• Category Archives Uncategorized
  • More solid ideas about a web-based desktop

    I think the web-based desktop idea is the next big thing on the net. Backpack is a Rails app that is moving us in that direction. The problem I’m having is that all these are companies which want control of your data. They want you to pay for their service. There’s nothing wrong with that for some people but I want complete control. I would like a web app that I can install on whatever webserver I want and take my files and my customized desktop to another host if I want. I just pay for my normal hosting and that’s it. This leads me into thinking that this desktop webapp I’m going to try to get started writing will need to be an open source project. There are ways to make money off it in the long run like these companies are trying to do but that’s not the overall goal of the project. That would be a side project that would use the open desktop and build a business around deploying it for users.

    There are a number of issues that I need to look into before I begin. First, I need a Javascript windowing library which can handle some of the windowing capabilities of sites like Meebo or Protopage. One library that I ran into today is script.aculo.us and another is Rico. I’m sure there’s dozens more and there’s probably one that does exactly what I’m looking for it’s just a matter of finding it and learning how to use it.

    Then it’s a matter of understanding how to interface with different webapps via RSS, XMLRPC, SOAP, or something like that. The first line of business after the desktop and windowing is working is creating an open source filesystem webapp to bundle with the desktop. That way you can either use the bundled filesystem or you can use another webapp to store your files. Personally, I want full control over my data so I’d host my filesystem on the same server as the desktop.



  • Embracing Web2.0 Ideas

    I’ve been really excited about where my personal interests have been leading me lately. I feel I’m no longer burdened with school hogging up most of my creative thoughts. I seem to have a brilliant new idea every day. Sometimes I find out that it’s already being tackled. Other times I see quite a lot of potential in the ideas. For instance, I’ve been really interested in having an online desktop. A post on Mercurytide explains a lot of what I was thinking about. There are a number of issues about the online desktop which still need to be solved. This morning I had some great ideas which I’ll share sometime later once I fully understand them. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of reading on innovative new ideas. Here’s a post at etherfarm explaining some interesting problems and solutions about the usefulness of comments.



  • Impressions of PHP 5

    I’ve just finished reading a PHP 5 book. It’s really changed my take on PHP. The last time I got dirty with serious PHP programming was back in version 3 and maybe a little of version 4. My view of PHP before reading this book was that it was a nice powerful language for quick dirty scripts but any large project would be completely unmaintainable. PHP 5 is a great advance and has squashed my previous conception of the language. I’ve always been a PHP fan but more recently have become a Ruby and Python convert. I’m not an expert at either by any means but I feel the power when I use the two languages. PHP 5 gives me that same feeling and has a familiar syntax already. It doesn’t have the mysticism and intrigue that Ruby and Python give me but I am confident that when the time comes for me to use PHP again I’ll be comfortable with the power it’s now capable of.



  • Moved to Training

    Due to a recent shake-up in the organizational structure of the contract we’re working under, I’ve been offloaded from the Tools team to the Training team. I’m still not sure how the move will work out for me but so far not much has changed. My job now is to pretty much read a lot and become an expert at the system so that I can eventually teach programmers how to program with it. Sounds reasonable but we’ll see how things work out.



  • CSS text wrapping including liine breaks

    I have an html pre tag that I has text in it. I want the text to wrap if it extends past the bound of the box its in and I also want the ability to use linebreaks within the text. Try this out for yourself and you’ll see that it’s one or the other. Normal line breaks won’t work when using wrapping and normal html br tags won’t work either. So what’s the solution? I found this email which describes a css hack.

    .wordwrap {
    white-space: pre-wrap; /* css-3 should we be so lucky… */
    white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Mozilla, since 1999 */
    white-space: -pre-wrap; /* Opera 4-6 ?? */
    white-space: -o-pre-wrap; /* Opera 7 ?? */
    word-wrap: break-word; /* Internet Explorer 5.5+ */
    _white-space: pre; /* IE only hack to re-specify in addition to
    word-wrap */
    }



  • Firefox delicious feeds (Feedlist)

    I’ve recently run into the problem of syncing up my bookmarks. Sure there’s delicious but what about my RSS feeds I have bookmarked? I need a way to get my bookmarks from delicious and then agregate my bookmarked RSS feeds that are tagged with the “feed” tag. After a long search for something capable of such a task I found Bottomfeeder. I really was looking for something integrated into Firefox though. Then I pieced together a technique for doing just what I wanted.

    I’ve been using a Firefox extension called Sage for feed reading for a few months. It cycles through live bookmarks you have in a certain bookmark folder. I found an extension called Foxylicious which will sync your delicious bookmarks to your local Firefox bookmarks. Then I point Sage to look at the “feeds” bookmark folder and do it’s thing.

    Now I can bookmark my RSS feeds on delicious while I’m at work and go home and have the same feeds already to go for me. There’s some problems with this technique of course. First off, when Foxylicious syncs my bookmarks from delicious it deletes the local copy of the bookmarks and creates a new one. Sage is pointed to the deleted copy of the feeds folder so it doesn’t work. I have to go into Sage and tell it to use the new feeds folder instead.



  • Speaking in Tongues

    techno.blog(“Dion”) has a hillarious description of Rails which I though I’d share here.

    Ted thinks that Ruby is a love affair.

    He is close. I can see how it is like trading in your middle-age wife for a new younger model. However, I don’t think that in this scenario many are going back to their original partners.

    I came into this game with no framework experience so I feel I have a pretty objective stance. I must say that I’m a minx and get around but I do have my favorites. Ruby reminds me of Python and the two of them seem like sisters. Those two girls really know how to treat a man. Now take those two fat cow sisters, Java and C#. All favorites aside, sometimes you have to take one for the team.



  • Trac Wiki Comments

    I really enjoy hacking Trac. I’ve just recently added commenting functionality to Trac wiki pages. I have two tabs at the top of every wiki page which I added in the wiki.cs template. They are similar to how Wikipedia does it. At the bottom of ever wiki page I have a “Add Comment” buttom which just triggers a JavaScript function that toggles the display of a hidden comment form and hides the original “Add Comment” button using onClick. You type your comment in and hit the newly displayed “Submit Comment” button which does something similar to the “Add to DS” button I added previously. It adds the comment along with the date and username to the Comments page. Here’s the Python code:

    I’m not 100% sure this will work as is because of the line wrapping I had to do to make this post display nicely.



  • Python, CSS, and collapsible trees

    Given the speed at which our wiki is growing, we’ll need a more efficient way or indexing all the pages. Right now Trac just lists every page one after another. The idea was proposed to have a collapsible tree/list so that we can expland and contract the lists based on their prefixes.

    I borrowed Stephan Diehl‘s prefix finding script and started hunting around for an implementation of a CSS only collapsible tree. I found numberous JavaScript implementations but nothing CSS only. I shy away from using JavaScript to do things that CSS is better suited to be doing. Then I found out that css hyper-display: folding is what I’m looking for but doesn’t look implemented so far as I can tell. I poked around with a JavaScript implementation but it wasn’t elegant enough for me so I may just write my own JavaScript to handle it.



  • Trac

    Dispite the direction our project is heading, .NET, I’ve just set up a Gentoo Linux server running Trac. There had been some talk around our team about needing a local web site for our team. I figured a wiki was the best place for it and took the initiative to set it up. Trac is pretty cool. Other than a wiki, it comes with a ticketing system and integrates with your Subversion repository. I’ve set it up for my own side projects as well. I wanted to use Collaboa but it wasn’t being nice to me when I tried to install it.