Digest: Web Development, TechCrunch, OpenStack, Prezi and Balsamiq Mockups

All Things .js

I came across Popcorn.js, an HTML5 javascript library for working with video.  I haven't used it and really I haven't done anything with HTML5 which is starting to make me feel behind the 8-ball.  Will have to do some intensive project brainstorming soon!

And because you can't have just one .js in a blog post, I also came across some video tutorials for node.js on nodetuts.com.  I haven't used node.js either but it's on my to-do list of things to investigate in my non-existent free time.


On a different note but still in the web development chord, I saw an article on TechCrunch about the Google Labs Page Speed Online tool.  It's a profile tool that helps web designers understand causes of slow page loads and suggests ways to improve the load time of your site.

Other Interesting TechCrunch Tidbits

Back in March, MG Siegler put up a post about Netflix move into original content with House of Cards.  As someone who has had television shows cancelled to which I'm very devoted, I hope this experiment works as it would be great to find another outlet for high quality (and high cost) television production besides the broadcast networks, basic cable, and premium cable.  I suspect plenty of shows could make economic sense on Netflix or Apple TV that wouldn't work for broadcast or cable.

This next item is interesting to me because I lived in SIlicon Valley and worked in the semiconductor industry for years.  It may not be of general interest to the Web 2.0 crowd.  It seems that Texas Instruments is buying National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion.  For those not in the know on the semiconductor business, that's a big deal.

To The Cloud!

The openstack project announced their Bexar release.  Openstack is an open source system that allows for cloud computing provisioning and management without vendor lock in.  It's still a very early project but something worth keeping an eye on if you're in the cloud provisioning space.

Pretty Pictures with Prezi and Balsamiq

For those who are not finding their hopes and dreams entirely fulfilled by PowerPoint, check out the multimedia presentation application Prezi.

On the wireframing front, I've been hearing a lot about Balsamiq Mockups for a while so I finally decided to download the free trial and give it a go.  It's fantastic software and I can see why it has so much (well deserved) buzz.  I'm not a particularly graphically inclined person (witness this web site) and it's great to be able to mock up interface ideas without having to fight with Photoshop.  My free trial has expired but I suspect I will be buying a license quite soon.  If you're really cheap you can use the embedded web version on the Balsamiq web site.  It's an AIR application and they host an almost complete version of the application that anyone can use for free in the browser.  I like the desktop experience, however, so I'll shell out the $80 for a license.