Categories
perspective

Battle of the Browser

indeed, there is much ado about what when it comes to browser market share and it does seem that IE and Firefox dominate the limelight. Anyways, while they sort themselves out, i was prompted to give Opera a try. The result: pleasant. It’s light and responsive and, well, refreshing. No pun intended :) Overall, “neat” [to borrow an americanism], in all senses of the word.

now it’s just transferring all those stored passwords.. hehe

New Territory

for a .net “junkie”, migrating technology skills can be quite daunting- well, that is for me at least. after too long a delay, i finally decided to start shifting some of my stuff across to Linux. i like the community drive behind Ubuntu and so… here i am. I guess there are lots of reasons for finally getting going with this… thing is, i’ve always enjoyed having an eclectic knowledge of sorts about technology in general and after so long into .net, it feels like i have an ecelectic .net grasp of all things microsoft. not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just not what i _really_ wanted 🙂 anyways, it’s also hard to be technology-agnostic and objectively equipped to recommend a strategy you can actively be involved in when the last line of Java code you wrote was… erm… *then*. and as great as some of the .net stuff is [and 3.0 and upcoming LINQ… oooohhhh] i can’t help but think i could be _selling out_ if i don’t make a decent effort to stay even half-decently current across the board. now if i can get my wireless card to work, i could start blogging from my new desktop 🙂

Ideas

sometimes, the timing of an idea is more interesting than the actual idea. sometimes both are equally fascinating. viral communication aside, i did find it quite interesting that these 3 posts

should appear within days of each other. and yes, some are inspirations for others. but personally, the timing was interesting since i just started feeling a little overwhelmed by the plethora of technologies available right now.

just within .Net alone, there’s just so much that is going on it’s dang difficult to find the time to investigate the possibilities adequately. and that’s without even considering Ruby. and technologies aside, what about all the tools available within the confines of a “straight-forward” project? and then there’s the existing technology and the way it moves forward. and you really don’t want to specialize _too much_…

*shew*

Tech Battles

while trying to make myself comfortable with “the other world” of PHP and MySql, i came across this insightful post on MySql vs. PostgreSQL. Written almost 3 years ago, some of the comments remain relevant to this day. Those comments themselves though are mere echoes of history…

So the article attempts to dissect which is “better”: MySql or PostgreSQL? But the introduction i found more fascinating: why do people care so much about which is “better”? Indeed, why do they?

i have been involved in many contentious debates around which language is better; which compiler is better; which browser is better; which design is better; which OS is better; which methodology is better; which you-name-it is better. And mostly, they all have the same smell to them 🙂 The debate rages on, in various forms across multiple spectrums and shows no signs of slowing down.

This is not new, and as one writer observes:

“The ancient quarrel between Protestant and Catholic is a scabious wound in-waiting, still capable of producing pus and pain long after those ditch-digging migrants and clever children they gave us became proper Australians and doctors and professors once more”- Bryce Courtney, Four Fires 

In technology, there is no shortage of the classic Protestant-Catholic scab.
[ agile-traditional; .Net, Ruby, Java, C++; IIS-Apache; Windows-Linux; MS SQL-Oracle; IE-Firefox; ad nauseum ]

And one day, INSERT_TECH_BATTLE_HERE may agree to disagree and the quarrelling may subside briefly into a lurking; a wound-in-waiting. And there will evolve peacekeepers who may, from time to time, find a middle ground and mediate some sort of truce- for a season. But our desire to be on the “winning side” is just too strong. Which means we also need a losing side, or at least a side where we can prove our “victory”. And therein lies the rub of most arguments.

When last did your debate PRO-Agile [or any technology for that matter] not revolve around the pitfalls of waterfall, or vice-versa? And although a valid argument, in your specific context; as a dogmatic doctrine without intimate knowledge of another project situation, the only expected result you can effectively achieve is an equally vocal response 🙂 Indeed, why do we care so much about which technology is “better”? And of course, you can also end up with the situation which propogates and defends that a pragmatic approach is really the “better” approach 😀

It’s funny just how ancient IT really is…

Open Source Advantages

There are just some things that *must* be open source. I usually find it’s the automated utility type software. Compilers, browsers, email clients, communication tools: they must just work and if they don’t. Uninstall, install something else. 🙂

But when it comes to software that automates tasks, and in my environment that includes mostly Nant, you can NOT have a black box. And no surprise, there really isn’t a black box alternative worth paying for. NUnit is my another automation machine.

These automation frameworks can be used in so many different ways that to NOT have the source code is just limiting yourself to all sorts of possibilities, the least of which is:
i..quick bug fixes not in main branch
ii.added functionality due to “custom” requirements [circumstances]

Like today for example. is NUnit 2.2.8 backwards compatible with test case method names [first four letters == ‘test’]? Documentation says yes, but i beg to differ…


modified Oct 05: as of 2.2.1 this compatibility was dropped but the documentation remains outdated.. now where has this debate surfaced before 🙂

Now to have your entire migration process bottlenecked by something silly like that… 🙂

Google vs Microsoft

A bit iffy really that two huge companies war with each other in the way they do… {sigh}
But then again, on the other side of the {sigh} is a…
cool. it’s what makes companies healthy, string.. heck.. everything gets stronger with a little bit of sparring.

But the “war” reached my doorstep with Google’s recent toolbar update. I clicked the OK informational informing it was updated.. and then…

Ad-Watch recorded +4300 events within seconds! Dang! I thought i was under attack until i read the notification [they were all the same]:

Registry modification detected
Root: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
Key: Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
Value: Search Page
Data: http://www.msn.com/access/allinone.asp
New Data: http://www.google.com

IE and Google battling it out to be the default search on my lone little machine.. :D… i had to engage in fairly lo-level advanced user diagnostics to stop my registry from being assualted and my machine slowing down- between IE, Google Toolbar and Ad-Watch, the discussions were getting pretty heavy.

Hey, Google.. How about letting the user decide who wins instead of trying to force your way in? It’s like you think you own my PC just because i chose to use your software? {gggrrrr}

Irritated is all.

Continuing Education Gaps: Part Deux

This is a bit of a carry over from a previous post where i discussed gaps in continuing education. Although the focus of that discussion was about form and function, Raph Koster’s book on game design [A Theory Of Fun] made me realise something else about continuing education: it’s just boring.

A large part of it at least. There’s no shortage of content and no shortage media and presentation variety. But it’s still mostly boring and hence, difficult to engage with. From the learner’s perspective that is.

As a continual learner, most of my time is spent is spent gathering information from blogs, stories and special cases. I will use MSDN, and the like, for a point of reference on technical detail, but if really want to “learn” something- to grok it- i read a story about it.

I read about the human being behind the problem: how and when they discovered the challenge. What did they try, what *almost* worked and why not. What frustrations did they experience and finally, what solution do they suggest. In the story, i pick up on the mood and get to feel with the writer and become part of the adventure. In doing so, i am having fun because i’m engaging in all sorts of patterns thread into the story [implicit and explicit]. I also get to use my imagination: what does the writer look like? what kind of cubicle do they work in? what kind of boss is breathing down their neck? what time of day is it? what is the look on their face when they make their discovery? how do they feel about it? And i know that this is real.

It’s not another hypothetical Bob and Alice story but a real life event. Real blood and sweat and tears are involved in finding the solution and so, in turn i integrate more than one sense into the story. It’s interesting and above all, it’s fun and that’s how i learn.

Then i stare blankly at the table of contents in front of me for a .NET Fusion course. As much as i would love to learn all about it, where do i start? How do i apply all this to my real life; the here and now? As good as it might be for a reference, it’s definitely not something i can learn from…