Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ups and Downs

That would definitely summarize my life for the last couple of weeks. Not so much a roller coaster, but it has had some smaller ups and downs. I started working on integrating my old website and this blog and renovating my old site for the integration. It's a ways off and I'm having to relearn Javascript and learn some DHTML magic to make it work well, but it's started. Teaching computers at school has also spawned a couple of smaller projects and revived work on another -- if you're a coder and none of the tools available fit your needs, what do you do? Make your own, of course!

This would probably be the first time where I've been juggling more than a couple projects at once: a simple whiteboard application (almost done), fixes for BeMines, a few more tweaks remaining before Paladin's 1.0 final release, a small app for reviewing flashcards -- mostly pictures -- in class with my students, and reviving my first project by rewriting it: BePhotoMagic. It's a lot, but I'm not planning for the tools to be used before the end of this year, and it's all been fun stuff, so a timeframe for release isn't really an issue.

Unless you've been under a rock or don't follow Linux at all, the latest release of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope, was released last Thursday. I absolutely *love* it because of the much-improved boot times -- the only real complaint that I've had about Linux up to now. My development box is a Pentium 4 3Ghz with Hyperthreading and 1GB of RAM and it boots in 30 seconds. That's half as long as XP Pro on the same machine!

Also in Jaunty is the dovecot-postfix package, a complete mail server installed in one package, courtesy of the Ubuntu team. If you've never attempted to set up a mail server under Linux, it's not for the faint of heart. In fact, I'd say it's harder than compiling and installing your own Linux kernel, so this is also big news for any would-be beginner sysadmins out there.

It's also easier to work with more than one monitor under Linux using the new release, as well. It's still a little strange and takes some playing around, but it's nowhere near the headache that it used to be. Gone is the need for futzing with xorg.conf files to configure Xinerama. This is also a major improvement in a smaller area.

In other news, Microsoft has conceded defeat on the OOXML vs ODF wars and apparently has included full ODF support in the just-released Service Pack 2 for Office 2007. All I can say is it's about time that Redmond got some sense in this area. Unfortunately, it won't be rolled out via Microsoft Update until August. At least now my coworkers can finally use my files without much hassle.

There isn't much else to tell, but when I have something to show, you'll know. TTFN. :-)

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