Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day six with Google Wave

Well, I am starting to get a real understanding of why they made the UI decisions that seemed weird at first. I am even considering reading the specs and seeing if I get talk to their implementation of the server with my own client (to get things like growl/libnotify notifications working).

On the browser side, it seems to work best with Google Chrome. This is not a big shock. It doesn't seem as memory hungry with Google Chrome (63 MB vs 200 MB in Safari or Firefox on the first page), but it does seem to grow in size over time as I access waves (102 MB after accessing 10 waves). Another nice thing about Chrome is its model for tabs. Each runs in its own process, so killing a tab frees all of the memory associated with it. This means that when it starts eating too much memory, I can simply start a new Google Wave tab and close the old one instead of having to shutdown the whole application (which is what I have resorted to with Firefox and Safari). The downside is that Google Chrome has not been released for OS X. Luckily there is a developer version available for Linux and OS X (which is what I have been running).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Google Wave day two

I have finally had an IM-like exchange with one of my friends. It is confusing to say the least. Should I start a new blip after each exchange? Should I modify my blip in response to the other one instead? Should I clean the exchange up for others on the Wave? I figure social rules will develop similar to how bottom vs top vs inline rules developed for email; of course, that means we are in for another round of religious debates and flames.

The idea of flames brings up another thought. What will flames look like when you can edit not only your own messages, but other's messages as well? Google Wave needs a reputation system of some form. One that weights a person's reputation based on the opinion's of people you already trust. It also needs a way to control who can see a wave vs who can edit it. There are already read-only waves, but only the system can create them. I think it might become important for blips to be marked read-only, or writable only by a specific subset of the wave participants.

As for the memory issue I mentioned yesterday, it isn't so bad if I stay away from Waves that have many blips. Firefox (on OS X) is eating about 300 MB, which is up from the 100 MB it normally eats, but it has not yet exploded to the 1 GB mark like it did yesterday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day one with Google Wave

So I got a Google Wave invite yesterday morning and immediately signed up. The interface is nice, if a bit slow at times on my 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro with 2 GB of RAM. It also ate 1 GB at one point and Firefox started acting weirdly (left clicks on flash apps were generating right click behavior). Firefox normally eats around 100 MB of RAM on my machine, but right now with Google Wave open, and having only worked with two waves, it is eating 300 MB.

If have mostly used it like email so far, I haven't had a chance to play with the IM like features. I have used the wiki-like editing feature though, replayed the history of a couple of waves, and used the map gadget and everything worked pretty much the way I expected it to. I played a little with the kasyntaxy bot and it was interesting, but its Perl syntax highlighting leaves a lot to be desired.

If you are on Google Wave as well, drop me a line at chas.owens.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A blogger gadget for Ironman

So, since my badge is now working, I thought it would be a good idea to add my badge to my blog. It turned out to be fairly simple, and if you are using blogger, you can just reuse my work. All you need to do is
  1. Click "Customize"
  2. Click "Add a Gadget"
  3. Click "Add your own"
  4. enter the URL http://wonkden.net/ironman_perl_gadget.xml
  5. Click "ADD BY URL"
  6. Set the background color
  7. Set the name you registered with the Ironman competition
  8. Set the sex of your badge
  9. And, finally, click "Save"
Just for the record, here is the XML used to create the gadget:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> 
title = "Ironman Perl Gadget"
title_url = "http://wonkden.net/ironman_perl_gadget.xml"
height = "80"
author = "Chas. Owens"
author_email = "chas.owens@gmail.com"
name = "bg"
display_name = "Background Color"
datatype = "string"
required = "true"
name = "ironman-name"
display_name = "Ironman Perl name"
datatype = "string"
required = "true"
name = "ironman-sex"
display_name = "Sex"
datatype = "enum"
required = "true"
<EnumValue value="male" display_value="Male"/>
<EnumValue value="female" display_value="Female"/>

<Content type="html">
<script type="text/javascript">
var prefs = new _IG_Prefs();
var name = prefs.getString("ironman-name");
var sex = prefs.getString("ironman-sex");
var color = prefs.getString("bg");
var html = '<div align="center" style="background-color: ' + color + '"><img src="http://ironman.enlightenedperl.org/munger/mybadge/' + sex + '/' + name + '.png" alt="Ironman Perl badge for ' + name + '"></div>'


Should PERL_UNICODE be considered harmful?

I set PERL_UNICODE to "SDL" as a matter of course when setting up my environment. This means that all of my filehandles will use the UTF-8 PerlIO layer unless the locale says otherwise or a specific layer is chosen explicitly. I do this because I don't want to have to worry about calling binmode or explicitly setting the PerlIO layer when opening a file:
open my $fh, "<:utf8", $filename
or die "could not open $filename: $!"
This has worked fine for me for years; however, recently I have noticed a few problems with it:
  • You cannot compile Perl will it set
  • Many modules fail their tests when it is set
  • Scripts that work just fine in your environment fail in other environments
  • since it affects all filehandles, it could cause bugs in modules (I have never actually seen this)
Given these issues, I am starting to consider PERL_UNICODE harmful and thinking about giving it up.

Does anyone know of any arguments to keep using it, or, conversely, more arguments to stop using it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yay! my badge works, Boo! no time for Perl

Yay! I am a bronze man. Also, all of my projects either on hold or are going to progress very slowly for the next few months. My wife has been in and out of the hospital for the last few months, the last time via an ambulance. I have been force to make lifestyle changes such as fixed times to go to bed at night (2200 ET versus somewhere between 2000 ET and 0600 ET) and get up in the morning (0630 ET vs somewhere between 0900 ET and 1100 ET) and the careful cooking of all of our meals (did you know there was a meal called breakfast that didn't entail just grabbing a soda on the way out the door?), so I don't have nearly as much discretionary time as I once did. Hopefully in a couple months she will be strong enough to start helping with things again and I will get some time back for Perl.