Archive for the ‘links’ category

Webbits 2007-06


Few nuggets from recent surfing and reading newsfeeds:

A very nice explanation of differences between Ruby Gem and Rails plugin in Arun Gupta’s blog

The community seems to be still fairly divided on the “Is Vista good or bad” ? For the laters, read the story from the corporate IT point of view. I still have not found any good reason to upgrade :-).
Good story of how the experience of joining a project should not look like

Good discussion on Flex, Flash

Long but interesting blogpost on ontology

MySQL seen from the point of view of experienced SQL Server user

Some news from the GooglePlex: everybody seems to notice that Google added the presentations to spreadsheets and documents, so you have now complete simple but functional replacements of the Word, Excel and Powerpoint for free. Google also stepped again into territory of social bookmarking – after Google bookmarks they are launching Shared Stuff. The news I personally liked the most is  writeable API to GData.

Listing of hundred tools for Semantic Web

Three amazing visualization projects


Found by accident – as usually – while searching for something completely different.

Visuwords – visual dictionary, showing semantic relations between words.

Universe by Jonathan Harris.

Wikisky – detailed online sky map, showing the positions & basic characteristics of space objects using a Google Maps like interface.

And two great videos: the 4 minutes video summary on what Web2 actually means and very funny presentation about PowerPoint presentations.

Few interesting links


Repository of presentations – on variety of topics.

Specialize code-only search engine:

New Google product on vertical searchGoogle Co-op.

Webbits 2007-06


Time to clean up the link cache again. I did not surfed much during last two weekends, so there is less to clean than usual :-).

If your computers are still confused about the DST change, here are some links that may be useful dealing with the issues – for Windows as well as for Mac. Speaking of which, I just checked that my Fedora Core 6 Linux-based NAS did recognized  the DST without any issues at all as well.

For Gmail users with multiple accounts: check out this Firefox extension  to displays email notifications. If you use Google calendar, there is another way how to synchronize with Outlook (should work with Outlook 2003 as well).

This site was recommended on Lifehacker to be a good resource for finding out whether the unknown process you have just seen in process list on Windows is a spyware or just some obscure undocumented system service: Be aware, though – some of the advices may not be so great. For example, alg.exe is listed as trojan, however there is a system component with the same file name – Application Layer Gateway Service.

This website provides good introduction to Ruby. Ruby is interesting alternative to Python if you hate whitespace-is-significant type of formatting and still want the dynamic, functional programming language. Or if you want to find out what is the new Everything-On-Rails all about. If you are on the Mac, it is easy to try it out – open terminal window and type ‘ruby -v’ :-).

IFTF blog – link collections focused on particular topic. Nice explanation how the Apple DRM works.

Few noteworthy applications I have stumbled upon:

Polyglot –  tries to identify the (human) language based on fragment of text. Supports over 400 languages (Windows only). Google published version 5.0 of the Google Desktop. Looks very much like Vista.  The PDFLab – nice free tool to split/merge the PDF files or to convert the sequence of JPG’s to PDF (OS-X).   iTunes 7.1 is out (for both Mac and Windows). Interesting file sharing application working as Firefox extension AllPeers went opensource.

Webbits 2007-05


It is not Friday today and I am obviously late with next link collection. Somehow I have completely missed the weekend – so much was happening at work that I had barely had time to notice what is going on on the Web. My Google Reader is overflowing with new links and there are lots of new links in delicious. Let’s start.

Merlin Mann of 43folders started to do videopodcasts – have a look (in the second edition he interviews Jonathan Coulton, famous creator of the Code Monkey song). This little utility allows to synchronize contacts and tasts between Thunderbird and PocketPC. Interesting article on how to make Gmail you personal information centre.

Good article on the Zen-like “productivity zone” state and how to reach it. Tutorial how to sync address book via IMAP. The.NET addict published two more articles in the series of  “Windows developer learning OS-X programming: this time he compares NIB and XAML and the Objective-C 2.0 categories with C# 3 LINQ extensions. Hmmm !

Some new software: for Windows, Virtual PC 2007 is out. ASP.NET developers – this Viewstate viewer is really useful. Version 5.0.3 of fantastic Reflector is available. For Web workers – top web tools for college students – but you will them useful even if you are not one. For Mac users – automate the network share mounting based on your location and tagging add-on for iTunes.

Interesting series of articles on software maintenance.  Guide how to switch from Windows to Linux (from IBM). Registers suggests that if you are buying new laptop, go for Mac (Milos/Gabo – they say almost exactly what were talking about today …). With few exceptions, if you want to avoid Vista, Mac + XP in Parallels is your best choice as most manufacturers are offering only Vista notebooks.

Webbits 2007-04


It is Friday again, time to clean up the link cache. I’ll try to make this a Friday affair and stick with weekly schedule.

The DRM is having hard time: after Steve Jobs article about how DRM is bad, EMI announcement of considering dropping the DRM, another of Net celebrities – cryptography legend Bruce Schneier (of Applied Crypography and Blowfish fame) wrote an article for Forbes Why Vista DRM Is Bad for you. He makes several good points, it is good read.

Interesting article on using Google as office platform – beyond Google for domains. Do you know what are the 3 largest databases of the world? Not Google, it is actually #4. Its World Data Centre for climate, followed by National Energy Research Centre and AT&T. Hard to believe ? Here you find top ten.

In the .NET world – Scott Hanselman has interesting article on Static Code analysis with NDepend. Few interesting findings from CodeProject: Record Versioning with SQL Server, Marc Clifton has new article on Disconnected Client Architecture (Marc writes great advanced level articles, look around), How to use extended properties to create self-documenting databases. Nice gauge controls for Winforms.

On Mac side: yet another list of best Mac resources. Rant about Quartz Composer. Release Candidate 3 of Parallels is out and it is Leopard ready (to run under Leopard, not to virtualize OS-X). Even Second Life already has Apple Store. Why does not Ottawa have one ?

From a business law world – for newbies like myself, nice and understandable explanation of the difference between an IPO and reverse merger through a public shell.  Nice video on Google master plan.

Webbits – 2007-03


How to extend the life of the Vista trial period to 120 days: Technically, if you try to use Ultimate Edition (which is legally allowed to use in VM) nothing really can prevent an unscrupulous user to keep using Vista for free – for the price of re-installing the VM every 120 days …

Few Mac goodies: Adium is out in version 1.0 – get it here – more details on

Last build before Leopard is out – Btw, did you know that Apple UK has their own Mac guy and PC guy ? I love their accent, but I still think that John Hodgman is the best 🙂

Nice collection of free fonts.

Nice way how to synchronize the GCalendar with iCal.

Beautiful visualizations –

Economy of Bandwith –

Five minutes video on “What is Web 2.0

Webbits – 2007-02


Time to clean up the link cache once again.

Obviously, most of the news on Techsites are Vista related. Web Worker’s daily gives you 10 reasons why to upgrade to Vista and 10 reasons why not. MacHouse comments on complicated upgrade paths and Brian Briggs offers decision chart for the updgradees.

General spirit – compared to the launch of Windows 95 – is fairly cynical. The italian Mac bloggers sums it up: Niente di nuovo in Vista. So does this one. This site shows some real innovation :-). Despite it is Vista launch, Steve Jobs and OS-X seems to get almost as much publicity as Vista and as few bloggers commented – Microsoft does not take it easy – see Bill Gates TV appearance.

But back to tech. While organizing my MP3 collection (getting ready to move it up to the NAS), I have found this opensource tool very helpful. One of my countrymen provides service that converts text files to iPod readable eBook format. If you have iPod and do not have eReader, try it out. Good article on using PowerShell to simplify deployment on Windows. Mark Russinovich of the Sysinternals fame started series on Vista Kernel. Sysinternals was acquired by Microsoft which was certainly great for Mark. But is one of the ironies of life that the guy who discovered Sony DRM rootkit in 2005 and started the public outcry which caused the recall of all DRM-ed CD’s is now employed by a company which allowed the most aggresive DRM cancer to be part of the the OS kernel …

Also first Vista related hacks are appearing: starting with how to install Vista upgrade on clean machine Also the touted DRM did not last long: two months or one day – depending how you count. See Vista DRM: How fools and their copy-protection investments are always separated, Vista DRM cracked. Register even calls the Windows DRM the ‘longest suicide note in history‘. Was it really worth to create all the controversy ? Vista has lots to offer – the improvements in usability, security and “core” applications are substantial – but the very bad way how the DRM is burried into kernel and stubborn refusal to admit where the new features inspiration came from completely hide that.

But enough about Vista. Lifehacker published link to tutorial how to burn almost any video file to playable DVD. If you are not on Mac and miss you Quicksilver, try Launchy. If you are on Mac platform, look at this nice opensource app and read how to better use metadata.

Webbits – 2007-01


Webbit is like timbit – it comes in 12, 20 or 40 pack, contains many small pieces of different taste and color, is generally unhealthy but good, can be addictive and is nice addition to your morning “extra large, double cream” from Tim Hortons. Unlike from timbits, from webbits you will not get fat, only distracted. Enjoy !

The Quizstop allows you to select how fast are you reflexes with the mouse. Something for those with competitive gene among us (I mean you Igor, of course ;-).

Different kind of test is on It plays you two tone sequences and your job is to decide whether they are the same or not. Flash required.

Funny geek quotes. Free ebook on Programming in Ruby. Keyboard shortcuts for Mozilla Firefox.Timeline of Linux distros. 50 beautiful CSS designs. Very interesting blog idea – view from your window. Some views would be good as wallpaper, but if you need more variety, try the list of sites with nice wallpapers. Free ebook on Blender.

Few interesting blogs: on data/text mining, visualization and gis, on future of the books, visual communication, and even blog almost without words. Blog about programming in Cocoa environment on OS-X. Another rumor site on all things Apple. If you like better  DotNET, look here and here.

Interesting on-line test data generator.

For those of us who have daughters, here is something they (== the girls) may like.

Dealing with digital mess: Bookmarks


As I mentioned before, I am keeping all my bookmarks in account. Thanks to excellent Firefox extension and available bookmarklets, posting new URL’s is very comfortable. After using the for some time, here is few tips how get best of it:

– use the post buttons – they are available for Firefox as well as IE
– post often and tag a lot. Tags are the only way how to search the non-public posts
– keep consistent approach to tag names. I use singular, replace the ‘.’ with word dot (dotnet) and write all lowercase
– follow the crowd – consider using similar tags as others, it makes it easier to be part of community
– use wisdom of the crowd. Look what else did other people tagged with the same tag as you did. You will be surprised what you may discover.

You can use the URL’s creative way. To list all your bookmarks tagged with ‘osx’, enter To find out what anybody else tagged with ‘osx’, use To see what is most popular with tag ‘osx’ use You can see the pattern. It is also very easy to search URL’s tagged with combination of tags, for example search all URL’s tagged with all three tags” ‘osx’, ‘software’ and ‘free’ use (the %2B is Web encoding of the ‘+’ sign). You can also enter tags at the top of the home page:

picture-2.png offers very nice programmatic API, to retrieve/update/add list of posts, tags or bundles. This makes it very easy to integrate with other systems – and this is main reason why there are so many add-ons, tools and hacks available.

Having bookmarks on-line is what you want to do – they are not very useful without internet connection. As your collection grows, and you invest some time in organizing and cleaning up the collection, you may want to take some precaution that this effort will be not wasted if for some reason Yahoo decides discontinue the service: you want backup. gives you option of doing backup, via Settings->Export/Backup. If you want more, I found this wonderful page full of tools.

I am right now evaluation the Mac-only offline Client WebnoteHappy which seems to be very promising and works exactly the way I like. It integrates bookmarks from Firefox, Safari and into one repository, allows you locally search, modify and manage the collection but post changes back to delicious. This way you can have best of both worlds: high user comfort and offline availability with local backup as well as on-line availability with synchronization. User interface resembles iTunes. There are still some minor with the program that I have not figured out – but this is what the evaluation period is for, right ?

Also very nice – and free – is also Cocoalicious offline client. It is fantastic help to consolidate and rename your tags. Rather then doing it through Web interface (see you just rename the tag in Cocoalicious same way as you would rename file in Finder).