I like playing with software. The main reason I got into Linux — despite the naff penguin logos — was that I could download and install whatever software I wanted, from web servers, mail servers, databases and media servers.

Around the same time, the internet was really taking off — web traffic overtook gopher, ftp, archie and all other internet traffic combined. Apple had released OpenDoc — a document centered technology where the document would be made up of blocks or components that added the functionality. Instead of a word document, for example, linking to a spread sheet, there would be a generic document with word processing and spreadsheet components.

OpenDoc died in 1997.

Also happening was Java. Java promised to be OpenDoc for the web browser. Reusable Java components could be used to add functionality to the web browser. Netscape named it's LiveScript to JavaScript to cash in on the hype. Alas, Java was too slow and buggy to really take off in the browser. It did move to the server to become a significant technology there.

JavaScript, however, has become the language web page components are written in. It is also becoming a significant server side technology — think Node.js — and a language for client side applications. With faster interpreters, byte code cacheing, greater standards compliance and so on, JavaScript — or ECMA script — is actually acheiving what Java was supposed to acheive. Perhaps it avoided Java's mistakes, perhaps processors are fast enough now to make it work.

Anyway — the point is, I started to get fascinated with the idea that computer power would be a utility like water and eletricity. If you needed some, you would just plug the dumb terminal into the socket and get some.

So I got interested in web based applications for everything. But I didn't want to hand all my data to someone else, so I wound up using a lot of LAMP based software. I also started using Android more, and have been using Chrome OS (well, Cloudready from Neverware. My son has a 'real' chromebook). But the basic idea that you could grab any internet connected machine and get on with what you want to do has stayed with me. The 'dumb terminals' are becomming octa-core supercomputers, and the web applications get downloaded and installed, but I still have the goal.

Which is a long, round about way of saying this section of the site is where I list a lot of the software I use and think is cool.

Zed Editor

March 1st at 9:07pm

Zed is a Chrome app code editor - which means it runs on any platform Chrome Browser runs on. Including Chrome OS!

Zed also has a serverside application that allows the editor to edit files remotely.

This makes it a pretty good editor for Chromebooks.