Tuesday, December 27

Applications in 2005

Way back in 2005, these were the resident applications I had on my Asus W1 laptop:

uTorrent, small bit torrent client
Cropper, screen capture tool
Apache 2.0.5
Tomcat 5.5.12
PowerArchiver, data (de)compressor
GreatNews, RSS aggregator
RSSBandit, RSS aggregator
WinSCP, secure FTP client
WinCVS 2.0.2-4
VobSub 2.23, subtitles to movies
ArtRage 1.0, simply beautiful, even though I don't use it often
Handy Recover, recover damaged drives
CDex 1.51, convert .WAVs into .MP3s (or any other target format)
ColorPic, grab
color information from anything on the screen
Putty, Telnet/SSH client
StickIt, reminder notes floating on the desktop
Eclipse IDE
JBuilder 9 Enterprise

I did not have a similar list for 2004 but I can easily trace what changed now.
I replaced obese and clumsy Azureus with tiny and elegant uTorrent (I'm not alone in thinking uTorrent rules!); chubby and messy SmartFTP had its place taken by slim and tidy WinSCP; kept a previous version of ColorPic, since the newest one fell pray to the setup trap.
The trend was to replace setup installations with equivalent

But why
executables? Aren't executables soooo (pre) Windows 95?
The reason is setup programs are larger, bloated, cumbersome (when not impossible) to completely remove from the system, and much harder to revert after an update.

When there is a new version of an executable, I double-click on it and try it for a few days. If I like it, I keep it and delete the previous version; if I don't I simply delete it and that's it. No add remove programs panel, no search and delete registry entries, no disk cleanup.

For a setup program I have to uninstall the previous version or watch the newer version do that for me. Uninstall operations, even when successful, do not yield tidy and neat systems: surprisingly, (system+program A) - program A != system. If I preferred the previous version I'm left with a hard to follow and hard to get rid of registry and application data debris.
The SmartFTP uninstall left a few folders with 5+ Megs of data hanging about in my system; Azureus left trails of application data and whatnot; MySQL and its tools, left wrong, obsolete, and hard to remove entries on the Add and Remove Programs panel.
One otherwise awesome tool, Inspiration, sent me to hell and back to fully remove it from my system after their trial period was over. Yes, of course I did not buy it in the end.

And I think I had enough.
Now, every time I'm given an executable alternative with the same functionality and at least the same quality I will replace without blinking.

Prediction: in 2006,
Eclipse will forever replace JBuilder.

Monday, December 26

Too Darn Cute!

Do not miss this, not now, not never!


Happy Holidays!


My good friend (and C++ guru) Eurico won a prize with this one:



Sunday, December 25

...And torrents for all

This site, http://www.publicdomaintorrents.com/, has classic movies and B-movies that became part of the public domain available for download. Some available titles:

Plan 9 From Outer Space (Oh God...)
The Little Shop of Horrors
Buster Keaton
Night of the Living Dead (I died laughing when I first saw this one)
Flash Gordon
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
The Memphis Belle
Kong Island

Maybe a similar repository can be created for old TV series and computer games.

Tired of talking to machines?

The bottom line is this:

companies just aren't getting it

Wednesday, December 21

A Taste of a Moscow Tube Station

Tube Map variations (great stuff!)


Moscow Tube

I'm completely hooked up on this thread on Edward Tufte's blog -one of my favorite daily reads. It is satiating my long time fascination with underground systems and their corresponding maps, and it is full of many other goodies such as this (subway systems of the world presented on the same scale), and this (Tube Map Archives).
Great stuff, really great stuff!

LondonTown Tube - The Real Thing

(click on each image to enlarge)

Simply beautiful, huh?

Saturday, December 3

Prototype guide

Here is a concise, very informative, and easier to follow than Sergio Pereira's comprehensive reference:


[Update]: and here is another one:


Right drive

For many years I've listened in silence my friends in 'the continent' critically refer to left hand side driving as yet another "yeah we're different just get on with it" attitude from the Brits.
There are many articles online proving it, and the bottom line is this: left hand side driving is how it all got started!
The arguments given here are pretty convincing:

In the past, almost everybody traveled on the left side of the road because that was the most sensible option for feudal, violent societies. Since most people are right-handed, swordsmen preferred to keep to the left in order to have their right arm nearer to an opponent and their scabbard further from him. Moreover, it reduced the chance of the scabbard (worn on the left) hitting other people.

Furthermore, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side of the horse, and it would be very difficult to do otherwise if wearing a sword (which would be worn on the left). It is safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than in the middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road.

The change to right hand side driving is also explained:

In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver's seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon's wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road.

In addition, the French Revolution of 1789 gave a huge impetus to right-hand travel in Europe. The fact is, before the Revolution, the aristocracy traveled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right.

It was surprising to find out that in
Portugal, from where I hear the harshest accusations ;), people drove on the left until 1928 (!) Sweden only changed in 1967.

Tom Waits says it best: I'm so thankful for these friends I do receive". But maybe, just maybe, the 'Brits' have it right this time.