will miss it if it moves or changes or even goes away entirely.

Right now I’m waiting on a new subdomain name to propagate through DNS. It’s like watching chrome rust. I may have to wait until tonight to finish configuring Drupal if it takes as long as my webhosting site claims to propagate DNS names.