A Question of Balancing Robot Technologies

The question of just how robots will affect us in the future consumes quite a bit of my time because I’m so interested in how they can be used for good. For example, robots are currently used to fight fires and to keep humans out of inhospitable environments. We also rely on robots to build… (read more)

Baby, It’s Gonna Get Cold!

It’s only September and yet the thermometer has dipped into the 30’s. Since we live in a big old farmhouse with lots of character, we have consciously changed it as little as possible. In a perfect world, we would have all of the original storm windows. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We… (read more)

Comments and CAPTCHA

In my Using CAPTCHA for Comments post, I described the need to use CAPTCHA to help keep spam under control. Using CAPTCHA has dramatically reduced the amount of spam the blog is receiving and provides a nicer environment everyone. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t need CAPTCHA, but the spammers have other ideas. So, this… (read more)

Using Hypermedia to Your Advantage

Many developers are familiar with the task of making a request to a server and receiving a response. We’ve been performing the same task since before the PC even appeared on the scene. So, it’s hard to imagine that anything new has come up. Hypermedia is that new thing, but before we go to far,… (read more)

Python Used for Common User Interface Needs

My upcoming book, Beginning Programming with Python For Dummies, describes how to start working with Python. You discover how to perform all the basics and I even provide a few real world examples. However, once you’re done with the book, you might ask how Python can be used for real world programming of the sort… (read more)

Working at the Command Line

I maintain statistics about each of my books. Lately, I’ve noticed a trend with my command line reference books. More people are sending me e-mail about Microsoft Windows Command Line Administration Instant Reference and Administering Windows Server 2008 Server Core. However, the questions are becoming more diverse and less technical. Rather than the targeted questions… (read more)

In Praise of the Humble Potato

You say Po-TAE-to and I say Po-TA-to. Kennebec. Pontiac. Norland Red. Burbank. Russet. Yukon Gold. Even the names are beautiful, humble and poetic. So useful. So nutritious. So versatile.  So comfortable and comforting. Just in case you’re wondering, all Russet potatoes are Burbanks, but not all Burbank potatoes are russet. The Russet Burbank is described… (read more)

Rhythms of Fall

It’s the beginning of fall here in Wisconsin—my favorite time of the year. Everything is getting that tired look to it and the evening temperatures are beginning to dive a little more often into the 50s and 60s. The leaves are starting to change just a little. Soon I’ll be up in the woods cutting… (read more)

An Issue with Cloud Computing

The world is heading toward cloud computing at a frantic pace. However, the question is whether cloud computing is ready for the world to rely on it. I keep hearing about major outages of line of business applications. For example, Visual Studio Online recently suffered a major outage. If you’re a developer, the last thing… (read more)

Communication of All Kinds for Fun and Profit

A number of readers have taken pokes at me for my recent Writing Letters post. Interestingly enough, since the time I wrote that post, I’ve picked up another pen pal. The post, in case you haven’t read it yet, makes the point that most forms of communication have a purpose, or are at least a… (read more)