Oct 24

Vulnerability hits Java for cell phones

Java, Security, Tech 3 Comments »

Although some people think that having billions of Java devices is a “business opportunity”, I also think it is a worry!

I shouldn’t say Java devices. What I mean is devices that are on the network. it is tough enough to manage viruses with a few million computers, but when we get to the next step when even your toothpick is bluetooth enabled? Yowser.

Vulnerability hits Java for cell phones

Oct 24

The truth behind the SPACE PEN technology

Tech No Comments »

I was listening to Dave Thomas speak, and heard the truth between the SPACE PEN myth.

For those that don’t know the story. A company called Fischer, realised that the US astronauts couldn’t use any pens in space. What a pain!

So, they sank millions of dollars to create the perfect pen. One that would handle the environmental constraints of space.

This went on for a few years, and meanwhile the russian cosmanaults were using PENCILS.

That is a fun punch-line, but there is more to the story which you don’t often here.

It turned out that Fischer weren’t dumb. Neither was NASA. They were using pencils until that point, but the worry was that a piece of graphite would come off of the pen and accidently float over to make a contact that you wouldn’t want it to make. In an oxygen rich environment, this wouldn’t be a good thing!

Oct 22

What is with the obsession with numbers in US sports? Filing time

Personal, Sport No Comments »

I have often wondered why statistics are so important in american sports.

This is especially true in baseball. When you watch the game for the first time you are bamboosled with ERAs, RBIs, and other TLAs.

It dawned on me that one of the reasons is probably the fact that there is so much time in a game where NOTHING is happening.

Compare this to football (soccer). A commentator has to spend most of his time talking about what is happening, since the action is almost continuous. There is minimal time for stats (although they are shared).

In baseball, there is time in between each at-bat. each pitch. each inning. while someone is singing. and forever after on ESPN :)

Oct 21

Red Sox Win!

Personal, Sport No Comments »

I can’t believe it. What a series this was.

It was like a heavyweight boxing match. There were many swings, and both were on the mat.

The Red Sox got up before the count.

I can’t wait to fly in to Boston tomorrow!

Oct 20

Come on Sox!

Personal, Sport 2 Comments »

This Red Sox vs. Yankees series has be amazing. I can’t believe the Sox have managed to get back to 3-3. Out of this world.

I really hope that they sneak through tonight. I know that the history of the Sox is to get close and lose it at the last minute, but maybe this really is their year ;)

I feel really sorry for any Red Sox fans who had to go to London and miss the series ;)

Oct 20

The human version control system

Tech 3 Comments »

I was chatting with a developer yesterday who had a really funny experience on a contract.

As they started on a project, he asked “What version control system do you use? CVS? SourceSafe? …”.

The answer was “Jane”.

“Huh????”, he thought. “I have never heard of a software package called Jane”.

It turned out that Jane was the secretary at the company, and she had post it notes. Lots of post it notes.

If you wanted to edit a file you would walk over to her desk and ask for the post it that represents that file. You would then control that post it until you were done.

“What about if more than one person need to edit the file?”
- You work it out together
“What about merging?”
- Manual
“Ok. But what if Jane goes on vacation?”

Oct 18

Zilverline Search Engine

Tech 221 Comments »

Zilverline looks like a cool search tool that builds on top of Lucene, and uses Spring.

Zilverline is a search engine based on lucene that’s ready to roll, and can be simply dropped in a Servlet Engine. It runs out of the box, and supports PDF, WORD, HTM, TXT, RTF and CHM, and can index zip, rar, and many other formats.
Both on Windows and Linux.

Zilverline supports plugins. You can create your own extractors for various file formats. I’ve provided Extractors for RTF, Text, PDF, Word, and HTML.

Zilverline supports collections. A collection is a set of files and directories in a directory. A collection can be indexed, and searched.
The results of the search can be retrieved from local disk or remotely, if you run a webserver on your machine. Files inside zip, rar and chm files are extracted, indexed and can be cached. The cache can be mapped to sit behind your webserver as well.

It’s also possible to specify your own handlers for archives. Say you have a RAR archive, and you have a program on your system that can extract the content from it, then you can specify that Zilverline should use this program.

Please take look at http://www.zilverline.org, and have a swing at it.

Oct 18

Installing WSAD. Are you kidding me?

Tech 1 Comment »

Unfortunately, I had to install WebSphere Eclipse (a.k.a. WSAD) again, today.

After going through a bizarre set of web pages on the IBM site you finally get to a download area. The choices are silly, but you end up having to download a crazy number of files.

E.g. via the Download Director you end up with IBMWSAppDev-5.0.0-Part1.exe to Part12 (”only” 1 to 9 are required ;)).

Then you have to manually extract at least 1 through 9, and finally you can run setup.exe.

I wonder what makes people think that this is a good idea instead of “Download this and run it”. IBM people?

Oct 18

Can we please make the bloody build work!

Tech 1 Comment »

Jeremy Boynes of GlueCode / Apache Geronimo says:

To all those who have been making “improvements” to the build over the last month, can we please please get back to a situation where it works reliably, every time on Windows, Linux and OSX.

No magic, no mystical plugin downloads, no arcane sequences to rebuild, no patches to apply, simply:

* Clear instructions on building on a clean machine
* Clear instructions on rebuilding a working copy
* The ability to build online without taking hours



I am on the Geronimo lists, and have seen that 80% of the emails are about the damn build :)

If you were thinking of using Maven, being part of this list would REALLY freak you out about it! ;)


Oct 18

Groovy and ant on steroids

Tech 40 Comments »

Jon Tirsen pointed me at Groovy and ant on steroids.

Philipp Meier has taken the Groovy Ant support, and has come up with a simple way to setup a build system (that follows some conventions):

new JavaLibArtifact(
sources: "src/java",
testsources: "src/test",
libdir: "lib",
testlibs: "/usr/share/java/junit.jar",
testlibdir: "lib",
targetdir: "target"

Cool stuff.