Podcasts I Listen To

I’ve had more than one person ask me for podcast recommendations. Here they are:

WYNC’s Radiolab – the best public radio program I’ve ever listened to. Combines science and philosophy with high production values. Entertaining, informative, and moving. Interviews combined/produced into compelling narratives (like “This American Life” meets “Mr. Wizard”)

The Java Posse – how I got back up to speed with the state-of-the-art in Java after my skills got out of date. Also touches on Apple, Android, and general industry stuff. Dick Wall is the member of the Java Posse who taught the Scala course I took in Ann Arbor. Mostly news and discussion. Rarely interviews.
The Big Web Show – interviews and discussions about the Web from a front-end, publishing, and UX viewpoint. Also motivational to hear people speak honestly about their challenges working in their field, running their companies, etc..
The Changelog – fills a similar purpose as the Java Posse, but for Open Source software. Slight emphasis on Ruby and on high profile projects appearing on GitHub, but broadening. Also motivational. Mostly interviews.
Search Engine – Canadian program on current events in technology. Technology, culture, politics. Usually short episodes. Often interviews, sometimes news reporting or opinion pieces. Excellent public radio courtesy of TV Ontario.
Basement Coders – hard-core geek podcast. A mix of recurring hosts + usually an interviewee. Focus on Java/JVM. Slight enterprise slant. Covers Open Source, but not exclusively so.
Herding Code – another hard-core geek podcast, similar to Basement Coders, but for Microsoft’s platforms like .Net and Silverlight. I just started listening to back episodes of this one. Also a mix of recurring hosts + interviewee.

BankSimple responds — or — Rachel is a human being

In my previous post I shared my wishlist for a 21st century bank, a response to BankSimple‘s beta signup confirmation email. Well, Rachel from BankSimple responded to my email (additionally I’ve received some tweets from BankSimple and employees). As someone who was around when The Cluetrain Manifesto was penned I still find it refreshing to encounter a company that “gets it”. So thank you, Rachel, BankSimple, @takeo, and @btmerr for conversing with me in a genuine voice. Thank you for asking to talk.

So Rachel isn’t a bot. Nor is she a mechanical turk, nor disinterested. Entirely the opposite. She’s a human with a sense of humor. And a self-professed Star Trek nerd.

Rachel’s response, followed by mine:


BankSimple will save us all — or — Tim’s public therapy session

I signed up to be notified of the BankSimple beta. In return I received a pleasant confirmation email soliciting my banking story.

I’m pretty ashamed of this story, actually. I struggle internally with an idealized vision of how an organized “normal” person manages their finances — the person I should be — and the equally unrealistic desire of what I want to do — which is none of it. I tend towards the ignore and procrastinate mode of coping, so my personal finances are currently in bad shape and it depresses me. So when (future online banking company) BankSimple asks me directly what I want from a bank, my “loves, hates, quibbles, desires, hopes, and dreams regarding your financial life”, well, the dam broke and I gave them damn near everything. More

Move to WordPress.com and other stuff

I’ve moved my blog from my own installation of WordPress to one hosted at WordPress.com.


  • All the content migrated
  • Same top-level URL: http://blog.tool-man.org/
  • Version of WordPress will always be current (security holes fixed, spammers defeated)


  • Permalinks broken (if I’d stuck with the default scheme that wouldn’t have happened. Meh.)
  • Comments’ author names retained, but I think you’ll need to register again
  • Old RSS subscriptions may be broken (if you were previously subscribed via RSS and you’re seeing this, comment below and I’ll change this to an upside)
  • WordPress.com doesn’t have a MarkDown plugin (boo, hiss) so my manual conversions after the migration showed up as a bunch of article updates. Only a downside, really, if old RSS subscriptions still work.

GitHub Repository for DHTML Library on the Way

Sometime before 2011 arrives I’ll release my dated DHTML library to GitHub. Then anyone who uses it — no, really, you should be using JQuery, Dojo, YUI, GWT, but if you insist — will be able to fork my library and, say, fix that pesky IE8 bug, and easily share it back to the world on GitHub. This will be far superior to the current approach of pasting fixes in comments which everyone has to manually apply to their copy.

I’ll probably also add another license (LGPL or something) in addition to the current MIT license.

ToolMan DHTML library not supported

The ToolMan DHTML library is a dead project and has been since late 2005. As a user of open source software I’m annoyed when I stumble across dead projects that aren’t advertised as such, yet I’ve been reluctant to provide the same courtesy to you.

I’m more than surprised at the longevity of my little library, particularly in the presence of robust libraries like Dojo, JQuery, YUI, GWT, and others.

I have nothing but thanks to everyone who has supported this project through your links, bumps, bug reports and suggestions, bug fixes or patches, or use of my library.

I have special thanks to everyone who made a donation. I’ve removed the donation box from my site and I will tally up the donations received (as best I can) and donate the 50% to Dojo and 50% to JQuery.

A testament to web standards, my library has held up surprisingly well in Safari and Firefox. Internet Explorer, not so much.

I’m leaving my library code and example site up as well as keeping this blog around. Be patient if I don’t moderate your post right away, but I will get to it. My license remains the very permissive MIT license. The code and examples are yours to do with what you want.

Again, thank you for the interest and support.

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