Intel sucks


I've said it before and I'll said it again, aside from having larger manufacturing facilities, Intel is pretty bad these days in comparison to AMD. Their latest high-end processor is the dual core Xeon and is so hot that it could bake a turkey, all while being slower and more expensive than AMD's best.

Longer term, while Intel struggles with retrofitting their ten year old Pentium Pro design again, AMD are working on turning the entire 32bit x86 instruction set into a virtual chip inside their 64bit core. Sorry, Intel, you suck!

Learn Ruby with the help of an utter head case


I never thought I'd find something like this, a (online) book that is both informative and utterly, utterly insane at the same time. Instead of the usual dry language that tecnical books tend to be written in, this book just oozes with oddness, from cartoon strips of foxes to discussions of dogs, there's something here to utterly confuse everyone as to the point of the anecdotes. That's not to say that it doesn't explain the technology at hand, it does and does so quite well, it's just strange. Go give it a shot, if you can look past the oddness it might be worth spending a little time on.

Read & learn one tech book every six months


I was recently reading a technical blog from some knowledgeable geek or other and he mentioned that it recommended learning one new language every year. The benefits are two fold - you both learn a new tool, but more importantly, every new language you learn furthers your understanding of the ones you already know. Its the same with spoken languages, if you learn three or four of them you become more fluent in them all as you can see how they all fit together, how nuances are shared between them, etc.

So I've given myself a mini quest - to read and understand one technical book every six months. I'm planning that one will be a programming language (Python, Java, etc) while the second would be a general theory book (OOP, design patterns, etc). My first goal is the Ruby on Rails book I just mentioned, and after that I intend delving into some more application development theory, probably with either Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, which is supposed to be pretty darn awesome, or maybe I'll see if I have any already on hand.

My reasons for doing this are fairly straight forward - I need to both keep up with current changes in the industry, and it's good to know how to use more than one tool (you can't build a house with just a hammer). The primary reason, though, is that I have very little understanding and usable knowledge of advanced programming theory - object oriented development, design patterns, etc, and short of going back to college the only way I have of learning these things is to take the time to do so.

Web development made fun again? Ruby on Rails


Today I ordered the book Agile Web Development with Rails, a book that explains how to use the Ruby on Rails (aka RoR) web development system based around the Ruby programming language. I've been keeping an eye on it for the past few months as its been getting more and more media coverage (ok, geek media coverage) and this past week I finally started looking at it. What I saw struck me as pretty awesome. The whole premise of Ruby on Rails (RoR) is to make web application development easy especially the initial stages of creating a basic set of pages to insert & update your database, and from there it expands quite gracefully.

One of the really neat things about RoR is that it forces you to adhere to good programming standards, to do everything in a clean MVC structure, which will ultimately make it easier to manage long term. One of the reasons I'm getting into it is the simple fact that learning it will help me learn object oriented programming, something I've had a hard time grasping so far - RoR builds the framework using OOP methodologies so I can see where verything goes as I'm building something, thus start to see how things should be done.

RoR is a very new technology that was launched only about a year ago and in fact has not fully reached the wonderful "version 1.0" point (should be any day now), so this book which was published in July will only take me so far, once I learn the knowledge it has I'll be able to branch out to the latest updates and continue from there. If you're interested in taking a look yourself there's lots of good stuff on the main RoR site including a 15 minute introductory video that shows in the 15 minutes how to build a basic database driven website, itself an awesome feat!

Norway gives 100% control of public video to Microsoft, MS gets angry


Norway has announced that they will be making 20,000 video clips and twelve radio stations available online. The only problem is that it is tied to Microsoft's Windows Media Center Edition software which must be installed on your PC before you can view any of it. This rules out anyone who either doesn't have the money to buy this special edition of Windows, who doesn't have the expertise to install it, or who doesn't use or want to use Windows in the first place e.g. Mac or Linux users. Note that all of this content is paid for by taxpayers, just like the media in many other countries including Ireland.

A British author and rights activist, Cory Doctorow, wrote a nice article explaining why this was a bad decision for Norway to make, with many excellent points brought up for discussion. Not to let someone else have the last word, a Microsoft employee wrote a defensive article calling Doctorow a communist and a liar, completely avoided answering the key points raised and instead lies himself. In defense to the accusations Doctorow has written a rebuttal to Microsoft's tirade.

Gotta love what happens when you call shenanegans on a large company.


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