A few days ago, got the Python book I had been wanting. Being a fan of the Head First series, I started liking it even before I had got my hands on it. Prejudice, they call it.
Anyway, the reviews indicate that it’s ‘good for beginners’. So I might start off here itself.

Tried out Meego, or rather, I should be saying, tried out the ‘Meego port for N900‘ yesterday. Not a very pleasant experience. Not that I wasn’t prepared for a lot of loose-ends, due to the fact that it’s an Alpha release. But still, I’m not calling it ‘unpleasant’ only because of the look at feel. The device became quite slow and unresponsive as well. Thankfully, the good people working on the port had described the way to remove it.

I then thought of trying out NITDroid; and to my surprise — I loved it! The developers have done an excellent job at creating an Android port for N900. I don’t mind ignoring a lot of features ranging from ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘hello-you-call-this-a-phone?’. But what the heck! I got a working Android device with little effort. And yes, ‘I’m lovin’ it’.

Display-specific taskbars

I was always charmed by bigger workspaces. The need was underlined when I realized that I spent most of my time on a laptop with meagre 14.1″ display. I was glad when I got to have another 17.1″ monitor that I could use as an ‘extended desktop’. I was happy with the set-up as such — lots of real estate to utilize, until I realized an irksome issue: Windows does not extend the taskbar to the extended monitor. Thus, if one minimizes an application, s/he has to get back to the primary monitor, and access the application from the taskbar there. While it does not look like too much of a hassle, it does become a pain — especially if you’re like me — who open plenty of apps at once.

There is a nifty little utility called Ultramon which solves this issue by providing a feature of display-specific taskbars. This way, each of the apps are localized to their specific monitors. It also adds a tiny button near any window’s minimize button to send it to the other monitor.

Do give it a try if you’ve woes like I quoted with multiple monitors. It has a number of other neat features as well. The only con is that it’s not free or Open-Sourced.

iPod touch with Cydia

Cydia is an application manager that you can use on your jailbroken iPod. I’m a big fan of it because it has enabled me to SSH as well as VNC to the iPod — and that’s just the beginning!
Anyway, I was finding installing Cydia-based applications on iPod a bit cumbersome — it would take a bit long. Cyder is an great application which thus came to the rescue! Now I can download apps (plus dependencies) on the PC, and then transfer them to the iPod. (Also helpful when you do not have a WiFi.)

Another cool utility that I came across today is iPhone browser through which (and as the name suggests :P) one can browse the iPhone/iPod file system. It’s quite useful if you don’t want to FTP (over SSH) to your iPhone/iPod to transfer files.

Python, Spring, and Java concurrency

Attended a Python training recently, and instantly fell in love with it. Mostly, because I could appreciate the ‘beauty’ of the language coming from the oh-so-verbose-Java background. And it is then that I realized, what is it that prevented me from exploring it wayy back when I had heard about it! Hmm.
Anyway, now that I have been formally introduced to it, I’m looking forward to it as a long-term association. 🙂

Also attended Spring training. I don’t have words to express on what all the Spring community has done to come-up with a light-weight J2EE framework, with seamless integration with about anything! I did have a chance to work with 1.2.x version somewhere around 2006, but then other technologies took priority and I could not keep in touch. Nevertheless, I plan to explore it much more this time around.

Java concurrency is another thing I’ve started following up now. I remember, of the numerous interviews I’ve attended, I’ve (confessionally) remained on the back-foot when it comes to discussions about concurrency. Decided to break this trend, and actively see what it’s all about.

I would highly recommend Java Concurrency in Practice to get your hands dirty with Java concurrency fundamentals. It has my favourite author ‘Joshua Bloch’ as a co-author.
The only let-down is that this book is currently out-of-stock in India (at least Mumbai & Pune (as of Jun’10)), but it’s worth the wait!

Confessions…

OK, posting after a looong time..again, because of idleness, mixed with procrastination. Anyway, I thought of sharing some of my technology related confessions here:

1. Though I’d always been a big fan of delicious.com, I stopped using it since the time I came across the bookmark sync feature of Google Chrome! The ‘moment of truth’ was when I realized, I’m using delicious to port my bookmarks, rather than using any of it’s ‘social’ bookmarking features. Chrome bookmark sync gives me the same functionality, without the need for any plugin (FF needs a plugin for delicious), and with lesser clicks / inputs. I now use delicious as a fall-back scenario.

2. The other confession is Google Wave — let’s face it, it’s been a disaster! As with all Google products, it had its initial hype (which I had succumbed to (and hence this point:P)), but it turned out to be a no-show. Boss, I don’t want to see what the other person is typing in real-time; I want to wait till s/he chooses the best set of words; I don’t want to invade the little privacy of their chat-text-boxes. 😛 I started loathing it all the more when one fine day I realized that now my Gmail has become more ‘buzz’ing. Woah! that’s new. Now since there aren’t any takers for Google Wave, it’d be forced down my throat! What the bleep!!
So, anyway, I feel guilty that I gave into the whims of from-Google-so-has-to-be-nice. Crap!

3. Aaand a week back, I installed Windows 7. I know, I know, “some people never learn”. Anyway, the lesser said the better. Now my aim is to restore my Ubuntu 9.10’s grub that it overwrote. *Sigh*.