Feb 27

Jef Raskin, Mac pioneer, dies at 61

Apple, UI / UX No Comments »

Jef Raskin, Mac pioneer, dies at 61.

Jef Raskin, the human-computer interface expert largely credited with beginning the Macintosh project for Apple Computer, died Saturday at age 61.

Raskin, the author of The Humane Interface, died of cancer, according to a man who answered the telephone Sunday at Raskin’s Pacifica, Calif., home.

Raskin, who named the Macintosh after his favorite fruit, joined Apple in January 1978 as employee No. 31. The Macintosh was launched in 1984, but Raskin left Apple in 1982 amid a well-documented dispute with Steve Jobs.

Reskin was an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego, and a visiting scholar at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the 1970s when he first visited Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). (Apple is often accused of copying Xerox’s graphical user interface–GUI–into the Macintosh operating system).

Check out this demo of zoomable interfaces. We see some of this with F9 and company.

We still have so much to do wrt human-computer interfaces. Don’t you feel like a primate who can only poke and prod at things?


Feb 27

Journey to the center of Google

Google, Tech No Comments »

John Heilemann has written a thorough piece titled: Journey to the center of Google.

He takes a quick parade through the first chapter of Google. From the start, to the IPO, and the troubles along the way.

It was interesting to read this after just finishing the book on Steve Jobs. Google has a lot of interesting issues ahead for sure. Hopefully they can keep coming up with good technology for the masses, and “don’t be evil”.

Feb 27

The Motorcycle Diaries

Personal, TV / Movie 10 Comments »

Since it is Oscar night, I will mention that I saw The Motorcycle Diaries with family.

What can I say? THIS is a quality movie. How the hell can “The Aviator” be up in the running for awards, when there are top class movies like this.

How rare is it to be taken on a ride, one without insane heroics, but just a journey with a couple of interesting people.

I loved the Spanish in this movie. It is always interesting to watch a subtitled movie, and note that after a few minutes you totally forget about it.

Here’s to Che.

Feb 27

Love Juice

Humour, Personal, Travel 6 Comments »

You often see funny names for things when you travel. You know, items like having a car called ‘Nova’ in a spanish company, food called ‘Schit’, and the like.

Well, this was the name of a juice bar at Stansted airport in the UK. It was owned by a hispanic family… so maybe a translation? :)


Feb 27

JST: JavaScript Templates

AOP, Ajax, JavaScript, Tech, UI / UX 43 Comments »

You gotta love adding to “JS?” acronyms. Now we have JavaScript Templates, which, as Aslak talks about, can work well in the new world of Ajax.


Feb 27

XOR Linked Lists in Java

Java, Tech 1 Comment »

I really liked the XOR Linked List hack by Don Schwarz.

The sun.misc.Unsafe class is really scary, but it is interesting to know that it is there (at least on Sun JVMs).

Apart from anything else, it makes you feel happy that you don’t have to do any pointer crap anymore.

Don’t first public showing of the class was in Avoiding Checked Exceptions.

He has got a lovely twisted sense of humour! :)

Feb 25

Annotating the planet

Google, Tech, UI / UX No Comments »

Jon Udell is spot on. We are going to annotate the planet. One of the ways in which we will do this is Google Maps. It isn’t just a way to look something up… it is a platform for us to use!

Take a look at how he took his GPS info. Still photos. Digital movies. And greated
a walking tour of Keene, MA using Google Maps.

It was inspired by Matt King.

See more Google Maps Hacks

Feb 25

Java. Natural. Nil.

Java, Ruby, Tech 2 Comments »

I had to laugh with this from Chris Poirier:

That all said, I’ve been writing lots of Ruby over the last few years, so my ability to recognize [what is] natural for Java programmers is pretty much nil.


P.S. Yes, “nil” was an intentional joke. :-P

Feb 25

RE: Patents are useful!

Open Source, Tech 2 Comments »

My long time friend (from high school in London) Dave Coleman, has written about patents, claiming that they are useful :)

I agree that they are useful in general, but I think the key could be:

Actually, in Europe software isn

Feb 25

Rails for the poor Struts guys #2

Java, Ruby, Web Frameworks No Comments »

Brian has written his second part article, Rails for Struts-ters, Part 2: The Views.

As the title implies, he goes into detail, comparing the view side of Struts vs. Rails. If you grok Struts, you will understand the rails side from this.

It also clears some myths such as “Rails doesn’t have SiteMesh capability” which I have heard from quite a few Java developers.

Rails Layouts

Final thing to look at in views is layouts.
The quasi-official tool for this in Struts is Tiles, but I prefer Sitemesh, so will use a sitemesh example.
Rails has Layouts, which are the same conceptually as Sitemesh decorators. Here is one

<title>Brian and Joy's Wedding</title>
<link href="/stylesheets/scaffold.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<%= render_menu %>
<%= @content_for_layout %>

The layout gets wrapped around any rendered output, with the output going at the <%= @content_for_layout %> point.
The easiest way to use a layout for all views is to just have a layout named application.html, and it will be used implicitely.
You can explicitely use a layout by declaring it in the controller, a la

class GiftController < ApplicationController
layout 'scaffold'
before_filter :require_logged_in

which will have it look for scaffold.rhtml to use as a layout. Sitemesh uses an external XML file to configure these, under typical usage, but it is conceptually the same.

Great stuff Brian!