Friday, September 15, 2006

What is he smoking?

I guess this is going to be my most political blog entry ever. I normally try to abstain from such but today I saw something that really got me angry. Before I repeat it, I want to clarify a few things.

1. I despise terrorism and enything done by those who would willingly kill a civilian to achieve some political or military objective.

2. I count Americans as a lot of my closest and dearest friends. I would do anything to help them. The USA is a great country.

3. 9/11 (both of them), the Oklahoma bombing and other attacks on the USA are despicable and need to be dealt with firmly.

I guess where you can see this is going. Today I saw a quote form a Bush speech:

Growing animated, President Bush said, "It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."

Well guess what? Bombing Bagdad and killing an estimated 100,000 people including women and children IS killing innocent people to achieve an objective. Using weapons which to not discriminate against civilians (like "cluster bombs") is exactly that. The people who died probably don't feel any better knowing they were killed by either side.

I don't have all the answers and don't claim to know how to deal with Islamic terrorists, but I will speak out when I see blatant lies. Justifying murder with Morals doesn't negate the end result. Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11 nor was it going to pose any threat to the USA. Frankly, I am a lot more worried about the situation in Iran and North Korea right now than I ever was about Iraq.

End of rant....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Flex Builder 2.0 on Mac OSX - First Looks!!

(File this under "You heard it here first")

One advantage to being a technical evangelist for a large company is that I get first access to new technologies. Last week, while on an analyst tour in the UK, I got access to the pre-release version of Flex Builder for Mac OSX. (Note to self: I think I just admitted to being a geek). D’oh!!!

Installation is easy, in typical Mac style. All I had to do was unzip the file and double click on the app. The installer did the rest. Flex Builder 2.0 places an icon on both your desktop and toolbar on the Mac. Launching it is quicker than on my old PC (for comparison sake, I have a Macbook Pro (intel duo core chipset) running 2 GB RAM and OSX 10.4.7+). In fact, with Finder, Desktop, Word, Excel, PPT, FireFox, Safari, entourage, Acrobat Pro, System Profiler, Preview and my Cisco VPN client running, Flex Builder launches in 4 seconds from click to completion.

The first screens are largely the same as on Windows:

I wanted to try out the Hello World Application I wrote for my talks in the UK last week to see if any bugs were encountered before getting into more complex applications using E4X and other AS3 features. I used the Wizard to create a project in no time and it flawlessly set up the project and first main.mxml file.

Switching to the Design view worked perfectly too. I was able to quickly add a Panel, Text area and Button all within seconds. I decided to test out the text functionality so I switched the alignment to centre and changed the text size. No issues.

Code completion via Eclipse worked well too.

One minor glitch happened when I became lazy and decided to go to my PPT to cut and paste the syntax for the behavior on the button. When I searched the task bar for Flex Builder 2, it was advertised but as “Java”.

Of course, this is not a major issue as it was immediately clear to me what was going on. I had made a mistake on the syntax and saved the document. When I fixed the syntax and saved it a second time, the message disappeared (this was a pre-release bug in the PC version). I ran the program and it executed without a problem and only one minor nit. On a PC, when you run the program, it opens your browser and brings it to the front of the desktop so you can see your project (*.swf file within an HTML envelope) execute. On the Mac, I had to manually switch to the browser to see it. In fact, I had hit the run button twice not knowing that it had actually run the first time.

My early observations are very enthusiastic. My gut feeling is that it runs better on a Mac (certainly faster than the similarly equipped PC I was using). Hats off to the Flex Mac team!!! Stay tuned for more.