Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Wed, 31 Dec 2003
My year in review
It's time for that year in review post...

Here are some of the highlights of this year. First off, there's this blog and pyblosxom, the software that it's running on. I'd been thinking about starting up a blog, but early this year I finally did it, and used it as an opportunity to learn Python as well as a bit about the various blogging related specifications.

My first book Professional XML Development with Apache Tools : Xerces, Xalan, FOP, Cocoon, Axis, Xindice got written and published this year. It was a tremendously educational experience all the way around.

Conference wise, I went to OSCON, which was a great opportunity to meet people in other open source communities, a trend that I'd like to continue. In a foreshadowing of things to come, I got to meet some of the Chandler team in person. Of course, I also spoke at ApacheCon this year, giving a pair of presentations on XML related stuff.

On the Apache front, I agreed to be the mentor for the XMLBeans project, and as a result I got sucked into the ASF incubator project. In principle, the incubator is a good idea, it's just the implementation that seems to be lacking. People mostly perceive it as a bureaucracy, which it sort of feels like. The other big open source news, is of course, my employment with OSAF working on Chandler. This part still seems a little bit like a dream, but the reality of it is starting to sink in, and I fully expect it will have made a home by early in 2004.

OSAF facilitated my return to the world of the Macintosh where I've been pleasantly surprised. I expected to be pleased with Mac OS X, but I'm more pleased than I expected to be. Little touches like Launchbar and system wide emacs bindings (yes, even in Word, and iChat) have really made me feel at home. I've also been pleased to "work" again with Macintosh developers. When I was a Mac user previously, I did a bunch of beta testing for various products, and the feeling of being close to the developers was something that I valued. In open source projects this is something I expect, and I've been pleased to see that this tradition has continued in the Macintosh developer community.

Other highlights of the year have been the Bainbridge Island Geeks reading group which got started up this year. I've really been enjoying the chance to meet with some other islanders who are also software folks. That doesn't mean that I don't also appreciate the Seattle Java User's Group (SeaJUG), where I've mad e a bunch of friends. Even after the group moved to the east side (Bellevue/Redmond) area, a few faithful friends have gone out of their way to make sure that I'm still able to attend.

No highlights are complete without Julie and the girls, who get to put up with my working from out of the house and who benefit from the extra time that we get to spend because I don't have to commute.

For 2004, I'm not going to make any predictions. Although I'm tempted to, I haven't really thought about it enough to make any real predictions. Instead, I'll just mention a few things that I'm looking forward to for 2004.
  1. Chandler - I hope to get fully engaged once I've finished the learning curve. We're going to start working on queries in earnest in the new year, in preparation for shipping 1.0 in last 2004.
  2. iSight/iChat AV/IRC - As I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to be using these tools more than I have in the past (the ASF is heavily mailing list oriented), and I'm interested to see how we can use them not only to improve coordination with the rest of the OSAF staff but to build community with folks interested in OSAF as well. Here's hoping that multi person iChat AV is on the way soon, and a DSL with no bandwidth cap.
  3. Blogging - I've enjoyed my first (almost) year of blogging -- I've posted voluminously, but I would like to do more original content. I'm thinking about changing the pacing of my posting, but who knows. This will likely be the year of Atom -- feeds are coming out, Brent is working on support in NNW, etc. I'm interested more in API support -- I'd like to have that for pyblosxom. I'd also like to spend some time hacking blog software this year, something that fell by the wayside with the book and adjusting to a new job.
  4. Macintosh - On the software side, I expect to be surprised by more cool stuff buried down inside Mac OS X. In particular, I want to look into AppleScript for automating some of my workflow, and once I figure out how to do that, then I want to do that in Python -- AppScripting and PyObjC, here I come. If Apple/IBM succeed in ramping G5 performance to the level of the rumors, and manage to do a PowerBook G5 that has decent battery life, then I may never go back. The top of the OS isn't open source, it's true, but for the desktop, there's nothing that can touch it right now.
  5. Python - Needless to say that I'm going to be immersed in Python this year, and there's a bunch of core Python stuff that I need to really get solid on. I'm also looking forward to pypy and Parrot, and hoping that somewhere someone is out there hacking on a great environment for Python. Give me refactoring, smart navigation, and a good interactive loop and I'll be happy.
  6. Groovy - James is on the right track here, and I like what I see so far. Now that its out in beta, I think that things will start to improve rapidly -- we need that Eclipse plugin support. I just need to think of a good project to do in Groovy. By extension, I'm interested in what the folks at Codehaus are up to in general.
  7. Subversion - It looks like the collab.net guys are branching for Beta, so maybe we'll see a 1.0 pretty soon. I can't wait to switch over. It's not perfect, but it'll be a whole lot better than CVS.
  8. Bluetooth Phone management - I'm looking forward to replacing the Nokia 6310i, which doesn't know how to properly speak Bluetooth, with something that is Sailing Clicker or Romeo compatible.
[18:30] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 30 Dec 2003
Snow on Bainbridge Island
It doesn't happen very often here, but it's snowing tonight. Julie popped in to tell me and to look at it out the back doors of my office. This is going to make for an early morning, because once the kids find out it's snowing there'll be a small riot ;-)
[23:33] | [places/us/wa/bainbridge_island] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Surprised by iChat
Lemonodor's John Wiseman (who I met in #joiito the other day) added to the buzz around iChat that was started by John Perry Barlow and Joi Ito.

Since I started at OSAF, I've been using IM and IRC a lot more. On the IM front, I'm using iChat almost exclusively. This is switch for me, because while I had a decent number of AOL IM contacts, I definitely preferred the Yahoo IM client (at least on Windows) when I was getting started with IM, and then I moved on to Trillian. There are lots of reasons to like iChat (I don't like the balloons but I can live with them): The integration with the rest of Mac OS X -- the Address Book, and Mail is really good. I'm also finding that I like having all the pictures of people. I've never been much for the buddy icons, but I am finding that pictures of people instead of the generic icons really helps alot. It's also true (for me) that real pictures are better than cartoon pictures. That makes sense when you consider iChat AV -- there's a connection between the face you want to click on and the face that's going to be in the video window.

The other reason I'm using iChat is that Fire and Proteus, the other IM clients for the Mac, just don't seem to be cutting it. Proteus works pretty well except that it keeps dropping and reconnecting, and since I'm using speech notifications, that's annoying. I'd prefer to use Fire, which is open source, but the current version kept on crashing on me. So I'm still in search of a good multisystem IM client. Maybe the rumors will turn out to be true and Apple will get Yahoo and MSN into iChat. They could do Jabber too. Apparently the original version of iChat had Jabber support. And of course if Jens worked on it, it rocks.

I'm still looking for a fully featured IRC client for the Mac. I'm using XChatAqua because it logs in a flexible manner, it has some AppleScript support, and because I hope that the Python plugin will get fixed in the next release. But the UI looks very XChat ish, and it doesn't have enough notification mechanisms (speech, sounds, dock bounces). The new version of Conversation is looking better, but I'd like to have more options for log file naming, timestamping of each send, and some kind of scripting support.

[23:27] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 29 Dec 2003
Uh, I've discovered MacPython
Well, yesterday I posted about Bob Ippolito's blog. Turns out that the story is much bigger than that, at least for Python people on the Macintosh. There's an entire Python subcommunity dedicated to making Python rock on the Macintosh. At the MacPython page, you'll find the MacPython 2.3 addons for Panther, which include IDLE and a Python IDE as well as a bunch of other stuff. The pythonmac.org site contains an index of more MacPython contributors and their work.

Bill Bumgarner is one of the MacPython contributors, and I found a bunch of useful information on his blog, including this explanation of prebinding. I also found out about IPython and pyrepl, which are augmented command line interpreters for Python. I managed to get both of them running on Panther's python, and I've gotten IPython to work as a wrapper for Chandler's python. I had to patch pyrepl to get it to work for regular python, and I'm not sure I like it enough to do the work for Chandler python. They both offer good command completion, and easier access to the Python documentation (along the way I learned about the PYTHONDOCS environment variable). IPython also includes lots of customization facilties and the ability to log your session and play it back later -- a feature that is really useful when I have to get the repository set up to do some work. pyrepl's big feature is that it can do muliple line editing in the shell, which is nice for Python's loops and conditionals. Unfortunately, the implementation flickers a bit (in character mode!), which makes it hard to work with. The completion support seems better -- it can recognize packages to import, for instance. It also seems that pyrepl isn't being that actively developed any more. I'd love to see pyrepl's multi-line editing, and better completion work their way into IPython.

I'm glad that I discovered this before I wasted too much time. Of course, if I had clicked the MacPython link off of Python.org, I would have found this sooner. But better late than never...

[22:54] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 28 Dec 2003
Bob's Rants
Bob Ippolito stopped by to leave a pointer to the Mac OS X System Configuration Framework as the way to find out the value of the current location. When I followed the URL for his comment, I found his blog, which looks like a great source of Python and Mac OS X info. Subscribed.
[23:47] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sat, 27 Dec 2003
Location specific, interface dependent firewalling
Here's one for the Mac OS X hackers out there: Mac OS X has the nice notion of locations, which allows you to switch groups of network configurations depending on your location. I'm looking for a way to have location specific sets of firewall rules. In addition, I want to have on set of rules for the wired ethernet interface and a separate set of rules for the Airport interface. So far, here's what I've been able to turn up on my own: Is anyone out there using such a setup? Does anyone know how to get the value of the current location from a command line tool or script?
[23:25] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 5 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
How to move your Outlook address book to the Mac
One of the things that I hadn't gotten around to doing was to try to move my data from my Outlook address book on the Window box into my Address Book on the PowerBook. I did a fair amount of googling that turned up solutions that involved programs written atop libpst. This didn't work for me.

What ended up working for me was simple and easy:

  1. Go to your Outlook contacts
  2. Select the contents you want to transfer (select all is fine too)
  3. Go to the Action menu and select forward as vCard
  4. Mail the contacts to yourself
  5. On the Mac, save the attachments into a directory
  6. Drag the vCard files onto the Address Book app
Presto, the entire address book transfered mostly painlessly, and conflicts with existing records resolved beautifully. Now the only address book information that I am missing is e-mail addresses harvested by ThunderBird. For reasons that I'll detail in another post, I've decided to try to use Mail.app instead of Thunderbird. This made getting the address book up to date more important. When I was using Thunderbird, I just used my Windows Thunderbird address book, which got imported from the Outlook address book. Now I can use the Mac OS X address book for Mail.app, iChat, and other addressbook aware applications, like iSync. If only the Address Book has some more features like categories...
[23:04] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Fri, 26 Dec 2003
The Return of the King
Thanks to Julie's mom, we were able to go out and see "The Return of the King" this afternoon. Getting babysitting time to go see a 3.5 hour movie is a no mean feat, and I was very grateful to get the chance to go. It's also true that sitting through a 3.5 hour movie in a theater is no mean feat either.

On the whole, I was very pleased with the movie. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is the only movie trilogy that I can think of where every movie was good. After the disappointment of the Matrix trilogy (yes, I was disappointed in the end), I appreciated the quality of The Return of the King, even more. In the end, I was pleased with the movies. I feel that Jackson was able to capture the essence of the story while making the necessary accommodations for the viewing audience. The only way that I can see substantial improvements being made would require several additional hours of film, which I think is impractical.

There was one small disappointment for me in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. It has to do with the arrival of the black ships, at a moment when the odds have turned against the foes of Sauron. In the movie, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas jump out of the ships, and the only army that you see is the army of the dead. here's how Tolkien described it.

And lo! even as he (Eomer) laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them

And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up into the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; ut Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold

Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur's heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohrrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells.

This is one of my favorite moments in the books, the moment when Aragorn's identity and return are announced to all of Middle Earth. It's a shame they felt it needed to be omitted. After all, the title of the movie is "The Return of the King" -- a theme I've been thinking about since the story of Christmas also foretells the return of a King.

I was very pleased with the handling of another of my favorite scenes: Eowyn and Merry's role in felling the Lord of the Nazgul. For the most part I'm happy with the way that Jackson expanded Eowyn's role in the story.

This brings us to the end of 2003's festival of trilogy endings. Maybe now we can use those precious babysitting hours on something besides movies.

[23:59] | [culture/film] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Thu, 25 Dec 2003
A Christmas reading
Some of my strongest Christmas memories come from my childhood. We usually participated in our church's Christmas Eve service, and in my teenage years, I usually ended up as a reader in the service. For various reasons this sort of thing (liturgical readings) hasn't carried on as a tradition for me as I've gotten older. Yet the content of those readings is the spiritual heart of Christmas. Tonight I'm remembering those readings, so I thought I'd share one.
In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. God sent John the Baptist to tell everyone about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was only a witness to the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was going to come into the world. But although the world was made through him, the world didn't recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan--this rebirth comes from God. So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. John pointed him out to the people. He shouted to the crowds, "This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before I did.'" We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us--one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart; he has told us about him.
John 1:1-18
[01:29] | [misc] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Wed, 24 Dec 2003
How to get remote X clients to work X11.app
I've been out of the X scene for a while -- I usually access my home Linux boxes via VNC inside the house's firewall, and I never was that interested in using Windows as an X server for those boxes. Since Panther has X11.app, I wanted to see if I could get X clients from the Linux boxes to pop windows on the Powerbook. I went through xhost, nope, didn't work. From my experiences with gnuserv, I tried xauth. Still no cigar. Turns out I needed to open port 6000 in the Mac OS X firewall. Not to happy about that, but it works. Luther in Chandler's #babble channel pointed me to this page which provided the necessary enlightenment. Use X11 forwarding in SSH. I'm now happily and (relatively) securely popping X clients from my linux boxes on to the PowerBook.
[16:21] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Tue, 23 Dec 2003
Developers and customers: its about closing the feedback loop
Dan Steinberg had a provocatively titled post on java.net today. He took exception some comments on Kathy Sierra's java.net post about the interaction of developers with customers.

It seems to me that its part of the culture of companies to keep their developers as far away from customers as possible. I think that this is a mistake. Before XML4J went open source, the code was hosted at IBM's alphaWorks site. You could get a binary download, as well as the source code. The development team was front line tech support. We answered questions in the forums and via e-mail. It was a precursor to what we'd experience when we went open source. And we got some very valuable feedback from our users/customers about things that were working and things that weren't. We learned what people were trying to do and developed features to facilitate that. It was really important.

Also during this time, I was asked by my upper management to go to a customer site with someone from IBM's services group. That's right, IBM actually sent a development engineer to a customer site to learn about what they were doing and how they were trying to deploy our technology. I don't know how pervasive this practice was in the rest of the company, but it was a great experience for me. I got unfiltered data on what people were trying to do.

Dan took exception to the part of the comments about Marketing and PRD's. There's a nice theory that says that Marketing knows the customer and what they want and that they pass that information directy to the developers with no loss of information. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to happen very often. More often than not, the feedback loop is open, and that's disastrous

This is one of the potential benefits of open source development -- you have the possiblity of a close customer/developer relationship, which can be a very postitive thing. Of course, this doesn't require open source -- I just exchanged a series of e-mails with Brent Simmons the developer of NetNewsWire and I was very pleased that he was receptive to my feedback.

Build it, get feedback, repeat.

[23:33] | [computers/open_source] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Changing workspace directories in Eclipse on Mac OS X
Today I was playing with the Eclipse on Mac OS X, and I wanted to move the workspace directory out of the Eclipse install directory. On the Windows version of Eclipse (and I assume the Linux version), you can specify the -data flag to the Eclipse launcher to do the job. Unfortunately, this doesn't work on the Mac. I posted a query to eclipse.tools.jdt and got instructions on what to do.
You'll have to edit the Info.plist file:

- do a Control-click (or right button mouse click) on the Eclipse application
- from the context menu select "Show Package Contents"
- in the new folder double click on "Contents"
- open the file "Info.plist" with your favorite text editor
- at the end of your file (after the "Eclipse" key) change the existing
  arguments or add a new argument (enclosed in a <string> </string> pair).

Be aware that there is already a "-data" argument.

If you want to have your workspace in your home directory, you can use a '~'
character as a shortcut for your home directory.

So with the following two arguments your workspace will be created in your
Document folder:
I've been hoping that the Eclipse folks would steal a feature from IBM's Websphere Studio Application Developer, which allows you to select a workspace directory from a dialog at startup. This plist editing on the Mac is a really good reason for doing the dialog. What if I wanted to switch among a few workspace directories?
[23:02] | [computers/programming/java/eclipse] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Test Driven Development: By Example
Today I finished Kent Beck's Test Driven Development: By Example. I started reading this before I started on the unit tests that I've been working on for the Chandler repository. Now I wish I had finished it earlier -- might have saved myself a little work.

The book is divided in to three parst. Parts one and two are a pair of examples developed in a test first style. There is a lot of minute detail and coverage of the reasoning. Some people might find this boring, I found it enlightening to see the inner thought process at work at various points along the way. The third part goes on to cover general principles of TDD. This section contained some good practices that I hope to put in place when I start back to work next week. If you are interested in the buzz/hype around TDD, I think that this book is worth a look. Suggestions for other worthwhile TDD books are welcome.

[22:39] | [books] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
My visit to #joiito
Today I paid my first visit to #joiito. At ApacheCon, Mark Pilgrim and Joe Gregorio told me that #joiito was the place to be. It's been on my list for a while, but I just didn't have time. So anyway, I stopped in, to see what the fuss was all about. I ran into Mark and Joe, so that was good. jeanniecool showed me the joibot ropes, and Maniac greeted me. Not bad for a first day in a channel of mostly strangers.

The whole IRC bot thing is new to me -- I know bots have been around forever, but I haven't done much IRC until this year, and I'm still climbing the learning curve. I wish that I could find a passable IRC client for OS X. I discovered akwairc and ircle today, so maybe I'll get around to trying them in the next few days.

[22:28] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Broke 100,000
Julie just popped in to tell me that my sales rank on Amazon is 89,461. That's a significant improvement from 700,000+. Of course, the distribution of sales on Amazon is likely to be a power law shaped curve, so the sledding only gets tougher up hill.

It's an odd experience shipping physical products. I finished writing the book in September and there've been little things to do here and there, but it's been mostly out of my mind since then because I've go so many other things going on. I've gotten so used to finishing something and having it go into use that it just feels weird to have this delay before the books go out. Even now it doesn't quite seem real yet, because I haven't seen a copy of the physical book yet. I hope that my copies are on the way.

I had a similar feeling when I as working on the Newton at Apple. Talk about lag time. We had to finish our software much earlier than I was used to, because that software was going into ROM, and there was lead time for that, coupled with the vacation schedule of our production partner in Asia. Working on something physical, like a piece of electronics, or a book is definitely a different feel from just tagging a bunch of files in CVS, jarring them up and pronouncing it done. Of course, not all software is done that way, but more and more software is getting done that way.

[00:05] | [computers/programming/xml] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Mon, 22 Dec 2003
Bluetooth vs PhoneValet
Today I was paging through Mac OS X Hacks and discovered that the built in Address Book in Panther can do some of what PhoneValet can do if you have a Bluetooth enabled cell phone. I have a Nokia 6310i, which I have discovered barely passes as a Bluetooth enabled cell phone. But I was able to initiate calls and SMS's from the Address Book, and have incoming calls to the cell pop up a message on the Powerbook. This is really nice functionality. It doesn't solve the voice mail problem that I mentioned yesterday, but it's a step in the right direction.

During the course of playing with this I ran into some issues / questions. If I put the Powerbook to sleep, the Bluetooth connection is severed. That makes sense. But if I want the Bluetooth connection in the Address Book to keep going, I need to remember to click the Bluetooth button in the address book when the powerbook wakes up, as well as remembering to turn bluetooth on. This sounds like a perfect application for AppleScript, but I have no idea if there is a way to execute code / scripts when the machine wakes up. Maybe that copy of the O'Reilly AppleScript book that is available on Amazon will help.

While I was writing this post, someone posted a comment on my blog. When a comment is posted, I send e-mail to myself and to my cellphone, which I use as a pager. As part of the law of unintended consequences, the SMS message from the cellphone e-mail got picked up the the Address Book bluetooth functionality. Very cool. Except that it came up on a different virtual desktop and didn't play an alert sound. Sounds like another job for AppleScript, or a customizable alert sound. There are lots of jobs around here for AppleScript (or Python masquerading as AppleScript).

[23:35] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
psync on Panther
As part of today's Mac OS X buildfest I built psync with the help of this tip from MacOSXHints.com which is a really good source of information.
[23:21] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
xchm on OS X
I got xchm to build on Mac OS X. This is an open source view for compiled HTML help (CHM) files that are mostly used on Windows. The reason that I wanted xchm is that the Python docs are available in CHM format. The advantage of CHM is that its highly searchable (and you can search when you have no network connectivity). So this is a great way to get goo d access to documentation for Python, which I still need at this point.

There's now a HOWTO and a Mac OS X version of CHMLIB. I had to get WxMac 2.5 and build it -- I seem to be building wxWindows a lot these days. I can't wait until 2.5 really comes out and xchm and Chandler are on the same version. Installing into /usr/local worked fine. Same for chmlib (I already had the fink glibtool installed). When I went to build xchm, I discovered that the chmlib install had set incorrect permissions on /usr/local/include/chm_lib.h, so I had to fix that and then xchm built fine. Running xchm out of the build directory works fine, but when I tried make install xchm wasn't responding to the keyboard or mouse, as documented in the HOWTO. I just linked from my bin directory to the executable rather than running the nasty Rez command. I'll just rebuild when wxWindows 2.5.1 comes out. Plus I don't want LaunchBar to search /usr/local/bin for programs, and I do want to be able to access xchm from LaunchBar.

[23:16] | [computers/operating_systems/macosx] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Sun, 21 Dec 2003
Solutions for voice mail?
Rajesh also had a pieces on Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). We had a CTI system in the startup that I worked at when we moved to Seattle. It required a dedicated PC with a special hardware card that connected to the phone line, as well as custom software that could talk to Outlook. When it was working, you could get caller ID notification on your computer, and you could control voice mail playback via the software. You could also dial from your Outlook address book. While it took some of the sting out of dealing with the telephone, it still really could have done more.

Today, the world is changing. For one, I'm on the Mac now. I haven't seen anything like our old phone system, but I haven't looked that hard because I don't need a server or anything like that. It seems like what I need is a combination of Parliant's PhoneValet, which could take care of doing the Caller ID, and address book integration, and Vonage's ability to deliver voice mail as e-mail with a sound attachment. If you have a decent sound player for the attachment, then you would have a reasonable UI for dealing with voice messages. Since PhoneValet talks to the Mac's system wide AddressBook, you might actually have a prayer of having all your address information in a single place, since you could use iSync to keep cell phones/PDA's up to date, as well as using Mail.app to do your e-mail. If the Thunderbird folks could figure out how to sync the ThunderBird address book with the Macintosh Address book, the world would be good. I just started using Mail.app to do my OSAF e-mail, and there are some nice features (maybe a separate post on this will come soon).

The telephone is very intrusive, and more often than not I'd prefer not to answer it. But the thought of pushing the voicemail button, entering my access code, and navigating through a long rambling messsage with number keys on the keypad frequently causes me to answer the phone when I'd rather not. Anything that makes it easier to deal with voice mail is an improvement in my book. Oddly enough, I find instant messaging and IRC to be less intrusive. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about voice and video tied to IM once I can get the bandwidth cap lifted on my DSL...

[23:42] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Coffeehouses as the internet of the Enlightenment
Rajesh Jain has some observations on coffeehouses as the internet of the Enlightenment area. All I can say is that I'm glad that I live now and not then. After almost four years of living in Seattle, I'm still not a regular coffee drinker, much less an avid one. Truth be told, I can't really tell the difference between expensive Starbucks coffee and cheap no name coffee. Couple that with being lactose intolerant (yes, I know, soy or rice milk), and coffeehouses have little to no appeal for me. I'll go for coffee if someone wants to go, because I like to be social, but it's not something I'd choose to do just by myself.

As far as combining coffehouses with today's internet, most of the coffeehouses in the Seattle area are on one of the big (expensive) wireless networks. So the coffee capital hasn't figured out that information wants to be free.

[23:18] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

twl JPG


Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Now available!
Professional XML Development with Apache Tools : Xerces, Xalan, FOP, Cocoon, Axis, Xindice
Technorati Profile
PGP Key Fingerprint
My del.icio.us Bookmarks
My Flickr Photos

RSS 2.0 xml GIF
Comments (RSS 2.0) xml GIF
Atom 0.3 feed
Feedburner'ed RSS feed

< December 2003 >
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 910111213


Macintosh Tips and Tricks

Blogs nearby
geourl PNG

/ (1567)
  books/ (33)
  computers/ (62)
    hardware/ (15)
    internet/ (58)
      mail/ (11)
      microcontent/ (58)
      weblogs/ (174)
        pyblosxom/ (36)
      www/ (25)
    open_source/ (145)
      asf/ (53)
      osaf/ (32)
        chandler/ (35)
        cosmo/ (1)
    operating_systems/ (16)
      linux/ (9)
        debian/ (15)
        ubuntu/ (2)
      macosx/ (101)
        tips/ (25)
      windows_xp/ (4)
    programming/ (156)
      clr/ (1)
      dotnet/ (13)
      java/ (71)
        eclipse/ (22)
      lisp/ (34)
      python/ (86)
      smalltalk/ (4)
      xml/ (18)
    research/ (1)
    security/ (4)
    wireless/ (1)
  culture/ (10)
    film/ (8)
    music/ (6)
  education/ (13)
  family/ (17)
  gadgets/ (24)
  misc/ (47)
  people/ (18)
  photography/ (25)
    pictures/ (12)
  places/ (3)
    us/ (0)
      wa/ (2)
        bainbridge_island/ (17)
        seattle/ (13)
  skating/ (6)
  society/ (20)

[Valid RSS]

del.icio.us linkblog



Listed on BlogShares

Locations of visitors to this page
Where are visitors to this page?

pyblosxom GIF