Friday, May 30, 2008

Interview with Johanna Rothman

I've just started reading her articles recently, and I really like what she has to say.

This is a really interesting interview with her about software testing.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Looks like a neat plugin: it replaces ads with pieces of contemporary art.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mass-consumption software nowadays

A lot of people like to boo Microsoft for their incompetences, and a lot of people like to praise Apple for their sexiness (and often it's the same people who engage in these acts of fanboyism), but I've been noticing that lately, this perception of Microsoft being bad and Apple good is a bit off.

I noticed that there are a lot of things that Microsoft has been doing lately that's fairly non-evil: the announcement of Acid 2 compliance in IE8, their open-source OS project in the Microsoft labs, the ODF support announcement, the progress Moonlight has been making, etc.

And rumor has it that they've been favoring hiring competent professionals for higher-up positions rather than advancing the fresh-out-of-school old-timers.

Apple, on the other hand, has been getting a bit of criticism because of its vendor lock-in platforms (look at the iPhone SDK agreement, for a prime example)

Also, vulnerabilities being found in Apple software aren't exactly harmless enough that you could just put off fixing them indefinitely.

There are also issues with drivers (my BootCamp's battery driver still pegs the CPU at 100% every now and then, for example - and this is Apple's driver running on Apple's hardware). Also, compared to the MSDN and the vast array of Microsoft's Visual-whatever products, Apple's support for Mac software developers is pretty darn lame.

Anyways, that's how I see it, being a developer, a Macbook owner, a techie enthusiast and all: there's no undisputed better choice in the Microsoft vs Apple dispute, they both suck, but for different reasons, and they both rock for different reasons.

Disabled? Who?

Second time I've heard about socially stigmatized minorities striving on the workplace.

The first was a story about a retired senior working as an "office boy" (a term that, in Brazil, means a person who runs mundane work-related errands like depositing cheques or delivering documents to government agencies). He used his preferential service rights to his advantage to cut through what would otherwise be 2-hour line-ups.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Risk and Culture

Yale usually publishes some really interesting research papers. This one is about risk assessment as it relates to cultural predisposition.

For those who have no idea what that means, here's an example from some recent news: UPI link, Ars link. Notice how the bias differ between the two articles and think in terms of target audiences.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dark launch

Apparently, Facebook is launching a chat app with comet and erlang. The thing that interests me is how they did the testing: a "dark launch", where regular pages would invisibly simulate a chat session without users seeing anything funky going on.

Chatspeak arguements are apparently meaningless

omgroflolmaobbq , I guess. Frankly speaking, I think saying chatspeak "ruins" anything is a bit overboard, though I'll say that it does confuse foreign teenagers about what is socially and/or contextually appropriate language.

3D coming in flash 10

This is big: Adobe did a press release about the upcoming Flash 10 and it seems it will have a 3D API. I would love to see how the API was designed, and I'm really interested in seeing how Microsoft and the javascript/canvas community will come up with from here on.

What concerns me about 3D in flash is the same thing that has always bugged me about Flash in general: how's the performance?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yes! Documentation!

Mark Pilgrim just released Google Doctype. I've gotta say it's really cool and has some fairly advanced articles that newbies and old-timers alike could learn from.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cool, contextual wiki searches

Powerset seems to allow searching on wikipedia with much more specificity than Wikipedia's built-in search engine (or Google, for that matter). The ability to type in plain english is kinda nice too (although I'm more of the search-only-for-keywords type of person)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Maintenance cycle

I've been seeing a lot of articles about performance benchmarks and about scalability lately.

It kinda feels like we're getting into the maintenance phase of the Internet, when most of the "coolness" of the web has been developed, and now people need to figure out how to get it to continue running smoothly once their apps get swarmed by the masses.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Processing js

I don't know about the rest of you, but I really like crazy ports like this: a Processing interpreter using javascript and canvas.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Evolution controversies

I've met quite a few religious zealots that like to think evolution is controversial (or a lie, according to some). This article gives a nice brief intro to what are the real controversies currently being debated by the scientific community and how far fetched are the claims of groups like the Discovery Institute.

The sad thing in all this "Intelligent Design" debate is that the children are the ones getting hurt by loud people who don't do any real research.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dragonfly is out

Opera Dragonfly Alpha is out. Being in alpha, it's not as feature packed as firebug, but it sure beats the old Opera error console.

Zebra Striping

ALA has a new usability article about zebra-striping (alternating colors in table rows). It seems like it involved a lot of research only to find out that it doesn't make much of a difference after all, but I still prefer hard data over I-think-isms.

Hacking Ruby into Python

Interesting bit of hackery: trying to translate Ruby bytecode to Python bytecode so you can run Ruby on Google App Engine.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Open licensing is hard

Dion Almaer talks about recent licensing issues in several projects and offers some nice insight (for the 0.1% of people who care, anyhow)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Putting things in context

I just love these lists that show how removed from reality some of our subconscious beliefs are (e.g. thinking that strangers are the ones who are most likely to kidnap our kids, and that planes are less safe than cars and french fries).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New electronics element discovered

HP Labs announced that they've created working memristors, which may very well be the next-big-thing in the world of high performance electronic devices.

The future is parallel

Some big names are getting together to overcome the difficulties of today's parallel processing infrastructures. Better start learning erlang or something.

Adobe is really into the open source thing

No more restrictions on making flash runtimes. I'm guessing standardization of swf and flv formats aren't too far in the future.