Tracking time of access with Google Analytics

by Ulf on January 21st, 2009

A friend recently asked me if it was possible to use Google Analytics (GA) to report on the distribution of the hour of the day at which visitors drop by his web site. Nothing fine-grained, just a number from 0 to 23 along with the number of visits during that hour. Having recently read a blog post on how to use GA to detect the browser’s installed JRE version with some custom JavaScript, I figured this shouldn’t be too hard.


Shopping as Microsoft would like you to

by Ulf on January 16th, 2009

Microsoft recently announced an Apple Store knockoff – the Retail Experience Center. It’s located on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, and isn’t open to the public, but it’s supposed to show how to market and sell Microsoft products (and presumably PC-related products from other manufacturers). Revealing is this picture that shows how much stuff they would like you to buy: shopping carts full of it. That’s the kind of consumer spending that should help the economy out of its slump.

Outstanding Talk by Kent Beck

by Ulf on September 9th, 2008

I‘d like to recommend Kent Beck‘s keynote from this year‘s RailsConf to everybody interested in software development. Kent talks about his involvement with patterns, developer testing and extreme programming, how each came about, and what he thinks about the outcomes. An MP3 file and the presentation slides are available here, and a video feed (which helps tie together the slides and the talk) is here. The talk also touches on a range of other topics, such as architecture, Ruby, IDEs, technology adoption, marketing of ideas, and much else, and is a joy to listen to. The following are the books that get mentioned (and are thus implicitly recommended by Mr Beck). Christopher Alexander in particular has long been on my reading list; maybe this will actually coax me into reading him.


Ridicule of „The Mojave Experiment“ hits the mainstream business press

by Ulf on August 13th, 2008

A recent article in the Economist talks about various ads Apple has used over time to position itself, e.g. Ridley Scott’s famous 1984 video, and the current “Get a Mac” campaign that targets Microsoft Windows. Now that Microsoft has a marketing problem of its own (in the shape of the much-maligned Windows Vista), it has come up with “The Mojave Experiment“, which is supposed to show that Vista isn‘t as bad as people think it to be. The premise of the experiment is rather flawed, which has been widely discussed. Now the Economist -which is not generally concerned with operating systems- joins in: “You could be forgiven for wondering whether Apple had commissioned the advertisement. It was Microsoft at its worst.” Ouch. The article goes on to mention that Microsoft has also started to work with another ad agency…

The Pushing of NetBeans and the Dumbing-down of Java

by Ulf on August 11th, 2008

To me, one of the more useful pieces of the WS-* stack is WS-Security. Web services are out in the open and need proper security. Unfortunately, there isn‘t yet a standard on how to apply WS-Security to a SOAP service, so each SOAP stack does its own thing. The Metro stack -the reference implementation of JAX-WS and a slew of related APIs- is no exception. Recently I was trying to figure out how to apply WS-Security to a  JAX-WS service. Without using NetBeans or GlassFish, neither of which I use. Go ahead, try to find an example of how to do that. The closest I found is this article, which talks about the web service features of Java 6 SE, not JAX-WS per se.

What does Sun know about how Java is used?

by Ulf on July 24th, 2008

John O’Conner -a Sun employee until recently- blogged about his Java experiences outside of Sun. He lists three things in particular that were news to him:

  1. Companies don’t always use the latest JDK for their flagship products.
  2. Teams like the Eclipse IDE.
  3. Java isn’t always the preferred rich client.

Frankly, I’m shocked that this is news to anyone, much less to a Sun employee who’s actively using Java.

Growing a language

by Ulf on July 4th, 2008

Michael Ernest brought this video of a talk by Guy Steele (him of Scheme fame, for you SICP fans, but he’s now with Sun, working on Java) to my attention. It’s about languages that are too small, about why -when creating a language- neither a small nor a large one will do, and what to do about that. It’s also got a really nice twist to it around the 10 minute mark, where there’s an auditorium-sized “Aha!” effect. You won’t regret watching it: Guy Lewis Steele at OOPSLA ’98 (PostScript)

Shrinking a language

Ten years earlier Niklaus Wirth wrote From Modula to Oberon, in which he outlined why in that case the evolution from a language to its successor involved removing more language features than adding new ones. Since Pascal is mentioned in Steele’s talk as an example of a language that didn’t grow much, it’s interesting to see that both Modula and Oberon included a module facility that allowed them to grow seamlessly from the start.