I recently bought a utility trailer. (I'll explain momentarily what that is and why you might consider buying one.) Going through the process (research, preparation, purchase, registration, setup and maintenance) has taught me that it's not a simple endeavor and very little good documentation exists in the public domain (e.g. on the Internet). Hence, this post.
In dictionary terms, of course, "to trail" means "to follow" (or to trace the path of a primary vehicle). Alternately, Wikipedia defines a trailer as an unpowered vehicle pulled by a powered vehicle.
So, let's get acquainted with what a utility trailer is and why you might consider buying one. If you're a hardworking, blue collar American you probably already have one -- it's the back half of your pickup truck. Well not quite, but that's the reason Australians refer to a pickup as a utility vehicle. A pickup is characterized by the presence of a flat bed in the ba…
I generally prefer to do things the hard way. For example, you can either microwave a frozen dinner or cook from scratch. The microwave option is a good backup plan, but cooking from scratch has far too many advantages, as I outlined in a recent blog post on the do-it-yourself way of life.
In the electronics and robotics world, the analogy of cooking from scratch is to build circuits using a bare bones micro-controller chip (e.g. the PICAXE) rather than a fancy board (e.g. the Arduino). Therefore, once I get a circuit working with the packaged Arduino approach (e.g. this robot I built recently), I usually try to replicate the circuit using more basic components like the PICAXE.
My decision to consider the PICAXE was influenced by Charles Platt's coverage of it in his awesome book Make: Electronics. But essentially, I am a minimalist and I want to see how much I can get done with a bare bones chip rather than a bulky board-based micro-controller like the Arduino. My current favori…
[DISCLAIMER: I have NO monetary relationship with IBM or any of its subsidiaries.]
If you develop any serious software, I'm sure you're tired of manual steps required to collaborate among the various tools involved in the process of Agile software development. You need to take a hard look at IBM's Rational Team Concert (RTC) for its ability to facilitate collaboration among the multitude of tools development shops use for managing requirements, stories, code, builds, tests, deployments, issues, defects and all of the various threads that run through a large software development effort. Hint: RTC has legendary Eclipse pedigree.
I've been using RTC for about a month now and strongly recommend it as a solid option for truly end-to-end Agile software development. You may be familiar with other Agile Project Management (APM) tools such as Rally. I've used Rally extensively and it's a good product. RTC, however, is in a league of its own. It has no real competitor. (…