February 23, 2024

February meeting writeup

Mark, Suzanne, Ricky, Simon, Matt, Alexander, Hakim, and Carl met at the Phil Pub for drinks and a lively discussion on the LJUG project and other miscellaneous topics.


Projects proposed included:
  • Utility bill tool - Mark to calculate the real costs of your gas/electric/phone etc.
  • J2ME spreadsheet - Hakim a pre-existing but stalled project...
  • Spreadsheet synchronization - Alexander between desktops and phones, via some XML web-service transport
  • Enterprise Resource Planning - Mark SAP, here we come!
  • Tool to help develop software to the ZSpecification standard - Ricky
  • Local weather tool - Simon Scope for web-service; UI tailored to desktop or phone as appropriate.
The Spreadsheet Synchronization project appealed to most as a project that involves work on various platforms, server end development, XML transformation. This will involve some hard thinking about how to resolve conflicts in editing (in brainstorm, I particularly liked the idea that conflict resolution could be done by arbitrary criteria, for example the seniority of the person making the edit!)

But this is a complex project, and we'll need to spend quite a bit more time specifying it. A late proposal came in from Carl to do a simple task that we seem to need some help with, namely:

getting the drinks in at LJUG meetings
Some use-cases for this very important tool will include:
  • Allows addition/deletion/maintenance of new user
  • Allows addition/deletion/maintenance of each users drink order
  • Stores history of drinks orders per user. (Controversial)
  • Allows easy query of "last round ordered"
  • There should be a way for the pub to enter categorised menu items for selection, possibly including pictures and special offers.
  • Maybe it should be possible to attribute each order to a named group, like the JUG, so over time groups that always meet in a particular pub could get a rebate.
  • The waitress should be able to set the order to a new state, so that addition/deletion isn't possible after she has started to prepare the delivery.
The tool will allow us to make orders (hopefully for the next meeting!) by web-service, ideally even by SMS. The XML transport (which is also the working name for the project) will be callsed FreeAsInBeerML.

Also discussed...

  • Macromedia actionscript from a designer's perspective.
  • Java for SAP
  • Why the living dead need SMS alerts about factory production.
  • ZSpecification formal methods for specifying zero-error development projects.
  • Q: How to do triangulation with a mobile phone to find where another phone is (or where you are!) (A: Some mobile operators are experimenting with this, but it is probably a payable service, and there isn't a consistent standard)
  • Would you trust Mark to work from home?
  • The sad state of decline of Britain's public dental care.
  • Translating Crazywarp.
  • Speed cameras; monitoring speed across distances rather than at a specific point; and using Java to break the speed limit.
  • The utopia that is now.
  • Who buys from spammers?
  • How to sell your legal notice from Microsoft on EBAY.
  • Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
    Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
    And the profit and loss.
       A current under sea
  • Laundering drug money.
  • Managing edit conflicts
  • Collaborative ascii art and collaborative spreadsheets?
  • Problem: phones connecting to servers, phones connecting as servers. (Phone OpCo as massive firewall: you can't get from the outside in to your specific phone).
  • Usabilitiy and website design. (See Joel's book)
  • Adapting Carl's OTASlang to J2ME
  • C# vs Java
  • Some positive comments about Visual Studio and .Net as developer environments.
  • Why .Net/JVM may not be best environments for running dynamic languages. See Dan Sugalski's blog. (But what about Jython?)
  • James Strachlan and Groovy. (Great, but buggy?)
  • $Perl{syntax}, and why those @sigils can make your $code cleaner
  • CVS and Subversion, some positive comments about MS SourceSafe (and some surprise thereat)
  • Dynamically changing schemas at runtime. Refactoring schemas.
  • Real life stories of software development.
Posted by osfameron at 08:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 26, 2024

LJUG Members' projects

Starting (slowly) from now, we'll use the category "Members' Projects" to feature the work (both technical and non-technical) of our members in and outside Liverpool. So if you're a member in the UK NW area (or a virtual member!) and you've got an exciting software development, play in a band, or work as a volunteer fireman, let us know or leave a comment to this entry!
Posted by osfameron at 02:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack