Archive | March, 2007

Guidelines for focusing on learning

Caught on a website today, while browsing for something completely different. I realize some or all of this is hard to accomplish, and I am by no means trying to imply that I follow any of the below 🙂 But it’s an interesting thought nevertheless.

  1. Release the need to be right.
  2. Welcome one another’s thoughts and opinions.
  3. Suspend judgment.
  4. Listen for understanding, not rebuttal.
  5. Make personal statements by using “I” rather than “you”.
  6. Clarify first what was said before you challenge someone.
  7. Take time to reflect.
  8. Lean into discomfort.
  9. Respond first to what was said before making your point.
  10. Have fun.

The original post was www.kottke.org/03/10/learning-guidelines

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Need small icons? Go FAMFAMFAM!

Finding large, zillion-color, icons for various use has really turned into a no-brainer these days. The imagination and creativity of graphics wizards around the world never cease to amaze. While this is wonderful in environments like “regular” web sites, or in situations where only a few icons have to be placed on the screen at any given time, it also serves to demonstrate the lack of good “tiny” or “mini” icons.

That is not to say they aren’t available, they’re just hard to come by. And when you find them, they tend to be available in only small sets (16, 32, sometimes 64) in unified themes. Enter the famfamfam.com-web site and Mark James of Birmingham, UK. Check out his wonderful collections of small/tiny icons here.

Some other sites, with less complete collections:
www.iconshoppe.com
2pt3.com
www.ndesign-studio.com
sweetie.sublink.ca
www.intersmash.com

Link to a site/post with links to other “tiny” and “not-so-tiny” collections:
www.smashingmagazine.com

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The coolest SFF around, the FSC Q5000 rocks!

When Fujitsu Siemens released news about the Esprimo Q5000 SFF family, I was really curious to see how it would stack up in tests and reviews. How it would handle when it got hot, how good performance it really had, and so on. I checked out the specs, I looked at product photos, and everything looked great. I had no idea how great it really was until I got my hands on one a few weeks ago, when a client lost one of their older HP SFF machines. We decided against replacing it with a new HP SFF, and instead opted for the Esprimo Q5000 from Fujitsu Siemens.

When the box arrived from our supplier, I was a little bit confused about the size of the box, or lack thereof rather. When I opened the box and saw that half of the box space was occupied by accessories, I was wondering if I had gotten only half of the shipment. When I opened the box with the Q5000, my face broke into a huge grin. This is the coolest SFF I have ever seen!

Sporting an Intel Duo 2 Core CPU, WiFi LAN, internal graphics and wired LAN (of course), DVI, Firewire, USB, and a slot-in DVD reader/burner .. there’s little to say about its features. In fact, what makes this box so fascinating isn’t any of the aforementioned features. The one part of the specifications I hadn’t read, were the physical dimensions. I had seen the product images and realized it was small, but it’s.. really tiny. It’s not much bigger than some of HP’s thin clients, but it’s a real machine!

Until I get a really good reason not to, this is what I’ll be replacing all of our clients’ workstations with, as older computers are put to pasture. The biggest problem will be finding something nice to put right next to it, to re-waste all that reclaimed space on the desk 🙂

Read more about the Esprimo Q5000 on the Fujitsu Siemens website.

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The Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300 surfpad

Spicing up an old Toshiba Satellite Pro 4300 (well, 4360 to be precise) for Filip, it struck me as very odd that there aren’t any affordable “surfpads” with similar performance. At least I haven’t seen any. Granted, the PIII-700 in the 4360 is a bit too lame to do anything fun, and the 192MB memory limit is also a bit sad (although some information claims that the machine can be configured for 320 MB), but something around a 1GHz processor and 1GB of memory would make it a pretty nice box to handle most basic internet-related tasks.

But the key issue is affordable. Many solutions I’ve seen are either “real computers” (sporting a wonderful Duo Core or Duo 2 Core) with tons of features and gadgets, or they are “pocket”-type computers, which have performance to the other extreme (i.e. poor). I’d like to see a balanced solution, with a nice price tag. Call it a Tablet PC, or a surfpad, call it whatever you want, just make it a useful product.

Wishlist:

  • 1GHz CPU
  • 1GB of memory
  • Wired & Wireless LAN
  • 3G connectivity
  • Min. 32GB, flash disk
  • USB connectivity
  • Bluetooh
  • No internal keyboard, support for external
  • Internal mouse, support for external
  • No touch screen, no twist/flex screen
  • No CD/DVD/BlueRay/RedRay/GreenRay
  • Decent, but not kick-rear graphics
  • Linux or Windows operating system, no Vista
  • Decent battery time, 5-8 hours
  • Lightweight, max 2 kg
  • Decent resolution, 1280×1024 or 1400×1050

Price? Somewhere around USD $300-$500.

There are a few that come close, but not close enough (PMG Quadpad for example). I may, obviously, have overlooked a product out there, that already meets the above specifications. I’d be glad to be proven wrong.

I realize a “computer” like this isn’t for everyone, but it’s also obvious that more and more people do the majority of their work on shared/remote servers, and that only a part of the work is done by the local/client machine. I’d get very far with a machine with a good set of web/internet tools (SSH client, Terminal Server/Remote Desktop client, web browser, and a few more things). If I want to play a game, I’ll go do it on a real computer 🙂

As for Filip, being 3 1/2 years old, he’s happy as a pig in mud with his “new” laptop.

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SwiftMailer 3

Swift is a fully OOP Library for sending e-mails from PHP websites and applications. It does not rely on PHP’s native mail() function which is known for using high server resources when sending multiple emails. Instead, Swift communicates directly with an SMTP server or a MTA binary to send mail quickly and efficiently.

Early versions of Swift were comparable to PHPMailer. Swift has since evolved and matured into a fully-fledged object-oriented mailing solution. Compared with PHPMailer, the interface for Swift is both tighter and more intuitive.”

So describes Chris Corbyn his Swift or SwiftMailer project for PHP. I’ve been using it since version 2.x and can happily recommend it to any serious PHP developer out there (in stating this, I’m by no means claiming to be a serious PHP developer of course :-). Chris provides for both PHP4 and PHP5 compliant packages.

SwiftMailer is more than just a replacement for PHPmailer, XpertMailer, and other similar packages. Version three sports a much more flexible plugin architecture.

Do you PHP? Do it Swiftly.

You’ll find SwiftMailer on www.swiftmailer.org.

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