Better RDC: Coming to a Mac near you!

Microsoft’s Macintosh Remote Desktop Client has been… neglected for quite a while. It still generally works, but it’s never been much of a looker, it’s behind in features and performance, and some basic functionality (like trying to save a connection) often leaves users completely baffled or frustrated.

But take heart: a new Remote Desktop will be available on Mac OS X, iOS, and Android later this month. It’s a Halloween miracle, and one that may make Azure services slightly more palatable to cross-platform developers and users!

For Microsoft products that are great, I can’t say enough good things about Exchange Online/Office 365 for Business. If you’re looking for managed push email (and calendaring) and have already scratched GApps off the list, check it out.

The Great Dill-Off

Being of Scandinavian descent, we have a great affinity for dill in my family. There are very few dishes that can’t be improved by a little dill, and as a result it’s been a garden staple for several years. Phoenix being Phoenix, however, dill can be a problematic herb: it tends to prefer steady, cooler temperatures. We often get erratic weather which dill does not enjoy.

So was born last year’s garden lab experiment: Battle of the Dills. The old standby of Bouquet was seeded along with newcomer Tetra (or Dukat). The results were interesting (and again proved this kind of experimentation is well worth the effort and meager garden space it requires).

Bouquet Dill

  • Better overall flavor throughout the season
  • Maximum height of approximately 5 feet
  • Suffered partial losses during varied weather
  • Bolting common as spring began; could be retarded by cutting
  • Dead by mid-spring
  • Large, recognizable seeds; good for pickling

Tetra Dill (Dukat Dill)

  • Good flavor at peak season, bland but recognizable at end of season
  • Maximum height of approximately 4 feet
  • Unaffected by varied weather
  • Did not bolt
  • Survived through summer, though with reduced flavor
  • Smaller seeds; less flavor per seed, but can use more seeds
  • Can address plant as Gul Dukat and shout angry DS9 dialog at it

With the new dill season upon us, the battle royale continues with additional contenders. Joining the fray this year are Mammoth and Fernleaf varieties.

Behold the Glory of Ruby 2.1

With some of the changes in the forthcoming Ruby 2.1 (specifically garbage collection), I thought it would be interesting  to throw some (synthetic) benchmarks at it. In a couple internal benchmarks, it offered noticeable performance increases.

For a more well-known point of comparison, I turned to Mike Perham’s Sidekiq benchmark. The results were… unexpected.

MRI 2.1.0-preview1: 30 seconds
JRuby 1.7.4:
39 seconds
MRI 2.0.0-p247: 82 seconds

No, your eyes do not deceive you: Ruby 2.1.0 bested even the venerable JRuby. This outcome was so surprising that I ran the benchmark again several more times than I’d intended. The results didn’t change; 2.1.0 reproducibly came out ahead of JRuby by around 10 seconds.

While there are certainly other good reasons to go with a JVM-based interpreter, Ruby 2.1 may well turn out to be the response to many users’ performance needs—all while maintaining native extension compatibility and using the gems you know and love.