Time to Learn Something New!

I’ve taken it upon myself to start learning a new programming language and leaving my happy little LAMP (or preferably LNMP) comfort zone. I love PHP and how easy it is to get up and running. Its pretty simple and gets the job done quick. PHP unfortunately lacks a lot of the “grace” and modern nuances that a more modern platform such as Ruby on Rails provides.

Now, before the pitchforks start coming out I already know that I’m kind of comparing Apples to Apple Pie. PHP is a language with a ton of community support and Ruby on Rails is a framework. I get it, but there’s a lot to be desired in PHP land. PHP has some good frameworks as well – CakePHP, Zend, CodeIgniter, Yii, etc. – but the sheer variety creates a lot of discontinuity in the community and a lot of the frameworks out there are just Ruby on Rails wannabe’s anyways. More importantly besides any of that, PHP is getting a little boring and I want to learn something new 🙂 So, I’m starting to learn Ruby, Sinatra and eventually Ruby on Rails and share my learning here.

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Display Link – Make use of that iPad sitting on your desk

So, while working at home today I decided it would be great to have a third display (besides the laptop and 24″ monitor hooked up to it) so that I could monitor server performance, but not sacrifice my work area on the primary monitors. I have an iPad and I thought that there must be some way I could hook it up as a tertiary workspace area, so I did a little searching and found DisplayLink.

DisplayLink is a desktop server, iPad client software system that runs in the background and allows you to connect an iPad on the same wi-fi network as another monitor. This is nothing particularly new except for two major selling points 1) Its free and, more importantly, 2) it works without shutting of Aero in Windows 7! This is a major win for desktop extension software for the iPad as most others traditionally cost you at least $10 in the marketplace and they don’t work with Aero turned on. Without Aero on Windows 7 and Vista, the Windows interface slows down considerably, you lose previews, and everything in general looks like trash. With DisplayLink though, I’ve got my iPad sitting next to my laptop running a terminal screen with htop going and I’m able to keep working like normal on my other two screens.

Oh, and as an added bonus, the integration of the iPad as a monitor is really tight with the Windows OS. When you have the DisplayLink software running and linked with your iPad, the iPad just shows up as another display in your monitor configuration area and you can move it around and change how it’s linked (extended, duplicate, etc.). The monitor view on the iPad also does not hinder notifications and messages coming through on your iPad either – they just appear over the view like any other application.

Major win for DisplayLink!

Synergy FTW


Just got a new laptop – a massive upgrade over the desktop unit I had. Oddly enough for the industry I’m in and what I love doing, this is the first laptop I’ve ever owned. I purchased this laptop primarily to replace my desktop, but also to be a tool for my work. Since I bring my laptop into the office, I thought I’d take a look at a feature I had seen a few of my Mac buddies using with their Powerbooks – Synergy.

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