Archive for June, 2008

Sun open-sourcing Java: The Slashdot reaction.

I sit here in utter disbelief.  Having just finished reading an article about Java on Slashdot, I’ve noticed that the comments regarding it are overwhelmingly positive.  Yes, Java…on Slashdot…and it’s being viewed in a positive light.

For my entire geek life reading Slashdot, I can’t think of a single time that the notoriously cantankerous crowd of commenters there has ever been remotely positive about Java.  Clearly (using my small sample set), Sun has struck a cord with the hardest of hard-core open source zealots by making this push to truely free Java.

Kudos Sun.

Essential Apps for a new Mac

It has become abundantly clear to me over the past year (while attending CSS and NFJS) that to have any hope of being taken seriously as a software developer, a Mac must be purchased.  With OSCON 2008 rapidly closing in, a decision had to be made. So….

A shiny new MacBook Pro landed on the doorstep of Breo Media Labs HQ on Friday, so I decided to reach out to the geek community at large for their recommendations for must have Mac apps. Many thanks to Alex and Scott for sending me links to their previously blogged lists.

A little over 24hrs into owning a new Mac, here’s the list:

  • Firefox
  • Quicksilver – I know there’s more to this thing, but at the least it’s a super quick way for me to start apps without having to take my hands off of the keyboard.
  • Adium – Multi-protocol IM client.  I thought I would give Digsby a spin to kill 2 birds with 1 app (IM + Twitter)..but alas their Mac version is not ready yet.
  • Thwirl – An Adobe AIR Twitter client
  • NetNewsWire – RSS Reader.  I’ve been using Google Reader for a little over a year, but have been underwhelmed in it’s ability to manage my bazillion feeds.  While my preference is for a more “cloud-centric” reader, NetNewsWire seems to be cool enough that I’ll stick with a thick client based reader for now.  It will sync with newsgator online, but I’m holding out for the (remote) possibility of it syncing with Google Reader.
  • Growl – Alerts and such.  Seems to be leveraged heavily by Adium.  A nice side effect thus far is that I’ve setup my IM+Twitter apps in a different space (Space 2).  Because of the growl integration with Adium, I get IM responses as alerts on my currently active space…thus saving time flipping back’n'forth between spaces.  A small, but nice, touch.
  • iTerm -  All the super-geek presenters at the aforementioned conferences use it, so it must be good?
  • iStatPro – Dashboard widget that displays all sorts of system resources (CPU/Disk/Memory/etc)
  • Transmission – Bittorrent Client
  • Cyberduck – FTP Client.  Using it because I’m cheap and it’s free.  I’ve heard good things about Transmit though…
  • Textmate $$ – Text editing.

UPDATE (6/23/2008):

Clearly…this is not an exhausitive list, but just a list of apps that someone new to the Mac platform will install right off the bat to make their environment feel more like home.  Got some good feedback in the comments, so some additional apps would be:


  • VLC – Probably the best media player out there…for any platform.  I wish all pre-1.0 software was as useful and stable as VLC.  Java developers should take a look at DJNativeSwing for integrating VLC into a client app.  We use it at work and have had great success.
  • Miro – While not strictly Mac software, if you want to get your IPTV on, it’s pretty cool.  Combine it with for TiVo-like functionality.
  • MediaLink/Connect360 ($) – If you have an PS3 or Xbox360 and want to push your media to it, both of these programs will make that a breeze.


Seems like I’m hearing pros/cons pretty evenly between Parallels ($) and VMWare Fusion ($).  Having a windows desktop (and most of my life lives in “the cloud” now) leaves me with little need (currently) to have Windows app on my laptop.  I have had pretty good luck running Xubuntu within VirtualBox on my Vista machine, so I might also give that a spin on the Mac and see how it goes.


  • Neo Office / – Time was, you had to use Neo Office if you wanted a OS X native clone.  This appears to be coming to an end with the advent of 3.  For a lot of the basic things I do these days, Google Docs is serving me quite well…especially when I need to collaborate with someone on a spreadsheet/word doc.
  • SpanningSync ($) – Syncs iCal with Google Calendar.  The wife uses it on her MacBook at home and MBP at the office and loves it.  A friend mentioned that Sunbird from Mozilla is a great replacement for iCal and syncs with Google Calendar for free.

Syntax Highlighting Test Post

A post to test out syntax highlighting of Groovy and Java Code.

?View Code GROOVY
  class Hello {
      println "Hello Groovy Code!"
package com.breomedia.labs;
public class HelloWorld {
    public static void main(String args[]) {
        System.out.println("Hello World!");

Quick Ubuntu Server Setup

I’m amazed at how easy it is to get a server up and running these days. From a fresh HD (or VM image if that’s your thing) to a fully functional LAMP+ server in just under an hour (depending on the size of your pipe).

Here’s a good HOWTO.