Monday, July 30, 2012

Ruby: Quizzimoto

I finally open sourced Quizzimoto. Quizzimoto is an application that lets you build video-based quizzes. My goal was to do something interesting in the educational space using Ruby on Rails and YouTube APIs. I used Quizzimoto as a sample application in my tutorial, Google I/O 101: Using Ruby on Rails and YouTube for Education.

If you're interested, here's the source.

PHP: Phycocauth

Phycocauth is a sample project that combines the following: PHP, YouTube, OAuth2, CodeIgniter, the CodeIgniter Youtube API Library, and the Google APIs Client Library for PHP.

I'm releasing this proof of concept to show that it's possible to integrate the CodeIgniter Youtube API Library with the Google APIs Client Library for PHP. Once version 3 of the YouTube API is ready, the CodeIgniter Youtube API Library will no longer be necessary. All you'll need is the Google APIs Client Library for PHP which will be able to handle OAuth2 as well as the YouTube API.

See application/controllers/example.php for the most interesting piece code.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Books: Content Rules

I just finished listening to Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. In short, it was good. If it's part of your job to talk to the world using social media, it's worth reading.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Books: What Technology Wants

I just finished listening to What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly, the guy who started "Wired" magazine. What an incredible book! Here's Amazon's description:

In this provocative book, one of today's most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution. By mapping the behavior of life, we paradoxically get a glimpse at where technology is headed-or "what it wants." Kevin Kelly offers a dozen trajectories in the coming decades for this near-living system. And as we align ourselves with technology's agenda, we can capture its colossal potential. This visionary and optimistic book explores how technology gives our lives greater meaning and is a must-read for anyone curious about the future.

In short, it's a fascinating, holistic, comprehensive philosophy of technology. Kelly covers things such as:

  • The history of technology since pre-human times
  • The history of technology from the perspective of a hydrogen atom starting at the big bang
  • How technology can be thought of as a new stage of life in the history of the universe
  • How completely dependent we are on technology for our very survival these days
  • Why a declining population a few decades from now might result in a slowdown in progress

All I can say is that I couldn't put it down, and I highly recommend it!

Books: Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

When I worked at Xmarks, I had a boss named Penny. Before coming to Xmarks, she worked as a manager in operations at Amazon. Apparently, she went several years with no employee turnover. Obviously, she was a very good manager. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that I should read a book called Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams:

Demarco and Lister demonstrate that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. Their answers aren't easy--just incredibly successful...

Fast forward 5 years, I finally took her advice. What a fantastic book! It was first released in 1987, and an updated version was released in 1999. However, it's just as relevant today. I really think this book ranks up there with The Mythical Man-Month. I've spent so much time over the course of my career reading technical books and learning new programming languages in order to perfect my craft and increase my productivity. However, I was oblivious to the fact that so many impediments to productivity and project success weren't technical at all--they were "peopleware" problems. I would have been way better off reading this book earlier in my career. I highly recommend it!