Herding Code 200: io.js, Angular angst, K Scott’s new Band, Kickstarters, Containers and Old School Elite Women Coders

The guys talk about the Node / iojs fork, Angular 2, K Scott’s new Microsoft Band and other wearables, Kickstarter successes and failures, container technologies like Docker, and some recent articles about women heroes of coding.

Download / Listen: Herding Code 200: io.js, Angular angst, K Scott’s new Band, Kickstarters, Containers and Old School Elite Women Coders

Show Notes:

  • The Node / io.js fork
    • (00:41) Jon asks Kevin what’s going on with the io.js fork. Kevin says the fork is due to the Node team’s slow release cycle. Jon asks what technical things people are looking for, and whether io.js code is supposed to be compatible with Node code. Scott K lists some of the features planned for Node 0.12. There’s some general discussion about what this means long-term and whether this will be a temporary or permanent fork.
  • Angular angst
    • (06:21) Jon asks K Scott what is going on in the Angular world. K Scott summarizes why people were bent out of shape over the Angular 2 announcements.
    • (07:30) Jon asks what this all means from Angular developers – what’s actually changed? K Scott discusses how the team isn’t worrying about migration from Angular 1.x. He mentions AtScript and the guys discuss how it relates to TypeScript. Kevin asks if Google is the new Microsoft, in that everything has to be their way. K Scott says it’s feeling like MEF composition.
    • (12:09) Scott K says he thinks the radical changes are to support components and dart. K Scott says he also sees that runtime introspection looks like an important goal.
    • (13:30) Scott K talks about the migration plans and the announcements that 1.x won’t be getting any new features. Kevin says this puts Angular developers in a tough spot, because 2.0 isn’t going to be out for a while and 1.3 is the final release in that branch. Scott K says he’s stopped paying much attention to it for now while waiting for things to shake out. There’s a discussion of Durandal now that Rob’s left the Angular project.
  • Wearables and the Microsoft Band
    • (17:30) Jon asks K Scott about his new Microsoft Band. K Scott says he likes the notifications and sleep notifications. Jon asks if the sleep notifications are actionable or just telling you things you already know; K Scott says he’s notices that poor sleep for three nights in a row affect his communication skills.
    • (20:25) Jon says he hasn’t been able to pull the trigger on Pebble, even on super sale, but the Band looks really interesting. The voice input for Cortana looks neat, too.
  • Windows Phone interlude
    • (21:55) K Scott says he helped a friend pick out a Windows Phone and was impressed by the inexpensive models from Blu. Jon talks about how all the new Windows Phone models are nice inexpensive phones rather than flagship models. Jon mentions the app coverage and says that all the big apps seem to be available, the only ones he misses is an app from his bank to deposit checks.
    • (24:30) Kevin says it seems like Windows Phone is swimming upstream on apps, mentioning recent articles from Tom Warren and Ed Bott.
  • Wrap up on wearables
    • (25:55) Jon asks Kevin what he’s thinking on the Apple Watch. He says he’s intrigued and wants to play with one to see.
    • (26:55) Scott K says there’s not much you can really do on a tiny screen, so consuming content on a watch is silly. Jon says that he sees room for things like two-way communication and remotely controlling the desktop. Scott K says his Pebble is kind of like a second screen for his phone. He says there isn’t enough horsepower on a watch for voice recognition, but the other guys all jump in to say that the watches use Bluetooth to work with the voice recognition on their phones and it all works pretty well.
  • Kickstarter
    • (32:15) Jon says he’s backed ten projects, but only three of them really turned out well: gourmet marshmallows, a web-based font creation program called Prototypo, and a file manager called OneCommander. Scott’s had good success because he does some due diligence on the shipping background for the creators.
    • (35:15) Scott says he avoids tech projects on Kickstarter because he knows geeks, and he knows the overestimate what they can do: they all think they’re physicists, nutritionists, lawyers… they think they know everything, and they don’t anticipate the cost and effort to go from prototype to shipping product. Jon says he’s seen two software projects that were flawlessly executed – BitCommander (since renamed to OneCommander) and Prototypo. In both cases the creators were very communicative throughout the project.
    • (39:55) Kevin’s never Kickstarted anything because he doesn’t want more things. Jon says he usually backs things because he wants to support someone doing something cool, not because he wants a project. He says he frequently sees popular new technology Kickstarters that are recreating something he can find already shipping on Amazon for a lot less. Kevin says he finds the whole Kickstarter thing is completely fascinating, and he’s amazed that it seems to work. Scott K talks about how many game manufacturers use it to figure out how many to produce rather than to start figuring out how to produce a project. Jon mentions a Sony epaper watch that was Kickstarted just to gage interest and says that the goal of Kickstarter is to actually graduate to shipping product and lists a few; Kevin talks about the Veronica Mars movie.
  • Containers
    • (47:20) Jon talks about Docker and Rocket and asks if the guys are using them yet. Kevin says that poor OSX support (requiring VirtualBox Boot2Docker) has cooled the interest in Docker in his shop.
    • (48:55) Jon says he thinks the container approach seems like a nice middle ground between running a native process and a full virtual machine. He says that he’d like to talk to the Spoon team soon to hear about their Windows native container system.
    • (51:15) Scott K talks about the Mesos system – a distributed systems kernel. Jon searches around and finds it’s an Apache project. The idea is that you can move your Linux applications over to it, then scale across commodity hardware. Jon worries about the latency but figures eventually you overcome latency with processing power if it’s distributed right.
  • Women In Computers, Old
    • (55:05) Scott mentions an article about Margaret Hamilton, the software engineer who wrote the code for the Apollo Eleven and came up with the term hardware engineer. Scott says that the Apollo source code is up on Google Code.
    • (56:45 )Jon talks about an article he saw about the programmers who wrote code for the Colossus in World War Two, and they were all women. Kevin says he saw an article about how until the early ’80’s the distribution was even until there was an advertising campaign that was geared to boys, and things changes after that.
    • (58:20) Scott talks about an article he read about The Sotry of Mel, who was working so close to the metal that he optimized for where the memory would be located on the physical memory drum.

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