Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

Engineering beautiful software jon aquino labs | personal blog

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Automatically hide windows after 10 minutes with WatchCat

I'm trying out this freeware utility called WatchCat that automatically hides windows after a given time period of inactivity (I'm using 600 seconds). Note that you can also close windows instead of hiding them, but this is potentially dangerous.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Comparison of Dojo and Prototype (javascript toolkits)

flashbang on the Dojo IRC channel suggested I do a quick write-up of my experiences working with Prototype and Dojo. I've used Prototype for a couple of AJAX-heavy applications (for Cute Overload and American Idol) and am using Dojo for my current project.

Two things I really like about Prototype are the (you guessed it) $() function (shortcut for document.getElementById()) as well as the many iterators (including faves from the Smalltalk world like collect and inject).

Dojo has fairly good approximations of the above, plus some heavy-duty features. I love the scarily super-powerful event toolkit (*every* function call is an event), which is the first use of Aspect-Oriented Programming that I've found useful. And the Widget framework is a fantastic way to organize/modularize huge JavaScript projects (a Widget is simply a javascript file + an html file, with some niceties for restricting the scope of events).

Overall, I like both. Prototype is more of a Porsche, whereas Dojo is more like a Hummer. Prototype is pure programming bliss (feels very much like Ruby), whereas Dojo is very much engineered (feels like Java) -- possibly a little overengineered in some places (IFrame-based workarounds) in order to offer what no other toolkit offers (asynchronous file uploads; AJAX back-button handling; javascript "include" mechanism).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Apologies about that PageFlakes post - I'd intended to post it to the YubNub blog.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Synergy: Open-Source Keyboard/Mouse Sharing

Synergy rocks! It lets you seamlessly use your keyboard and mouse with several computers. Yup you can drag your mouse from your PC to your Mac - amazing! Or if you have three old computers, hello triple monitor setup!

I connected my desktop and laptop together as follows:

* Downloaded Synergy to both computers
* Ran Synergy in client-mode on the laptop
* Ran Synergy in server-mode on the desktop. Note that I had to add the host names of both computers ("euler" and "gateway" in my case) as "screens", then I added two rules: "0 to 100% of the right of gateway goes to 0 to 100% of euler" and "0 to 100% of the left of euler goes to 0 to 100% of gateway"

That last step took some figuring out, but I've done it so you don't have to!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Maybe Books

I've created a little website for us to keep track of books we are thinking about buying someday/maybe: Maybe Books.

Use it to track the books you're considering purchasing in the future!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Open-source password managers

Just want to mention that there are three good open-source password managers. They take care of storing your passwords securely, generating unguessable ("strong") passwords, and even copying passwords to the clipboard for you.

I picked the one that offers both Windows and Pocket PC versions (KeePass).