Monthly Archives: September 2005

Review: My Job Went to India

My Job Went to India coverThe Pragmatic Programmers just released a great book. It’s titled My Job Went to India (and all I got was this lousy book) – 52 Ways to Save Your Job. It’s also known as MJWTI.

If you’re expecting Lou Dobbs, this isn’t your book. Chad Fowler doesn’t rail about the supposed evils of outsourcing. Instead, he accepts the reality that we are living in and gives us 52 lessons in how to deal with it.

Now Chad isn’t just speculating about things. He’s actually been to India and helped set up an offshore software development center there. Now he is back in the US programming using Ruby on Rails.

MJWTI is a must-read. I think most of it would have applied even during the Dot Com Boom. Its a handbook for managing your career. I guess for a lot of us, we’ll read it to see how we can just survive. But I think if you read this book and apply the action items at the end of each lesson, you won’t just survive, you’ll excel. I’m planning on starting a study group at work to go through each lesson together.

Read the Introduction to MJWTI to get an overview of what’s inside. There’s some other excerpts as well.

Fellow Mac blogger in the path of Rita

I was looking for good resources on how to design and create Mac icons, specifically the slick and huge Mac application icons that show up in the Dock. I found a good article titled How To Make An Icon The RAILhead Design Way by Maury McCown. But what’s kind of shocking is that his personal blog has his ongoing evacuation story from the path of Hurricane Rita. He’s got a more Mac focused blog as well that has stuff like his iPod nano review. Hopefully he stays safe in San Antonio and gets reunited with his cat.

Google finally groks RSS

3. Google groks RSS: Instead of just being satisfied with hosting blogs via Blogger, Google realizes the true potential of blogs: as another way to spread its targeted advertising. Google offers Google RSS(tm), which puts targeted Google ads in RSS feeds as well as offering an updated-every-nanosecond search of all RSS, RDF, and Atom feed on the planet.

I made that prediction on January 1st of this year and today it came true. Google unveiled Adsense for Feeds a few months back. However, I haven’t really seen that many people take advantage of it. I myself have Adsense ads on my blog, but not in my feeds. It is in beta, but isn’t like 80% of Google in beta?

Today they unveiled their Google Blog Search. I think Technorati will be competitive, but I think they’ll need to focus more on the value-added features than just plain search. Then again, since Google only indexes the feed contents, while Technorati actually uses the link URL to index the actual web page that the feed entry points to, Technorati should allow for more complete indexing as Niall points out.

I think indexing the feed does put pressure on people to include their entire post in the feed. I myself prefer when sites do this, because I can basically read a ton of stuff within NetNewsWire quickly.

Note for bloggers who don’t find their blog in the search (from the Help):

If your blog publishes a site feed in any format and automatically pings an updating service (such as Weblogs.com), we should be able to find and list it. Also, we will soon be providing a form that you can use to manually add your blog to our index, in case we haven’t picked it up automatically. Stay tuned for more information on this.

Podcasting is good, but…

…it really is kind of inefficient. I wonder if there is any sort of speech-to-text web service which can turn podcasts into regular blog entries for when you just want to read.

I mean, its nice when you want to listen to something in the car or walking around, but if you’re actually at your computer, I’d rather just read. I’m pretty sure I can read much faster than I listen. Plus, it’s a lot harder to save a snippet of audio than it is to cut and paste a snippet of a blog entry.

must. have. nano.


It’s amazing to me how Apple continues to innovate. They obviously have read The Innovator’s Dilemma because they aren’t afraid to just blow away a highly successful product line and replace it with a new one. The iPod minis are now gone and replaced with the iPod nanos, which are like a hybrid of the shuffle (because it can be worn on a lanyard and it uses solely flash memory), the mini (in terms of capacity), and the Photo, since it displays digital pics.

Coolest innovation: a lanyard that is also the headphones.

What’s next: Mac nano?

Act like a business to keep your job

Chad Fowler, who maintains RubyGarden and… well, actually let me just quote from THE Ruby book, the Pickaxe:

“Chad Fowler is a leading figure in the Ruby community. He’s on the board of Ruby Central, Inc. He’s one of the organizers of RubyConf. And he’s one of the writers of RubyGems”.

OK, so what’s Chad go to do with keeping your job? Well, he’s been researching how programmers can stay competitive in the global labor market. He’s in the process of releasing his book, MJWTI (more on this soon).

He’s written a great article called “Remaining Relevant“, which is like an appetizer for his book. He advises us software developers to run our careers like you would run a business in order to compete effectively. It outlines a good plan of action. In short, Research what skills you should invest in (and not just technical), Invest (i.e. practice your craft), Execute, and Market (your skills). Definitely check the article out.

Buy Mac stuff, help the hurricane victims

In my previous post, I wrote about how I had a yard sale to try to raise money. Well, the folks at MyMac.com had the same idea, but have come up with much better things to sell than a wacky dancing, singing reindeer which skis.

Instead, they’ve got Mac stuff! All the proceeds of sales, including Paypal fees which will be paid by MyMac.com, will be donated to charities that are helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Even better, most of the goods are priced at a discount.

I bought a subscription to MacTech, the magazine for Mac geeks like myself, for the discount price of $30 (it normally sells for $47.) It was donated by the kind folks at MacTech.

So if you’re a Mac user, check out the Mac Users Helping the Victims of Katrina page. They’ve got some good stuff, including 3 more MacTech subscriptions, iPod stands, laptop bags, and a bunch of software.

Also, if you’re a company selling Mac software, hardware, or accessories and want to donate to the cause, email the publisher of MyMac who is coordinating the effort, Tim Robertson, at Publisher@MyMac.com.

[via AppleMatters]

Help Hurricane Katrina survivors

Today my family and I held a yard sale to raise money to help the Hurricane Katrina survivors. Watching the news coverage has really broken our hearts and we’ve been praying for them.

Turnout at the yard sale was probably the sparsest I’ve ever had out of all the yard sales we’ve conducted. I guess next time, I won’t have one on Labor Day weekend, but you can’t choose when disasters happen. We only made $76, but every little bit helps. Also we’re planning to make a bigger donation separately.

If you’re confused about where to make a donation, here’s an interesting site I found from the American Institute of Philanthropy that rates charities that are involved in providing relief to the hurricane survivors.

Sneak peek of SWT and Swing in Vista

Here’s a screenshot of Eclipse (using SWT) on Vista, courtesy of Carolyn MacLeod and Ed Burnette.

And here’s NetBeans (using Swing) on Vista, courtesy of Chet Haase.

Looks like Java UIs have a good future in Vista. I believe they’re ahead of schedule compared to where they were when XP was coming out. I think with SWT being native and getting a good reception from the development community, that a big focus in Java 6 (Mustang) is pixel-perfect fidelity in Swing:

Chet Haase: We hear you. Native look & feel fidelity is a big thing for us in Mustang.

Gotta love competition!