The very best of thinkMoult

Well, a year has passed and it’s a great time to look back over the year and follow the tradition of mentioning the first letter of names who contributed to that awesome year – in alphabetical order of course. Not that these are the only people, but they did definitely add some flavour.

A. B. C. C. C. D. E. G. H. J. J. K. L. R. T. Z.

We notice the entrance of 3 more than last year, with some remaining and some leaving the list, and a new highscore of 13/26 letters. Notably we have a new A, C, G, J, K, and a loss of an F (his fault for not replying) and an M (my fault for somehow magically forgetting he existed).

Now to start looking back at the best posts on thinkMoult ever. Or something like that. In reverse order we have…

Word processing? Real Men use LaTeX!

This little entry marks my discovery of LaTeX – basically a markup language for documents. I still use LaTeX to this day and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. It’s also an eye-opener for those who think that Microsoft Office is the be-all and end-all. It’s a fun hidden subject to most people on the street and for that it deserves the 8th article of the year.

Sibelius, Finale, Cakewalk? Real men use Lilypond.

Similar to the previous post we continue the theme of "Real Men". This time introducing the markup of music it also represented the creation of Evan, my first music composition in a long time. It’s also opens up the idea of me releasing more compositions in the future as I continue to recalibrate some priorities.

The problem with Gentoo

This charming little post shows my second public displeasure at Linux – in this case a few personal downfalls with the Gentoo Linux distribution. Despite this hiccup I still very much like Gentoo and continue to use it today. In fact, I _just_ got my wireless working :P It also provoked a few comments from the Gentoo crowd (a hocking 16 to be exact) and made me see Gentoo in a different light. Gentoo fills a very interesting set of niches in the Linux market and I’m glad to be in one of them.

Perspective Failure

This was was also a turning point in some ways more than others – it was just after my third Perspective magazine had been released and I insulted my very own handiwork. Or rather it’s printing. I also jabbed at the entire development process for the magazine, complaining about time restraints, inefficiency, and the purpose behind the entire thing. This consequently led to a very interesting "debate" over issues, me refusing to do the next Perspective issue, and a comeback with my final Perspective creation with a completely refreshed design, a revamped workflow and most importantly, my very own article on the front page hoping to instil a little bit of initiative in my fellow students. This initial spark was supported by a whopping 23 responses – and a lot of private emails, too. It continues to influence certain events even today.

Beware of Google

Originally written back in May this definitely overdue post predicted the imminent takeover of Google. Speaking 7 months later with proof that this has started to escalate prooves intuition to be right after all. And no, the web takeover did not begin long before Google – simply because Java isn’t Google. Nor was anybody else that tried to do it. I remain a steadfast opposer to Google services and boycott it as necessary (with the exception of Google Docs, required for working with the KDE promo team). At the same time, it’s a fun thing to watch. This provoked a decent 12 comments.

The Open-Source Market – Limitless and Forever expanding?

This prequel to the 2nd article of the year earns its 3rd article of the year award. It takes a step back at the open-source market and uses Linux as an analogy to observe several of its common problems and mishaps. It takes a few daring jabs at a system to solve it but which will never be realised through raw social inertia. Definitely a wall of text, some brainfart here and there, but a post I like to rereading myself.

Kaizen and Kakushin’s Practicality in Open-Source Business Models

This memorable post was applauded silently through select IRC channels and takes a very simple and small idea about efficiency and extrapolates it throughout many different aspects of open-source business models. A gem of a post, with some lovely diagrams splattered throughout. It also ends with a few open-ended questions and was definitely something I enjoyed writing and reading again. Simple to understand and a good introduction. Yep, that’s the 2nd article of the year.

How to use CodeIgniter’s OpenID library to integrate OpenID in your existing user system.

The Article Of The Year ™ has one hell of a mouthful of a title. It’s one of the few technical posts I have written, in the form of a guide of a problem I tackled myself. It turns out that this is a pretty popular problem and one that hasn’t been answered due to the complexity of answering it. I feel I did a decent job in providing a solution understandable to most people and reports in the comments show that it has worked – boosting my geek cred considerably!

It also wins due to brute force of having 45 comments (and counting!)

’till next year!

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  1. Good round up. The google article definitely strikes a chord here. Though I must add that it’s near impossible to replicate all of the desktop’s functionality with a web browser. Especially for people on a slow connection. Also you cannot replace productivity apps like 3d modelling, music creation, image tools and video editing with tools online. It just doesn’t make for efficient processing.

    So I think the desktop will live for a while longer. In fact, it might prove itself to be surprisingly durable.

  2. Of course! What has been seen as the userfriendly will now be the “hackers”.

    CLI moved from being the norm to only being used to develop higher level things. Similarly, desktops will change from being the main platform to simply one used to “develop” and “create”, and not “use”. The web will be the “use”. We’re just moving up another rung in the ladder.

  3. Well, I think that the web has a long way to go still. Connectivity is still a major issue for a lot of us and the confidence in security/encryption/privacy and trust in the service provider are other issues to deal with before we make the switch.

    I still see myself using OpenOffice.org for a few more years yet… ;)

  4. Hari, you are right about connectivity (did you hear about Google DNS, or Google providing free wifi in airports around the US?) but as for confidence in the provider, have you seen their “Go Google” initiative?

    No doubt Google knows about those shortcomings and knows how to tackle them.

  5. Yes, I’m just saying. Trust is important and because the Internet is a very public medium, it’s going to take a LOT of trust-building and more besides. I am a lot sceptical when it comes to big corporations controlling a lot of data as google are.

    Moreover I personally consider the web only a medium of information exchange, not a platform for application development in spite of all the buzzwords and hype. No matter how many cute AJAX widgets google add to the web browser it’s all still HTML/XML documents underneath; the bottom line is that everything is still as fragile as the connection between the client and server – and that, I suspect, will be the biggest stumbling block. The basic framework of network computing hasn’t changed all that much over the years, although we’ve added tons of protocols and fancy browser techniques in the mix.

    To be honest, it’s frightening how much we depend even on the 220/110 V electricity supply today. If we took out power out of the equation, I expect three-fourths of the world would grind to a halt. Where are google then? Makes you think…

  6. hari, I see the web exactly as you see it and I can’t agree with your second paragraph more. However the fact is that the majority of people don’t see the difference between Microsoft Outlook and GMail, and the majority would even pick GMail over Outlook.

    Happy 2010 to you too, p.

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