Roller planning done, I'm heading home...

I've had a very productive week so far in MPK and I'm heading home early tomorrow. Working with new blogs.sun.com developer Allen Gilliland, I wrapped up first drafts of requirements and design for group blogging in Roller (check the wiki if you want the details). Allen and I also spent a lot of time discussing possible "supportablity" enhancements like configuration consolidation and load balancing. I posted some notes from these discussions to the Roller dev list for feedback. The posts spurred a flurry of comments and discussion that touched on topics of search (Matt R and Matt S want to fix it) and ditching container managed authentication (Matt R is interested in moving to Acegi).

I haven't been nearly so productive on the book. Before I left N.C. I picked up the same cold that hit rest of my family, so I've been sleeping instead of writing. So it goes.

Nice thing is, I was able to spend a little time with some of my other co-workers. Roller committer Anil Gangolli (more of a friend than a co-worker I guess) kindly invited me over for dinner with his wife and some friends on Sunday and we had some great indian food and conversation (Thanks Anil!). And today, I was fortunate enough to run into Tim Bray and Claire Giordano as I was wandering around looking for an empty table in the Sun cafeteria.

I'm coming back out here on the 26th for the chairman's award deal. Hopefully I'll feel better then.

New themeage

I heard from Matt Schmidt today. He's porting some of the Wordpress themes over to Roller. Check out his blog to see the RedTrain theme in action. Nice work Matt.


Menlo Park

That's where I'm going today. I'll be working at blogs.sun.com HQ from Monday through Wednesday.

Congratulations blogs.sun.com!

What an honor! I'm proud to part of the blogs.sun.com (BSC) team, but BSC is way more than just six or seven people. BSC is a success because of the many excellent bloggers who write there.

Triangle photo stream

If you want to subscribe to newsfeed of photos from the Triangle area, paste the URL below into your newsreader. You'll get photos of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, NC along with the occasional photo of Durham, England and random triangle art. I think that's a pretty good mix.

http://www.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=raleigh,chapelhill,durham,triangle

Raleigh/Cary Blogger Meet-up tonight

Josh has the details on tonight's meet-up, in summary:

What: An open meeting to talk about blogging, podcasting & whatever's on your mind
When: Tues @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cafe Cyclo, in Cameron Village

I'll be there and I hope you will too.

Open source process for open source development

Sun has given every possible indication that Open Solaris will be run as a true open source project. The latest indication is the make-up of the board of directors: Casper Dik, Roy Fielding, Al Hopper, Simon Phipps, and Rich Teer. (via Simon Phipps - congrats Simon!)

Open source process for closed source development

IBM Adopts Open Development Internally: "Following on the success of its Eclipse open-source development platform, IBM has quietly been using a form of open-source development internally to create technology the company will sell commercially.

IBM calls its model Community Source, which it defines as a collaborative, internal, open-source-style environment for developing and testing new technology.

Danny Sabbah, vice president of strategy and technology for the IBM Software Group, in Armonk, N.Y., said IBM is using its Community Source model across 100 projects and 2,000 developers in the company. These projects span the IBM Software Group, Systems Group, Research and Global Services, he said."

Very interesting. I'd like to learn more about that. What parts of the so called open source development process have they built into the Community Source model? I've found that most developers have different definitions of the open source development process (via Ross Gardler).

Satellite images on maps.google.com

In case you missed it, Google has added satellite images to maps.google.com. They've got coverage for the entire US and low resolution images for the Caribbean and South America.


Book status and Podcast impressions

Over the weekend I finished writing Chapter 16: Distribute Files Podcast style. The code for the chapter is a simple JSP-based web application called FileCaster, which you can use to manage a Podcast newsfeed. You can add a new Podcast by uploading a file or by referencing a file somewhere on the web. The app was easy to write, thanks to Commmons File Upload and good old JSP. I need to review it once more tonight and submit it to Manning tomorrow.

I've got to admit, I've never really paid all that much attention to Podcasting. I've reviewed a couple of Podcast book proposals, I've implemented Podcast newsfeeds and I've got the required software, but I've just never gotten into it. To make up for this horrible deficiency in my geek credentials, I spent most of the weekend listening to Podcasts playing in the background as I worked. I couldn't make it through many of the Podcasts I downloaded because they were either too mumbly and under-produced or too slick and over-produced (like a drive-time radio show). I did find some things to like. Here are the subscriptions that I didn't delete from my iPodderX Lite subscription list:

  • IT Conversions [blog|feed]: Some of these interviews and conference sessions are simply amazing, fascinating stuff.
  • Evil Genius Chronicles [blog|feed]: Interesting pop-tech talk and some good tunes.
  • Caribbean Free Radio [blog|feed]: Good music and an interesting Caribbean perspective (recommended by Evil Genius).
  • The Chris Pirillo Show [blog|feed]: Interesting talk about selling content, organizing conferences, pop-tech, etc.
  • Geek News Central [blog|feed]: Nice review of tech news and nice overall experience, but I didn't really learn anything new here.

Claire Giordano on the benefits of blogging

Claire Giordano has written an excellent article on the business benefits of blogging, pulling together a bunch of nice quotes, links, and useful advice.

The best April fools gags

are the most believable ones (and I mean that in the nicest way possible).


Configurable pings for Roller?

Currently, a Roller user can ask Roller to "ping" weblogs.com when a new post is made. That was a nice feature back in the day, but in modern times there are many different ping targets. Some users might prefer to ping Javablogs.com, while others might prefer to ping Technorati. Some might even want to configure a different ping target for each weblog category.

Anil Gangolli has written a proposal for configurable pings in Roller and has asked for comments. If you're interested in joining the discussion you can join the Roller dev mailing list, comment in the wiki (write me for a login), or if you're really lazy ;-) leave a comment here.


Roller 1.1 progress and bogus wuffie

We deployed a beta of Roller 1.1 at blogs.sun.com today, featuring the new built-in "Planet Roller" blogs.sun.com aggregator, which includes both BSC hosted and externally hosted Sun bloggers.

On the planet page, we substitute Technorati rankings (via Technorati.java) for the normal hot-blogs listing because we don't track hit counts for external blogs.

And, if you're looking at the Technorati rankings and wondering what a bush-league blogger like me is doing up there with MaryMary and Tim Bray? Well, I'm sorry to say, it's all due to bogus whuffie. At the time, I actually wrote to the Technorati folks to point out to them that my place in the Technorati 100 was undeserved. They have since rejiggered their formulas (sorry to get so technical) and I'm out of the list, but still highly ranked.


The Daily Mink

I meant to blog about this earlier, but last week was a very busy one. Simon Phipps spent a day working with the command-line version of Planet Roller last weekend and built something very cool: an aggregated blog (at www.webmink.net) that brings together posts from all of his sites: his Sun blog, personal blog, Java.Net blog, del.icio.us links, and Flickr photo stream -- all aggregateed together to form one blog with it's own feed. Subscribed!


Deadlines still suck

Even when you're doing work you love. In other news: today I finally finished Chapter 14: Blog Your Build Process and Chapter 15: Blog From a Chat Room.


Wiki bloggin' chatbot in action

screenshot of wiki-blogging chatbot in action

Above we see the blogbot entering a chatroom. Snoopdavey greets the bot and the bot, being quite professional and not sassy in the least, responds with "Unknown command." Next, snoopdavey instructs the bot to post a blog message titled "Hello World" with some content in JSPWiki format. Blogbot converts the content to HTML, posts it to a blog server, and responds with the new post ID. Next, snoopdavey decides to unblog the message he just blogged and the bot complies.

Pretty cool and all, but probably useful only to the terminally geeky.

Reading blogs in the Netbeans IDE

Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine: In his "FeedReader" tutorial (version française ici), Rich Unger explains how to develop an RSS reader on top of the NetBeans platform (using P@'s and friends' Rome Atom/RSS tools).

Good luck Danese!

It's sad to see Danese leave Sun. I talked to her at length before I joined Sun and she's given me lots of good advice along they way. She helped to convinced me that taking Roller to Apache is the best way to ensure the continued success and long-term viability of Roller as an independent open source project and helped me find my way to ApacheCon 2004 so that I could learn about the Apache way. I started at Sun about five months ago, I work remotely and I never really got to know Danese all that well, so it's very interesting to read the farewell messages and retrospectives on the important work she has done at Sun (e.g by Jim Grizanzio, Claire Giordano, and Danese herself). Thanks Danese and good luck at Intel and with your new blog.


The worst thing about vacation...

Is of course, coming back. We just got back from a short trip down to Stone Mountain, Georgia for a family re-union centered about my grandmother's 90th birthday celebrations. It was great spending time with the small family. When we gather together for a re-union, it almost feels like a big family. The kids loved the Stone Mountain train, the cable-car up to the top, and jumping from rock to rock all the way down. I wasn't expecting much from "redneck Rushmore" but the Marriot resort there is very nice as is the rest of the park. I might actually go back there someday.

Anyhow, upon my return I find that my blog has been down all day (due to a misconfiguration on my part) and, as usual, one of my office computers is freaking out. When I leave town, I power down the computers in my office (a Sun box, a low-end Linux box, and a Windows machine. No matter what, everytime I return, one computer won't start up correctly. This time it is the Windows box. The symptom: on start-up it boots Redhat Linux and I didn't even know I had Redhat on that box. Oh well.

In other news... I was supposed to finish Blogs, Wikis, and Feeds chapters 14 and 15 this weekend (you can probably guess how that went). Back to work...

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