Sunday, April 27, 2008
In Soviet Russia, features request you
Good to be back with my adoring public, I've been racking up the DOPPLR! miles and haven't had much time to post.
So you might not realise this but we've set up a Cloud Made office in Kiev, and over the last few weeks we've been shuttling back and forth on Crazhalot - what used to be the Ukrainian arm of Aeroflot but they rebranded.
We've hired the finest programmers in the Ukraine, and these guys are HOT. I mean, as hot as a stolen collective tractor. They all learned on samizdat ZX Spectrums made in Ust-Kamenogorsk back in the 1980s. So when we said "mapping party" - and they counted there weren't enough Navis to go round - within two hours they'd cloned a whole Garmin etrex and put JOSM in the firmware and a little Rails server. I'm telling you, they're good.
Actually the mapping party went pretty well, have a look. Nick's the polymath so he's been doing the rounds with the Cyrillic street signs, as far as I know they're probably directing me to South Bumfuck, Lithuania but he seems to have it under control. I've been doing the whole Great Leader shtick and the Ukrainian guys seem to find it comforting. In fact I swear I heard one of them call me Stalin which is a compliment, I think.
And did I mention Andy 'cyclemap' Allan's our tech lead now? He seemed to find it all a bit disconcerting at first, but we brought along a load of little blue cycle route arrows and stuck them on signs in utterly random directions, and he feels much more at home now.
So I've been talking to some of the OSM community about this and they all say, hey, El Coasto, why Kiev?
Well there's the cheap booze and the hot coders and it's not on Google, that's three good reasons. And let's face it it's more exotic than Reigate, and it's closer to London than Oxfordshire is.
But basically it's because there's no word for "should" in Ukrainian.
I shit you not. You try and say "We should have a testbed dev server" and it comes out as "на хуй срака dev server", which Nick tells me translates as "I kindly volunteer to set up dev server, it will be done in 15 minutes". You say "We should have nested relations and a fixed ontology to give our data hierarchical structure, without which it is useless", and it translates as "холера! узни мене шлюха, PostGIS шлях трафуть", i.e. "but of course! I realise how these assertions are meaningless without proof and rather irritating. So I will have comprehensive set of benchmarks for you in five minutes".
It means OSM development gets done so much quicker. You might wonder why there aren't many messages on talk-ua. In fact there isn't a talk-ua. They just get on and do it.
We have one guy called Arjam Munroski who can't open his mouth without promising some new features. You should see his working copy of the rails port. It does actually have a spaceship.