Firebird, bleh [en]

[Version française]

Almost everyday, I read someone saying "why would someone still use [a suposedly abandoned] IE when he could indeed use a [supposedly better] Firebird ?".

Hold on guys... you know brainwashing may not be the best way to evangelize, right? ... and could we at least try to sound a little less naïve?

I'll tell you why: because, as of today, Firebird is just a prototype, far from offering the usage comfort IE does! :(

Firebird may be good at respecting web standards... nevertheless pretty poor at respecting windows standards. And the sad thing is, the average user reacts to that! Even unconsciously!

For example: while Windows menus look "outset" by default, Firebirds menus look "inset"; toolbars cannot be moved (I'd like to have those links in that wide empty space right to the menu); the windows resizing handle is invisible; etc... globally Firebird really doesn't fit into the OS it tries to conquer...

Add all those annoying details like the ALT texts not being displayed (even when no TITLE is specified) or the insertion point not being blinking whenever there happens to be an animated GIF on the page... and you'll probably understand why Firebird just doesn't feel natural to plain Windows users. (Not mentionning incompatible javascripts...)

Don't get me wrong, I am *not* saying that IE is the best browser. As a developer, I favor Mozilla... but as an end user, I definitely favor IE! By the way, as an end-user, I really don't need to open 30 pages simultaneously that often... thus, not even needing tabbed browsing that much... ;D

(Once again, don't get me wrong: I think Firebird has a great future and can't wait to see if the next versions get better on these flaws... but it just isn't ready to seduce the Windows world yet!)

Date Arithmetic With MySQL

MySQL offers pretty useful functions when you want to manipulate days:

  • You can add a time interval to a date value with ADDDATE() or DATE_ADD()
  • You can subtract a time interval from a date value witf DATE_SUB()
  • You can find the interval between two dates with  DATEDIFF()

It's often easier to compute this stuff directly in MySQL rather than in PHP.

For all date functions see the MySQL Manual.

Commodity databases getting serious (slowly)

mySQL has been planing to implement stored procedures and triggers in mySQL 5 for some time now...

But lately, it looks like it's just gonna get better than expected...

Via Simon Willison (great blog!), from chromatic's wrap-up of OSCON day 3:

Brian Aker, fresh on his new job as Senior Architect at MySQL, shocked the world (or, at least, me) when he announced that he'd embedded Perl in MySQL and was using it for stored procedures a couple of years ago. Of course, it did segfault rather often. Fortunately, it's highly mature now. In his talk on "Making MySQL Do More", Brian showed the embedded function API. You can write new functions for MySQL in Perl, Python, PHP, and Java. (Keep asking him about Ruby.) You can link to C libraries; he's used Image Magick and zlib. I'm excited about how easily you can modify queries — SELECT DIFF(foo) ... anyone?

However, if mySQL alone gets that interesting, I wonder what are they going to do with SAP DB ? Weren't they planing on merging both databases somehow?

Anyway, the real question is: how long is it going to take again for hosting companies to offer mySQL 5 as a standard feature on their hosting plans... :?: Most of them still run the ridiculously dumb 3.23 version! Even worse, most customers seem to be happy with it!

Isn't this ironic, on one side databases are becoming a commodity and on the other side, people think being able to INSERT / UPDATE / SELECT (if not just SELECT) is all you need to call something a DBMS...

Quote of the day - data access

Think of the history of data access strategies to come out of Microsoft. ODBC, RDO, DAO, ADO, OLEDB, now ADO.NET - All New! Are these technological imperatives? The result of an incompetent design group that needs to reinvent data access every goddamn year? (That's probably it, actually.)

-Joel on Software

Photophones & Copyright

Seems like a pattern beginning to emerge... :>>

Samsung bans camera phones in workplace

This is wild. Samsung Electronics, the world's leading maker of high-end camera phones said it would block employees and visitors from bringing their camera phones into their factories. The ban will be effective from July 14, according to Saturday Nation on the Web and The Korea Herald (a valid link courtesy of Mike Masnick from Techdirt Wireless)

"The company seems to have no other choice. The fast penetration of high-powered camera phones is now fueling worries over leakage of corporate information and industrial know-how".

Joi Ito:

Camera phone book theft banned in Japanese bookstores

People are using digital cameras and camera phones in Japan to photograph pages of magazines and books instead of buying them.

IOL: Starting on Tuesday, bookstores across the nation will put up posters urging magazine readers to "refrain from recording information with camera-mounted cellphones and other devices".