Building notes, projects, and occasional rants


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The keys 'hjkl' have a special meaning for a lot of UNIX users. They are used to move around inside the vi text editor, and have been used by loads of websites as keyboard shortcuts to move around inside a page. One of sites I visit often that I uses them is The Big Picture of the Boston Globe. Inside each article, you can navigate between photos using 'j' and 'k'.

Jedi mind tricks

Good answer from Google, given the limitations they have on software version updates and older hardware. This topic of Android fragmentation always triggers a StarWars-based scene: Ogly Wan Genoobly sitting calmly inside his speeder, waves a hand at an iTropper: "These are not the the fragmented droids you are looking for".

For the past 2 or 3 years, my favorite web server is nginx. It replaced lighttpd on most of my production sites, and soon it will take over them all. One of the roles nginx is performing is to act as a frontend server for Perl-based Web apps. This apps run under Starman or one of the other PSGI-compatible servers. The simplest configuration block you need to use is this:

Harbor simulation games

In the casual games category, I have to pick the harbor simulation games, like Harbor Master or Harbor 3D, as my favorite genre. They are the ones I always get back too, and their place on the iPhone is clearly assured. Here are some tips to help you play them: use the speed multiplier from the start. Always play at the top speed: you can grow your score quickly, and when you eventually get into trouble, you can slow down the pace a bit to solve the problem;try to use the same path for ships of the same speed, like a train;Harbor 3D lets you can anchor a ship by tapping it.

During the past year there was a discussion about the Android platform fragmentation. Before someone complains, I'll defined "Android fragmentation" as the problems developers have to deal with because of the multiple Android devices, when said devices have different capabilities, specially with regard to the display resolution. On one side we had Google explaining that the word "fragmentation" is meaningless, and on the other we had some app developers (and some Apple fanboys, but I tend to ignore them) explaining what the problem is for them, specially developers porting apps from iOS.

Open vs Choice

The Chrome project announced that they will be dropping support for H264. Given Google prior statements about open video codecs, its not unexpected. I also doesn't affect me given that I don't use Chrome (although it might affect a lot of sites that now have to consider if they want to encode with WebM and keep the two versions, or just redirect people to Flash video versions with the single H264 source), but it makes me wonder about the browser interaction with the operating system he runs on.

Chegar a casa

This post is mostly for my Portuguese readership, although I'll try and make a rough translation later. I got this from one of those lenghty "please forward" email chains, but this one resonated with my own views about parenting. I don't know the original source for the text. If you do, please leave a comment so that I can credit it properly. Update: source, Boletim de Julho de 2009, da Acreditar.

Business models

A lot of companies have business models different from our expectations. Some big examples are Gillete, in the business of selling razor blades; HP, in the business of selling ink and toner cartridges; Or even McDonalds, which lives of the rents it collects from his tenants, the restaurant franchisors. I'm a very happy user of the Dropbox service, but I don't get their business model. Their core technology is the sync engine, the best I ever used, not because of its speed, but because of the transparency and simplicity of the entire process: you drop your files in that folder, and all your devices will get it.

In a couple of hours we will get the chance to see what the iPhone OS 4.0 looks like. In the past few weeks the hot topic seems to be multi-tasking, or to be more precise, the ability to have several third-party apps running at the same time. I do have an opinion on this but you should note that I don't own any iPhone OS-using devices. No iPhone, no iPod Touch, and still no iPad.

! Dead

For the last few months I've been buried at work. The E5 project is going great but there is so much to do that I haven't had the chance to write here, something that I miss. But the craziness is winding down and I expect to be back in a couple of weeks.