Tag Archives: code

Which Programming Language Do You Prefer?

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Someone on our Lockergnome site recently asked which full programming language is “the best.” That is a good question – but impossible to answer, really.

Each language was developed for a specific purpose. What works for one type of application may not work for another. Therefore, you can’t really chose “the best.” It would be better to ask which was the best for what you are trying to DO at any given time.

Everything from WordPress to moveable type uses something different. It’s impossible, therefore, to try and figure out any one language to name as the be-all and end-all of language types. The most useful programming language, ultimately, is the one that will best serve your needs.

No one language will or can do everything. If you want to be a general programmer, you’re going to have to learn many different types. If you want to be specialized, then sure – focus on one or two that you will need in your career or hobby.

What do you think? I’m sure you have your favorite language… but do you truly believe any one is better or more important than everything else out there?

Deploy – A New Seattle Conference for Developers

I’m launching a new conference with the folks over at Seattle 2.0 called Deploy – Today’s Technology for Tomorrow’s Apps. It will be held Monday, November 8th from 9AM – 5PM at the Bell Harbor Conference Center. Deploy is a conference for technology builders and geeks. New languages, frameworks, storage systems, methodologies and devices are creating entirely new opportunities. Deploy 2010 is a “Show and Tell” conference where speakers will discuss hot new topics and show what can be done – and how. Topics will include NoSQL, Mobile and Tablet, Game Mechanics, Open Source, Location and more.

We have a great lineup of speakers including:

  • Doug Cutting, creator of Hadoop, Lucene and Nutch
  • Andre Charland, creator of PhoneGap – the open source cross-platform mobile technology
  • Brian Fling, founder of Pinch/Zoom and creator of the NY Times iPad app
  • Poornima Vijayashanker, first engineering lead at Mint and bizeebee creator
  • Bob Walsh, author of “MicroISV: From Vision to Reality and the Web Startup Success Guide

Deploy 2010 will be a technology conference focused on software development. It’s perfect for developers of all backgrounds, whether you are still in college or are an industry veteran . It’s also valuable to managers and executives who have technologists in their organizations.

As an added bonus, we are reserving eight spots for show and tell. For three minutes, up to 8 lucky winners, will be able to get up on stage and either speak about or demonstrate their technology. During the morning session, we’ll collect entries from attendees who want to present their technology during the Tech Demo segment. At 1:30 PM, after the lunch break, we’ll draw the entries from a hat. The lucky winner has three minutes to get up on stage and present his or her technology.

If you are a developer or hard-core tech enthusiast, I hope you will join us for join us for Deploy.

Scoble and Pirillo – What is Gnomedex?

Apparently, Gnomedex has a lot to do with beer – at least according to Robert Scoble and myself. It was a conference of inspiration, innovation, influence and illustration. Somehow that translates into a “bunch of drunk Geeks.”

We had a great time talking with the kids from OmniTechNews. We discussed how Gnomedex was the first conference where Robert noticed that everyone had a computer and was connected to the Internet. I feel that it was all about individuals using the power of technology to get a message around the world in seconds flat. It helped to empower people.

Our biggest piece of advice to young tech enthusiasts everywhere is to learn some code!

Open Source vs Closed Source

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Justin called from southern California recently to talk about open source projects. He’s doing some research into this for school, and had a few questions. Justin asked my opinion as to the pros and cons of both open source and closed source applications, along with positives and negatives of each. My opinions are not definitive, of course. As a user, I can appreciate either platform. It’s ultimately about what the software has to offer.

From a code perspective, there are some developers who want complete control over their code. They want to control development, and don’t want any input from others. They know every line of code inside and out, and live and breathe their creation alone.

Open source is more like one person sketching out an idea and then collaborating with others in order to come up with better iterations. If something in the closed source realm changes (or something happens to the original developer), you end up with a product that is dead for all intents and purposes.

Software is living. It’s omnipresent. You’re only as good as your latest version. Software is in a perpetual state of evolution. There are merits on both sides of this particular debate.

I’m a big fan of WordPress, and I’m always on the lookout for coding rockstars. I think there is so much more I could be doing if I had good designers and developers at my disposal.

What are YOUR thoughts? Are you a proponent of an open source ecosystem – or a closed one?

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Are You Looking for a New MySpace Profile Design for Free?

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I’ve been building web pages for many years. Heck, I built sites back in the day of no graphical browsers. It was all done by hand. Thankfully, it’s much easier now. If you’ve got free web hosting and you’re looking for a good, solid design, I’ve found a resource that you should check out.

Wix has everything you need to build great looking websites in minutes. You can import pictures and movies from places like Flickr and YouTube. Then, just click, drag and drop your way to getting your site online. There’s several ideas already there to get you started, including ones to build your own MySpace backgrounds.

Wix is an online application that allows users to create and publish stunning Flash-based web content. Wix is not template based, meaning you get to create an unrestrained design. With Wix, you don’t have to be a designer or programmer to create gorgeous, professional-looking websites. You can easily add audio, video, images, text, animation, decoration and so much more. Oh yeah… Wix can be published anywhere on the web, including social networking sites, blogs and personal spaces.

All you do is register for free, point and click… and you’re done. There are tons of customizations to make your website everything you need or want it to be.


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What Advice do you Give to Young Programmers?

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Programming is an excellent field to go into, and good Programmers are a hot commodity. That reminds me… if anyone out there is above excellent at working with Drupal, shoot me an email to [email protected] Thanks to Grant for sending in this list of tips for young people looking to learn Programming.

  • Read. If you do not like spending a lot of time reading… you should not program. When you are learning a computer language, you must be willing to spend hours reading books, websites, and magazine articles.
  • Take your time finding the language that is right for you. Think about what you want to accomplish when programming a computer. Remember, once you learn one computer language… it is easy to learn another.
  • ThinkWhen you start to make a program, really spend some time thinking about what you want it to do. I cannot tell you how many times I just jumped into a project, only to realize it was useless.
  • Use flow charts. Flow charting allows you to organize your code, and make it efficient.
  • Back everything up! When you start to program, there is a good chance that you might mess something up, and fry your computer. Give yourself a safety net, and back everything up. Also make sure to frequently backup your code itself! This makes it easier to undo when you make a mistake.
  • Comment your code! If you leave a project, only to come back later… you will probably have forgotten how it worked. Commenting your code will help you. With comments, you do not have to read through the whole thing. Instead, you can look at your comments and get an idea of what’s going on.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Microsoft has a great website and databases for programmers. Also check out their blog, and ask questions. There is always someone who is willing to help.
  • Get a book. Your local or school library will most likely have books on Programming. Check them out, read them over and over, and learn from them.
  • Testing! When you have a good start on your programs, let other people try them out. You could ask people to evaluate them, or you could give them out as freeware. Start a website and let people download them if you want. The feedback will be an invaluable learning tool for you.


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How Can Software be Perfect?

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What do we need in order to have “perfect” software? What can companies do to achieve this lofty goal? Here are some excellent tips sent in by a community member. Software manufacturers… pay attention!

  • Software should never crash. I don’t care if I try loading a 10 GB file into Photoshop on a computer with 256 MB of RAM. Checks should be performed and resources balanced so that a run-away program doesn’t bring down the entire system. User input should also never crash a program. This isn’t unique to just Windows. I’ve had hard crashes on both Mac and Linux where hitting the power bottom on the tower was the only way to restart it.
  • Security should be built in and seamless. Grandma shouldn’t need a degree in Computer Science to keep from getting her identity stolen or her computer infected with malware. Virus-like behavior shouldn’t be possible. One reason Mac and Linux have such fewer viruses isn’t just because of their lower market share, but also because they are built securely and self-propagating programs are rare and are difficult to hide from the system. Firefox is another good example of software that integrates security by alerting the user if they are on a suspected phishing site.
  • Protect data at all costs. One horror story comes to mind where a user told me that they had downloaded a document from their webmail but selected “open” instead of “save” at the dialog. After confirming it was the correct document they went to work and subconsciously hit ctrl-s to save their work every so often but didn’t even think about where it was being saved to since they had only “opened” the document. They had kept this window open throughout the day and adding changes and then did a final ctrl-s and closed the window for the night. The next day they looked at their recent documents to see “file not found”. Opening the document put it in a temporary folder which was cleaned out when they rebooted their computer. This kind of thing shouldn’t happen. Operating systems should also keep backups and revisions of documents in case the user needs to go back to a previous draft. Leopard’s Time Machine is an example that comes to mind.
  • Online integration. There is a lot of buzz about this “Web 2.0” (which doesn’t exist) and people thinking that all applications will be run inside a browser. I personally think that is silly. Google Docs & Spreadsheets will never replace Microsoft Office or any other full blown application that is installed to the system. Installed applications have the advantage of performance and being integrated into the OS more than a web application could ever hope to. However, I believe that client-side applications should become more integrated with online services (though not web applications themselves). Imagine OpenOffice, for example, integrated with Google Docs and being able to save data both to disk and online without needing to open up a web browser. My media player can download lyrics for music or provide a link to IMDB when watching a DVD.
  • Maintain a “just works” philosophy. I plug in my printer and it works. The user should never even have to hear the word “driver” or “install”. YouTube is an example that we now almost take for granted. Ten years ago I remember having to mess with Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, and Quicktime plugins with all the installing and rebooting just to play a video in my browser. Dozens of different formats and codecs. YouTube has simplified this process. I visit the site, hit “play” and it plays. If flash isn’t installed a quick “click here to install flash” and boom! It works.


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How to be a Good Software Programmer

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I programmed a dog into this live video feed. Can you find him? Go ahead… I’ll give you a couple of seconds to look for him. I have a top five list submitted by Raleigh, full of tips to help you become a good Programmer.

  • Save your code often! You know what it’s like to be working on something only to have the power go out. Imagine losing several hours’ worth of code.
  • Back up your code. This is pretty much the same reason as #1. I backup every night after a day of coding, just as an extra layer of protection.
  • Write proper comments everywhere. Comments are very important. These are useful. WHat if you don’t look at the code for a year? These comments will be helpful later.
  • Keep your code clean. Separate your code into chunks, and use line breaks where you can.
  • Test your code often. Whenever you have made a simple part of code, test it. WHy wait until you’ve written four hundred lines of code before testing? If something doesn’t work… you’ll have to wade through all those lines to find your error.

If you have a top five list related to anything to do with “Geekery” or even something Non-Techie… send them to me! I’m always ready to pass on your knowledge to others.


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The Secret Language of Lovers

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As Ponzi and I prepared to leave for our Hawaiian Cruise last week, we had a discussion about different “code words” and phrases that we tend to use. I bet you and your significant other know exactly what we’re talking about.

We’ve decided to start using the word “Chumby” as our code word when we want to avoid an arguement. We’re sure this will work. In the past, we’ve had to use a code word for a stinky person. We’ve been on many flights where we had to sit next to someone who just smelled so awful. I kept trying to let Chris know that the man next to me was stinky, without letting the man know I was saying something negative about him. You know… you’re trying to tell the person next to you something, without conveying to everyone else in the vicinity exactly what it is you’re trying to say? So this is what happened to me on this particular fight. We agreed if we ever had that issue again, we’d say “when are we going to play tennis?”. That stands for “someone next to me/us STINKS!”.

So… back to Chumby. Ponzi and I both have very strong personalities, so we tend to get into arguements at times. We had to pick a word we would both remember, that would hopefully make us laugh, instead of argue. The chat room came up with the word Chumby. Not only is it a funny word in and of itself… it’s also my newest fun gadget!!


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How to Make Games

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What kind of games do you play? My bet is you’re at least a casual gamer, whether you play Sudoku, do crossword puzzles, or even play bingo online! Have you ever thought of creating your own game?

On YoYoGames.com, you can download the free version (or buy the paid Pro version) of their GameMaker program. This program allows you to create desktop games of your own. Game Maker allows you to make exciting computer games, without the need to write a single line of code. Making games with Game Maker is a lot of fun.

Using easy to learn drag-and-drop actions, you can create professional looking games within very little time. You can make games with backgrounds, animated graphics, music and sound effects, and even 3D games! And when you’ve become more experienced, there is a built-in programming language, which gives you the full flexibility of creating games with Game Maker. What is best, is the fact that Game Maker can be used free of charge.

You can do anything you want with the games you produce, you can even sell them! Also, if you register your copy of Game Maker, you can unlock extra functions, which extend the capabilities of the program. Game Maker comes preloaded with a collection of freeware images and sounds to get you started.

If you want to create an online game, Paws suggests checking out Pictogame.com. He used my face to create an arm-wrestling game. On this site, you can create an online-based game, then post it on your blog, share it on MySpace, or even email it to your friends and family! It is a unique place to create mini-games based on your digital pictures.

In a few clicks, Pictogame enables you to make your own game widgets and share them easily by email, on your blog, on your MySpace profile, or on any social network. Pictogame is the first user generated games community built upon catchy interactive widgets. It provides users with a new way to express themselves and to communicate with fun. Pictogame is aimed at the widest audience as it is super-simple, super-social and super-customizable. It is an easy, free and fun service empowering everyone to become the game creators of tomorrow.

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