Andy Gavin's blog

Songbird sings your tunes

If you have an iPod, or are into your music you should see Songbird. This player based on some of the same code as firefox could be the bloggers choice for discovering new music. It is already backed by venture capital and is still in alpha: but already feels polished.

Get Songbird


Getting Rid of your Old PC

Faced with talk of identity theft what are you going to do with that old PC in your front room that nobody wants? Perhaps the answer is charity... donate it to Computer Aid.


Napster reinvented

Napster is taking on Apple. It has a new subscription model which makes it much cheaper to fill up your iPod. By paying every month you can download many tracks. In the US, and perhaps in the UK they even give you a basic MP3 player to get you started.


The Story of Vanilla

Vanilla is often used to refer to the normal, like vanilla ice-cream. Recently I bought some natural vanilla flavouring. Fresh vanilla can be quite expensive, so I have some essence. It has a little bit of history on the bottle: vanilla, it turns out, isn't really that common.

Vanilla, the most popular flavour in the world, originated in Mexico. Brought to Europe about 1520 by the explorer cortez, it was first only used in conjunction with cacao beans in a drink called Chocolati. Since 1602 it has been enjoyed as a flavour by itself.

Grown mainly in Madagascar and Indonesia the vanilla bean or pod is the only edible fruit bearing orchid. Each flower, open only one day a year, must be pollinated to produce a pod which requires a labour intensive 3-6 month curing process designed to develop full flavour. About five pounds of harvested pods produce only one pound of cured pods.

David Brent at Microsoft

I heard Microsoft is looking into the who leaked their training videos. David Brent trains new starters.


Dependancy Structure Matrix

To manage complex interdependencies of components in software architectures a Dependancy Structure Matrix can be produced. This is a relatively recently documented technique is great for an overview of the project: it can be used to get a feel of the system design and the actual relationships beyond that of a block diagram. It might help to identify where the system might be brittle and require refactoring.


Distraction free writing

Anyone remember the old dumb terminals, where there wasn't a desktop to speak of. Once you learnt the keys often you'd get a lot more writing done. Write Room, for the Mac, is a productivity tool that avoids desktop distraction. Darkroom is a windows port.


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