20
Jul
stored in: General and tagged:

Small update on the soundcard wishes post: bought a new Logitech USB headset, and all is well. Within Skype you can configure which audio devices to use for which action. Specifically, audio in (during a call), audio out (headset mic to hear me), and ringing device, which I can direct to the main speaker set, thus, the headset is not required to hear an incoming call. Very handy.

My one thing to still configure is the amount of time to wait until forwarding the call to my cell phone. The forwarded call costs the regular rate ($0.02/minute I think), so its not horrible, but still. If I don’t grab the headset soon enough and answer the call, it forwards to the cell phone. Need to up the amount of time.

Anyway, end result, I can do what I wanted with the new headset, so, fantastic!

(Posted via the Blackberry, so please excuse any grammar errors)

16
Jul
stored in: General and tagged:

Hmm, I upgraded WordPress to the latest version available to my host, and suddenly an odd character is in place of a standard space character.  Only when starting new sentences though (using 2 spaces to separate from the period).  Weird.

16
Jul
stored in: General, Hardware, Skype and tagged:

I use Skype periodically for phone calls from my PC.  I also enjoy listening to music while I work.  My main workstation is a Dell Dimension E520 – Running Kubuntu 8.04.  So, on the box, I have 2 front connections to the sound card, a headphone jack and a microphone jack.  Using my headset which splits the 2 out, it’s very handy for connecting.  Trouble is I’m constantly unplugging the headphone jack to utilize the normal speaker set I have on my desk.  What I’d love to do is direct regular audio output (ie, Music, System notifications, etc) through the rear connection, and have the Skype audio directed through the front headphone connection.  This would allow me to listen to music, and when I saw a Skype notification arise, I could just pick up the headset and go, rather than fumble with the headphone connection.

Putting this post up on the ‘tubes to see if anyone has found a solution for this sort of setup.

09
Jun
stored in: General and tagged:

I bought the book Joel on Software at Borders this weekend.  I recently moved into a management role at the company I work for, so I felt I needed some pointers and encouragement for how things can be done.  I say ‘can’, because I think management roles constantly evolve.  You’re working with people, who are unpredictable beings, thus there is always variability and adaptation is necessary.

In the next few posts, I’ll be putting up interesting thoughts from the book, and my thoughts on them, or how I can apply them at work.  Basically, I want to succeed and I want the team to succeed, so that the company can succeed.

29
Apr
stored in: General and tagged:

Recently, I hit what I’ll consider my own personal gold mine of jobs.  I found a job with a company that allows me to work from home, no travel, and uses new technology.  The best part is, I’m finally writing software that people depend on, that keeps business going.  That may sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is, while I wrote valuable code before, it never struck me as something that was keeping business going.  Anyways, after a month in Fairbanks, Alaska for training / orientation and picking up the work PC, I’ve been working from my home office for 3 weeks now.

09
Dec
stored in: General and tagged:

For many years people have claimed that <insert year> will be the “Year of the Desktop” for Linux and it’s friends. I say it that way because people tend to clump the kernel, the toolsets, window managers, and everything else under the ‘Linux’ banner. I think Linux is ready for the “desktop”. I’ve used Linux on my main desktop for several years, and very few times have I griped about it. The only gripe I have would be proprietary formats, which in no way is a fault of open source.

The trouble with saying Linux is ready for the desktop, is people immediately assume you mean everyone can use it, without problems, without having any prior knowledge of their hardware or anything, that everything that comes on their PC (accessories included) should “just work”. I’m saying this in the sense that, Linux and friends have fit my every need for computing. Need a word processor? Grab OpenOffice. Need development tools? Find and install. Does this mean I haven’t had to tweak anything or massage something into place to work right? Of course not. I run into small problems, easily resolved. But that’s because it interests me. The only reason something stops working is me messing with something. Take a Windows installation for example. How do you get it setup. You install the base system, then spend the next 6 hours on updates. Install your anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, everything. Trouble is, your typical users are still running as ‘administrators’ so the system will “just work”.

Now, many people claim to have problems when setting up a Linux box.  Usually some piece of hardware doesn’t fully work as expected.  This is bound to happen when peripheral makers are focusing on the Windows platform.  But, I’ve had several cases where I haven’t had problems.  For instance, this weekend I bought a bluetooth adapter to use with my Treo.  Just an off-the-shelf Kensington bluetooth adapter from Best Buy for $22.00 on sale.  Plugged it in, and it’s already configured.  Up pops the Bluetooth config dialog, and I just close it out accepting the defaults.  Try sending something from the Treo, works every time.   Next, I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse set for the DVR.  Easier than running cables up the wall.  Plug in the USB receiver, and connect the keyboard and mouse, works perfectly, without a reboot, no driver installation.

Who says Linux isn’t ready for the desktop?

Note:  I’ll concede to certain Apple fans, they do make nice systems, but the cost of ownership is still too steep.  But, remember, the kernel of your OS is open source.

26
Nov
stored in: General and tagged:

I don’t hit the social networks as much as some might, but I do login once in a while to check in on people. Plus, sometimes people write you a message, and the network will only notify you that you have a message, not telling you the content. But, I guess they want to pull you to the site as often as they can.

Anyways, I logged in today to check said messages, and found that Facebook has an opinion on my marriage. Now, I find my wife to be “the best”, yet Facebook thinks otherwise. Clearly, I’m listed as married, but Facebook believes I can do better…

Facebook with dating service ad, with me listed as married.

Peter Griffin of Family Guy used to work at the news station in Quahog, writing a piece called “What really grinds my gears”, I pay homage to that style with a “Grinds My Gears” post.

Today on the radio one of the co-hosts was talking about a report from 60 Minutes about requiring restaurants in New York City to post nutritional information on the menus.  As if the nutritional board wasn’t enough, or if you really cared, asking the manager somehow failed to get you the information you’ve been seeking.

You know “what really grinds my gears”?  People blaming the fast food industry for making America fatter.  As if people that eat fast food don’t realize that the food isn’t good for them.  Ask anyone on the street, “If I dunk food in a vat of boiling oil (fat), is it healthy for me?”  Of course not!  People know it, but they keep eating it.  What reason does McDonalds have to change the way it makes food?  McDonalds doesn’t have the responsibility to maintain the health of America.  Secondly, if McDonalds doesn’t provide the fat, someone else will.  McDonalds isn’t the problem here, folks.  It’s the people visiting the McDonalds.

Now if the health industry wants to run some type of campaign to make America healthier, and they use stats from the fast food companies for nutritional content (or lack thereof), by all means.  But, in no way should they create legislation that affects the fast food industries business (by directly making them change anything).  I believe anything they want to do to change the business should be indirect.  Make the people want to change.  If the people want McDonalds to change, it will.  Until then, nothing will change.

Hopefully, this isn’t the last “Grinds My Gears” post.

13
Nov
stored in: General and tagged:

This weekend, Stef and I went to Lumber Liquidators to look at our options for hardwood flooring in the house. We have a ‘hearth’ room, which is acting as our dining room right now, which is connected to the kitchen, though has a partial wall separating the rooms. Our plan is to remove the wall, and make the area much more ‘open’. We want to use the same flooring in both spaces though. Together, it’s about 450 sq. feet, so it’s not the biggest or the smallest of areas.

I’m a huge fan of true hardwood. In many cases where I’ve encountered laminates, the floor ends up sounding a bit hollow and fake. But, because of Josie, hardwood just isn’t the best decision, as we’d have to get very nice and exotic floors to withstand the claws. Since this isn’t our ‘dream’ home, we can’t justify spending the extra money, knowing we wouldn’t be able to get it back. So, I’ve given in more to the idea of laminate. After visiting Lumber Liquidators, I’ve found there has been some nice developments in the laminate arena. I think we found the one we want. It’s a 12mm (thick) laminate with a pad attached, which gives it a much more true hardwood sound and feel. I was impressed. Plus, it comes in the ‘hand-scraped’ style, which gives the floor a bit more texture and depth. I like it. Check it out.

I’m curious what other people think of the hardwood vs. laminate discussion, so feel free to comment.

02
Nov
stored in: General and tagged:

As a Java developer I like it when I find useful libraries that both simplify my life and my code.  I was recently tasked with integrating Lotus Notes (Calendar / Inbox) with a portal.  I knew IBM had released some sort of API for Notes using Java, but from what I initially read, nothing easy.  I stumbled upon Domingo, a SourceForge project, and started playing with it.  I saw potential.

I was able to do some basic stuff, pull messages, view (some) calendar entries, etc.  It didn’t feel too solid though.  The Inbox handling was a little flaky, and the Calendar handling was crash-laden.  So, the open-source part of me kicked in, and I grabbed a copy of the code from CVS, and started poking around.  I submitted a few patches, and gained developer access to part of the repository.  After a few weeks, it’s to the point where Calendar handling won’t kill the DIIOP task running on the Domino server, and you can read the calendar entries without problems.  I’d say it’s rather stable and robust, but far from finished.

My request to the web is, test it out.  Play with the library against your Domino installation.  Read your Inbox, your calendar, etc.  Submit Bugs, submit Feature requests.  Consider this a call to arms for all Java/Notes developers.  Domingo makes Notes integration easier, but if we don’t have people using it, it won’t achieve it’s full potential.

24
Oct

I’m posting this in the hopes that Google will pick it up, and someone searching will find this and help me out.

Maximizing a portlet (WSRP implementation, specifically) takes any skins and throws them out the window.  You’re left with the (ugly) Oracle default skin.  Has anyone found a way to override this?  The default Oracle skin just isn’t pleasant.   In my previous post, I mention re-writing the class that generates the content for WSRP portlets, so I can do a little bit there, but I’d rather have control over the skin and what not, just like I have for the normal view on pages.

Any ideas?

10
Oct
stored in: General and tagged:

After playing with Oracle Portal after a while, you realize the portlet styles are fairly limited in what you can do.  You can change colors, font sizes, and overwrite images if you want, but that’s about it.  With being tasked to make the portlets look like our other applications, I found where Oracle is rendering the portlet display code.  For WSRP exposed portlets, what I’ve is de-compile the ‘RenderDispatcherResponse’ class in the ‘wsrp-dispatcher.jar’ file which is located within the portal.ear application.  JAD 1.5.8e decompiles it fairly nicely.  So, pull that class out and replace it with your own (using the same name and packaging of course) and you’ve got a new way to out put the portlet header, title, and footer.

This is very handy for instance, if you want to put a cool DHTML flashy menu system on each portlet, instead of having individual icons for each action.  Total control within that class for WSRP / JSR-168 exposed portlets.

I’m still looking for how Oracle writes the other ‘out of the box’ portlets, like the HTML portlets, OmniPortlet, etc.  I’ll update the post once I find that.

26
Sep

At the recent football game between Nebraska & USC, it appears that transportation via private jets was at a high. According to airport personnel, this was the most jets he’d seen on the ramps, and he’d been there seven years. Impressive.

Private Jets on airport ramp

Private Jets on airport ramp

18
Sep
stored in: General and tagged:

Part of my job is integrating existing technology into the portal. One part of this includes Oracle BI Answers. This is Oracle’s new branded edition of Siebel Analytics. Anyways, Oracle exposes a few web services for obtaining data and reports from the repository. I began researching how I was going to consume these services, as a Java and Open Source guy, I chose Axis 2 from Apache. They include a nice utility that generates XMLBeans (also Apache) bindings for the services. Side note, XMLBeans are amazing, everything is that much easier when dealing with SOAP and what not, beautiful.

I had generated the code, and began testing the clients for a basic authorization service. Second side note, Oracle BI runs on IIS 6.0. It’s a Microsoft product. I’ll leave it at that. Anyways, XMLBeans is generating great XML, Axis2 is passing great SOAP envelopes along. IIS, doesn’t like them. It would always respond with Error 413 – Request Entity Too Large. This is not very descriptive of the problem.

Long story short, when using Axis 2 against IIS (I think it’s IIS with the issue, not Oracle BI), make sure your requests are not using Transfer-Encoding: chunked. I think IIS is dying on this. Of course, this is on by default in Axis2, so adding a simple line of code to your clients will switch it off.

myClient._getServiceClient().getOptions().setProperty(HTTPConstants.CHUNKED, "false");

This solved my problems. It turned off chunked encoding, and went back to specifying the Content-Length header on the request.

If you’re having troubles, and the above doesn’t make sense, leave a comment. I’m writing this without the code in front of me.

*sigh* IIS, you took 3 days. I want them back.

07
Sep
stored in: General and tagged:

I’ve been considering getting a new laptop (or at least saving up for one), particularly the MacBook Pro.  The problem is, the one I want retails at $2499, and that’s a bit more expensive than I’d like to spend.  So, I decided, rather than buy a new laptop, I’d make the old one work.  So, I bought a new LCD panel / housing for it ($174, eBay) and a new battery ($45, eBay) so I should be alright for a while.  The thing that stinks about it, is it uses one of the original Pentium 4 processors, so it’s a power hog, so the new battery will still only get about 2.5 hours per charge.  The interesting thing is, the processing power of the laptop is still on par with some of the new laptop you can buy.  P4, 1.6 Ghtz, 1Gb of RAM.  Still a good laptop by today’s standards.

Guess I’ll keep it around for a while.

21
Aug
stored in: General and tagged:

Everyone is posting on their MySpace and Facebook, trying to snag up a ton of friends and grow their social network. Now, there’s Arsebook. Granted, it’s not a real site, basically just a copy of the frontpage of Facebook, still a hilarious parody of the popular social site. The idea of a site dedicated to being anti-social, in a saturated social-network market could be a marketable idea.

EDIT: Fixed link.  Thanks Jon.

21
Aug
stored in: General and tagged:

Coolness just got a bit cheaper with the release of The Faux Stick-On Sunroof.  I guess someone may have the need to impress someone else who will never ride in their car.  Just another case of people working hard to impress people they don’t like.

Read a great post (How to Change the World: On the Other Hand: The Flip Side of Entrepreneurship by Glenn Kelman) on the reality of starting up an online business or idea.  Glenn makes some great points to the fact that, many successful startups are not the overnight success they appear to be.  Many take serious time and effort to turn out a quality product that the masses can appreciate.  While many times I’m envious at the success of what seems like a regular couple of people, I think, wow, why couldn’t I do that?  Myself, I have a very entrepreneurial spirit, and have always had dreams of owning my own business, and being my own boss.  To that note, a buddy of mine and I are working on a project.  I’m nervous to think about where it could go, but excited at the same time.  That said, more time needs to be dedicated to the project.  More details are sure to follow.

02
Aug
stored in: General and tagged:

This is most likely the first post of many on the subject of Oracle Portal and the use of Open Source for writing applications to integrate with the Portal. Right now, I’m using the WSRP4J, Pluto, Hibernate, Tomcat stack for managing Portlets within the Oracle Portal. An Oracle DB is used on the backend for managing Portlet registrations, service registrations etc. These links are used by WSRP4J to recognize requests for portlet content from the Oracle portal. First issue encountered with using this stack. The column sizes generated for the ‘REGISTRATION’ table, are too small for the data Oracle uses. First, make sure the data type for the RECTXT and REGDATA columns stays ‘RAW’. I expanded the column sizes to 1000 & 2000 respectively.  Binary data is stored in the columns, so they must be in the ‘RAW’ data type, otherwise, you may get exceptions from hibernate regarding ‘invalid stream header’

31
Jul
stored in: General and tagged:

This weekend, Stef and I took the dog for a walk, and browsed a garage sale.  I found a mini-bike frame and a belt sander.  Total cost: $35.  I looked on eBay prior to making the purchase, and found that most frames were in the $15-30 range, but cost another $50-60 in shipping charges.  So, I picked it up.  After chatting with the neighbors (we’re new to the neighborhood, they’ve been there for 30 years.), I wheeled my new purchase home.  It comes semi-complete with wheels, shocks, a seat, and a rudimentary braking system, consisting of a pedal attached via a metal rod, that when pushed, applies a rubber pad to the rear wheel, providing friction, thus stopping.  Works great.  If I can find a cheap motor on eBay or craigslist, this thing could be running come next spring.  Granted, it’ll need some primer and a fresh coat of paint.

Soon, I’ll be zipping around at 20-25MPH.  Though, I hope I don’t get nailed by a car like this poor guy did.