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A Perfectly Rational Dog Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Justin Love" journal:

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December 10th, 2010
05:02 pm

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New web sites/blogs
LJ has been in a bit of decline (at least my neighboorhood, and probably a bit my own fault for not interacting more) Half my friends page is Twitter imports and many others have moved to Dreamwidth. Rather than build my own, as I'm wont to do, I've started setting up Wordpress installs on my web host and imported the LJ history. I'm still settling in and have yet to do proper posts describing the conversion. For those still here, I've set up syndicated feeds.

wondible_com - Wondible.com: Programming, software, and other technical topics.

justinlove_name - JustinLove.name: Life, essays, and everything else.

I'll probably still be checking in to read LJ at least once a week or so.

p.s. I've got the itch a for holiday party again; I hope to get more out tonight, but I may have lost touch with a few of you, so ping me if you're interested.

Current Music: Tori Amos - Leather | Powered by Last.fm
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July 28th, 2010
05:01 pm

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Legacy vs. .NET vs. Ruby: A fair assessment?
I was asked about the possibility of concentrating a bunch of CRUD apps into a single technology for ease of maintaining. Since I have limited experience with each technology and it's environment, I thought I would ask for some feedback
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July 19th, 2010
09:33 am

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Meraki - Make a Wish


Every page in Meraki's control console has a text box labeled "I wish this page would" with a button labeled "Make a wish". Companies have tried A/B testing, surveys, or just listening to support forums to see what people complain about. Something as simple as putting a small form on every page allows Meraki to harvest customer requests in-situ, right when the user is looking at page and realizing it doesn't have something he wants, and they have made the process about as painless as it can possibly be.




Meraki itself makes wireless access points with an internet based cloud controller. The devices also do mesh networking, saving a few cable runs. It's best suited to large installations where one would normally need a separate controller device - I ended up passing for a small single-building manufacturer. The interface is pretty well designed, and as something of a visual thinker I appreciated the maps and color/shape indicators.

The major downside is that the cloud controller becomes a single point of failure. It's provided as a service, and to get full features you have to pay per access point. For large scale installations, that may compare favorable with controller devices, which may need to be replaced every few years. The other issue with a service is that if Meraki ever went out business, you would lose the ability to configure the APs.

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July 18th, 2010
08:00 pm

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Lost Module
A while back (at least a month ago), Safari 5 was released. I often check out my javascript projects in new browsers to see if the environment is changing on me. It turns out that Naked Javascript and Canvas P.J.s both failed to run. The common element is that I'd been using both of them as test cases for my own javascript module loading system.
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May 24th, 2010
07:57 am

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Using SQUID to do TDD against request-limited web APIs
TL;DR: Go grab the conf file and play around with it.

I had an idea to take advantage of the Meetup API. According to the documentation they have all the data I need (no page scraping - yeah) One catch is a limit of 100 requests per hour.

The latest development fad is Test Driven Development. This means that you write automated tests before you write the 'real' code. It also means accumulating those tests as you go so you have some coverage against breaking something you had working earlier. However, running all-the-tests all-the-time sounds like it could chew through the API limit pretty quickly.
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March 28th, 2010
12:59 pm

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Building Better Applications by Michael R. Dunlavey
A new review of an old book. Published in 1994 (When I was starting college with a shiny new pentium-90 or thereabouts) I got turned on to the book through a comment by the author on StackOverflow.com. It's an interesting mix of things seem strangely prescient in retrospect, and those that would elicit cries of "coding horror" from many circles.
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February 23rd, 2010
09:10 pm

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Javascript Has No Soul
While I was putting together my presentation on Javascript's prototypal inheritance, I also ran across Slide:ology. Among other things, the book recommended choosing a consistent color scheme for the presentation. But what color is Javascript?

I didn't really have an answer. CommonJS seems to be going with a red/blue - the Ruby site uses a similar color scheme. Perhaps I've overgeneralizing the colors because they are two of my own favorites. I ended up blending the colors of the O'Rielly 'rhino book' and the grey/orange of ECMA, which publishes the language specification. O'Rielly's scheme is used throughout their books and has no special connotation for Javascript. ECMA is also a general standards body, and has their own brand identity.

Searching now for "javascript logo", ("javascript mascot" was a complete bust) I found a javascript logo of uncertain origin, with white type and an ECMA-orange starburst on a dark grey field. jQuery seems to like the white on dark grey, but uses blue instead of orange. Perhaps those common elements are something to consider on the next go round.

jQuery's ripples also identify with the prototypal nature a little bit, but they are just as lifeless as Ruby's ruby. Perhaps Javascript's lack of a mascot can be traced to it's lack of identify. It's a language defined by a prototype project that got shipped, and then by a committee of browser implementers. Without out a person, company (at least it's been spared Java's alien penguin), or other driving force Javascript is left without an identity, and without a soul.

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February 20th, 2010
09:36 pm

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postmortum = presentation.call
I gave my lambda/closure talk Lambdas, Procs, and Blocks, Oh My at ChicagoRuby today. Much to my surprise, the organizers showed up with recording gear. Unfortunately, they were also doing a trial-run of the instructions on how to use the recording gear, so the there is no video of this one. On the other hand, people seemed to like it, and the organizers are talking about having me do a repeat performance at the larger downtown meetings.

I got some feedback again:

- Talk slower. I think I slowed down somewhat from the Prototypal Inheritance talk, but I noticed that I was coming in shorter than my practice runs and at least one person mentioned it as well.

- Give the resources up front. I gave a bunch of links at the end, one in the middle (which I mentioned would come back) and a bunch of code examples. I should have stated up front that all this would be available for later perusal, so people didn't have to worry about catching it during the talk.

- Start with something simpler. I gave several variations of syntax in the first part, and that got into some of the underlying structure and concepts. Someone suggested that I pick the most basic syntax and run with that for a while before branching out.

- Something interactive. Another comment I got last time. I looked for an opportunity on this one, but nothing jumped out at me. I guess I'll have to look harder next time.

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January 29th, 2010
12:06 am

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var postmortem = Object.create(presentation);
Presentation of Practical Uses for Prototypal Inheritance (PDF) at JS.chi went fairly well tonight. Whenever it came up, I asked "What can I do better?" and I got some good answers.

- Talk slower. I kind of knew this was coming, but it will take practice. I may also look into dropping the presenter interface, since making me stop and think will have a natural slowing effect, even if I miss a few jokes, setups, and add a few ums. Will need even more rehearsal though. Perhaps the notes should be just the next-slide hints and particular details, still making me think about the exact phrasing.

- Use demos instead of straight slides. A slightly more interactive element make it more relevant.

- Use concrete examples. I used blue and red for classes and instances, so javascript objects became purple; this led to my generic object becoming a purple cow, one of the default 'could-be-anything' examples. Unfortunately, my audience doesn't work with purple cows. Since I'm not heavily in the web side of Javascript, I might have to ask what a good example would be.

- Don't assume things about the audience. There were no questions so I said "Well, people are either awed or bored, I'm not sure which." I should have just left it alone.

- I made too many assumptions about the audience's knowledge. I tried to cover some basics of prototypal inheritance, but assumed that everyone knew how class/instance systems worked.

- Define your terms, and look for possible misinterpretations. One person (though an admitted beginner) asked if my talk had anything to do with the 'Prototype' Javascript library. (which it doesn't)

I got a recommendation to check the meetup reviews for more feedback, so I'll have to keep on eye on them for more ideas.

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January 24th, 2010
09:24 pm

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Live'n la vida electronica
@wondible is now on twitter (So is @SandhurstCondos, for kicks) Wondible is the "wonderful, terrible things" commonly known as hacks. Given the popularity of twitter in the tech community, I figured I ought to be findable for my presentations to JS.chi and ChicagoRuby. And no, I won't be syndicating tweets to LJ; I see LJ as a medium for longer thoughts.

I also started reading Getting Things Done and experimenting with online todo lists. Read more...Collapse )

I've been using TweetDeck so far, but the scrollbar to get to a bunch of empty columns annoys me. Suggestions for twitter or todo applications welcome.

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