Saturday, January 31, 2004

Superbowl Predictions

Just for fun. My prediction for tomorrows big game:

New England Patriots 24

Carolina Panthers 13

Friday, January 30, 2004

Top 75 Security tools

From www.insecure.org. I don't expect I'll need these today but some look very useful.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Garnetgate

There's a new EWeek article titled Lotus Partners picking up Java Slack that talks about the canceled Garnet project. In the article they label the events around the cancellation of Garnet 'Garnetgate'. I'm surprised I'd never heard that one before as I had the dubious distinction of being the lead developer for the server portions of the Garnet project at its demise.

My recollection of the events leading up to the cancellation are lots of boring meetings and yo-yo-ing emotions as the winds shifted around the fate of the project. In the end my opinion didn't matter, it was a decision made way above my band level (bands are how you know where you fit within the giant IBM hierarchy).


I know some of the folks at Brightline and had a chance to see the product. The early version I saw was great and I'm sure what they are showing at LotusSphere is even better. I wish them luck.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Running Java Utilities

Yesterday afternoon Bob and I were bemoaning the difficulty of using java for little utilities. Its not that they are hard to write, rather that they are hard to run. If you want to package some small functionality for your Mom you don't want to have to tell her to open a command prompt and type 'java -jar utility.jar'. This means you need to always build a shell script (bat file) to help run the utility. That's a pain.


The installer for the JRE tries to make running java programs easier by mapping .jar to javaw.exe. But this only helps if your jar contains a Swing or AWT app. If your jar contains a console utility you get no feedback at all.


What I've done to make life easier for myself is to make a new file mapping to an extension called .jex.

(path to java)\java.exe -jar "%1"

I then just rename my utility jars to .jex instead of .jar. This allows me to double click on or type the name of any .jex file and have it run properly,


There's probably a better way to do this. If anyone knows (besides switching OSs) please let me know. Given the ubiquity of Java in the world I would fiqure we aren't the only folks to have been bothered by this.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Glen or Glenda

I think we've all heard about Tux the Linux penguin. We've also probably all heard about Clippy the obnoxious MS animation and seen the FreeBSD demon named Chuck. But have you heard about Glenda the Plan 9 Bunny? I hadn't. Even more obscure is Clarus the dogcow from the Apple Mac. Heck I even own a Mac and didn't know about Clarus. Other OSs are looking to land a mascot too. Risc OS has some submission,
Open BSD has a blowfish named Ramblo, Darwin-OS has Hexley the platypus. SUSE's named their lizard Geeko.


I'm feeling Hamsterish

Jason Hunter of Java Servlet Programming and JDOM fame blogged recently about leaving consulting for a full time job at Cerisent. He weaves a funny hampster thread through the post. Very well done. (My apologies to the Kratt brothers for the title)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Lotus Workplace? Never heard of it.

That's the response I usually get when I tell people what I work on. Thanks to all the press (InfoWorld, eWeek, NetworkWorldFusion, CRN) Workplace is receiving at this years LotusSphere at least more industry folks will have heard of it.

Open Range

I watched Kevin Costner Open Range last night. I found it a beautiful but flawed movie. The cinematography is wonderful. The vast canvas of the open range is laid out with lush green grasses and brilliant blue skies. The on screen work of Duvall and Costner is also excellent. The motivation of their characters unfolds powerfully through out the movie. The two really seem to like each other. It's this relationship that really saves the film. If the movie had just followed these two characters around the open range it probably would have been a masterpiece.



Unfortunately the formula for a cowboy movie says you need a love interest and some bad guys to have a gunfight with. On the good side the movie has a great gunfight. Every squeeze of the trigger by Costner or Duvall has emotion and purpose. The sense of killing is very real and honest. My problem is with the extra characters - the love interest and the bad guys. In juxtaposition to Costner and Duvall , they are all mindless and wooden. The movie needed to spend a little more time to provide some motivation for their behavior. Annette Bening is wasted in the role of the love interest. She has very little dialog and there's no time spent developing any chemistry between her and Costner.



A nice surprise in the film is the work of Abraham Benrubi who has a minor but pivotal role and does it well. If you've ever watched ER you will recognize Mr Benrubi as the big guy behind the ER desk.



It's sad to see a movie with such potential not be full realized. While the work of Duvall and Costner was superb and the cinematography beautiful, the script was just too uneven and the editing seemed rushed (certain scenes near the end of the movie just don't make much sense). I do recommend the movie but not without reservation.



Friday, January 23, 2004

Captain Kangaroo

It was sad to hear Bob Keeshan passed away today. Captain Kangaroo was one of my favorite shows as a kid. I was a big Mr Moose fan.


It's a shame that VH1 recently dissed the Captain on it's I Love the 70's show. This blogger posted about the ill treatment the Captain received and received some funny responses. I love the first response the best.

Oh man... that's WRONG. I grew up with Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Moose and all. Someone dump some ping-pong balls on them NOW!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I love your eyes but only with ketchup

While the title may sound like a quote from Hannibal Lecter its just a phrase generated by the The Surrealist Compliment Generator.

Other notables:

"You are the swordfish that will never shower".

"The goats you buy shed a perfume that makes Marxism so terribly clear to me."

"The expanse of your intelligence is a void no universe could ever fill."

"Your delightful banana reminds me of a cosmonaut in high heels."

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Extreme Programming Luge

On my way to work this morning a local radio station was advertising an upcomming homemade luge event. They are looking for two man theme luges to participate. It struck me as a funny idea if someone would build a pair programming luge with a working computer. But then again, perhaps I just didn't get enough sleep last night.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Published vs Public

I was reading back in Martin Fowler's bog and found this interesting thought. Basically he says we've overloaded the word 'public' so it means too many things. In the context of Java code 'public' means something that can be called externally, in the context of an API it means something that's been published for external users. The distinction might be subtle on the surface, but anyone who has had to deal with versioning a published API will understand the painful difference. Currently Java lacks a common development idiom for dealing with this difference beyond shipping some Javadoc. What might a more formal idiom involve? Something as simple as a new package naming scheme for 'published' packages might work. Any thoughts?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Houston, the Patriots have landed.

What a great experience it was to see these last two Patriots games at Gillette stadium. Before last week I had never seen a live playoff game. Its hard to explain the feeling of being surrounded by 68,000 screaming people who are so excited about the event occurring in front of them that they are willing to stand there in zero degree weather or sight obscuring snow. Its was a really awesome experience.


My chances for getting Super Bowl tickets are pretty low, I understand only about 15% of the Patriots season ticket holder will get tickets for Houston. My fingers are crossed.

Update: We didn't get picked in the lottery. No trip to Houston for us.

Old Co-Workers in the news

This article from E-Week highlights some recent personnel transitions between Lotus/IBM and Microsoft. Its good to see both Gary and Charlie are getting some national recognition. Gary is a great technology evangelist and Charlie is just plain brilliant. (If you haven't read Charlie's book, and your interested in computer security, you really should).

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Blackspace

I downloaded and stepped through some of the NBOR demo. It's a bit mind boggling. It's certainly unlike anything I've ever used before. Using a combination of color selection and gestures you can program interactive pages. From a pure esthetics standpoint it rather ugly but as a cool idea that's stimulates my brain I give it a thumbs up.

Blogger on blogging

Its funny that the Blogger spell checker doesn't know the word blog, blogger or blogging.

Corporate Blogging

Dave Johnson has an interesting blog entry on the blogging market. In particular it talks about blogging behind the corporate firewall. This is a concept I hadn't considered before. I haven't had time to read the George Dafermos paper Blogging the Market: How Weblogs are turning corporate machines into real conversations. called out in the entry but it looks interesting.


Game over man, game over!

My wish came true this holiday season with the release of Alien Quadrilogy. I watched Aliens last night and had a great time annoying my wife with my imitation of Private Hudson's famous 'Game over man, game over" line. In reviewing the script I found here it seems this classic line was just an ad lib for the script marker (hysterical).
The drop-ship skips again, like a stone, engulfed in flames...AND CRASHES INTO THE STATION. A TREMENDOUS FIREBALL. The remainder of the ground team watches their hopes
of getting off the planet, and most of their superior fire power, reduced to flaming debris. There is a moment of stunned silence, then...


HUDSON


(hysterical)

Well that's great! That's just fucking great, man. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do, man? We're in some real pretty shit now!


HICKS


Are you finished?


Bill Paxton was a genius.


A funny side note related to this release is the frenzy of grammar geeks fuming over the choice of the word Quadrilogy instead of the more formal Tetralogy. I like the word Quadrilogy. I bet more folks understand what it means too.

Martin Fowler on process

I found Martin Fowler's blog today. As you would expect, its chock full of thoughtful content. One post in particular hits close to home: PeopleOriented. It deals with the relationship of process to team success. Martin (and the referenced blogger Bill Caputo) take the stand that the process doesn't shape the team, rather its just a tools that a team applies to help achieve success.


To my mind this is an argument for letting the folks closest to the work be involved in shaping the process they use to achieve success. I agree with this and that's how things have worked on most projects I've been involved with. Its also how I prefer to work.


Unfortunately its not how things work on my current team- but I kind of understand why. The team is HUGE and this idea doesn't scales. Unless the team was subdivided into autonomous units that could choose their own process its not feasible. I'd really like that, but don't expect it to happen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Monty


It it weren't so funny it would be scary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

NBOR - No Boundaries or Rules

The folks at NBOR must have a great PR firm. There are articles all over the web describing their new Blackspace product.
Given the information available its hard to say what the product is. The main topic of discussion surrounding it is its new UI which supposedly 'breaks all the rules'.


There isn't a screen shot of the product on their website so don't bother looking. Perhaps the UI is just so radical and minimalist that they thought a picture would be a disservice. It's piqued my curiosity. Perhaps that's the plan.


Usually things don't live up to the hype so I don't expect much. But as someone who's basically dissatisfied (bored) with the current state of software UI I welcome some fresh ideas.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Groovie Logo

I took a stab at creating a logo for the Groovy logo contest.



I've attempted to highlight both the oo-ness and the java-ness of the language. This idea sprang from another submission that also used the Century Gothic font in all lower case. I really like this font.



I threw togther another one this afternoon. This version incorporates a 'mascot'.




Thoughts on JSR 235 - Service Data Objects

In some ways JSR 235 makes me cringe. Its a complex general solution to something that all of us doing server side Java generate simple custom solutions for on a regular basis. The part of me that cringes is the part that just wants to write the simple code and be done with it and not bother having to learn some new over-designed technology.


When I let the knee jerks settle down I do see the wisdom in it. In fact this is addressing something that's been bothering me for a long time. The fact that there was no real 'Java Bean' technology for the server side developer. EJB's are only Beans in name. They don't really resemble the introspectable container objects that are regular Java Bean.


So this brings me the final thing I wanted to say. What's with the name - Service Data Objects. In the second paragraph of the JSR it states

This pattern, called "Data Transfer Object" [1] [5] [7] and "Transfer Object" [2] [3], will be called Service Data Objects (SDOs) here.
Why? They've identified a pattern that this fits and yet they totally ignore it and invent a new name that has nothing to do with it. My second objection of the name is the use of Object. As I mentioned above I believe this a close approximation of a Java Bean so I think it should be called something like Data Transfer Bean or DTB


I realize this probably wont happen. The companies that make up the JCP have too much invested in EJBs to muddy the water with another Bean name. I think It's a shame.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Cute CSS Trick

Chis Hester of Design Detector has built a style sheet that displays a slew of divs containing only non breakable spaces as an image of colored pencils. Its a neat trick. Chris doesn't claim its a useful technique only that its an interesting one.
 
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