A Fresh Cup is Mike Gunderloy's software development weblog, covering Ruby on Rails and whatever else I find interesting in the universe of software. I'm a full-time software developer: most of my time in recent years has been spent writing Rails, though I've dabbled in many other things and like most people who have been writing code for decades I can learn new stuff as needed.

Currently I'm employed as the Vice President of Engineering at Faria Education Group. If you're interested in working with me, we're often hiring smart developers. Drop me a comment if you're interested or email MikeG1 [at] larkfarm.com.


A Fresh Cup

Notes on Rails and other development


Another Rails API to Grok Some Day


Changing E-Mail Clients

I've been using Outlook plus Omea Pro to manage my huge e-mail and RSS load for years. But having looked at Outlook 2007 and decided that there's nothing there for me, and with Omea Pro going open source (and therefore, I suspect, remaining in development limbo for some time to come), I'm actually starting to contemplate a change. Right now Thunderbird looks like the most likely candidate, so I was interested to read this review of Thunderbird 2.0 beta 1.

Making a change means throwing away several years worth of archived RSS, and I'm skeptical that my gigabytes of saved e-mail can be successfully converted, so it's a big risk.

Another Possibility

Apollo is Adobe's coming "cross-OS runtime that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills" to build Webbish apps on the desktop. Maybe they can recreate the pervasive reach of Acrobat and Flash, but I'm skeptical.

Considering Choices

Given that I would like to wean myself (for essentially political reasons) from my current dependency on Microsoft software, the question becomes, what next? Over the last quarter century I've done quite a few things in the computer universe, so I have lots of directions to think about.

One thing I can rule out immediately is a lateral move to Java or Delphi or whatever other programming language within the Windows ecosystem. That doesn't get at the heart of my issues; if I'm going to do this, I want to leave behind not just the one part of the Microsoft universe, but, to the greatest extent possible, all of it. That pretty much means finding a way to make a living with Mac or Linux (or leaving computers entirely).


I've been in white box hardware sales before. It requires a fair amount of capital, and the profit margins stink. I don't want to go there again.

Sales, Management, Administration...

Been there, done that. I have plenty of sales and managerial experience, both within and without the computer industry, in my background. I suspect that if I tried I could land such a job again. But this isn't a good fit with homeschooling our kids, working at home, or generally staying sane.


Yup, been there done that too. And I'm never going to do that much travel again.


The siren song of becoming a MicroISV, writing, and selling my own software product is always there. But realistically, I doubt this is practical. Even on the Windows platform it's a crapshoot. On Linux, no one pays for software, and on Mac, the potential sales numbers are lower than on Windows. I might do some software writing as self-promotion but I don't see it as a cash cow.


Put this one in the self-promotion category too. Writing computer books hasn't been a viable career for several years. Articles bring in some extra cash but they don't pay the rent.

Web Sites

There's some potential here. The Larkware site brings in a decent second income from advertising. Potentially I could replicate that in a new realm; I know how to digest and present information.


Always the fallback...I suspect there will always be Web sites or line of business apps to be written, and some of those can be written on non-Windows platforms (especially when we're talking about Web delivery). I wouldn't get rich doing this, but I wouldn't starve either.

No Conclusion...yet

Decisions, decisions...one thing I do know, though: if I don't put time into Vista/Office 2007/.NET 3.0/"Orcas" then my current income streams will dry up within 2 or 3 years. So there's a definite time limit to figuring this out.