I’ve joked for over a year now that if there ever was a HTML 6 its marquee feature would be Node.js. In other words I should be able to write a packaged app that sits on a device that has one part running in a browser/webview and another part running a local Node.js instance that I can use to accept incoming request. Furthermore I need to be able to build and deploy HTML 6 packaged apps on at least (but not at most) – Android, iOS, Linux, OS/X, Windows desktop and Windows RT. The purpose of this article is to lay out my nefarious plan for making HTML 6 packaged apps real.
The good news is that Node.js does run on Android. The bad news is that at least at the time I’m writing this the build process requires a few extra steps. Nothing too scary though. See below for details.
Below I look through options to add ad-hoc mesh support to Thali. I evaluate Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, Serval, OpenGuardan and Commotion. It’s clear to me that at least the open source mesh technologies are not ready yet for prime time. They need more time in the oven. But both Commotion and Serval (which are working together) are exciting and I can easily imagine in a few years them reaching the point where they are ready for prime time. But not today.
This leaves Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth. Both are pretty seriously flawed for our mainline scenarios which involve opportunistic synching. They are really only useful when dealing with a small group of peers on a regular basis over a long period of time. We do have those scenarios but they aren’t as high priority at the moment. So for now I’m just not going to worry about it.
[Note: Originally published on 9/4 but updated on 9/5 thanks to Ben Mendis who kicked me in the rear to take a better look at Commotion. I updated again on 9/10 thanks to comments by Michael Rogers around limitations of Wi-Fi and options around Bluetooth. On 9/15 I updated the Bluetooth section based on more of the excellent conversation with Michael Rogers and added a section on AllJoyn. On 10/3 I added a section on Bluetooth Low Energy]
I evaluate below a bunch of backlog managers. I picked them based on what looked interesting. Not an ideal methodology but there are so many of these I had to narrow it down. The one that did everything I wanted was YouTRACK by IntelliJ, even the pricing was outstanding. But I rejected that option (for now anyway) because their UX is just too confusing for me. I actually had settled on Flying Donut and started to use them but I quickly realized that they were too simplistic. They didn’t do a good job of allowing me to manage iterations, epics and releases separately. So Tim Park had mentioned he had used Pivotal Tracker at his previous company and I tried them out. They aren’t perfect and their beta has some bugs but they had a really great balance between simplicity and flexibility. So hop on over to our new tracker and see how we are using them!
In this article I explore the options for places to stick my emergency cash. This is cash I need in case things go ’bad’ for us. So my primary concern is safety. Below I walk through the options and discuss how I handled things. Since I am not a financial expert and don’t play one on T.V. your mileage may vary.
One of the sessions I went to at Foo camp was about being a jerk. It seems we in software development land have a real habit of being jerks to each other and to our customers. The question the session discussed was – does it have to be so? I think the answer is actually, given how we run companies, probably. So let’s change things!
Thanks to the outrageous lies that Jon Udell told about me to Tim O’Reilly and Sara Winge I managed to get invited to Foo Camp this year. I had a chance to talk to a bunch of people about Thali. What I learned is that Thali doesn’t fit the Silicon Valley model and that’s just fine.
Zooko’s triangle proposes that a global naming system can be human meaningful, distributed or impersonation proof – pick 2. Below I look at Pet Names, the traditional way of handling Zooko’s triangle. Then I look at proposals that claim to actually solve Zooko’s triangle and show several attacks that these systems don’t appear to solve and so argue that Zooko’s triangle still stands.
My group at work is supposed to grow fast and there is a real concern that we will fragment and knowledge will be lost. I argue below that this is inevitable and largely unavoidable. But, more to the point, it’s probably not worth avoiding. And when it is worth avoiding? Know that you will need to pay someone on an ongoing basis to fix it. Data does not self organize.
Google announced that they may (the code is not officially supported yet) support PGP Mail in GMail. This might seem like an unabashed win for user privacy since it would make it impossible for Google to read their user’s mail. This article points out a number of problems with Google’s actions (I still think Google should be commended for doing this work) but I’d like to focus on a different issue than covered in the article – why digital signatures are a bad idea in general for social networking/email and how Thali deals with this problem.