Tuesday, January 31, 2006

top jobs 2006 - watch your back

I was flipping through this slideshow on the top jobs for 2006 as reported by Fast Company, and got a laugh.

Just go to the slideshow link, read job #9, click the "Next Slide" link, and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Canada on Rails schedule finalized

The schedule for Canada On Rails has been finalized.

I'm particularly interested in David Astel's presentation on Behavior-Driven Design and Steven Baker's Test-Driving the Rails.

Talks covering AJAX, engines and plug-ins too! Yummy stuff.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Maple Leaf is Red for a Reason

I just registered for CanadaOnRails, the first international Ruby on Rails conference. There is a great line-up of 15 speakers, so the topics are bound to be fun and enlightening. I think I'll hang out in Vancouver over the weekend cause I just loooove that city.

For 155 USD, this must be the most inexpensive conference in this galaxy. Now if I drive up in the VW camper bus, sleep in the hotel parking lot, eat top ramen through December, and send my kids to state schools instead of ivy league, I might also be able to swing PyCon, OSCON, and RubyConf!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Last night Lindsay and I watched this incredible documentary about quadriplegic rugby players who participate in the International Paralympics.

It was moving and inspiring. Watch this film and you'll never complain about your lower back pain or waste your time on another episode of "Survivors" again. The folks in this film are the real survivors, real-life heroes with guts and heart.

People are amazing creatures when you get to know them.

The camera work and editing are phenomenal. It won Best Documentary at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

regional blogging conference

I read about this new blogging conference Northern Voice held in Vancouver, BC on the blogs of fellow islanders Julie Leung and Ted Leung. Tempting.

It's great to see online communities acting as catalysts for face-to-face friendships.

It might be cool to do a mash-up of Google maps with bloggers so that everyone can see their proxity to each other. You could also build identity profiles to link yourself in to other groups, like book groups, discussion groups, etc. Perhaps Google Earth already has this feature?

(BTW: If you haven't tried it, Google Earth is now available for the Mac. It is simply awesome software.)

calling all portable hard drives

With under 1 GB left on the ole powerbook, I'm in the market for a portable hard drive. I need more space for movies, music, backups, and Milla Jovovich photo collection.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations or warnings on models out there. Links to reviews would be much appreciated. Thanks!

My specs:
  • 80 GB or better; probably should go for 120 GB.
  • Fast spindle (at least 5400rpm, but preferably 7200 rpm; I've seen benchmarks on some 5400's that were faster than 7200 due to other other factors)
  • USB 2.0 and/or Firewire 800 (seems like the industry has settled on USB)
  • Decent cache (~2 MB)
  • Fast benchmarks for read, write, transfer done by reputable tester
  • Works flawlessly with Mac and Windows; no extra drivers to install and troubleshoot
  • Prefer some kind of disk management and backup tool included
  • Solid construction and gravity tolerant; high G-shock rating. I'm hard on hardware - I mean is IS called "hardware" - and drop something every 10 minutes. Come to think of it, why doesn't Apple make portable hard drives using their "sudden motion sensor" drive parking technology?
  • Capable of being self-powered through USB 2.0 / Firewire 800
  • Small form factor and light. Should fit in a large shirt pocket. A deck of cards or pack of cigarettes would be nice, but I'd be willing to go bigger for extra padding and durability.
  • Replaceable disk would be very nice (OK, I may be asking for too much for this one, but it would be nice to reuse the case when the disk plays out)
  • Attractive, thoughtful design. A portable drive should say, "Take me with you! I'm sleek and sexy. Show me off."
  • Can boot Mac OS X and/or Linux
I'm currently leaning toward the Western Digital Passport.

My friend Brian recommends an iPod, which is a good idea so I'm thinking on that. I have a 1st gen 5 GB (still going strong) and a Shuffle, but I know if I get a Video iPod (and I'd have to), I'd fill it up too fast since they are only up to 60 GB. They may need to be bigger and faster for my needs. I suspect they are also going to be coming out with large capacity flash versions in the not too distant future, so I'm sorta waiting to see. I mean, Jobs is cranking out so many different versions, I'm convinced they've built some kind of iPod Fuzzy-Pumper Barber Shop in the basement of One Infinite Loop.

Brian also recommends LaCie for their desktop drives, and I've heard good things about them. They are coming out with this very tough looking new portable and a sort-of lego-looking brick, both due out in February. Unfortunately their rotational speeds are 5400, so I'd have to really see some solid benchmark comparisons to see how they perform. I had been considering their Porsche portable, but knowing me I'd break it just pulling it out of the box.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

geek porn

Apple has announced first Apple Intel laptop, the MacBook Pro.

Some very cool designs and features and some impressive specs including:
  • 1.67 or 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor 2MB on chip with shared L2 cache for dramatic boost in performance
  • Runs cooler
  • Front Row media software and remote control
  • Built in iSight
  • MagSafe power connection (This could have saved me some grief with my current 15" powerbook which got dented next to the power connection port.)
  • Motion sensor for locking hard drive head in a fall
  • Optional digital audio
  • Faster, brighter, larger display with ATI Mobility Radeon X1600
  • Thinner (1") and lighter (5.6 lbs)
  • Updates to iLife, including some interesting publishing/subscribing features for photos and integration into .Mac.
  • No mention of improvement to battery life. I get a little under 3 hours now with my 15" aluminum powerbook and I pine for the days of 5 with my old pismo.
  • No specs for maximum RAM, but I read elsewhere it may be 2G. Would have liked to seen more, but it is much faster.
  • Single firewire port is 400 Mbps, not 800
  • Moving the wireless antennae from the display to the hinge, while improving the form factor may decrease receptivity
  • Display resolution could be higher
  • Hard drives could be faster rpm (7200)
  • Case is still difficult to open and access. Again, the pismo was much better with it's removable keyboard.
I'm looking forward to demoing them at the Seattle Apple store in February. But I won't likely be a first adopter.

New Intel Macs Announced

Sweet. A buddy just IM-ed me with a real-time report from ilounge on the Macworld keynote from Apple's Steve Jobs.

1:11 - First intel mac, First of new generation of Macs - iMac - We're going to put intel processor inside new iMac.
1:12 - iMac - Same sizes 17 and 20', Same design, Same features, Same prices, What's different - New iMac is 2-3x faster than iMac G5. Uses intel's core duo chip, Two processors on one die, 2mb l2 cache, 2mb l2 cache, Each processor is faster than G5 - iMac Core Duo is name. 2.0Ghz Core Duo is much faster than 2.1ghz iMac g5. Every iMac is now dual processor.

1:26 - iMac Core Duo - 1.83ghz 17' $1299, 2.0ghz 20' $1699, Shipping today.

1:30 - New notebook MacBook Pro - Intel Core Duo, Dual processors in every macbook pro. 4-5x faster than g4. Fastest mac notebook ever, Thinnest ever - 1" thin. 15.4 display widescreen as bright as the cinema's. iSight built-in.

1:33 - Live demo - Ir sensor and apple remote, front row built in. MagSafe - prevents mac from being snagged, new power adapter that's magnetic - Pulls right off. 5.6 lbs. Std features are like prior pb. Dvi video out for 30" cinema display. $1999 1.67, $2499 1.83ghz. Shipping february, Orders today.

I'm reluctant to be an earlier adopter, but I'm drooling over the MacBook and I haven't even seen it yet.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Agiles Rails Development at Canada on Rails

Steven Baker is giving a workshop on Agile Rails Development at Canada on Rails this April. Looks like he will be talking about TDD vs. BDD (Behavior Driven Development) and likely RSpec, his BDD testing framework which I posted about previously.

This could be a really nice supplement to the book Agile Web Development with Rails, which I liked but wanted to go into more detail about testing.

I'm having trouble deciding which conference I should attend this year. Vancouver is closer (and cheaper) than Chicago, but the conference web site hasn't yet announced who the speakers are or what the sessions will be about, so it's hard to say.

Idea for blog auto-linking feature

What if your blog tracked the links you put in your posts, associated with the linked text, and automatically linked the first term in your future posts with the matching URL. Of course, multiple matches would need some interface for letting you choose the desired URL, and you might want some way to cancel a link as you typed it.

Maybe you could also invoke the feature on the selected text so that it would return the first 10 results from Google to allow you to choose the best link. (This is sort of what I do manually using Firefox's "Search Web For..." feature. ) Seems like that would be a no-brainer for Blogger, Typo, or even GreaseMonkey.

You might also want an admin view to manage those URLs so that you can change them and have all your previously links updated. And then you'd just have to have a built-in link checker to alert you to broken links...

(UH OH. I'm feeling an attack of feature-itis coming on.)

Does anyone know whether any of the blogging tools out there supports anything like this?

Might be a nice enhancement to Typo which I'm planning to migrate to. Has anyone done this migration from Blogger?

Friday, January 06, 2006

"Small town. Big secrets."

Andrew sent me a link to a new trailer for his upcoming show on the SCIFI channel, "Eureka", that has more dialog and closeups. I'll update this post when it's ready to be released to the public. I love the deadpan, cynical deliveries of the lead, and the music tracks sound cool.

More info as it comes in, so stayed tuned.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Done deal

Well, it's official. I'm now working for one of the world's largest corporations. How did that happen?

I'm cautiously hopeful. Only time will tell whether GE "gets the Web" and has the vision - along with concrete strategies - to take eHealth to the next level for healthcare providers AND patients. I'm hearing some good things, but I can't help but wonder how a company this large handles the innovator's dilemma - aside from acquiring smaller companies. ;)