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Programming Clojure by Stuart Halloway

MarkWatson Stuart is a good writer and speaker (2 comments)

I found this book to be useful. I usually use Common Lisp, Ruby and Java for my work but I have had a long term interest in Clojure. Recently I have seen an uptick in customer demand for Clojure development so I have revisited Stuart's book and two MEAP work in progress Clojure books.

One issue that I am having with Clojure is the relatively poor stack trace information, even with the clojure-contrib ST utility. That said, I bet improvement comes quickly.

BTW, Stuart's Clojure in the Wild web cast is pretty good.

more than 4 years ago
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Tom's Hardware On the Current Stable of Office Apps For Linux

MarkWatson Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (121 comments)

I do a lot of writing. When I use LateX instead of OO.org or Pages, I save a lot of time and effort. Lots of time and effort, actually. There is a learning curve for LateX but IMO it is well worth it.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Buzz — First Reactions

MarkWatson Re:Public vs private (310 comments)

I have to disagree with you:

Google performs statistical NLP on your data, and automatically finds good ads, etc.

As per Google turning over your data to the government: we are probably close to total government access to everything we do, so I would chill out about stuff that we are helpless to do anything about (unless you are going to stop using the Internet).

more than 4 years ago
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OpenOffice Tops 21% Market Share In Germany

MarkWatson I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (252 comments)

I have used OO.org to write several books, and it is what I recommend to people.

That said, I prefer Latex :-)

more than 4 years ago
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Asus Says Netbook Is Dead, Hello Wearable Computers

MarkWatson Good article, and IMHO good predictions (264 comments)

I think that the prediction that there needs to be more content before mass market success of tablets is right on.

At breakfast this morning, one of my non-tech friends was talking about the TED talk on wearable computers where spacial glasses would create virtual keyboards and displays on walls, tables, etc. That is what I would to see available soon :-)

For now, the Android platform is looking good: easy to develop apps for, mobile devices support voice commands, etc.

more than 3 years ago
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Amazon EC2 May Be Experiencing Growing Pains

MarkWatson I am a happy customer (93 comments)

I keep a small reserve instance running 24x7 and the cost is very low. I also have a EBS bootable large instance that I run for a few hours at a time as needed. It has been a while since I used it, but Elastic MapReduce also works well and is fairly inexpensive for what you get.

About half of my customers also use EC2s.

(Note: Amazon gave me a large grant to use EC2 for free for work on my last book, but my comments are my honest opinions.)

more than 4 years ago
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Amazon EC2 May Be Experiencing Growing Pains

MarkWatson Re:Missed Opportunity (93 comments)

I think that what you are seeing with AppEngine (and same effect with Heroku, which is EC2 based) is this: if your web application has not processed any requests for several seconds (or longer?), then it needs to be rolled back online.

Try an experiment: assuming that you have a private (non-advertised) AppEngine app, time the first request with ab (Apache benchmark tool). Then time requests that are sent every second. I bet that you see the 20 second page load time vanish if you are making frequent requests.

more than 4 years ago
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Google Open Sources Etherpad, Piratepad Launches

MarkWatson I'm mostly using it to learn from (126 comments)

After building and running it locally yesterday morning, I started studying the code. I am not to interested in deploying it right now, but I might set it up in the future for use by family, friends, and customers.

I've had a Wave account for about 6 months (sandbox and beta) and I am more interested in building applications on top of Wave rather than hacking on the EtherPad code base. I am interested in learnng from the codebase however :-)

about 5 years ago
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Is Console Gaming Dying?

MarkWatson Re:Not for me (496 comments)

I was just saying that I enjoy target shooting, but not hunting.

about 5 years ago
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Is Console Gaming Dying?

MarkWatson Re:Not being snarky, genuinely curious (496 comments)

I thought the same thing. Nintendo products have long lasting value.

I still on occasion use my U64 and I bet I am still playing at least a few Wii games 5 or 10 years from now. The US market is saturated with Wii consoles but I expect Nintendo still gets fairly good revenue from new game sales.

Gaming is about having *fun*, not technology. Nintendo's chief game designer came to Angel Studios (where I worked) and I think that I can paraphrase his philosophy as fun first, technology second.

about 5 years ago
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Is Console Gaming Dying?

MarkWatson Re:Not for me (496 comments)

I used to be a Nintendo U64 developer (mostly game AI, a bit of graphics). The U64 was a good platform, but I stand by my statement: the Wii is awesome because the games are *fun*.

BTW, even the Wii Fit "games" are cool: Yoga, balance exercises, etc. Lots of fun, and it is a good break during the day (I work at home as a software developer and author). I live 150 feet from a National Park trail head, but going on a hike takes hours, and the Wii games provide some fun and gets me away from my laptop - good for 10 minute breaks.

On the other hand, some of the games I have seen on (for example) the XBox are fairly much psychotic. What kind of people like to play games here they shoot people. If I want to shoot a gun I go my local the shooting range (I only shoot aluminum cans that don't have mothers :-)

Seriously, I don't intend to insult anyone, but I look at some of the violent video games and it makes me think of the fall of western civilization.

about 5 years ago
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Is Console Gaming Dying?

MarkWatson Not for me (496 comments)

After playing video games on my grandson's XBox 360 over Thanksgiving, I signed up with GameFly so I can try a lot of Wii games at home. It is so much better playing video games standing up :-)

about 5 years ago
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How Do I Keep My Privacy While Using Google?

MarkWatson Re:Use multiple browsers (533 comments)

BTW, the "if you do nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide" argument is very bogus:

Personal information is valuable!

My wife and I use supermarket discount cards, allowing our supermarket chain to sell information. In return, we save quite a bit of money.

If Google and other web tracking companies offered a little "cash back" on using my private information, then I would be more agreeable with making it easy for them to collect data on me.

about 5 years ago
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How Do I Keep My Privacy While Using Google?

MarkWatson Use multiple browsers (533 comments)

For years, I have used one browser (Safari) for nothing but online banking. I now use Chrome for all google related browsing (GMail+Google Apps, Blogger, Reader).

I do all other browsing on Firefox, blocking Google and most other cookies.

This is slightly inconvenient because if someone emails me a link, I need to copy and paste it into Firefox - probably copy/paste links between Chrome and Firefox about 5 to 10 times a day so this is a small overhead.

I usually use Google Search (on Firefox), but I also use Clusty and Bing.

about 5 years ago
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Personalized Search From Google Now Opt-Out

MarkWatson Privacy and Security in the Internet Age (206 comments)

Just some advice that I give friends and family:

        * Delete all cookies in your browser every week - it is easy enough to sign in again to web sites that require authentication. People who do not delete their cookies never see what sites are tracking them. It is easiest to do a 'delete all cookies' operation and not to try to save the 5 or 10 cookies out of thousands that are stored in your local browser data.
        * Keep a text file with all passwords in encrypted form - and, do not use the same password for different purposes.
        * Every time you use your super market's discount card (or possibly pay with a credit card), your purchases are permanently associated with you - do you care? maybe or maybe not.

I do use a lot of web services that track what I do (GMail, for example) but I make the decision to give up privacy vs. benefits on a service by service basis.

about 5 years ago
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Chrome OS, Present and Future

MarkWatson Re:So far, I like it (132 comments)

AnyTerm looks like a solution, but I would rather just have a term app included in Chrome OS. Thanks for the link.

about 5 years ago
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Chrome OS, Present and Future

MarkWatson So far, I like it (132 comments)

I have Chrome OS running on VirtualBox - works as advertised, and when it is solid I'll probably buy a low cost device running it for travel, web browsing around the house and yard, etc.

I am hoping that it will eventually include a *great* xterm app with SSH support so it can also be used to monitor servers, and light weight admin work.

about 5 years ago
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GNOME 3 Delayed Until September 2010

MarkWatson I enjoyed the screen shots (419 comments)

I dual boot my MacBook between Ubuntu and OS X, so the screen shots were interesting to me. I liked the multi-desktop preview with window drag and drop but OS X already has that - very convenient when arranging work flows. I thought that the central date display with drop down calendar was good also.

OTR: love to see innovation: I think that software engineering and computer science are the premier creative avocations because what we do is both 'self interesting' and enables most other fields.

more than 5 years ago
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Google Under Fire For Calling Their Language "Go"

MarkWatson Slashdot needs a voting mecahnism for this (512 comments)

A poll would be interesting.

Personally, I think that "Go and "Go! are two different names, so there is no problem.

more than 5 years ago
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Go, Google's New Open Source Programming Language

MarkWatson Re:Build-in function library (831 comments)

Actually, generational (or ephemeral) garbage collectors can often perform better at runtime than coding it yourself. I think this is because larger blocks of storage can be freed at one time for very short-lived objects.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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GMail seems to be down in many countries

MarkWatson MarkWatson writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MarkWatson writes "People are reporting from around the world that GMail is down. I rely on GMail and Google Docs for my work, but I cache local copies. I am personally OK with occasional outages for a free and useful service."
Link to Original Source
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Are contracts valid if ...

MarkWatson MarkWatson writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MarkWatson writes "I am frequently asked to sign 2 copies of a consulting contract and send them to the other party. More often than you would think, the other party files away both copies, sends me an email saying everything is OK, but never signs and returns a copy to me.

My policy is to bring this to their attention, and if a signed copy is not forthcoming, complain.

One customer has never returned a contract, but have been promptly paying me for 6 months. In another case, a property management agent in another state never bothered to sign and return a copy of another contract with me, but proceeds as if we are under contract.

Are contracts legal if one party does not sign and return a copy to the other party?"
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MarkWatson MarkWatson writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MarkWatson writes "I sometimes need to use Windows in my consulting business although I prefer Linux and OS X for doing software development and writing. I keep two Windows machines: a Windows 2000 laptop (bought with XP,but installed an old Windows 2000 license and Linux) and a desktop with XP (dual boot to Linux).

I would like to avoid ever buying a PC with Vista, a situation that looks good because I believe both my Windows systems are reliable, fast, and will service my Windows needs for the long term.

My problem is this: I like Windows 2000 better for a few reasons, but mainly because the license is transferable. I would like to still be using Windows 2000 5 years from now in a secure and reliable way (again, just for when I need Windows).

Since I am far from a Windows expert, I would like to know your strategy for archiving Microsoft's latest Windows 2000 updates, and generally dealing with security issues. My strategy is to set my firewall up to run in stealth mode and not use Windows for general web browsing.

Any suggestions will be appreciated!"

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