Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I just noticed that you can make your tagged categories available as a feed from Google Reader. I'm so happy I switched to Reader from Sage awhile back as my primary RSS experience. Google constantly adds interesting new features that enhance the recombinant nature of feed consumption in ways that are useful to me. I just discovered a new aerospace related blog that I added to the feed this morning: Jetwhine. Oh yeah, here's the link to my auto--aero tagged feeds.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I love airplanes. This scoop on the soon-to-be-revealed very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner -mark the calendar, July 8, 2007 (7-8-7, get it?)- has me pretty excited. The 787 is the first commercial jet who's primary structure is composite (read: plastic) which, due to its of its being stronger and lighter than the alloys mostly used until now, will result in increased cabin pressure and comfort and larger windows. Yay!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


In the course of my current work, I stumbled upon Drupal. I've heard of Drupal in the past -it's the open source content management system (CMS, for short) that powers thousands of web sites. Some of the biggies use it, like slashdot. The beauty of a CMS is that it takes the drudgery of building a website out of your hands. Content creation, categorization and relationships are baked into the product. Additionally, and most importantly Drupal has a large and vibrant ecosystem of users and developers that contribute to the project and user community. Drupal is written on top of the so-called AMP stack (Apache webserver, MySQL relational database, PHP programming language) -commonly referred to as LAMP (Add Linux at the front.) Its architecture is one of the reasons that historically I've not paid much attention to it. I've only recently caved and started to develop in PHP in response to some new clients' needs. While my gripes about the encapsulation and interoperability of this development toolset remain, I can't help but be impressed by the massive amount of "plain 'ole it just works" products out there that have been developed with this stuff. It's not an exaggeration to say that possibly the largest single chunk of web faff out there is deployed using LAMP.

But I digress. Drupal is what has me jizzed at the moment. All three new clients I've taken on have unique requirements that can be relatively easily met with Drupal and some additional modules. My favorite module  so far has been the Audio module, which snapped in to a Drupal installation like a dream and provided instant podcasting support for my local synagogue. The most powerful and far-reaching modules I've encountered so far are the view module, which provides custom and themeable views and the CCK module, which is a powerful extension for adding custom fields to Drupal content types, or nodes, in Drupal parlance. Yes, they have a parlance. The user community is rabid in its devotion to this. I've been immersed in Drupal for almost two weeks now and have learned a lot from two podcasts in particular. The Geeks & God podcast on Podcasting with Drupal pointed me to the solution I'm using at one site. The Lullabot podcast is pretty much the bees knees on Drupal podcasting, AFAIK. It seems that the Lullabot crew are also quite definitive in all their Drupal work. I've been having trouble setting up a proper Drupal development including remote debugging, but this tutorial on the IBM website (of all places!) may address that problem. To paraphrase the Sony exec interviewed in Lullabot podcast 39: "It seemed like the Drupal community was a cult. My experience has been that with technology cults are a good thing." So there you have it, I've joined a cult! Feel the Love. Peace Out.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Apparently my early childhood penchant for trudging out the door with a suitcase or briefcase and "going to Florida" has been inherited by my oldest. Yesterday morning, she insisted on taking her suitcase with her on our walk. So cute. So genetic memory isn't just a plot point on Stargate SG-1 (geek alert.)

NOTES KILLER? Is Google Gears a potential competitor to Lotus Notes in the offline space? Probably not, at least in the near term, although it could be if used properly by savvy developers. I'm reminded of DOLS, a Lotus offering that provides a similar functionality. DOLS has more industrial-grade support for security and application development than Gears probably has -at least at this point in time. DOLS is a huge, hairy download, though. Gears seems to be elegantly simple and lightweight, like most Google ideas

STIIL TRUCKIN' I'm writing this post using Windows Live Writer. WLW is he first rich client app I've been comfortable using tor blogging since the late, great Sauce Reader. Blogger's Blogger for Word add-in is unacceptable to me as it keeps Word's proprietary style information in the uploaded HTML, which I hate strongly dislike.

CORRECTION. My sister Bena says I would go to California, not Florida. I was too young to remember the details myself.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Apple announced today that their Safari web browser is now available for Windows. I downloaded and played with it and it is shiny, new, cool and slick. I like the font rendering better than Firefox and by enjoyed using it -which is more than I could ever say from similar five minute test drives of several versions of the Opera web browser. The overriding question I have though, is why? Unless there's a content play in the future that's tied to Safari -which would arouse the ire of the standards-loving web development community that adores Apple- I don't quite see the point. Verdict: stick to Firefox for Windows unless and until a compelling reason for Safari emerges.

CREATURE COMFORTS. If you're not familiar with Nick Park's classic claymation series that ran in England in the '80's called Creature Comforts, today's your lucky day. An updated version of the series, which interviews people all across America on slice of life issues and sets the sesions to claymation animals is now running on CBS. Watch the episode for free online from or look up classic sketches (set in the London Zoo) on Youtube or AtomFilms for a truly hilarious diversion.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


It occurred to me over this weekend that all Apple needs to do to assure the continued success of its MacOS operating system is to stay one step ahead of Linux. That's all. This strategy assures Apple the undying affection of the geek crowd while making its own roadmap amazingly simple: Just build and improve upon the current system and keep the *NIX core (in Apple's case, open-source BSD) current. This keeps a lid on the core OS investment Apple needs to make as opposed to, say, Microsoft, which needs a veritable army of developers to maintain the monolithic Windows code-base. The added advantage of Apple's strategy is that the core OS decisions have already been vetted by the community keepers of the *NIX/BSD flame. Simple!

I have another post in the works on the shadow that Steve Jobs casts over any industry tangentially connected to high technology and how much of his aura may actually be riding on the upcoming Apple iPhone release. This ties in to my old ideas regarding Religion 2.0 that were dredged up during a conversation Friday night with Mennu. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Lorraine & I watched Fun with Dick and Jane last night. The recent Jim Carrey Tea Leoni one. At first I found Tea annoying, but -as she often does- she gets under your skin as the movie progresses and it soon became apparent how good of a pairing Ms. Leoni is with Jim Carrey. I remember when I first came across Tea Leoni as Alicia on Flying Blind, an early, short lived, Fox Sitcom that I liked. Incidentally, Clea Lewis, who just resurfaced on my radar on Andy Barker, PI, was a hilarious player in that show as well. There is a funny scene in the DVD's gag reel of Jim Carrey putting some flour on his moustache area and pretending to ask partygoers in his (empty) kitchen if he can get anything for them. Also, Tea Leoni makes up a name of Mrs. Vegetabooth while engaging in a heist at the end of the movie that struck me as the best made-up-on-the-spot name I can recall ever hearing.

WRITTEN WITH Windows Live Writer. A blog posting tool compatible with most poupar blogging services. This is my first post with WLV, it seems promising, but a bit sluggish. The plugin possibilities seem intriguing, though.