Archive for November, 2005

Firefox 1.5 possibly (hopefully) available today

The rumor is that Firefox 1.5 will be released today. Keep an eye on GetFirefox.com. My favorite new feature: drag and drop reordering of tabs. I’ve been waiting for this for as long as I’ve been doing tabbed browsing, and have always found the plugins that provide this functionality to be sketchy, especially on OS X. I’m glad to see Ansers.com is being added to the search engine list, as well. And of course performance improvements are always welcomed.

Mozilla.org has a full list of new features (for RC 3, not the final release). Let’s hope it’s today. I could use something to brighten up this dreary San Francisco morning.

Update: As mentioned in the comments, it’s available now. Also, when I installed 1.5, I was told that the SpellBound and Live HTTP Headers extensions would not work, and were being disabled. I uninstalled them both (along with the dictionaries), then reinstalled, and they both work fine.

Never thought I’d say it, but I’m one happy Windows user

I’ve never been a big fan of Windows. Until now.

I was introduced to Linux at my previous job, primarily by my long-time friend, Ben Simon. I was a happy Linux user for years, then switched to OS X when it came out. I was a happy OS X user for many years, as well, but was recently compelled to switch to Windows. I tried to be a good sport about it and embrace the change. In fact, I decided that if I was going to switch to Windows, I was going all the way. No Cygwin. No command line tools. I wanted everything to be graphical. I wanted the full Windows experience, and to fully embrace the Windows world.

In many ways, I was very impressed. Windows is far faster than OS X (a problem I’m hoping the Intel Macs will help solve), and most software is much better supported on Windows (Mac users may argue both these points, but believe me, they are both very true). I also didn’t mind the ease with which I could install certain applications. I’ve installed MySQL dozens of times on Linux and OS X, and it was kind of refreshing just to double click, go through a configuration process, and a few minutes later, have a great database server running perfectly.

But the honeymoon didn’t last long. My biggest frustration was a lack of command line. My commitment to doing things the Windows way wasn’t working. I tried things like Tortoise CVS and Tortoise SVN but found them clumsy and even buggy. I’m a huge Vim fan, but I tried to force myself into using Eclipse (which actually I really love now for certain things) and TextPad for all my editing needs. When I needed to move files to a Unix machine, I opened WinSCP rather than running scp from a shell environment. The result was months of constant frustration at the clumsiness of a purely graphical environment. I needed a command line, or I was going back to OS X the day the Intels came out.

The DOS shell is pretty much a joke (it doesn’t look like it’s changed a bit since I was a kid), so I decided to install Cygwin, an amazing Linux emulation layer and collection of tools, commands, and utilities. The problem I’ve always had with Cygwin was that the terminal window itself wasn’t much better than DOS. Although it behaves like a Unix box, the look and feel was clearly that of Windows DOS. Danny Dura suggested one day that I try installing sshd and using Putty to SSH into my own box locally to give myself a better terminal. I kept meaning to get around to trying it, and then when I saw that Ben had done just that, I used some time over my holiday to play around with my own setup. I’m happy to report that it works perfectly, and now I am probably the happiest Windows user I know. I have my command line just how I like it, vim, make, ssh, scp, cvs, svn, ls, mv, d, bc, cal, cron, aspell, etc. — all just how I like them. And, of course, I still have all the convenience and speed of Windows. And the icing on the cake: screen. Now if only I could run FVWM.

MAX Hong Kong: Software, Food, and Shopping

This is my kind of town. Great food, great technology, and a great conference. I gave a presentation this morning entitled "Next Generation ActionScript", and it went very well. I’ll post the presentation and all the example files here once I get back to San Francisco.

As Scott mentioned, we ate a 13-course Chinese meal last night! I had no idea such a thing was even possible. I didn’t realize it was going to be 13 courses, so for the first few, I finished everything they served me. Eventually, I checked the menu and realized there were about 9 more courses to go. Although I didn’t end up cleaning every plate they put in front of me, I ate far more than I needed to, and didn’t eat again until lunch today.

The sessions today have been great. After my session this morning, I listened to Steven Webster talk about Cairngorm, then to Mark Blair talk about Flex Data Services after lunch. This is the hard part of the day when my body wants me to go to sleep because it’s about 11:00 in San Francisco, so I’ll grab some caffeine and hit a few more sessions before taking a walk around the city.

I leave tomorrow morning: a non-stop, 12-hour flight back to San Francisco. Fortunately, I have plenty of video and PSP games to keep me company, along with some head-to-head SOCOM with Scott.

From Korea to Hong Kong

We wrapped up MAX Korea today. This was my first time at any MAX other than US. I have to say, I was very impressed. The sessions were good, the speakers were good, the attendees were passionate, and the hotel and conference center were very nice facilities.

I wish I had been able to spend more time on Seoul. We went out for a great Korean meal last night at a place where there was live traditional music. That’s about all I saw of Korea, however, other than the conference center, airport, and what I could see from the taxi in between. Next time, I’ll try to come in a day early. Seoul seems like an amazing city, though a little cold for my taste this time of year (I’ve gotten soft since moving from Washington DC to San Francisco).

I left Seoul this morning very early and arrived in Hong Kong three hours later (three hours flies by with a PSP with SSX and GTA). Scott Fegette and I spent a good portion of the day walking around the city, drooling over various electronics. We both bought cases for our iPod videos (there are no cases currently available in the US), and I’m pretty sure I’ll end up with a new digital camera before I leave. And the best part is the Casio G-Shock store right across the street from our hotel (I’m a huge G-Shock fan).

We had a speaker briefing this evening during which I had a chance to reconnect with several people, and meet several others. Tomorrow morning, the conference begins with the general session led by Mark Anders. I will be doing an expanded version of the presentation I did in Korea called "Next Generation ActionScript". I’ll post it here once I get back to San Francisco.

So far, the trip has been great, but I’m still very jet lagged. My problem is actually more insomnia rather than fatigue. I’m usually able to stay up pretty easily, but every time I try to sleep, no matter how tired I am, I find myself wide awake again in just a couple of hours. I’ve probably slept no more than about 10 hours total since leaving, and it’s starting to take its toll on me. Hopefully I’ll be able to get over the hump tonight, and finally get a good night’s sleep. There are a lot of interesting sessions here, and I don’t want to miss any of them.

I’m off to Asia

I leave tomorrow (Sunday) for MAX in South Korea and Hong Kong. I’ll be giving some talks on ActionScript 3. If you’re going to be there, send me an email, and let’s hook up. I’ll be gone for a week, and probably jet lagged out of my mind for a day or two after I get home, so I’ll be slow answering email.

My presentation contains a lot of good ActionScript 2 (things new to Flash Player 8) and Action Script 3 code examples. I’ll post everything online once I get back.

CFEclipse and Flex Builder 2: Happy Together

I now do all my Flash development in Flex Builder 2. No exceptions. But I still use another installation of Eclipse for other types of development (ColdFusion, Java, HTML, JavaScript, etc.). Yesterday, I ran into a situation where I needed to embed a small Flex application in a custom HTML page, so tried installing CFEclipse into Flex Builder 2, and it seems to work perfectly. It’s not guaranteed to work, and I supposed it could break in the future, but for now, I’m a very happy developer.

Update: I should qualify that I’m talking about the standalone version of Flex Builder 2. The plugin version will definitely work with CFEclipse.

MXNA 2.0 web services updated

As promised yesterday, the MXNA 2.0 web services have been updated. You can find the details in yesterday’s post. If you have an application that uses the MXNA web services, you should probably check to make sure it still works. If you have any questions or problems, post them here.

How do you parse your log files?

I’ve been playing around with different ways to parse log files and generate server reports. I currently have Webalizer, Analog, Omniture, and mod_log_sql in place. Unfortunately, I can’t find one package that provides everything I want. Anyone have any suggestions?