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My name is Wayne Robinson and I'm a web applications developer from Queensland, Australia. In August 2005 I discovered Ruby on Rails and instantly fell in love. From that point forward, Ruby on Rails has been my language of choice for new projects however, I still use PHP to maintain some legacy applications.


Everyone is a programmer

After reading this article I wrote this article with one mouse click I realised that the requirement for writing code is becoming more and more important to professions other than software development. 

This idea is slowly permuatating  through the world of systems engineering with more and more systems administrators choosing to write and maintain scripts to keep their servers up-to-date, backed up and running efficiently. However, the above article reminded me that many other professions could benefit from their staff

  1. knowing about the power of scripting/development
  2. knowing how to write/use scripting languages
  3. be allowed to automate their repetitive tasks by their employer

A quick search of the Internet doesn't reveal any courses targeted to non-technical employers/employees about an introduction to scripting & automating repetitive tasks. If I had the skills to develop training programs I would seriously consider developing something.

Of course, there also aren't any simple and affordable tools available to make this type of scripting accessible to your average non-programmer. Sure, every business machine has J/VBScript & VBA however, both these languages are pretty low-level when it comes to getting things done.

Any thoughts, training programs or tools available that I have missed out there?


Combining Typefaces

Smashing Magazine has just released an article on combining typefaces.

Whilst this is a great primer on the differences between typefaces, I can't understand why they have chosen to use different font/background colours for the left and right panels on each comparison, not to mention the use of drop-shadow and/or engraving not only on the fonts, but using them differently on the left and right panels.

Maybe Douglas Bonneville is more designer than scientist, but if you want to make a comparison based on just one thing (in this case fonts), you should ensure that when showing side-by-side examples that they only vary by this one thing. Especially as all the 'negative' examples are shown using dark backgrounds and white fonts with drop-shadows. 


The dangers of success

Notch, creator of Minecraft, really shouldn't post on his blog. Every time he talks about something that isn't releasing new code, or fixed bugs, he gets inundated by negative feedback by shit players that want updates every hour. I would say that trolls outnumber positive or neutral feedback 2:1. Especially his latest post about not doing a Friday update because Civilization 5 was just released and he wants to play it.

It's extremely sad, these trolls aren't the majority of his users. Nor does he 'work' for them. Many games take half-a-decade or more to develop and this one is only about 12 months old and only has a single developer. 

He really should stop posting about his personal life (and his new community manager should do a MUCH better job at managing the feedback). It is lame that he how now become a tall poppy (because he shows his sales stats in realtime on his website) and must be cut down by a few trolls who are jealous of his success.

Why am I defending him like this? I don't know. Empathy? Sympathy? I am envious of his success and I wish I had half his talent. I respect what he has done and, after the stress of doing start-ups *forever* I think I feel just as affronted by his trolls as I would if I was him. Sure, he's made > €400k in the last few days and he only had a couple of staff (who he probably pays almost nothing because they are extremely young and don't seem right for the company, IMHO) and he has almost no overheads that aren't personal, but I think he should be able to take a breath and celebrate that success, rather than needing to get back to the grindstone because, now he's got all this money, he is obligated to provide more content.

If I was him I would stop posting private blogs or tweets and I would remove the live updates on the sales stats. Both of them are just targets and don't serve any positive purpose anymore, professionally (making the company seem like a little single guy who's against the world and needs your support) or personally (now he's successful with over €2mil in revenues, but he's just one developer, he doesn't deserve *that* much money, that's just obscene, he should give it all back, hire dozens of people, or work 100 hour weeks).

Is it sad that he should stop? Of course it is. But people suck. Jealousy is human nature and people get angry when people have what they do not and often, don't believe deep down that they could ever have.

It's time for Notch to enjoy his success. I say, well done! Take a break. Enjoy life. You've earned it.


Borders: Rhodia & Clairfontaine

I was disappointed to see that Borders decided to stop stocking Moleskine notebooks. I guess the Australian public (unsurprisingly) didn't enjoy paying $33 for a small notebook, no matter how good it was. Not too big of a deal really, I can find Moleskine notebooks in-person elsewhere.

However, I was gladdened when I walked into my Borders today to find that they are now stocking Rhodia and Clairefontaine products. I have only ever been able to order these products online in Australia and now I get to go down and see the products in person before committing to purchase.


Task Management

OK, after playing a little more I have decided to try Remember the Milk as suggested by Rohan and others.


  • Fast, especially for non-Australian servers
  • Quick add shortcuts cool


  • Ugly (in my opinion) with unintuitive navigation in the iPhone app.
  • No ability to upload and attach files to tasks (I haven't seen this anywhere else either unfortunately).


iTunes 10

“iTunes 10 feels like an iTunes clone”

- Jon Maddox sums it up nicely


Task Management Options

The quantity of small tasks with fluid priorities is starting to get to me and I've decided to attempt to use electronic task management again, even though all my previous attempts have caused me to give up, sometimes only days into the trial.

There are a vast quantity of applications available for every-day task management. My minimum requirements are that there is a web/Mac and an iPhone version of the application and, if I'm going to spending all my time in the application, it also has to be beautiful and easy-to-use.

At the top of my list is Things

Things gets rave reviews everywhere, is simple and beautiful. It's biggest disadvantages to me (someone who has failed at task management in the past) are it's price. AUD$69.95 for the Mac version and AUD$12.99 for the iPhone version and AUD$23.99 for the iPad version. On top of this, syncing doesn't happen over 3G (I have no idea why not), which seems like a huge limitation for me, although at least it syncs via WiFi.

The positive of this expense (AUD$106.93 for all three devices) is that I will have invested a significant chunk of cash in my everyday task management. Maybe this will encourage me to keep it up. 

Maybe I should just try out the iPhone app first (as I will probably be spending most of my time in that).

Any thoughts or recommendations?