I heard about this and couldn’t believe it so I had to check it out for myself. The folks at True Knowledge have apparently, through a detailed scientific process, determined that April 11, 1954 was the most boring day in history. I had planned to post some snide remark about the wasteful use of CPU cycles in large environmentally hostile data centers, but then I got hypnotized playing with True Knowledge.
For example, I decided that it was absolutely critical that I know how many strips a typical zebra had…
You gotta be friggin kidding me! I didn’t even know there were that many kinds of zebra.
This site is worth a visit because in addition to it’s ability to answer those disturbing questions that have always plagued us, like zebra strip statistics, they’ve posted some detailed information on the engine’s architecture which is of general interest to the techies out there.
So, if you were alive on April 11, 1954 do you remember that day? No? Well, now you know why.
A while back I posted briefly about Michael Hart’s Ruby on Rails Tutorial. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was working on a couple of projects and it occurred to me that I’ve let my testing fall by the wayside. I remembered that that Michael hit testing pretty hard in his tutorial and used autotest, which I had never used, so I had a closer look at the tutorial for Rails 3.0. I’ve been doing a lot of continuous integration work at my day job with heavy duty stuff like Team Center, Hudson, Bamboo, etc. I wanted to see what the cool kids were doing for single developers in the area of continuous testing.
Long story short, I took my leisure time over the holiday and walked through the entire tutorial. I’m now officially upgrading my assessment from “worth a look” to “everyone starting to learn Rails should go through this tutorial first.” Aside from one very minor error which I’ll send to the author soon, the tutorial not only is very complete, but gives detailed explanations on why things are done in certain ways. The tutorial also has a “Rails Flavored Ruby” chapter which is a great overview of Ruby, including it’s oddities, which is great for beginners. I’ve been doing Rails for about a year and going through the tutorial re-grounded me in the basics, gave me a flavor for how automated continuous testing with RSpec should be put together and was a great introduction to Rails 3.0.
The official RoR documentation says that it will be difficult to use Rails before learning Ruby. I have always disagreed with this, although you certainly won’t become a Rails ninja without Ruby proficiency. Michael apparently holds this view too and focuses on the aspects of Ruby that are used in Rails.
So, if you’re new to Rails, here’s what I recommend to ramp up:
- Go through the Ruby on Rails Tutorial in it’s entirety. I haven’t seen any of the accompanying screencasts, but the sample looks very good so check those out as well.
- Pick a project and build it, and rebuild it, over and over again in Rails until you get it right. Use Ryan Bate’s outstanding Railscasts to dig deeper into specific topics.
- Check out aRailsDemo to see how a Rails site was built by a developer relatively new to Rails.
- Go through some of the Teach Me to Code screencasts…the one on building a Twitter clone is great. It’s not as rehearsed as Railscasts which makes it a nice insight into day to day Rails development. There’s some good testing stuff there too.
- Do lots of coding…that’s the only way to learn.
The Ruby on Rails Tutorial book is available free on the web or you can buy it and all the screencasts on the site.
The folks over at AboutOne are throwing a twitter party for an extremely good cause this December 2nd. The party benefits Operation Shower which supports military families in a very creative way…by throwing baby showers for the families of deployed military personnel. Having delivered software for military systems over the years we’ve worked closely with men and women in the Army, Navy and Coast Guard and have a special appreciation for the sacrifice they make for us every day.
“When a deployed member of the military leaves a pregnant spouse behind to prepare for a family in her husband’s absence, what should be a joyous occasion and a precious memory often becomes quite stressful. Listed as one of Babble.com’s “50 Best Charities for Babies and Small Children”, Operation Shower (http://www.operationshower.org) is a non-profit organization that honors the sacrifices American military families make by producing and coordinating unit-wide baby showers for expecting military families in a deployment or high stress situation. Moms and dads receive gift boxes filled with baby supplies, clothing, toys, books, and much more.
Since its inception in 2007, the organization has showered over 400 women and hosted 12 unit-wide showers on military bases across the country for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support military families by hosting unique baby showers and providing a shared experience as well as products and services to make life easier for these moms,” says Chief Shower Officer, LeAnn Morrissey. The charity’s long-term goal is to reach every military base in the nation. To this end, Morrissey has developed Operation Give Thanks, a nationwide fundraising campaign to help Operation Shower meet this goal and ease the burden of deployment for military families.”
So, join the party and donate! We’ll see everyone on the 2nd at 9PM!
Oh, and a special tip of the hat to AboutOne for organizing this and XIPWIRE, who stepped up and is matching $1 for every $1 donation up to $5k. To donate via XIPWIRE (another Philly area startup) just text OGT to 56624 to donate your dollar. Nice going guys.
I’m, like most Rails developers, am guilty of bashing Windows as a development environment for Rails. Most Rails folks also aren’t proponents of big IDE’s, but in Windows those, or packages such as Instant Rails, are often the least painful ways to go because they take care of much of the environmental setup that needs to be done.
A while back I tried to get Aptana Studio to work and was unable to do so. I failed miserably as you can see. That frustration drove me back to my Mac’s loving embrace. Today I noticed that Aptana had released a beta of Aptana Studio 3, so I decided to give it a shot since I have a Windows machine at work and need Rails and a variety of other frameworks on it for my daily activities. Installation of Aptana went without a hitch. I fired it up, and was greeted with a pleasant looking, unix style terminal window! I was able to create an application with a simple New->Project->Rails (Aptana supports a ton of development languages and frameworks). My only hitch was the installation of sqlite3 on Windows (always a pain in the rear). In the end, I wound up copying the *.exe, *.dll and *.def files into EVERY bin directory for installed Ruby versions. Apparently having the Windows path pointing to it isn’t enough.
But I digress, once the sqlite3 installation was working, I returned to Aptana. I was able to install gems through bundler or the command line with no problem. Aptana provides menu options for all of the common Rails commands (script generate, etc.) but I find those slower than the command line if you know what you’re doing. Still, it’s nice to see all the options there in case you forget.
I added a few models with scaffolding to my new app and everything worked beautifully.
The Aptana Studio 3 beta looks awesome so far. If you’re trapped on Windows it looks like a great solution and compared to some other IDE’s (I’m looking at you Eclipse and Netbeans), Aptana studio is fast, intuitive and easy to use. Here’s the intro video for Aptana Studio 3…definitely check it out.
This is from the Web 2.0 conference. Comcast (aka Xfinity…but we’re not fooled…they’re still Comcast) demonstrated this app. Looks pretty good. This is a really busy space with Hulu, Netflix and now the big cable operators jumping on-board. Should be fun to watch the fray. I’m sure that content providers will make things just inconvenient enough to drive us all crazy with what’s available where and when.
A while back, we were asked to promote World Habitat Day on the kiwiluv tech blog. We’re more than happy to do so for any worthy cause, so naturally we put up a post. We just got a kind pingback for that small act of kindness from Abraham Harrison. Still, looking at the list I’m a bit disappointed that the Internet couldn’t do better than 255 blog posts promoting this. 255? Seriously? That’s a suspicious number so I’m going to assume it’s a computer glitch…otherwise I’m calling out the bloggers of the world to do better next year!
We love software that’s simple and clean. Duck Duck Go definitely fits the bill. We’ve posted a couple of interviews from Duck Duck Go’s creator, Gabriel Weinberg (another Philadelphia area entrepreneur). However, we never really said much about the site itself.
Google has reached the point where it is a verb in the English (and other) language. Search is ‘Googling’ now no matter where you are and what you’re doing. Sadly, I’m old enough to remember when Alta Vista was the search to beat.
I give Google a tip of my hat for their algorithms and what they’ve accomplished. They’re not the only game in town though, and for some things perhaps not the best. One thing’s for sure…Duck Duck Go is much prettier.
Google, the gorilla of search, also does a decent job, but lacks style. Also, the results are purely the work of the algorithm and somehow lack a human touch. Not to mention Google produces some of the most butt ugly user interfaces…
Yuck. Well, it’s given you the results based on the traffic and interconnections that the Googlerithm has determined. But is it what you were looking for? Why not give Duck Duck Go a try for a few days and see what life outside of the Google Hegemony is like.
Oh, for techies here’s a nice post from Gabriel’s blog on Duck Duck Go’s architecture. Worth a look!
This one floated into my inbox today. The Startup Death Clock takes some extremely basic information on your startup and predicts when your startup will bleed out. Important safety tip…bring in more than you spend (it’s nice to be good at math).
Well, these guys are technically a competitor in some arenas, but having followed Jonathon Horsman on Twitter and checking out their blog they certainly know their stuff. They have a broader tech stack than we here at kiwiluv do, but more importantly seem like a pretty cool crowd. If you need some web or mobile software slung check Artickiwi out…
…because, let’s face it..kiwis are cool…:).
This has been a recurring theme throughout my entire software development career. Our kiwiPomodoro app implements the ticking sound because the technique recommends audible ticking. You can turn it down or off if it drives you insane…
So, one user loves the ticking. The other user (the Spanish comment) calls it absurd. Oh well, I guess that’s why software accumulates thousands of configuration options over time. Guess we’ll be adding a mute button to the app…:(.