Tuesday, July 24, 2007

AideRSS opens Beta to the public

According to a blog post AideRSS (started by a Waterloo graduate) opened its doors to a public beta today. I've been using AideRSS over the past few weeks to filter my RSS feeds (including slashdot & reddit) and I've been quite impressed.

I'm also using there feed widget on this blog ( look on the left hand side ) to allow people to subscribe to various levels of my inane writings :) They have a screencast on how to add the best posts widget to your blog. If you are a blogger user you might find it easier to go to the layout section, add a page element and then chose HTML element and put the code in there.

Its also proved useful for measuring the takeup/interesting of various blog posts.

digg this

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Richard Stallman talks on Copyright V. The People

Richard M. Stallman recently gave a talk entitled Copyright vs Community in the Age of Computer Networks to the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club. The talk looks at the origin of copyright, and how it has evolved overtime from something that originally served the benefit of the people to a tool used against them. In keeping with RMS' wishes to use open formats, the talk along with the Q&A session are available in ogg theora only.
Update: the talk is now on slashdot & working its way up digg

Guelph DemoCamp 2

I went to the Guelph DemoCamp last night, and there was a larger turnout than last time. The demos included Zoomii books, Delphi, BlogThot , FreshBooks, WSGI, and castroller.

Zoomii books is essentially an alternative interface to online book stores, which attempts to provided a user experience similar to that of a real book store. BlogThot is a twitter clone with better integration with things like video sharing. FreshBooks is a way of billing people. The FreshBooks demo focused on its report card feature, which compares the performance of your company against that of other companies in its system.Castroller is a system for making it easier to manage your podcasts.

Personally, my two favourite demos were the live coding ones, but thats probably just my style. The Delphi demo was a blast from the past, reminding people that a lot of the "new" features in Ruby on Rails, such as SQL query generation, have been around for a long time. While he wasn't actually trying to get people to use Delphi, he encouraged people to at the very least toy around with it so we know what features to steal. The WSGI demo started of with the standard demo application and then proceeded to integrate various components. WSGI's claim to fame is that it allows you to integrate components from different frameworks, making it easier to re-use existing work.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bjarne Stroustrup talks on "C++0x: An Introduction"

Bjarne Stroustrup recently gave a talk entitled "C++0x: An Introduction" to the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club. While most of my programming is done in languages like Ruby and Ocaml these days, it was quite interesting to here about the upcoming features in C++.

A lot of the talk was spent explaining the difficulties of adding language features to a language with such wide usage as C++.

One interesting tidbit that caught my attention is the introduction of "auto" which will apparently do very basic type inference. So where you use to have something like vector::iterator foo = bar.begin() you can instead have auto foo = bar.begin() .

For those of us out there parsing C++ code (codesearch engines, IDEs, etc.) our lives may be getting a bit easier soon. Bjarne mentioned he is working on a re-usuable C++ parsing tool :)

I think someone on the C# team said it best when they said "We are very much aware of the past and are working as quickly as possible to get there."

New emacs bindings coming to subversion

According to a post by ESR to the subversion dev mailing list, subversion will be getting updated emacs bindings. The most exciting change he mentions is having the emacs version control interface think in things in terms of changes of groups of files, rather than individual files. Presently its not yet at the beta stage, but for those of us who use emacs for everything its interesting news.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Subversion Scheme Bindings

The initial revision of subversion scheme bindings is now checked into the subversion scheme-bindings branch. Both stalin and mzscheme bindings are built, but the mzscheme bindings aren't ready. The stalin scheme still aren't particularly reliable, but I'd greatly appreciate any comments you have.

You can check the bindings out from http://svn.collab.net/repos/svn/branches/scheme-bindings/ . To build the stalin bindings run "make stalin-bindings" and if you really want you can run "make swig-mzscm-bindings".

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Improving usability using datamining

In a talk at the University of Waterloo, Professor Michael Terry discusses the use of data mining, in a customized version of the Gimp, in order to discover and analyze real-world usability data. He touches on encouraging users to participate, privacy concerns, as well as common user categories that the software is currently able to sift out. While the talk focuses on gimp, I think his ideas have great applicability to web applications, since we already have the logs.

read more | digg story | reddit story

Thursday, July 05, 2007

RMS is coming to Waterloo

Richard M. Stallman (RMS) is coming to the University of Waterloo Computer Science Club today (friday the 6th) to talk about "Copyright vs Community". The talk will be held in AL 116 at 2007-07-06, 4:30 PM and is open to all. While I have a meeting a few hours beforehand, I fully intend to be there for this talk.

Plugins, eclipse, emacs, ubuntu

One of the things that a lot of people have asked for is plugins for their favourite development environment. So far we've got plugins for Eclipse and Emacs mostly finished, and we've got an opensearch specification done.

For the eclipse plugin bug 120610 makes me a little sad, since our plugin (naturally) depends on org.eclipse.jdt.apt.core . I'd like to add support for a few more IDEs before the next version, and I'd like some idea of what people want, so I've added a poll to the side of this blog. Personally I'm leaning towards netbeans, but thats just for personal bias.

Bookmarkable URLs

My daily check of the news sites has gotten a whole lot quicker to do thanks to aideRSS and I've managed to find some more interesting things. I'll talk more about aideRSS once I've had the time to poke at it enough.

In my semi-daily perusal I ran across this lovely piece about the importance making urls bookmark friendly. For the most part, All The Code has been relatively free of any of the problems mentioned (we don't over use POST or encode session information into the URLs), but it got me thinking about one possible problem. When All The Code does an index re-build the file IDs for a given program can change, and the links to the code viewer is based on the file ID. Now, index re-builds don't happen all that often with the public version of All The Code, but with the upcoming "enterprise" version index re-builds happen on a more regular basis. With that in mind I quickly whipped up the code to make the links less brittle. If you have a application with a web based interface, I would encourage you to take the few minutes to make your application more bookmark friendly (who knows, it may get you more users).

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