Junction Rocks

I just found a tool that rocks so hard it’ll make your grandma freak.  I’ve wanted a tool to create symlinks on Windows for years; nay, perhaps a decade now.  Fortunately, my friend Jeff turned me on to Junction.  It’s small, it’s simple, it has no requirements.  I like that.

Now, I’m off to restructure my hard drive the way I want it with superfluous links.  Love it.


Blogger for Word

I’m not a big fan of Word, but the Blogger for Word add-on works extremely well.  I’ve published all of today’s posts using it.  It integrates into Word as a toolbar.  You just create a new document containing your post and use the toolbar to publish.  Simple and it works.

I really need to invest some time and get Emacs set up to publish to Blogger.  I just haven’t felt like investing the time yet.

Treo 600: SD Card Not Recognized

Here’s a tip for you Treo 600 owners…  If you’re Treo suddenly tells you that “The handheld cannot recognize this card.” when you are using an SD card, try putting the card in the slot and doing a soft reset.  Once the device is reset, there’s a chance that the card will magically be recognized.  Why?  I don’t know why.

Thanks to this PDA Street Forum post – it worked for me!

WOD of Issues

The Fishbowl has a great post about The Wall of Death.  The idea is that you create a wall where you put issues, enhancements, etc. for the current release for a software product on a big wall.  Developers take issues off the wall, work on them, then record the time it took on the paper.  When they are done, they deposit the pieces of paper in a “done” pile.  This leaves a very nice paper trail and shows your progress.

I love this idea.  I can think of at least a half dozen projects where I would have loved a Wall Of Death.  (You could even casually call it the WOD which feels satisfying.)  The WOD would have been much more satisfying to work with than a spreadsheet or online issue tracking system.  

The only draw back is that I’m a consultant.  Most of the time I have to work in conditions that would not be friendly for a WOD.  Now, if you could have a virtual WOD, that would be cool.  Wait a minute, isn’t that what systems like Altassian’s should strive for?  Maybe they should incorporate the WOD idea into the next version of their products.  (


Singing Opera

Last month, Opera celebrated its 10th anniversary by giving away free licenses of their browser. I took advantage of it because I was an Opera lover before Mozilla went 1.0. I installed the latest version of Opera and licensed my copy. I played for a bit, and then put it away.

For several months now, I've noticed that my Firefox is leaking memory like crazy. I don't know what's going on - is it an extension? Is it the core? I guess I could uninstall everything or use a different (new) profile to see if I have still the problem. I also suspect Gmail's web interface. Seems like if you leave that up for a couple of hours, the next thing you know Firefox is topping 80 - 100 MB of memory usage.

Instead of playing around, I decided to give Opera another whirl and I've been enjoying it immensely. I set up M2 (Opera's mail client) to do my Gmail via POP. It's a very slick mail client. I am not sure if it allows me to send HTML mail messages, but I'm not sure that I care either. I love its speed and simplicity. I also love the way it indexes mail and integrates so nicely with the browser.

I've also started loving the Opera interface all over again. The mouse gestures are awesome for when you don't want to take your hand off the mouse. The keyboard shortcuts are equally awesome for when you don't want to take your hands off the keyboard.

So, what's annoying? Lack of sites that support it. Gmail mostly works. The dialog box where you type in someone's name to send them a message doesn't work from time to time. But, M2 is working like a champ for that.

Some sites just don't recognize the Opera browser, and they let you know it. However, you can hit F12 and change Opera to emulate Firefox or IE. The problem is that the emulation isn't complete (or completely broken in the case of IE). However, it does let you fake out some of the sites some of the time. Also, when I use Safari on my Mac, I have similar issues.

All in all I'm having a great time with Opera. I think I'm going to continue to use it as my preferred browser for another week or two and give it a fair shake. It's certainly stable and doesn't seem to leak memory that badly. And those two things are worth alot to me.


FT.com / Technology / Digital Business - How open source gave power to the people

FT.com / Technology / Digital Business - How open source gave power to the people is a nice piece on how Open Source Software (OSS) is empowering people in new ways that weren't previously possible. There's also reference to how OSS is starting to change how corporations offer their products and services.

More about declining interest in high tech education

The Globe and Mail: Where jobs are and students aren't reports about how young people are not pursuing technical careers. They site the technical bust as the reason.

Whatever the reason, I'm afraid there is a growing possibility of real technical brain drain problem in the U.S. Not only are we losing research funding to other countries, but we're also having trouble finding people to even pursue a technical career.


Linux Empowers Supervillians

This cracked me up even though it completely lets our secret out...


Design-first vs. code-first

The Server Side has a hot thread on Design is not coding, coding is not design. As you might imagine, it has all the trappings of a Holy War. There are some interesting posts, though.

I think there's a misconception in the software world that there is some kind of silver bullet to making great software. Sometimes languages are held up as a silver bullet. Sometimes it's tools. In this case it seems to be methodology, specifically design-first vs. code-first type of methodology.

What do I think? Well, I think it takes a team of dedicated, talented people to make great software. It takes good ideas, good design, good project management, good code, and good customer support. Without dedication, talent, direction, and sound practices it doesn't seem to me that any of the things you must be "good" at is possible.

So, design-first vs. code-first? Yes. As long as it fits in the context of a good practice that allows your firm to make good software.

I would like to create a methodology called "Holistic Software Development". It's mission statement would be something like "get good, hard working people to focus their talent and energy on turning great ideas into great software that empowers customers through excellent practices". It would be a methodology framework that other methodologies could plug into - something like the Spring application framework. But, it would tie them together in a way that supported it's mission statement.

But, what do I know?


What Firefox and Mozilla users should know about the IDN buffer overflow security issue

Mozilla has released a security advisory about a buffer overflow problem in Firefox. You can read about how to work around the issue here. The problem has to do with how Firefox handles local characters in an IDN domain name. CNET has a write up here.