Slow Cheetah is a great little utility to allow you to easily transform configuration files
to suit your needs.


Executes unit tests automatically in the background. It is about $160 for a license so its pricey.
Keep your eyes peeled and I might have a review of it coming up.

Mighty Moose

Not only does this plug-in have a great awesome name, it also provides you with juicy
continuous testing for a very low price. (Free). Review coming up.

A shell for Java

November 15, 2012

Someone has made a great interactive shell for the JVM.

Like to spoon you need this?

November 14, 2012

Finally a solution for your arm when spooning

I have not tried it, so I don’t know how well it works.

WordPress to static sites

November 12, 2012

Herei s a Word Press Plug In that allows you to export your site to static html files.

Rapid Weaver for OS/X

November 12, 2012

RapidWeaver is sort of like DreamWeaver. (Notice the subtle similarity in naming??)
but its made only for OS/X at least for now.

So its a web editor with a specific target at making nice looking websites for those who
don’t have the coding skills.

An interesting thing about RapidWeaver is the eco system that is now built around it,
and the fact that a lot of users appear to be more excited by the fruits available in the
eco system than the product itself.  

Sometimes humans are born with webbed feet or fingers.
Some might find this a to be a hint of evolution, and that maybe why, they are hunted in some cultures.

However now there is an easier way to get webbed toes and hands without being born with them.

Static websites are cool again

November 12, 2012

Cruising around the net today I came across several posts about the increasing (re) interest in fully static websites. As often is the case with the IT world, we appear to have come full circle and are now back where it all began. Static html pages.

The virtues of going static are usually stated as:


If a site comes under heavy traffic a purely static site can withstand the traffic much better because it does not rely on executing code nor a database.

It is also dead easy to convert/move/take advantage of content delivery networks to make you blog super speedy and resilient.

To be fair though, for 90% and more of all blogs out there, this is not a major concern. They are lucky to get a hundred or a thousand visitors a day.


Using purely static content, means that the attack surface that your blog exposes is significantly lowered. Ever heard of a sql injection attack on a static blog?

There are still issues surrounding the web server, appropriate permissions etc, so your not bulletproof. However a static blog is also incredibly fast to restore and backup.

Ease of use

It is all HTML pages and maybe a little bit of javascript. No complicated products to learn or things to get in your way. No need to worry about heaps of code you have no idea what does and how it might effect that latest stylesheet you added.


Yes, for the developers and cool kids today you can actually host and version your static blog with Git. Writing your blog can follow the same path as writing your code. This is very powerful. Access from almost anywhere, easily revert to previous versions, collaborate with a few thousand of your closest friends.

In fairness you do not have to stick with Git, you can use Subversion or almost any other versioning software out there but Git is just the latest and coolest according to the hipsters.


The more complicated setup is needed for your site the more you will have to pay. Its not really that easy, but lets keep it simple. To serve static pages you don’t need a database, or even compatibility with PHP v x.y.z or Python x.y with Django x.y.z, if it has a file system and if its got an http server you are good to go.

You should be able to find a host for very little money even free. In addition there are ways to serve your files from some of your favorite tools like DropBox and Amazon S3. Neat huh.

How to accomplish modern behavior on a static site

Site search

Most of your users probably do not care one way or another about the technology you are running your site on, unless you are writing a blog about what your blog runs on.

Still users have gotten spoiled and expects a certain set of features. Like search. Now static pages do support this. All the user has to do is load every page and use the browsers find feature.

In my scientific polling I have learned that most users do not like that idea, thus we need to find another idea.

There are two main ways of dealing with it. Use an application or script to generate an index to help the user find things or use an external service to search enable your site. Like Google or Bing. Those guys are really pretty good at search.


Sometimes users feel they can contribute to your blog by adding content or spam. Often users seem to feel that your blog posts need more spam.

In a purely static site there is no for a user to add comments because there is no code and no storage mechanism, so again we have to turn to other service and outsource the commenting.

Intense Debate and Disqus both offer good products in this segment that you can attempt to integrate with your blog.


The major ad providers all provide pieces of script you can put on in your html to show ads. The scripts here all run in the browser so no need for pesky server side code which would eat resources to run.



Back when I started playing around with the web, around 1992, 1993 static web pages was the latest, the greatest and the coolest. Shortly afterwards we got SSI, and CGI and several other server side goodies but in the beginning HTML was where it was at.

Now being fast, secure and scalable why would we ever change? What would make perfectly reasonable IT people start cluttering things up?

Maintnance for one. Maintaining a few thousand, or a few million static html pages is a nightmare. Switching from that headache to a nice CMS (content management system) probably saved the sanity of many a content contributor.

Interactivity is another one. While we can now rely on 3rd party services to do the heavy lifting on comments, ads and search. Back then you had to run things locally.

Being able to re-use content across multiple pages, have multiple different languages represented etc is a lot easier with a coded backend than without.


If you really know what you are doing and take care to do it right this point is a bit moot.

Lets say your blog is orange and black and then you decide that pink and gray is the thing and you want to change your logo and .. etc.

Making that update on all the html pages is like booring. Not to mention you have to add the latest marquee blinking text.

A content management system, or a blogging system allows you to “re-theme” your site easily. The content nuggets reside comfortably in a database somewhere and layout, look and feel, order, removals etc can be accomplished in minutes rather than hours.

Now most of this can be done today with scripting and css. If you know your way around that well, you can probably re-theme a static site in minutes as well.


Static blog scripts

Hyde, Cactus, Jekyll

Static blog tools

Rapid Weaver (os/x)


Hosting your static site on Amazon CloudFront and or S3



I guess I should rephrase that: Why is the media so very focused on how much a movie makes during its opening weekend?

In general the curve of how a movie does under normal circumstances would start off a little slow and then pick up as more people see it and like it.

The only reason why opening number would be so important would be because they know its a shabby product and the opening weekend is the most traffic it will see. Once word of mouth spreads nobody wants to go back.

I have recently converted back to the Blackberry platform.

My road has been long. I uncomfortably said good bye to my Blackberry device a few years ago because the replacement cost for the device was very high compared to an Android or iPhone. Since then I have shuffled between the iPhone and the Android. Those are great smart phone devices . There is a lot of cool and even some useful stuff you can do with some of those applications.

I have however now found my home again with a Blackberry device and a keyboard. I love it. A Blackberry device (leaving out the non keyboard ones) does being a phone very well. It also does texting and emails very well. No really surprise there, its what it was created to do. This is the primary reason I am now back in love with the platform. I HATE the process of making a call on the Android platform, and to a lesser extent on the IPhone. An my Blackberry I press a button and I can make a call. I have not had any other device (including an ill fated Android phone with a built in hardware keyboard) that lets me read my email and respond to it more efficiently than a BB. An in the end whatI primarily use my phone for is to make calls, read email and text. Battery life blows the Android and iPhones away, clocking in 3 days in a single charge.

So in short, I love the Blackberry device because it does what it was designed for extremely well. It does not do being a tablet well at all. It is not a great device for showing off pictures, playing games, etc, and this is exactly what Blackberry needs to embrace to be successful. RIM will never invent the next iPhone and their constant attempts at making their device do what an Android or iPhone does best is doomed to failure.

RIM needs to understand that its core users, and users attracted to the platform love the simplicity and the effectiveness of the tool they sell. Go with it, make the best damn Blackberry you can but please don’t turn it into a bad copy of the iPhone. If I wanted an iPhone I would have kept it, but I found it annoying. I want hardware buttons, I can type really fast on a Blackberry (with a hardware keyboard). I can even type one handed. Try doing the on the Droid. In fact I wish RIM would bring back the scroll wheel on the side. Its awesome for quickly scrolling through my messages. I don’t want to move my finger over and use a touch screen. I don’t want to have to move over to the touchpad. I want my scroll wheel on the side. Its fast, its simple. Keep the touchpad though its useful for other things.

I plead with RIM to listen, do what you do best, do it proud, do it even better than you have so far. Make ads about owning a frustration free device. Show how much quicker you can make a call with hardware buttons. Show your great battery life. Embrace the difference, take your own path. Leave it to Google and Apple to fight it out making mini tablets that can also function as a phone. Then you can giggle at Microsoft trying to beat them at that game. Do not stop making denies with physical keyboards.