Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

La Fondue

fondue.jpg Gabriel and Rachel are visiting from the Twin Cities, so we went out to dinner at La Fondue in Saratoga. Ben & Lisa arrived late, but there was plenty of cheese and chocolate leftover.

We ordered a la carte since dipping vegetables in hot oil didn’t appeal to us (I suppose that phase of the meal is more appealing to meat eaters) and we were more focused on the “appetizer” course of the meal (dipping veggies and bread cubes into pots of hot cheese) and the dessert course (dipping fruit, cake, cookies and marshmallows into pots of hot chocolate). Very yummy. We’ll probably go back for dessert the next time we have out-of-town visitors

. After 10pm you can get seated just for dessert for $8/person.

Ten years of Yahoo! Inc

The 10-year anniversary of Yahoo! Inc’s incorporation is this week. We’re having a party at work on Wednesday to celebrate. They put a big tent up on campus this morning. Apparently Sugar Ray is going be giving a private concert, and the weather has been threatening rain. Rumor has it that the www.yahoo.com site will have a special look on the anniversary. In the meantime, you can read about the company’s history.

I heard another rumor (so far unsubstantiated) that as part of the 10-year celebration, the company would be offering sabbaticals for long-time employees. SGI, for example, offers 6-week paid sabbatical every 4 years. Alas, we don’t have that perk (although we do have three espresso bars staffed with full-time baristas).

I’ve been at Yahoo! for more than half of its 10 years. I’ve often dreamed of taking a short break to try something else for a change of pace. If the sabbatical rumor proves to be true, I’d be sure to use mine for a semester at the Jerusalem School of Kosher Culinary Arts.

Yahoo == Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle? I don’t know.

Perl or PHP modules for XLIFF?

Do you know of any good Perl or PHP modules for parsing XLIFF?

I’ve gotten a couple of emails from folks asking about making a French version of my Jewish Calendar Tools website. They’ve volunteered to do all of the translation work themselves if I send them a file to be translated.

Most of the site uses Perl CGI.pm, although parts of it are written in PHP.

The way I see it, I have a few options:

  1. GNU gettext message catalogues. Easy interface with CPAN Locale::gettext module and PHP gettext extension.
  2. Hack something together myself. Send the nice French people an Excel spreadsheet of all of the strings on the site and have them send it back to me. Export to CSV file, then import into whatever format I want (probably BerkleyDB or maybe some custom XML format). Repeat the exercise for a future Hebrew version.
  3. Use XLIFF (XML Localisation Interchange File Format), which is a hip new standard and happens to be what ICU (International Components for Unicode) uses for its message catalogue format.

Option #1 has been around for a long time, but has its warts. Option #2 is what I would’ve done back when I wanted to write everything myself. But I want to learn more about ICU anyways, so I figured XLIFF would be the right place to go.

I expected to find a Locale::XLIFF module on CPAN or a Translation_XLIFF package on PEAR, and was surprised when my searches turned up 0 results.

Cygwin vs. UWIN

I got an email last week from AT&T Labs saying that UWIN 4.0 had been released.

I must’ve signed up for the uwin-announce mailing list a long time ago, because there hasn’t been a message sent to that list in over four years. Last I remember, UWIN 2.2 was hot off the presses during the summer of 2000.

Does anyone actually use UWIN anymore? At one point, you had to pick between UWIN, the MKS Toolkit, and Cygwin. They were all brand new technologies, and all competing for mindshare. But it seems to me that Cygwin has developed the largest community over the years. It’s what I still use on my Windows laptop.

Someday I’ll be like all of the other cool kids and have a Mac laptop. Then I won’t care about things like Cygwin or UWIN.

A new spin on Yellow Pages

A9 launched a beta of Yellow Pages this evening. They’ve got the same DHTML interactive map that Yahoo has, but differentiating feature is an image of every business listed.

For example, one of my favorite LA restaurants is Real Food Daily. Apparently they acquired these images by driving trucks with digital cameras and GPS around 10 major US metros. [Read more…]

Frequent Flyer

I got the following error message while trying to change an itinerary on the Southwest website:

What happened?
This trip requires 35664 award coupons, but you only have 1 in the reservation.
What you need to do:
Go back to the previous page and modify your selection.
Reference Number: 300067 Occurred:  12/21/04 10:40:38

Books I should read

Here are a handful of books hanging out in my Amazon shopping cart waiting to be purchased:

Chanukah starts tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get one of them. 🙂