Wednesday 22 April 2009

Cincom starting work on 2.9

It's been a little while coming but it seems Cincom has begun to take a crack at porting Seaside 2.9. This is excellent news and it sounds like the first push hasn't been too painful, which provides some validation for our portability work. Hopefully this means we'll be able to iron out compatibility issues with VW before going to Beta.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Seaside Tutorials from GemStone

James Foster announced that he has posted his Seaside tutorial materials online. The tutorial is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-alike license and takes you through the basics of setting up an image, figuring out Smalltalk, and getting started with Seaside, Monticello, and then GLASS.

Seaside documentation is always welcomed by the community. Thanks to James and GemStone for making it available.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Inspiring Service

My recent vacation to Portugal demonstrated the universally welcoming and easy going nature of its citizens. The weather was warm, the wind was fresh, the scenery was green and dotted with Spring blooms. The beaches were long and (because it was not yet Summer) uncrowded.

Still, the trip stands out most in my mind not for any of the above reasons but because it was essentially unmarred by lousy service. Depressingly, this seems so novel that I feel compelled to comment on the highlights.

Our flights on EasyJet proved far less stressful than on any other discount airline I have used. Sure, you're still paying for food and drinks and it isn't exactly luxury travel but the only weight restriction on hand luggage is that you be able to comfortably lift it overhead. And while you pay extra for every checked bag, they can weigh up to 32kg. Talk about removing stress from your travel planning. The food was at least fairly reasonably priced, the advertising audio pollution seemed less constant than on RyanAir, and the airplanes didn't look like they were decorated by Fisher Price. Despite being a discount airline, EasyJet seems to take some pride in providing a positive experience for its customers. Now if only they would eliminate the disturbingly animalistic charge for the door by assigning seats on check-in...

For the third time, we again booked our rental car with They partner with rental companies in each city to provide all-inclusive rentals: collision damage waiver, no deductible, third party liability, unlimited mileage, a second driver, etc. The only additional thing you pay is fuel and the prices are reasonable; to remove the 3000€ deductible, the couple in front of us were quoted nearly as much as we paid for the entire rental.

There are no more "Would you like to add X for only $Y?" questions and this completely takes the stress out of dealing with the rental companies on arrival. On a previous trip, we were charged some additional fee by the rental company but, upon return, HolidayAutos refunded the money to my credit card within a day or two of sending the receipt. And (!) they answer the call quickly when you phone. Note that the last time I checked the prices on the US (.com) version of the site didn't seem nearly as compelling.

One final example is Restaurante Oriente in Lisbon. This place was recommended in the EasyJet inflight magazine of all places and offered an excellent vegetarian buffet. The service was exceedingly friendly and, when the already-half-empty beer bottle we were pouring foamed over the top of the glass, it was replaced with a new bottle before the spill was even mopped up. This was way beyond necessary and (particularly since we were tourists and obviously unlikely return customers) totally unexpected.

Thanks and congratulations to these companies for providing excellent service and value to their customers.