Various and random:
Pete emailed Starbucks about their ridiculous cookies thing. Amazingly enough they sent a vaguely plausible email, which read in part
In addition, cookies allow us to track use of the Site to determine those areas which are useful or popular and those that are not, thereby enabling us to improve and update the Site effectively.
-- which is what you'd expect them to say. It doesn't, of course, shed any light on the question of why their site degrades quite so gracelessly when you switch cookies off. And it would be nice if they could apply the same degree of tracking to their coffee shops, so that
- they needn't build so damn many of them;
- the queues were shorter.
It was also pointed out that, if you were skilled enough at acting stupid, you should go to Starbucks with your passport and a print-out of the error page, and explain that
``I tried to use the Starbucks web site and it said that I needed a passport and to get a cookie. So can I have my free cookie please?''
... worth a try, perhaps.
- Web standards: unspeakable vs. uneatable. What possible purpose could the change promoted in that article ever serve?
I've been reading Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language -- more when I've finished it, but so far it hasn't answered the questions which are uppermost in my mind:
- Why are `design patterns' so fashionable right at the moment?
- Is the whole patterns thing just another fad, like extreme programming, refactoring, object-oriented programming, and all those others?
If you want to know more about this stuff, I suggest you don't look at this monumentally uninformative FAQ.
(Alexander's book, of course, is about architecture-- the real sort, not `software architecture' or any of the other euphemisms which have been made up in recent years to cover up the fact that programming is basically a pissant occupation. As we know,
If architects built buildings the way programmers write computer programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilisation.
which means, I suppose, that it's a good idea for programmers to learn from architects. That said, a long time ago I talked to an architect-in-training, and asked him about how architects are trained to work with structural engineers. The answer? They aren't, to a first approximation. They are encouraged to draw buildings which are fatter at the bottom than at the top, and told that if they do that, the engineers will probably be able to make them stand up.)
- This, by Joel Spolsky, is so wrong in so many ways that I might even write up a response. But I probably can't be bothered.
- The coffee machine is working out well so far. No ear-shattering explosions yet....