Posted by & filed under Personal. 2,033 views

On Saturday, annoyed at the thumping of my downstairs neighboor’s new subwoofer, I had to explain to him that my subwoofer is larger and louder than his and happens to be pointed downwards and directly above him. After playing the lobby scene from the Matrix and some Infectious grooves, I think I got the message accross (downward) and could resume my activities. He had turned down his glorified boombox (my goes up to 12).

It’s a constant war with the Northeastern students that consider my building a dorm and a party hall. It escalates until the day before they move out (big party) and then new people move in. I feel old.

Last night, as some of them were unpacking and hauling their new 65 inch HDTV into their 3 bedrooms appartment (where five of them live), one asked me (I was walking down to get a baguette) :

– What do you think ?

– I think it’s about half the size of mine.

and walked away.

Posted by & filed under Mono, Novell. 1,920 views

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Last week I attended Novell’s big annual North American conference, Brainshare. We met with a lot of customers, partners, analysts and colleagues. Miguel and I showed some nice demos of Mono’s System Windows Forms support (around minute 47 or so) which Peter and Jackson help put together. Later in that video, Nat shows some great mono applications (Beagle, f-spot, Tomboy) and other niceties. It was a very successful show, I think.

The most important words in the English language are not “I love you” but “It’s benign.”

On another note, Gooball came out, a MacOS X commercial game that uses Mono for level scripting, it seems.

Posted by & filed under Mono. 1,789 views

Yesterday, Joe Hummel gave a great presentation of Mono to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN*).

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Joe Hummel demos Mono to an MSDN audience

Joe built a quick hello world executable on Linux with Mono 1.05 (he was using RedHat 9 in Virtual PC 2004) and showed it working on Linux and Windows. Then he showed some really great little Windows.Forms applications (built in VS.NET) running on Linux with Mono without recompilation. We were on the edge of our seats as he ran applications using the Mono 1.05 VB.NET runtime and Windows.Forms implementation (since then completely rewritten), something few of us would have dared do. It worked without as much as a hickup.

Worth noting for those who have watched the Microsoft sponsored Webcast that:

  • Mono is not a port of .NET, it’s an implementation of the ECMA CLR & C# specifications and the .NET APIs
  • Mono works on Linux (x86, x86_64, PPC, PPC 64, S390, S390x), MacOS X, Solaris, Windows NT, Windows XP and a variety of other platforms.
  • Our System.Windows.Forms implementation has been rewritten from scratch and does not rely on Wine anymore. “All controls are natively drawn through System.Drawing. MWF implements it’s own driver interface to communicate with the host OS …”
  • One should now use the “unstable” releases (1.1.x) when evaluating Mono, we’ve made a lot of progress, fixed a lot of bugs and optimized greatly since Mono 1.0 in June 2004. Also, we’re getting close to releasing Mono 1.2 (Early Q2 2005) so 1.1.x is where it’s at, right now.

So all in all, it was great to hear praises of Mono in a Microsoft sponsored event, many thanks to Joe. More Mono action with MSDN on Feb 8th.

(*) The Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) is an information service from Microsoft for software developers.

Posted by & filed under Mono, Photography, Scuba-diving. 3,040 views

So I am back from my Turks and Caicos where I dove for 2 weeks in December. Two weeks of no geeking out (except for watching G4/TechTV at night), waking up at 7:00 AM, diving a couple of times a day, getting my Rescue Diver certification and playing volley-ball and going to bed at 10:00 PM every night, exhausted. Took a lot of naps and read a few books amongst which Donnerjack, a very good cyberpunk novel by the late Zelazny. I am still adjusting to normal hours and having some difficulties.

I’ve noticed recently that many of the people I meet are interesting in scuba diving and have lots of questions so I decided to start writing a geek oriented scuba-diving FAQ:

An incomplete scuba-diving FAQ

Where do I learn to scuba ?

What a lot of people do, since they don’t want to sit in a classroom while on vacation, is take a class at their local dive shop which consist of classroom and pool time. Once that’s done, they’re given a piece of paper that they can show to the dive operator wherever they go to indicate they’re ready for their 4 open water dives. Once that’s done, they can be issued a dive certification. With that c-card in hand …[more]…

Zamples

Since I am world reknown for the quality and frequence of amazing chunks of sample code but more seriously because Zamples went live today with C# support powered by Mono, look at that amazing perl of C# wisdom and click on the pretty button:

public class Test {
public static void Main() {

System.Console.WriteLine("This runs thanks to Zample's live code sample");
System.Console.WriteLine("feature that allows you to test C# code using Mono.");
System.Console.WriteLine("OS Version: "+System.Environment.OSVersion);
System.Console.WriteLine("Runtime Version: "+System.Environment.Version);
System.Console.WriteLine("nSoon with ASP.NET and VB.NET support");

}

}

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. 1,456 views

Back from Sin City. ApacheCon was interesting, definitely a much smaller operation than even mid-size shows like MySQL Conference, OSCON. The talks I attended were very informative (as was mine, I hope, a bit of a rehash of a classic Mono presentation with a lot of ASP and ASP.NET information mixed in with migration tricks).

The hotel however was Ghettolicious and the large signs, humorously posted by the conference team saying “This site is under construction”, never more appropriate.

All in all a good week with many attendees curious about Mono and NLD, including a Ferengi who was after my limited edition gold plated NLD box set:

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He’s not really dead. As long as we remember him.

I met Ubuntu people at ApacheCon and chatting with them made me want to install their desktop and try it out. Also, many of my colleagues are blogging about Ubuntu so I wanted to try it out. This anecdote is not at all a comment on the quality of the product nor pretends to be a review of it but is just that, an anecdote.

My PC at home was sick with a bad case of Windows and I thought I’d install Ubuntu on there, especially since the hardware is horribly complicated with a state of the art (then) Abit AT7 (with Firewire on board, USB 2.0, Compact Flash readers, HPT 374 Software RAID, maybe the first motherboard to feature all of this). I wanted a state of the art distro with the latest of everything so that I wouldn’t have to hunt for device drivers.

And yes, while the Ubuntu installer was very simple, I was puzzled by the choice of 4 kernels (which to chose and why ?) and the fact that while everything seems to go well, the box kernel panicked early in the boot process. I didn’t have much time to debug (beyond trying one of the three other kernel choice available to me) so I tried to install NLD instead. And it worked. Pfft.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. 1,363 views

This week, I am in Sin City for ApacheCon. I’ll be doing a presentation today on ASP.NET with Mono on Linux/Apache (Slides will follow).

On a side note, I flew Song from Boston to Las Vegas yesterday. Each seat has its own widescreen LCD TV with 24 Dish channels, PPV movies, sattelite radio and music trivia. From what it seemed when they were rebooting the whole system, each of them is drive by Linux. The boot process was too quick to see much of it (beyond touchscreen drivers being loaded up) but it was running Linux, for sure. Interesting…

Posted by & filed under Mono, Novell, Personal. 1,496 views

We recently published Mono’s first official success story. Thanks to Volcker, the city of Munich and the good people at Novell. Worth a read if you’re wondering if Mono is ready for prime time.

I am not greedy, I’ll only take half

I am sick at home, trying to shake off a bad cold, watching “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. Great movie, but I feel miserable.

Posted by & filed under Linux, Mac OS X. 1,530 views

Pretty appropriate, post election, I thought. From “Twelve Monkeys”. Mono. Bush. Primates. Monkeys. Yeah.

Alright, get ready to launch Operation Circle of Confusion.

I’d like to expand on the subject of application launchers.

I have been trying to migrate to Linux from MacOS X for a little while now. NLD, Evolution, Red Carpet, Mozilla, OpenOffice, Mono/GTK# make it really easy. But there is still one thing that really make it difficult for me, and that’s switching between applications.

I know most of you Linux heads use Virtual Desktops and you love it. It just doesn’t work for me. I don’t think like that. Add Alt-Tab and Virtual Desktop hotkeys to that and I get even more confused.

I had this discussion with many people and we were able to narrow it down to the fact that Linux (and Windows) Alt-Tab does Windows switching instead of Application switching. One could argue that on those desktops there is no notion of application, GUI wise (unless you’re talking about MDI apps). On Linux I always spend a lot of time looking for my browser window, terminals and GAIM contact list. There are shortcuts, applets, tricks but none seem to work for me.

On MacOS if you’re in one application – which you can switch to from the Dock or Cmd-Tab, you have direct access to all your applications windows very quickly (Cmd-` to switch between them or see them all with F10 for Exposé) . What works for me, on MacOS X is QuickSilver, my application launcher of choice.

QuickSilver is magic, it’s great, it’s fan-tas-tic. QuickSilver scans my browser bookmarks, my applications, the documents in my user directory, my active applications, my IM contact list, my address book. When I type Cmd-Space (user defined), it pops up a little window which lets me input a shortcut:
QuickSilver on Mac OS X

As you can see from the screenshot, QuickSilver is pretty smart (It knows that NNW is likely to be a short cut for NetNewsWire.app). But it presents me with other choices too including some of my bookmarks, another application and a folder that’s in my home directory.

It also brings up vcards from my address book, documents in my home folder (or any folder I ask it to watch). It’s hard to describe, it does so much. If the first choice it gives me is not what I am looking for, I can scroll down and choose something else and it’ll learn from my selection.

Any item I chose has different default action associated with it; it’ll launch an application, a document, switch to a running application, email a contact, open a bookmark. Beyond the default action, there are other actions available to me, depending on the entity such as openning the folder containing an application, emailing a document, opening the vcard and even opening a bookmark in the WayBack machine !

Add to that a bunch of plugins that allow you to switch songs in Itunes, browse albums, make internet searches, it’s a treasure box. Or Pandora’s Box, maybe.

Now what I’d like, of course is something similar for Linux, something that allows me to switch applications and do a lot more. I don’t know if anybody out there would be interested in implementing this (in Mono + GTK# ? 🙂 ) but I know I would love something like that to exist. Incorporate the power of Beagle for content and path searches and you’ve got a killer app !

Please ? Pretty Please ?

N.B.: there are other Applications Launchers on MacOS X which might have different/better/worse features: Butler, Launchbar. On Windows, AppRocket does the trick.

Actors don’t like to play coma. They feel it limits their range

I am generally quite unmoved by things political. My parents were too much into it and I think I lost interest when I turned three.

Yet, I was raised despising Arafat. My aunt and cousin’s plane had been highjacked to Entebbe in 1976 by PLO forces and rescued by Israeli forces at the Ungandan aiport. As you can imagine the family felt pretty strongly about it (we never had these kind of problems with the People’s Front of Judea nor the Judean People’s Front for that matter).

Watching peace progress under the rule of Rabin and Arafat, I felt for a moment there was some true desire for peace in Yasser’s heart, desire that’s not found in all Israeli’s hearts. But since Rabin’s brutal murder (by an Israeli, I know) and the rapid terror escalation on both sides of the border, I have lost all faith in his honest quest for peace.

Today Yasser is lying in an hospital bed and is unlikely to ever see a peaceful Palestine and Israel (are we ?) nor Sunday morning for that matter. Do I look forward to his death ? Is he (was he) the terrorist that events painted him to be ? Will his successors succeed where he failed, in peace or in terrorism ?

Maybe. I think so. In peace, in peace.

Please. Pretty please.

With a cherry on top.

Posted by & filed under Mac OS X. 2,236 views

Update: This has been updated, check my Mac OS X powertools page

As I noticed someone picking up my old recommendations on MacOS X Powertools, I decided to update it a little and widen the scope:

Aside from the obvious (Mail.app, iCal, Address Book, iSync, …) I use these daily:

Chat

I left Proteus behind and now use Adium. Open source, powered by libgaim, it supports all major protocols (including Groupwise which I need at work), is highly customizable, scriptable and has a booming community.

RSS viewing

The awesome NetNewsWire – the best I found, I wish people would
include the article body all the time in their rss feed so that I
don’t have to go to the web site itself and see all those
ads. NetNewsWire 2.0 is in beta and is simply
awesome with support for smartddsts (i.e. give me all the entries that
contain the word mono but are not found in Monologue), scripting,
custom css, subscription to feeds generated from scripts (for example,
ddstening to a folder), entry flagging (keep forever), .MAC syncing
(so I don’t have to read an entry twice, at home and at work, keeping
only one set of subscriptions).I hope they port to Linux or that Blam
adopts many of those features.

IRC

While I still use Mice iRC when I need to do DCC sends, I have switched to Colloquy which does for IRC what Adium does for IM (scriptable, customizable, …). Also, I am not sure what the status of Mirce iRC is.

Application Launcher

I also abandonned Launchbar for Quicksilver. They’re probably very equivalent now but I switched to QS because it came up with a few features firts (though I had bought Launchbar). Oh well. God, I wish Gnome had that for I still struggle with launching applications, switching between them. Alt Tab and Desktops just don’t work well for me.

Drawing Marchitecture

Omnigraffle, beats the old LIghthouse Design Diagram consumed and forgotten by Sun

Taking notes

Haven’t found a note taker that I like yet but Stickies works in the mean time. Other tools are just too bulky. Tomboy rules on Linux, I wonder how hard it would be to wrap it nicely in Cocoa#.

Terminal
Still looking for a terminal with tabs. I want one that looks like Safari, not iTerm which is weak.

Spam Killing
Started to use Popfile (at home on server) to do both IMAP and
POP. Mail.app Junk mail control just doesn’t seem to work for me

Bittorrent
Azureus – for jam band concerts download

NNTP
Unison – best news reader I found on Mac, close to the best on all platforms IMHO

Check Audion from the same company if you don’t want to deal with iTunes

DVD grabber
Handbrake (GPL) to copy my DVDs onto my HD and compress them to MP4 for viewing on the plane and at the hotel

Video player
VideoLan (GPL) – a great cross platform video player

SSH agents and tunneling

SSH Keychain for I get
tired of using command line for ssh agents and tunneling very quickly

Geeky tools of all geeky tools

Geeky Tool – you know you want it !. I use it to display my console.log on my
desktop, stock charts and internal/external IPs. Very convenient.

Election System
I recommend the popular vote. I have yet to hear a reason why the
electoral college system still makes sense today

Democracies

I like France, Canada and Lithuania. Apparently Spain and Germany are being
ported to Linux so we’ll see.

A lot of those are shareware, I did end up paying for most of
them. Let me know what you think of the new list.

NB: What I am listening to these days: Palookaville (Fatboy Slim)
and Has
Been (William Shatner)
, too funny !

Posted by & filed under Personal. 1,958 views

And Johny Damon is my homeboy.

Jackson and I managed to get very good intel on the precise location of a coveted trophy. Deep under cover, we left my home for the fortress of snob·bish·ness that is Sonsie and touch the ALCS trophy:

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