Tag Archives: reviews

Google

I use Google products religiously. There. I said it.

Any mail I am receive is procmail-ed to GMail. I read everyone’s blog through Google Reader. I manage my bookmarks through Google Bookmarks. I even have a recipe or two saved on Google Base.

Why do I use Google? Simplicity. With a broadband connection, even with my slow computer, Google’s apps are faster than something running locally more often than not. And since my information is saved to Google’s computers, I don’t have anything to back up other than my music.

I do have a couple of issues with these products. Reader needs a “Mark all read” button, though this can be hacked around with Greasemonkey (and Geekmonkey) Calendar seems to have problems keeping the event bars lined up with the times in the grid, which I can forgive for now since it is three days old. Edit: I was using a Camino nightly build. I am now using the stable and this problem went away. Bookmarks should be exportable.

But other than these couple of issues, I love Google’s services. I could use another reader, but then I would have another site to remember to visit, another password to remember, my personal information on some other company’s computers. It just isn’t worth it for small quibbles.

As for privacy, I am not worried. Google refused a government order to turn over search results that didn’t even ask for user names. They use my search history to give me ads I will want to click. So? I found ThinkGeek from a banner ad and it is now my favorite shopping site online. Privacy nuts should be more worried about their ISPs who have ALL your information pass through their pipes.

Lay off Google.

Corpse Bride

I thought at first that the movie would just be a sequel of The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I thought sucked hugely. It was quite good though.

The main character is betrothed to some girl from a prestigious family without money, while his family has money without prestige. Their marriage is arranged by both families as one of convenience, but he quickly falls for his bride. However, he is a bit inept and has trouble remembering his vows. While practicing them in the forrest, he slips the ring on what he believes is a dead twig, but in fact happens to be the hand of a dead girl. He realized that he loves her, yet is stuck between the worlds of the living and the dead, bound to both by love and obligation.
It was very well done, with much better animation/claymation than Nightmare had. The plot seemed slightly thin, but the characters were done well enough to more than make up for that.
Rating:
★★★★☆

Languages of Choice

I recently checked out a book from the local library on Python (Learning Python, 2nd Ed.) and don’t think it is a very good language. It is too loose where it shouldn’t be, and restrains you where it shouldn’t.

A good programming language should allow you to do almost anything you need, should be consistent throughout, and should allow you to use knowledge of another language as a starting point. C and derivatives, Java, and to some degree Perl and PHP all have enough similarities in syntax that it is fairly nontrivial to learn all of them once you have learned one. For my money, however, the best one to learn is JavaScript.

JavaScript is (almost) essential if you plan on doing any web development. It is designed so that you can learn bits and pieces and do functional stuff within the first half hour or so (without much case and pasting), and is scalable. It can be used for trivial tasks such as image rollovers in a web page, but scales so well that the majority of Mozilla, Firefox, Thunderbird, and pretty much any other Mozilla.org application or extension is primarily written in JavaScript. A good chunk of DreamWeaver is in JS. Not to mention a large portion of Windows (okay, that’s not such a good example, but bad apps can be written in any language).

JS is cross platform. Odds are that the browser you are using can interpret JS. Excellent quality web applications are written in it (Flickr, Google Maps, and GMail come to mind). And if you want to do something more ambitious than a web app (perhaps an app that can save files, for example) you can make a piece of Mozilla chrome (XUL Planet has an excellent tutorial) that will run on any computer that is running any Mozilla.org application.

I long for the day that GNU releases GJSC (GNU JavaScript Compiler).

Got a new phone

I just got a Treo 600 and must say, it is the coolest piece of technology I have ever owned. From one device I can make calls, check email, browse the web, listen to music (with a SD card and headphones adaptor), read books (I just bought a new Star Trek book from Peanut Press), take pictures, and play games. I have yet to have a single problem with it, and despite the fact that it is a handheld computer (that I can sync with my desktop) I don’t feel like I am talking into a pocket calculator when I use the phone. The applications are all well integrated (if someone emails me a phone number I can dial it with a single tap on the screen). I would defiantly recommend it to anyone looking for a new phone that wants to be able to do more than just make calls.

I have got everyone’s Christmas shopping done. I do believe Jennifer and I picked the perfect gift for everyone on our list too. Which is ironic considering that my perfect gift is usualy a gift card.