Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joys of Gmail's Basic HTML mode

Don't get me wrong, Gmail is great. It works really well, it makes using desktop mail clients a pointless endeavor, and overall I love it dearly.

Unfortunately, despite google working hard at making its javascript magic work everywhere, they don't quite succeed. Apart from weird browser-related issues that crop up once in awhile, its basic user interaction model is awkward. Pressing the back button creates a storm of loading screens, and it's never quite clear if the "Refresh" button does anything.

Thankfully, Gmail also provides a "Basic HTML" mode. In that mode, there is no client-side code being run, and all the pages are fetched from the server. Despite that, it is always just as fast as the standard mode (even faster on very big email threads, in my experience). Plus, all the usual browser interactions (like the back button, or hitting refresh) work exactly as expected.

I've been using this mode exclusively for almost a year now, and it is simply fabulous. Recently they have added email auto-completion on the From: field, which was the only standard feature I was missing in it.

There is a link to turn it on at the bottom of the screen, and it then provides an option to set it as the default. Oh, and did I mention that there are no ads to be found anywhere in the basic mode?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Moment of Zen

No actual ranting in this post

When coding, I often find myself running out of short-term memory. There's a constant need to refer to some code snippet from somewhere, or a bit of documentation explaining what all those weird function parameters do, etc. etc. While having a second monitor helps with keeping stuff like that visible, I also find it quite distracting to shift my eyes across the screen expanse just to pick out a tiny bit of information.

What helps immensely in this situation, is a small text editor sitting at the bottom of the screen (just below the code edit area). On Windows, I use the brilliant DeskPins tool. I pin one of my notepad windows on top with it, and then simply paste anything I need into that. When not needed, the window can be simply minimised.

It looks like this, and works extremely well:

Naturally, this works ideally no matter what set of IDEs and tools I'm using, which is a great bonus. The editor is SciTE, which is the best Notepad replacement in the history if the universe.

Friday, May 16, 2008

0th reason for UML's demise

Little tutorials discusses why UML has lost. It's a correct, if slighty tedious, overview of why the favourite bullshit "technology" of the 90s failed.

Naturally, it fails to mention the main, zeroth, reason: the sort of people who ever cared about nonsense like UML are also prone to spending countless hours categorizing and discussing the patently obvious.

Sadly, this can be traced as the reason for the apparent popularity of many other "technologies" out there. REST anyone?