Tuesday, July 28, 2009

gNew Sense saves the day and some self promotion

Alright, as many of you may know, I am a self proclaimed Linux Evangelist. I love Linux and I am a big fan of the Open Source Community. I have been a long time user and promoter for Ubuntu. Today, I am going to give some love to a Gnu/Linux distribution that does not get enough credit and that is gNewSense (not just open source, it's Free Software). I downloaded and burnt the ISO file for gNewSense onto a CD last night because I have a thumb drive that failed (OCZ ATV 32Gig) for the second time. I had some data on there that I didn't want to lose (nothing important or personal, just some software I didn't want to download again) and I hadn't backed it up in a few months (you think I would have learned after the first time). I tried to get to the data via Ubuntu and I also tried in Windows. Neither worked.

I decided to give another version of Linux a try, hopefully something supported by the Free Software Foundation (more on them later). This is where I found gNewSense. I decided to load the Live CD and see if it would read my bad thumb drive. As I am sure that you have guessed by now, my thumb drive mounted fine and I copied all of the data off of it. I now have all of my data and learned a valuable lesson about backing up your thumb drive regularly. Thanks to gNewSense I did not have to learn this lesson the hard way.

I enjoyed using gNewSense so much, that I am going to give it a partition on my hard drive later on this week. I will then use it as my sole machine for a while and I will do a full review on it later. For the time being, here is a screen shot:

The fact that I was able to save myself such heartache and annoyance made me think, that I should return the favor. I have decided that I would like to help out the Free Software Foundation. I have recently submitted this blog to Amazon. Amazon has excepted it and they are now selling subscriptions to my blog for the Kindle. I will be donating all proceeds garnered from these subscriptions to the Free Software Foundation.

I have not approached the Free Software Foundation about this as of yet, because I am afraid that they will not be too happy about it. Unfortunately, they have a standing feud with Amazon in reference to Amazon's use of DRM in some E-Books. I will update when I have heard back from them about this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wave: Part Deux

The last few weeks have been very busy for me. I got my invitations to both Google Voice and Google Wave! I have definitely been feeling the Google Love lately. Since I have been given these lovely invites, I figured I would share the goodness with you. Today I am going to cover the Google Wave Developer Sandbox. I will cover Google Voice next week.

In case you may have noticed that the page loaded a little slowly today, it would be because I have embedded a Wave on my blog. Most of you will not be able to make any changes to the wave (unless you are part of the preview). This is to show you how Wave looks and what you can do with it.

As of this post, I have made a few simple bots that can manipulate a wave (same as any bot written in Java, except that they can only utilize the parts of the Wave that Google allows through their API). You can write bots, gadgets, or embed Waves in pages. You can choose to do any of these in either Java or Python. I have heard that developing for Wave in Python is easier, I am not really that comfortable with Python, so I chose Java.

Developing Wave bots and Gadgets is pretty easy in Java if you utilize Eclipse and their Google plug-in. Currently, you can only use bots that are created with the Google App Engine and that have an @appspot.com address. The Eclipse plug-in does most of the heavy lifting and all you have to worry about is the code.

The wave that is embedded on this page is the one that I started after I created a simple Gadget that reads the latest headlines from Slash Dot's RSS feed and displays them at the top of a Wave. This was made easier by using Google's Ajax Feed API and Wizard . Essentially, Google did most of the coding. After that, all I had to do was create the XML file and embed it in a Wave.

The Wave you see on the left has a problem loading all the way and this is due to the poll that was added later. Since it is still a developer only sandbox model, a lot of Wave's features are buggy and/or disabled. This has not made me enjoy the product any less. I have forgone sleep for a few days and spend most of my day thinking about what I can do next and how I am going to do it. I think that Wave is going to be an amazing product when it is released. I am glad to be a part of this development community! The people that are involved are terrific and have been generally nice and helpful (even when they make rick rolled bots and Swedish chef bots)!


The embedded Wave was no longer visable to those people who did not already have an account. So I removed it and I am now adding the below screenshot of the Wave with the Slashdot Gadget. Google has since added my Gadget to thier Samples Gallery Click on the screeenshots below: