Links for the Week


Amazon Launches Public Data Sets To Ease Research – Michael Arrington (via TechCrunch) outlines the new data sets that Amazon is bringing to the public. This is monumental for a couple of reasons. This data is going to be freely available to anyone and everyone. This alone will add considerable value to many existing applications. In addition, this gives people interested in BI a sufficiently large corpus of data to start learning about building dimensions outside of entry level tutorials. SQL Server Rounding Methods Rounding isn’t always the clearest thing on earth. This article attempts to explain it and does a great job. Kudos all around!


How To Guarantee That Your Software Will Suck – Justin Etheredge put together a well-formed list of ways to help out programmers cheaply while still spending money. I’m surprised at how often I’ll hear about people using old hardware to develop software. There are some really powerful, really cheap machines out there on the market. Tools are cheap. Time is expensive. The Frustrating Magical Aspect – Why the Lucky Stiff takes a look at an alternative graphics programming library for Ruby: XRVG. Honestly, this looks pretty cool and could be a good way to start working with the generative art ideas I’ve been toying around with. Now I just need a semi-chaotic stream of data, oh yes, the Amazon sample data sets.


Robert Cain has begun posting a series on how to become a more marketable software developer. While this may be old hat to some developers out there, it’s always good to get a refresher in what keeps us all sharp. Step 1 – Become an Expert and Step 2 – Learn Iteratively are online now. I place a huge amount of importance on continuous learning. If it weren’t for my love of learning, I would never have gotten past many stages in my career (*NIX admin, Perl programmer, ASP.NET developer, Ruby/Rails developer, and now SQL Server development DBA). Why You Should Mix Records on Crap Speakers – Matt Linderman of 37 Signals highlights why it’s important to test with sub-optimal hardware – whether you’re mixing audio or writing a piece of software it’s vital that you test how the final product will work everywhere. As developers, we’re often lucky to have high end hardware. When you switch from a pair of quad core Xeons with 4 gigs of RAM to a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo, the performance might be noticeably slower and it’s vital to experience the software the same way that your users will experience it. A New Look at New Technology – Tim Benninghoff blogs about re-purposing technology for use in the IT community. Twitter just seems like texting on steroids for tweens, and texting just seems annoying… at first.