Archive for March, 2006



I’ve been using RadRails for Ruby on Rails development at work. It’s a Rails IDE built on Eclipse, available as a standalone (which they recommend) or as a plugin. We already use Eclipse for Java development, so it’s an easy step for me to make. And it does make a few things easier than, say, JEdit. ActiveState’s Komodo now sports Ruby and Rails features, but its project file handling annoyed me so I quickly gave it up. TextMate is definitely my editor of choice on the Mac, but on Windows I’ll happily stick with RadRails for Ruby and Rails projects.

They’ve just posted a screencast that demonstrates RadRails features. It does about what you’d expect with regard to editing: RDT for Ruby editing, and an RHTML editor that, while not perfect (no tag completion yet), gets the job done and has enough syntax highlighting to make my life easier. If all I wanted was a text editor, though, I’d stick with a text editor and avoid the Eclipse overhead. What keeps me with RadRails is the easy stopping and starting of a WEBrick web server, generators, tailing the development log, and the simple database browser. This is all available through a terminal window or other apps, yes, but sometimes it’s nice to have everything in one place. The raison d’être of an IDE.

Strangely, this isn’t how I work on a Mac, where I feel more at home with small, well-defined apps that each do one thing well. On Windows, though, I’m more at home with an IDE. Odd.

Ah, who am I kidding. I ought to just cave and start using Emacs.

One more nicety: the developers podcast their releases, discussing what’s new in the release and what’s coming up. I enjoy these. They’re easier to digest than just scanning through a changelog.


Limited attention.

“Do you really read all those goddamned blogs?!”

My brother asked me that after he saw a couple hundred feeds in my blogroll. “Sure,” I wrote back, “it’s not as bad as it seems.”

That was 200 feeds ago.

Now that I’ve tipped over the 400 mark, I’ve had to make some changes. It happened when Alec was born and I took three weeks leave from work. I decided to stay away from the computer for a while, checking email only occasionally and not opening my feedreader at all.

It felt good. Really good.

I fell back on my old habits, though, for several weeks, feeling like I was more and more behind the times, until I caught Merlin Mann’s interview on Inside the Net. Listening to Merlin talk about email management, I was feeling pretty good about my inbox. I’m brutal with it. I open email just a few times a day, and clear out the inbox completely. To-do items end up in Remember The Milk, some email gets filed for reference, and an awful lot gets deleted. It feels great.

Then I opened up Feedlounge, which I was test-driving as my new web-based aggregator, and was crushed by the 3000+ unread items. Then and there I decided to simplify. I cancelled Feedlounge and resolved to stop using web-based aggregators entirely. Now I read only at home on my Mac, checking in on just a handful of core feeds every day or two. I still have the full feed list in NetNewsWire and scan through it occasionally, but feel no compunction whatsoever about marking everything read. Very liberating.

How very sad that this feels liberating. But it does.

And yes, NetNewsWire. My friend Jim suggested Vienna, which I used for a while but had to abandon because it was choking on one of my core feeds (Stephen O’Grady’s). NetNewsWire does what I need, perhaps because it’s very good at what it does.

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