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Showing posts from June, 2005

Working with Netbeans 4.2 Dev - Part 1

This past week has been an avalanche of new open source announcements. In particular there's been the final release of Eclipse 3.1, a preview of Matisse with the Netbeans 4.2 developer release, and the release of Trolltech's QT 4 for Windows, X11, and Mac OS X under their open source license. In this post I'm going to talk about Netbeans 4.2 and the many new features, large and small.

I downloaded and installed the development version of Netbeans. Given time this will become Netbeans 4.2. This release comes with three new major features that I am aware of; code completion extensions, support for Netbeans module creation, and Matisse, the GUI builder. I'll talk about the GUI builder in this post.

I downloaded the June 28th developer build from the developer build section of the Netbeans website. I downloaded the installer executable for Windows and then ran it. I then edited the file etc/netbeans.conf per the instructions on the Matisse page to enable the GUI construction…

'War of the Worlds' A Fatally Flawed Failure

Let me start this review off with two quotes.
Science Fiction is speculative fiction in which the author takes as his first postulate the real world as we know it, including all established facts and natural laws. The result can be extremely fantastic in content, but it is not fantasy; it is legitimate - and often very tightly reasoned - speculation about the possibilities of the real world. This category excludes rocket ships that make U-turns, serpent men of Neptune that lust after human maidens, and stories by authors who flunked their Boy Scout merit badge tests in descriptive astronomy.
Robert A. Heinlein from: Ray Guns And Spaceships, in Expanded Universe, Ace, 1981Science fiction for me is a vacation, a vacation away from all the rules of narrative logic, a vacation away from physics and physical science. It just let's you leave all the rules behind and just kind of fly.
Steven Spielberg from: Reuters Movie News, Wednesday June 29With Spielberg's words echoing in the back …

Running With the Netbeans Platform

This is the second of two posts documenting the creation of a Netbeans module, and running it stand-alone on the Netbeans Platform. The first post was Newbee NetBean Module Creation. It's been over a month since that first post, and a lot longer than I intended. Unfortunately life intruded. I'm now on vacation (working around the house on my infinitely long honey-do list) and making the odd post. I've now caught up somewhat and I can relax and look at my other lists of things to do, such as this series.

The Netbeans Platform is the equivalent of the Eclipse Projects Rich Client Platform (or RCP SDK). The significant difference between the Netbeans Platform and the RCP is that the Netbeans Platform will run out-of-the-box (although it is very dull at that point) while the RCP must be combined with a Eclipse plugin and configured to run as a complete application (although this is not hard to do). The Netbeans Platform appears at first blush to be easier to work with.

You need …

JDK 5 Update 4 Just Released

It's getting more and more interesting with Sun's Java. Sun just released it's latest version of Java (1.5 Update 4). What does this mean? First and foremost it means that Netbeans Profiler Milestone 6 can now fully support Java 5. That wasn't supposed to happen until this release. I've looked at the release notes and I can't spot what was fixed or added to allow this to happen, but I will be working with the profiler in Netbeans 4.1 Real Soon Now just to give it a spin.

Another related release are the Q builds for the next version of Netbeans. I'm looking at new code completion extensions added to Netbeans 4.2. I've pulled down the latest Netbeans developer version just to try that out. I decided to try that feature after reading about it in Roumen's blog. Between the immanent release of Matisse, the Q builds, and now this new point release, I'm going to be in geek heaven for a while. Oh, yes, my sandbox system was upgraded to Fedora Core 4, and…

Jack St. Clair Kilby - In Remembrance

Outside of the invention of the transistor and the microprocessor, the invention of the integrated circuit is one of the seminal electronic inventions of the 20th century. Two men are credited with inventing the integrated circuit, or IC, at essentially the same time: Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor and Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. The invention of the IC led directly to the development and production of the microprocessor and other highly complex devices. And those devices have in turn driven contemporary society and shaped it in ways undreamed of even a century ago. While Jack Kilby stayed on with Texas Instruments, Robert Noyce went on to found Intel.

Jack Kilby passed away on June 20th in Dallas following a brief battle with cancer. He was 81. Texas Instruments has created a web site with more information.

Although I never met Jack Kilby or Robert Noyce, I certainly knew of them by name and reputation and I most certainly appreciated the products that sprang from their i…

Show Me The Money!

I just got through reading an interesting article on The Register titled "Robertson gives up Linspire CEO post." The article covers Robertson giving up the CEO position to concentrate on two other businesses he's started. What caught my eye was this fact tossed out about Linspire:
Robertson fought a long battle with Microsoft, which didn't like the name Lindows for a Linux product. Finally, Robertson agreed to drop the Lindows name from its software and change it to Linspire. In return, Microsoft dropped its legal action and gave the company $20m. Linspire earlier this year boasted only 350,000 users, half of whom paid for extra services.Stop and consider this for a moment. Linspire, one of the more visible Linux distributors, claims 350,000 users, only half who have paid for extra services. Yet Robertson got a $20 million consolation prize from Microsoft. Microsoft paid pocket change to Linspire while it generated nearly $10 Billion (with a 'B') in revenues i…

Batman Begins - An Excellent Summer Movie

For Father's Day I went with my wife to the Point Orlando 21 Muvico to see "Batman Begins." Starring Christian Bale in the Batsuit and directed by Christopher Nolan, it has to be the best Batman movie produced so far, even better than Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman". What made the movie for me was director Nolan's attention to detail, his careful buildup of a structure that explained Bruce Wayne's motivation and character, and then the strong character interaction between all the actors. And when it came to acting, just about everybody in the movie did a really great job.

The cast for "Batman Begins" reads like an acting who's who ensemble. Everybody gave strong performances. My favorite characters were (in no particular order):
Christian Bale - His performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman was dead on. He didn't mince words or throw out funny one liners. His character was focused like a laser. He was also very human. He suffered bloody noises a…

Booting Gnoppix 1.0 Live CD - It's Alive!

I finally downloaded and booted a version of Gnoppix, version 1.0, that runs on my Linux system. Gnoppix 1.0 was released this past June 18th. After burning a boot CD-ROM, I was able to fully boot into Gnoppix and give it a spin. Past versions of Gnoppix (based on Ubuntu) had failed to correctly detect my video setup. My Linux system uses a cheap nForce2-based Chaintech motherboard that has built-in video. I disabled the built-in video in the motherboard's BIOS and instead use an ATI 9600 video card. You don't know how many Ubuntu and/or Gnoppix coasters I've created because of that problem.

Out-of-the-box Gnoppix 1.0 runs with the 2.6.10 kernel. The desktop defaults to Gnome 2.10 (although the Gnoppix web page proudly proclaims "Gnoppix uses gnome desktop environment 2.11"). The desktop looks decent, but not as nice as KDE 3.4.1 on my default FC4 environment IMHO.

I'll probably pull down the latest Ubuntu and give it a shot, and probably a copy of Kubuntu as …

Living with Fedora Core 4 - Initial Impressions

I upgraded up to Fedora Core 4 when it hit the servers this past Wednesday. This was a big change over past procedures. In the past, I'd copied/saved all my critical configuration files (stuff out of /etc and out of my home directory) and performed a clean install (reformat and clean install). This time, I threw caution to the wind and decided to just update my FC3 installation.

I pulled the DVD ISO down and burned a single disk. It was that or else burn four CD-ROMS and do the media shuffle. With the DVD I'm back to just setting things up and then walking away and letting the installation grind through. I started it late in the evening, went to bed, and when I got up the next morning I removed the DVD and booted the system into FC4 for the first time. It kept all my original settings and I just logged in like I normally did.

General Impressions

Out-of-the-box FC4 runs with kernel 2.6.11, KDE 3.4, Gnome 2.10, and gcc 4.0 with patches. It's also got OpenOffice Beta 2 (build 10…

Spam-a-lot: More Phishing Expeditions

It's amazing what you get in your spam slot these days. I've got a number of email accounts: Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail, and my account for RoadRunner. And they all get their share of amusing spam messages. It seems, however, that somebody somewhere is targeting specific classes of messages to specific accounts. I do wish I knew what the marketing reasons were behind the types of messages I get in each account.

The gmail account is the most entertaining. For some reason I've been getting lots of admonitions and dire warnings about my non-existant eBay account:
Pay Your eBay Fees (four of those)eBay Fraud Mediation Request (two of those)Open now and verify your email at eBay (five of those)Security problems (two of those)Billing issuesetc. And then there's similar dire messages coming in for LaSalle Bank, SouthTrust, and PayPal. And, of course, I have no accounts with any of those institutions either.

The second most amusing is my RoadRunner account. There I get all sorts of…

Found: Solution to Eclipse Plugin Failure

In a previous article, "Eclipse Annoyance - Failures with Plugin Development using Eclipse 3.1", I documented a problem with starting up a plugin project (any plugin project) with the first two release candidates of Eclipse 3.1. It turns out that moving from milestone 7 (M7) to the first release candidate (RC1) changed the internals a bit. One of the new features of Eclipse 3.1 is that when you update Eclipse you no longer blow away your settings. You workspace is now seperate from your Eclipse installation. For Windows and Linux your workspace by default is placed in your login or home area. Eclipse 3.1 keeps the metadata that defines everything in your environment separate from Eclipse proper itself and in this workspace. This has been great for all the milestones in Eclipse 3.1 I've tested, because it was so simple to just delete the older Eclipse installation and unpack (unzip) the new Eclipse. I could then start it up and carry on.

That was great as long as nothing c…

More Thoughts on Dual Core Systems

In my previous article "The Dual Cores Are Here" I looked at the cost of upgrading one of my home systems from an Athlon XP to a dual-core system. I wanted to keep as much of the existing system as possible, since the technology in a lot of the pieces were still reasonably current. The system I wanted to upgrade had been built, from scratch, 2 1/2 years ago and I had been upgrading bits on it since. I decided, based solely on price, that I could spend about $800 for a new Intel Pentium D, motherboard (955 chipset), 1GB of DDR2 667, and a mid-range PCI Express video card. I thought that was a reasonable decision until I read X-bit labs review on the Intel Pentium D 820.

A lot of the hardware sites lavish gobs of verbiage and innumerable tests in order to determine the merits of today's PC technology, such as processors and motherboards. The X-bit article has all of that, including attempts to overclock the processor as well as all the frame-per-second speeds possible with …

The Dual Cores Are Here

Wondered over to NewEgg to look at the prices for the Intel and Amd dual-core processors and see if it's possible for me to afford the newest in processor technology...

Basic requirements.
I'll look at the Athlon64 X2 and the Pentium D. I'll compare the processors that have 1MB of L2 cache/core. This helps level things a bit because the Intel parts have 1MB of L2 cache/core.I'll need a new motherboard to support the new chips. My current systems are both Athlon XPs running on Chaintech manufactured motherboards using the nForce2 chipset.I will need a new video card. The latest chipsets from nVidia and Intel that can support the latest processors only support PCI Express.I want to keep (recycle) my current system memory. I've got a pair of 512MB DDR 433 DIMs in my current system. There's no reason to get rid of them.I want to keep (recycle) my current hard drives. I've got two Maxtor 120Gig IDE133s that are still quite useful. I have Windows XP on one and SuSE…

Eclipse Annoyance - Failures with Plugin Development using Eclipse 3.1

I'm a big Eclipse fan, and have been since version 2. I've been working steadily with Eclipse 3.1 since milestone 5. Right now I'm up to release candidate 2. I've been quite happy with the changes, in particular the increases in performance on both Windows and Linux. But one thing I have not been happy about is the apparent breakage in plugin development.

One excellent feature of Eclipse is its deep support for Eclipse plugin development through its plugin development environment (PDE). By following along with the excellent wizards, you can quickly build a framework for plugin development that is capable of being immediately launched. At least that's the way it worked until the first release candidate (RC1). Starting with RC1, I noticed that my older plugin development project suddenly failed to work. I quickly decided to create a simple plugin project using Hello World and then compare the two, looking to see what had changed between 3.0 and 3.1 RC1. But that didn&…

Why Microsoft Fails against Linux - It's About Tools

My brother called me today to tell me that Microsoft is now selling a cheaper version of their MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) development suite. If you go to the Microsoft website and look for MSDN Universal , you'll see you can purchase it for the princely sum of $2,799. That's right, that's not a mis-type. That really is almost three grand. You do get a lot in this package, including regular updates through the period of the subscription (12 months), but you have to ask yourself is it really worth that much? Not to me. At that price I can afford a new PC every year and still have money left over for SuSE Pro twice/year, Red Hat Enterprise Workstation, and FreeBSD.

It wasn't always that way. I'm an original Microsoft booster from back in the 80's when Santa Cruz Operation's Xenix and Digital Research's CP/M and MP/M cost dearly. For a fraction of either product I could easily afford Microsoft DOS, Windows, and their developer tools. I'm even an …