Archive for July, 2005

RDoc Dashboard Widget

I downloaded the RDoc Dashboard Widget a few weeks ago, but have only started using this week. I’m finding it a really pleasant way to browse and read the Ruby core library. The widget is a bit primitive (you can only scroll by using the scroll bar—no keys seem to do anything), but it’ll do for now.

Rails Presentation

Yesterday I gave my second Rails Presentation at UVA’s new beTech technology group. We had a great turn-out for their first event ever (hah, I just noticed Erik is giving his Lucene presentation in November! beTech works fast!). Around 35 people came, including friends and colleagues from UVA and Upstate, and my mom, who was in town. I had completely reworked my presentation from the first I did at The Neon Guild back in may.

For this presentation, I created a teaser application that was just one table and generated scaffolding. I zoomed through it and added some AJAX/DHTML at the end. Then I went to slides and gave an overview of Ruby and Rails before creating the second application live. This one involved four db tables and was a simple check-out app for checking out laptop computers to users. The models included: Laptop, User, Condition (condition of the computer), and Checkout. I ended up having more material than time—after 90 minutes, I still had 30 minutes of material, but was able to end at a good spot anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed presenting, and Steven and Anna were thrilled with the turn-out and my presentation.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming presentations.

Interview With Delicious Monster’s Wil Shipley

Frameworks are the substance of programming. You build on top of a good one, your program is solid and fast and comes together beautifully. You build on top of a bad one, your life is miserable, brutish, and short. –Wil Shipley

I couldn’t agree more. After nearly two years of working almost exclusively with Tapestry 3 in my day job, I’ve taken on another gig which was developed in Turbine with Velocity. The first is almost always enjoyable, the second I’m putting up with.

Web Site Design

I’ve been working with Joey of La Pepa Designs to create a logo and Web site design for my site. She’s come up with some wonderful stuff and I had a lot of fun working with her tonight. I can’t wait to get start integrating it into the site.

I Just Can’t Wake Up!

Ever since I upgraded to Tiger a week and a half ago, I have had a wake-from-sleep problem. Well, not me, mind you, but the computer. Four times now, I’ve had to force the computer to shutdown and then boot it again. Today I had opened it up, seen the login screen, and left the room. When I came back to the room, the most I could do was get a spinning beach ball on the screen. I could put the computer to sleep and then get back to the spinning beach ball, but not to the login screen. Before Tiger, my computer had been up for 102 days. A hundred and two. I tried a couple of things the local rep suggested, but it looks like erase and install with the importer is a failure. I’m going to have to do a clean installation and manually import just the data I need. Argh.


Lately I’ve been reading up on Javascript functions and objects to get a better grip on frameworks like Prototype and Scriptaculous. Back in May, I saw Glenn Vanderburg’s presentation on Javascript at No Fluff Just Stuff in Reston and had a serious “aha!” moment. For the first time I glimpsed the real possibilities and power of Javascript. Basically, it comes down to understanding functions, objects, and the dynamic nature of the prototype object.

In short:

//you declare a new "class" with a function constructor
function SomeClass(someArgument){
    this.someArgument = someArgument;

//you define a method of the class with the prototype object
SomeClass.prototype.someMethod = function(anArgument) {
    return anArgument; //well, actually do something interesting here ;-)

Prototype has some serious mojo going on and I have to admit I still have a little studying to do to understand what’s going on. But it’s very cool and becoming the core of such wonderful libraries as Scriptaculous.


I upgraded my Powerbook to Tiger over the weekend. I had been waiting for Pro Tools to catch up before doing it. It went pretty smoothly using the erase and install method. However, I hadn’t realized how much data the Migration Assistant would bring over, or I might not have used it. I now have a wake from sleep problem that seems to be associated with a paused DVD movie. The local rep gave me some suggestions, which I’ll try out. I also had problems with Darwin Ports’ MySQL, and the default Ruby installation. I ended up using The prebuilt MySQL from and the Darwin Ports version of Ruby! I’ll have to go have a look and clean up if I can.



Copyright ©2008-2013 James E Orchard-Hays, All Rights Reserved