Renaming Products

December 7, 2006 | programming, technology
Is it just me, or does anyone else enjoy pronouncing MySQL as “My Squeal”? (And of course, PostgreSQL as “Postgres Quell” makes a nice parallel, and is actually a nice hat-tip to the QUEL language Postgres originally used.) I’ve also noticed that if you call Microsoft IIS “Microsoft Ice,” then the increasing rise of Mozilla Firefox seems to kind of balance things out.

Getting Windows Errors While Debugging

November 7, 2006 | programming
I’m probably saying nothing new to any seasoned Windows developer, but it was new to me: if you add a watch in VisualStudio for the value @ERR,hr (no quotes) you get the human-readable error string for the error code that would be returned by GetLastError() if you called it and then ran it through FormatMessage(). I was amazingly happy to discover this little tidbit of functionality, since previously I had thought I had to look up the value on the MSDN System Error pages.

Firefox 2's Kin, or: Well, That Solves That

October 31, 2006 | programming, technology
I say nothing that should surprise diehard Mac users if I say that Mac OS X lacks decent power-user mail clients. Thunderbird suffers from a lot of the same problems as Firefox, Entourage is…well, Entourage, and Mail, pretty though it may be, is heavily underpowered in a lot of key areas. (E.g., you can’t even create nicely formatted lists, which is something I need to do quite frequently.) From this motley crew, I’ve traditionally opted to use Thunderbird. Yes, it’s ugly and doesn’t integrate...

Commodity Media

October 31, 2006 | personal
One of the things that continues to amaze me as computers become increasingly ubiquitous is how entire industries are beginning to vanish because their product has become superfluous. Nearly everyone following the tech sector knows that the decline of the media cartels has already begun: increasing numbers of bands are bypassing traditional recording labels and posting directly to iTunes and similar services; amateur directors are posting videos on sites like Google Video and YouTube rather than...

Awesome! This makes it an impulse purchase!

October 31, 2006 | personal, technology
Sometimes, I have to wonder whether computers have a sense of humor. Yes, technically, it is a discount, but I think Amazon might want to consider not displaying the discount if it’s under, say, five cents.

Firefox 2, or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Rich Text

October 30, 2006 | technology
You may have noticed that I’ve been modifying a lot of old entries recently shortly after I post just to twiddle some line breaks. That’s because Firefox 2’s rich text control is horribly broken. Now, I do recognize that a lot of the rich editors are driven by custom JavaScript, but a lot of the problems seem common to all websites. In no particular order: Returns sometimes inserts BR, and sometimes inserts P, there’s no reliable way to tell which is going to happen, and they sometimes look the...

Build Servers

October 30, 2006 | programming
A few days ago, Coding Horror posted an article describing build servers and why they’re important. At the time, I basically just nodded and agreed and went on. Any sizable project needs a build server to ensure sanity in the code tree. I admit that Copilot currently lacks a dedicated build server, but that was more because, the last time it came up, we were in the middle of moving all of our code from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0, and I didn’t really see the point of setting something up that was going...

Squeak on the OLPC

October 30, 2006 | programming
This probably is, more than anything else, simply an indication of how little I’ve been following the Squeak community lately, but I was extremely happy to discover that Squeak will be on the OLPC. The concentration appears to be on eToys, an extension of Morphic that allows kids (and, with considerably more effort, adults) to make interactive graphics without writing code. If you’re interested, Google Video hosts a great video of Alan Kay demonstrating various Squeak technologies, including...

Video Smalltalk Tutorials

October 27, 2006 | programming
One of the problems I’ve always had trying to explain Smalltalk is that the environment and language are so fused and so radically different from those in the mainstream (which I’m defining here as Xcode, VisualStudio, Eclipse, and IntelliJ) that people have trouble figuring out what the big deal is. That’s gradually changing as languages like Ruby, OCaml, and properly used JavaScript come into the mainstream, and as static language designers eek ever closer to having a full REPL with dynamic...

WWDC Wednesday: Fire and Motion

August 9, 2006 | programming
As you may or may not be aware, one of the features of Mac OS X Leopard is called iChat Theater. iChat Theater allows you to share arbitrary sound and video via AIM. The feature is great for end-users; showing a friend a funny movie clip, or your parents a photo album of your kid, has become wonderfully trivial. In what for Apple qualifies as a rare nod for developers, they have publicly exposed a clean API to allow your applications to hook into this framework. Basically, all an application...