Showing posts from November, 2006

My experiences with NetBeans 5.5 and the Visual Web Pack Preview Release

This all started with an email at work. The gist of the email was a question concerning free (as in beer) web page development tools. Most people, when they think of web development, think along the lines of content creation using (X)HTML and CSS. Because I've been exposed to multi-teer web development over the past 10 years, I tend to look for tools that manage and organize the entire web application development, including data binding with databases as well as services that are invoked from the web page. The only real experience I lack is the creation of a deep AJAX application.

I say deep, because in 1997 I worked on a project named Theater Telemedicine Prototype Project, or T2P2. It was a Windows technology based distributed system that ran over the web. It used early versions of XML, DHTML, Javascript, and Java (all Microsoft written and running within Internet Explorer 4) on the client side and C++-based services on the back end. We used bleeding-edge MSMQ for sending informa…

"Large" public-sector Linux project flops


Here's how the project started in May 2005.

And here's what happened.
Birmingham City Council began the project — one of the largest public-sector Linux projects in the UK — in May 2005 to evaluate the potential of open-source software. The council, the largest local authority in the UK, intended to deploy open-source software on 1,500 PCs in libraries across the city.I would not consider 1,500 PCs a large number of machines.
But the project has fallen vastly short of expectations, with just 200 Linux PCs being deployed. Even some of those have been migrated back to Windows, council executives have told ZDNet UK.

"We have deployed open source in some libraries. We have worked on the basis of 200 PCs. In some cases, we have migrated back to Windows," said Les Timms, project manager at the city council. "1,500 was the original plan. It was a figure plucked from the air at the time," Timms told ZDNet UK.A figure plucked from the air? I wonder what…

Firefox vs. Opera visual quality on SLED 10

I was working on SLED 10 this morning, and decided to compare the visual quality of Firefox 1.5 vs. Opera 9.1. This is SLED 10 AMD64 binaries. What I discovered is that Opera has noticeably inferior text rendering compared to Firefox's. The screen shot below has Firefox above with Opera below, looking at the same page at the same time. Both are running on the Gnome desktop.

FC6 live running on my Gateway

I downloaded the FC6 live CD ISO and booted it on my Gateway M685. It was just a quick look to see if there was any chance of it replacing Suse 10.1. I found good and bad news during the trial. Unfortunately the bad news overcame the good.

The good is that the kernel ( enabled audio on the notebook. Audio has been broken under Suse 10.1 on this machine since day one. That means no music and no DVD playback under Suse. When FC6 booted on this machine it found it and I was able to successfully test and play back test audio. The bad is lack of wireless (802.11g) support. I don't know if this is a problem with the FC6 live CD or a problem with FC6 in general. But I need wireless support, and Suse 10.1 gives it to me out-of-the-box without any special tweaks or installs. It Just Works.

Other features I found pleasant were
The recognition of the proper screen resolution of this notebook (1680 by 1050). As you can see by the two screen captures everything started up and used the fu…

We Won

I am a Democrat living in Florida. For the last eight years I've suffered under a Republican governor, that other Bush, Dubya's older bubba Jeb. We got another Republican this time, so we're still held hostage to the Republican ideal of bad government. But I take solace in the knowledge that at least we Democrats swept through both houses of Congress, and that was a very good thing indeed.

I waited before gloating over the Democratic national victory because of the hard lesson learned during the presidential election debacle of 2000. I wanted to make sure all the votes were properly counted, especially in Virginia. Patience is a virtue.

We Democrats have both the national House and Senate. President Bush's legislative rubber-stamp is gone. I was especially pleased to see how Bill Nelson stomped Catherine Harris: he got 60% of the vote compared to her 38%. I'd say that's a serious landslide, and Harris got buried good and deep. The other welcome Democratic win was…

Love those slugs

I went to see "Flushed Away" today with the wife and youngest daughter. It was a really fun movie and worth the time and money to see it.

Every character was well defined and it seemed that the humans behind the voices were having a lot of fun performing. The plot was decent for a cartoon and the pace was continuously fast from start to finish. The funniest characters on the screen were all the little slugs. They enhanced (and sometimes stole) every scene they appeared in. Their singing talents are second to none.

Outside of the slugs my favorite characters were Roddy (voiced by Hugh "Wolverine" Jackman) and The Toad (voiced by Ian McKellen, he of Gandolf and Magneto fame). That's not to say the others were bad; they were all excellent. But the slugs, Roddy, and The Toad just took my fancy.

There was obviously lots of English humor in the film. A sub theme to the whole movie was the World Cup, and at one point Roddy cries "The English are winning! Anything…

Ransom Love hammers the final nail in SCOG's coffin

Groklaw has posted the readable version of Ransom Love's voluntary declaration in support of IBM. Let me repeat that. Ransom Love wasn't deposed, he volunteered. Ransom Love was the co-founder and former chief executive of Caldera before it renamed itself to The SCO Group, so he has plenty of knowledge about the company and what it knew before Darl McBride replaced him as chief executive. You need to read Love's deposition to fully understand every lie that the current SCO Group has attempted to sue IBM and other Linux users over.

Here is the link to his deposition on Groklaw:

I'd rather be insulted by a botched joke than die in a botched war

It's the punchline for cartoon I found on the Times website this morning, and I think it sums up the general mood in the country about how the war has been properly managed from the start. So what if Kerrybotchedhis joke? At least no one was killed in the delivery (except maybe Kerry's ego and future political ambitions).

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is no joke. The deaths of thousand of American servicemen and women are no joke. The injury of tens of thousands more is no joke. The spending of hundreds of billions in support of the two wars is no joke. And the current prosecution of the war is no laughing matter either. It isn't a joke, it's a slow horrible grinding disaster, especially for those we've asked to go into harm's way for our sakes. Kerry's mistake was trying to make light of a very serious matter. He should have not even attempted the effort. Instead we need to keep focused on the continuing failure of our overall foreign policy in Iraq and A…

New Nokia 330 is Linux-less

With all the chatter about the supposed Nokia 870/880 came the announcement of the Nokia 330. The 330 looks to provide GPS navigation (the image to the right shows this) as well as multimedia capabilities (MP3 audio, DivX movies, and photos). But its primary function appears to be as a GPS navigational aid for drivers.

It should be noted that the 330 does not use Linux. As quoted from the linked article:
Dr. Jaaksi said, "Nokia 330 is not an internet tablet -- nor it is a connected device. It has nothing to do with the 770. It is a stand-alone navigation device... [and] has a proprietary OS. No Linux."In a way the lack of Linux on other Nokia devices such as the 330 doesn't surprise me. The creation of quality applications for the 770 has been less than spectacular, due in no small part to the complex development environment required to create deployable applications (via Debian's deb package format).

I've had experience writing for similar devices, specifically the…

Nokia 770 notes from the field - 2

While rummaging about the LCARS theme and the LCARS sound pages, I stumbled across this intriguing comment on the sounds page:
Have lcars-sounds 1.0 installed and want your original sounds back On the new (Nov 2) 2006 OS You should re-flash (you couldn't have had it installed for long yet anyway... ;)Yep. Nokia released a November update to the 2006 OS for the 770. So I went over to the download area on maemo ( and downloaded SU-18_2006SE_2.2006.39-14_PR_F5_MR0_ARM.bin. I used the Windows updater to install the image. The update went without a hitch and I was up and running with the November release in about two minutes.

I can't see any big differences between the June and November 2006 releases. I did go ahead and install the LCARS theme and sounds so I can be even more of a Trekky dweeb. More to follow.

Opera seems better behaved. The browser identifies itself as Opera 8.02 (MSIE 6.0 compatible). I know that Google Mail seems better b…

Nokia 870 - replacement for the 770?

I found all sorts of chatter on the web via Google about the super-secret Nokia 870. The story seemed to hit around October 27th. No official details and only one blurry picture (see right). It's supposed to have a camera and VoIP capabilities built-in. I hope that latter VoIP capability means better placement of the microphone and speaker. I hope it also means a faster processor (something at least 400MHz in the Arm processor), more memory (256MB), more flash (1GB), and a more stable version of embedded Linux. I would sincerely hope that Nokia takes a clue from other cellular developers and uses Trolltech's QT for embedded systems as its UI rather than Nokia's home-grown Hildon interface. That requires an X server as well as a modified version of Gnome. And finally, another way to create applications that doesn't require a complete development environment running chrooted under Linux. Something like Mono (for .Net) or even Python.


This link has more information, …

FC6 successful upgrade: rhea

When I failed to upgrade my home system europa to FC6, I went back and installed Suse 10.1, and then installed all the patches. That was 24 hours ago. Earlier today I threw the same DVD at rhea, my 'lesser' system. I say lesser because it's a DYI system built with a low-end nVidia nForce2-based motherboard with an Athlon XP 2500+ Barton-core processor, 512MB of DRAM, and a budget ATI 9600 video card with 128MB of video memory. It drives an old Sony 19" E400 tube monitor. Before the upgrade it was running Suse 10.

FC6 installed without a hitch. Not one single problem reared its pointed head. Now that I've had a chance to play with it I'm going to put it on my other 'lesser' system, tethys, and see how tethys behaves. Tethys has only 384 MB of DRAM, but it currently dual boots Windows XP Pro and Suse 10. I put Suse on that machine so that the girls could get used to Linux. Besides, Linux rips the latest CDs regardless of the funky ways the music industry …

Microsoft cares more for money than principal in China

First came this statement from Microsoft legal:
Earlier this week, Microsoft senior counsel Fred Tipson said concerns about repression in China might make it reconsider its presence there.Then came Microsoft's corporate response:
"Microsoft is not considering the suspension of the company's internet services in China." ... "On the contrary, it is committed to continuing to offer services and communications tools in China as it believes it is better for customers that Microsoft is present in global markets with these tools and services as this can not only promote greater communication, but can also help to foster economic opportunity and social collaboration." (emphasis mine)
Translation: There is too much money to be made in China, and we'd be idiots to do anything to upset that "economic opportunity". Did you really expect Microsoft to act any different?

Eight track blast from the past

You know you've lived too long when you find part of your old eight-track tape collection buried in a box. A box you haven't seen since before you were married and moved to Florida (both in 1984). So what did this cardboard time capsule contain? Well, there's coolness points (I suppose) for Jethro Tull (Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die!), Janis Ian (Miracle Row), a couple from Phoebe Snow, Chuck Mangione, Herb Alpert, Art Garfunkle (Watermark), Diana Ross and Ramsey Lewis. Many of those names are still out there, and I hear about them on WLOQ primarily. But then I lost all my coolness points when I found one (1) Discomania (Original Hits!) eight track.

I owned and listened to eight track tapes while I owned my used 67 Chevy Nova from 1973 to 1978. It was in 78 that I finally had enough cash and a decent enough job to buy a brand new 1978 Honda Civic CVCC (how I still miss that car). I think that's when the tapes went in the box, on the off-chance that …

Nokia 770 notes from the field

I'm still toting my Nokia 770 around, and it still garners the occasional "what is it" question when I'm using it, along with the "will it make phone calls" question. When I have to tell them they have to install a VoIP app and find a wireless access point to make calls, interest quickly dries up. That's when I notice all the Treos and Blackberries being carried by everybody standing around.

I've started to get random crashes again. I don't know if it's due to bad web sites (a lot of them occur with the browser) or slowly aging hardware (some of them just occur when I pull the cover off). I've uninstalled MediaStreamer for the second (and final) time. It's just pure junk. I grabbed and installed LCARS PADD v1.0.1 theme via maemo. It was kind of fun to see it in action, but it's not completely thought out, especially with its black background. There were some applications that did not show up very well. What follows are two of the…

Microsoft and Zend (PHP)

With all the hoopla over Microsoft and Novell, this little story got buried. On Halloween no less Microsoft and Zend announced a collaborative effort to boost PHP running on IIS. It would be a good thing to have happen, considering that I like to write on PHP and deploying non-trivial PHP (or at times, even trivial PHP) content to PHP running under IIS can be a royal PITA, especially with regards to performance:
"The way PHP's run on Windows up to today is in a way that does not perform," Gutmans said.Ahmen, brother. Been there, seen that, and have the results to show it. I will say that over the last three months it has improved on one site (, but I can't say if it's due to updates in PHP or a better understanding of the Incose sysadmins on how to properly manage PHP under IIS.

Why is Microsoft after PHP? Because it hits multiple targets with just one very big, well placed stone. First, lots of web developers use PHP. Add up all those who use it on both…

Remember the Sun/Microsoft deal?

Over two years ago, on April 2nd 2004, Sun and Microsoft announced a cooperative deal worth $1.95 billion to Sun ($700 million to resolve anti-trust issues, $900 million to resolve patent issues, and an up-front $350 million royalty payment) [1][2][3][4] . This deal was cut back when Microsoft was sliding into deep trouble with the European Union, and Sun was Microsoft's strongest opponent in that issue. The broad goal of the pact was to improver interoperability between the two companies' products. That sounds a lot like the Novell/Microsoft deal, but with a lot more money being tossed at Sun. And yet, in spite of the big announcement I have yet to see anything come of that deal. Have you?

The continuing usability issue with Linux

I found this on Slashdot of all places:
Your entire post misses one of the main facts that Linux zealots regularly overlook: [Typical User]: "I do not have the time, nor the inclination, to figure out how to set the clock on my VCR. I don't care. What I do care about is watching this movie. That's it. I just want to watch a goddamned movie. Why do I have to (set my clock / install and configure WINE / use the console / download dependencies / switch to root) in order to (watch my movie / play my video game / change the way a program behaves when it starts / get this stupid thing to execute at all / look at the files in directory XYZ)."
You're right, it -is- a matter of laziness, but most of the time, it is -not- on the part of the user. There are ways of solving these problems in Linux. I've seen it done. But *nix geeks don't want to solve them; they want to continue to lazily assume that everybody is a Linux expert so that they can say that the usability f…

Microsoft and Novell

I've been sick the past few days, but not so sick as to have missed the Microsoft and Novell detente that took place. The one where Microsoft and Novell agreed to cooperate. Where Microsoft agreed to support Novell. All sorts of reasons were given, and you can read about them just about everywhere. So in the interests of adding One More Opinion (OMO), I'll throw in my two cents.


In case you haven't noticed it, the three-year-old case continues to drag on and on. And slowly but surely SCOG (SCO Group, formerly known as Caldera) has had, effectively, all its evidence and claims debunked, one by one. It's now obvious to everyone who has bothered to follow that SCOG was in it as a shakedown of IBM. And IBM said no. So over the past three years IBM has systematically demolished every argument SCOG has presented, and in the process has slowly pulled Linux from under the cloud of 'infringment' of SCOG's supposed 'intellectual property' that it su…

Washington trip

I went to Washington the last full week of October to QualNet training. QualNet is a network simulation tool produced by Scalable Network Technologies. QualNet is used on our program already; as lead architect, I thought it a good idea to learn how to use the tool to drive out a better set of requirements for future iterations, as well as learn how to use it for current development.

While there I was 'entertained' by three other members of the program; John Chludzinski, Bob Hall, and Josh Auzins. John was there with me for the training, while Bob and Josh were there to present a paper at the business track that ran in parallel with the training. Thursday evening we had a really good dinner and guest speaker. Before the festivities Lucinda Brown, tireless and long-suffering Scalable Network Technologies Director of Marketing, was handing out some most excellent swag; knit shirts in white and cyan and insulated hot drink cups. The following photo is greedy John attempting to stea…