Monday, March 27, 2006

Mail redirect for Thunderbird

Eudora has a nice feature that lets users redirect email to another account and now I stumbled across an extension that allows Thunderbird to do the same thing: 


It's late at night so what am I doing...? Reading up on Postgres, of course! Postgres is an open-source relational database that has been around for a long time, but initially it was a very academic project that was somewhat difficult to install and use. That was about 3-4 years ago and since then it has made a huge amount of progress. A lot of people use mysql because it is (1) fast, (2) easy to use, and (3) easy to install. I think (2) and (3) are two of the big factors in its popularity. Performance is also an factor, I'm sure, but how many small website that uses MySQL are really hit by performance issues where they can notice the difference between MySQL and some other database?

Last year, I decided to try out the latest release of Postgres (8.0) on a Linux box, and instead of using a pre-built package, I decided to install it from source! This was what I use to do with MySQL, too. Well, after downloading the source package and running the simple command everything was up and running! It felt as easy if not easier then installing MySQL.

This weekend, following a memory upgrade to my notebook, I decided to try installing Postgres again but this time on a Windows(tm) machine. Postgres now has a native windows port and an installer. One click to to start the setup followed by a few clicks of the "OK" button and Postgres is now running on my notebook. So simple...

There has been a lot of misconceptions about Postgres left from people's experience 5 years ago. 5 years is like another era in Internet time. I think I'm going to use Postgres wherever I use to use MySQL. I'll update my experience with this database as I work with it more.

My techie weekend

Heading into the weekend, I decided that I needed to get in touch with my techie side. ^^ I've been focused a lot on process and project planning at work recently and really needed to step away and let my mind concentrate on something else. I had a list of ideas that I wanted to do and I did get a good start on them.

I spent a lot of time this weekend reading about GAIM development as well as programming with Mozilla. GAIM is more straight forward but I really need to get a better grasp of GTK+ programming before I feel that I can make any headway. I played with the source a little and got the environment set up and I'm now working to understand how things work. I realize that GNOME have been working to establish a standard UI and best practices, but I still think the look of it is... not that great....

I also spent time looking at XUL programming and Mozilla. There's some interesting technologies associated with this, but the documentation on them is confusing. Part of it might be the terminology and also because projects are moving so fast that a lot of documentation are out-dated. Frankly, I wasn't sure where to start.

JavaScript have come a long way from when I first used it and the DOM specification have brought web development to a new level. It excited me as I was studying this to see how much more mature the field is and what it is capable of. Web development is now so far from just doing page layout with HTML and adding some roll-over images that everyone should recognize that web developers (truly good ones) requires the full set of software programming skills as any other software engineer. In fact, at work, I've stopped using the term "web developer" and more "frontend engineer" because the tasks these individuals are doing are programming projects. Traditional software engineers can also do these tasks but they would have to spent a considerable amout of time reading the many standards and specifications.

I've also spent a lot of time dealing with spammers. Man, I really dislike spammers. I'm ok with legitmate companies sending out emails, but spammers that tries to flood you and invade your privacy are parasites. Spam is one of the reason I changed email clients, upgraded this blog and spent part of my weekend changing my slickedit forum. When will spammers get that people don't read their crap?

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Yahoo! UI library and Design Pattern

Although I'm a little late in writing about this, but the Yahoo Developer's Network continues to release new products to the community. The User Interface Library has been released with the BSD license to allow building modern interactive websites. In addition, Yahoo released their Design Pattern Library.

I hope things like these will help demonstrate that Yahoo is indeed a tech company.