Sep 15

Surreal Chicago No Fluff

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I had a good time speaking and participating at the Chicago No Fluff Just Stuff Symposium this weekend. I am sure that it will probably be one of the more “strange” ones for me, as the following things happened:

- Got lost on the way to meet people for dinner, so Jay Z (conf organizer) decided to drive the rental minivan like he does his Audi TT, and jumped a median. I felt like I was in Starsky and Hutch
- Got roped into seeing a movie. The movie was MEANT to be Matchstick Men (which I hear is meant to be good). We got their too late, and had to sit through “Once upon a time in Mexico”, which had great lines like “Are you a mexi-CAN or a mexi-CAN’T”.
- When getting out of the theatre, Jay remember that he had to pick up another speaker at the airport. We rushed over there, and tried to find him. None of us had even seen him, and had no idea what he looked like. We didn’t find him (as he had already jumped in a cab)
- At ~4AM the damn alarm went off in the hotel. It is still in my brain. Piercing!
Getting out of the hotel is JUST what you want at 4am!
- Jay and I were on our way to the airport. We got to his rental (the hot minivan) and he couldn’t find his keys. I looked into the car and saw them sticking out of the ignition. He promises that he hasn’t done that for at least 6 years ;)

Lots to laugh about :)

The conference itself was good as always. I got to sit in and see James Duncun’s Objective C talk, and enjoyed watching Ted Neward and Bruce Tate debate J2EE vs .NET (it was civilized… no fisty cuffs [unfortunately!]). The AspectJ/AOP talk by Glen Vanderburg was good to see too. I was interested to see the people in the room, and what they would think of it!

I wonder what will happen at the next No Fluff :)

Sep 08

Mystic Microsoft

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We so often talk about the “religious-ness” of Tech, especially when it comes to topics like Emacs vs. VI. When it comes to Microsoft tech, it is seen as part devil, or part saint, depending on what side of the fence you are.

I fell upon a book draft by a former microsoft developer, Kraig Brockschmidy (author of Inside OLE). The title was Mystic Microsoft. It seemed like it would be a “Microsoft is the best! RA RA RA” book, but then as I read the Prologue I realised that it really WAS religious. As in real religion!

“I was employed by Microsoft in various capacities for about eight and a half years, from March, 1988 to November, 1996. Somewhere between these two points in time, my life underwent a somewhat drastic spiritual transformation. At the beginning of 1988 I was a young college sophomore whose burgeoning dreams were wholly centered on worldly success. At the end of 1996, on the other hand, I was a (still young) Microsoft retiree whose ambitions and aspirations were now wholly centered on God.”

How bizarre is this! I wonder if the “Cult of Microsoft” will soon be a real thing?

Sep 04

Updated TheServerSide cluster to use Coherence 2.2

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We finally got around to pushing live the 2.2 version of Coherence in the TSS cluster.

I have been playing with it since it came out, and in testing it was even more performant than the 1.2 version we were using previously.

The new XML config file structure (and ability to NOT have it in the jar file itself!) has really helped us too, as with a flick of a command line switch we can use a test or staging cache configuration.

Great work by the Tangosol team!

Sep 04

Bilingual Politics

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I was very interested to see that tonights Democratic Presendential Debate was conducted in English AND partly in Spanish. This is a big deal, to recognise hispanics, and Espanol so openly in politics. Many of the democrats spoke in Spanish at different times, trying to appeal to that voting constiuency. Wise move. There are a LOT of them!

I also happened to be in Boston last night, and went to the John Kerry rally, mainly just to see what one is like in the US. It is quite weird to be at such as “RA RA” kinda deal, but Kerry was actually a good speaker (unlike the current bloke in charge) and was quite humourous at times. “Trickle down economics? We are TIRED of Bush Trickling down on us!”.

I still can’t believe that Bush is in power, and REALLY pray that someone else gets in next year. It will be tough, but if enough people open their eyes SURELY they will see what a moron Bush is, and how evil his policies have been. Look at Iraq, look at your economy, look at healthcare, look at education. I seem to remember him saying: “Leave no child behind”… and then he has the cheak to try to stop a program like Head start??? Just after all the studies show how IMPORTANT education is before kids get to school!!! It is truly mind boggling.

Sep 04

Printing from Mac OS X to a Windows Shared Printer

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Ok, ok. So life isn’t ALWAYS easy when you are working on a Mac. I had to get my laptop to print to a Windows shared printer, and it was a bit of a pain. If a “normal Joe User” had to do this, they would go nuts!

Luckily for those who grok computers, it isn’t too bad. Partly thanks to William White, and his great resource: Printing to Windows from MAC OSX 10.2 (Jaguar) using CUPS and SAMBA, and more.

It is kinda frustrating that Apple broke the SMB system in 10.2.5, and on. So you have to go back and install an “old version”. You also need to do a lot of other “stuff” to get it all to work. Again, easy for us, but my mum would shut down her computer if she saw it :)

After I had everything ready to go, I was getting some weird errors connecting to the network. This wasn’t a Mac issue, but SMB was freaking out when doing a name resolution, and was somehow trying to connect to a NIC on the master that wasn’t being used. After unchecking Windows File Sharing from that NIC everything worked like a charm.

So now I can go back to loving my Mac again :)

Sep 03

The bug is your fault.

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Cameron weighs in on Anthony weighing in on Cedric weighing in on Joe’s editorial. I agree 100% with Cam on this one. The bug is your fault.

I would be willing to bet a fair amount of money that the FreeRoller performance problem is not due to code in Hibernate, or Tomcat (yeah I know it isn’t fast BUT), or MySQL, or the JVM, or the OS, or the hardware.

Chances are that with a good performance analysis you will see something that will make you say “a ha!”. As we layer on top of more and more tools, we get this problem maybe more than ever. When we ported TheServerSide to run on a cluster it didn’t work AT ALL as is. It was dog slow. Through a few code changes, more deployment descriptor changes, and adding Tangosol Coherence, we were able to fix the problem. I can’t tell you how often, when consulting, the problem has been something the developer didn’t even think it was. With these “smart” app servers, a simple deployment descriptor setting can change a LOT about the way an app works. So, time to get a nice perf tool (I guess I should say use Precise tools :) run the beast, and see what is happening :)

Isn’t debugging fun?