jlopez's blog

A software package a day: Storm

In an earlier post I mentioned Storm. While I recommend Basecamp for those who don’t mind spending a small amount of money every month, there are plenty of projects where even a small outlay might discourage using a tool to organize the project. Others won’t like Basecamp as the data is “in the cloud”, which means backups are a challenge.

A software package a day: HTML Validator

Yesterday I talked about Firefox’s Web Developer package. One point I wanted to make clear is that it is a great “kitchen sink” for getting started, but also that there are better tools for doing specific tasks. One of those “better tools” in the CSE HTML Validator. The program does all of the validations that the “Tools” menu in the Web Developer does and more. I have been using it to clean up web pages for many, many versions now and if my goal is to do more than a few pages worth of validation I reach for it first.

A software package a day: Firefox Web Developer

If you do any web development at all, you need to test in multiple browsers. I find a good solution to this is to rotate my “primary” browser each day, so I use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera  and Safari in sequence over the week as my “main” browser for working on sites. The advantage is that I sometimes note things that are not working as expected in one of the less common browsers and then can revise that piece of code to work correctly across all the major browsers.

Nuked Users

The number of spammer accounts was so high that I have pretty much nuked all accounts except those I know personally. If you had an account, feel free to sign back up (there is now a captcha on the signup, hopefully that will stem the flow in the future).

Automated signups fortunately rarely influence the site as I have comments set to be moderated unless I authorize a user. If you want to be authorized, simply comment with something sane a few times and I will unblock the moderation.

A software package a day: Drupal

This blog is hosed using Drupal, and open source content management system that runs on the most commonly available open source stack: Linux (the operating system) Apache (the web server), MySQL (the database) and PHP (the language).

The Singularity is Never

The IEEE Spectrum has a rational counter argument to the singularity crowd who believes that technology is on a runaway performance increase. See: http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/robotics-software/singular-simplicity/0 . For me, this is a long needed reality check to the optimistic singularity promotion that has been occurring.

A software package a day: GoToMeeting

There are a lot of solutions for sharing desktops these days, some are even free (such as using one of the various VNC tools) or built in (such a Remote Desktop is). For my mix of uses (which include both small groups for trainings or demos and one on one technical support) I find GoToMeeting a good mix of features and price point.

A software package a day: Fiddler

When doing web programming there are many times when a response doesn’t come back as expected. Sometimes it is hard to determine the exact post that was created and the redirects that were followed. Adding debugging statements can help, but in complex post and redirect situations a tool like Fiddler can really speed up the diagnostic process.

A software package a day: Delicious Bookmarks

Continuing the inventory of Firefox plugins, Delicious Bookmarks is a great way to bring order to large bookmark collections.

Wikipedia – Jumped the Shark?

An interesting piece of research on Wikipedia shows that the growth rate is slowing. This doesn’t surprise me much. Even though I’m not a contributor (I have made a few corrections to spelling, grammar and sentence construction, but have never added any substantial content) I have watched the site as it went from a free for all into a very tightly controlled hierarchy of user classes.


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