Kerry Buckley

What’s the simplest thing that could possibly go wrong?

Archive for November, 2007

BarcampLondon3

3 comments

As you may have guessed from my other postings over the past few days, I spent the weekend at BarcampLondon3, at Google’s offices in Victoria, London.

This was the second Barcamp I’ve participated in (‘attended’ is probably too passive a word for a Barcamp), and was even better than BarcampBrighton in September. This was, of course, largely thanks to all the efforts of Ian and the other organisers, and to the wonderful hospitality shown by Google. From my own point of view, I think I also benefited from not going with a group of colleagues, which forced me to overcome my natural reticence and speak to people I didn’t know (it helps that the Barcamp crowd are a friendly bunch!)

If you have any geek tendencies and have never been to a Barcamp, I highly recommend it.

Oh, and as a footnote, I experimented with blogging some of the talks more-or-less as they happened. That’s why the posts were a bit rough, but at least they’re there – I still have notes from Agile2007 back in August that I haven’t got round to writing up.

My photos from the weekend are on flickr.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Kerry

November 28th, 2007 at 10:35 am

Posted in web

Lolwolves

4 comments

From the meme collision department…

In ur villij

Ur seer

icanhaz lynching?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Written by Kerry

November 27th, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Posted in General nonsense

Rails Envy’s take on the werewolf question

2 comments

This clip [MP3, 57s] from a Rails Envy podcast made me laugh. It’s referring to Charles Nutter’s recent musings on whether werewolf is killing the conference hackfest.

Incidentally, how often do you get the chance to Google for “nutter werewolf”?

Technorati Tags: ,

Written by Kerry

November 26th, 2007 at 10:18 am

[BarcampLondon3] 101 Uses for an Index Card

leave a comment

I’d originally intended to present something about BDD, but the slides and demo never really came together so I didn’t really want to inflict them on people who could have gone to a better session. I was going to risk bad karma by not presenting at all (there were plenty of empty slots, so I don’t think I’d have been the only one).

At some point in the early hours of Sunday, trying to sleep in a very warm room where the lights kept randomly coming on, I thought of another idea – could a bunch of us come up with 101 uses for an index card (something I’ve been planning to try myself for a while)? It would be obvious from the title that it was just a bit of fun, but maybe ew might learn something along the way about the techniques that people used which used index cards in some way.

Unfortunately (I like to think purely because I posted the session on the board at lunchtime on Sunday!) only two people turned up, beating my record of four from BarcampBrighton. We did manage to get a third of the way though, coming up with 34 uses:

  1. CRC cards
  2. Shopping list
  3. Werewolf
  4. Release planning/User stories
  5. Enumerating the uses of an index card
  6. Taking notes
  7. Essential use cases
  8. Paper prototyping
  9. Bookmark
  10. Funnel for salt, sugar etc
  11. “Indexing stuff” (ie whatever they were originally designed for)
  12. Emergency business card
  13. Barcamp/unconference scheduling
  14. Playing 1001 Blank White Cards
  15. Inflicting paper cuts on an enemy
  16. Making an animation flip-book
  17. House of cards
  18. Making noises with bicycle spokes
  19. Drug pouches (I have no idea what this means!)
  20. Roaching
  21. Paper planes (although our test model was prone to nosedives)
  22. Cue cards
  23. Flash cards
  24. Postcard
  25. Beermat
  26. Recipes
  27. To-do lists
  28. Lighting fires
  29. Setting fire to, in order to satisfy the requirement to collect “fire” in a scavenger hunt
  30. Bulletin board advert
  31. Very simple origami
  32. Signage
  33. Action Man billboards
  34. Blocking CCTV cameras

Paul also added “toothpick”, via a Flickr comment.

PICT2381.MRW Some of the 101 uses of an index card

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Kerry

November 26th, 2007 at 9:28 am

Posted in General nonsense

[BarcampLondon3] Obscure Mac Apps (Melinda & Martin)

2 comments

  • KeyCue (€19.99 + VAT)
  • Caffeine (free) – prevents sleeping, display dimming etc
  • iStat menus (free) – also includes menubar clock like Magical
  • NameChanger (free) – bulk file renaming
  • Yojimbo ($39) – stores and tags web pages, documents etc (the actual content, not just a link). Also a web version.
  • Keyboard Cleaner (free) – disables keyboard
  • Audio Hijack Pro ($32) – record any system audio.
  • Bento – personal version of Filemaker
  • Picturesque ($20 shareware) – uses Core Image to do all sorts of cool image effects
  • XLD (free/OSS) – converts various lossless audio formats
  • ImageWell (free) – batch image editing (see also Skitch)
  • FreeDMG (free, unsurprisingly) – Simple disk image creation
  • ZapMac (free) – wacky speed-reading thing
  • Nocturne (free) – ‘night mode’ for working more comfortably in the dark
  • Remote Buddy (€19.99) – use Apple remote with any app, or for browsing files. Also allows you to use Wiimote via bluetooth.

[Update: it seems I was misinformed – Skitch is free too.]

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Kerry

November 25th, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Apple

[BarcampLondon3] JQuery in 30 minutes (Simon Willison)

leave a comment

I didn’t take any notes, but JQuery looks pretty cool. Maybe even cooler than Prototype and Scriptaculous!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Written by Kerry

November 24th, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Posted in web,Web 2.0

[BarcampLondon3] How to Animate a Silly Walk (Cathy Jones)

leave a comment

This was a hands-on session playing with lo-fi flip-book animation, based on the techniques on Cathy’s blog. Here’s my very poor effort:

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Kerry

November 24th, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

[BarcampLondon3] Creating a Lifestream with Yahoo Pipes (CristianoBetta)

2 comments

It’s all here!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Kerry

November 24th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

[BarcampLondon3] Message-Oriented Architecture (Matt Bidulph, Dopplr)

one comment

HTTP not ideal for asynchronous stuff (“Are we nearly there yet?” “No.” “Are we nearly there yet?” “No.” “Are we nearly there yet?” “No.”). Message-passing architecture is better (“Let me know when we’re there” … “We’re there!”).

Also useful for clusters, multi-core machines etc.

Erlang (also Scala, Haskell, E etc) are becoming interesting because they operate using messages. Not that different to pure OO. No shared state. Scalability doesn’t come for free, but it’s much easier.

Spread, MQ, JMS etc: publish and subscribe. Stick a message on a topic or queue and any subscribers receive it. Allows very loose coupling. One-to-many, with publisher not needing to know about subscribers.

Comet allows a connection to be held open between browser and server, rather than having to poll.

Jabber can be used to return future results for a search (for example). “There will always be more pictures of kittens.”

Worker queues remove expensive calculations from synchronous tasks (eg calculating Dopplr coincidences does your own immediately, and queues a job to calculate coincidences for all your contacts).

Using JQuery you can create your own events in a browser. Becomes more like traditional GUI programming.

Extreme late binding: combine data and code in application (eg javascript and data in browser – mashups).

The Internet is the computer.

First question: “How does Dopplr work?” :-)

Interesting point about hiring: go for the people who are good at the cool stuff (Erlang, Haskell, etc), because they’ll probably be really good at the workaday stuff too, and are obviously interested in the field.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by Kerry

November 24th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Software

[BarcampLondon3] Caja/OpenSocial (Ben Laurie)

leave a comment

Caja compiles Javascript into different javascript, allowing you to put untrusted gadgets in trusted container pages (eg OpenSocial). Removes potentially evil code (eval etc), and passes in an object representing the global scope (document etc).

Ben’s writing a Caja wrapper for OpenSocial. Lots of hairy stuff with closures wrapping callbacks in functions, then wrapping the response in more functions. I haven’t really looked at OpenSocial yet, so some of this is flying merrily over my head.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Written by Kerry

November 24th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Software,web,Web 2.0