Software

… or maybe Rails

I joked to Blaine how my idea of holiday fun was learning PHP. He suggested if I was starting from scratch anyway I might as well learn Ruby on Rails. That sounded like a grand idea to me and reminded me of a great blog post I read last year:

Cory and many others from Rackspace put in an incredible amount of work helping with the Katrina relief efforts. Here is his story: “Shelter Famous”, or, How To Build Disaster Relief Software (with Rails)

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Software

PHP MySQL OSX

If you can’t tell from the title, my Christmas has been a blast :-). I kid, but I decided to take on a coding project (something more than duct tape). I decided to get Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Xcode installed on my MacBook Pro to facilitate this. Here are some links to make this easier on the next person.

I haven’t played with Xcode yet. I figure I’ll use TextWrangler till I get into something big. For the curious: I’m starting at the very beginning.

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Software

nUbuntu

nubuntu logo
All the cool kids these days are running Ubuntu. I’ve avoided it for a while since it’s Debian based and I was a Gentoo ricer (Jackass is hardcore). Well, since I’ve gotten my Macs the Gentoo systems have rotted and I decided to install nUbuntu on my laptop.

nUbuntu is a live security CD and features one of my favorite things: Fluxbox. I’ve avoided Ubuntu because it featured Gnome. Learning Linux on a Playstation 2 taught me something very important: keep it fat free. That means no heavy desktop enviroment. Everything on a Linux system can be changed with a text editor so a lightweight windowing system is all you need. A bloated desktop enviroment just leads to mediocrity in its individual tools. It’s the individual programs that really shine on Linux anyway. Like mplayer, a media player that you can throw anything at and it will play. Continue reading

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Software

Links are up

Just wanted to direct your attention over to the right column. I’ve added links to all of the sites I read on a regular basis.

Also, if you missed it: Phil has released myGmaps a new google maps based custom map generator. I’ll be sure to play with it when I get a chance and post anything fun I come up with.

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Software

State of the music

home taping shirtSo, where can you buy music online? How about that there Napster.com. Well, Napster will let you download an unlimited amount of music for a monthly fee, but once you stop subscribing you can’t use the music anymore. You’re RENTING music. How about iTunes? A problem with both Napster and iTunes is that they use Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM allows these companies to give you a file, but restrict the way you use it. I’ll say this now so I can say “I told you so” later: In the next 2-5 years people will be buying new computers to replace their current ones. The limited technical ability of most users will cause them to lose access to the music collections that they’ve payed for and they’ll be PISSED. I’m sure a cottage industry will spring up to help people make the transition (probably connected to cd ripping services). Non-DRM music guarantees that you will be able to play it on whatever device you want. In recent news an application has been developed to bypass iTunes DRM, of course Apple fought back, but was cracked again within two days. You still had to buy your music with this application, but it restored your rights to use it. Are there any non-DRM services? Mp3tunes.com provides music at only 88cents per song and 60cents goes directly to the artist. They may not have who you are looking for though. There are also Russian sites of questionable legality. So, completely disenchanted? Well here’s a treat: The South by Southwest music festival released a bittorrent of over 750 mp3s. I’ve been listening to these everyday for the last week and it has been awesome. I guess I’ll just have to go out and buy the cds to show my appreciation.

UPDATE: There is even a DRM blog!

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Innovation, Software

Visualizing online auctions

auction visNooface has an interesting article on visualizing online auctions. IBM’s Babble project tries to restore the social cues that online interactions lack. What’s that mean? Not having to use those damn smilies 😉

This post is mostly to plug Nooface which covers future user interfaces. Computing power and storage is constantly increasing, but without a good interface it wil be frustrating to use. Check out the site for other interesting ideas like Zoomable User Interfaces.

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