Friday, May 30, 2008

The Not-So Secret Open Source Rails

Now that RailsConf 08 is underway, let us help celebrate the event by showcasing some cool Rails applications. Throw in the word 'open source' and we've got a hit in our hands.

Fortunately, you don't need to be looking at several places to get a load of these. Just go to Open Source Rails where you will find a variety of applications for a variety of needs. Take some time to search the site and I'm sure there will be something worth your fancy whether for personal or for business.

In case you're interested in Tracks, you're in luck as has already hosted it - free for you to use when you sign-up.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Overcast of Industry Players

Peter Laird had the presence of mind to note that people need more than words to show what the atmosphere is like with all the cloud players hovering above us.

Great: He got down to the details and specifics
Not-so-great: He needs to revise based on growing trend of startups entering the market and hasn't been included yet. Can console myself for being acknowledged in the comments page for now. Yeah, scroll down.


Overcast: n. cloudiness; the state of the sky when it is covered by clouds; giving wikipedia a lift; n. An Autobot !!!

Most Durable Web 2.0 Tech: I'd place my bets, too.

Kent Langley tells us how he has done some explaining about it. Just so that they finally give him some break, he headed for the clouds.

Cloud Competition: As long as you're free to go in and out of it, you'll be ok. Who hates lock-ins most?

Cloud Computing on radio? I think it will be tough to explain something like this over the air but I think they pulled it off sharing a good example. First time I heard of Animoto.

Cloud Computing, again. When it rains, there's clouds! But Steven's got his eyes on the big boys only. I'd be careful about being blind-sided, if I were he.

It is the 'jargon of the moment'. If NYT thinks so, they're late. Very much like me and a good bunch of the rest of us.

You might want to re-think your options if you think the US government is after you. Not me, only thing they'll dig up is my state of the art cum avant-garde parenting methods which essentially is 'stay off having kids' if you hate sharing your life and time. Storm clouds?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is Localization The Farthest SaaS Customization Can Take You?

The map, made by John Yunker, is a registered trademark of Byte Level Research, LLC. All rights reserved.

It must have begun with 37 signals advocating this, a masterpiece of business letter indicating good riddance. “If you need something we don’t have, if you’ve outgrown our software, we wish you the best.” Byron wrote an interesting post to keep the SaaS discussion alive and many a good SaaS startups would do well to follow his rules. (I especially love the hunter vs farmers strategy.) But then again, not all says Martin Snyder. As far as he is concerned, cash on hand is well cash that goes to the coffers, anywhere in the planet they might be calling from.

Then comes Ben's rejoinder that does merit your attention. He adds something that deserves special recognition - of SaaS needing to be viral. How can anyone miss that? Businesses are still made up of users and individuals, right?

So what of customization? Though requests are inevitable, most agree that it just eats too much of the resources and for a SaaS startup it really isn't a priority. But is it easier to capitulate once the company is big and awash with cash and resources already? I get the feeling that it won't make sense either. But then again, is there a cash amount that could help sway the vote, Martin? I wonder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If Content is Mostly Written, Why Not Make the Process Cool

Writing can be such a chore. Most resort to gimmicks to further their writing or blogging career by being caffeinated or by going into seclusion. Others, by letting it all hang out and going into trance hoping the words redeem themselves as it strings into cohesive phrases. Never mind if it fails to make sense. If it does, well and good. If it borders on mumbo-jumbo stuff, call it poetry or creative writing.

And if you plan to go otherworldly and would like to add a dash of hacker feel to it, why not try Dark Copy? It bills itself as a simplified writing tool that harks back to the days of using the simple typewriter. Me, I like it because it makes me feel like Neo.

But if you belong to the really old-school type, then sign yourself up for an account at Penzu. It gives you the look and feel of writing on paper, complete with lines that can take you back to the days of sending love letters without actually harming any tree. Too bad you can't fold it into a plane and send it flying through the air. (But that would be a great idea for a UI, don't you think?)

By the way, you can also publish whatever it is you write online by signing-up to Morph helpMe. But you already knew that, don't you.

PS. You don't need to install any of these applications to work. So in a way, these are similar to a SaaS app offering.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bedfellows: Is Ruby the perfect match for SaaS

Hey, I don't intend to add fuel to the fire of language wars as it has been a raging debate intense enough to rival the current US Democratic presidential aspirants.

But consider this. Now that SaaS is clearly going mainstream and as more and more businesses consider SaaSsyfying their applications, which programming language would most of them adopt?

Will they go the way of social network tools such as Facebook or Myspace that have scale as a driving force in choosing the language and/or follow the web site as web application principle to easily reach more customers for an easier learning curve?

Or will eventually cascade to advantages and risks that concern Ruby, Java, Php, Python and the others. Remember. we're talking implications on SaaS only.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Twitter 140+

You know something is big when people are now offering seminars and lectures on web tools. And you know that Twitter isn't just about encapsulated daily musings, right?

No? Then, check this post from Beth's Blog and find out about it's many uses. It's isn't Einstein but Twitter can make you think. I guess..

Twitter 140

If you want to follow conversations about a particular topic, then check out Summize. It looks vaguely familiar, don't you think?

(Less than 140 characters. I'm getting the hang of it)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday: Just The Day To Get On Tracks

Swamped by things to do to start the week and feeling stressed about? Then just do the age-old trick of writing every task down on paper to help you sort things out. Or if you can't take your hands off the keyboard then better use something else like Tracks.

As A Nerds Haven would point out, Tracks offers a simple way
to organize your to-do lists. What I like about it is that the UI gets to list all your current projects and check them off as you would if you're using a moleskine. Of course, it does a lot more.

You can install the application if you know something about Ruby on Rails but why bother, when you can use it on-demand, anywhere by signing up and logging on to MorpheXchange and adding them to your subscriptions list, for free.

Now that will be your first task for today.

Friday, May 9, 2008


No doubt there are plenty of references if you are interested in learning about programming but if you feel that reading alone isn't gonna cut it for you, then may I suggest you head over to StackOverflow. Jeff Atwood and the rest of the crew are generous to a T in sharing what they know through their podcasts.

Not the least bit horrible, right Jeff.

Capt Cha

You will be able to know what this means exactly. Unless, you're not human.

Problem is even non-humans are able to decipher these things already. I say that's genius because the way CAPTCHAs appear now, I wonder who will be able to type those correctly. Honestly, it takes me two or three times to get it right.

I think I need to hire myself an AI. More from Nick Carr here.

Of Mavens, Connectors and now, Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell has become some sort of a favorite of mine not because of his hairdo but because, whether you agree or not, the guy does make you think (and get you to perceive social phenomena differently). Well, he is also a master at observing things and finding data relative to it within pop culture and even those seemingly untouched by it.

Anyway, CEO Read just amped the excitement. Hope it goes on sale early!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ruby is Hot-rod Red or Red-hot Read, Whatever.

I've recently come across a bunch of posts for newbies who would like to try their hand on Ruby or Ruby on Rails. Regardless of your motive, no doubt that the buzz that Ruby has received the last few years has contributed to its ever-growing popularity. Thanks to the web, you too can become a much sought after Rubyist or Rails programmer. You just have to put the necessary effort to learn the program which is touted to use the least effort and code. Bit of a tongue-twister there.

A List Apart
You can never go empty-handed with A List Apart. Found two (2) fairly recent articles for Ruby/Rails newbies written by Dan Benjamin and Michael Slater, respectively. Read both so you will be able to find out how to sign up for a free online learning course.

Getting Started with Ruby on Rails
Creating More with Less Effort using Ruby on Rails

If you're like most people who are too busy to search and click for references, you may want to head over to This one is about as comprehensive as it gets from reference materials to news and even Rails hosts should you be able to succeed in building your very own apps.

Last but definitely not the least, head over to Ruby-Lang.Org and complete your research into Ruby, the Programmer's Best Friend. Try your hand in their 20-minute tutorial and be prepared to get hooked.

Still not satisfied, eh? OK, you need to haul off your butt and pray you're in time for Satish's class at Ruby Learning. Read through the testimonials and it will give you an idea of how interesting this site is for aspiring Ruby-wannabees. What's more, resident Ruby Guru is one cool teacher.

Now, 'scuse me as I build my own Jarvis. An armor suit definitely is a welcome breather for visions of 'men-in-tights'.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

SaaS to PaaS and ultimately, the CLaaS (Clouds as a Service)

Just read that wonderful post from Kent at Production Scale about the '-aaS' clarifications. Let me offer my two-cents worth on the subject. You can skip the CLaaS, just thought it sounded uhm classy. Not.

We won't be going to historical details here with regards to dates. What I'm after is a confirmation regarding the natural progression of Software as a Service.

Simply put, Software as a service refers to a method of deployment wherein applications can be accessed via the web as opposed to the traditional model of software installation on your computer. Samples of which are the mail apps like Yahoo Mail and Gmail and best made into a web byword by the highly successful CRM apps company called Salesforce.

SaaS exposed, not only the need for a successful conglomeration of web apps to be made easily available via a single site and easily accessible by demand, but more importantly, that apps need to be more or less housed in a common platform.

Consider the benefits:

1. It gives users - both business and individual consumers, a common point of experience which equates to shorter learning curve resulting in faster adoption.

2. Developers tend to congregate using common expertise on programming languages. Nothing better than a platform to unite 'em all. And what good is SaaS if you don't have the apps to showcase?

3. A common platform allows companies who offer SaaS easier maintenance requirements. This translates to savings that can be passed on to both third party developers and ultimately to users.

It doesn't stop there. On demand apps and on demand platform can only reside in the web. And so comes the Cloud.

Surely there is still a lot of debate on the eventuality of the (few) Clouds ruling over the whole computing space. But business is business. And as long as SaaS, PaaS and Cloud players continue to offer very good deals (esp under threat of recession) leading to better revenue, the march towards increased business adoption will continue faster than pundits expected.

Tabbed: Quick Eeds

Old habits just don't go away. When it comes to browsing the internet, I have my own quirks. It comes from being a really long-time dial-up user.

Using Firefox, I was amazed that it can do multiple tabbing instead of opening new windows. Not only was it more organized, it also freed my bottom toolbars (we're talking PC love here) from those incomprehensible boxes with first letters.

Anyway, since internet time was precious money saved then, I kept opening tabs as I was reading something. As long as the browser can handle it, I tabbed away. And that is how it still is with me. Now, let me share some of it here.

Green Issue
Carbon footprints and the like. Most people won't act because they think they're puny enough to make a dent on improving the situation. No prob for me, call me Don Quixote.

It's addictive once you get to find the value of it, both personal and in business. It's in the mid of some big dough funding thing and then this issue creeps in. Baad timing. Well, the rest of us can just tweet about it. Until the next major downtime! Can you pencil that in my Twistory?

PC now refers to...
Personal clouds. Whaddaya, think? And this isn't some form of weed... Just flaunt of wealth, in my opinion. Lemme say again,"Green, green, green".

This one's as dragging as the film, Remains of the Day (totally,just didn't get it or maybe it just isn't a date movie back then). Now for some respectable press opinion of it, here.

Even if this didn't come from Steve Jobs' branding idea, it still does pack a lot of 'kwan'. Kwan = something that customers would buy. Non-admittedly it seems. Psystar - the brand is just so eighties, like me.

And I've save the best for last. This is something personal. A kindred being to my LinkedIn profile. Real cloud stuff and it's from the Philippines. Way earlier than the PaaS buzz we hear today.


Reading collected from the New York Times, Techcrunch, ZDNet, Forbes and Washington Post. Newspaper naysayers, take that!