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What can I say? I have theories about things.

GwtProJsonSerializer and Jackson

I recently had to deal with some of the JSON that was passed back from the GwtProJsonSerializer in our web tier. It is in Groovy, so I thought I might be able to use JSON.parse. While I could use it for some instances, I wanted to reuse some components that dealt with a class hierarchy. In order to do that, I needed to deserialize the JSON into the original classes.

After a little research, I discovered the Jackson project for doing just that. However, it uses annotations to reference derived classes. This is a problem because I don't want to include the Jackson jar in my GWT deployment if it would even work. As one would figure, there was more than one way to do things. Jackson allows you to setup additional "deserializers" so you can insert some of your own code to handle special situations. Here is how I did things to handle getting the class to deserialize from the "class" attribute in the output of GwtProJsonSerializer. I am using Groovy, but I made it more Java-esque to demonstrate how to do it with generics.

package com.ids.emr.docgen.configuration

import org.codehaus.jackson.JsonParser
import org.codehaus.jackson.JsonNode
import org.codehaus.jackson.node.ObjectNode
import java.util.Map.Entry
import org.codehaus.jackson.Version

class GwtProJsonDeserializer extends StdDeserializer {
    GwtProJsonDeserializer(Class<? extends T> clazz){

    T deserialize(JsonParser jsonParser, DeserializationContext deserializationContext) {
        ObjectMapper mapper = (ObjectMapper) jsonParser.getCodec()
        ObjectNode root = (ObjectNode) mapper.readTree(jsonParser)
        Iterator> elementsIterator = root.getFields()

What's Your Handicap?

Second to "How are you," this may be the most asked question on a golf course. What if people asked you about your handicap at work. I am not talking about something for which you might be sued. I am talking about your work handicap.

In my thinking about project management, I have wandered upon the idea of a handicap system for programmers and maybe even for everyone in a company. When employees are on salary, many times, there is little incentive to do your best work beyond "the good of the company" or pride in your work. Sometimes you just need more than that.

I am thinking about adding two possibilities. One is the calculation of a handicap base on how quickly you get your work done. If you follow one of the agile methodologies, you can control quality with testing and metrics. If you don't do those things, you might need to find a way to add quality to the handicap. The handicap introduces another level of pride in your work and maybe even some friendly competition. It might also give you a basis for incentive programs.

Secondly, I have thought about introducing a work week based on production hours instead of clock hours. This would be how "par" was set for the handicap. You might decide based on your own project tracking history that 25 budgeted project hours were all an average programmer could accomplish in a week. So you set that as par. Then, if people want, they can go home after they have completed 25 project hours. If they want to improve their handicap, they can stay and work more.

There are two requirements for the handicap system is good management of project requirements. You would have to make sure that new work was not just slipped into someone's workload without an adjustment in the budget. You would also need good, objective budgeting practices.

However, I think those are necessary parts of a well run project anyway. I can't see how a company would lose. Employees gain three new incentives: time, pride-in-work, and fun competition. They company gains an objective method for rewarding exceptional employees. After all, do companies pay people for the hours they spend inside the building or for the work they are doing while there.

Back to the Future

Courtney and I have a running conversation regarding the growing split between the educated, disciplined, and wealthy and those that are none of these. The gist is that we are on the cusp of a cultural shift. I see the cultural events of the 60's as the apex of cultural ideas that were born around the time of the French Revolution. Like an ocean, these waves have come in and gone out with growing intensity finally washing ashore radical feminism, the sexual revolution, the complete breakdown of the family, extreme individualism, radical capitalism, and complete secularization.

Since the 60's our cultural elites have been seeking to work into the dough of our society the final products of modernism. I believe there are many that are finding these absurd. They are looking back to models of traditional societies, traditional religion, and traditional values. The rise of influence of evangelicals in the political scene is only the beginning. Beneath the surface is brewing a much more radical change.

I believe that even in many secular homes, children are being raised deliberately differently than their parents were raised. They are being raised to value family, creation, and a higher sense of duty to their community. Now cultural change is a gradual process, and usually periods can only be identified in retrospect. However, I think the turn of the millenium will be seen as the move from post-modernism to the retro-victorian era.

I think the children born in the first 10 years of this millineum are going to make a radical difference in this world. I know that I am praying that three of them will. Now it will not be all of the children. Unfortunately, most of the children of this period will receive poor educations. The will develop bad habits of body, spirit, and mind. Many will be verbally abused by their single mothers or sexually by their single mother's boyfriends. It seems obvious to me that our political structures cannot survive this fissure. While I have libertarian leanings, I question how long they will be relevant. The privileged children will have better educations than their poorer counterparts. They will have psycho-social advantages that border on deterministic success guarantees. They will come to dominate every aspect of society. It is really only natural.

They will recognize that with power comes responsibility, and they will seek to be the responsible stabilizing force in society. Those below will welcome it. Gradually, society will morph into a caste system not unlike that before the modern era in western society. The aristocrats will enjoy many privileges, but they will also consider themselves responsible for those below them. The best of them will treat them like their own children. The worst will maintain their serfs with the minimum that is their duty.

Strangely enough, all of this will seem natural. Both the aristocrats and the peasants will begin to see that this is the natural order of things. Rights doled out by class will not be considered unfair. It will be considered just. No doubt there will be instances of jealousy and envy, but as a whole all will accept their place.

Now I will reserve judgement as to whether I think this is a good arrangement. For the most part, I just see this as an inevitable step in western society. To some extent, it is a return to our roots. There is much room for good, and there is much room for evil. I doubt that as a whole this society would be much worse or much better. I believe the most important factor is how Providence chooses to move his children into places of power. Were the Gospel to permeate my future scenario, things could be much better. I will be praying to this end, and that Gage Augustin, Soren Basil, and Pax Athanasius will be tools in the Master's hand as he carves history into the stone tablets of time.

As with most of my theories, I would have a hard time offering anything but antectdotal observations from music, movies, articles and books. But, this is how all great ideas are born. The hard research is what comes next. Maybe someday I will realize my dreams of entering the academy. Until then, I have the benefit of making lots of unsupported assertions.

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Drifting Toward Libertarianism

Living in a pluralistic society can be tough.  We are constantly beset with competing claims to truth.  Groups making these claims may or may not play fair with respect to the society‚Äôs agreement.  One example might be militant Muslims.  I'd claim that the secular humanist left is also one such group.  I'd also claim that the most extreme of the "religious right" is another.

As of late I have gradually been drifting toward the Libertarian position.  I think that in a place where pluralism is standard, we need the government to do as little as possible.  The less we have to agree on

Nukular Proliferation

I was reading the ultra-geeky news site and happened upon an interesting comment. As most slash-dotters, I usually enjoy reading the comments more than the original source. You never know what topic will be brought up by a commenter. While geeks usually have computers or science in comment, there is a wide variety of second interests, and they do not refrain from pulling those into the discussion.

In this particular comment, the writer turns a discussion of a scientific experiment regarding the speed of light into comment on linguistic philosophy and politics, two of my secondary interests. He takes a current issue and adroitly turns it into a lesson in desriptivist linguistics. He confronts one commenter's disdain of Bush's pronunciation of nuclear. I won't rehash his eloquence. See the comment for more info.

I have added is RSS feed to my reader.

Creation and Evolution

I have been thinking lately about creation and evolution.  I am listening to a very interesting lecture series on anthropology, a subject just brimming with evolutionary theory. In addition, I am running up against many references to old earth and evolution theories in preschool science material.  I need to start figuring out exactly how to talk to my kids about this.

I am wondering about how to integrate the insights into biology, sociology, psychology, and anthropology we learn using evolutionary theories.  Evolution is not without merit, but it is not without problems either.  I working on a theory that adds some aspects evolution to creation at the fall.  We will see how it turns out.