6 Places to use Ajax

So I get a kick out of the fact that now four months later that Alex Bosworth’s article on 6 Places to use AJAX is coming up on digg.com. Maybe there’s hope for me afterall?

Nonetheless, I find it interesting that there is such an outcry for using Ajax anywhere and everywhere. On the discussion boards that I read on a regular basis, I hear people talk about how it would be great to start programming all of their applications with Ajax mixed in. It’s interesting to see this idea put forth mostly because it’s completely useless to think that way.
I remember writing a simple form program a year ago for a friend and doing it all in Javascript so that it would have form validation, embedding it in code that would then be displayed on the page. My friend came back and said, “But why not write it entirely in PHP?” Sure, PHP was what the server was using for its backend application server, but JavaScript worked perfectly fine for what the need was.
I see this occurring more and more with regard to Ajax. There’s a need for it here and there such as Alex mentions, but there are times where it’s basically pointless to have such code included when it adds a level of complexity that some coders aren’t ready for and in some instances becomes so much of a hindrance to the end user that it drives people to other sites in search of the information for which they seek.

[Listening to: MLB.com – Houston Astros at Cincinnati Reds, bottom of the 4th inning]

Getting your PERM on…

So over at the SWING group, a part of the Computer Science department at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, there’s a group working on a project known as PERMPractical End-host collaborative Residential Multihoming framework.
Yes, not your usual perm, not the kind that you wear in your hair, unless of course you’ve got an 802.11 network router interweaved in your french braid.
So what does this mean? How is this useful? Well, in some cases if you’re good friends with your neighbors, it allows you to truly maximize the bandwidth that you have and extend the range of your wireless device that you use to connect while at home. And for those of you that don’t know your neighbors well, but you can see that they’re one of the 30 wireless networks nearby, you are essentially extending the hand of friendship, getting to know your neighbors maybe and exchanging WEP/WPA keys and getting your groove on with this PERM.
What do you mean there are multiple networks in your neighborhood? Well in the case of the northern Virginia neighborhood that I reside in, there are approximately 30 802.11b/g networks that I can pick up, though I’m pretty confident that we’re the only 802.11a network in the neighborhood.
So what’s the point? Check out the PERM project, test it out, play with it, extend your mobility and really get the best bandwidth for your buck. Sure it probably invalidates all of the internet providers terms of service that you signed when you started your service with the company, but hey it couldn’t hurt to try it out as a scientific experiment right?

[Listening to: MLB.com – Houston Astros at Cincinnati Reds, bottom of the 2nd inning]

Hammerhead, the CD Thrower

So there are a few of us at work that are simply enthralled by all things Lego. We might be discussing how to pass variables more elegantly from ASP.NET applications to PHP based scripts to Python or perhaps arguing over the merits of different database systems and why one is better than the other when one of us comes across a Lego creation that is crazy ridiculous and yet so cool.
So here’s the newest creation that is crazy ridiculous… I want to make one 😉 I might even set it up outside as a security system.
Hammerhead, the CD thrower
You might look at this guy and say, “Uhhh, what’s it do?” I look at it and say, well, it’s basically the equivalent of a pitching machine that slings balls at you while you’re in the batting cage, but better 🙂

Want to use Internet Explorer 7 without removing IE 6?

For those of you that are web developers, it’s always nice to have a clue as to what the new technology will do to your carefully crafted style sheets and the use of divs in your pages — how will the web browser render them you ask? Well, if you’re wanting to find out how Internet Explorer 7 will mangle, errr, modify the way that your pages look with the new and improved *cough* HTML rendering engine, you can install the beta 2 release available from Microsoft. However, if you do so you’re going to lose access to Internet Explorer 6 (if you’re running Windows XP) which to me seems pretty sleazy that they would make it replace your browser.
Anyway, it would appear that the folks at Google Operating System have figured out a way to install IE 7 beta 2 in its own separate directory so that it doesn’t eat IE 6. For more information on this clever installation so that you can render pages and see what happens, check out this site here.

Why would you ever use MovieLink?

So apparently Movielink (not giving you a link evil ML people) are offering some movies for download. Now don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something that seems dirty about this. The fact that a) it only works on Windows computers and b) you can’t burn it to a DVD to watch on your regular DVD player really just makes me cringe.
You could argue that the same is true of iTunes and the iPod, but I would argue that at least iTunes gives you the option to burn CDs and also you’re not locked into a single operating system, and additionally you can play media on the iPod other than just ac3 files that you purchase from the iTunes music store.
For a review of how pathetic MovieLink’s service is, check out JoBlo.com for his review of MovieLink’s movie download service.
Something else to consider, for $20 you get a single movie that you can only watch on your PC (or if you have the equipment you can hook it up to your TV but really…) where as with NetFlix for $18 a month you can get in theory up to 20 movies a month if you cycle through three movies constantly (i.e. day 1 watch movie A and mail movie A, day 2 watch movie B mail movie B, day 3 watch movie C mail movie C receive status that movie A received and movie A’ mailed).

about:Mozilla – The Book of Mozilla

So this previous evening one of my roommates and I were tinkering around with Mozilla Firefox and came across the “about:mozilla” link that takes you to an easter egg page with a quote from the Book of Mozilla, 7:15.
Pretty hilarious quote from the fictious book that the developers of Mozilla would include this in the browser. And sure, this might not be new news, but it’s something that I doubt most Firefox users know about, so it’s time for Firefox User Awareness Day – April 17.

Bluetooth Headphones

So I was wondering through CompUSA this evening in search of a Mad Dog Multimedia USB 2.0 / Firewire 2.5″ hard drive enclosure. And I ended up taking home a few other toys, including Motorola’s Bluetooth Headphones.
Overall, they’re pretty cool, however I should caution that if you have other USB I/O going on, your music will slowly but surely garble. Otherwise, ridiculously cool. 🙂

[Listening to: Spain – Bobby McFerrin – Play (10:12)]