Saturday, 17 April 2010

The difference between 'simple' and 'easy'

This is an annoyance that has come to the forefront of my awareness recently and basically revolves around someone calling an easy thing 'simple', or a simple thing 'easy'.

To me, the distinction is that an easy thing doesn't have to be a simple thing... it could be an extremely complicated process (such as retrieving a web page, or walking) but it has been set up in such a way that performing it is extremely easy. A simple idea is extremely easy to comprehend (such as addition) but doesn't do any 'uncomplification', for example when you're trying to add up a hundred, or a thousand, numbers. Now, in the case of addition, there are some processes that can be put on top of addition to make adding up large amounts of numbers easy, but the ideas behind these aren't anywhere near as simple, and I find this occurs in a lot of the cases of easy vs simple.

The area that got me mostly riled up on the subject though was a recent discussion of PHP and Ruby on Rails. I was talking to someone online, who called PHP 'easy'. Now, PHP is pretty simple as web development goes, but it doesn't really attempt to do any of the hard concepts for you. If you want to connect to a database, you need to do all the effort, same for if you want to cache your pages, or have data validation and any of the other thousand and one tasks that a decent web application needs to do. This makes PHP very simple, deceptively so for a new web developer.

Contrast that to the Rails situation. Here, everything is made pretty easy for you. If you want to connect to a database, you just give it some details. Data validation is as easy as writing a couple of lines. It isn't as easy to get up to speed, there is a lot to learn to use Rails effectively, and it has a higher barrier of understanding required to start working within the environment. However, once you're there it's much easier to get things done. PHP lets you start putting stuff on a web page very quickly and simply. Rails isn't anywhere near as simple, and it takes a bit more effort to get running with it, but once you're there then doing things becomes a lot easier than the plain PHP counterpart.

Monday, 7 December 2009

My life, the nulliverse and nothing

Well, time for an update from my little corner of the universe. It's a shame there's nothing really happening at the moment. It's been that usual boring period between halloween and christmas where everything has been busy (work and home). Still, everything seems sorted for christmas, and work is looking like I'll be on a new project soon so all good there :)

In other news, my reading of the Road to Reality has kinda petered off again, as I got innundated with a set of books to read for work. I put a quick review of the cream of that crop onto ReflectiveCoder here. The other books (Advanced Rails, RESTFul web services and The Rails Way) have all been reasonable reads, but Enterprise Rails definitely stood out as a must read, both for it's clear, concise and readable style and for the wealth of information contained within it's covers.

Friday, 6 November 2009

So popular!

I feel like I've gone party crazy! I ended up at yet another small party yesterday, this time going next door for their small fireworks display. Two parties in a week is unheard of for Anita and myself!

It was a nice small party, only the neighbours and some of their friends and family and a small bonfire and fireworks. They helpfully burnt an old fence panel of ours that we couldn't get rid of as well, so it was a bonfire + cleanup :)

Other than that, nothing much has happened this week. I think we have a free weekend for once, so I may try and get some work done on a couple of personal projects. If I do, I'll probably end up writing about boring stuff over on Reflective Coder so if you want to read my ramblings on random Ruby on Rails related subjects, keep an eye out ;)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Post party

The Halloween party turned out to be not too bad. I did end up going as a strange cross-dressing ogre, although for about half the night I was just a cross-dresser as the mask and gloves were extremely hot and uncomfortable :) Anita went for just being a witch as messing around with a wig to go as Susan was just annoying.

Pictures:
Me trying the costume on the night before:


Me on the night:


Anita:


Sheryl and Rob (The friends we went with):


Images were taken from Anita's gallery here and Sheryl's gallery here








Thursday, 29 October 2009

On life and Halloween

Well, this is the first 'life' update for a while, and as is typical for me I haven't really done much :) I guess the biggest event was a family holiday at Butlins down in Minehead that was fun. Spent time with some members of the family I don't see much (my Dad, my step-mother and my brother, sister, step-brothers and their partners) and had a fun time. One of the more fun things I did was convincing Anita to allow me to spend out for the time on their climbing, hire-wire course thing (I have no idea what to actually call it, so it's a thing :)). Anita took some pictures of me doing this, and probably the best one was:

(hosted on my sisters Picasa gallery)

This was me making my 'leap of faith', where I had absolutely no faith and asked for the trapeze to be moved as close as possible. I didn't realise until I saw this picture just how close that was and how cowardly I was. All I can say is that up on the top of that totem pole, the trapeze seemed completely out of reach and I was worried I'd jump off into nothing!


So, that's my current life covered so onto future events. Anita and myself are going to a halloween party this weekend and have been told that fancy dress is required. We both have our costumes mostly figured out but I'm trying to decide on the last part of mine... what to wear underneath the mask I have (of some hideous ogre). My current consideration is to go as a cross-dressing hideous ogre and borrow a skirt and tight black top from Anita for the occasion :) I'll post pics up of my final outfit (and of Anita's, who is going as either a witch or as Susan D'eath depending on which she feels like explaining through the haze of alcohol) and if I don't chicken out, feel free to poke fun of me wearing women's clothing :P

Back on the road to reality

As happens every few months, I'm attempting to get my head around the content of 'The Road to Reality' again. This time I'm taking the more sedate approach though, reading it on the way to and from work and putting the book down when I find I'm getting distracted and not concentrating on the content. So I'm not reading it when I'm too tired, like when I tried reading it before sleeping at night (which also means I'm not getting odd looks from Anita :) ), and I'm not just looking at the pages without the content making it through to my brain as also frequently happens.

The result? I'm not sure yet. It's certainly taking longer as it can be 2 or 3 days before I get through a chapter, and as such I haven't yet really progressed beyond my normally familiar territory of complex numbers and the real number calculus. I think I have a better grasp of hyperbolic geometry from this re-read, and I also think I've grasped the explanations of power series and the like better.

I guess it'll be a little while before this style of reading pays off, but if it does then I may finally grasp some of the more interesting maths in a much more in-depth fashion. Whether this will be useful, I don't know but at least I'll feel like I finally learnt something more from this great book :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Updates, updates, updates

Well, I forgot to blog at all last week... I think it's understandable though, as I'm still getting used to the commute from the new house, me and Anita were painting over the weekend and I'm working a few days a week now out of an office where I don't have net access (everyone else does, just I haven't been set up on the network yet :( ). That said, a missed week is nothing new in the world of Shared Illusions ;) (neither is a missed month, or possibly even a missed year...)

So onto the updates... well, the new house is slowly getting sorted and we have done a chunk of painting (well, Anita did the toilet and bathroom and we both did the kitchen). That's all we have paint for currently though so there's a break coming up.

I'm going to try and take up a martial art again. We've found a school close by, and I have an intro session on Friday. Should be fun, and I'll hopefully start to lose some of this weight I've gained over the last 6 years of uni and work :)

Me and Anita also saw Harry Potter last weekend. I have to say, I'm getting more and more disappointed with the films. This latest one seemed almost unintelligible with the parts cut out, and some strange additions into the film sequence that added nothing and took screen time away from sections that could really have used it for exposition. I'm very tempted once the last film is done (or 2 films as I've heard they are going to split it into two parts) to sit someone who hasn't read the books or seen the films down in front of them, get them to watch all the films and see if they end up with even an inkling of what was meant to have been happening :)