Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Desktop Cleaning

In an effort to clean up my physical desktop, here are some links to random articles that I’ve just gotten around to reading:

  • What’s Wrong With: Feed Readers – According to this article, feed readers are supposed to do more than let you read feeds. I don’t know, I like the unadorned, straight-to-the-point directness of a good reader. I do agree that we are letting a bunch of desktop computing power go to waste; an “intelligent” (whatever that means) smart client feed reader could attempt to do a lot of interesting things on the user’s behalf. Whether these things would be helpful or bothesome is another story entirely.
  • What I Want From The Next Generation of the Web – Local blogger and venture capitalist Martin Tobias asks if technology has actually increased our personal productivity. Good question, of course. It does seem possible to spend all of your time fiddling with new technology, as opposed to actually using it to be productive. After working on the mini-chopper in the garage for the past month or two, I can see that tool users can easily become tool makers. When I started on Syndic8, I decided to use all of the tools in as-is condition; I consciously decided not to learn how PHP or MySQL worked from the inside. I’ve been more or less successful, with just an occasional dive in to the source code. But I do this out of necessity only. Sometimes the value of new technology isn’t apparent until you stop using it. For example, successive versions of Windows never seem that much better than their predecessors. However, go back a version or two and you will see that the old versions really did lack necessary features, and that they are conspicuous by their absence.
  • Technorati gets fed VC dollars – Good for them. Next thing you know, someone will want to invest in Syndic8. I’ll be happy to talk to anyone, but since I’m not a “business guy” and I don’t have an MBA, this probably won’t happen. On the other hand, I actually make money with my site, so perhaps I do know something about this after all.
  • Lucene made my app embarassingly fast – I have yet to use Lucene, but I want to. First, I will need to get Sam Ruby‘s PHP to Java stuff working (and even Sam says that it does not work). I could take a look at making this work. Way back in 1996 I did a lot of work with the Java Native Interface (JNI), and I even served as a reviewer for the definitive book on the subject (whoa, Amazon is selling it used for $89. Where’s my reviewer’s copy?).

That’s about it for today.