Daemon

I’ve been meaning to read Daemon ever since Rick Klau raved about it in his blog, but I always seemed to find a reason to put it off.  Brad Feld’s review of it convinced me to finally pick it up, and now I wish I would’ve read it sooner.

What a great book!

It’s so nice to read a techno-thriller that doesn’t make me roll my eyes.  If you’re a geek, you know what I mean: you start getting into a novel, and then suddenly find yourself laughing at the way technology is so cluelessly portrayed.  Not so with Daemon – in fact, you may actually learn about tech that you didn’t even know already exists.  And after reading the novel, I’m guessing you’ll never again leave your OS unpatched :)

Technology aside, Daemon is a great read with solid characters and a solid story.  I recommend it highly.

ANN: FeedDemon 2.5 Public Beta

I know it has been quieter than usual around here, and there’s a good reason for that: I’ve been coding like a madman on FeedDemon 2.5.

FeedDemon 2.5 – which will be free to all existing FeedDemon customers – has actually been in beta for several weeks, but I haven’t mentioned it here yet in order to keep the number of testers small. Today saw the release of FeedDemon 2.5 Beta 4, so I figure it’s time to let it loose.

As you can see from the release notes, there are a lot of additions in FeedDemon 2.5, including these new features:

  • Synchronize a FeedDemon news bin and expose it as an RSS feed that anyone can subscribe to (for example, my link blog feed is created by drag-and-dropping feed items and web pages into a FeedDemon 2.5 news bin)
  • Vastly improved offline support, including the ability to prefetch links and images in unread items for offline reading
  • Completely rewritten “Popular Topics” personal memetracker (screenshot) which includes the most popular topics in everyone’s subscriptions (as described in the FeedBurner blog)
  • Embedded videos now display inside FeedDemon’s newspaper
  • “Who’s linking here” – quickly find out which sites are linking to an item in any feed

If you’d like to give the beta a spin, stop by the FeedDemon Beta Site to get it.


Note: Although I try to make my beta versions as solid as possible, they inevitably contain a few bugs. If you’re not comfortable using unfinished software, please wait until the final release before downloading FeedDemon 2.5.


There are no “average” people

Okay, it’s time for a minor rant about a pet peeve of mine: I hate it when politicians talk about “average Americans,” as though people who don’t aspire to a career in politics are somehow “average.” How many people do you know that like to be referred to as “average?”

This practice afflicts the tech world, too. For example, while I agree wholeheartedly with this post by Scott Karp, the talk of “average people” made me grind my teeth. How about we use the phrase “non-geeks” (or “non-technical people”) when referring to people whose lives don’t revolve around their computers? That seems less condescending to me.

NewsGator Rocks with the Chili Peppers

I’m spending a few days in Denver this week to visit my friends and co-workers at NewsGator, which is something I should do more often. I’ll be here again on August 18 – which as luck would have it is when the Red Hot Chili Peppers (one of my favorite bands) play in Denver.

At the company’s “all hands” meeting this morning I suggested that a bunch of us go to the concert together, and asked for a show of hands of those who wanted to go. A surprising number of hands popped up – and they all popped up after NewsGator CEO J.B. Holston said that the company would pay for the show.

I’m working for a company that’s paying for everyone to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I may never leave this place :)

15 Pounds to Go

Last week I announced that I was going to lose 20 pounds of blubber. This morning I weighed in and found that I’d dropped five pounds already – a nice start! Of course, the first week of eating healthy usually results in losing more weight than subsequent weeks, so I’m not about to get my hopes up that I’ll continue to lose at this rate. But if I can drop two pounds a week for 10 weeks, I’ll be happy.

Overall this first week of weight loss has been fairly easy, with the notable exception of yesterday – Easter Sunday. It was a challenge getting through the day without giving in to temptation and gorging on my kids’ Easter candy, but I survived by remembering that I’d blogged about my planned weight loss. It’s easy to cheat on your diet when you’re the only one who knows that you’re dieting, but it’s not so easy when you’ve told a bunch of people.

So by reading this, you’re actually helping me stick to my goals. And the nice part for you is that you don’t have to put up with me during meals, where I guarantee that I’d lustfully eye your food or give you that preachy “I can’t believe you’re eating that crap” look despite having eaten buckets of that same food before starting my diet.