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PodDev Episode 1

The Tech You Love

It’s here! Yes, it’s that elusive podcasting project I was talking about. In fact, Chris van Patten, who commented on that post – well, you could have found out by clicking his name (he put the PodDev website as his link on the comments form). Ah well, so much for the hush-up.

Anyway, the first episode of PodDev is now online! You can listen to it now on Odeo, subscribe to the feed via RSS, read the transcript (if you’re bandwidth isn’t quite broad enough or you want to read along) or subscribe via iTunes.
Listen now using this Odeo Flash player:

Thanks to my co-hosts Chris Van Patten, Jacob Peddicord and Huw Leslie (Huw will be joining us hopefully next episode, he’s on holiday at the moment). Big thanks also to Paul Colton of the Aptana project who agreed to be interviewed for PodDev’s first episode.

If you’ve listened to PodDev and like it, we’d really appreciate a link back to Also, we’ve got some pre-made link buttons for you, if you’re interested.

In PodDev’s maiden voyage, Jacob takes a look at whether Leopard really is a major upgrade after its showcase at the WWDC, I look at Intel’s release of FOSS graphics drivers and a take a brief dip into Java and Chris gets a three-question interview with John Biggs of CrunchGear. Also, all three of us talk to Paul about Aptana, XAMLON, AFLAX and how he came back to doing JavaScript, Java and Web 2.0 work from a lot of XAML and .NET stuff.

I really enjoyed doing this podcast and I’m looking forward to episode 2 in a couple of weeks! Digg the podcast below.

Vista speech recognition not at its best

I think the video speaks for itself here.

My RSSOwl review

Just finished my review of RSSOwl that I promised. It was a bit critcal – particularly of the interface, but at the moment it just doesn’t meet my needs. Still, I mentioned that, the cool features that are there and what I think the RSSOwl development team should do next.

The quest to find a better feed reader goes on, and I’ll look for my next candidate soon, which might this time be a web-based offering. Still using Google IG for now then…

Not … many … posts

I know posts look like they’ve been drying up a bit on my blog, but fear not, there is a good reason. I’ve been working on another podcasting project and that’s taken up quite a bit of my not-doing-any-other-project time (which is usually blogging). I will be back to normal posting frequency very soon.

Oh, let me guess – you want me to spill the beans about the podcasting project. You’ll see the first episode coming in the next few days, and I’m sure if you dig around you’ll be able to find it. For the rest of you, all will be revealed soon.

Intel open source video drivers for Linux

Big news for all Linux users with Intel graphics chips who want to do 3D accelarated stuff like Xgl and 3D Linux games using open source drivers, because Intel have released the source code to their 3D drivers for their Intel 965 Express range.

Sounds good to me – but to be honest neither does it have a particularly profound effect for me because on this machine I’m running the binary Nvidia proprietary drivers (for my 6600 GT) and I don’t own/have access to a machine running Intel integrated graphics. Still, if anyone has any experiences with these drivers, leave a comment, I’d like to hear what people think of them.

Sun to open Java on 15th?

The LXF Team Blog seems to reckon that Sun will officially open source Java in an open source briefing on the 15th, that’s next week. That really is great news – not that Java is somehow a better product open sourced, but opening it up will hopefully allow it to be packaged with most Linux distros and stop GCJ hell (I appreciate the work you do GCJ guys, but nothing beats the Sun JRE for compatibility). That’s presuming that the licence that Sun pick is compatible with the GPL and the big distro guys feel like packaging it as standard.

“On Tuesday 15 August 2006 Sun Microsystems invites you to an open source briefing. We welcome you to join Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer to hear the announcement firsthand.”

Java pre-installed by FC6? Sounds good to me. Should make trying RSSOwl out a lot easier anyway (watch this space for a potential review of said project soon).

Apple stuff – the Mac Pro, Leopard and Mac OS Forge

So Apple have released the Mac Pro, previewed Mac OS X Leopard and I’ve decided to wait until Leopard goes gold to buy my MacBook (presuming I have enough by then).

With Apple’s WWDC conference going on, they’ve also made a good attempt to try and restart a free and open source software building community around Mac OS X. They’ve re-released the x86 kernel source of XNU (OS X’s kernel) and have launched a brand new FOSS community site, Mac OS Forge.

To be honest, it looks rather sad at the moment – only a very few projects are hosted there and there are precious little comments. Well, to be fair to them, Apple certainly are trying hard (again) to engage the open source community around OS X. They could certainly benefit from the community link if people were willing to take the source from bits of Mac OS X and do work on it, but that will only happen if developers feel like their contributions are going to be worth it – go to a good cause.
If/when I do join the Mac community, I plan to do some application development for Mac OS X (presuming I know C++ by then). Most of it will most likely be free and open source and I’d love for there to be a real FOSS community based around the Macintosh platform that I can join in with. So, good luck Mac OS Forge.

More Linux success stories

Just came across this blog post, detailing some positive experiences with Ubuntu. Hey, apparently, even the wireless networking worked with zero configuration! Now that’s impressive, even for a commercial operating system.

So why not try Ubuntu today?

The WWW (as we know it) turns 15

Happy birthday world wide web! Apparently, today in 1991, Sir Tim Berners-Lee first released files for the first ever web browser, WorldWideWeb and the first web server, httpd, to the world. They were, incidentally, written on the now defunct NeXTStep operating system. When I say defunct, I mean, Steve Jobs went back to Apple and turned it into Mac OS X.

Tim’s also the founder of the W3C – the de facto web standards and web authority.
From the Wikipedia article:

“Berners-Lee’s made his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. The World Wide Web Consortium decided that their standards must be based on royalty-free technology, so they can be easily adopted by anyone.”

Now that’s what I like to hear.

Trying out feed readers and OPML interoperability

OPML is really cool. In case you don’t know, OPML is an implementation of XML that basically produces a list of feeds (RSS, Atom and the like). Now I use Google’s Personalised Homepage (also known as Google IG) to track my feeds. It’s not quite as featured as Google Reader, in that it doesn’t natively support OPML import/export. Thankfully, there is a cool plugin for your Personalised Homepage called OPML Export. It’s a tiny bit of JavaScript that extracts a list of your feeds and sends you an OPML file.

The aim of exporting the list of my feeds was so that I could try out some different feed readers for a change, to see if they were better (I’m sure there are many better ones). OPML file in hand, I tried importing into Google Reader. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t accept the OPML file, but after adding an XML line to the top of the file, it successfully imported my feeds.

OPML Support for Firefox

The next thing I wanted to have a look at was Firefox Live Bookmarks. I knew about this feature, but I hadn’t used it very extensively. Thanks to a neat Firefox extension called OPML Support, I could import my feeds as Live Bookmarks. One gripe. It imported them all into the root of my bookmarks. I tried to batch move them to a Feeds folder, but batch moving caused Firefox to crash (bug do you think?), so I had to move the Live Bookmarks one by one into my Feeds folder. Thank goodness there’s only 30 odd and not hundreds.

Well, now I’ll try out some more feed readers – desktop and web-based – and see if I find a better solution than Google IG.