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Showing posts from 2005

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 64th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I was born in 1953 and thus way too young to have fought in WWII, but my father lived through it as a child (and served in the Navy during the Korean conflict). It was through my father's model building of WWII ships, planes and armor that I became interested in WWII, and watching many John Wayne movies also helped to feed the interest. I only bring this up because for the first time there was no mention of it on or NPR. I had to go hunt up references via Google.

I remember Pearl Harbor, what happened there, the memory of those who died there, and what it means.

Java 6 Release Candidate is out

I missed it. A Java 6 Release Candidate, build 60, was released November 10th. I've downloaded and installed it on both Windows XP and SuSE 10. I have, of course, started up my current NetBeans 5 Q-build under 6 on both platforms, and it performs quite well. The only complaint I have is the startup speed: NetBeans 5 10/31 Q-build starts slower under RC than it did under Beta.

The other big change, at least for Linux, is that the native Gtk support is much cleaner than I've seen for quite some time (see below).

As you can see, Java has clearly picked up the Gnome desktop theme I currently have. In the past the Java Gtk theme defaulted to some horrible grey-and-line-based look. This actually looks good for stock JFC client applications. Unfortunately, turning on the GTK style for NetBeans 5 still leaves a lot to be desired. Which is a shame, since NetBeans 5 on Windows XP has a beautiful theme that matches the Windows XP theme. What's more, sub-pixel anti-aliasing is now on by…

Working with graph examples in NetBeans 5

After downloading and building graph, I decided to see if I could create a graph example project in NetBeans 5. I started to create a Java application that would incorporate the sources, but that failed. What I quickly discovered is that I could just open graph/examples as a project. I was surprised by this because when I tried to open graph by itself (before I downloaded the support projects nbbuild and openide) it would fail. This time it opened without a hitch. I was even able to open the run dialog in Matisse.

What I also discovered is that double clicking on the editor's tab for a given file expands the editor to fill the entire IDE window. That may sound trivial, but it's very nice to just hide everything but the file you're working on. One feature I really miss from the current emacs emulation is the ability to split screen, and then move back and forth between them via the keyboard. You can split the screen horizontally by grabbing an editor tab and moving towards t…

Building the NetBeans 5 graph project

There's an interesting NetBeans 5 project called graph.
Graph Library has been designed to support visualization and editing of node-edge structures using drag'n'drop style of work.

The library has been used in the Visual Designer in NetBeans Mobility Pack 4.1. The directions for how to acquire and build graph are a bit cryptic. What follows are the steps I followed to download and build graph.Create a top-level directory to hold everything. In my case I created one called 'netbeans'.Change directory into netbeans, and log into the NetBeans cvs: "cvs -d :pserver:[login-name] login". Note that you'll have to register and have a login-name to start with.Checkout three modules; graph, nbbuild, and openide: "cvs -d checkout graph", "cvs -d checkout nbbuild", and "cvs -d checkout openide". Wh…

A report on NetBeans 5 10/31 Q-build

Although I reported here that I had pretty much abandoned NetBeans for Eclipse, I still feel the need to look at it and gauge its progress. It's foolish to ignore anything as complex and sophisticated as NetBeans, and just because it doesn't work for me right now doesn't mean it won't work later, and it certainly doesn't mean it won't work for others. For this look I downloaded and installed the October 31st Q-build on both SuSE 10 Linux and Windows XP SP2. All of the following comments come from my using it under Linux.

I grabbed the Q-build rather than the daily because the dailies are just too unstable. For example, I grabbed the November 8th daily and discovered it wouldn't even install. For a decent combination of bleeding-edge features and stability, the Q-builds are probably your best bet. For extensive testing on Linux I also grabbed the Mobility Pack and Profiler M9. I installed everything and then went and picked up some modules I'd found usefu…

The promise of World Wind realized

In this posting I complained about NASA's World Wind application. I then went googling for the Mono version, and found Miguel de Icaza's blog entry about a re-implementation that runs on Linux. He wrote about it running with Mono, but he also had a link to a version written in Java at BerliOS called WWD2. So I downloaded it, followed the directions for setting it up, and execute it. And boy, was I pleasantly surprised. It actually works, and it works really well. Look at the two screen shots that follow and compare them with the Windows World Wind version. While the Linux version doesn't have all the bells and whistles, it does the key things right, especially when you zoom in. One other thing: the two screen shots are again of Orlando International Airport. The images look to be identical, down to the individual aircraft on the taxiways. In the case of WWD2, there are no annoying 'Google' copyright notices plastered all over the place. And the image actually look…

The mess we're in

Two stories that point out the mess the world is in: one concerns the US and one concerns Europe.

In the US John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, has vowed to add an amendment to every bill going before the President that bans torturing prisoners of war by U.S. interrogators.Speaking from the Senate floor, McCain said, "If necessary - and I sincerely hope it is not - I and the co-sponsors of this amendment will seek to add it to every piece of important legislation voted on in the Senate until the will of a substantial bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress prevails. Let no one doubt our determination."How did we get into this mess? John McCain himself was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and was tortured by the North Vietnamese. I'm a Democrat, but I have always respected and admired John McCain, both for what he's lived through as well as how he's lived his life. I'm waiting for the Republican lapdogs on talk radio to denigrate Mr. McCain, to tea…

World Wind just so much hot air

Nasa's World Wind is a fat-client application that allows you to view the earth, moon, Mars, and Titan using satellite information to render "terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there." I downloaded the latest from the World Wind website ( and installed it.

I installed the application while running on Windows XP SP2. It in turn installed 'managed' DirectX 9, which was basically DirectX 9c. After the installation was complete I had two icons on my desktop. One was for World Wind 1.3, and the other was for World Wind Moon 1.3. Which leads to a problem with the application (at least for me): it's written in C# and the version supplied by Nasa will only run on Windows. There is, however, activity afoot to port it to Mono on Linux.

I opened up both applications, first the moon, and then the earth. When both initially open they present a beautiful 3D view of the moon and the earth. And the interface is easy enough to learn so that I was bo…

Java upgrades and releases

Perusing the Sun Java site, I came across the latest version of Java 1.4.2, release 10. There's a set of release notes that cover 59 fixes across a wide range of subsystems. The bug fixes continue with Java 1.4.2, which should make those who are of a conservative mind feel easier. I'm still waiting for Java 5 update 6. That release was hinted at by the NetBeans 5 bug site in one of it's numerous drop-down list boxes.

Java 6 continues on with Build 59. It was dropped November 3rd. It's the first build that I've installed that comes with the complete Java installer. I had to be careful this time not to install the JRE. I run Java 6 with Java 5 and make sure not to install multiple JREs. It just makes it easier that way. Based on my prelimary runs of various applications, it's performance continues to get better and better. What's more, running the Windows XP look-and-feel makes the application look like a native Windows application. That look, coupled with …

No Sony for me!

I am not a big fan of Sony. I have resisted buying Sony products for years because of the poor quality of just about everything they sell and their drive to force consumers to use Sony-specific peripherals, such as their overly expensive Memory Stick. Not only has their poor quality effected consumers who directly purchase Sony products, but it has also effected other manufacturers who use Sony OEM products in their consumer products. In the later category is the recent CCD quality control issue that effects Fuji Film, Canon, Nikon, Konica-Minolta, Ricoh, and Olympus.

Now it's being reported that some of Sony's music CDs contain Digital Rights Management (DRM) software that installs a rootkit on your Windows machine. In an article by Mark Russinovich, Mark provides extensive details on how, without any notice, Sony software installed their rootkit on his machine to control how the Van Zant brother's Get Right with the Man could be played on his PC. You should follow the lin…

Now the Iranians are after me.

First the Royal Bank of Scotland wanted to give me a large sum of money. Now the Iranians are trying to best the Scots. The Scots, cheapskates that they are, only wanted to give me 15 million. The Iranians want to give me 28 million. Isn't it a wonderful networked world we live in?
Dear Friend.

Assalamu Alaikum, My name is Abdul Saheed, a business man in Tehran - Iran. I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer . It has defiled [sic] all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone (not even myself) but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.

I believe when God gives me a second chance to c…

Update to Mozilla Firefox 1.5, Beta 2 to RC 1

I just got a surprise update to my copy of Firefox 1.5. I've been using Firefox 1.5 since beta 2 came out on SuSE 10 OSS. Tonight I got a message saying that the latest release, Release Candidate 1, had been downloaded and was ready to update my Beta 2 installation. I exited Firefox and then restarted it, and sure enough it came up with an RC1 page and the title no longer has 'Beta 2' as part of the window title. I checked the area where I have Firefox installed, and sure enough there are a number of new core modules with a data of November 1st on them (and no, I don't run as root, I run as a normal user).

I'm of a divided mind as to whether this is a Good Thing or not. It's great not having to uninstall Firefox and then re-install the latest version. I've been waiting for that feature for a long time. But it's disconcerting having it done behind my back. This very same feature is available on Windows XP, and I have it turned off. In particular I have Ad…

I can just hear the pipes

I received the following in my Yahoo message inbox today. After getting such messages from the Middle East and Africa, it's refreshing to see that the Scots now want to play this con game.
Mr. Cliff Robson
Royal Bank of Scotland


Do accept my sincere apology if my mail does not meet your personal ethics. I will introduce myself as Mr. Cliff Robson, a senior executive in the Accounts Department of the above Bank here in United Kingdom. One of our accounts with a credit balance of USD15, 000,000 (Fifteen Million United States Dollars) has been dormant and has not been operated for the past 4 years.

From my investigations and confirmations, the owner of this account, a Foreigner by name Mr. Robert Chapman died in August 2000 and since then nobody has done anything as regards the claiming of this money because he did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit. Also Information from the Immigration states that he was also single …

DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 Comments

This years "grand challenge" had five finishers as well as an overall winner: Stanford's Stanley. The finishers were:
Stanford Racing Team, "Stanley"Red Team, "Sandstorm"Red Team Too, "Highlander"Gray Team, "GreyBot"Team TerraMax, "TerraMax"
This contrasts with last year's race in which no one finished, and the best distance was barely 7 miles compared with this years 132 miles traveled from start to finish.

Why so many finishers this year? A lot had to do with how this years race was organized. Last years race ran for nearly 150 miles between two distant points, while this years race was a loop where the start and end points were the same. What's more the route was more carefully chosen this time around.

Overall I'm very pleased that Stanford won. CMU came back with two teams this year (Red Team and Red Team Too) to finish, but it was the first year contender, Stanford, that beat them with superior engineering.


Can't get to my Google Mail. It's a good thing it's free.

I've grown too dependent on Google Mail (gmail). Today gmail is having accessibility problems. I keep getting a 502 error, which admittedly is the first time I've run across such a problem. But it does shake my blind faith in Google. And it doesn't reflect well on a company that on October 3rd announced it was teaming with Sun Microsystems to offer Java and other services via the web. This is one of two major problems that killed Application Service Providers (ASPs) during the late great Internet Bubble back in 2000. Once again Google is trying to become an Internet utility. A utility should never go down, especially during business hours (please forgive me my hypocrisy; I live in Florida and it's no accident the power company is called Florida Flash and Flicker, so I should not complain about 24/7 utility availability). The other problem was bandwidth. And bandwidth is still horrible, especially with WebEx running rampant through many organizations.

Let's just see …

OpenOffice releases first release candidate

OpenOffice released RC1 this past week. I uninstalled OpenOffice Beta 2 on Suse 10 beta 3 and installed RC1 in its place. RC1 has been running like a champ. The biggest change between the beta version that came with S10B3 seems to be much better performance. It seems to start faster and the applications seem to run faster once started. I use Write, Calc, and Impress (the equivalent to Microsoft's Word, Excel, and Power Point). All three seem quite stable and I'm able to create and share documents between their Office equivalents. I even have the ability to save out to PDF (File | Export to PDF). Nice.

I can't say that OpenOffice would replace Microsoft Office for everyone. But for what I need, I really believe it can for both Linux and Windows.

Nasty problem with SuSE/Firefox update

I've been running with SuSE beta 10 for over a month now (more about that in a later post). Yesterday I received, via susewatcher, an update notice for a Firefox update from 1.0.6 to 1.0.7. An update for Mozilla 1.7.12 was included as well. OK. I clicked on the 'Start Online' button and updated both. Big mistake.

Turns out that the Firefox update was polluted with someone else's personal extensions, specifically Beagle Indexer. That extension, along with two others, were placed in the main extensions directory with root privs. I would have never known about Beagle except it was broken, and produced the following error alert every time I hit a web site.

Not only was this annoying, it became extremely annoying on Google Mail. I lost count of the number of times the opening page triggered the alert. I opened the extensions dialog and saw the Beagle Indexer in all its glory. What was ominous is that the update button was missing. I should have taken a hint right then that an…

Blog spam

I've been getting a rash of blog spams lately as comments to my posts. I have my blog set up to email me any responses so that I can keep up with what's being said behind my virtual back. Turns out that was a good idea, because I was able to quickly go in and remove the posts. So far it's not too bad because the spam posts are relatively few. But if it really starts to pick up it's going to be quite annoying.

The best way to stop this is to do what many sites that allow posting now follow: force you to type in text displayed in an image. Right now anyone (anonymous or Blogspot user) can post a comment without being challenged. That makes it ideal for bots. Using a graphic word image should slow it down considerably, but it won't bring it to a complete halt. For example, you could hire a human to do it if you had to. Oh well. I will wait and see how this is handled. In the mean time I'll just keep weeding them out as fast as they appear.

Heads up: Eclipse 3.2 Draft Plan

There's a new revision to the Eclipse Platform Project Draft 3.1 Plan. This last one was published August 5th (Friday). It's a good idea to pay attention to these when they come out, especially with regards to the plugin APIs. The first milestone (M1) should hit the streets on or about August 12th. According to the draft plan, version 3.2 won't be finally released until sometime in 2Q2006. Since they only have four milestone releases listed so far, and the fourth is targeted for mid-December, I have to wonder what is going to happen in the next 3-6 months after the December milestone release. I hope it comes out a lot sooner.

Here are some of the proposed items for 3.2 that I'm most interested in.

Support logical model integration. The Eclipse Platform supports a strong physical view of projects containing resources (files and folders) in the workspace. However, there are many situations where plug-in developers would prefer to work with a logical model that is appropria…

A Car Wreck with Boobs

So writes Paul Clinton for CNN. And that's actually one of his kinder remarks. I knew this was going to be a stinker of a movie for the following reasons:
The original was a stinker.Jessica Simpson.The trailers.Jessica Simpson (I may be well beyond the 18-34 age demographic for T&A, but I ain't dead). Since I refuse to spend $8 to see this cinematic roadkill, I'll let the poor sods who have seen it speak to its quality.
The film's only redeeming feature is the end credits, which show extremely funny outtakes from the movie. Unfortunately, they come about 103 minutes into the 106-minute film.
Paul Clinton, CNN Online
The Puke of Hazzard
But the "meanness" of the movie is what truly ruins it... When will the movie industry come out of their bubble and realize that Americans aren't the bad-to-the-bone, morally corrupt characters that they portray every time a movie tries to "keep it real"...
Yahoo User Review
Looks like we got another Gigli.
I understa…

Blogspot messing with me again

I like to use images with my posts, especially my technical posts. And the images I like to use are PNG. Most of my images are screen captures that I edit and save with The Gimp on Windows XP. Unfortunately, when I upload the images using "Add Image" feature that was just added to blogspot, blogspot converts my PNGs to lossy jpegs. Very lossy jpegs. For some images this isn't a problem. For technical images where I'm trying to show some specific detail, it's a disaster. I just realized this was happening from an email comment. I'm now looking to host my images on some other service, such as Flickr, and then link back to them. I know that blogspot is free and that the conversion of PNG to jpeg is to save server space, so I shouldn't gripe, I guess. But I am working to fix all the jpeg corruptions, and I hope to have it in place by the weekend.


Well I just tried out Flickr, and it's worse than blogspot. Not only are they converted to jpeg but they&…

Running the Amazon Web Services Sample Application In Eclipse

The NetBeans site has published an article on running the Amazon Web Services Sample with NetBeans 4.1. I thought I'd pull the sample down and run it in Eclipse, just to see what would happen. Turns out that Eclipse runs it just as well if not better. Of course, Your Mileage May Vary, but at least it was fun running it under Eclipse.


The Amazon Web Services Sample requires that you register as an Amazon Web Services Developer before you can download and use it. Registration is free. Once installed and built the sample application will make web service requests to Amazon. Each Amazon web services request requires a subscription ID parameter, which you'll receive via your email address after registering.

If you don't have Java installed, pick it up from your favorite Java download site. Make sure you at least have Java 1.4.2 installed. The Amazon sample application runs against 1.4.2_08. I had 1.5.0_04 installed on my notebook, so I had to download and install 1.4.2 side-…

Java 6 and one area where Eclipse is better than NetBeans

After reading the latest status report on Java 6 (Mustang) I downloaded and installed the latest Java 6 drop (build 45). I then ran some quick and dirty tests to check out some of the improvements mentioned in the status report. Note that I'm running both versions of Java under Windows XP SP2 on a Gateway M680 with a 17" LCD screen.
Feature: Improve Windows Look and Feel
Bug IDs: 5106661
Status: 5106661 integrated into b14, remaining work ongoingThe look and feel is indeed looking better. The following screenshot shows SwingSet under 5 on the left and SwingSet under 6 on the right. The look under Swing 6 uses the same windows widgets you see in Window's File Explorer.

Feature: Improved text quality and capabilities
Bug IDs: 4502804, 5057760, 4871297, 4726365
Delivered: b39This feature has indeed been delivered. The following is a comparison between two samples of source code in the SwingSet demo app. The difference between the selection of the fonts as well as their rendering i…

NetBeans 4.1 can't import Eclipse 3.1 projects and I go on a rant about both

Just a short note to the NetBeans' folks. NetBeans has a module that allows you to import Eclipse projects into NetBeans. It appears that it only works for Eclipse 3.0.x projects. I've since moved on to Eclipse 3.1. Well, when I read how one developer felt that Eclipse failed to meet his enterprise java development needs, I got all fired up (again) to give NetBeans 4.1 (not 4.2) another chance as my primary IDE. To start with I tried to import a project I was currently working on from Eclipse to Netbeans.

So I went to the NetBeans website import pages and attempted to follow the simple and clear directions. The problem I found is that the NetBeans import plugin only works for Eclipse 3, not Eclipse 3.1. When I attempted to import a project out of an Eclipse 3.1 workspace, NetBeans 4.1 failed. It did not recognize the workspace and would not allow me to pick the project to import.

And as you can see below, the workspace directory structure does exist and it works quite well for E…

Dear PayPal phisher: Learn to spell

The PayPal phishers are getting bolder, if not dumber, by the day. Consider this little missive that landed in my Gmail spam folder today:
Security Center Advisory! (grabs your attention, doesn't it?)

We recently noticed one or more attempts to log in to your PayPal account from a foreign IP address and we have reasons (sp) to belive (sp) that your account was hijacked by a third party without your authorization (well duh! i guess it's ok if i give my authorization?). If you recently accessed your account while traveling, the unusual log in attempts may have been initiated by you.

If you are the rightful holder of the account you must click the link below and then complete all steps from the following page as we try to verify your identity.

Click here to verify your account(a bogus link was here)

If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choise (sp) but to temporaly (sp) suspend your account.

Thank you for using PayPal! So, let's recap for a moment. I get this urgent …