Archive for Technical

I Love Apple

Apple I love apple.  You?  Apple very Square, yet not square!  Tasty, and not tasty. And so on.  Here are some very quick impressions from almost two days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pat’s Favorite FireFox Extensions, Oct 2010

Here's an update to a 2008 article.  Extensions have come and gone, and Firefox is much updated now, at 3.6.x, with 4.0 on the near horizon. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quick Maven Primer for Java Development

I wrote this up for the NetRexx mailing list, but it's a good basics article for anyone wanting to get a quick glance at Maven's operations.  I'm not trying to come up with a better Maven, I'm just giving a quick description. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Clumsy Pattern: Passing Data Around

In the long-awaited part 2 of The Clumsy Pattern, I discuss how we pass around data and objects around -- remote server communication. Read the rest of this entry »

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Android Development Quick-start

I'm trying to pick up a bit of Android development experience. Here's some tips for getting started from scratch.  I have a lot to learn... Read the rest of this entry »

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The Definition of Good Software

In my mind, the definition of well-made software is this:  The absolute minimum required to get the job done. There's a little agile in there, relating to software design minimalism.  That's not what I'm getting at.  Whether you are developing something new, or fixing something broken, deliver the very least you must for the desired outcome. I did not say to do the least amount of work required, I said deliver the very least required; go quickly and completely in the direction you must move.  Destroy that bug, hack that web page, do something terrible and glorious.  After getting it working, though, take that next step, and wash all the mud off what you just did.  That is, minimize the actual changes you're about to apply.  Make sure every change makes sense and is required.  Don't lump another change or some code reformatting in just for "because it needs to be done eventually".  Focus on only what you are doing. It is a massive accomplishment to delete code from a working system and still have a working system.  It is thrilling, and you've saved yourself and "the next guy" a lot of trouble in the future.  This applies whether you are fixing a bug or making something completely new.

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JavaFX: Getting the Frame of a Stage

The JavaFX Stage class, version 1.2 has some simple methods for dealing with focus, toBack() and toFront().  What it is lacking is a way of setting the "always on top" property, to force the window to the front. A quick search revealed several hacky things, but when I read Rakesh Menon's Always On Top post to the end, I found the tidbit I needed:  java.awt.Frame.getFrames().  It's a static method that lists all AWT frames in use by the system.  So, for as long as JavaFX uses AWT/Swing (not too much longer, apparently), we can use that.  Here's the code to get your Stage as a Frame, all above-board.  What you do with it is up to you.
function getFrame(frameName:String):java.awt.Frame {
    var frames = java.awt.Frame.getFrames();
    for(frame in frames) {
        if (frameName == frame.getTitle()) {
            return frame
    return null;

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Not fixing the Xbox 360?

I broke down and bought a new Xbox 360 Arcade unit to replace my variously failing boxes.  If you remember back just a bit in time, I tried a couple of strategies to fix my machine.  They all worked -- for a time.  The time the fix worked, however, was variable, ranging from 5-30 hours for a good fix, and as short as 30 minutes for a bad fix. I've spent a lot of time on the boxes, and unfortunately, the time I spent fixing seems to have eclipsed the time I spent playing. The thing I've found most fascinating about the process is that, while buggy, the 360 hardware is quite resilient.  With enough twiddling of screws, I can get a box up and running quite consistently.

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A good and bad thing about Buzz.

One cool thing about Buzz: I get more replies than before on my posts. One bad thing about Buzz: Those replies are on the Buzz server, not here. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Clumsy Pattern: Software Development

I haven't formulated exactly what I'm going to say, but I wanted to start a series on the Clumsy pattern in software development.  Don't get excited, I'm neither adopting patterns as a beloved thing (that sentence needs its own post), nor am I trying to establish a new industry term.  I'll do a Clumsy Pattern post when I come across things that are so archaic or broken that they have no right still existing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Design Work…

Design Work...
I just picked up three books on Design, based largely on the recommendations in the JavaPosse Roundup 09 sessions on the topic.  I haven't read them yet, but just perusing them makes them look to be a lot of fun.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Fixing the XBox 360

I thought I was in the clear as far as the 3 red lights goes for the XBox 360... it happened, I was under warranty, Microsoft send a cardboard coffin, and I sent it back.  End of story. Oops, it happened again.  There's no free lunch this time.  Even if I paid the $100 to MS to repair it, they would only give a 90 day warranty on their work.  So, either buy a new one (with a massive extended warranty, of course) or try to fix it myself.  After attempting to buy a new Arcade unit for $200 at K-Mart twice, but failing both times because they were out of stock, I went the fix route. Read the rest of this entry »

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Podcast Rotation

I just wanted to capture the current set of podcasts I listen to. I commute two hours a day, and this set keeps me lightly stocked -- Sometimes I run out for a day or two, and I rarely fall behind. Read the rest of this entry »

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Coolish: Mozilla Bespin

I know I'm late to the game, but I was looking over Mozilla Bespin -- a web-based IDE with a surprising amount of features, including source control and syntax highlighting.  Right now, it's all about web techs, with a strong focus on HTML, Javascript, and CSS, but it is extensible and seems like it is headed in the right direction. Read the rest of this entry »

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Googly Nexus One — Pricing and Plan breakdown

While looking around for an online loan amortization creator (nice one here), I came across a Google ad for the Nexus One, the "Google phone" that there's been much buzz about.  Apparently, it just came out today, while the great Snomaggeddon blankets the world (or at least Missouri) and I've been oblivious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting all of Ubuntu to talk through a NTLM proxy

NTLM proxies are relatively common corporate web proxy. It takes special software to pass through it, unfortunately. One must essentially log into an NT domain to get to the web past the proxy. By default, web browsers are the only software on Ubuntu Linux that know how to perform the complex handshake. Many core tools (like apt, etc) cannot do what they need -- and your system can't download software updates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Biting the bullet

Well, we're going to try out the WildBlue through Dish Network for internet.  *Sigh*.  It feels like a defeat.  I have only heard good things about Satellite internet from one person, and all the anecdotes online are negative.  But at least it is something.

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Java Build Systems, Part 2: Maven

Continuing the Java build systems discussion, today I want to focus on Maven, what it does well and what it does that frustrates.  We'll get a little taste of the minimum expectations for a new build system as well.  Note:  this page may be subject to edits, as I come across more pros & cons of Maven. Read the rest of this entry »

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Maven + OSGi + Spring + JavaFX (+Ant)

We had to go through a number of steps to support the combination of Maven + OSGi + Spring + JavaFX-1.1 in our Swing-based application. This document describes all the steps and technology we've gone through to get it working.

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Java Build Systems, Part 1: What they do

Two recent posts on the java-weblog circuit spurred me to motion: Maven Adoption Curve (Alex Miller, coworker at MetaMatrix) Maven and Ivy (Ryan Senior, coworker at BJC) I was trying to think of the ideal build system.  I won't pretend that I'm going to get there in this post.  Instead, I'll enumerate what we do every day and what we need from a build system so as to start thinking about the ideal system. Read the rest of this entry »

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