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"Come ride with me through the veins of history. I'll show you a god who falls asleep on the job."
Muse / Knights of Cydonia

Posted on October 14, 2005 11:59 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

There's always a ton of stuff going on in the world of technology, but it seems like there has been a more concentrated collection of goings-on lately that, in at least some regards, relate to one another in significant ways.

Most of what I plan to cover comes directly from Slashdot, so if you're a regular reader of that site it will almost certainly look familiar.

CIO Magazine is reporting that MySQL 5 may make its debut as early as next month. This is big news for anyone who has worked on complex applications with the open source database. Triggers, views and stored procedures will surely give MySQL a long overdue "level up" of sorts.

Earlier this week, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced they will be allowing their IM networks to interoperate. This, I'm sure, is a move to give the illusion that they are "opening up" or "standardizing" when really they are just leveraging their closed systems in such a way to keep Google Talk out of the door and to try and compete with the monster that is AOL Instant Messenger.

Interestingly enough, Google almost simultaneously announced that they have hired the main developer of the Gaim instant messaging client, fueling speculation that they may be working on a Trillian killer.

Earlier this year, OS News featured an article on MSN Messenger's 'lock-in' strategy. In the article, the author covers all the cooky features that come with Microsoft's free IM client offering, and goes on to explain how teenagers are all over such features and that is why they aren't flocking to alternatives like Gaim in the same way that they seem to be flocking to alternatives like Firefox.

The OS News article also brings up the issue of GUI weaknesses in open source applications (especially those on alternative operating systems like Linux). There is hope for open source software, though. The Tango Desktop Project aims to "create a consistent user experience for free and Open Source software with graphical user interfaces." How about that? I think it's a great idea to offer open source applications — which don't typically have the benefit of a graphical designer or usability guru who can add the finishing touches necessary for a production quality application — a standard resource for icon sets, graphical elements, etc.

As everyone knows, "Ajax" is the big buzz word of the moment. Well, as it turns out, Ajax isn't only used on the cutting edge of web interface design. It is also being used to create malicious worms. Okay, so "malicious" may be pushing it a little, but the MySpace hack covered in the article I linked to is not quite on the same "humanitarian" level as other Ajax apps like Google Maps.

Fear not, though, Ajax is still being used to do good in the world. The RoundCube Webmail Project is an open-source project geared toward providing an alternative to other web-based email systems like Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail. RoundCube utilizes Ajax, much like the latest offerings from the aforementioned services, but features a cross-browser interface (unlike some) that is very easy on the eyes.


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