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I thought I would throw my two cents in here after experience with both NT4.0 , Linux and MacOS. I agree with Dan that the NT solution is rather expensive, and I found my NT machine regularly hung up due to memory problems with Netscape.. this on a Dell machine with Pentium II and 100 Meg of RAM. I have converted my PC to Linux running Apache, and BSCW collaborative server and IP- Masquerading to my private LAN with the design and development on MacOS Starmax PPCs. Instead of Photoshop, I use Claris Home Page, FilemakerPro 4.0 and Canvas 5.0 which is a reasonably priced alternative, although I have read good things about GIMP on Linux. Admittedly this is not an industrial strength server, but functions very reliably over a dialup PPP connection for my clients. StarOffice is also availble for Linux at no charge and has all the functions of MS Office. I would disagree that the MacOS hasnt changed ( I have used it since 85). The user interface has ...
The return on investment for an engineer attending MIT or any other expensive school is poor. While starting salaries may look reasonable ($40K-$50K), the salary compression is such that salaries after 15 years are barely over $70K in the corporate world. Simple financial calculations (NPV) will show that is is not a good way to invest $150,000, especially at a cost of 10-11% interest. As Phil says, this leads to many engineers leaving their profession for more lucrative fields. As an alternative, most large corporations will pay today for your undergraduate and graduate education. The typical requirement is that you earn a C or B in a class to get reimbursed. ( The downside is that you must do this while working and most universties look down on working engineers, especially at the graduate level. Most professors prefer full-time foreign indentured grad students who fawn at their feet and work endess hours on the professors pet projects. Add to this the fact that many engineering p...
I thought Phillips comments about PERL especially were interesting.. as I have just cobbled together a web robot based on other perl scripts. I then wrote some scripts in Python which I found much cleaner and shorter, although I must admit for straight text processing I still use Perl.
As a long time Mac user, I have to throw in my two cents here.. while MacOS lagged in the stuff that Unix does well.. I have always found it an excellent client machine and always superior to its Windoze counterparts. I am currently running Starmax PPCs under 8.6 with Linux servers and its a great system and I havent noticed crash problems. WinNT on the other hand.. I just installed in an HP and it took about 6 hours just to get a working video driver. So I'll stay with Mac/Linux and put BeOS on intel boxes to do fun stuff. By the way, Alpha is a great text editor built around TCL which I still like better than Emacs.
I would like to add a suggestion.. Python is another excellent scripting language that leans more to the simplicity of TCL but has a lot more power to develop applications, especially for the net. There are a couple of good references (Programming Python for the World Wide Web comes to mind) for doing HTTP clients and spiders and there are very good modules available.. Its free of course and available from www.python.com There are also modules for interfacing to many dbs
Well.. when I was looking at working for Vignette, read all Phil's comments and now work as part of the Vignette consulting team. I have been liberally spreading out Phil and Alexs Web Guide and other references to this site. I agree with Phil that the main issue I find with clients are educating them on what web information systems are about and how to provide good information to their customers. The underlying technical issues are not nearly as dominant as the toplevel information architecture and development of business rules.
Actually there is much to be learned from using the ACS/AOlserver other than its solid proven technology. Vignette's StoryServer software is some of the hottest commercial software to be powering websites from dot.com's to Fortune 500 firms... and it uses... bingo... a TCL scripting engine. In fact, I just converted a commercial site from PHP to Storyserver and frankly it was much cleaner in TCL.
As another who has followed the fortunes of ArsDigita I have found myself a bit depressed about the turn of events. Although as Adam says, there are two sides to any story, the evidence of what has happened has been apparent for a while. In the end it seems that the quest for "growth" has been yet the downfall of another promising company. At least Philip is in good company; after all, Steve Jobs brought in outside help for the same reasons and ended up on the street.. but came back too.
The truth is MBA's and other business school trained people suck at running companies but are very good at running up their fortunes. They pursue the big lie, which is "profit is the goal". Even though I am too far out of the Boston/NYC/LA/SF mainstream to have found a position at aD , it was a company which was founded on a set of strong fair principles and operated that way, like Philip himself. (well, except for the non-compete clause which may now come back to haunt them). Since there are so ...
Ok.. had more thoughts on the way into work which might be a separate topic if Philip is interested (after all this is his site)
I was struck by how close aD was to being the model engineer's company and how the "growth" issue was ultimately its downfall. So I was thinking there are other models for growing a business other than the VC approach (with its obvious pitfalls).. its just we are looking in the wrong place. I think what we need to do is use the VERY successful "franchise" approach. In a sense Philip did most of the key elements anyway, developed a basic toolkit/procedures, provided free education etc.. What was missing was the final step. While we have several consulting groups based on ACS development (FurFly, Ybors, OpenForce) we are all still seen as small separate vendors and lack credibility in the enterprise space. If aD or its sucessor grew by franchising its name and marketing in return for a percent of the revenue for instance to qualified groups , then i...
Another way to pass key/value pairs , especially between threads is to use nsv_set etc