Suggestion to podcast interviewers: record both sides!

February 22, 2008

I’ve been listening to a few podcasts recently, which were obviously recorded using Skpye or another VoIP technology. Probably Skype, judging from the bad voice quality – my SIP phone sounds much better than that, but of course SIP is not always practical.

The problem is that it’s usually the interviewer who records the conversation, so it’s the interviewee’s voice quality that suffers, although it is in most cases the one that we want to hear.

How about recording both side’s voices locally, and mixing the two at post-production time? That’s a bit more work, but aligning the two tracks on an initial pulse or beep should make it easy to get the timing right, and depending if the recordings can be reasonably isolated, not much more processing would be needed. Worst case, you’d have to adjust each track’s volume according to who is speaking.

That wouldn’t work for interviewing people who don’t have a clue how to record their own voice, but geeks should manage ;-)

Developer Usability

February 19, 2008

dials.jpgReflecting on my activities in the last few months (especially around Sling and how we use it), I notice that Developer Usability is often my concern.

How do we make our software more understandable, transparent, efficient and generally usable by developers? Good designs should be self-explaining, but in a complex system that’s easier said than done.

There are many small things that influence this, as well as architectural decisions where one might trade off other criteria for developer usability.

I find it captivating to try and improve things so that people understand them better – I’ll try to find out more about what makes the difference here, but for now I’ve made a few suggestions related to documenting Sling, which would hopefully apply to other projects as well.

(Update: see the next post for a more general view on those suggestions).

I’m starting to think that documentation is like code comments: if you need lots of it, that’s a bad sign.

Feedback is welcome.

Picture by agathabrown, under morguefile license.

100 dollars a barrel of crude oil…

November 3, 2007

Remember that the easiest way to have your car use less oil is to leave it in the garage…


July 18, 2007

Is this turning into a Gianugo QOTD blog?

Anyway, here are his latest wise words:

Benchmarks stink, to start with. In my personal lie detector, they’re sitting between seasoned politicians and statistics.

I have to agree.

And read the rest of his post: strategic innovation is it!


July 10, 2007

The Quote Of The Day is by an inspired (as usual) Gianugo:

Open Source is a German car, an Italian shoe or a mold of French cheese. In most cases Open Source can be the best solution, just as expected.

Although one must keep in mind that:

French cheese is usually a godsend, but sometimes it can be just some stinky rotten milk.

Very True (except I don’t really like cheese, but that’s another story).


June 28, 2007

My quote of the day is by Eleanor Roosevelt:

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.

Yonik’s Law of Half Baked Patches

April 28, 2007

NOT the official Solr logoYesterday an interesting discussion started among Solr community members, about when to commit stuff, RTC vs. CTR, and trust between committers.

In less than 24 hours, with each of us spending a few minutes expressing themselves (and a bit more for Hoss to write stuff down, thanks!), the Solr commit guidelines are out. Is this efficient or what?

Along the way I discovered Yonik’s Law Of Half Baked Patches:

A half-baked patch with no documentation, no tests and no backwards compatibility is better than no patch at all.

Very True, isn’t it? This is my own paraphrased version, see Yonik’s original post for the Real Thing.

A while ago I wrote that the power of loosely-coupled communities or teams is amazing, if they’re well coordinated – my amazement has not stopped!

(note that the Solr logo shown here is not the official one – it’s my favorite among the currently suggested ones)

Update: Yonik indicates that the patches that he’s talking about are the ones submitted to an issue tracker, *not* the ones that are committed!

Student’s videoconference

March 31, 2006

sylvain-on-ichat.jpgYesterday we had our (now annual) videoconference where my students interview a pro. Thanks Sylvain for your wise words, they have been well received!

Sylvain’s last advice to my students was to open a blog and leave a valuable trace on the Internet. So get these living resumes going!

We have at least one more exciting videoconference in the pipeline for this class, looking forward to it!

On hippos and daysies…the Amsterdam plot slowly unfolds

March 11, 2006

Interesting thoughts and insights from Steven about how their (Cocoon-based) Daisy CMS is quietly becoming an important part of the CMS (notice I’m not saying open-source CMS) landscape.

He picks on Hippo for not (yet) being as open as Daisy, and I agree that being open from the start is better – or easier at least. I bet most software vendors, if they could go back, would open up 98% of their stuff.

Andrew replies from the front lines, confirming that opening up existing software is hard work. But apparently they’re getting there!

Coming late to the party is much harder – and this explains why several people from the Cocoon and CMS space suddenly love Amsterdam in winter ;-)

About the encouragements: here are mine both hippos and daysies: keep up your great work guys, along with the friendly competition!

Of course friendly has a different tone and shape depending on your cultural background, and I don’t feel any of you guys to be particularly soft-spoken ;-) But maybe the open source world is reinventing competition as well?

We live in exciting times…

Google homepage portlets, aka modules

December 15, 2005

Via Matthew – the Google personal homepage now allows integration of third-party modules. Did anyone say massively distributed reliable computing?

Despite all the hype around Web-you-know-what, something is happening. And I’m happy because it goes towards more turn-it-on-and-use-it computing without all the blue screens of death.