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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Various Updates

It's been another long while since I updated here, although I should preface that by saying that I have been updating other blogs instead. My parrot-related blog has been getting daily updates since the GSoC project started, some of which are quite sizable. I've also been doing a little blogging for Wikibooks, because of some unfortunate drama that has unfolded over the whole logo selection thing.

I received a very nice email from a Mr. Ken Atwell from The MathWorks. He had read my MATLAB-related blog posts, and was interested to get some feedback. I'm absolutely flattered that he would want to hear what I have to say, and I'm absolutely amazed that people of such importance (relative to my interests anyway) seem to read my blog! This has really done two things for me:
  1. Renew my faith in the software industry. It's easy to believe that the big faceless software corporations care about their users when they are reading personal blogs and sending out kind emails. It's so easy to look at the price tag and say "well, Octave is free so I should use that instead". Features are nice too, but customer feedback and interaction are huge selling points for me. Unfortunately, now that I'm not a student anymore I can't possibly afford MATLAB, but that's besides the point.
  2. Instill in me a sense that blogs are far more powerful as a communications medium then I had previously supposed. I make some general suggestions about a piece of software on my nowhere unadvertised blog, and developers of that software actually read it and care! It's certainly enough to make me think twice before I try to say anything negative on here.
Here are some updates for some other projects that I had been working on:
  • Wikibooks Bot: I stopped with the original Tk-based development effort, and have been focusing instead on porting the application to Gtk2. It certainly looks much nicer now then it had before. Luckily, I had originally designed the software to make good use of MVC, even though at the time I had never heard that term before. There are a few areas where better demarcation is needed, but overall the process is easy and straightforward.
  • Octave for Parrot: Currently dead, I haven't had any time to work on it recently, and won't now that the GSoC program has started. This is something that I definitely want to work more on, when I have the time to do it.
  • Wikibooks book-designer: On hold for now. The script is relatively stable and I've gotten some good reviews. There was even an offer to translate it into italian for the it.wikibooks folks, but I need to do some work first to separate out the interface text from the code. That will have to wait, for now.
  • Various Wikibooks: I just started a book on [[Memory Management]], where I am going to summarize some of the things I've learned and am still learning about the garbage collector project. I also need to do some more update work on my [[Parrot Virtual Machine]] book, which I will try to find time for.
There are always a million other things up in the air as well, but this should serve as a good update for now.

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