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Showing posts from July, 2005

NetBeans Dev 4.2 Q Build - Linux release has problems

I downloaded and installing the Linux version of Netbeans 4.2 Dev Q Build for 26 July. This is the same realease as I installed on Windows XP SP2, and the version I've had reasonble success with regards to using the Matisse visual editor. The Linux distribution I'm running with is Fedora Core 4 running the Gnome desktop and the ClearLooks theme. The Linux version of Netbeans does not exhibit the same level of stability that the Windows version does.

I decided to reimplement the same simple panel I'd implemented in this post. I only got the Home subpanel implemented before it became impossible to continue without generating unknown exceptions. The following image shows the layout and the form preview.

Some of the issues I ran across using 4.2 Q on Linux:
The titled JPanel (Home) would not show up when it was first added to the form. It only showed up much later after closing and reopening the form.The elements did not flow as easily around the form.And in general I am not part…

If It Breaths, Kill It.

At a distant research facility, the final 10% of the human genome has just been discovered. And with it all Hell has broken loose. Now, a call for help has gone out.

So ring out the ominous first words of the Doom Movie Trailer. And guess who shows up? The Rock and Karl Urban With Friends looking particularly mean and nasty, wielding typically vicious looking BFGs with unlimited ammunition, running heroically into the Doomed Martian Facility to Fight Evil. And they have with them a company of sacrificial Marines whose duty is it to die in gruesome yet entertaining ways for the movie audience. I haven't seen this many set up for a sacrifice since Aliens. But hey. It Ain't Shakespeare. So when it comes out, pay your cash, sit back, and bathe once again in the magnetic personalities of The Rock and Karl Urban.

Around Every Corner...
Behind Every Door...
Doom Is Waiting.
No One Gets Out Alive.

Why I'll finally switch to Apple

I'll switch to Apple because Apple has switched to Intel. As long as Apple stayed on the Motorola 68K, and later the PowerPC, there was no incentive to give up the rich technical ecology of the PC. The PC in the early years had its flaws, but ever since the PC platform incorporated PCI and AGP, and started to use USB and Firewire, the PC platform has been more than a match for anything Apple could provide in hardware. The only thing lacking was software, and I had no real love for OS 9 and earlier to make me tolerate Apple hardware.

But then Apple released OS X. OS X, as you all know by now, is essentially the Mach kernel with BSD wrapped around it. Beneath the very shiny (and very good) GUI beat the heart of a real Unix. Now I was faced with a tough choice: buy the OS I really wanted to run on an inferior hardware platform, or buy the hardware platform I wanted and run an inferior OS. I chose hardware every time because I could always hack the software sufficiently to give me 90% …

NetBeans Dev 4.2 Q Build - Exploration of Matisse features

I managed to get NetBeans 4.2 Dev back into reasonable shape by uninstalling the application and reinstalling it. I then installed only a very few plugins from the Development Update Center; specifically plugins that support development of NetBeans Modules projects. I have a feeling that there are one or more development plugins in the Infrastructure folder that conflict with the core infrastructure plugins that come bundled with NetBeans. So I think for the time being I'll just leave those be.

I've pushed forward with learning what I can do with Matisse. I created a second simple panel, taking as my inspiration Hacknot's "Beware The GUI Builder." The author raises a number of important points with regards to how GUI builders are used and the poor quality code they produce.
But the GUI Builder's inability to recognize repetitive structures in the GUI (opportunities for reusing a custom component) has the potential to create a great deal of unnecessary code, sho…

NetBeans Dev 4.2 Q Build - New problems crop up

After fixing the problem outlined here I ran Update Center and picked up quite a few interesting bits. I then allowed the system to restart itself, and when it did, I got Unexpected Exception: ArrayIndexOutOfBounds. What follows is the exception trace.

java.lang.ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException: 0
at java.beans.PropertyChange…

NetBeans Dev 4.2 - One mystery solved

I've complained here and here that I could not run Tools | Update Center. Trying to run Update Center would result in an 'unexpected exception'. The problem appears to be one or more corrupt settings in the .netbeans/dev cache area. I don't know where the specific problem lies, but I was able to test this theory by simply renaming .netbeans/dev to .netbeans/dev.bad and restarting the 4.2 Q build. When I forced NetBeans 4.2 to rebuilt its cache area, then the Update Center started working again.

I have yet to determine exactly what the problem is, but I did manage to carefully move many of my older settings from the 'bad' dev cache to the newer, so I could at least continue with my projects and my database settings and servers under Runtime. The Update Development Center is now open to me again. As I posted earlier the problem showed up with a daily build, specifically the one from July 24th. Getting rid of the build didn't get rid of the problem. If you run …

Discovery launches

Today was a really good day to watch a launch. Around 10:30 am my office mates and I went up on the roof of our building (it's three stories) to wait for Discovery's launch. We were joined by about 20 others from other companies; all told we had between 3 and 4 dozen observers on the roof. One of the watchers was a woman whose husband worked on the countdown team. She called his office to check if there was any hold, and was told that the shuttle was ready to go in about 10 seconds. Sure enough, looking east, we saw a brief flash as the engines lit off. There were clouds on the horizon so it was another long 20 seconds before the shuttle lifted over the cloud tops and we had a clear view of the shuttle. We all stood and waited silently, until the rumble of the engines finally reached us (in Orlando) and then we started talking a little. The shuttle continued to lift higher and higher. When it finally diminished to a little dot we all started moving back towards the stairs and …

NetBeans Dev 4.2 Q Build - The experience improves

There was a tremor in the Force today. I downloaded the latest NetBeans 4.2 Developer Q build, installed it, and completed Roman's DemoForm flash demo. I was glad to see that the Q build was indeed more stable than the bleeding edge developer drops I'd been working with recently. What follows in no particular order are a list of improvements and issues I found in the July 26th Q build.
The visual editor is no longer touchy. When I inserted jLabel8 (Organization) into the Identity panel, it dropped in between the name and email address labels. I was then able to drop the supporting JTextField next to the JLabel and size it without causing the Identity panel to resize and push the surrounding controls off the form.
I still caused a few unexpected exceptions. This was caused by me playing around with the organization text field. However, I could close the form and save it, and when I opened it again I was left with everything except the text field on the form. This is a much better…

NetBeans Dev 4.2 - Going from bad to worse?

For as long as Matisse has been advertised (starting June 26th) I've never had the success of building GUIsthat others seem to have. Enough with the hype. Starting with this post, I've started to document the brokeness of NetBeans Matisse by trying to build Roman's DemoForm. I pulled down the latest developer releases for NetBeans 4.2, dated the 24th and the 25th of July. Both of them are broken now in some fundamental areas besides Matisse. In particular you can't run the update center. For the last two releases invoking the update center has produced the lovely exception dialog you can see to the right.

The Matisse module is still very broken, and it is still impossible to create the DemoForm that is a part of Roman's flash demo. I would strongly suggest to the developers and boosters of NetBeans that they quietly hide Roman's demo until such time as Matisse is robust enough that the entire demo can be successfully built. Otherwise Matisse is now little more t…

Working with Ubuntu - Observations

I wrote earlier in the week about installing Ubuntu. Here are more impressions as I work with the distribution, primarily developing with it.
Building a kernel doesn't work. I pulled kernel from and attempted to build it with a config file I had from Fedora Core 4. The config allowed for successful builds and boots on FC4. But when I attempted to do the same here, I got a "Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(3,7)". One other oddball aspect of this failure is the size of the initrd image: it's over 9Mb in size. I've never built one that big before, and it's double the size of the stock 2.6.10 kernel that comes with Ubuntu.Running Java works after some tweaking. I have Java installed "on the side" and provide access to it by defining JAVA_HOME and adding $JAVA_HOME/bin to the path. I placed that information in /etc/profile and /etc/bash.bashrc during testing. The problem was that even though I c…

The Other Armstrong

On July 20, 1969 Commander Neil Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin Aldrin successfully landed in the Sea of Tranquility on the surface of the moon. Several hours later Armstrong exited the lunar module in which he'd landed and became the first human being to set foot on the moon's surface.

I'll always remember that electric moment for the rest of my life. I was a high school freshman at the time. I had soaked up the entire space race from the earliest Mercury missions on. I'd built every plastic space model I could afford. I'd read every space book and magazine article published up to that time. The year before I'd seen 2001 and couldn't wait to go into space. I was one stoked geek with a ring-side seat to the future. That night, my brother and I sat in a darkened room with our black-and-white TV and watched Neil Armstrong step off the LEM and onto the surface of the moon and into history.

The Apollo program continued on through Apollo 13 and on to the last…

Armstrong's Magnificent Seventh

I just read on that Lance finished his seventh tour and won it as expected. I ride as a "recreational rider" or as some of the locals I ride with jokingly call me, a "clydesdale". At 6ft 4in and 245 lbs, I dwarf riders like Lance. I'm lucky to go reasonably fast on the flats of Florida, dodging potholes and asshole drivers. When Lance wins I feel a great vicarious thrill. I know I'll never ride in competition, especially at the pinnacle of athleticism that Lance has attained, but I respect and admire Lance because of world-class riding and winning in style.

I've always ridden a bike, and when I was in college I actually ran a J.C. Penney's bike shop in Atlanta, GA. But the sport in America was virtually unknown in the early 70's. I didn't really begin to get serious about riding until my late 40's and my friend Sterling Hall. Sterling got me back out seriously and consistently riding in 1999. I picked up a Huffey at a local Walmart…

Ubuntu Linux - Superb installation

Just as I promised myself in an earlier post I installed Ubuntu Linux over my Fedora Core 4 installation. When this weekend finally rolled around I saved what I cared to save on FC4 and installed Ubuntu 5.04 via the same DVD I'd burned earlier in the week.

I like this distribution very much. In fact this is the first Linux installation based on Gnome and Debian that I can actually say that I like as well as KDE. Working with Fedora (and earlier versions of Redhat for that matter) have given me a distorted view of both desktops. Ubuntu is outstanding in its completeness when compared with other distributions and everything Just Works. This is a far cry from Fedora Core 4 in particular in which it mostly works, with some noticeable lapses, especially with up2date.

Getting Ubuntu installed was extremely easy. All my system hardware was detected. One very nice touch was Ubuntu's ability to find both of my network interfaces. One is the nVidia (nForce2) built-in device. The other is …

NetBeans Matisse - Needs considerably more work

I pulled down the latest developer NetBeans (for July 21st) and installed it, then I visited the Project Matisse page and watched Roman Strobl's flash demo. I wanted to followed Roman's dialog and illustrations as I recreated his DemoForm. Using the latest developer version my results were a lot less successful than Roman's.

First, the Matisse module seems to have regressed with regards to stability. I encountered numerous unhandled exceptions as I attempted to add each of the controls. The biggest problem with the flash demo is that when Roman starts his demo he starts from a point where there are already a number of controls on the form. I added the same controls in order to start at the same spot where the flash demo starts. I generated no less than two exceptions to get to that point, which forced me to "save early, save often." The problem is that once an unexpected exception appears, then no more work can be done until the form is closed. You can't even …

Ubuntu Linux - What a pleasant surprise

I run both Windows (Professional XP SP2) and Linux (Fedora Core 4, SuSE 9.1) at home. One box runs FC4 all the time, while the Windows box dual boots between Windows and SuSE. I have, however, been less than satisfied of late with Fedora Core, especially FC4. Yes, I know Fedora Core is 'bleeding edge'. I don't mind bleeding edge in areas clearly defined as such, and quirks can be forgiven if usability provided out weights the quirks. But there are enough annoyances in FC4 in many areas that shouldn't have quirks that I've started looking around for a replacement distribution on the all-Linux machine. Thus my willingness to try various distributions, such as Ubuntu 5.04.

Ubuntu is available on the web in CD-ROM and DVD-ROM format. I decided to download the DVD ISO and burn a DVD for testing. The DVD is available only via torrent, so I snagged a copy of Azureus, the Java BitTorrent client. I first Azureus to grab NASA's World Wind client, and I've been hooked …

Building Subversion on MacOS X Tiger

I started to work in the Sparta Orlando office July 5th. As part of my new job I decided to install a SCM system that I, and others in the office, could use. After talking to the other developers we decided to install Subversion, and to make it available over the local webserver. What follows are my adventures over several days attempting to build, install, and integrate everything.

As I said I spent the latter part of last week finally gathering and installing all the pieces for a web-based subversion server on an Apple blade server running MacOS X Tiger, and then trying to get them all to play nice together. What follows are all the steps and settings required to get everything built and running. In order to duplicate my results, you need the following applications in tarball format.
Berkeley db 4.3.28 (the Subversion repository will use Berkeley)
Apache 2.0.54PHP 5.0.4Subversion 1.2.1
You also need to make sure that you have the latest tool chain installed on Tiger. The system I worke…

The Rise of AMD

Everyone is in such a twitter these days over AMD's antitrust lawsuit against Intel that you have to read carefully to find news items that illustrate AMD's superior processor technology over rival Intel's. I've read at least four so far; two have to do with dual-core benchmarks, one has to do with power consumption, and one has to do with AMD's last quarter sales performance.

AMD's sales grew nearly 90% in the second quarter. The sales increase was driven primarily by processors, primarily Opteron server chips. According to the Inquirer the Athlon 64 "desktop CPU market doesn't seem to be a very happy place to be." Regardless of the Inquirer author's opinion, what it shows is that a lot of folks outside of the main Intel-dominated market recognize the quality of the AMD processors (HP and Sun come to mind) and that AMD is happily selling every single one they can make (and at very high markup if you check the sites).

There is an article on Tom&…

NetBeans hype hides NetBeans' limitations

If you're like me, you hit the NetBeans site on a periodic basis to keep up with what's going on with NetBeans. On the site there's a section to the right called NetBeans Buzz, and today they had an entry from Lin Gang's Weblog titled "NetBeans plugin development will gain Sun an advantage in IDE competition". Great title for a blog entry. Sounds like powerful support for NetBeans. Too bad that the title doesn't convey what the author really says.

The point the author was trying to make is the lack of NetBeans activity as compared to Eclipse, specifically with the development of plugins to extend the NetBeans IDE. Specifically, he stated is a big disadvantage for NetBeans [to] compete with Eclipse, for such a great IDE, we do not want to see only Sun engineer[s] are working on the development and maintaining for it.And I agree with that 100%. There is a quote in Lin Gang's weblog with no attribution that I found via Google, and it came from Rick R…

Firefox is loosing its appeal for me

I'm about to write something sacrilegious with regards to Firefox. I no longer believe it's quite the golden child we were led to believe it was back in January of this year. Right before I cranked up the browser to write this little screed I had to kill the process on my Windows XP SP2 notebook (a Gateway M680 with an Intel Pentium M 2.13 GHz and 1GB of DRAM). Why? Because it locked up yet again viewing a PDF file (an essay written by Bjarne Stroustrup on the future of C++). It occurs when you use the back button to go back to the page from which you launched the PDF viewer in the browser. It's been locking up at least once a day, requiring that I pull up Window's task manager and kill both the Acrobat reader process as well as the Firefox process. And until I kill them both, chew up about 100% of the processor's time.

Reading PDF files isn't the only Firefox killing action. I've also had lockups with Apple QuickTime. And then there's the peculiarity wi…

Watching Dennis Go By

I live in Orlando. Last year I got to sit through three hurricanes; Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne. So it was with morbid interest that I watched Dennis this past week as it tore through Cuba and made it's way past the Gulf coast of Florida on to landfall somewhere to the North Gulf coast. Right now it looks like it will make landfall near Pensacola, Florida. As of 2pm it was 40 miles south of Pensacola and was rated a category 4 storm with winds of 135 mph. It was September of last year that Ivan, a category 3 storm, hit Gulf Shores, Alabama. Ivan tore up communities all across that area and knocked out a section of I10 that crossed Escambia Bay.

The weekend here in Orlando has been somber. Trips to the local grocery and Moes had very few people out and about, especially Friday night. We've had lots of wind and rain, and it has blown more limbs out of trees that were weakened from last year's triple whammy. I remember that Charlie, the first hurricane, didn't hit until A…

Fedora Core 4 - Fixing an OpenOffice Update Problem

When I installed Fedora Core 4 (FC4), I upgraded over FC3 rather than installing a fresh copy. I wanted to see what possible problems might crop up. Over time a number have surfaced as I've used my system. One of the problems that came to light had to do with OpenOffice.

OpenOffice was updated from version 1.1.3 on FC3 to 1.9.104 beta on FC4. Everything went well except that the upgrade installed every language pack for OpenOffice. As an American English speaker I didn't install the packs under FC3. I didn't find out about the situation until I attempted to pick up the OpenOffice 1.9.113 upgrade via up2date.

I got rid of the 42 language packs using yum, the command line package manager. The command was
yum remove*which then found and removed all the language packs. Once that was done I was able to upgrade (to my satisfaction) to the latest OpenOffice 2 beta.

And one other thing. Up2date is still broken. I have to manually check to see if there are any u…

Working with Netbeans 4.2 Dev - Part 2

I pulled down and installed the latest daily NetBeans 4.2 development build (6_Jul_2005_1800) and installed it. One nice feature I discovered by doing this: I could uninstall an older version and install the latest version and still have my projects and other settings come back up in the newest installed version. Excellent.

The reason for installing this version was to check out any updates/fixes to Matisse. I pulled up the original toy UI built with the June 28th release. This time I was able to drop sliders on the form and set them vertically, as well as change their size without generating exceptions. Again very good.

But this time I ran into a new problem. I attempted to move the top three labels over to the left and the accompanying text boxes. The next images shows what happened when I tried that action with the "Whatever" label and associated text box. Nearly all the other controls were re-located over to the far right and chopped off. I suppose I could have stretched t…

Egypt's Envoy to Iraq Killed

I just read this story on the CNN website. It's buried at the bottom of the main page by the events unfolding in London. It's no coincidence that this atrocity occurred on the same day as the bombings in London. The cowards of al-Qaeda posted the following on a website:
We, the al Qaeda in the land of the two rivers, announce that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been executed, praise be to God.The heinous acts of evil that al Qaeda continues to commit will in the end lead to their total destruction and damnation before God. But how many more innocents will die around the world before we find the resolve necessary to hunt them all down and dispatch them from this world? For in this need, as in so many others, the Lord helps those who help themselves.

Another Sad Day - London Terrorist Attack

I first heard the news about the London attacks on the local NPR station while sitting in morning traffic. It was my regular commute to work via I4. Unfortunately there'd been an earlier accident on the east-bound side (my side) at the I4 and 408 connector snarling traffic to a near standstill. So starting at the I4 OBT exit, I spent 15 minutes slowly crawling towards the ramp leading off I4 and on to the 408 eastbound.

Normally I'd have been cursing the traffic and the drivers that caused the backup, but this morning that faded into the background while I listened to the continuous but meager news coming out of London. And I thought back to Madrid and Bali and of course New York and 9/11. So I sat quietly in traffic listening to the radio and basically getting to work on internal autopilot. Once I got to work I hit the various news sites for more detailed information; CNN, ABC News, MSNBC, and especially BBC News.

As the morning progresses here in Orlando the death toll continu…