Wednesday, March 30

ActiveInbox makes Gmail perfect

I am a huge fan of GMail.  I use it for almost everything and I have since it really was in beta.  I use it for personal mail, I've set up my whole family on it for their mail, and I even use it as a viewer for my mail at work.  They aren't cheap, they'd buy me Outlook, but besides the fact that they don't make an Outlook for Linux, I like GMail's tools better.  Google has it's hooks in me for sure.  However, the addition of a one browser extension makes Gmail everything it wasn't before.  That extension is ActiveInbox.

If you haven't tried it before, ActiveInbox add a GTD workflow that those of us who fight with their inbox every day a little bit of clarity of mind.  You have all the tools.  Quick labels for status, you get context, references, and some tools like a quick view on emails(no loading the email in a new page, the mail comes up lightbox style), and in the Plus product($2 / month) you get killer features like tickler/deadlines and notes on emails, which is something I've wanted forever and never had a good option.

When you add these tools to the newer tools like multiple inboxes and Smart Labels, it really gives you the tools to get your inbox to zero quickly and accurately without having to do a lot of manual sorting and archiving.  That's the real killer part about it, because everyone starts with a plan, but unless that plan is easy to implement or you have the discipline of a Marine, the plan eventually falls apart and the inbox goes back to chaos.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 24

Perl 9 from the wife's perspective

In case you missed the not-so-recent interview on, there was a fantastic and hilarious response from Gloria Wall(Larry Wall's wife) that I thought could be highlighted.

LXF: You said that Perl 6 was your one chance to break backwards compatibility. Do you think Perl 9 might be the same thing again?
GW: There's not going to be a Perl 9.

Larry went on to talk about how Perl might get to a major release 9, but the way I picture that in my head is my wife responding to a question like that about something I was working on that had consumed a major portion of my life.  To me, that is some funny stuff... in the spirit of "Wife says no, Apple says yes".

Wednesday, March 16

There's no going back now - A.K.A my newfound love for git

I have toyed with version control systems for years now, seeking a way to have a single process that can accommodate the way I  need to work with version control for different projects and applications.  I have done my time with sccs, CVS, SVN, ClearCase, and so on.  I've also had a brief affair with bazaar.  But so far I think I've found the one to settle down with... and that is git.

My requirements are pretty simple.  As a developer, I want simple things to be simple and hard things to be possible.  I want to work with SVN because that's what everyone usually uses.  But I want the ability to commit and revert locally before sending it all to the central repository.  I also want to check it all in at once... there's no reason to check in the entire history of my experiments.  What I check into the the central repo should be a clean change.  My version control should do it's job and stay out of the way while exposing enough features to me that I can make up for mistakes and share my code efficiently.

As an admin, I want the freedom to be able to pick exactly what goes into a deployment branch.  If feature a, b, and c were planned for a release but c is lagging behind and won't make it, I want the ability to just get a and b.  Git gives me that fairly easily.  It also allows me to make up for the shortcomings of other version control systems.  For instance, the cherry pick feature allows me to pick up individual commits and pull them into another branch. Git makes working with branches very simple and while I'm not terribly proficient with it yet(i.e. I still have to do a lot of google searching to get what I want), I have yet to run into a way that I want to manage my files that I could not do in git.

As an end user, and this really seals the deal, I have a need that I've always wanted to manage with version control and that is, store other data... OpenOffice documents, notes, etc... the stuff that goes in your "Documents" directory.  I can also do that with git and the file compression makes it easy to put my documents on a shared drive so I have it on all my machines, it's always backed up, always available, and always up to date.

In short, if you're thinking of evaluating version control systems, I suggest trying git as your first option.  You may end up trying out others but my guess is you'll like git enough for it to be your vcs of choice as well.
Enhanced by Zemanta