262 - Ingredients for Web 2.0 Success

This "presentation" was made at Barcamp this past weekend and  epitomizes the economy surrounding Web 2.0.  It’s a really good comedic look at what makes up this trend.  Don’t get me wrong, there are good things associated with Web 2.0 (Circular Linking, Community, Asyncrous Content, etc…); but I’m tired of hearing people spout off about the success of 2.0 w/o really knowing what it is about that is successful.  That and it’s funny.

Ingredients for Web 2.0 Success

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232 - See You at Mashup Camp 2.0

I’ve been confirmed for and RSVP’d to attend Mashup Camp 2.0.  It’s July 12-13 in Mountain View, CA at the Computer History Museum.  They’re also looking to have Mashup University for two days prior to the Camp.

The whole family is coming for this one – we’re taking the opportunity to make this a vacation to San Francisco.  We were able to book into the Trendwest downtown.  If you want to get together while I’m in town shoot me an e-mail.

BTW – anybody from the area have any commuting tips for the soutbound trip from SF to Mountain View on a weekday??


228 - On Not Drinking Caffeine

As a developer, it’s hard to admit having given up caffeine.  I feel like I’m a faker; however, I just felt like I needed to get healthy again.  The hardest part is the morning cup of coffee.  I miss it. A lot. The penguins I can do without, but coffee (and the occasional soda) are such a mainstay its hard to say goodbye.

The good side of our company is that we have all the free coffee you can drink.  The bad side (for me) is that there is no decaf, nor will there ever be.  Here’s where the dilemna comes in.  I much prefer to support local coffee shops, but I have yet to find ANY that offer up drip decaf.  I can get all the decaf Americanos for the price of drip that I want, but I don’t like Americanos.

What do all of you prefer – French Press or a coffee steeper (a la tea)?  I won’t go instant, and I want to do my best to avoid Starbucks even though they are the only place that offers drip decaf.

In regards to soda – caffeine avoiders have more choices than you would think.  See below for all the caffeine free soda drinks.

How Much Caffeine in Drinks — Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks — Caffeine Content

Diet Rite Cola, Sprite, 7-Up, Mug Root Beer, Diet Barq’s Root Beer, Sundrop Orange, Minute Maid Orange, A&W Root Beer, Slice, Sierra Mist, Fresca

My current alternative is water – lots and lots of water.  I’m talking like 9-12 cups a day.  I need to get some more variety.

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227 - Installing Ruby in Less Than 30 Minutes

Ruby installs quicker than Scoffield breaks out of prison. Less than half an hour, and Ruby with Rails is installed and running on my Powerbook. For the most part I used default options since I’m not sure about package choices and what not yet. That should come with time.

Installation Notes:
1) Start at the Ruby on Rails site. Download Ruby 1.8.4 as suggested.
2) Follow the Install directions in the README file. I had to run /configure twice, making both times, as I got a message at the end of the first make telling me my Tk and Ruby were not running compatible versions of pthreads and lockups could occur. I don’t anticipate using Tk, but you never know, so I re-ran configure as suggested by the message at the end of the make so I don’t run into problems later. I did uncomment some modules in the ext/Setup file before running make. I may not have needed to. More later.
3) Back to the RoR site, and its instructions for Gems and Rails. I ran all commands from the downloaded directory.
4) Create the path and start the server like the RoR site explains.

Process Notes:
1) Run install commands as su – including the ruby make install and the gems and rails commands.

Points for down the road:
1) I’ll likely find a nice location on my laptop for the SVN and CVS repositories so I can create a batch file to auto checkout files, compile, and install newer versions if either updates are needed, or I need to add in packages I didn’t know about. I’ll publish this batch file if I ever create it.
2) Look at plugins.
3) Create an alias for starting the server in the background.
4) Running like suggested pops logging to stdout – the terminal. Need to narrow down better logging mechanism.
5) Follow directions on the rails server’s site – create DB, etc

I’ve got my install, my next round of tasks, and my project. Next – design phase and some more setup.

Fun fact: It took me longer to write this post than it did to do everything described in it. Hot damn.


224 - Learning Ruby

If I found out one thing at MindCamp this weekend, it was the sheer power and elegance of Ruby and Ruby on Rails.  The vast amount of functioanlity that is possible with such minimal coding absolutely blew my mind.

I’d been hearing about it peripherally for 6-9 months or so due to the whole Web 2.0 explosion. About 5 months ago I was at a PHP meetup which just happens to share its space with the Seattle Ruby Brigade.  One guy came over and many feathers were ruffled.  I was even more intrigued.  Since then I’d heard more and more about its power.  Now, this weekend, I saw some .rb source code for several projects and had to rub my jaw after picking it up off the ground.

So, what’s next?  Learning it of course!  I already have MySQL and Apache installed on my Powerbook (the new builds, custom buiilt – not the preinstalled ones).  I also have PHP built, but that doesn’t matter much for this learning exercise.

One of the first steps I go through when learning something new is lining up my resources.  In about 30 minutes, you’ll see today’s del.icio.us bookmarks of mine get posted to my blog by del.icio.us’ auto poster.  I have source code locations, download points, mailing lists, links, user groups, documentation, and more.

I’ll post up more entries as I go through the next steps of picking a project, designing it, coding it, etc. I’ll let you know what I like about Ruby, what is hard, what is easy.


214 - The Power of Regular Expressions & Google (RE: PHP Searches)

So I know that the complaint I have is actually a very valid search for some. For example, Leo Laporte in KFI Tech Guy Episode 231 from mid March said how he searched for sounds with a search like “door squeak wav”. “door squeak .wav” provides the same results due to regular expressions. The answer for eliminating strings with regular expression special characters (. * etc) lies in regular expression syntax itself.

In this case, surround the . in .php in brackets thusly: “-[.]php”. The syntax page explains why this works:

Matches a single character that is contained within the brackets. For example, [abc] matches “a”, “b”, or “c”.

So if you want to search for something containing say a “.”, then use the syntax above and you’ll be set. See the search below for an example.

Results 1 – 100 of about 1,860,000,000 for php -[.]php ( php -[.]php – Google Search )

EDIT: OK, so this advice is still sound, but I could have just used the filetype: property that Google allows “php -filetype:php”.  Duh.


212 - You Say Feature; I Say Bug -> .php != PHP in Search

I have reached my breaking point on this “feature” of search engines.  I do a lot of work with PHP and thus do a lot of searches for PHP related materials.  Most search engines allow keywords in URLs to be searched as well.  I won’t argue that, it’s a great idea (or bad  if you consider all the SEO “experts” naming files things like  best-seattle-bar-and-grill-menu.html).

What really tweaks me is that file extensions are included.  A search for anything PHP related inevitably results in millions of false positive *.php results.  This does not make for good search results.

Take this Google Search for php -“.php” as an example.  Do you know what the results are?

Your search – php -“.php” – did not match any documents.

Useless! I want results that have PHP, but not .php.  Damned regular expressions kicking me in the ass here.


211 - eHomeUpgrade Reveals Leopard (Mac OS 10.5) Features

EDIT: Since I saw this news article last night, it appears the editors have fessed up to their sorry lack of follow up fact checking:

UPDATE / Editor’s note: Whoops! It looks like we got duped. It seems that this list of 20 originally was posted at MacNN as part of an April Fool’s joke. Sorry about the mix up. Nonetheless, the supposed upcoming features make for good conversation (as seen on digg).

eHomeUpgrade has a list of supposed features for Leopard (OS 10.5) Given the intro below, it seems fairly correct:

Rumors are floating around about significant Apple OS X updates that could possibly blow the doors off of Windows Vista in the near future. Of particular interest are numbers 2, 6, 11, and 17 in the following list provided by a confidential source working with Apple. Caution: You may want to monitor your heart-rate while reading.

Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Apple precludes me from revealing proprietary detail, but because most, if not all, of this is posted elsewhere and is commonly available, I have no problems with confirming the following. Still, please don’t quote me.

Good golly miss Molly. This list is HOT! I’m particularly digging 6, 7, 8 11, 18, 19, and as an employee at a home networking company number 17:

17. Airport (Extreme only) will notify you via the airport icon flashing in the menu bar if your signal is being hijacked or used by anyone other than you authorized.

eHomeUpgrade | Future Apple OS X Rumors Look Promising



210 - Google Calendar Launched

 I’m torn on this one.  There are core features that don’t work as well they should in favor of flashy Web 2.0 interfaces that are at the least very well implemented.  I’m thinking especially the day and time selection on event create – very nice.  I’ll give the public search another shot (see below) on a PC instead of Flock on a MAC and roll through some more of the site and give a more full report.

The interface is clean and very snappy.  I couldn’t stand to do a full run through, because the public search page kept jumping to the top of the page as I was scrolling down.  This makes this section (the one that I would use first to populate my calendar for me) useless.  It is a Beta, but my thoughts on this alone is to just sit back and wait.

The pros I was able to see before I gave up on the above:
1) share calendars with friends by email address
2) LOTS of public calendar – gym exercise schedules, pool schedules, sports team schedules
3) iCal published calendars can be imported and then made Google searchable (supposedly – the calendar I added this way does not show, but this may be a result of the fact that it is all "all day" events.) EDIT: as I was writing this, I got a script popup that told me the calendar failed to import.  No reason why though…
4) phone notifications for appts.  SWEET!!!!

Cons/bugs/missing nicetys:
1) the scrolling issue in public calendar search mode
2) quick add requires a fully qualified date (4-20-06) to create anything past tomorrow.  Not bad, but makes the feature less useful than it could be.  This should be a nice add when it fully works.
3) No clock – how do I know how the current time relates to my appts w/o it?  Even forum software has this feature.
4) No help resolving failed iCal imports

Google Calendar

 

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206 - Joel on the DAL

Yet again, Joel Spolsky has a great piece of writing.  In this case, he describes the develoment abstraction layer.  It’s about how great companies are built around great development managers that allow developers to be, well, developers.  They don’t need to worry about all that businessy cruft that we find drudgerous and burdensome.  Here’s a great quote from the essay:

A programmer is most productive with a quiet private office, a great computer, unlimited beverages, an ambient temperature between 68 and 72 degrees (F), no glare on the screen, a chair that’s so comfortable you don’t feel it, an administrator that brings them their mail and orders manuals and books, a system administrator who makes the Internet as available as oxygen, a tester to find the bugs they just can’t see, a graphic designer to make their screens beautiful, a team of marketing people to make the masses want their products, a team of sales people to make sure the masses can get these products, some patient tech support saints who help customers get the product working and help the programmers understand what problems are generating the tech support calls, and about a dozen other support and administrative functions…

The Development Abstraction Layer – Joel on Software

 

 

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