Thursday, April 27, 2006
I have been using RSS Bandit on Windows for years now to aggregate all my feeds, and I have been happy with the application. On the Mac, I use NetNewsWire. Ranchero, the makers of NetNewWire, were purchased by NewsGator in late 2005. I purchased a license to the full NetNewsWire right after Ranchero was purchased because I was guarenteed to get free updates to the full version for years, it already had synching to .Mac for use across all my Macs, and free subscription to NewsGator, how could I lose? NetNewsWire is one of the best apps I have ever used, it was one of the few Christmas presents I bought for myself. With NetNewsWire 2.1 Beta 33 enabling the NewsGator subscription setup and fixing a bunch of synching issues, I finally turned off .Mac syncing and enabled NewsGator synching. Biggest immediate improvement, synching now just happens while feeds are refreshed unlike with .Mac which has to be manually triggered (this I think is a design choice, but it was an annoyance). I then looked at the NewsGator synching support in RSS Bandit on Windows to see if I could get the holy grail, One Feed List To Rule Them All! Alas, RSS Bandit having full automatic synching support seems unlikely given project lead Dare Obasanjo's feelings on the NewsGator API. With some reluctance, I downloaded FeedDemon 2.0 for Windows and installed it. First thing I am impressed with, I have a full license to the product because NetNewsWire 2.1 Beta 33 has already given me a full subscription to NewsGator for 2 years! Great, at least I won't have to pay for this if I don't like it. I then give it my NewsGator account info and run it for the first time. Wow, the app is very responsive, I can feel the speed over RSS Bandit, which I had never considered slow before. UI is clean and doesn't waste a lot of space, a personal pet peeve of mine. The speed is really impressive, (this is not a .NET app, not sure if that accounts for the speed, but...) so much so that I go back to RSS Bandit and export my feeds to OPML, which I am grateful both apps support. I do a little editing and then import the list into FeedDemon. I think I am ready to uninstall RSS Bandit because I have finally merged my Windows and Mac feed lists (which had slightly diverged just due to my laziness at manually merging all the time). FeedDemon 2 can also sync to NewsGator subscription changes when feeds are refreshed (this is not the default, I had to turn this on to mimic NetNewsWire). I don't have to pay the NewsGator $19.95 a year for this level of synching until April 2008, but for a news junkie like me, I think I have just found nirvana. If anyone wants to keep track of their feeds cross-box, cross-platform, or both, this stuff is killer and I highly recommend getting on board. The only thing I haven't tried yet is firing up NetNewsWire to see how it handled all the changes I just made to my feed list, but I have faith in Brent Simmons, lead developer of NetNewsWire.
Friday, April 21, 2006
I realize this is isn't the most tantalizing topic, but I finally turned off the default Windows XP Theme "Luna" today. I did this because I was getting some weird color drawing behavior in a custom app, so I wanted to see what it looked like in Classic, but what I noticed immediately was that the UI immediately felt like it was responding faster. I don't know if it is benchmark true, but it feels true so I just might leave it off for good. I mean, why bother putting lipstick on a pig, its still a pig.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Apple has done it. Today they released Boot Camp a public beta of a feature to be included in OS X 10.5 Leopard. Boot Camp lets you dual-boot Windows on Intel Macs. It does it by providing all the drivers needed to make Win XP understand any of the Intel Macs out there, and presumably will be updated for upcoming Intel Macs. Boot Camp partitions the OS X HD non-destructively to create the Win XP partition, and it integrates with all the Startup Disk functionality built-in to the Mac hardware and OS X. Finally, Apple has made it official. Why buy a PC from Dell that only runs Windows when you can get a Mac that runs OS X, the best OS in the world with the best applications, and you can also run Windows *if* you really need to.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Disclaimer: I was a technical reviewer for this book and I work with Jennifer Greene, if you feel that taints my opinion, please feel free to move along, move along, this isn't the review your looking for. Applied Software Project Management is one of those rare books about technology that is actually worth your valuable time to read. You might be saying to yourself, I already have a software development process that I am very comfortable with, why should I bother reading this book? This isn't a software process book. It isn't about Extreme Programming (XP), Agile, CMM, Microsoft Solutions Framework, Rational Unified Process, etc. individually, but it is about all of these processes. The book takes the best ideas from all of them and tells you, the project manager, how you can apply them on individual projects, or even as a group if you want to get revolutionary in your organization, to improve how you build software. Also, the book is language, development environment, operating system, and named software process agnostic with one exception. Subversion, the open source software source control system and natural succesor to the venerable CVS, is specifically mentioned. I started using Subversion for a personal project, and I now love it. If you are still using Visual SourceSafe, stop torturing yourself and make the move. The ideas contained in Applied Software Project Management have taken me personally years of practice managing software projects, and trial and error, to realize need to be in place for a sucessful project. I wish I had a book like this when I started managing software projects professionally. Professional software projects are a beast unlike college or hobby projects, primarily because the careers of many people are intertwined with the project you are on. Lots of money is at stake, peoples livelihood, so everyone can get jittery. Best to know how to manage the project to calm everyone down. :-) Part One of the book takes a diagnose and fix approach to your software project, listing symptoms your projects may have had and what you can do to make them better. Topics include:
- Project Planning
- Requirements Gathering
- Design and Programming