A host of poking will get the brain working

I had a deadline today, but decided to put it off a day, since I had an interest in looking several things up tonight.

I use to have no interest what-so-ever in compilers, but I started reading up on it due to a catalyst. Since I was an Electrical Engineer, I never took compilers in undergrad. And in grad school for Computer Science, I somehow avoided taking compilers. I read alot about what parsers and lexers were. I knew who Noam Chomsky was, but I didn’t know that he was the first person to separate syntax and semantics.

So I found a free compiler tools site as well as a long article on compiler basics that I finished halfway. I talked to Ian Martins, in brief, and found out that commonly used tools for compiler creation were Lex & Yacc.

The asteroid to kill this dinosaur is still in orbit.
– Lex Manual Page

Haha. But these two tools generate parsers in C. Are there Ruby equivalents? Of course. It’s called Racc. Since Ruby was written in Japan, and has large adoption over there, a number of libraries have documentation written in Japanese. Who would have thought that reading some Japanese would come in handy?

I also made a stop at looking at what Rinda was, though documentation is sparse on the web. Rinda is the Ruby implementation of Linda, which is something used for distributed computing.

Perusing around these topics, I stumbled upon an O’Reilly article on Asterisk & Rails. Asterisk is apparently an open source VoIP implementation. That’s pretty interesting, especially since you can tie it into Rails with RAGI. I think the possibilities for this are exciting, though I fear that people will blow it out of proportion and turn it into a bandwagon of sorts.

In the article, they had this picture, and I found it interesting that there is an overlap between IM and VoIP. Related, they are. I wonder how the traditional telephony and cable are going to try to block this? I honestly hope they don’t succeed. I had heard of Gizmo before, downloaded their software, but didn’t really have anyone to dial, so I removed it. But thinking about it now, and open protocols, I wondered if there was a Jabber implementation in Ruby. There were two, but one was more active, being XMPP4R.

I find that Digg or /. might not always have the news I’m looking for, although it comes through once in a while. The best leads I have are by following topics and often times from blogs, in footnotes.

I’m excited about a couple ideas brewing in my head, but I’ll just need to write them down and push them in the back of my head, and come back to them later.

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