Weekly Digest, 7-19-09

Fever and the Future of Feed Readers

I’m not sure what the solution is here. Feed readers as we’ve known them are dying, but it’s as yet unclear what will take their place. Filtering feeds for relevance algorithmically seems all but fruitless; filtering through the social graph is only a slight improvement, but misses the rare content that may only strike a chord with a small audience.

The Journey to Ruby 1.9

Here’s some tips and tricks for those who want to upgrade their own Ruby install and have their gems to be compatible.

Big Old Rails Template from A Fresh Cup

Here’s a list of what this template sets up…

Don’t offer $50 for your favorite feature

I bet every Mac and iPhone developer (and probably some Windows developers too) has heard this at least once, if not dozens of times, from someone who uses their software: “I will PayPal you $50 right now if you will add this feature for me.”

Structural Tags in HTML5

The HTML5 specification has added quite a few interesting and useful tags for structuring your markup. For a majority of everyday uses, these tags will replace many of our typical div entries from our code. So let’s dig in.

Five Features from Mercurial That Would Make Git Suck Less

This isn’t an attempt to convince you to use Mercurial exclusively. And I’m intentionally skipping any mention of Mercurial’s shortcomings. I want to see these features in upcoming versions of Git.

Serious doubts

I’ve never doubted the viability of running a serious business of writing iPhone apps before. For the first time, now, I am. [The developer of Instapaper on the state of the iPhone App Store.]

rails admin interface roundup

…I evaluated four plugins for admin UI…

Wolfram Alpha and hubristic user interfaces

Strangely, to the developers of intelligent control interfaces, these interfaces appear to work perfectly well. Moreover, when the developers demo these interfaces, the demo comes off without a hitch – and is often quite impressive. This is not the normal result of broken software. This “demo illusion” convinces the developers that the product is ready to ship, although it is not and will never be ready to ship.

Gah! Up is Down! Right is Wrong! Make it Stop!

I’m not a fan of the GPL quite simply because I don’t see the GPL as “open”. The GPL is not defined by what it is, it’s defined by what it isn’t. It’s “against” proprietary closed source code. It’s against corporations. It’s against software as a commercial product… Knowledge is expanded when it is shared. When solutions to problems are shared, that frees us up to tackle the next obstacle rather than spending time solving problems that have already been solved by others… If you truly believe that knowledge is not a zero-sum game, and that sharing knowledge tends to increase the sum of societal knowledge, then you don’t go putting petty restrictions on your knowledge.

There are no small changes

Adding a plugin to a codebase is easy. Integrating a new feature within an existing application is not. When you’re striving for quality there are no small changes.

How Capitalism Saves Ruby from Corporatism

…or… Owning the Means of Production. This talk was given at FutureRuby in Toronto, Canada in the summer of 2009.

Putting What Little We Actually Know About Chrome OS Into Context

I’m skeptical about the prospects of any new system or product that isn’t intended for use by the people creating it. Gmail, for example, is the best web mail system because it was designed to be used not just by “typical” users but by expert users, including the engineers at Google who made it.

One of the Most Time Consuming Startup Roadblocks

So take a risk this month: outsource your first task and see where it takes you. When was the last time a single tool or work habit offered the opportunity to save 20-60 hours in a month?

Paperclip file rename

While developing an application with Sebastián that allow users to upload videos with some file name restrictions, meaning that it must contain only A-Z and 0-9 digits, underscores (_) as a valid component as well, and also the name must be preceded by it’s own #id, we came up with the need of applying this custom filter to each uploaded video.

YouTube Will Be Next To Kiss IE6 Support Goodbye

Judging by this screenshot taken by an IE6 user who was watching some videos on YouTube, it appears the Google company will be phasing out support for the browser shortly. [Die!]

Hacker News on Zed Shaw: Why I (A/L)GPL

[Interesting comments, as usual. My take: the GPL is like half-assed open-source. Sure, you can see the source, but it’s not really open.]


Published by

Trevor Turk

A chess-playing machine of the late 18th century, promoted as an automaton but later proved a hoax.