Target Market

Maybe the guys at Nokia have different ideas about concepts such as “target market”, “market segmentation” or “target audience”?


Technocists? Really. This kind of thing should be outlawed. It’s the 21st century! But then again, the money votes always make the biggest difference. Bye, bye Nokia Music Store.



Started working with AppEngine a little bit recently and for the most part, I’m impressed by the ability to just get on with it. It resonated with some of Rob’s post and his idea of “stop thinking, just build” (with the ‘stop thinking’ part given a reasonable and relaxed interpretation on my part). And even jumping into Python again was fairly easy (read ‘nice’). Admittedly, my journey with Ruby has helped big time in overcoming the “who’s-moved-my-cheese” factor when it comes to static typing, intellisense, IDE… well, all the “trappings” if you like 🙂 So, back to AppEngine.

It’s fast, simple and uncomplicated. Some straightforward abstractions and useful mocks (like the user login for example) and even without having to host an app on Google, using the tool chain locally is superb for tracer bullets- even quicker than, dare i say, Rails? 🙂

Once, that is, you get over with the conventions of the platform and language (which is not huge by any stretch of the imagination). And on that note, i just want to state categorically that conventions are great. Not the kind where you drink good coffee and chat much g33k. The kind where you make a whole bunch of assumptions up front and then code everything according to those assumptions (and a further step of faith: you wire those assumptions into the framework). Yes, i know what they say about assumptions making something out of U and ME. A quirky expression- but is that really an absolute truth? And I’ve noted a different kind of assumptions before.

I feel this is where some of the mainstream programming gets lost from time to time (and with good reason mind you). Anything can happen, everything goes- no real conventions: you get to code *everything*. Joy. (All) you have are classes which you can abuse to perform functions and in between you get to do a lot of heavy lifting. Then again, what’s heavy is relative.

And in the web application world, AppEngine does a lot of the heavy. Which is great for just getting on with it. Try it. Go on… 60 minutes is all it’ll take.


Looking for a photog?

If you live in Cape Town, and you need memorable photos… i mean, really memorable photos: the kind that every time you look at them you go “oooohhh”, “aaaahhh”, “wooooow”. And you can’t stop grinning and you actually get *emotional* (in a warm fuzzy kind of way) just pouring over the memories ‘cos they’re captured so incredibly … wonderfully: Sarah Wood. Look no further.


Get Ubuntu

This is more of a shameless advertising plug than anything else- a departure from the usual theme of posts- but when you really like something, you can’t help yourself but just say *something* about it. That said…

I’ve advocated Ubuntu for a while now since I took the leap myself away from the restrictive environment which Windows had become*. When I first jumped, there were minor issues here and there but, with a bit of geek, the problem was solved. Since then, the OS has grown into an incredibly rich and useful OS with no issues (at least that is, not for a while). It does just work.

The latest release has been even more comforting and in particular, the netbook remix version is beautiful! I also work a lot on Mac and can appreciate an interface that is simple and intuitive and lets you get on with the job without getting in the way. UNR rates as one my most favouritest (sic) OSes. I can’t work (as in code a lot) on that platform just yet- but the way the services and technology is moving, who knows 🙂

So, don’t delay, go Get Ubuntu. Now. Really.

Oh, and if you’re worried about your “office” productivity and spreadsheets and word processing, don’t. OpenOffice is pretty good. No. Very good. No. Darn good! I’ve managed to use some pretty sophisticated and involved spreadsheets (created in Excel 2007) on OpenOffice 3.0 and there was some minor trickery involved regarding linked spreadsheets, but after sorting that out- total freedom!

Incidentally, this quiet article had more good things to say.

* I’m not really an MS hater, so try not read between the lines too much 🙂 I still do a lot of work on the MS platform in .NET and enjoy using the tools i have there, mostly because i’m very familiar and comfortable with them. It’s just that the client OS itself though doesn’t offer me any extra value for the extra price i have to pay for it- plus it’s slower on the same spec machine.

Business Technology

Playground Update

The playground has got a new update: stats-related. We covered the sections where you can uncover a bunch of numerical descriptions on a dataset, which is useful for a quick overall summary of the data. I’ve used this tool a couple of times myself preparing for exams and checking manual calculations (yes, sometimes i need to do this type of thing manually) and of course, it’s much easier than using my Sharp or Casio calculator.
And then there are times when you need to examine the relationship between two variables…

The “Applied” Stats Calculator helps with that quite a bit by giving you a fairly (or so i’d like to think) easy way of inputting your data and then calculating and displaying the relationship through a least-squares attempt on the data provided. There are two motivations for this development:
a) linear relationships are more meaningful than just describing a dataset on its own
b) a showcase in extending the javascript library, complete, as always, with tests.