Nerdy News For This Week

There was a bunch of news items that I thought were kind of interesting, but didn’t warrant a separate post for each, so I’ll just do a group post.

  • Google Dumps Gears – Google is halting development of Google Gears in favor of HTML5. This is a good thing. The problem with Gears was that it was a separate install and most users wouldn’t do that. Thus preventing widespread adoption. HTML5 will be baked into (newer) browsers.
  • Google Analytics Goes Async – While I don’t personally use Google Analytics, a lot of sites do. Up til now, the javascript that gets embedded for uploading statistics to Google was blocking. Ever been to a website that seems really slow to load only to look in the status bar and see ‘Connecting to’ (or whatever it is)? That’s the blocking javascript preventing the page from loading. It’s now set up to be asynchronous so there is no more blocking. Yay.
  • Mozilla Sunbird / Lighting Approaching Version 1 Release – I use the Lightning plugin for my Thunderbird and probably couldn’t live without it. I will say pre-1.0 versions, at varying times, have sometimes not played well with 3.0 Beta versions of Thunderbird. I suppose that’s the price you pay for being on the cutting edge of software. I deal.
  • Google Releases Public DNS Service – Jeez, a lot of Google News, eh? I hadn’t even realized it. Anyways. Google released a public DNS service. From what I’ve read, this is nicer than OpenDNS because it doesn’t have ads or redirects like OpenDNS does. I don’t use either, so I wouldn’t actually know firsthand. Google’s reasoning for releasing this is pretty obvious, by having more people using their faster DNS servers, it speeds up the user experience for users – particularly for Google users – and somehow that translates into more money for them.
  • New Java 7 Features – This is a little bit older, but I had it bookmarked. I haven’t written much Java lately, but I’m slowly but surely getting around to writing more. Language support for collections seems quite useful, reminds me of some of the Javascript work I’ve done lately. I don’t particularly like the syntax for Automatic Resource Management in try/catch, but I like the idea at least. Strings in switch statements is way overdue, but at least they have it now.

That’s all I have for now kids!

Nerdery Links

  • Jeff Attwood, of Coding Horror, had a really good post about the default installation of WordPress not coming with any built in caching. If your WordPress site gets any decent traffic, you have to install some sort of caching plugin. In fact, Dreamhost 1-click installs come with wp-cache already installed. Thankfully, there is a Google Summer of Code project for adding caching capabilities to WordPress. Also, if you take a look at the article linked above, Jeff has updated his post to reflect some MySQL config params given to him by Matt Mullenwag, the creator of WordPress, which should help optimize the DB for WordPress.
  • The cause of Jeff’s post about WordPress is a new site he’s developing called Jeff is partnering with Joel, of Joel on Software fame, on this new venture. The purpose of the site is to be a place where people can ask programming related questions. Oh, and it’s free. Unlike Experts Exchange, which, if memory served me, used to partially free at some time, but then went totally pay-site and consequently totally blows. That site sucks because it gets linked too all the time when you google your question. However, when you try and see the A+ rated answer, or whatever it is now, it tells you that to see it you’ve got to pay. Hopefully Stack Overflow will be a really useful site and I can stop accidentally following links to Experts Exchange.
  • A little while ago, I read about a few new interesting updates to Amazon’s Grid services. Namely, adding elastic IPs, which is just programmatically reassigning IPs instead of doing it at a DNS level. They added some availability zones, but I wouldn’t be doing anything that would care where the data center was geographically, but perhaps it would matter to someone. And finally, they plan to add some persistent storage offerings for their EC2 platform. Normally, storage is handed off to their S3 service, but apparently you’ll be able to allocate large chunks of storage whenever you need to solely on the EC2 side of things.
  • How much ass has the Webkit team been kicking lately? Earlier this week they released CSS Reflections, a few days before that they came out with CSS Masks, and before that it was CSS Gradients. Reflections remind me of that Java Applet people used to have on their blogs, well before they were called blogs, where you would supply an image – almost always a water related image – and it would add a water flowing effect to the bottom of it. Ah, the day. I’m sure some neat stuff will come out of all this. Especially for products that directly use the Webkit engine. Safari usually has a lag time of a few months before it gets new Webkit goodies. All these recent additions make me think that you’ll need to use a lot less image-mojo to get the designery effects you desire in your designs. Well, as soon as all relevant browsers support them. What’s nice is that Webkit is offering these features to the W3C WG as potential future specs.

Anywho, that’s it for now. I just had a few links in my feed reader that I’ve been meaning to comment on. Have a nice day.