Next Angle, my company site, has been embarrassingly out of date for ages because flat HTML files are just such a pain to maintain. No more! The new site has been relaunched with timely content on the CMS-version of Instiki, which makes the back end look just like a wiki — and it's as easy to update as one, too. Since, well, it is just a wiki.
The new site doesn't yet contain my upcoming speaking engagements, but that and the details on my next commercial Ruby on Rails project (for a New Zealand company, no less!) will be up soon.
I've kept it really simple, mainly just running off the Instiki base template, with just a dash of CSS to do the two-column setup. Much nicer than my old "designed" boxy thang. Oh, that reminds me that I'm no longer billing myself as a web designer. How can I work with these guys on a daily basis and then even contemplate charging money for my own feeble attempts? I just can't do it.
My kid brother has once again updated Stolen Moments with a bunch of new shots from aggressive inline skating 2004. It's quite amazing how precisely and sharp the speed on inline skating is captured with his consumer Canon S50.
Hopefully he'll get back into video recording as his new 3CCD Canon camera arrives. The last published video he did was a two-minute clip for an international skate magazine. That very clip actually has a good chance of being aired at least partially as part of the gadget show on TV2.
TV2 is airing a show called 16 1/2 tonight at 20.00 focused on being online, technology, and gadgets. It's for the latter that I come into the picture. Yesterday, we spent around seven hours shooting footage for a five-minute segment for the gadgets part. 16 1/2 is all about lush visuals, so I'll be showing off the iPod, my new 3G phone, and of course the Powerbook.
But the gadgets in themselves doesn't seem to excite as much as the combination of gadgets and a life free from cords and location-fixed obligations. So we shot the whole deal at Charlottenlund Fortet under the pretext that I had moved the office outside due to the lovely weather. It actually was a spectactular nice day, so it wasn't as far-fetched as it could otherwise seem.
Update: Video (5 min)
With Repligo finally up and running on my new ebook reader, errr phone, I'm reminded how much I love buying books from Manning. I recently finished reading Art of Java Web Development (nicking all the good ideas I could find for Rails) and now I've just bought AspectJ in Action (following a recommendation from Tirsen).
I'm really looking forward to picking up Hibernate in Action and Java Reflection in Action when they become available. If only Manning would branch out a little and start offering books on the language I care about the most.
UPDATE: Ruby on Rails has been released!
It's official. I'll be giving the previously discussed two-hour presentation to all the stuff I've been working on for the best many months. The presentation is once again entilted Ruby on Rails to Basecamp and will consist of a one-hour introduction to Ruby, Rails, and Basecamp followed by a one-hour tutorial on Rails.
It'll be Thursday, May 6th at 13.00-15.00 in Biografen 41.1, Roskilde Universitetscenter. It's free to come and there's plenty of space. So do come if you're interesting in Basecamp, Rails, Ruby, or all of the above.
Berlingske just called to for the bi-yearly checkup. "Are you sure you don't want to subscribe?". I wonder how many times you have to turn them down to be taken off the list. Or whether they even record your reasons.
This time was different, though. When I refused to sign-up for even the Sunday edition, she tried again at a price one-third less than the initial offer. So obviously, she was sampling how flexible my demand was. Interesting. I'd really like to know if this works. You'd think that someone would already have invested at least some ego in the first no, so perhaps they'd be less likely to change that to a yes. Even if they would have taken the lower-price offer if it had been presented on its own.
Anyway, if you'd like the Sunday edition of Berlingske for three months for 100 DKK, just refuse until you get the offer.
I'll be giving a two-hour introduction to Ruby on Rails at Roskilde University in the near future. It's going to be partly about Ruby, Rails, and Basecamp. The advantages of the platform and the story of the production. Along the lines of that Ruby on Rails to Basecamp presentation I gave to a small team under Madsen-Mygdahl recently. That's the first hour.
The second hour is going to be on how to build a web-application with the Rails stack. I'm going to build something small from the ground up to show you just how easy and fast it actually is to produce something of value in Rails.
An official announcement shouldn't be too far away, but I'd like to sample to interest around here anyway. Would you be interested in spending two hours on hearing my rave glowingly about Rails some time in May at Roskilde University? If so, please leave a note in the comments.
Instiki is now in it's 0.7th release and already my default pick for any new content-oriented venture. It's used heavily in my study group to keep notes for our law class and write our bachelor's project (plans for a LaTeX-exporter is in the works). We've also installed it in Socialistisk Folkeparti for the internal side of our Social Software study (the external part is a weblog for member of parlement Margrete Auken).
On top of that, I'm running a wiki to collect knowledge on my new 3G phone from Motorola. A new commercial project I just started on uses it for requirements specifications. A friend of mine developing Mac shareware uses it to coordinate the development of their two projects. And of course Instiki itself is hosted on Instiki.
And it's apparently not just a mother's love, either. Russell wrote about wikis for intranet use yesterday and two different people immediatly jumped in to promote Instiki. Awesome!
So I thought it was about time for it to move out and onto its own domain: http://www.instiki.org/.
Instiki is back on fork-challenged platforms (hello Windows!) after a short hiatus in the 0.5 release. It now also properly snapshots the Madeleine database when running in Daemon mode. So hopefully we should be working all around.
More interestingly, thereís a bunch of cool new features in Instiki. You can export the entire web to HTML files that come bundled in a pkzip (thanks rubyzip!), which works great for taking backups or distributing a wiki. Itís also a half-decent CMS this way that you can use to write documentation to all of those wonderful Ruby projects.
Thereís also RSS feeds. Two flavors: Full content or just the headlines. Unfortunately, thereís a few problems with international characters like śŚÝ thatíll render the XML invalid (so readers like Feed Reader? chokes). Any help to get that working properly will be much appriciated.
And thanks a ton to both Florian for a bunch of great patches and to Why The Lucky for keeping Red Cloth? running at full force.
Check out the full change log at the self-hosting Instiki wiki.
Instiki have moved off the backburner and into full-on development as its been chosen for playing a part in my bachelor's project on Social Software. This release is entitled "Before the Storm" as it's mainly about polish before I start adding features that'll require data migration. Upgrading to 0.3.1 is a no-brainer. Just move your wikis from storage/ over from the old installation and all should be fine.
The most apparent change is that the user interface has been polished for all pages. This includes much requested Textile help on the edit page. But there's also locking, so you won't accidently start editing a page someone else is already working on.
Check out the full change log at the new self-hosting Instiki wiki.
The rise of agile development methods have raised a range of questions about their general applicability. Martin Fowler ventures his speculation in Can average developers use agile methods?:
When a new technique or tool appears, it's usually tried out first by higher ability developers. This is quite a natural response. Early adopters have to be those who are more thoughtful and caring about their profession. New approaches are usually tried by them before it's tried out on the majority.
Thus with any new approach you have to ask the question of whether this approach is only suitable for these more adventurous souls. This is an unanswerable question, because until it's tried by more average teams, you can't tell how it will work for them.
I whole-heartily agree and simultaneously think it's a speculation that could be extended to include the rise of dynamic languages, such as Smalltalk, Python, and Ruby. I have plenty of first-hand experience with the fear and mistrust with which Ruby is met with by late comers that needs and relies solely on the affirmation of mass-adoption.
Charles Miller examines the getter/setter syndrome in Java1 from a usage (rather than the normal construction) perspective and devices a shortcut. Instead of using individual access methods, he proposes the unified
set_properties that takes a hash of attributes and automatically assigns them on the object instance. Unfortunately, he fails to see its uses and discards the idea with a clever Simpsons reference (we like those).
That's a shame because he had the right idea.
The date has been set for June 25th and my flight has been booked for our Building of Basecamp workshop. A whole day to pick the brains of the team behind Basecamp on a wide variety of subjects from development to design to marketing.
I'll of course be talking at length about Ruby and Rails both during and after the workshop itself. Perhaps we'll even get down and dirty with some hands-on examples of this outstanding combination of pure web-app productivity. (As you can hear, I'm already at basecamp on the climb of Mount Evangelism).
Be quick, though. There's a hard limit of 40 spots available, which will likely be gone sooner rather than later judging from the early expressions of interest we got when airing the idea. Bring more than three people from your company and enjoy 10-25% discounts on the $395 admission and a free year of Basecamp premium.
See you in Chicago!