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Showing posts from November, 2007

How To Predict The Solid Web

Developers from both Opera and Mozilla have recently blogged about 3D rendering contexts for the canvas element, confirming my year-old predictions. Of course, the news is a bit saddened by the decision from Opera to support a new, non-GL-based API. I understand the desire for something more high level, but putting well known GL functions underneath is a perfectly acceptable idea. One side or a third party needs to provide a compatibility layer, or they need to decide on one of these APIs. I really hope OpenGL ES makes the win here. This also ties into the OpenGL APIs on Android, accessable through WebKit, so it only makes sense that Firefox, Opera, and all the WebKit-based browsers should standardize, before Redmond releases DirectX 1.0 Web Edition Premium.

For Users This Means...

We're going to see some fun web applications taking advantage of this, but there isn't a lot we'll see that we didn't have with Flash, for years now. I think some of the most interesting effec…

How To Work a Sigmoid

Software Development in Really Big Steps
How To Work a SigmoidHow To Work a Sigmoid - Part Two

I've written about my use of FogBugz, driven by their great time tracking and estimation features. Using these, I've come across what I think is probably common and should be a goal for estimating the time of a project.

There are two estimations of a project. When you start, you can make some wild guess, pulled from the ether, weeks or months ahead of when you think it will be complete. This is the number that is notoriously and unequivically wrong. This kind of prediction is simply an invitation to make a smart person look dumb, since so few of us realize that he never was able to make that estimate. The larger the project, the greater the exponent on your chances of being able to make this estimate. This is not new to any of us.

The second estimate is the running estimate, compiled from the tasks the project has been broken down into. Now, the pro of this running estimate is that it is…

How To Combine Your Own Efforts

I came across the invite-only beta for Onaswarm.com and I've had some good conversations since having my invite request responded by one of the developers. The upcoming plans are looking really interesting, and I like being able to combine my feeds. I'm still wanting some aggregation for things like bookmark feeds, and it would be nice if trivials like Twitter or Jaiku didn't put full posts into my final feed, but annotated the existing posts with my status. There are a lot of ways this could all go and I'm really interested in this.

You can view my Onaswarm feed. I'm going to continue keeping an ear on things over there and try to get in on this band wagon. This is more my kind of social network, because it deals with the things I already care about. What am I talk about, where have I surfed, and what am I talking about? It lets me pull all this from what I am already doing. I think this can turn out very well.

I have a related surprise to announce here, probably af…

How To Have Too Much To Do

I've got a lot of things I'd like to tackle and I just wanted to layout some of the things on my mind lately. Many of them are small, so maybe I'll even complete a few before 2008.
Launch a small, free service that uses a del.icio.us account to take social bookmarks and forward them to Twitter or Jaiku or Onaswarm automatically.Learn how to write a Firefox sidebar application and replace the crappy TwitBin. I want to only see the most recent status from each user and to remember my preferences better.Develop a small desktop tool to grab my bugs from FogBugz and let me track time offline. This will come in handy when I travel around the holidays.Get reacquainted with Nevow and Athena for a few small games, like TicTacToe and Squares.And, as I write this, I want something that will take highlighted text and replace it with a link to a Google search for the text. Easier than looking up the links to everything I just mentioned!It really seems like an OK plate, now that I have i…

How To Enjoy a Week of FogBugz

I have been on an eternal struggle to find the rights tools to keep me organized and on track with my projects. Flying blind is just not something I can do, with such a wandering mind. I especially like time tracking tools, because if I am tracking my time in a task, I am far more likely to focus on it until it is complete. Distractions make a lier out of me. When Joel Spolsky blogged about the Evidence-Based Scheduling in the newest release of his FogBugz product, I finally decided to try the service out for a new project I am starting on over the holiday. It has been about a week and I already have some really good impressions.

As far as bug tracking goes, FogBugz seems to be bare a good deal of similarities with Bugzilla, but is still very familiar to a Trac fan. They've even added a Wiki, although I've not used it. I'm working in solo on my FogBugz trial, right now. (More on that later.) I do wish for dependancy field on cases, instead of just linking to them in the com…

How To Really Want To Love Flock 1.0

Everyone is abuzz with the release of Flock 1.0 and I so wanted to get on the bandwagon. I just couldn't make the jump. I tried to like it, very hard. Twitbin trumps Flock's Twitter integration and the del.icio.us bookmarks extension does a better job of helping me find my bookmarks. I find it very annoying that I wanted Flock for integration with online services, yet I couldn't remove the local bookmarks I care nothing for from the bookmark sidebar.

Now, there were some things I really liked. I loved that logging into a supported service configured it automatically. I want to see more of that.

How To Demo With Zero Barrier

When one browses to MindMeister and looks at the nicely designed page, the user will notice a nice screenshot of the service. This is not a screenshot, but an anonymous, live embedding of the actual mind mapping service. Right at the first page, you get to start messing around with things. I think all Web 2.0 apps need to provide this kind of immediate use. We can provide such a low barrier to use, with no installation, but we've really lowered the bar, so to speak. The users won't jump very high for us these days. Let them trip and fall right into our arms.
For Web 2.0 This Means...Web-based applications need to provide an anonymous access to their application on the front page of the website. If you have a to-do application, let the user start interacting before they do anything. Even registration is a barrier to entry. Of course, if you take what they did anonymously and migrate it when they register, you get a gold star. You get two gold stars if you also keep their anonymo…

How To Git Away From CVS

James went along with the idea of moving away from CVS quicker than I thought and we put the plan into action last week. I put in the time to the project and started off with the default CVS replacement: Subversion. I really was looking forward to using it at work, until a friend made a subtle suggestion to look closer at the git project, which Linus Torvalds is heading as the version control system of choice for some little thing he's writing called Linux. Needless to say, I was skeptical, given the track record of the developer.

Quicker than I realized, I was falling head over heals for the examples of git use I was seeing. I cooked up a latest stable for OS X, as the installer I found was 130MB from the 1MB source tarball. Universal binaries on a project that generates about 145 distinct executables is a real bitch. I whipped up a little script to name git and toss into $PATH, while keeping all the git-* executables and other files tucked away in /usr/local/git/. I've cleane…