26. February 2003 01:39
Caution, you may bust a gut laughing. some material not suitable for children or those easily offended. ready.gov, the new site for the Dept of Homeland Security, has come up with some drawings to represent certain things. kinda like those airline safety brochures. needless to say, with a few modifications or a catchy caption, they take on a whole new meaning.
25. February 2003 14:09
Was riding into Chicago yesterday morning on Metra (the light rail) and was thinking, wouldn't it be nice to have wireless Internet on all these trains. Maybe someone is working on it. I was trying to think of the best way to approach it, maybe a 2-way satellite on the train itself?
It's going to get really interesting to see which technology ends up winning out. Personally I think Wi-Fi (802.11b or 802.11g) is more convenient at the moment. All you need is a card in your pda or laptop or have one of the many devices that now have it built in. no cables to screw with between your phone and laptop or anything. of course bluetooth is supposed to make this a lot easier, but bluetooth phones are still pricey and/or hard to find. that will likely change.
Some people say everyone should just open up their wireless networks to anyone and you get this lilypad approach to networking where you just jump from node to node. there are a couple problems with this approach. first of all, security is an issue. i wouldn't mind someone using my bandwidth during the day, but I'm not willing to open up my home network for them. seems that is a good piece of functionality to add to these cable/dsl routers. "let anyone use my network to get online for web and email only and don't let them do anything else" of course it is possible to do this now with the right equipment, but it needs to be easy and very secure. Joe Blow down the street with Comcast highspeed internet needs to be able to just check a box in the router config or something.
Another issue is obviously terms of usage with your ISP. ISPs aren't going to be happy when you let anybody piggyback on your connection. they want everyone to pay. and that makes sense to some degree, but my broadband connection is only being used about 5% of the time. and that's probably true for a lot of the cable and dsl installations out there.
And one more ease of use thing. you have to be able to hop from node to node seamlessly without doing much, if any, configuration. this is getting better, but still not quite there in most cases.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
25. February 2003 13:58
Well, went a whole weekend without my RSS fix. Used to be I would be away from my computer for a couple days and just have to worry about catching up on email. And it's pretty easy for me to access my email if I can find a Web browser anywhere.
Now I'm also keeping tracks of lots of RSS feeds and when I went to check this morning, I'm way behind. And a lot of this stuff is good content that I want to read, not just weird news of the day, interesting links and rants (although I like those as well).
20. February 2003 13:22
From [Ted Neward], one of the top Java guys out there, comes a good overview of optimizing an application and the core differences between scalability and performance.
Popular myth holds that the terms performance and scalability, if not precisely synonymous, are close enough that improving one will quite naturally improve the other. What's good for performance must be good for scalability as well, right? The truth is quite the opposite--not only do performance and scalability mean two very different things, but improvements to one often hurt the other.
Very true, one of the most important things to "get" when beginning to write distributed applications. This article is obviously written from a Java perspective, but there is a bunch here the holds true for any application platform, including .NET.
Check it out.
19. February 2003 12:59
With my impending departure sometime in the next few months to Chicago, I'm having to work on documentation here at my current job. I hate doing documentation. Maybe that makes me a bad programmer. I understand it's a necessary evil and I'm even pretty good at doing it. Just not my favorite way to pass the time. It's not sexy. It's not cutting edge. It's not exciting.
One of the problems I always face is "who is the audience?" for this stuff. I mean, will they know most of what I know. Will they be a beginner? Will they know how to turn on a computer? Since I'm at a small company, I've been largely responsible for network and sys admin stuff, security, installs, etc. as well. I shouldn't have to reproduce the help file for somebody. Let's face it, the stuff specific to my company is limited. Most of what you need to know is in the manual. I had to read the manual, the next guy should have to as well.
I've never had very good luck with people who are step-followers. It's like those tech support people you call who follow some convoluted script, like a choose your own adventure story. The minute you start talking about something remotely approaching understanding of their product, they are like deer in the headlights. Half the time I just use a bunch of big technical words and jargon so they'll hand me off to the guy above them who actually knows something. But I digress. Documentation is like this. If something goes wrong that I forget to put in step 1 - 10, then what? I can't possibly predict every issue that might pop up.
Oh well, I'll get off this rant, but after doing documentation for 2 solid days I'm a bit testy.