Archive | July, 2008

Ed Foster: In Memorium

Ed Foster, 59, InfoWorld columnist of “The Gripe Line”, and an advocate for the consumer, dies of a heart attack: Ed fought the good fight and will be missed

Notes from PySIG, 24-July-2008: Improv Intro

Seven attendees made it to the July 2008 meeting of the Python Special Interest Group of the Greater New Hampshire Linux Group, despite the heavy rains. Due to some last-minute conflicts, our planned speaker, Ray Côté, had to take a rain check for a future meeting, but cookies were made and we resolutely carried on.

There were two first-time attendees, one with a novice level of knowledge of Python and the second very little. Lead by the PySIG leader, Bill Sconce, we launched into an improvised session introducing Python and talking about its power, range and flexibility, comparing it with other languages, heckling Ben Scott, demonstrating several IDEs, talking about procedural scripting and object-oriented programming, showing off some working code, migrating database applications from proprietary platforms, and much, much more. A good time was had by all.

Prominently mentioned were the great tutorials available directly off the Python web site and the Tutor mailing list.

Great thanks to Janet for a delightful variety of cookies, to Bill for not only running the meeting and providing the projector but also bringing the milk, to all for participating, and to the Amoskeag Business Incubator for providing the fine facilities.

(Note: despite the organizational support of the GNHLUG, members running all sorts of OSes are welcome. A typical meeting has people running Python on OS X, Linux and Windows. All should expect equal-opportunity heckling.)

Upgraded to WordPress 2.6

Just recently upgraded the site to WordPress 2.6, using the Automatic Upgrade plugin. It went well, until the very last step when it couldn’t log me back into the web site. Shutting down and restarting the web browser seemed to fix that. Next time I went to log into the administrative site, some funky PHP errors appeared that appeared to be caused by blank lines at the ends of the PHP files provided by the Automatic Upgrade feature. I edited the files, removed the last (blank) line, restarted the web server and all is well. Stay tuned.

Notes from NH Ruby/Rails, 15-July-2008: Jeremy Durham and merb

Ten people attended the July meeting of the New Hampshire Ruby / Rails group, an affiliate of the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group (but it’s okay if you don’t run Linux – there were lots of MacBooks at the meeting last night!). Thanks to Scott Garman and Nick Plante for organizing the meeting and to Tim Golden and RMC Research for providing the excellent facilities.

We started with a good round of introductions where everyone got to state who they were, what they were doing and their level of expertise.

Jeremy Durham was our guest speaker and the topic was merb. Jeremy explained that the 20-second answer for what’s merb is that Merb = Mongrel + erb. Merb is a very small and simple web framework that is ideal for quick small projects that demand few resources, while still providing a thread-safe environment in which to run Ruby. While not intended purely as a Rails replacement/competitor, much of what’s run in Rails can be moved to merb and vice versa with minimal effort. Jeremy offered that he often did a coding session in merb for the speed of the development cycle, and could then share the models he’d created with his team running Rails with minimum changes. Jeremy did a compare/contrast with Rails v. merb where merb is ahead in small memory models and threading, while Rails has the larger community and richer documentation. Jeremy mentioned a new community site: merbunity.

Along with the main topic, there were lots of tangential conversations on the joys of TextMate, vi vs. emacs, Apple shell defaults, JavaScript libraries (did you know there is an entire JavaScript MVC framework in SproutCore? That paperclip [DEPRECATED] is a cool replacement for attachment_fu for uploading files?) which always enrich the presentation.

After the great presentation, there was sufficient time for networking and socializing, where folks got to follow up on interesting developments. Thanks to Jeremy for the presentation, and to Scott and Nick and Tim for organizing the event and to all for attending and participating! Topic for the August meeting hasn’t been nailed down yet. Stay tuned to the announcement mailing list whose links you can find at

Ken Levy leaving Microsoft

Ken blogs, “After working at Microsoft for over 7 years as an employee and almost 5 years before that as a contractor/vendor, I’ve decided it’s time for me to do become independent and start my own company. My official last day at Microsoft is July 18th. I’ve enjoyed all the years working at Microsoft since the early 90s, especially with great people making many friends along the way.”

Read about his new venture at: Best of luck, Ken!

nVidia graphic chips have heat problems, turn on the fans!

The New York Times reports “Nvidia Reports Problem With Laptop Chips”

To tackle the problem, the company is releasing a software driver that will cause system fans to start operating sooner and reduce the “thermal stress” on the chips. The driver has been provided to laptop makers directly, said Derek Perez, an Nvidia spokesman.

Ouch! And for those of us who aren’t running the drivers the laptop makers provide us with? Darn. I just bought a laptop with an nVidia adapter, thinking I didn’t want the base Intel set of video adapters. Looks like I guessed wrong.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.