Saturday, January 29, 2005

Groovy under Heat

Groovy seems to have a lot of trouble recently. It has so much potential. I wanted to use it. A Java-like dynamic scripting language for the JVM is a great idea. The lesson here is cool features should never take precedence over production quality and usability. Now top of my list of a dynamic scripting language for the JVM is JavaScript. It's not the most beautiful and elegant. But it's much more than good enough, practical and powerful. Plus I am already pretty good at it on the client side. Using it on the server seems so natural. BTW, I dicovered lately Siebel uses JavaScript on the server side to customize the business logic of its applications. The Siebel stuff turns out to be much better than I thought.

The Law of Standards

Is the Law of Standards working in Java, too? The work of J2EE seems to have resulted in many simpler and more effective solutions in various areas already.

Friday, January 28, 2005

How Fast is Java on Linux/PPC?

Simon Brown tried Java on Mac OS X and found it to be slow. I hope Java on Linux/PPC performs much better because I think Mac Mini is such an attractive candidate for a great little home server. How fast is Java on Linux/PPC anyway?

New Version of Free EMS PostgreSQL Manager

Version 2.8 of the free EMS PostgreSQL Manager just came out. Remember I had problem with Unicode for version 2.7. I had to jump through hoops and the result was a not-so-good-looking UI. Now it's all gone. The new version works with Unicode out of box. This is a good addition to the other free (open source, too) alternative pgAdmin.

No Struts 2.0 Coming.

Supposedly, Struts as we know it is over.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Another Usability Case in Point

Less is more.

Friends Don't Let Friends Code Struts

I find this quite amusing. But the reality of the matter is there is just too much Struts-like stuff in the world and most people don't really care.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Swimming with the Sharks

Epinions founders sue Benchmark, August et al.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Misery of Management by Investor Expectation

$17B was wiped off of eBay's market cap yesterday for missing 1 cent in Q4 earnings. This is the misery of management by investor expectation. It's just too bad when you are not in the driver seat of your destiny.

Apache Derby Looks Good

I need an embeddable JDBC database. I know HSQLDB. But my experience with it has not been satisfactory: reliability has more to be desired; huge startup time if you have some data, not just the toyish stuff. So I looked more. The natural place to start is certainly Apache DB project. Derby is a pretty recent entry that used to be Cloudscape. After reading the presentations here, here, here and here, I feel quite good about using it for the following purposes:
  1. Local database, when I am offline and cannot connect to a remote development database. I was thinking of using PostgreSQL 8.0 Win32 version. Now Derby just seems to be good enough, small enough and easy enough.
  2. Embedded database, my application needs a real and small database locally.
I have not used it yet. I hope its performance is acceptable at least. On the other hand, I don't see any reason why it should not perform as well as HSQLDB. I look forward to it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

My Earliest Usenet Post

Looks like it's Find your earliest Usenet post day today. So it's fun to join. Go to Google Groups to find yours. Here is mine:
Newsgroups: comp.sys.pen

From: (Jun Yang)
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1992 06:16:31 GMT Local: Sun, Oct 4 1992 11:16 pm
Subject: Re: EO (Hobbit & GO)
From article <>, by (Glenn Golden):
> I saw in last week's info world that there was
> going to be a news conference today (10/1)
> in redwood city kicking off a new company,
> which I think is called "EO". It is backed
> by AT&T, and some other companies. It will
> produce a computer / communications device
> based on the hobbit and the GO operating system.
> I think this is the Hobbit + GO deal we have
> been heading about! Does any one have more
> information?
> - Glenn R. Golden, Dexter, MI
> (home) (public access INTERNET)
> (work) (a nice place to work)

You can call into our main number (415) 903-8100 and Gill will
direct you to a right person in marketing for the information
you want about EO.

Jun Yang
EO, Inc.
I speak for myself.
It's amazing that every bit of that stuff is still there.

The Mac-to-PC Swither Movie

The movie is both funny and sad, more sad than funny, because there is just too much truth to it.

Mac Mini, the Ideal Home Server

Here comes the Mac Mini. The search for the ideal home server is over. Thankfully, IBM has JDKs for PowerPC Linux. Also, running Mac OS X along side with Linux is, amazingly, possible.

How come Apple keeps coming out with cool stuff? Is the rest of the (PC) world so dumb?

BTW, is the Mac Mini fanless? My guess is it's not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tried Free Blojsom

Just tried Blojsom as part of an effort to find an alternative to the aging SnipSnap as my personal Wiki/Blogging software for my laptop. My quick conclusion, after using SnipSnap, Confluence and Blogger, is using HTML directly as the markup is probably too difficult for the user. I can appreciate more now how the SnipSnap/Confluence style markups are easier than HTML, although many non-techies will find that difficult to learn. Or the Blogger WYSIWYG style editor is also a good solution.

Mac's History and Our Future

The interview with Andy Herzfeld, who was on the orignal Mac team, is very intriguing. A very worthwhile read. I worked with Andy a little bit in 1992 and 1993 when he was at General Magic and I at EO. We were trying to get Telescript running on PenPoint and we did.

Most interesting is how Andy compares the Mac project to the Lisa project: one done as a passion, the other more like a job. Also this quote:
What do you think the challenges are for the PC industry?
The biggest, most important challenge is renormalizing after the nightmare of Windows. You can see the handwriting on the wall--the Wintel thing hasn't run its course yet, but it's run enough of its course that we're on the downhill side and you can kind of see the end of it.
Yes, it's about time. Microsoft's products overshoot customer requirements so much for so long (how many use more than 10% of all the features of Word or Excel?) it's just unconceivable. On the other hand, it's just amazing to see Microsoft Project is still a stand-alone product (in a sizeable project, the project manager either doesn't use Microsoft Project at all because of the high overhead or does the full-time job of consolidating status from team members into this one Project file).

If you read The Innovator's Dilemma, you know it's time for some discruptively innovative products to topple the incumbent. History tends to repeat itself.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Free EMS PostgreSQL Manager working with Unicode

Finally got the EMS PostgreSQL Manager working with Unicode after several interactions with support, which is quite knowledgeable and helpful. One nuance with the product is it doesn't support Unicode fonts directly. You have to tell the client to use a non-Unicode encoding (in my case Big5) and the corresponding non-Unicode font (in my case a Big5 Chinese font from Arphic Technology) for the manager to display Unicode text correctly. See the following screenshots of how to make it work.
  1. Database Registration Info dialog
  2. Environment Options dialog
  3. Table view
For other languages, you can just use your own encoding and a corresponding font. Again, pgAdmin III doesn't have this problem. Unicode data in the database works out of box with Unicode fonts on the client.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Tried MOOX: the Optimized Firefox & Thunderbird Builds

Daniel Lipsy pointed me to MOOX, the Optimized Firefox & Thunderbird Builds. Just tried them. After doing a "browse around a little and read blogs a little" test, I decided to keep the regular builds because:
  1. The MOOX builds don't have visible performance gains over the standard builds on my ThinkPad T40 (Pentium M).
  2. MOOX Firefox doens't have a standard icon.
  3. MOOX Thunderbird's executible is 12MB vs 7.5MB.
  4. When I click on a link in MOOX Thunderbird, MOOX Firefox loads the correct page but doesn't automatically become the active window.
Thanks for the pointer anyway. I wish the optimized flag be folded into the standard builds.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

How to Make Firefox Even Faster?

Came across this post. I checked my configuration and it turns out that I have all these already. So I have been enjoying a fast browser all along. I should give credit to Firefox Help where I initially got the tips.

Tip below is probably obsolete. See comments.

One important tip I'd like to add here is, following the steps below to make these changes permanent so that next time you start up your browser, you won't have to apply them again.
  1. Go to into directory D:\Documents and Settings\(your user name)\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\default.4x6(or something similar).
  2. Create file user.js with the following content (or if you already have it, just add the following):
    user_pref("nglayout.initialpaint.delay", 0);
    user_pref("network.http.pipelining", true);
    user_pref("network.http.proxy.pipelining", true);
    user_pref("network.http.pipelining.maxrequests", 100);
Now you will have a super fast browser. This is for broadband users only though because the browser will now open multiple concurrent requests to your server. If you are on narrowband, this will only aggrevate the slowness of your connection.

Jon's Screencast Guidelines

Jon's Radio had another excellent piece today on Screencast Guidelines. It is extremely helpful and reconfirming as we prepare demos of Cornerstone. Our demos will be very real.

More on Free EMS PostgreSQL Manager

Today I used the free EMS PostgreSQL Manager for a little while and found one major flaw: It doesn't handle Unicode very well. I have a Unicode PostgreSQL database that contains Chinese text. EMS PostgreSQL Manager cannot handle it in the SQL Query Tool and data view. I tried to change the configuration with no success. Filed a ticket with the company. We will see how they respond. pgAdmin III, the open source alternative, has no such problem. It handles the Unicode data in the query tool and data view without any issue.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Predictions for 2005 and Cornerstone