Monday, November 21, 2011

Paragon drive backup

I successfully migrated my Windows XP partition to a
bigger drive using this software.  Not only that, it took
a Linux/WinXP dual boot drive and faithfully replicated
the whole thing on a new drive, all in one fell swoop.
I tried to do this once in the past with ntfsclone and
System Rescue and just made a mess.  Pretty cool.

NFJS Fall 2011 day 3

Best presentation of the day: Tim Berglund's Complexity
Theory and Software Development.

Ted Neward's A Busy Developer's Guide to Java 7 was
entertaining, not that much to cover unfortunately when
it comes to new features of the Java language.

Lately I keep hearing about jQuery to I went to Nathaniel
Schutta's jQuery presentation.  That was pretty interesting,
seems like an easy framework to learn.


Why I still prefer prototype to jQuery

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NFJS Fall 2011 day 2

Presentation of the day: 'Gradle: Bringing Engineering Back to
Builds'.  Gradle seems to be the cool build tool this year.  I'm
always lagging a couple of years behind as I'm finally getting
comfortable with Maven.

Brian Sletten's HTML5 presentation was also pretty good.
HTML5 is here, although technically the spec is not final yet.

Ken Sipe's Continuous Delivery presentation was also good,
though in my case he was preaching to the choir.  The
importance of repeatable builds, automating every step of the
process, etc.

Matthew McCullough did an interesting and thought-provoking
presentation on game theory and economics.  Not about coding
so much as about managing your career or your business.

Again, IntelliJ IDEA not in sight anywhere.  I think it's because
none of the presenters is actually working in the Java language
these days.  Tim Berglund was using The One True Editor (Emacs),
though he mentioned that STS (what I use) has support for Gradle.

Some frustration today with multiple presentations I would have
liked to attend scheduled at the same time.  It was helpful that I
could cross several presentations off due to having already seen
them at Denver JUG.


HTML5 browser test
Smashing Magazine
HTML5 Presentation
Canvas Demos
Sublime Video - HTML5 Video Player (kind of a misnomer...)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NFJS Fall 2011 day 1

Cool presentation of the day was Matthew McCullough's
'Cascading through Hadoop: a DSL for simpler MapReduce'.
See Cascading.  We're using Hadoop at work so I'm looking
into this.

Two presenters were using Eclipse rather than the JetBrains
IntelliJ IDEA IDE that was formerly ubiquitous among the
NFJS presenters.  Go, free software!


Toward a Commodity Enterprise Middleware (AMQP)
Simple Made Easy
ThoughtWorks Technology Radar

Thursday, October 20, 2011

JPA query language

Oracle's tutorial made this seem really difficult
with all the high-level-of-abstraction discussion of
traversing over relations between entities,
but then I looked in the Hibernate book and it's
not that bad... there are only some small differences
between HQL and JPA-QL.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oracle SQL Developer 3.0 and MySQL

Recently I noticed I was getting frequent ‘Vendor code 1317’ errors
as I tried to browse table schemas in MySQL databases.

This error is described here:

and here:

These articles indicate that going back to earlier versions of the
MySQL JDBC driver will fix the error. However I tried this and
it didn’t seem to work.  I still got the error with
mysql-connector-java-5.0.8 and mysql-connector-java-5.0.4, as
well as the JDBC driver which is available through
Help -> Check for Updates.

What did finally work for me was to downgrade SQL
Developer from the latest version that I was using
(sqldeveloper- all the way back to

Legacy SQL Developer versions are available at the bottom
of the page at

Update (12/12/2012): These days I'm using Squirrel SQL as my general purpose SQL IDE for a lot of different databases.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Here's a pretty good article about git:
Understanding Git Conceptually


When I got my laptop 3 years ago, it came with Windows XP on it.
Rather than blow away an actual licensed copy of Windows, I
configured it to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu.

Until recently this worked OK, but lately something in Windows kept
blowing away the GRUB boot loader.  Every single time I booted
Windows, I'd have to reinstall GRUB afterwards.

Finally I had enough of this... over the weekend I used VMware
vCenter Converter
to virtualize my Windows partition.  Now I can
run it from Linux with VMware Player

There were a few little hitches. For some reason bridged networking
didn't work, but NAT networking did work. It made me re-'activate'
Windows with the original key.

Both Converter and Player are free downloads.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Maven dependency management

I've been using Maven for the last couple of weeks. So far
the cool feature for me is dependency management. Where before
(with Ant) I'd create a lib directory, collect a bunch of JARs
there, configure them in Eclipse and also in the Ant build.xml,
now I just need to add dependency elements in the Maven pom.xml.
It's a major automation of something I had to do by hand before.

Yet, sometimes this seems to break down. Yesterday I added a
dependency for log4j, and Maven claimed log4j was dependent on
3 other packages, including jmx and jms. That makes no sense.
Furthermore, it couldn't just download these dependencies and
was asking me to download and install them into the repository
by hand. Besides the extra work, that means the build will
work for me but not for other developers on the team.

There's a good discussion of this problem here. See also

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Emacs W32

This version of Emacs is easier to install than the FSF version,
which requires some manual steps. Not that anyone should use
Windows, of course...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ubuntu 10.10

I'm finally getting dragged kicking and screaming out of Ubuntu
9.10 as the repositories have shut down. I'm trying 10.10 on my
laptop today and here are some things I'm noticing.

The issues I mentioned here with the window manager decorations
disappearing are not in evidence. It's running compiz. glxgears
reports an abysmal 60 FPS so this is definitely not going to be
a games box. 'System -> Administration ->Additional Drivers'
did not offer a vendor graphics driver (as expected since the AMD
graphics device is in 'legacy support' status).

I set 'select windows when the mouse moves over them' and 'raise
selected windows after an interval', but a lot of the time the
windows do not pop up.

I installed squid. Where the heck is /etc/init.d/squid? How am I
supposed to stop and start squid? (Answer is here).

Hibernation works.

(Update 7/6) I just had my window manager fail. Suddenly
about 20 windows were stacked in one virtual desktop
with no way to switch away from the one on top.
CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE also quit working. However I
was able to use the log out button on the panel. Hope
this isn't going to be an everyday occurrence.

(Update 12/12/2012): Sadly, 10.04 was the last release of Ubuntu worth using.  Even prior to the switch to Unity (i.e. 10.10) there were huge problems.  I tried a lot of different things this year including Xubuntu 12.04 but finally settled on Mint 13 MATE.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New job

I start a new job at Presilient on Monday. They work with
cool technology like Spring, Maven and Git so I'm hoping to
have stuff to blog about again soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

System powers off during certain games

A couple of weeks ago I was ready for a new game and installed
Grand Theft Auto IV on the Windows XP side of my dual boot PC.
As I tried to play the game a very troubling symptom began to
occur... the display would freeze up and a few seconds later the
whole system would power off.

I tried checking the CPU temperature in the BIOS afterwards
but it was fine. However, this was after the system crashed and
rebooted so presumably it had some time to cool off.

I tried some other games and they worked fine, however, one
other game, STALKERS: Shadow of Chernobyl, was
getting the same failure mode, maybe a little less often.

Nothing in Linux was having any trouble including hi-res 3D games
like Urban Terror and DOOM 3.

I tried vacuuming out the case and all the fans, including the
fan on the graphics card. There really wasn't that much dust
accumulated and afterwards the system still crashed.

My gut is telling me the CPU is overheating so I ordered
one of these to try replacing the plain-vanilla CPU fan that
came with the CPU.

A colleague suggests my power supply might be too weak for all
the devices I'm trying to run off of it... something else to check.

The souped-up CPU fan arrived and I went to install it. There
was an unfortunate turn of events. I applied the thermal grease
to the fan as instructed and lowered it into place on top of the
CPU. I was in a hurry and careless and manhandled it into place.
Power on... nothing. I removed the fan again and found the
CPU stuck to the bottom of the fan, all cockeyed and with
numerous bent pins. What must have happened is the CPU
stuck to the thermal grease on the fan, got lifted out of its socket,
then was damaged as I tried to position the fan and lock it down.

I made a hasty visit to the computer hobby store. All they had
on hand in AM3 was an AMD 840. This is the low end of the
Phenom II 4X product line. It's a quad core but 3.2 GHz
instead of the 3.4 GHz of the AMD 965 I was replacing,
and it lacks a L3 cache.

The second, more cautious attempt at installing the fan was
successful. The temperature in the BIOS display is around 30 C
where before it was 60-70 C. But it's not really a good comparison
as it's a different CPU.

The problem I set out to solve appears to be fixed. I played both
games for a while with no crashes. I kind of think the cooling
theory was right, but something else about the old CPU could
have been causing the problem.

Update: A month or so went by and I was really noticing a
difference with the sluggish 840 CPU so I went out to Micro Center
and got an AMD Phenom II 975. It's basically the same as the
old 965 but 3.6 GHz instead of the 965's 3.4 GHz. I got this
installed without incident. GTA IV still runs without crashing
the system. This is more evidence that CPU overheating was
the problem. If anything this faster CPU should run hotter.

Amusing little irony... The AMD processor in a box comes with
the CPU, fan, thermal grease, instructions and a sticker.
The instructions advise that you will void your warranty if
you use your CPU with a fan other than the one provided,
yet it seems the stock fan is not really adequate for some