This post is inspired by the growing number of Switchers in our office. At this point we have 5 people using macs full time and loving it!
The Mac comes with some great software out of the box, there are still a few missing pieces. Chinese input, for one, is poor in MacOS X. Another issue is playing videos in various formats. Luckily, many of these holes can be solved with small pieces of free software, I hope to list the best ones here. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments.
Fun Input Toy – Developed in Beijing, this pinyin input system is much better than the built in ITABC pinyin that comes with MacOS X. A MUST download if you want to type in Chinese. This is brought to us by the same team that makes the WeFIT chinese input system for the iPhone.
IMQIM – The gold standard in chinese input. This one does cost $16, but it is really nice, with full intelligent sentence generation for super fast typing. For anyone who spends a lot of time typing in Chinese, this is worth your investment.
Perian – This is a plugin that makes the built in Quicktime Player a powerhouse. After installing perian, pretty much any video format you can throw at it will just play without any fuss. This is great because QT Player is integrated into the OS, and has all the best scrubbing capability of any player out there.
Video Monkey – One of the biggest drawbacks of the iPhone is its refusal to play the videos that you actually have, namely the AVI and WMV files that you have on your hard drive that you may want to take with you. Video Monkey takes care of this by proving an easy way to reformat video. It can take almost any format and convert the file into the right size and format for your iPhone or iPod. It will even put it into your iTunes library for easy syncing.
VLC – when all else fails, VLC to the rescue. VLC can really play anything. The user interface for Quicktime Player is much better, so i don’t recommend using VLC full time, just when it won’t play anywhere else.
UnrarX – For some reason, RAR has become a standard file format within China. UnrarX is the app to open up those files. Its a great little app that does exactly what you would expect.
There are many other excellent programs for the Mac, and finally more and more Chinese software developers are finding that supporting Mac users is a good move. I remember a time when Apple computers were a legend, something that some had heard of but few had ever seen. In the past 5 years, there’s been an explosion of Apple gear, starting with iPods and moving to iPhones and Macbooks. I look forward to seeing many more useful apps in this space, and to hearing your suggestions.
Following a movement we started in twitter, there is more noise on the web about dropping support for IE 6. This time it comes from a respected web development magazine in the form of a well reasoned article: http://www.bringdownie6.com. For our biggest sites, IE6 makes up 17-26% of the browser share. On this site, IE6 is only 7% (you guys can pat yourselves on the back).
It has long been our position that IE6 is a clearly inferior browser that should be banished. About a year ago, we started allowing some features to degrade, or perhaps not work as nicely in IE6, simply because IE6 can’t support what we want to do. The best example is transparent PNG, which IE should have supported in 5.5. The web would be a much more beautiful place now if it had.
We welcome and support the recent emergence of standards based competition in the browser market. With Webkit, (Chrome, Safari), Firefox, Opera, and even IE8, we look forward to a bright, progressive future in web development.
- As members of your community, take the time to help someone move off of IE6.
- As consultants, explain to clients why supporting IE6 is a waste of time.
- And as developers, lets refuse to downgrade our work to appease the few stragglers.
With your help, we can make the world safe for our creations, and build a platform for innovation in the future.
This is an update to my earlier post about Rails Screencasts .
British Rails developer Eifion Bedford is putting together a collection of Ryan Bates’ free Railscasts series in a text form. This means he is painstakingly transcribing Ryan’s words, putting together screenshots that you can learn from, and code examples that you can copy and paste. This is a great way to consume the material, especially if English is not your first language. The ASCII Casts, as he is calling them, are a great addition to the growing volume of free learning material for Ruby and Rails. I recommend the security series and the performance tips. Thanks to Eifon and his efforts to illuminate the wild world of web development!
Hi guys, I’m writing this to share with you the joy of using ROR with Mysql on Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Edition.
First, we can get a latest free version of Ubuntu from here.
Please choose a desktop edition, because Server Edition is not containing a GUI for us which specializing in host side.
Well, after we have installed the newest Ubuntu, let’s try our ROR with Mysql development enviroment ASAP.
The official installing ROR site goes here, or you may need only type several commands as following:
1. Installing RUBY:
<pre> sudo apt-get install ruby-full </pre> #‘ruby-full’ package will make sure you have all the packages that add up to a full Ruby installation.
2. Installing RUBYGEMS:
tar xzvf rubygems-1.3.1.tgz
sudo ruby setup.rb
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/gem1.8 /usr/bin/gem
3. Installing RAILS and Mongrel:
<pre> sudo gem install rails mongrel </pre> # yeah, ROR has been done here!
4. Installing MYSQL:
<pre> sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client </pre>
It seemingly worked and I could start my rails projects, but when I tried to rake task, the system was just crashed and came out a result:"
!!! The bundled mysql.rb driver has been removed from Rails 2.2. Please install the mysql gem and try again: gem install mysql. rake aborted!"
Oops, let’s try to listen to it:
<pre>sudo gem install mysql </pre>
<pre>"Building native extensions. This could take a while...
ERROR: Error installing mysql:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.
/usr/bin/ruby1.8 extconf.rb install mysql
- extconf.rb failed *
Could not create Makefile due to some reason, probably lack of
necessary libraries and/or headers. Check the mkmf.log file for more
details. You may need configuration options."
It made me feel quite irritating after I tried many times without efforts, but finally, the problem was solved by installing a package named libmysql-ruby1.8. This package is an API module that allows to access MySQL database from programs in Ruby programming language.
So let’s correct our step 4 to:
<pre> sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client libmysql-ruby1.8</pre>
Cheers, we can really start our RAILS application now.
Last but not least, to make our default gnome-editor more useful as a programming IDE, we can try to install some plugins into gedit to make it like Textmate On Mac. e.g. there is an excellent project named gmate which included many plugins that we need indeed.
Please let me know when you still have any installing problems with ROR & MYSQL on Ubuntu.
We took a company trip to Chime Long Amusement park earlier in the week. Some of my co-workers decided to hop on this little ride 3 times in a row. I bowed out after the first, thank you very much.
Google recently announced that they would be hosting a collection of photos from Life Magazine. Dan at the excellent China Law Blog pointed out that you can search through the pictures to find interesting stuff. A search for “Guangzhou” strangely doesn’t return any entries; but of course, when many of these pictures were published, this city was known as “Canton”. There are only about 200 results for Canton, but some of them are great pictures of the City. This is the search phrase that should give you the right results:
Shamain Island is clearly recognizable, and many of the street scenes must have been taken in the Renmin Nan Lu area. Some of my favorites:
- Streeside Baozi
- Aerial view, you can see the cathedral on Yide Lu in the center of the shot
- Guangzhou’s answer to the Flatiron Building. Its still there on Yanjiang Lu. Flatiron Building
- Do you recognize Haizhu Square?
- This GZ is slowly disappearing, I love the art deco architecture
- This is how our neighboorhood still looks
- I bet we can find this street, somewhere near Yide Lu and Renmin Lu.
- Kids playing in the park on Shamian Island
The much anticipated Rails 2.2 release is finalized with a host of new features. One of the features we are most excited about are the new multi-threaded capabilities for Rails. This will improve application response time in general, and allow us to get more use out of each server. I think memoization can be useful as well, it will be interesting to see how much it helps. As usual, Peter Cooper at Ruby Inside has put together an all-encompassing post with all the info you might need. And as a side note, this release also includes a little patch submitted by our team.
Thanks and congratulations to the core team for another solid release.
In Firefox, it’s very easy to set the attribute of size to 1 for a text field. But in IE, even the size is 1, it still takes a lot of space in the page. One simple solution but not perfect is to set the style of width, e.g. style=“width: 10px”. You will need to tweak it a little bit in order to find a good width for your web pages. :(
Below are the code:
<input type="text" size="1" maxlength="1" value="1"></input> <!-- This works well in Firefox, but not IE -->
<input type="text" size="1" maxlength="1" value="1" style="width: 10px"></input> <!-- This works well in Firefox and IE -->