Thorn presentation at JAOO

Perhaps your next programming language? Thorn. (A JVM scripting language.)

John Field’s talk at JAOO in Ã…rhus 2009 is about that. Here is the interesting blurb from that page:

Scripting languages are justifiably popular because of their support for rapid and exploratory development. However, scripts are notoriously hard to compose and to evolve. Additionallly, though more and more applications require concurrency – for example, to manage interaction with remote distributed services – support for concurrency in existing scripting languages is weak at best. In this talk, I will describe and demonstrate Thorn, a new concurrent scripting language being developed by IBM and Purdue University. I will show how Thorn’s module and type annotation features support the evolution of scripts into industrial-grade programs. I will also show how Thorn’s concurrency features can be used to rapidaly develop scalable applications, while avoiding many of the pitfalls of Java-style concurrency.

This is interesting, why? My buddies Tobbe and Johan Ö (out of DSV, Stockholm) have implemented it (as part of a team). They’ve been away so long to do it. I miss them.

If you were also at the Nordic Perl Workshop 2008, you could’ve seen the amazing “vaporware presentation” they did. Among other amazing details, they speed-implemented a design-by-contract feature from a previous presentation which had been presented on Day 1, so that they could show it in their Day 2 slot.

Re-reading the above, I can see it’s quite buzzword-compliant. Would be interesting to actually program a bit in Thorn.

stop press – Nina von Rüdiger and Joc Koljonen create manga album named Oblivion High

Watch a 30-seconds teaser video for the soon-to-be-released manga (comic book, you know) Oblivion High. Yes, Nina, that perky web-and-illustration person you met when I used to live in Stockholm, sometimes with Jonas Bohlin nearby, or Joc Koljonen. That Nina. Yes, it appears this is a real Japanese-style teen romance manga set in Upplands Väsby, Sweden.

Made in Sweden. OK, no, it’s made in “Finlands-Sverige”, by two Fenno-Swedes. Joc wrote the script, Nina made the pictures.

According to Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, the story will be published as five (!) consecutive albums.

It’ll be published in Finnish by Otava. (And distributed planet-wide.)

(Also, the longer trailer. Comic books have trailers with specially-composed music these days. Videos and music created by Joc’s brother, the always-awesome Max.)

Annals of HTTP headers

I got a weird header from my local Apache 2.2.4 today.

X-Pad: avoid browser bug

These guys could tell me what it was:

In six cases the HTTP message “X-Pad: avoid browser bug” was sent. This was an unannounced change to Apache version 1.2b9 which provided a fix for a bug in Netscape versions 2.x, 3.x and 4.0b2.

Who knew.


I was just insulted. By a paperback. The book that insulted me was “Five equations that changed the world” by a Dr. Michael Guillen in 1995.

His psychologizing take on Newton’s youth was demeaning to the reader’s intellectual capacity, and after having experienced the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, which contains quite a lot of newtoniana, Guillen’s baby-talk was… grating. Luckily I was able to put the book down after the insulting five pages of Newton-talk.

Instead I picked up the next book that my friend, the Fortran expert, lent me: a memoir of Richard Feynman. It shows verve and storytelling promise. Have you read Feynman? Any thoughts?

Began running

Just found an old unblogged note from August 27:

Today I went for a run in Fælledparken, with my training buddy, PM. This is a completely new experience for me: sports that I have elected to perform myself.

I’m beat! Exhausted. Sweating.

We ran from my house to the park, footfalls synchronized. After a couple of minutes, I felt an onrush of endorphines.

I had to stop for air a few times during the 4 km run, when the pace was too much for me. I just ran out of air. And my legs were killing me.

The body comes into its own again after 48 hours. So, I can run again on Tuesday, at the earliest. But I guess Wednesday is better. When the running season ends, I’ll swim, and there are such facilities nearby.

My training buddy is a kayaker and a programmer (!) and he knows all about how the human body reacts to training. You know, “results”. “Give it 2-3 months of a couple of running sessions a week, and you’ll be at a local max. From there you can get further only by using interval training.” In ordinary words, “interval training” means “running an extra lap at full speed.” PM does that. After running a lap, I’m completely, utterly beat.

Today, some time later, I ran the same course, in the park, on my own. Quantity, and lung capacity, that’s the order of the day here.

How to support the Danish National Homeless Soccer Team

These guys need a 125 000 DKK to go to South Africa and represent Denmark. This is how to support the National Homeless Soccer Team:

  • SMS the word BOLD to 1277, and you send them 50 DKK (exception: Tele2 customers)
  • Send their Danish bank an amount: 9541-101 61 908
  • Buy a sponsorship at 20 000 DKK and get an original drawing with the players’ signatures

The collection closes September 23. The team leaves for South Africa September 19.

Also: If you know how to put an interesting street paper on homeless issues on the streets of Copenhagen, there is an editorial job opening at Hus Forbi. See Hus Forbi, under the heading “Job”. (In Danish.)

My buddy Dennis releasing new novel

All ye readers who yearn to learn Danish, here is the novel you could read: Brøndjætten by Dennis Gade Kofod. I’ll hook you up with a copy, if needed.

Danish paper Politiken’s book section is happy about Dennis’ new book — his second novel — and the text concludes:

Dennis Gade Kofod er født i 1976. Hvis han bliver endnu bedre med årene, har vi læsere sandelig meget at glæde os til.

And in International, worldwide English, for you Danish learners out there:

Dennis Gade Kofod was born in 1976. If he gets even better with the years, us readers truly have a lot to look forward to.

Cheers, Dennis.

Update: Images of the artist as a young man.

Book hint

I was given a book tip the other day.

Pablo Henrik Llambias: *A.P.O.L.L.O.N.* Danish sci-fi.

It had something to do with *T.E.R.R.A.*, a title of which I know nothing.

These could be interesting to read. Perhaps.

Back home!

I am back in Copenhagen, at my desk.

Back? Yes, for the last 14 days, me and my wife have been in transit: Sweden, Finland, and Estonia have been well visited.

I should type up a real report on this, but Everyday Life (that lovely thing) makes me focus on getting back on track again.

This is a sign of life, and I have read your emails, I have read your weblogs. I still like you.

Copenhagen garden houses

I have recently been to two parties at “koloni-haver” here in Copenhagen. This is my account of the local colour these visits provided. Also, this is where I try to describe the Scandinavian idea of tending a garden in a club.

A koloni-have (“colony garden”, a garden lot with a wee house, organized in a sort of garden club, or association) is golden in these parts. The house on it can be made into a little summer house, with bed and bathroom, and they seem a little less restricted than the Swedish ones I have seen.

[Bonus link]( with historical photos. And Danish text. Should you like to buy a Copenhagen garden lot like this, you need to shell out something like 400000-900000 DKK ($65000-$150000!) for a fully developed garden plot (aka modernized to madness, with “all mod cons”).

These lots are bunched up in huge clusters, each lot a little garden unto its own. Most lots are walled in by high vegetation, for increased privacy. Some of these garden associations — they are organized structures, you need membership — are very orderly, while others are more rustic.

Me and Luisa were invited down to our friend Mads’s “done with studies party” in his home in the garden-association-like area called Nokken, which in Luisa’s words is “kind of like Klondyke.” And it is: gold-rush look.

Mads got his hands on a small parcel of land with multiple houses on it. All of these buildings and out-buildings were jam-packed with junk. First he tried to sell off some of the junk, but as time wore him down he has become more inclined to throw it out, and get some space. The junk came in all forms: fire-fighting equipment, all kinds of wood-working tools, house-building details, old tools, rusty enamel signs, assorted nautica, garden implements, general misc materials for building… stuff. The works. And a good selection of uniform hats.

During the year, Mads invites his friends to come to a work-day out at the house. All work done at his place improves the place enormously. There was no toilet installed when he arrived, and now there is both kitchen, bread-making corner, and an indoor toilet. The most recent victory was the existence of a lawn: the ground had been made flat, the soil had been tilled, and the grass had carefully been planted and watered. Very homely.

The evening of the party, the garden contained some 40 revelers, and a coal grill was spreading barbecue smells, while a raging fire (courtesy of yours truly) spread warmth. Mads ripped open a small sack of onions and threw them into the fire. “They’ll be done in twenty minutes. Should be black on the outside. The skins keep the water compartmentalized, and the core’ll be sweet!”

I met Peter, a philosopher friend of Mads’s, who told stories of Finland, and of philosophy. (Mads, like me, is quite the theory-geek, and we’ve made a pact about reading [Bruno Latour](, some French sociology of science guy.) Peter was a great chap.

Today, me and Luisa congratulated Fiona, now 2 years old. We had been to a toy store, and bought little wooden vegetables. They came in a wooden crate, and at the store I saw a bag, which looked crotcheted. “Could you make one of those?” I asked, and Luisa caught that idea, and was done with a finished product in 2 hours. She has super-powers of execution.

The garden with the party was spacious, and held throngs of kids, and their parents. Barbecue, salad with potatoes, lager: the Scandinavian idea of summer food. I was especially proud of Fiona’s saying “Hej, Olle!”, remembering my name like that.

There was also some ruminations on an upcoming Copenhagen roleplaying game about James Ellroy’s *American Tabloid* world. Hoover’s FBI, Bay of Pigs, nasty media, and so forth. The concept of a roleplaying series as an HBO production was discussed, and liked. Fun was had.

Hm. It seems my initial notes on getting to the soul of gardening-in-a-club won’t be forthcoming in this post. ‘Til next time.