Ruby on Rails Conference in Orlando, Florida
Be the 1st to comment!

Rails for All, a non-profit Rails promotion organization started by Robert Dempsey, has announced a Ruby on Rails conference in Orlando, Florida next year in early February. They are now accepting proposals for speakers and have posted the hotel information.

I plan to be there and am very much looking forward to it. If you are going, let me know so we can plan to meet up.

JVM Garbage Collection presentation from IBM
Be the 1st to comment!

The ServerSide has posted an interview with Dr. Holly Cummins from IBM who recently gave a presentation on Garbage Collection. She expresses her disagreement with some common beliefs about GC, and gives some recommendations for understanding your verbose GC and using it to tune the GC.

Some quotes from her presentation are highlighted below.

In response to the claim:

Garbage collection does work and causes pauses and the pauses prevent my application from doing work so the shorter the pause the better.

Dr. Cummins answers:

Not true! Even when a garbage collector spends a lot of time paused, application performance may be better.

Dr. Cummins also disagrees with the claim:

OK, I get that the application would go faster if I could tolerate long pauses, but response times are critical for my application so the shorter the pause times, the better off I will be”

She goes on to give some recommendations on adjusting heap size, choosing the right GC policy, and using a toolkit from IBM.

The slides are provided online in a PDF.

The video can be seen, along with accompanying discussion on the Server Side (once everyone gets over her appearance).

Excellent Free Ruby on Rails Book – Limited Time
Be the 1st to comment!

I have purchased and read five Ruby on Rails books. My favorite of all of them is SitePoint’s “Build Your Own Ruby On Rails Web Applications” by Patrick Lenz. It’s an excellent book for beginners to Rails and for the next two months, SitePoint is giving it away free as a PDF.

Get the Free Book Now!

SmartStartMenu for Windows keyboard users
Be the 1st to comment!

I’m a keyboard person. That is, I prefer using the keyboard over the mouse, and I don’t like switching back and forth. If I’m browsing the web, then I use the mouse only, since no keyboard is needed, but when I’m developing, I try to avoid touching the mouse as much as possible. I use keyboard shortcuts whenever there is one available.

But, attempting to open an application on your PC can be difficult without using the mouse. Unless that is, you install SmartStartMenu. I’ve been using SmartStartMenu for several months now, and it’s one of those applications that you install, and then use so much, that you take it for granted and forget it’s not normally installed in Windows. I was reminded of it recently when using a computer without SmartStartMenu, and I attempted to start an application with it.

Upon install and start up, SmartStartMenu loads into the task bar, a small search box (resizable) with a green arrow box on the left, and a drop down arrow selection box on the right. See the figure below. The arrow on the right shows a list of applications from the index, and the arrow on the left allows you to configure SmartStartMenu.

Screenshot for SmartStartMenu

The Win-S shortcut takes your cursor immediately to the search field, and typing in it opens a select box of all matching files, shortcuts, an applications in the paths you’ve configured the software to use. See the figure below. In this example I began typing ‘open’, in order to load an OpenOffice application. After typing ‘ope’, the figure shows what SmartStartMenu has found for matches. The Most Frequently Used (MFU in the config settings) is selected automatically. (There are different settings for Auto-Select.)

OPE Smart Start Menu screenshot

From here, you can use the arrow keys to select from the drop down or continue typing to further narrow down the options. Once the item you are looking for is selected, simply hit enter to use it.

You can run executables, batch files, shortcuts links, and urls. You can add any directory to scan for items to be included in the search. These items are cached at startup, but you can refresh at any time to pick up something you have installed or added. You can create extra shortcuts with different names in order to improve the speed of finding your applications.

SmartStartMenu is a great addition for Windows users who prefer using the keyboard whenever possible. You can download the freeware application from the SmartStartMenu web site.

Focused Problem Solving
Be the 1st to comment!

My favorite web development company, 37 Signals, recently added a post by one of their team members, Jason. He discussed some of the decisions and process that went into a recent functionality addition to their product Highrise. They set out to provide import functionality that their customers were asking for, but in their pursuit of a solution they got off track due to thinking too large.

Sometimes development and design teams can think too small, and not see the forest through the trees, but at other times, and I see this a lot in the IT industry, development teams think way too big. They see a problem and instead of focusing on the important issue, they attempt to provide functionality just in case they might need it some time down the road. But just in case development is very costly, and from my experience, most times that “case” never actually occurs.

The point of Jason’s post is that in this instance, not only did they waste time, but they also didn’t even provide the needed functionality, because they lost focus on the particular problem that really needed the must urgent solution.

In Jason’s words:

…don’t lump a bunch of related small problems together—it just makes one big problem. One big problem requires one big solution, and big solutions take a long time (and often don’t go right). You’re better off chopping big lumps of problems into smaller chunks until you’re able to knock them off one at a time.

Read the entire post, “Design Decisions: Highrise import“.

Page 22 of 35« First...10...2021222324...30...Last »