Ifblog (ponderings 2.0)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

NME – Another write once run everywhere toolkit

Filed under: Coding — ifireball @ 15:18

NMENME is an open source cross-platform programming framework based on the HAXE language. It’s main stated purpose is to let you write a single code base that will then be portable to a wide range of devices and platforms. This is not a new idea, in fact this, is a kind of a computing holy grail, that goal was stated by HTML5, and by Java before that, and by Cross-Platform toolkits before that, and by high-level languages before that. And while all those tools have their advantages and uses, none had become “the single tool you use for everything”, most found other purposes that were far removed from the originally stated goals. While HTML5 seems to me to be the most serious contender to that throne, it’s success might be due to the fact that you have the same browsers everywhere.

NME seems to have an enthusiastic community around it, and who knows, with the mobile market’s balkanized state, it might succeed.

JavaScript as a multilangauge environment.

Filed under: Coding — ifireball @ 02:03

emscriptenI am fascinated by multi-language programming environments and libraries. I believe that if a programming environment or technique is useful, that it should be useful to programmers of many languages, not just those of the language with which the environment was initially implemented. That is why I typically dislike thing like Rails, Java and browser JavaScript – that take a set of ideas and confine them to a single language.

It is not by mistake that I’ve specified the 3 technologies above. All of them have become multi-language over time, the ideas in Rails have been re-implemented many times in many languages, The Java VM has become a language neutral runtime, and now, it seems, so do the web browsers` JavaScript engines.

Here is a list of languages that can be compiled to JavaScript, it is quite extensive, and includes Python, Ruby, Java and C# to name a few.

Another approach is to use something like Emscripten to actually compile the language interpreters written in C or C++ to JavaScript, I”m beginning to wonder if someone would try to compile the JVM or the CLR with it, at some point it may become impossible to tell how many layers of compilers and interpreters you are running on top of…

Monday, March 25, 2013

IndieWeb and running my own pipes

Filed under: Evil Plans, Free Software, IndieWeb — ifireball @ 12:37

Indie Web Camp logo

It seems that by deciding to run my own instance of Tiny Tiny RSS as a response to the looming shut down of Google Reader, I’ve joined a movement called IndieWeb.

I’m thinking about expanding my operation with that regard, maybe run my own web event processor, or even move this blog or my mail account, I’m also wondering about trying to run and use my own ownCloud or Dispora instances.

Friday, March 22, 2013

They are trying to add DRM to HTML. Really?

Filed under: Coding, Copyrights, EFF, Free Software — ifireball @ 12:55

StopI can’t believe that in 2011 people still think DRM can work for anything but limit end user choices, security and privacy. Here is an article from EFF  explaining what is going on with this on the HTML standardization front. Please join this struggle and sign EFF’s petition.

In case you don’t know or understand what this is all about, here is my attempt at explaining, by writing a fictional conversation between a DRM Programmer and a Technology Literate User.

DRM Programmer: I want you to buy my data (Movie/Music/Book/Game) and then be able to read (Watch/Listen to/Play) it but not copy it.

Technology Literate User: That is impossible, on computers reading is copying.

D: I will protect the data by encrypting it.

T: If you encrypt the data I won’t be able to read it.

D: I will give you a decryption key so you can decrypt the data and read it.

T: If you give me the decryption key, and let me read the data, I can then write (E.g. save) it, unencrypted, to somewhere else, and therefore copy it.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Looking for a Google Reader replacement – like everyone else

Filed under: Reading — ifireball @ 18:37

Google ReaderI, like the rest of the internet, was shocked and annoyed tho learn that Google is planning no shutting down the Google Reader service.

I’ve been looking for an alternative, Here is a rundown of the options I looked info:

  1. The old reader – Lots of promise in the name, couldn’t get my feeds imported yet, I’m 22-thousnad-something in the queue…
  2. NetVibes – Dashboards suck, The reader view looks ok, but you can’t change the sorting to begin from oldest, also the key-bindings are strange.
  3. NewsBlur – Not free. Also the UI is very strange, looks like an upside-down mail reader. If I wanted my RSS reader to look like  mail reader I’d use Thunderbird.
  4. Baz Qux reader – Only one display mode that looks like Google Reader’s “Expanded View” totally useless for reading large amounts of feeds.
  5. TT-RSS – Open sources PHP APP I’d need to host on my own – but the UI looks nice from the screen-shots and it seems to have nice mobile support. I’m planning to look further into this.
  6. Feedly – This is what I use currently – not completely happy about it  since it uses a browser plug-in rather then being an independent site, so I wonder about its portability and support for my mobile phone. The UI is very flashy and wastes a lot of screen real-estate but it can be made useful with the Firefox Sylish Plugin and a custom condensed style. One additional plus for this service is that the key-bindings are compatible with what the reader had.

Finally, here are some links to various call to action sites and petitions:

  1. savegooglereader.org
  2. bringgooglereaderback.com
  3. Petition on change.org and another one and a third

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crypton – Open sources encrypted cloud storage library

Filed under: Coding, Evil Plans, Security — ifireball @ 22:36

Crypton is a library that is meant to allow developers to write privacy-enhanced cloud applications where all data is encrypted on the client side before being stored in the cloud.

Crypton currently consists of a JavaScript library for web applications that provides an object storage API, and a data storage backend built with PostgreSQL, Redis and Node.js. Additional client libraries for desktop applications are also planned.

Crypton is currently developed by the SpiderOAK company and licensed under the AGPL.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Considering GlusterFS for a side project

Filed under: Evil Plans, Home Cloud, RHEL, Sysadmin — ifireball @ 12:39

GlusterFS has been getting a lot of attention recently with RedHat’s decision to integrate it with Hadoop. While is is one of many similar open source distributed file systems, RedHat’s solid backing seems to promise a solid future for GlusterFS.

I’m wondering if it may be time for me to play with it a little, I’m wondering whether I should try and used it to synchronize and backup files on my home computers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Huge list of security Tools

Filed under: Evil Plans, New Tools, Security — ifireball @ 12:33

Datamation has a huge list of security and privacy tools up on their website. I already know many of the tools on the list, use some of them daily and would wholeheartedly recommend then. The following is a list of tools I would check out and maybe add to my arsenal in the future:

  1. Web of Trust (WOT) – Firefox add-on ranking the trustworthiness of websites.
  2. SafeCache – Protection for browsing history.
  3. PasswordMaker – Password safe
  4. Diaspora – I think this needs no introduction, I’ve been meaning to play with this sometime, but its not really what I would call a “security tool”.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What is Vert.x?

Filed under: Coding — ifireball @ 16:21

Vert.x has gotten a lot of press recently, following the main developer’s move from VMware to RedHat and VMware’s subsequent attempt to gain control over the project.

While the news story is interesting and has implications with regards to open source project governance, I found myself also being interested in what the technology actually does. That wasn’t covered in the news at all.

As if turns out, Vert.x as an event-driven asynchronous network application development platform written in Java. It seems somewhat similar to Python’s Twisted library and Ruby’s Event Machine.

The one thing that sets Vert.x apart from other similar libraries, is that while being written in Java, Vert,x actually targets a whole slew of languages that can run on top of the JVM including Ruby, Python and Javascript. With Vert.x it seems not only can one write an application using a wide choice of languages, but also mix and match languages within the same application.

With projects like JRuby and Jython the JVM is becoming a universal language runtime, not unlike Microsoft’s CLR, but wit much wider portability and reach, this may have some interesting implications in the future.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Intense PC – Tiny intensely powered PC

Filed under: Evil Plans, Hardware, Linux, My Next PC — ifireball @ 15:40

The Intense PC (Front panel view)With its tiny dimensions, high-powered hardware spec, low power consumption and Linux Mint installed out of the factory, the Intense PC or its branded sibling, the Mint Box, might very well be the next computer I buy. The manufacturer operating out of Israel makes this practically a no-brainer.

About the only gripe I have about this device is that it contains no battery. Next to modern phones, laptops and tablets, the PC’s “habit” of shutting down at the slightest power interruption makes it seem as anachronistic as an 80s double cassette boom-box.

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