Gratuitous Name-Dropping

[Attention conservation notice: This post contains little of actual value.] I spoke with Jeffrey Zeldman today. (I just have to say it again—I spoke with Jeffrey Zeldman today!) A client is evaluating technical vendors. One of the prospects wrote a strong proposal, really kind of in-your-face for this small northern New England college, but she […]

.NET on OS X?

Can someone confirm this rumor I heard last night: Microsoft is porting the .NET runtime framework to Mac OS X. [Note: Currently just a rumor!] If this is true it’s a pretty big deal. With Apple currently offering dual-boot software to run Windows XP on Mac hardware, and the likelihood that they will offer virtualization […]

Disintermediation Denial

Dumbest move this week™. Microsoft and The New York Times unveiled software on Friday that would allow readers to download an electronic version of the newspaper and view it on a portable device. With Microsoft’s new Windows Vista software, to be available in January, virtually any newspaper, magazine or book can be formatted into an […]

More Hell for Web Developers

Dave Hyatt, chief architect of Safari and WebKit, outlines a proposal to solve the “high-DPI” problem: Consider a Web page that is designed for an 800×600 resolution. Let’s say we render this Web page such that the pixels specified in CSS (and in img tags and such on the page) map to one pixel on […]

N-Dimensional Web 2.0

Many people are trying to define “Web 2.0” – what it is, what it means, how to build Web 2.0 apps, what makes a company a Web 2.0 company, etc. All of those efforts fall short, because Web 2.0 is n-dimensional. Web 2.0 is “reflecting more complex multivariable situations.1” Today I learned of a new […]

Photoshop Compiler Conversion

Being a software engineer working on Photoshop doesn’t sound like a lot of fun these days. I’d say they have a good long 9- to 12-month slog in front of them. And at the end of it, who knows what they’ll have. It’s a complete re-write of a very large desktop app. Good luck y’all. […]

Expectation Hacks

Classic software development conversation at the 37signals Campfire: File upload limits were discussed and a simple solution was figured out… Ryan: what are we trying to avoid with a limit? won’t a gigantic file just time out anyway? Jason: thats’ the problem. “Why didn’t my file transfer work?” “What happened to the file I uploaded” […]


Wow. is now offering a connection adapter for Rails. ActiveSalesforce (ASF) is a Ruby on Rails framework connection adapter that provides direct access to managed data via AppExchange Web services API and Rail’s ActiveRecord model layer. Standard and custom objects, standard and custom fields are all automatically surfaced as active record attributes, simplifying […]

Getting Real

37signals has released their new eBook on web application development, Getting Real. Getting Real details the business, design, programming, and marketing principles of 37signals. The book is packed with keep-it-simple insights, contrarian points of view, and unconventional approaches to software design. This is not a technical book or a design tutorial, it’s a book of […]

Happens To The Best Of Them

Three Things About Pivot

Very exciting. Chris Boone wrote a brief review of my website management system, PivotCMS. [Man, do I need to do some marketing work – the product far outshines the marketing, especially the currently-lame website.] He calls out three important design decisions we made early on, and learns how they impact his day-to-day work with clients. […]

37signals Launches Campfire

It took me a while to realize it, but the essential business plan of 37signals is taking modern technology tools and specializing them for business. They do this by 1) stripping generalized options and leaving only the core functionality; 2) creating a good UI that’s obvious (low training and support) and fun to use (easy […]

Corporate Spin, I Mean, PR, Defined

Here are some excerpts from an email Sleepycat Software sent to me this evening. I’m pleased to announce today that Sleepycat Software has been acquired by Oracle. [They showed me the money!] By joining the leading database company in the world, I expect that we will be able to serve our customers and the open […]

Rails acts_as_taggable: Plugin vs Gem

There’s some confusion in the Rails community right now about two pieces of code with the same name: acts_as_taggable. Here are the differences as I understand them. Your corrections and clarifications are welcome! For quite some time there has been a Ruby Gem called acts_as_taggable. You can learn more here: You install this by […]

Tear Up Notio!

Grab the chainsaw, express your inner anger, and tear up Notio!

Webloging With MarsEdit

I mentioned this briefly back in October 2004, but if you are publishing a weblog and still using the browser for writing and editing, and you’re on an OS X Mac, you should really check out MarsEdit. It’s more like an email client, and provides lots of features – like a spell-checker, easy tagging, a […]

Microsoft ftpd Madness

So, to transfer files between computers there’s this protocol called FTP – File Transfer Protocol. It’s been around forever, and on dozens of different Unix operating systems when you do a directory listing it looks something like this: -rw-r–r– 1 187 6358 Jul 18 2005 index.html Then along comes Microsoft. For some reason, this return […]

Path Finder and Web Inspector

We interrupt this stream of musical sub-texts to recommend some Mac power-user software. Path Finder 4 is a fantastic Finder replacement, providing a more intuitive and powerful file management and navigation application. For starters, tabs in the Finder window – how cool is that? If you want the gory details on what’s wrong with the […]

Data Mining 101

Finding Subversives with Amazon Wishlists by Tom Owad. A little geeky, but worth reading to see how authorities might infer intentions. About six years ago, I used similar techniques to scrape auto sites on the web to find inventory on a new VW Golf TDI diesel (indigo blue, standard shift) within 500 miles of my […]

Ruby on Rails Bootcamp at Big Nerd Ranch

During the first week of December I traveled to rural Atlanta to attend the Ruby on Rails Bootcamp at the Big Nerd Ranch. The Ranch isn’t a place, exactly – more like a concept. In the US, they rent an executive retreat lodge 1-2 weeks per month, where 18 students take single rooms in a […]