Tools of the Trade

What's in a good programmer's tool belt?
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    Load an EC2 GUI on Your Mac OS X Box

    Using straight shell access on EC2 servers works just fine, of course, but there are images available that include the full desktop environment. If you use one of those, you can activate GUI programs on the EC2 server. Now you can't plug a monitor into your EC2 instance, so you will need to tunnel the GUI bits down to your local box. Luckily, Unix pretty much just handles all of this for you and if you can SSH into an EC2 instance and you have Apple's X11 installed, you are all set to try this.

    I know at one time Apple's X11 environment was an optional install. I can't remember if it still is, but you can see if you have it by looking for a program called X11 in /Applications/Utilities/. Or, just fire up a Terminal and enter the command xterm. If a rather plain white shell window eventually appears, you are in business. If you do need to add the optional install, it should be on the disk that came with your computer (or the OS install disks).

    Once you've confirmed X11 is ready, you need to fire up an EC2 instance. Create a Key Pair and configure a Security Group to at least allow SSH access. Then just launch an EC2 instance (I use the AWS Managment Console for that) with the needed desktop environment tools. I chose one of the wonderful Ubuntu Images by Eric Hammond.

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  • 12


    Ruby Idioms Bundle for TextMate

    [Update: An improved version of Ruby Idioms has been merged into the Ruby bundle in TextMate. Everyone gets Ruby Idioms with TextMate now.]

    If you are a TextMate user (a Mac OS X text editor), we have something in common and you might be interested in the rest of this post. If not, skip it.

    I have made my Ruby Idioms bundle available for anyone who would like to download it and try it out. This bundle contains all the Ruby shortcuts I use to program everyday. I've spent a lot of energy over the last six months refining them down to the keystroke, so hopefully there is a lot of value hidden in there.

    If you just want to get to the goods and start playing, click the above link and run. However, if you want some insight into my thinking with these shortcuts, read on…

    Tab Triggers

    I'm a Unix guy, so I'm very comfortable with two or three letter triggers and that's what you are going to find here. Sometimes I use a one or two caracter trigger (r, w, and rw just make sense for attr_reader, attr_writer, and attr_accessor, for example), but three is the norm.

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