tools

Flock a threat to IE

I read in the news today that Microsoft has made a beta release of Internet Explorer 8.  They also announced that the new browser works better with web applications like Facebook as well as fully conforming to web standards by passing the ACID tests.  This quick release has people thinking that Firefox is posing a threat to Internet Explorer's market share.  But it may be that the two browsers are beginning to notice Flock

Distributed Source Control popularity

The change-over to distributed Source-code control seems to be only a matter of time. Dispite the hype subversion makes many jobs harder, it might help with renaming files but it doesn't. The battle has really already been won my distributed systems in many organisations. There are a few factors that have prevented wholesale takup of distributed source-code control:

  • Maturity of tools. Many of the existing systems exist as extended research projects. They are scripts on top of other systems written in perl or python. Where they might work very well they are slow.

Distraction free writing

Anyone remember the old dumb terminals, where there wasn't a desktop to speak of. Once you learnt the keys often you'd get a lot more writing done. Write Room, for the Mac, is a productivity tool that avoids desktop distraction. Darkroom is a windows port.

SA4J Structural Analysis for Java

I've been playing with SA4J a Structural Analysis Package for Java by IBM. This package helps with the analysis and maintenance of legacy systems, as well as helping to improve existing designs.

One real benefit of the package it helps unroll complex inter-dependancies between objects. Sometimes these "tangles" are not always easily noticable looking at the code. Just over time the system does not scale.

It identifies structural patterns in the system that hinder maintenance over time:

Tangled
A tangle is a large group of objects whose relationships are so interconnected that a change in any one of them could affect all of the others. Long tangles are a major cause of instability in large systems.

Windows Compression Software

Considering what comes free with windows these days I find it quite astonishing that the most popular compression utilities are WinZip and WinRar. Not that this software isn't good, but it seems a large market for what is, it seems well known and publically available algorithms. Free compression utilities have been widely used and bundled on other systems for years. Do people really pay for WinZip? If they do, it must be like printing money. I know the complexity of compression algorithms is high, but it's not that high. Considering that free mp3 encoders/decoders are bundled with operating systems now.

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SVG and Firefox 1.5

Almost silently apple and mozilla have added a new tag to html. It's buried somewhere in the small print of the mozilla website, in a few lines suggesting that the support for web-standards has improved. This though should represent a significant challenge to Microsoft who are now playing catch-up. If the hype is to be believed then this represent a real alternative to flash with by using the SVG technology and JavaScript. This represent's the beginning of a richer web content, sure flash has been there but there is definitely a point where you have to make a choice of placing something in flash or on the page. Tighter integration of the dynamic content with the page should create a more seamless experience. All open standards as well.

Flock and Net Version 2

When I fist saw Flock, a new style of browser, I was skeptical. I thought why does the world need another browser. What's wrong with Firefox extensions. But actually, I've come around to the idea that the net is nothing like it was. Perhaps it is time to rethink the user interface for the IPod generation. The tools that are built into the standard browser now aren't quite what is needed anymore. Most people now don't dial up though a modem, they have at least access to one broadband connection; maybe many. They are far more likely to access the nest from multiple places during a day: from their phone, from their word and from their home.

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