Entries in GEEKY (13)
I've been doing some more coding these days in Ruby.
With introduction of RVM, bundler, and so on, I've gotten a feeling that RadRails maybe too much. It seems to get contexts confused and create more hassles. I am not sure yet, but it's caused me to go back and use TextMate, which I've always had in an honored spot in my toolset.
Poking around forums and other resources there seems to be some frustration that TextMate 2 has not been completed yet, having been 'in development' for I think over two years. Also there seems to be more and more talk of Sublime Text 2 as a great alternative to TextMate. So… Here I go. I will report back.
A random, highly specific and geeky tip:
If you’ve used Capistrano before, you’re familiar with the large error logs. Finding errors is, well, a hassle. You’ve got a whole slew of text, some just saying what command it’s going to execute next, sometimes errors, sometimes just output from Bundler or whatever it’s running. (from Rails Tip #8: Capistrano Colors)
Just follow the link to Rails Tip #8: Capistrano Colors) and your Cap life will be a little better.
The Launch Conference is starting today. It is descended from many venerable conferences, particularly like Demo. I was a fairly regular attendee at the Demo conference over the years, and so far, Launch seems to be continuing that heritage in a very impressive way.
Basically this conference is about Products, Products, Products. Particularly software and web and mobile products. There's a really good energy in the room, like the start of another gold rush :) It is overlaid with the usual Silicon Valley attitude and posturing, but that's ok, I kind of like that.
Each launching company is given 5 minutes to demo/preset their products. There are 5 celebrity judges who will listen to the demos and then ask difficult questions.
Here is a running list of products that look good to me. It will be my public notebook. I hope you enjoy it :)
Mingly - A way to easily remember who you have not talked to in a while. A useful tool for obsessive networkers (like me) and something that I have done with a Word file for years and years. Handy, but it's a business?
Altluition: TurboTax for financial aid. Very comprehensive solution to help students who are trying to decide what University to apply based on cost and aid, deciding where to get financial aid, and then actually applying to multiple financial aid sources. Looks pretty awesome! (A google for Turbo Tax for Financial Aid, I find this article about AidAide. Just shows, like there are no new ideas!)
Vocre.com: Video calls with live language translation. I speak in English. I see the text of my message to make sure it's correct. I press send and my counterpart hear's my message in, say, Italian.
Budge: Gamefication of exercise and other health related programs and goals. Pushups. Meditation.
Hadza: Mutiple videos are often taken in different locations, at the same time, of the same event: a concert, a sports game, etc. But also a wedding or a place. If you record these with the Hadza application they create kind of a 'director's console where you can decide what view of the event you want to see, which audio you want to listen to. This looks very interesting and cool. They do have to get people to record the video with their app which is a barrier I guess.
Robin: Voice activated tool for driver: find parking, check on traffic, and navigate. Will it really work? Judges debate the defensibility of this product. "Natural language is the new taxonomy of the web" one of the judges says. Not sure about the word "taxonomy" here but the point is that there's a belief that services like Siri will be the entry portal of a most services on the web.
uGokit: Finding stuff you lost. $1 tag you put in or with the thing you might lose. It's an RFID tag. There's a reader and an app. When you lose your charger, watch, wallet, you can use your iPhone like a geiger counter to locate it. Also making sure that I didn't leave for the trip without my required items, leave for my gym without everything, and so on. $150 for the app, the reader and 20 tags. Pretty cool.
mailerlite.com: Simpler and cheaper mailchimp / constantcontact. Looks good. Proof is in the tasting.
benetracker.com - Track the beneficiaries for my estate. like insurance and IRA accounts. When you die (!) they will notify all the beneficiaries. Ensure that the money caught in estates get to the intended beneficiary.
lifeyo.com - Really nice, pretty to look at, alternative to Google Sites or SquareSpace.
storybricks.com - Allows gamers to create story worlds and MMPG games.
wanderfly.com - Collaborative travel planning. It has a very pretty user interface. The recommendations are not just social, but from 'recognized travel experts. If it works it would be great, but of course these kinds of sites live or die by the quality of their content. It's true that TripAdvisor is not all that beautiful to look at but it's got the content and the quality.
Zabbi.com - Some kind of social network which let's you state what your current emotional state is and allows your friends to boost your morale when they see you are sad. Cool!
Moosiify.com - Flirting over music. Match meets Spotify.com. Meet people because you have similar musical tastes. A very nice user experience. And they are also creating a Spotify application so that the counterparts don't have to even have the Moosify client! This is really interesting.
spacemonkey.com - I unfortunately missed this one but it was so popular among the judges and audience that I decided to add it to my list. For example, here's what Rafe Needleman thought of SpaceMonkey. To be honest, reading Rafe's description doesn't impress me that much. I bought a 1Terrabyte disk last year for $70 from Amazon. Storage is cheap. Why pay a recurring charge?
That Suspicious Behavior - Another one that was popular with the judges that I missed. A way to "See something. Say something."
HipSwap - Another one that I missed. Buy and sell your stuff (a la crags list) but they include a pickup and deliver service.
A simple question that for some reason does not have a simple answer:
"I want to follow someone's twitter feed using an RSS reader, where is it?"
Well it seems that for some reason Twitter has quite hidden it but as a public service I will share the results of my research with you.
You will find it at:
So, for my twitter feed it is:
Of course, users of BlogBridge have a much easier time and have many more options. With BlogBridge you can subscribe to a person, to a list, or even to a general Twitter query, like "Object Oriented Marketing".
Watch this brief video to see how you would do it in BlogBridge:
Great review article:
"In this article I digested a number of MapReduce patterns and algorithms to give a systematic view of the different techniques that can be found in the web or scientific articles. Several practical case studies are also provided. All descriptions and code snippets use the standard Hadoopâs MapReduce model with Mappers, Reduces, Combiners, Partitioners, and sorting. This framework is depicted in the figure below." (from Highly Scalable)
Worth reading if you are interested in how Hadoop and friends might apply to the problems that you are trying to solve: "MapReduce Patterns, Algorithms, and Use Cases"
Funny insider lingo. I am sure you'd be able to do a similar video for Washington DC (politics) and L.A. (movies) and Kendal Square (Biotech). My word is computers.
Where in the US is hottest for Cloud Computing, or for Big Data, or for No Sql? Curious? Yeah, then you're a geek. Here's a quick interesting set of graphs that cover questions like that and others.
With that context, I was very interested to see Jon Ressig's article about how Khan Academy is thinking about teaching programming languages. You know I am a big fan of Khan Academy: see Khan Academy to the Rescue.
Read the whole article, it's pretty cool!
Last year when teaching REST concepts at Brandeis University I proved the truism that there's no better way to learn about something than to try and teach it. We (all) wrapped ourselves around the axle trying to understand HTTP "PUT" versus HTTP "POST" and learned new english words like Idempotency. I won't go into the whole story because it's kind of long.
<gross simplification> But one of the keys ideas that is tricky to understand is the difference between PUT and POST in REST as it is implemented using HTTP. PUT replaces a specific resource (think of it as a record for a specific key) while POST creates a new resource. </gross simplification>
So I was interested to see that there's a move afoot (no idea how serious this will turn out to be) to add a new verb to HTTP/REST, to change an existing resource - not replace it like PUT does, or add a whole new one like POST does, but change one or more parts of it. In effect, it "Patches" it. Seems like a useful idea