Why I Don't Like Silverlight (and Flex)

It’s this guy. Whenever I go to some “new supercool, rich web thing” I am immediately greeted with this guy.

We spend all this effort to tune web sites, to make them faster, to get those page load times down down down, why do we do that? Because that’s the optimum web experience – your click is my command! So every time I get dumped into one of these Silverlight/Flex things, and the loading bar is creeping along, my visceral response, usually around 68% is, “man, this is taking way too long, I’m going to go do something else”.

It’s not fair, but it’s true.


In the spirit of promoting those products that really make a difference in your work life, let me give a loud shout-out to Dropbox. I’m a road warrior, kinda, in that I migrate between my home office and a bunch of coffee shops, so I’m always mixing my work environment between my laptop and desktop workstation. Some things I work on, like source code in SVN already naturally has a model of disconnected work with a synchronization step. But other things (things I’m doing right now), like talks and presentations, workshops, general writing do not. How to get the benefit of disconnected editing with connected synchronization?

Enter Dropbox! Dropbox sets of a folder on each machine you install it on, and you attach that folder to your Dropbox account. Anything you save in that folder gets replicated up to an “in the cloud” copy regularly while you’re internet connected. And when you’re not, it’s just like any other local copy. You can also share Dropbox folders with others, which is really handy for collaborating on things like PPTs. No more shipping around the latest copy of that Word document.

Functionally, it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, but it’s been done really well, it’s part of my work-life now, and for small folders (<1Gb) it’s free. For anyone who works on more than one machine regularly and with disconnection, it’s a real time-saver.

Ellison and Balmer

If you haven’t had a gander at these videos at All Points Blog showing Larry Ellison (Oracle) and Steve Balmer (Microsoft) opining on the “cloud” take five minutes and have a look. Larry’s still at stage one but Steve appears to have moved on to stage two.

PostGIS Down Under

If you’ve been putting off registering for FOSS4G and are planning to attend the PostGIS workshop, better delay no longer – a little birdy tells me that the workshops program in general and PostGIS in particular are almost full.

Snow Leopard

Being a colossal Apple fanboi now, immediately upon returning home from vacation I ordered the latest version of OS/X, “Snow Leopard” and promptly installed it on both my laptop and workstation. Without testing on one first. Whoops.

It looks like the new version of XCode is producing output that can’t link to libraries compiled with the old version, so this morning I’m re-compiling everything I ever installed from code on both machines.

On the bright side, the performance claims seem to be bearing out. Apps are starting faster and boot-up in general is quicker.