Wednesday Feb 28, 2007

Skype v3 and Pamela make a great podcasting capture tool

We did our first test using Skype version 3 and one of the add-ons called Pamela, which enables Skype session recording. The sound was incredible, so we'll use that instead of Skype with HotRecorder.

On a related note, Skype just continues to blow me away. The Extras are amazing and many are free. If you haven't checked it out you are seriously missing it. They have something called Jyve that's tag lined "Live Access to People and What They Know". Here is a page explaining how it works. I wonder if this is the future of support...

Tuesday May 30, 2006

Ubuntu really is that easy to install - supposedly the latest Solaris 10 is too

Well, I finally got around to installing Ubuntu myself and I have to say it is just as easy as everyone says - maybe easier. I put this under Web 2.0 just because I think that is a huge part of Web 2.0 - simplistic, less friction, easy. Ubuntu is the poster child. It took about 30 minutes and most of that was to format the 160GB drive. I think I had to answer about 6 questions and Ubuntu did the rest. I was browsing the internet with Firefox immediately. What was even more impressive is that I could connect easily to my Windows workgroup and print on my Windows shared printer - without having to configure Samba! I am really impressed. I need to do more port scanning to ensure the thing is really safe, but a quick ShieldsUP! scan indicated things were good.

I haven't tested it yet, but a good friend told me that the latest release of Solaris 10 asks the same number of questions before installing flawlessly. It will be interesting to see how well Ubuntu performs as it pursues the server market, but I'm relatively sure that the user experience I'd have if I installed Solaris 10 instead would be quite different. After all Solaris 10 is intended for the server market, not the client market, so that is to be expected.

The browser does seem a bit slower for some reason, but what fun would it be if there was no debugging :-)

Thursday May 25, 2006

Ruby on Rails and Agile

So I just intended to read the book Agile Web Development with Rails at Barnes and Noble last night where I often take my wife on dates after dinner. Except for Math (my major), Chemistry, Computer Science (when relational databases were still just a theory) and German, I read most of my books in college at the book store to avoid buying them. Mostly just before taking the tests. Hey, I was a poor college kid paying my own way through school. I still do that today with lots of books that I don't feel the need to own.

However, on page 3, right after "Dave's Top Ten Reasons to Like Rails" is section 1.1 Rails is Agile, where it says:

The title of the book is Agile Web Development with Rails. You may be surprised, then, to discover that we don't have explicit sections on applying agile practices X, Y and Z to Rails coding.

The reason is both simple and subtle. Agility is part of the fabric of Rails.

Let's look at the values expressed in the Agile Manifesto. They're stated as a set of four preferences. Agile development favors the following:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

I immediately closed the book, got up and went and purchased it. I think I'm going to love Rails (and I've already been learning Ruby and love it). Agile, which I confess I'm new to, is everything I believed when I had my own software business.

Funny thing is that I had just been talking to Coté, from Redmonk, that morning about agile, because he's such a big fan. Now I know why his domain is - it's #1 in the manifesto! :-)

I \*KNEW\* I was young - at heart

I read this infoworld article yesterday called "Age gap hampers technology adoption". I've always felt younger than I am and this article confirmed it for me :-) It talks about the tension between those under 35 who are embracing the new technology (e.g. Web 2.0) and those over 45 that don't. They say

The older group is showing apprehension around Web 2.0 fueled by how quickly the technology is changing.

Who are these guys? Hello, McFly, where have you been for the last 12 years? What part about the internet and "rapid change" don't you get?

Anyway, I'm feeling not a day over 30.

Monday May 22, 2006

Ruby on Rails and Convention over Configuration

On my flight home Friday I read the latest issue of Dr. Dobbs Journal, courtesy of their booth at JavaOne in SF. With "Ruby on Rails - Java Successor?" on the cover and every third JavaOne session having "Ruby" in the title, how could I avoid it? The article discusses a bit of what is making Ruby and more importantly Ruby on Rails "more than just a flavor of the month". At the top of their list is productivity. Core to this is the principle of Convention over Configuration. The idea being that Rails just works the way you would expect it to. That really resonates with me. Now I know that companies don't set out to develop software that works in ways you don't expect, but clearly Ruby and Rails are getting it right. This same principle is being followed by Ubuntu and look at the success they are having.

Just check out some of these quotes and if you are even slightly technical you want to download it and play with it immediately. But what it really makes me want to do even more is copy it in the products I help design and build here at Sun.




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