Archive for the_time('F Y')

12 June 2006 in Microsoft & Windows | Comments (7)

I’ve been using Windows Vista Beta 2 at home for a few days now (bit of a laggard I know) and have been enjoying reading other peoples thoughts on it. One thing I’ve seen as a common theme is comments about memory consumption. For a bit of a laugh I thought I’d see just how bad Vista’s memory consumption was and here is what I found:

Windows 95, Recommended memory: 8MB

Memory in 1995 cost $500 for an 8MB SIMM

Windows XP, Recommended memory: 128MB

Memory in 2001 cost $60 for 128MB

Windows Vista memory requirements ~1GB

Memory at the moment is $121 for 1GB

Some things to note:

  1. 2001 was the year that had the massive memory glut and prices became stupidly cheap. Perhaps this was fortunate for the release of XP.
  2. The memory price in 2001 was a rough conversion of mine to the NZD plus our magically tech gear markup.
  3. There is still six months of memory price drops before Vista actually comes out.
  4. I’ve used the “Vista Premium Ready” Certification for this example. If comparing to the “Vista Capable” certification which requires 512MB it would be $61 for 512MB – only a buck more than XP prices.
  5. I read the recommended memory requirements for Windows 95 off the Windows 95 box that I still have in my closet that my Dad brought the day Windows 95 came out :)

Looking 6 months ahead, I’d be willing to predict that memory prices will be approximately in line with the costs of Windows XP which is pretty darn good considering the massive memory glut for the time. According to Yahoo the price of a computer capable of running windows Vista will be approximately 70% of the cost of a computer that was required to run XP.

So I don’t quiet get why exactly is Vista’s memory usage really an issue? It surely can’t be a price issue.

- JD

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 289 user reviews.

10 June 2006 in .Net & Windows | Comments (0)

Spotted on Nic’s blog that Microsoft are renaming of WinFX to .Net 3.0.

Checking out MSBlog (great site for tacking techo Microsoft stuff at btw :) ) they appear to answer one of Nic’s questions about if the name change will mean a new version of the framework with LINQ and other goodies – the answer appears to be no. It will be built on the .Net 2.0 framework and looks to just add the pillars of WinFX.

- JD

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 174 user reviews.

9 June 2006 in .Net & Code | Comments (22)

Ruby On Rails

This post is intended as a discussion piece, if you have any thoughts about anything mentioned here then please add a comment. Don’t be afraid, it’s just some friendly open debate :) If your post on your own blog about this discussion let me know and I’ll update this post with links to your posts.

Recently I’d been hearing a lot about Ruby-On-Rails (RoR) and decided, like any diligent tech person, that I had better investigate it to make sure I’m not missing the boat on something new in the marketplace. I brought the books and did the tutorials. I also built a couple of basic sites on my own with RoR and they were fun to build. However, having come this far I’m finding it difficult to come up with a compelling reason why I would want to jump ship completely.

I thought I’d sum up with my top 5 concerns at the moment:

Issue one
The Rails framework has some compelling features like scaffolding however while that initially “hooks” you in and makes you think it’s fantastic you soon find that scaffolding up a solution is almost pointless because you nearly always have to write something considerably different to just CRUD pages. This initial development speed enhancement doesn’t actually end up helping you out that much. It harms people more than it helps them by having the misconception that scaffolding is actually a very useful feature of rails (it has its place, but it’s just not that important).
Issue two
Ruby’s performance just doesn’t seem to compare well with most other languages. admittedly you take a hit with any scripting language but the performance hits seem quite severe. Comparing Ruby’s performance to something like Java (I couldn’t find any .Net comparisons at the time of writing this) it seems apparent that Ruby is abysmal in the speed arena. You could argue that there are ways to optimise the code to run better or that you can just scale up your hardware but I just want a fast language. There seems to be so much code churn in the Rails framework that optimising for performance may be difficult to do until it has a stabalised feature set. Why is Ruby so slow? I think enough things on computers are slow enough these days without opting for something at the back of the pack. Can anybody provide evidence that Ruby isn’t so slow?

Issue three
IDE’s are lacking. I’ve used RadRails and I’ve a friend who uses TextMate and neither seem to provide anywhere near the functionality that I’d expect from a modern IDE. I’m always happy working with light weight IDEs but when I need to get a large application off the ground I’m always thankful when I have an industrial strength IDE to help me manage it.

Issue four
RoR seems to have new versions released often. Too often. Now, the geek in me loves the idea of having new features to play with every couple of weeks however from a business point of view it just increases the risk considerably. I remember the fallout from RoR being upgraded to a new version and all of the blogs based on Typo. You could freeze the version that an application worked against but it seemed like everything just fell apart for a lot of people when that version was rushed out. I’m all for the cool little team pumping out new features all the time but sparing a thought for the web hosts who have to test the framework before deployment, the people who deploy solutions on it and the developers who have to upgrade the version that their application supports constantly would be nice.

Issue five
All of the other issues are only really issues because of this point – I just cannot see how RoR scales up to develop truly large solutions. Perhaps it’s not really intended for more than basic websites? Some of the generators designed to save you time would simply hinder your ability to actually maintain large solutions nicely in my opinion.

These are some issues that have me feeling that RoR might not be as ready for the primetime as many would have you believe. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps you know reasons why these points are not issues. If so, then please leave a comment about why you think so. Comparing these issues to my current web framework of choice – ASP.Net – I don’t think RoR stacks up well enough in my mind. I realise there are areas that it lacks that RoR does well however other vendors such as Microsoft are working hard to cover these areas as well (ATLAS, DLINQ etc).

Disclaimer: I do spent a significant amount of my time developing solutions using the Microsoft .Net Framework. I’ve not always been a .Net developer, I also have spent considerable amount of time developing in various other languages such as Java, PHP, C/C++, Delphi to name a few and of course dabbling with RoR :)

- JD


  • Andrew Peters makes his first ever post and pulls no punches :)
  • Tim Haines thinks I’m stirring and has some links to the WellRailed convo
  • John Lewis doesn’t take part in the discussion but brings his own perspective to RoR in general

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 292 user reviews.

8 June 2006 in Google | Comments (0)


As much as I’m loath to post two Google posts in a row I thought I’d throw this one up. Google have just released their “Google Browser Sync“. Google Browser Sync allows you to sync your history, bookmarks, form values and more between multiple machines (for FireFox only). It’s just a standard FireFox extension. I haven’t installed it but might try it (to be honest, I’m finding IE 7 pretty good and have started to use FireFox less and less these days).

I’d be keen to hear how other people find it.

For people who would like to use IE there is the Windows Live Favorites which is quite nice. I’ll try and do a review on that sometime.

Click here for the official Google Blog post about syncing FireFox.

– JD

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 248 user reviews.

7 June 2006 in Google | Comments (21)

Google Spreadsheets Logo

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just don’t get “it”. But why the heck do I want to use an online spreadsheet application?

I know it has some fancy features like collaboration and integration with an Excel spreadsheet but seriously, how often do you have a internet connected computer without Excel on it? I use spreadsheets a lot just because I like them and I would always have Excel installed. Business people nearly always have a laptop with them when they travel and that would have Excel on it.

I don’t see how Google can make money from this. It seems lately they’ve thrown their money at a few things that don’t seem to have a direct return on investment. They already have a fantastic brand, it’s not like they’re just doing it to build awareness. I must be missing something – or at least for Googles sake I hope I’m missing something.

I’ve always had the belief that the IT industry works in cycles – at the moment we’re in a web cycle, then we’ll decide that connected desktop applications are best, then back to web and so on. Why do I want to go backwards to using a spreadsheet tool that adds a couple of new features but blows away 90% of what has been in desktop spreadsheeting tools for more than a decade? Why do I want lag when working with even a small spreadsheet? What happens when I want to access my spreadsheet and I don’t have an available internet connection? Do I want to store my financial spreadsheets on a Google server? It all smells a little hyped to me.

When I read people saying that it includes “formulas” and “column sorting” I must admit I’m a tad dumbfounded. Welcome to 1992* :)

I’ve purposefully written this piece to hopefully drive some banter about why you think it’s so good/bad? Do you see the revenue stream I’m missing?

- JD

* I’m guessing these features were around before 1992 but I’m not that old so have no real idea. Whenever VisiCalc came out perhaps?

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 189 user reviews.

5 June 2006 in Microsoft | Comments (1)

Office 2007 Logo

Unfortunately it looks like one of the features I was really looking forward to in Office 2007 won’t be available in final versions*. I was really pleased when I fired up early betas and found the ability to save to a PDF natively within the office client tools but now Adobe have decided it’s better to annoy consumers for their own benefit than help them.

Read the full story about PDF support being dropped from Office 2007 at BetaNews.

Update: Brian Jones (Office program manager) has Microsoft’s side of the story on his blog here.

- JD

* By default at least, apparently a download will be available to enable the functionality.

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 189 user reviews.

4 June 2006 in Blogging | Comments (2)


The amount of automated spam that is getting thrown at my blog has become a joke. I’ve received more than 2, 500 spam comments in the last 2 days which strikes me as just incredible. I’ve read that other people have had a sudden surge as well and just thought I’d reiterate the fantastic Akismet service from the creators of WordPress.

Akismet have an interesting graph showing the growth of SPAM in blog comments (I imagine some of the trend is related to their own product uptake though).

Still, my woes don’t seem nearly as bad as Rod’s email spam bomb.

Perhaps there is some opportunity in this space? Sure there is a lot of average spam control mechanisms but there used also be a lot of average search engines until one took up the challenge of making a superb one.


- JD

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 284 user reviews.

1 June 2006 in Microsoft | Comments (2)

We’ve been looking at Office 2007 for a wee while now at Intergen and been finding it quite an impressive step forward. I’m quite excited about the whole suite of tools and will try and make some posts about some of what I’ve been finding. For now I thought I’d just share some blogs and sites I’ve been keeping tabs on to keep informed about Office 2007 developments.

Or to add all these blogs to your RSS reader just grab my Office 2007 related OPML file :)

- JD

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 299 user reviews.