Vista – virtual desktops

I’ve been looking for a decent virtual desktop solution for Vista. There’s a couple open source products that have lots of links, but I tried one, Vista Virtual Desktop Manager, and found it a little slow. It uses the new Vista screen thumbnails API and I just found it… unusable.

My favorite multi desktop solution on XP was multidesk, which was in beta forever and never updated and only available via download.com; I was delighted to find that there is a new version, Multidesk Expert, that works on XP. Shareware, I’m definitely going to send this guy some money.

Multidesk is fast, easy to use, and stays out of the way. No fancy animations, just lots of room to work…

 UPDATE

Completely changed my mind. After about a week, I started getting weird crashes in Multidesk Expert. And by that time, a new version of Vista Virtual Desktop Manager came out that had quicker animations and was more stable.  So hurrah for Vista Virtual, and so long, Multidesk.

Learning to love Javascript

When I started doing web development, Javascript was a curiousity, a tacked-on bit of functionality in the browser. It existed out there to do form validation and open new windows, other than that, was a victim of the browser wars and incompatibilities.

I wound up focusing more on content management, integration of design and the backend, and left Javascript to those with the patience to do extensive cross-browser testing and willing to live with the limitations of doing everything on the client side.

I got my first look at what Javascript could really do in 2000 or so (fuzzy on the exact dates) when I came across a service called HalfBrain that had a great Excel-like spreadsheet running in the browser. The only catch was: it only ran in IE5, on Windows.

Now, I could be making this all up–but I’m pretty sure that company closed down, but the developers resurfaced at oddpost, who did a great web-based email client, but, again: IE/Win only. (oddpost is, of course, now Yahoo Mail’s interface.)

But the Javascript folks have kept at it–and now that we have Firefox (and I need to write some time about how great Mozilla is)– and other stable, standards-compliant browsers — it’s enabled the current wave of Javascript development.

Well, I’m a late to the party. (That’s okay, before the party there was a lot of pain. I’d rather be a little late than early.) But it’s a great party, and there’s certainly a lot of enthusiasm and momentum in this space.

Enthusiasm was particularly apparent a six weeks ago when I attended the “Future of Javascript” session sponsored by Mozilla Japan and the Shibuya.js Javascript user’s group. The talk given by John Resig was especially interesting, and made me determined to look closer at JQuery as well.

John Resig - Shibuya.js - Future of Javascript Talk

At any rate–I’ve done work with scriptaculous and prototype in the past year, and am just starting with JQuery. As a technologist, you have to pick and choose what you are going to learn. There’s just too much out there to learn everything.

Well, I’m going to work on learning JQuery.

John’s presentation was not just about JQuery–he laid out the roadmap and opportunities for Javascript the language. Ten years ago, I would have groaned about working with Javascript. But this time, I’m cautiously excited.

10 years at filsa.net

$ whois filsa.net
Domain Name: FILSA.NET
Created on: 06-Dec-97

I registered the filsa.net domain exactly ten years ago today.

I chose filsa.net because it was short, and when people say my first and last name aloud, they tend to run it together into one word.

This domain has not been especially active over the years–there was certainly more activity in the first 3 years then there has been in the last seven.

Still, filsa.net is more of a symbol of all the work I’ve done since I started doing web work professionally. A milestone, of sorts.

So, ten years. I’ll toast myself, and wish for ten years more. Banzai!