July 9, 2007

After a lack of posts I went and did the same thing again – This time, another hardware issue. I decided to wait for a new system as I’d be building up a new system from scratch anyway and it took longer than expected for everything to come together. I was also doing extra hours at work which made it easy to put the new system on the back burner in favor of sleep!

No more downtime!

The install of Fedora Core 7 went smoothly – I downloaded the boot ISO from a official mirror and used that for the basis of my install. My major issues were 1 – The boot installer asks for a location and mirror to install from, it’d be nice to select from a list at this stage (or even browse for the img file). and 2- when the img file is downloading there is no progress indicator – I went into town and left it, it took a little over an hour I think. I then left the computer over night while I went out of town and came back to a screen asking to restart the computer – Easy!

Tomorrow I’ll start installing a Java environment and begin a project I’ve been wanting to start.

Going without headphones

May 21, 2007

My last pair of headphones recently broke – I wasn’t too worried as I’ve been wanting a new pair. It’s been over a week without headphones now and I didn’t realise how much I relied on music to work/ block out annoying people on the train.

I brought a pair of Grado SR60’s tonight from trademe and should have them by the end of the week. I’ve listened to these before and didn’t want to give them back :). I think the’ll add a huge amount of enjoyment to my music. I’m even considering a headpone amp to complete the package, though a stereo amp is highest priority.

Review on arrival! I think I’ll throw some infected mushroom at them and see how they go! Will be chemical brothers first though, Alive Alone.


May 17, 2007

Havn’t updated in a while, I’ve been quite busy with a few other things. Excuses aside, I’ll be posting much more frequently. In fact I’ve set a goal – To make a simple hosting website for my flat. The goals are:

  • Nice clean interface
  • Allow comments
  • RSS Feed
  • Database backend (of course).

I’m 50/50 Java vs Ruby on Rails. I’d love to do either. I decided Java as its something I’d like to become more experienced in. I’m interested in learning Ruby for scripting though.

I’ve read many interesting comments on slashdot recently (I often just read the comments as it summaries/picks apart the articles and you get some very intelligent people posting). My two favourites recently being:

The Rise of “Hybrid” Vinyl-MP3s for the quote:

“Making a legal, paid-for version of the file less useful than a copied or pirated one doesn’t make sense.” First World Records co-founder.

Rethinking the Linux Distribution? for the many quotes echoing my opinion such as:

“Collaboration can happen without application hosting. It’d be better if we focussed instead on creating a great P2P collaboration framework, and build that into many applications, such as OOo, or the Gimp, or any other system you might want to use for multi-authored documents.”

“Yes, it’s an inflammatory subject, but it’s exactly what needs to happen. “Software as a service” is the wet dream of many corporations right now, because it offers a per use pricing model and offloads an enormous amount of control to the vendor. When their machines run everything, it’s DRM heaven.”

Will be getting in touch with Dreamhost next week RE: Hosting. I’ll be keeping this theme with a couple of enhancements, namely having a more prominent RSS feed icon (not huge, but more noticable).

Browser + Window Manager

May 2, 2007

With everyone wanting to move applications online ; Network, security, and logic (as in why?) issues aside, wouldn’t browsers benefit a suitable make over to adapt to the push better? I mean they are supposed to be document viewers. I’ll explain.

Everyone who uses a GUI based desktop operating system will be familiar with Window Managers and how each application can inherit a consistent look and feel (Move, Re-size, Minimise, Maximise, Title Bars). A browser engine however, simply displays the page. This is all very well for websites intended to be viewed as websites but (in my opinion) not so good for web applets. This is due to the fact that they can’t be moved around and interacted with as if they were a desktop application.

The solution?

Implement a browser which allows the web app (via xml config file or similar) to define simple characteristics such as, should the page be displayed as a browser (webpages) or should it be displayed as an application. The browser itself would be a container with the option of closing it, and a task bar at the bottom to switch between open windows). Windows would be able to be viewed side by size, tiled, and managed more effectively.

browser based window manager

I quickly sketched up an image to illistrate my point; three (web sites) are defined to look like an application, while the fourth (slashdot) is defined to look like a webpage (I didn’t add web page controls to the slashdot one – my bad!).

This is a broswer interface I’d really like to see – would be a good open source project.


May 2, 2007

I didn’t manage to follow the uproar unfold as digg started censoring posts related to the HD-DVD processing key, as I was working, but I did have a look in the afternoon and was stunned at the communities response! Power to the people is all I have to say. Digg may have done it this time!

Slashdot coverage



A breath of fresh air

April 30, 2007

I read with great relief: “People Hate Making Desktop Apps…” Since When!? , a post identifing an issue that I’ve been following with interest lately.

Readers of my blog will know my opinion on bringing back a desktop client/ server based approach to development, Non readers – I’m 100% for it. I believe the multitude of ‘Web2.0’ apps being developed would simply be better as desktop applications.

The reasons for this are simple – Desktop applications:

  • Have more mature programming languages available
  • Can make use of operating system calls (including via VM)
  • Run on a decent windowing system, and behave like an application should
  • Allow offline work (still very important)
  • Allow secure (and managed) storage of data (really comes down to data ownership)

This is to name a few. Of course there are exceptions to every rule – especially the last point.

I’m not completely ruling out web-based applications where required; I regularly use web-based email for example. I would much rather have a desktop based RSS reader (client/server design) than browser. This can be said for many applications that are web based. Web-services with a decent front end – That’s the formula!

I was reading a blog post at which mentioned a widget toolkit for Java. I’m very interested in trying some of these out to for a couple of apps I want to write. Will digg up the link tomorrow.

I’ll be posting more on this subject I imagine- I’d like to know what other developers think.

XHTML or HTML 4 (Strict)

April 24, 2007

I’m officially entering the redesign phase of my blog. As I’m going to start with a completely blank canvas I thought my first task may as well be to determine the doctype and how the page will be delivered. This came down to a decision of XHTML or HTML 4 and I had no idea what one with be more suited when starting a site from scratch.

The conclusion? I came across a series of posts ‘xhtml vs html 4 strict‘, The W3C XHTML Specification and No to XHTML and the general consensus is to only use xhtml where it will truely be benificial, for a website I can’t seem to find how it would be (generally).

I always correctly nest elements (I have no idea why some people don’t) and I type in lowercase anyway so the well-formedness of the document doesn’t really worry be as it would be with either.

Looks like I’ll be using HTML 4 Strict then!

Webservice Interoperability

April 17, 2007

I’ve had the joy over the last few days of working with a developer to figure out why a Web-sphere web service won’t talk to a .NET web service. The Java team were saying it was a .NET issue, and the .NET team were saying it was a java issue. The culprit? The .NET web service didn’t like an XML declaration in the soap message from the Websphere service. Both the messages (with or without) conformed to the specifications however. Was good to get it all working and I learn’t alot about web services. I’d like to work more with them and will be making one of my own for something I’m working on.

I managed to collect a few good links on the topic:

Platform Interoperability: Sun ONE and Microsoft .NET, Achieving Asynchronous Communications

Web services programming tips and tricks: Improve the interoperability between J2EE and .NET, Part 2

Improving Web Service Interoperability

IBM WebSphere Studio and Microsoft .NET Working Together — Part 1


April 16, 2007

I tried Opera a while ago but stopped using it due to it’s lack of a quick links toolbar, not the greatest reason I know but it’s handy!

I was inspired to try it again after reading Ra’s writeup and seeing the Speed Dial feature and I’m impressed.

I havn’t used it enough so far to give a thorough opinion on it but so far: The fonts render better, everything seems quicker, and I like the smooth interface. I’m using the mouse gestures too.

Firefox is great, but it doesn’t help to try alternatives; I’m starting to think I’ll prefer Opera.

Try it and see for youself.


MINIX 3 and Music server

April 11, 2007

The latest release of Minix looks to be quite an interesting operating system. I’m sure we don’t need the history lesson on Minix’s relation to Linux as well as it’s extensive use in the teaching of operating system concepts, I’d do a bad job and would reccomend Google!

I’m going to try Minix 3 out in a virtual machine over the next couple of weeks and would like to see if it is capable of being set up as a music server, I don’t see why not.

I’m starting on a centralised music server which will be used by me and my flatmates to listen to a music stream. The goals being:

  • Easy to upload to; As it will be albums at a time I think I’ll go for a FTP solution and have some kind of file system structure (genre – artist – album?) Which will be reflected in the database.
  • Allow anyone with a network connection to the box to listen to streams.
  • Web based operation to change the playlist order etc (not too sure about skipping songs as that’d be annoying!)
  • XML Feed to see new uploads.
  • LAMP/ Open Source based (Goes without saying really), or could be MAMP? This will depend on compatibility.

I’m going to keep an eye out for something that fits this, I think I have an old box I could use.