Ruby on Rails v1.2 is out, go get it

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Today saw the final release of the third major production-ready release of Ruby on Rails, everyone's favorite web development suite. This new version boasts a bunch of new features and tweaks, with lots of small little touches that make your fingers sing - the official v1.2 announcement lists many of the bigger improvements but you really should do yourself a favor and pick up the Agile Web Development with Rails (2nd edition) book for a thorough explanation. As I work through it (on my Super Secret Project) I'll mention a few bits 'n pieces that I think are worth highlighting, the things that make you enjoy life and being a web developer :)

Need to post Powerpoint files online? Use FlashPaper!

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At work someone needed to be able to post Powerpoint files online that:

  • had fancy fonts embedded,
  • created a read-only file (as best we could)
  • didn't require any additional software for people to view it.

What did we choose? FlashPaper from Adobe! Poi-fect! In addition to being able to save a Flash (SWF) file it can also save out PDFs and works great. Lastly, just like Adobe Acrobat it installs a printer in the system that you can print to from any software you have installed and save the file to either SWF or PDF. Well worth the money.

HD-DVD has won the high-def media format war?

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It appears that HD-DVD will win the high-def media format war, if history is anything to go by.

History lesson: In the 1980's Sony's Betamax tape standard lost out to JVC's competing and technically inferior VHS tape standard primarily due to the adult entertainment industry's backing of the latter's lower production and media & equipment costs.

While Las Vegas's played host to 2007's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), down the street was the adult entertainment industry's annual convention where many studios announced support for the more affordable of the two new high-definition media standards: Microsoft's HD-DVD. While Sony's Blu-Ray is admittedly a superior technology, as Betamax was versus VHS, it is the media costs, production costs, playback-equipment costs and popularity of the players (in part due to Microsoft's XBox360's popularity, which has a HD-DVD player available for it, versus Sony's Playstation 3 with its Blu-Ray player) that has sold them.

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