The New Cultural Communities

Stewart Mader links to an interview of Professor Richard Florida at Newsweek about the increasing link between place and psychology.

Florida points out that industries in large cities have become far more specialized:

New York is great in fashion design and investment banking. San Francisco’s great in software. L.A.’s great in entertainment technology. And Nashville is the epicenter of music production. So if you want to pursue a given career, it’s not just that you can make it in any big city, because now there is a smaller number of big cities that will be the key places for you.

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Infallible APIs

Fellow Atlassian Charles Miller recently wrote an amusing post about methods and constructors in Java that declare a checked exception, but can be called in a way that is required by the specification not to fail. A common example involves string encodings:

try {
    s = new String(byteArray, "UTF-8");
} catch (UnsupportedEncodingException e) {
    throw new Error("UTF-8 is missing??");

This code is the result of two conflicting factors. On one hand, since the constructor in question takes an arbitrary character encoding, the case of the encoding being unavailable must be taken into account. On the other hand, 90% of code that calls this constructor will be explicitly invoking a character set that is required to be provided with the Java Runtime Environment, and its absence would be an error serious enough to justify terminating the VM entirely.

The unnecessary exception-handling code is ugly, and obscures the actual intent of the method in which it appears. Charles jokingly proposes adding a “yoda” statement to Java to tell the JVM, “do, or do not; there is no try.”

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After working on it for over six months, I’m happy to finally announce my new techno/electro DJ mix, Escape.

Update November 2019: I remastered the mix and uploaded it to Mixcloud.

[mixcloud width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1]

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Macworld 2008 Predictions

This year, even more than ever before it seems, everyone has a pet theory on what Steve Jobs will be announcing at tomorrow’s Macworld Expo keynote session. Since I’ve got my own ideas and have been trying to get myself to write on this site more often, I’ll throw in my two cents on the matter. I don’t have much that hasn’t already been said by many others, so I’ll try to keep this interesting.

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Nine Inch Nails Reconceives Remixing

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has never been shy about encouraging others to remix his music. His 1992 EP, Broken was quickly followed by a collection of remixes called Fixed and his next two albums, The Downward Spiral and The Fragile), each had their own companion remix albums (Further Down the Spiral and Things Falling Apart, respectively). These days, when every artist with a modicum of dance-floor appeal commissions remixes from high-profile producers to help tap into a cross-over market, this may seem pedestrian, but in the early ’90s this was unheard of from mainstream acts, and far from being uninspired club mix rehashes, many of the tracks on these albums were complete transformations, twisting Reznor’s creations into strange, unrecognizable creatures.

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Just Start

I’ve been meaning to start a weblog for… well, years. I’ve had various accounts on LiveJournal, Myspace, etc. but never took them very seriously, because “any day now I’m going to register my own domain and host my own site somewhere,” but somehow I never got around to doing anything about it. Even a few months ago, when I finally decided to “get serious,” register a domain, and set up a hosting account, I never got as far as writing an actual post. After all, I can’t just start writing, can I? I need to find the perfect theme, and maybe there are some plugins I should install, and of course I need to read everything on the WordPress wiki so I know how to use every minute feature, and maybe I should think about using Feedburner for the RSS feed, so I’d better do some research… you get the idea.

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