Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oracle Releases a FREE Database - 10g Express Edition

Oracle - a long time high-end database vendor today announced a entry level free version of their database Oracle Database 10g Express Edition.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Interesting Quote: The Human Brain

"The human brain is able to solve incredibly complex problems. It is estimated that it can process on the order of 2 * 1016 computations per second. It is able to compute at this level without generating extraordinary amounts of heat becaues it is massively parallel - the computation is distributed throughout the brain, and not run through a single "super" neuronal computation facility. The up side is that you can scratch your head without receiving third degree burns. The down side is that you have to invest in tools such as a stove or a microwave, rather than just popping food in your mouth and thinking really hard in order to cook it." --- Chris Jackson's Semantic Consonance

Saturday, February 18, 2006

CMap v4.02 - Update now available

This is a tool I was introduced to thru a class I took at university.

"The CmapTools program empowers users to construct, navigate, share and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps. It allows users to, among many other features, construct their Cmaps in their personal computer, share them on servers (CmapServers) anywhere on the Internet..." - The CMap web-site

I think it's amazing.

The updated version is here: CMap v4.02.

Privacy problem - Cell phone records for sale

How can this possibly be legal??? Imagine what people can do with this info.

Your phone records are for sale !!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Microsoft FrontPage - Dead!

Microsoft just announced some of the new packaging for Office 2007. One of the things they mentioned is the fact that they now have two web design tools [maybe even three :-(]: Expression Web Designer [EWD] and SharePoint Designer 2007. Since they believe that these tools do a better job at web design they have announced that FrontPage will be discontinued. I'm not sure if this is good news or not. Let me explain. First I believe that FrontPage is very important in some circles. I was never a big fan myself [after trying early versions it would just kill the formatting in your HTML] however some liked it. I always felt there where better options (eg: HomeSite, HTMLPad and Visual Studio.Net [VS.NET]). The problem is why discontinue the product? Why not do the right thing and let someone else continue it's development? The obvious answer is it would instantly create a large competitor. We don't want that! But it's certainly the morally right thing for Microsoft to do. I also don't believe Microsoft should have three pieces of software that have such an overlap. This was the problem with their development tools a few years ago where they had a different IDE for anything you wanted to do (remember InterDev!). I understand that these three tools are aimed at different audiences but I'm really hard pressed to imagine that SharePoint designers [really developers] would not already be using VS.NET and/or thinking about using EWD when it ships. Could neither of these products be extended to handle SharePoint specific features? I would think so.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Java IDE - NetBeans v5.0

eWeek recently reviewed NetBeans v5.0. They had some minor issues with x-platform GUI stuff but otherwise they liked it.

P.S. After v5.0 was released I found it a little difficult to find the link to the v4.1 download. Here it is for others looking.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Modifying GMail to give presistant searches - Who knew!

Using a combination of tools you can apparently add presistant searching to your GMail account.

Interesting Blog post on Google's GMail API

In this blog entry Jon Udell's talks about a library to access GMail's API. Looks interesting.

Identity on the internet has always been a problem...

Identity on Blogs has been a problem [as well as Blog spam] ...but maybe this company has a solution - Sxore .

Need to control your presentation with your cell phone?

"Salling Clicker is [a] innovative remote control tool. It offers the ability to control popular applications from mobile phones or handheld computers through a user interface similar to that on a portable media player." - www.salling.com .

Need to find events...try...EventFul

Need to find events...try...EventFul.

New Blogging Tool: Qumana

New Blogging tool [well news to me ;-)] : Qumana .

SPAD

Another interesting concept: SPAD .

Ajax Tools

Interesting demo of Microsoft's Atlas tool [for using Ajax in ASP.NET 2.0].

New Book: Prefactoring

Interesting new Book: Prefactoring

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Management

I figured out today that bad Managers [or those who are in charge] are able to handle [much less then 100% of the problems of the environment they are part of. That is, a manager of a small organization is only barely able to handle any problems in his environment. Put into a large organization they have no chance.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Photoshop vs. Programming

Recently I've been thinking about how two things that I do often photo manipulation and programming. These are good examples of how some tools help and some hinder your work.

When I'm editting a photo [in Photoshop] I'm given a set of tools that basically allow me to do anything I want and in a more or less natural way. I can completely relate to how if I needed to accomplish what layers allow me to do in the real world I could do this. It's easy to think of layers as pieces of paper stacked on top of each other. I can edit individual layers, I can control transparency, I can erase parts of an image etc. Not only that but I can do things not easily done in the real world for example combining[/merging] layers. And this is my point. I have a tool that takes a real world problem and not only allows me to accomplish what I want in a natural way (eg. intuitive and not combersome] but also extends it to do things I couldn't normally accomplish. And isn't that the very definition of a tool. Allowing one to 'extend' their ability.

Now let's look at the current level of programming - specifically object oriented programming. Object oriented programming (OOP) has all sorts of tools to allow one to imagine things as objects and then go about manipulating them with language contructs. The first problem is not everything fits well into the 'object' senerio. I've been part of many projects where 90% of the code is simply moving things in and out of objects. Secondly, the language restrictions of what can be done and when it can be done in OOP vastly constrain what is possible vs. allowing one to accomplish more [not less]. I have all sorts of restrictions with how I define an object, where I can define a routine, how I can access it, who can can access it and when, etc. Why can't I simply write a program that allows me to get done what I want to get done and without it getting in my way? Better still should it not extend my ability and allow me to accomplish more then I normally could without the tool!? Functional programming allowed one to get their job done and in a much less error prone way, yet today everything is about OOP. And we can see the results. How many times did your computer crash and/or needed to be restarted to fix some bizarre effect?! Does this not show that even today's modern computer programmer doesn't fully understand these restrictions? Let's compare this to computer from 10+ years ago how many times did you restart those machines? I'm betting a lot less. So what's going on? Why are we getting worse and not better? I believe it's the fundamental fault of OOP and with it all the restrictions. Any 'professional' programmer spends many years of their life learning the ins and outs of what can and can't be done in OOP. I dare say most of them never really get it. So now we live in a world where to accomplish the simplest of things takes way to much effort in an object oriented language. We need to re-examine the true usefullness of OOP and to come up with something that's more expressive, reliable and faster at accomplishing things that people want to do.

Photoshop allows me to get things done quick and easy. I'm better off using digital technology here then I am at using a 'normal' camera. Can we say the same thing when it comes to programming with OOP techniques!?

Friday, February 3, 2006

Petit-P's Concert

Tonights was Petit-P's school concert. It took some organizing to get my usual Friday routine completed and get to the concert. The first problem being how to have something to eat before the concert. The only real way to do it was to eat at Petit-P's place. Oddly his Mother didn't seem to want to prepare anything for him. Maybe it was because she was going out as well or maybe she was working late I don't know but I'm sure something could have been done. Anyway a can of soap was the chosen option. The concert was scheduled to start according to Petit-P @7:30pm but since he's playing he wanted to get there early to practice, so we arrived ~@6:20pm. After a little problem entering the school (eg: no doors were open), we got setup. People seemed cool and luckily I had brought a magazine and some water to keep me going. The concert eventually started just before 8:00pm. The first singer was Olivier Chankane. And he was by far the best. I'd label him the upcoming John Mayer. He not only did a solo but sang the only non metal song of the night. With Petit-P's digital movie camera I tried to film all the concert but as with most(?) digital technology if the lighting is dark then its really hard. I'm not sure why they [the students] wanted it so dark but moving on. Olivier sang again accompanied by a fellow guitarist. Another good song. It was during this the Mr.W arrived. He was there for 15 or so min. before coming over and saying hi. I was busy filming. We chatted for a bit but there always seems to be a bit of ackwardness with him with other people. No problem. There were some other people I remembered meeting before and I got to see Petit-P's band. The evening continued. I say Punk-Ass play the drums he was amazing and Daniel Jr. sing - amazing as well. The event came to a close and I drove Petit-P, Mr. W. and Kev(?) to the tea place. Oddly on the way I had accidently went thru a red light. Good thing no one was going thru. and it was a 3 way intersection. After dropping them off I went home. It was ~@9:30pm. I was happy to get home at a reasonable time. I finished watching the DVD, "Lord of War".