A Picture Of Nectar

It’s just so endearingly cool when software from the open source side of the fence gets really cool like this.

When I returned from the Grand Canyon I setup the trip website gallery for everyone who wanted to contribute (the stuff nerds love to do). Having used Gallerybefore, I simply installed it again knowing it would work well for our needs. Later I found out about Coppermine, an even more feature-packed web gallery, designed for integration with phpBB or other forum software. I briefly considered moving the Gallery install over to Coppermine, but even though the install went great decided to KISS for my users.

Wow. I just installed Gallery 2 beta 3 on a whim, and it’s just day and night between Gallery 1 and 2. It’s DOS vs. Mac OS X, the differences are just that profound. They’ve moved over to a MySQL architecture instead of flat-files, and have improved the coding internals for more abstraction/extensibility. But since I’m an interface junkie, I appreciated the installer/administration/UI changes the most. Instead of navigating between ugly tabbed pages that smack of coder “design”, you get a very slick graphical, intuitive experience. Instead of throwing around various PHP technicalities and demanding server/Apache know-how from Joe Hapless, the installer finally takes care of everything it possibly can ala WordPress. Whereas Gallery 1 returns you to the “installer” pages when you want to change settings, 2 has a handy sidebar-driven interface that is much clearer.

My hat is off to you, Gallery 2 guys, excellent work on another polished LAMP offering.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In another excellent entry to his collection of Mac OS X commentary, John Siracusa today posted a review of Mac OS X Tiger 10.4. The most interesting part of the article was the description of the UI subsystem, Quartz.

I really appreciate a lot of things about Mac OS X. Well thought out enhancements to usability (Expose, working drag and drop, a hierarchical menu bar) have been among my favorites. However, Quartz has been a most egregious of offenders, so much so as to keep me from even using my old PowerBook for nearly a year. As someone who uses a computer every day, interface responsiveness is about as critical as it gets. OS X, unfortunately, has the slowest (most resource hungry) GUI of any operating system I’ve ever used. Even OS 9 was faster. Just try resizing a window and watch your CPU peg at 100%.

Siracusa nicely details (with pretty flowcharts) why OS X has suffered from what I’ll dub a molasses complex since Aqua was at Day 1. Regardless of how fast the actual hardware inside is, just using any G4 Mac felt slow [IMO]. The bandwidth of the data paths between hardware required to render things to screen (CPU, RAM, GPU) was being eaten faster than a fat kid at a candy store.

Fortunately, things have changed for the better. I have yet to use Tiger on the requisite hardware, but if the block diagrams Siracusa shows correspond to real-world UI speed gains, I’ll happily be back in the Apple camp once more.

That is, if Apple would nicely explain to me why my <1 year old iBook G4 can’t even support this and most of the other whiz-bang features Tiger brings to the table.

And Now, the Ollie Williams Discipline Forecast

Oh mah Bezebel have I been working. I finished my major project and worked on lots of school work in the past week or so…it’s that time of year again when Burnout Factorâ„¢ is nigh, and summer is blindingly close…

So of things interesting to read, documents written about you or your major but for hiring managers are high on the A list. A list of such documents from RIT can be found here if you’re so inclined. See how cool your major is compared to the rest of em.

He gonn’ get it!
Glad they’ve still got it..

Did I Forget To Mention?

So today I wake up at the crack of dawn to the sweet mellifluous ballad of 5 huge Mac trucks under my open window whose drivers get no greater satisfaction from life than slamming their cargo doors up and down, racing around the loading dock in reverse (“BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!”) and establishing the alpha male through engine revving. Only the most X-Treme men of the world man these rigs, reminding the hapless bleary-eyed college students quietly dozing on the floors above of their insignificance in the most awesome quest of foodstuffs delivery.

Squinting into the bright light and fumbling the window closed, I wake up enough only to realize that I won’t fall asleep again this morning.

9:20 AM. Damn, the air got stuffy in here. Slowly I realize I have a written German test in 40 minutes. Sweet! I do reasonably well on it, nice given the lousy morning. Then there’s a quite challenging OS Scripting Midterm at noon whose ass receieves a fair amount of kicking. But this day has more fun in store for me, so I get to wrap things up all nice and shiny with a quite difficult Data Analysis quiz who kicked my ass. Phew, its over. I get back to floor, only to realize that I just missed the Social Computing meeting I’ve been reminding myself to go to for a few weeks now. I didn’t get tax forms I’ve been expecting in the mail so the Feds will be after me come Friday.

Did I forget to mention Monday is the worst day of the week?

Ah well. I made up for it a little bit by browsing around for CSS hacks. See them in action at the spicy examples!
Tomorrow should be better; I’m getting tests back instead.