Building notes, projects, and occasional rants


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I've pushed a new tool to my scripts repository at GitHub, x-test-continuous. This script watches changes in the ./lib and ./t directories, and executes the command given as argument on any changes. Right now, I've hardcoded a one second delay. My usual command while I'm writing a new Perl module is this one: x-test-continuous prove -l -v -r t Now, my tests are a single "Save all" away. An even better usage, in case you are using TextMate.

Feed aggregators

I'm a bit sick of hearing applications call themselves "feed aggregators" when they simple show me a chronological sequence of unrelated articles. Sure, I guess that 4 or 5 years ago that was enough and worthy of the word, but in between I jumped from 20 or 30 to 354 feeds (I usually prune to 250 each 6 months). I think its time to move up the goal post: you cannot call yourself a aggregator without actually doing it - finding relations between articles and presenting them in useful ways.

JaikuEngine is born

Yesterday, Jaiku was turned off for a 24 hour maintenance. The goal: move it to the Google App Engine. The site is now back, and the announced future is here: Jaiku is now a community maintained project called JaikuEngine (to be seen, really, its not there yet). There are a couple of changes: SMS (as any sane cost-consciencius person would expect) are gone for all but US networks, and they will no longer pool your feeds (this was a surprise for me, and I think a lot of Jaiku'ers will be unhappy).

A couple of AWS news

Today, Amazon AWS announced a new pricing tier for EC2 instances. If you commit to 1 year or 3 years, with prices $325 or $500 respectively, you'll get a small EC2 instance for as low as $49-$35/month. Compare that with the current $75 per month, and it sounds like a very good deal if you have a constant set of EC2 instances. The other interesting announcement is already a couple of months old, the new Amazon S3 Requester Pays Model.

The competition cargo-cult

Rui linked to an article about excessive EU regulation on roaming charges and its impact on competition. Its a very interesting article, highly recommended, but the opposite side of this coin is not as clear cut as it seems. Yes, excessive regulation does prevent competition, and can cause more harm than good. But expecting that unregulated competition between providers will benefit customers in the long run is not right either.

Some weeks ago, Johannes Schindelin talked about the UGFWIINI (Use Git For What It Is Not Indended) contest. You can read the initial candidates in the git mailing list thread. A couple of months ago, I had this idea of writting a script that would constantly watch over a directory (including subdirectories) and commit the changes every time anything would change. At the time, the tought of battling the FSEvents interface was not appealing at all, and it was just a joke anyway.

Swift dreams

One of my favorite XMPP clients is under a new^H^H^Hold management. Kevin is stepping down, and Justin is back to the driver seat. I've been lurking in the Delta mailing list, so I'm very excited with the developments there and the possibilities that they open up for Psi. But Kevin is not out of the XMPP client world. He and Remko announced a new cross-platform client called Swift. Not much is known for now about Swift but I expect a bit more news over the weekend.

In a decent sized session of yak shaving, I found a new beautiful tool: git-cpan-init. If need to hack on a CPAN Perl module, git-cpan-init will: init a new git repository in the current directory;fetch the module tarball;unpack it, and commit that version to git, tagging it with the version number.This leaves you with a ready-to-hack git repo. But it doesn't end there. After you added your fix or feature, you can use git-cpan-sendpatch and this will:

XMPP for begginers

While we wait for the new O'Reilly book, XMPP: The Definitive Guide, Peter and Remko published their latest slides from FOSDEM. Good intro, solid presentation. Go, read.

Bring it on...

I admit that I really like D. J. Bernstein software. I use on a daily basis qmail, dbjdns, daemontools and ucspi-tcp. I also know that he can be a bit difficult sometimes. I've seen him on the qmail mailing list in the late 90's and he could be very hard on people (case in point, Brad Knowles). But I never saw him on the wrong side of reason. Thats why I'll be watching with pleasure the next battle on the horizon.