Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Resolver One nice-to-haves

Working on Resolver One stuff again, and came up with a few more things I'd like to see.

I've been having problems moving some of my IronPython code out of my worksheet and into an IronPython module, but I assume that's due to my own lack of understanding of the clr - the external libraries seem to get hung up on the import statements and not get any further.

Which leads me to my first request: enable an easy way to reload a workbook. At the moment, any time I make a change in an external file, I have to close the entire workbook and re-open it. I can't just recalculate and have it re-import the module, I have to close the workbook (which generally means the entire program) and re-open it. It would be nice to have a way to "Reload from disk" or something similar that does a thorough reinitialization of the environment.

The second thing is something I just posted about on the Resolver forums, so I'm hopeful that I'll come upon a solution via that line of inquiry, but basically, I want SSL support in Resolver. I was trying to connect to a gmail server and use starttls() from smtplib, but couldn't do it because of the lack of SSL support in IronPython 2.6.0, which I believe is what's under the hood in Resolver One.

I'm using Resolver for a couple projects now, so here's hoping that development continues and that I can see some of these things working in the future.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Context switching is more expensive when bandwidth is limited

This post is just made up of more idle musings and could really be shortened to a tweet, but while on the road this week with access to the office via questionable and/or slow internet connections, I've noticed that context switching, both literal and figurative, is much more expensive with low bandwidth.

This applies across all sorts of situations. I get a lot of IMs from co-workers, for example. Normally I don't notice their impact much, since I have two big monitors worth of screen real estate and I can switch back and forth between IM windows and coding or testing quickly. But with less screen space (1280 x 800 instead of 3840 x 1080), the IM windows take up more space and I have to move them around frequently, which takes up more time.

Also, with slow internet connections, actually switching between windows is sometimes difficult, as redrawing a bigger chunk of the screen causes the whole connection to freeze for as long as several minutes at a time. And as upstream bandwidth is always more limited than downstream, sometimes my typing or clicks don't get transmitted for extended periods of time. It's very frustrating, to the point where I'm planning to get a mobile internet solution of some kind very soon. The travel has also cost me quite a few mobile phone minutes, as I can't use VOIP over the sketchy internet connections.

In other remote working news, I've noticed two startups in the space mentioned recently on TechCrunch: LiquidSpace and LooseCubes. I'm hoping that one or both will help provide the co-working experience I've been seeking and not finding in DC (and potentially elsewhere).