Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Ultimate Resource about Distributed Version Control Systems

If you postponed reading about distributed version control systems hoping that somebody will just tell you which one is the best, then I guess that resource has become available: Distributed Version Control Systems: A Not-So-Quick Guide Through.

As for myself I have tried darcs a long time ago, then moved to Mercurial and successfully used it for a couple of my projects. I was quite happy with its SVN integration which sometimes is quite important if you are planning to use it with existing repositories for which migration is not an option.

Not so far ago, I have also installed Git on my Mac. I must confess that installing Git is probably the most difficult task (install xcode, install macports, use macports to download and compile all 20+ dependencies) and I would advise you to use this time to read the article!. However, I haven’t used it for long enough to have comments, but there is one feature that I really like: branching can be done in the same folder, so you don’t have to setup your environment for each idea you’d like to test.

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Fun: Advanced Blogging Terms

If the blaudience will not understand that his bloglet does not fit into a blath nor into a blawg, then I guess you can have some fun reading 91 Blogging Terms.

Translation: If the readers will not understand that this very short blog entry does not fit into a math or legal blog…

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist this one. It was way too funny.

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Crappy software: Qumana

When I was pretty close to say that there will be no other post for today, Qumana has stepped in to prove me wrong.

What is Qumana and why it changed my mind?

Qumana is a desktop blog publishing tool for Mac that works with many of the most online blogs (WordPress, Blogger, etc.). Unfortunately, in fact I shouldn’t be using the verb work. Because it definitely doesn’t work. Publishing to Blogger doesn’t work (the screen gets stuck into a publishing state), there are way you can add categories to posts for Blogger and a few more small problems.

While a bit annoying all the above problems haven’t really convinced me to dump it. What a big mistake!

Following the rebranding movements I’ve been taking lately (described here and here), I was using Qumana for cleaning up. I had some local posts and I was trying to delete some. But at no moment was I announced or asked that Qumana is going to make the decision to apply those same changes to the online blogs. No dialogs, no warning, no signs that the operations are having major implications. I was close to lose all the post from the last 3-4 days. Wow!

Advise

Dear developers, I would like to kindly ask you to pay more attention when designing your apps. The users of your software should be aware at every step what is happening. Don’t think that your app is smarter than your user. Ask (and offer the user the chance to configure this) about any major operation. Be clear in your messages

Conclusion

If you planning on using Qumana, I would advise you to be very careful about what you are doing. I am not saying that Qumana is completely broken (some things are actually working), but make sure that you are not doing any major operations that may impact your online blog.

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From now on

The last couple of days have found me posting a couple of very different things on this blog. This made me think that I should try to keep things more simple and much more cleaner. I must confess that I don’t think that mixed model will really work. Neither for me, nor for my readers.

Finally, I have decided to keep this blog for technical related posts, plus those few personal entries. Everything related to business, online activities and research, including the .ro space interactions are going to happen on my biz mindstorms blog.

So far, I’ve been pulling here most of my technology related posts and I am planning to move away those posts that do not closely fall into this category (but I’ll have to figure out how to redirect those links). 

If you look at the sidebar, you will notice that I haven’t been a very active blogger, but you don’t really know when this is happening. I do believe in simplicity and I hope this new ‘model’ will work out a bit better.

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Open, Distributed and Educational Twitter

People spending  (a lot of) their time on Twitter are coming up with more and more ideas.

Open P2P Distributed Twitter

Russell Beattie talks about an open Twitter:

The idea is to create a Jabber bot which you and friends can subscribe to which will pass messages back and forth between yourselves and Twitter, and hopefully be able to connect somehow in a P2P way with other bots as well.

Russell is also proposing some proof-of-concept code written in Python

The idea is further detailed by Scott Hanselman who’s asking why is microblogging centralized?

According to Scott:

Twitter is IRC, it’s IM, it’s chatrooms, but ultimately it’s just microblogging with a multi-format API.

It is too early to comment if this P2P Twitter proposal will finally lead to something.

Twitter in schools

Another idea is exposed in the 13 pages paper published by Timisoara Politechnic University professor Carmen Holotescu and Gabriela Grossek, dr.lecturer at Sociology and Psychology University. The paper is writen in Romanian and its title is: Possible Microblogging usage scenarios in education

The authors are listing 16 different possible usage scenarios, most of these being the common scenarios that we’ve already got used to and just a few minor ones being more oriented towards educational purposes.

In the paper, Carmen and Gabriela are mentioning Twitter but in the end they are pitching on a local clone of Twitter that has been launched a couple of months back and that is targetting the Romanian users.

One last thing: even if lately there have been rumors about Twitter abandoning Rails, Evan Williams is the official voice that is not confirming it.

Update 1: This post was prepared during the weekend. Today TechCrunch has published a good summary Twitter Can Be Liberated – Here’s How

Update 2: Russell continues his research in this direction, as shown by a couple of his latest twits

Is there a PHP clone of Twitter (i.e. a microblogger) out there already? It seems like a 20 second thing to do.

Any solution that requires a Jabber server or dedicated bot just isn’t going to get far. Simplicity wins every time.

Update 3 It looks like the right column reference to my Twitter account is not really effective, as I’ve received a couple of emails asking for it. I am LeMec (you can add me as a friend)

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Breaking news: TechCrunch is announcing that Microsoft withdraws Yahoo bid

TechCrunch is publishing a breaking news on the evolution of the Microsoft-Yahoo story that has been going on for the last couple of months.

I will talk here about the details of what it looks like the end of the Microsoft-Yahoo saga, but rather jump to the second part of the TechCrunch post which is presenting a letter from Steve Balmer (Microsoft CEO) addressed to Jerry Yang (Yahoo CEO).

There are a couple of very interesting aspects in this letter:

  • Steve Balmer starts by thanking everybody from Yahoo that has been part of the discussion, but shortly afterwards he moves to describe the financial details of the disagreement
  • later on the letter, Steve presents in 5 clear points why a deal between Yahoo and Google would make the acquisition "undesirable".

So, even if the story seems to come to an end now, I am getting the feeling that this is not the end and we may be seeing some more episodes in the future

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