I have over a decade of professional C++ experience, but I don’t call myself a “C++ Programmer.” Am I competent with programming in C++? Yes, very much so. But I refuse to let my skills be pigeon-holed by the language I’ve historically used. Nor should you.

Use the right tool for the job, the saying goes, and software development is no exception. Programming languages, frameworks, and other tools are the subject of religious-caliber debate but they are just means to a greater end. This article is a call to both programmers and their managers: a good programmer cannot be summed up by the list of tools they use.

JET very kindly unearthed a treasure chest containing the One True ROM Image for DataRover 840s, a PC Card that will flash a 840’s ROM to Magic Cap 3.1.2j. This card can be used to re-flash a ‘rover with no additional hardware. (See also this article for reflashing a ‘rover using the developer tools and serial cable.) You can download the ROM image from the archives page and load it to a 8MB linear flash card yourself, or if you need a pre-flashed card mailed to you, contact me.

Note: if you bought a DataRover on eBay that has pre-release Rosemary firmware (usually dated 9/1/1997), that won’t work with the packages in the archive. It’s best to update to 3.1.2j.

Last night I attended the inaugural meeting of the Boulder-Denver Ruby User’s Group. “Meeting” was a term used in the loose sense–it was more a gaggle of Ruby enthusiasts sitting around tables with beer, chatting about Ruby and other geek stuff. The meeting was held at a brewery, so it was impossible to hear people more than a couple feet away, but as the group shifted around I probably talked with half a dozen others.

Finished Keyboard

I’ve done a heck of a lot of typing over the past ten years, and my keyboards show it. They look grimy and beaten down, but continue to work flawlessly. After doing a rubik’s cube paint job on my first Kinesis keyboard, I decided I’d fix up another, this time applying lessons learned from the first. This article describes to you can create your own New Hotness like mine pictured above.

These are documents from the Magic Cap SDK which may be of interest to the community, particularly those into software development and usability. Warning to developers digging for ideas: some topics discussed in these docs are covered by patents. Using Magic Cap: User-level documentation for Magic Cap 3.1, i.e. what runs on the DataRover 840. Recommended to anyone who hasn’t seen/used Magic Cap in person. Design and Magic Cap: An older document covering the design and usability of Magic Cap, targeted at application designers.

When I first moved to Silicon Valley I worked crazy hours. I loved my job and I needed to prove myself, so I was coding like crazy. That translates to typing like crazy, and it wasn’t long before that caught up with me. This article covers my ensuing experience with ergonomic keyboards and the Dvorak keyboard layout.

Rewind to 1995. I could type pretty fast on a normal keyboard. My touch typing was not textbook proper, but hey, it worked fine for me. I started getting worried when I would go home and I could still feel the tension in my forearms and wrists. I figured that if I was going to be a programmer geek for any decent amount of time, I’d have to fix those problems pronto.

I got to talking to Eric Townsend, a coworker of mine who owned the wackiest keyboard I had ever seen. It was a Kinesis Contoured keyboard. I found myself fascinated enough to drop the $300 (at the time) to get one myself.

Question: Whatever became of Magic Cap? Will it ever be released into the public domain? Is OpenMagic happening behind closed doors somewhere? Answer: Unfortunately, no. Here’s the story according to Steve Schramm, former General Manager of the Magic Cap division and CEO/President of DataRover/Icras: Andy [Hertzfeld] strived to open Magic Cap at the time of the GMGC bankruptcy. If I remember Andy’s explanation correctly, Nathan Myrvold, formerly of Microsoft, used the bankruptcy process to capture the IP after Andy Hertzfeld working with Andy Rubin had won two previous decisions to get the Magic Cap IP.
Operating System: Magic Cap pre-1.0. Pros: Slim form factor, cool looks (perhaps the coolest). Cons: Awful screen, custom battery, difficult left-handed operation. History Bamboo was a mystery to me: definitely before my time at General Magic, I remembered only seeing references to it in the Magic Cap 1.x source code. But when I asked around among other ex-Magicians, nobody else knew about it, either. When I told Mark ‘The Red’ Harlan I had discovered one, he said: “AWESOME.