Monday, December 15, 2008

Be Open

I usually am the kind of guy that is easy going and is willing to bend my principles for good reason. But I was greatly annoyed today at instances around the internet where content providers still put content out there in closed formats.

In this day and age of open systems, collaboration and standards, I wonder why this is so. There I was trying to go through my mailbox and sort the chaff from the important stuff. I stumbled upon an email from SpringSource and I was interested in seeing a past webinar about their tweaks to the Tomcat application server that we all know and love. Err wrong! I couldn't or lost the appetite to continue, as they had decided in their infinite wisdom that we all had to be Windows users or that our playback kit on our computers had to understand Windows Media Video.

Why they couldn't support a format like MPEG-4 beats me. They had in making this decision put up a hurdle to my use of the webinar content, along with any sales they may or may not have made as a result of my accessing it.

My advice to them would be, to become a bit more open and aware of the content they put out there, especially seeing that they play in a market that prides itself on open, collaborative standards. I will be assuming this is an oversight, unlike a similar oddity from Yahoo! with their launchCAST offering (rebranded as Yahoo! Music), which one would expect they would have redesigned as well to support Flash and standard JavaScript.

They lost the chance to turn me into a user of the past webinars part of their site. To turn 1st time users of your application (web site and other content included) into return/repeat users, take Joshua Porter's advice in Designing for the Social Web - get out of their way! In this specific case getting out of their way is being open.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Just to say that after the uncomfortable loss to Liverpool FC @The Bridge over the weekend, we are back to winning ways. There were a few wasted chances but all in all...great result!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The depth of human greed

I read with disgust, incredulity and complete confusion the guardian article about the  securities firm exec whom awarded himself £1.3m from a £1.4m pot and still had the effrontery to sue his firm for deducting/not paying £92,000. 

I am not sure if I am upset because 92,000 pales in comparison to £1.3m or the fact that the court is being dragged in to settle issues like these, given other pressing needs. 

Whatever happens, I think he has just shown how mean and crass we can be as humans once our greed is in full gear.

I shall be commenting on the outcome of the judgement.

Monday, June 23, 2008

TSSJS Prague - Days 2 & 3

Days 2 and 3 have been a breeze. There have been all sorts of interesting things that have been spoken about from Groovy and Grails to JPA 2.0 new features to really cool testing in JRuby. A lot of buzz is being generated in the community by DSLs and I also think Behaviour Driven Development as epitomised by JTestr, JBehave and easyB are all things to look into. Some interesting catch phrases are that XML is deprecated (in favour of DSLs of course). All slides for the presentations are available @ the JavaSymposium Wiki.

A few more things caught my attention and I will be looking at them in more detail in the coming weeks. I will hope to share my joys or...tears as I try them out.
ServiceMix + Camel
Mule 2

I thought the JavaRebel class re-loading agent thing was quite cool and can be a productivity booster but seeing that its not free...(the freeloader that I am), I'll be giving it a miss for now.

All in all I'd say that my time in Prague was extremely interesting, especially with the chance I got to catch up with old colleagues and meet new friends that one can rub minds with. Its been well worth it and I will be headed off to the next European even next year.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

TSSJS Prague - Day 1

The TSSJS Europe conference has begun in earnest in the lovely city of Prague. Between swinging alfresco dining and lovely continental beer I have regarded the 1st day of the conference as intellectually rewarding. There were quite a few talks that stood out for me.

First of all the introductory but well thought out talk by Nati Shalom of GigaSpaces on Cloud computing. There was informative eye candy on his slides and his talk brought to the fore-front of my consciousness the fact that capacity planning and scalability are thorny issues in general. I will be investigating the GigaSpaces stack, as before now it has been on my radar but hasn't been high priority enough.

There was the double whammy of Spring talks one of which was by Costin Leau. It raised important questions in my mind on things I could be doing better. The fact that SpringSource is re-aligning, re-inventing and re-positioning itself with offerings like Spring DM (which plays quite well with OSGi), Spring Batch and Spring Integration has not gone unnoticed and personally from the capabilities demoed today, I'd advise anyone to give the new Spring stack a look in. I have already started to look into some OSGi bundling tools like aQute and will be sharing my thoughts in a while.

The SCA talk by Mike Keith of Oracle to my mind raised more question than answers. Not the least the fact that some of the issues it addresses like assembly, overlap with other product sets in the market like ESBs and even the JBI spec. I have resolved to go away from that talk and
undertake more research to see if there's more to this shining new spec.

The Grails talk was well articulated but gave very little in terms of TDD support in Grails. Issues of this nature are close to my heart and I hope improvements will be made for future talks.

With regards to organisation, I'd like to see a conference where the video content of presentation is available to attendees by close of play everyday, even if in a raw/unedited form (a-la and JavaPolis). This can help if you are torn between two sessions you desperately want to attend.

All in all 8 out of 10 for Day 1. Bring on day 2.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Affirmative action

It is with some glee and a bit of confusion that I read this morning about France breathalysing citizen at pubs. The idea is to preempt accidents which are caused by drink-and-drive patrons. Noble. It beats hiking the prices as has been done on the other side of the Channel.
But I have a few questions:
Will this apply to all punters?
How will this be funded: as in will the test equipment be provided in partnership with vendors?
What happens to a punter whose breath is deemed un-Kosher?
Will there be some enforcement to ensure that they won't fact how do you determine punters who have driven to the pub?

Nice concept though. This is the kind of creative thinking that is required of politicians. Is it ready for prime time? Not quite sure but we'll see.

Enjoy the week ahead!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

GTalk rant

I upgraded my IM client lately. I had been using Pidgin 2.2.2 for a few months and decided to move up to 2.4.0. I had a number of work mates and just friends on Gtalk but Pidgin just wouldn't work with my previous settings.
Finally I found some blog entry which inspired me. Notice how I have qualified its didn't really solve my problem but changed the way I thought about it.
The solution? Click on the images on the below.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Environment specific properties - the spring way.

This problem is easily solved via the use of 2 Spring IoC bean post-processor classes viz:


To use this functionality you would need to have them declared in your app-context config files
as follows:

<bean id="ppConfigurer"
<property name="order" value="1" />
<property name="locations">


<bean id="poConfigurer"
<property name="location"
value="classpath:poc-sample-${my.env}.properties" />
<property name="order" value="10" />
<property name="ignoreResourceNotFound" value="true" />

They are like any other bean definitions but there are few properties in their definitions that need special attention
as they are responsible for the magic. They are order, location and ignoreResourceNotFound.

order - determines how these post processors are loaded or applied to beans via Spring IoC.
location - (atleast in the case of the PropertyOverrideConfigurer bean) matters because of the use of an ant/JSTL/groovy property.
This is where the PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer comes in. It is used to define the default value for the my.env environment variable. Without this the PropertyOverrideConfigurer will have problems when Spring tries to load it.
ignoreResourceNotFound - makes sure there are no complaints by Spring when initialising the PropertyOverrideConfigurer bean.

Any bean where you want to use environment specific values can now be defined in your poc-sample-${my.env}.properties file.
Given the following bean configurations where you wish to use this functionality

<bean id="myBean" class="com.lhfville.sample.POC"
<property name="prop1" value="${prop1}" />

<bean id="myBean" class="com.lhfville.sample.POC"
<property name="prop1" value="hi" />

you can have files in your classpath with varying values for myBean.prop1.

Thats pretty much it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Facebook Foray - dead in the water

Like any fairy tale this one has come to a screeching halt looking more like a nightmare. Well my facebook app will be dying a natural death as a consequence of the woeful display by my team in the Africa nations cup. I thought they'd have the balls to march all the way to the finals after surviving the scare of a horrid first round. Even after the lifeline of a penalty and a sending off for their opponents...they still lost.

Well at the very least this dilettant has enjoyed working with the Facebook API. Who knows I might do something with it again in the near future.

Have a swell week!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Facebook foray - extended

As promised, I am happy to tell you that my team DID progress to the next stages of the competition. This means that the motivation to keep @ my facebook application has been rekindled. The coming days will see me trying to implement the features as promised.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Facebook Foray

Decided to build a facebook app for the african cup of nations. Not sure that it was a useful exercise now that the fate of my favorite team hangs in the balance. For now all the application does is to allow users make predictions on the games in the first round. Features to come include:
  • Placing stories in the user's mini feed after a prediction has been added.
  • Making predictions about the highest goal scorer, number of cards etc.
I'll tell you if I get around to doing it after the fate of my team is decided today. Stay tuned.