Dec 10

Today: 10-Dec-2008: You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone

Category: today

I spent the majority of today sitting on a Windows desktop missing simple things that I would normally take for granted from other platforms, this includes:

  • The ability to install apps without needing root/administrator to do this
  • In Mac OS X when you Alt-Tab (or GNOME with SuperSwitcher) you can click on the icon to select the application
  • A provided web server, database server and mail server that doesn’t suck
  • A menu navigation system that doesn’t lock itself up trying to find icons (yes, I’m referring to the Windows start bar here)
  • Decent memory allocation management
  • Show desktop functionality that works properly

As a plus, I spent time playing with Chrome and using it. It feels pretty schmick as a browser and its working nicely for me. I’m a bit of a browser whore, so now I’ve got IE6 (default build for the machine), Firefox 3 and Chrome installed – thats not quite as much as my Mac which has Firefox, Safari, Opera and two versions of Shiira (I don’t mind Shiira, the two versions are for the old feature that I thought was cool but they removed – page dock is its name I think, enables you to put a page in the side bar, useful for navigating sites with a big long list of links on one page but no easy way to progress on the next). I have had browsers like Camino on my Mac in the past but I don’t any more.

But even more I miss my Mac or Linux box for sheer usability and it isn’t until you get back on Windows and try to work that you realise how painful it is. Plus side was that getting my email up and running on the box meant that I had to delete the profile that was there because somehow it pointed to the wrong server, fighting it each time because it tried to connect to a server and then digging through LDAP to find the correct Exchange server to connect to once I’d convinced Outlook to let me configure an account with it instead of having it uselessly tell me that it can’t connect to my server.

In other news I’m playing with Google App Engine again. I first made a mistake setting up my application which meant that it was limited to the App based authentication (bummer!), the next app I made I got the auth right but made a slight typo in the name and now I’m up to my third application and it appears to be doing what I want. Due to testing things my local DNS is presently borked so I can’t do proper testing on items yet but when I get around I’ll flush DNS caches along the chain and things should resolve fine again. The tool I’m building is a simple authentication bridge for Google Accounts that doesn’t require me to work around their other requirements. Now that they have stuff like OAuth I’ll have a look at how to integrate those and use them in future as well as looking at ClientLogin – though I must admit thats not as nifty. I built something simple to handle what I wanted and its come in handy, its present use is for one my of university assignments. Should be fun!

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