Archive for July, 2004

The Future Is Bright – Or Not? IronPython is “a fast Python implementation for .NET and Mono“. That should be fun to play with! But I wonder what will happen with this tool: will Microsoft accept the distribution of Windows/.NET applications, built with an Open Source tool and licensed under GPL or another OSL? The fact that the author of IronPython starts working for Microsoft next week could be good or bad news for IronPython – we’ll see that in a few months, I suppose…

Something The World Does Not Need Right Now, but the owner probably would call it “cool”: Surf the net while surfing waves (via BBC News).

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The IDE’s of July. Yesterday and today i tried to find my way in the Mach II framework for Eclipse, using He3 (as in Helium) as an editor. Currently in beta, He3 is a specific version of the Eclipse 3.0 IDE, including specific editors for CFML and Mach II configuration files. It’s not (yet) perfect, but nevertheles a very productive environment, especially if you’re already familiar with all the riches offered by Eclipse.

A few weeks ago, the beta for BlueJ 2.0 came out. BlueJ is an excellent tool if you want to learn Java, especially now that it has been updated with all that Java 1.5 has to offer. And even seasoned Java programmers can benefit from BlueJ, when trying out new tricks or features.

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And Now For Something Completely Different:

Feldbergerhof, April 2004

(The picture dates from April 2004)

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Rats Again. Not only is my iBook still in repair, but now the “working disk” of my G4 has “crashed” – the G4 can no longer boot from it; Disk Utility is incapable of repairing the problems with the Catalog… That means a complete reinstallation.

Luckily, since my previous experience (see NUKLEOS WEBLOG 2003-04-01 and later) I have learned my lesson: I have an second disk in the machine, waiting to be used, and all my data are on a separate Volume (not 100% safe, I know) and on DVD-RAM and CD-ROMs. So, here is all I have to do in order to get the basics back up and running:

  • copy my special Additions folder to the new disk (that’s where I put my personal selection of applications, like SubEthaEditFireFox, and more);
  • copy the ˜/Library/Mail folder and the MailApp Preferences;
  • copy the AddressBook data (I’m still looking for the exact file(s) to be copied);
  • reassemble all the bookmarks in the different browsers I’m using (Safari, Firefox, Camino and Mozilla) – I know, I would have all that if I just copied the ˜/Library/Preferences folder, but first of all: this is a good moment to start those from a clean slate, and secondly: I’m not sure what to do with the access rights…

So yes, the process could probably be made even more speedy and complete (Carbon Copy Cloner seems the most evident solution), but I’m already happy not to be left without a computer!

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Cold And Hot. Since a few days, I can focus again onto the work I’m supposed to do. Currently, that means building an intranet application architecture in Coldfusion (and Java, just for good measure!). So I’m starting to find my way in the new (to me) Coldfusion community on the Internet. An interesting blog there belongs to Sean Corfield, the top IT architect at Macromedia. Sean Corfield also points to two development guides that seem well written and quite usable: the Coldfusion MX Coding Guidelines and the Mach II Development Guide. By the way, the second one is mentioned because Mach II popped up when I tried out cfcUnit, which needs the Mach II framework. And all that was more than enough for a single day at work…

And More. Since I prefer Eclipse to Dreamweaver, I’ll also have a look at the He3 beta, an IDE tailored to Coldfusion (and Mach II) and based on Eclipse…

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It’s Not Exactly Oral History… but it comes quite close to what I was taught about that subject while studying for my history degree. The development of the original Macintosh was and is remains an important milestone in the history of personal computing – even PC aficionados should acknowledge that. Folklore.org has a series of anecdotes about the Mac that are well worth reading, even if it’s only to get a feel of the adventurous, or hacker-ish, spirit that lived in the people who made the Mac happen. I suppose a similar fountain of stories could be told about other (hardware of software) projects – please write them up, ’cause I’d love to read them!

Scripting Languages Day? It must be the position of the stars: today I was confronted with the outcome of not one, but two scripting (sorry, I mean programming) languages that aren’t very mainstream. There’s Python, the language Andy Hertzfeld used to write Folklore.org. And then there’s Ruby. Ruby was used to write Rails, which is the basis of Basecamp (Basecamp is an excentric but very usable form of project management tool, of which I’m very fond).

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World Premiere? “Deutsches Gericht bestätigt Wirksamkeit der GPL”, writes heise online. “Die Kammer teilt die Auffassung, dass in den Bedingungen der GPL keinesfalls ein Verzicht auf Urheberrechte und urheberrechtliche Rechtspositionen gesehen werden kann“. In other words, a German court ruled very explicitly that the GPL is a valid licence, which protects the author(s) of (parts of) a work in terms of intellectual property and copyright (I hope I’m using the correct terms here!).

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Impressive Imagery. Last night, I saw a documentary on the photography of Spencer Tunick. His photographs of naked human bodies in unexpected places – say before a flock of penguins on Antarctica – are a sure way to get me to think about what makes us a human being.

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A Portable Digital Wallet. I’m seriously thinking about writing a multiplatform “digital wallet” application, for storing all the usernames and passwords I use on the Internet and in the real world. Why would I want to write it myself? Well, up until now I’m using an application called Strip on a Palm PDA. Nice application, that does all I need – except exporting the data (I’m still using 0.3, because the upgrade to 0.5 wouldn’t work). But it would be nice to have all those data available on my Mac (or PC at work), and to be able to edit them without having to re-scribble everything in Graffiti! I’ve been looking around for a tool that can get my data from Mac to PDA to PC, or for a program that I can put on a USB-stick and execute wherever I happen to be working, but I haven’t found one that I really like. First of all, I want to be sure the algorithm used is really secure. And then the program itself has to be good. Take PC-Mac PasswordVault: it does what’s needed, I suppose, but it’s so un-ergonomic and ugly! Web Confidential seems to be the best alternative – but can it run on a USB-stick? So it’s either that or a “do it yourself in Java” job, I suppose.

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Create Your Own iCalendars Without iCal: just use iCal4J, a Java package “for modifying existing iCalendar data or creating new iCalendar data from scratch“. I think I’ll try it out from a few CFML pages – that’s the beauty of Coldfusion MX: you can easily use Java classes from CFML templates.

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software.develop( historicalContext )
if ( extremeProgramming.equals( scientificMethod ) ).

Rats! Apple is asking almost 600 Euro to repair my iBook. That includes a motherboard replacement (OK, that will cost something – say half of the price), and probably just a replacement of the LCD backlight power cable. And that last piece certainly doesn’t cost 300 Euro! On the other hand, the money won’t buy me a new iBook, let alone a Powerbook, but I could probably buy a very nice portable PC with Linux for just a few tatters more. Choices, choices, choices…

Will Steve J. And Bill G. Follow? Jonathan Schwartz’s Weblog.

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Of Course!Are Mac Users Smarter Than PC Users?“, asks LinuxInsider.

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Back Home, after two weeks in (sunnier) France… Time flies when you’re having a good time!

Back To The Future, with NewsWeek (MSNBC) detailing Apple’s new Ipod in an article dated July 26.

Update (2004-12-24) – While cleaning up the harddisk of the portable that accompanied us to France, I found a blog entry that should have been published on July 15th (I wrote it the night before):

Portable Power. I write this while sitting on the terrace of our holiday chalet late at night, enjoying the freshness of the night at the border of the Dordogne after a long, hot and sunny day. Stars are showing up; the frogs on the other side of the river are slowly getting tired of being the loudest mouth on the block; and it’s getting too dark to see the bats circling about. This is where the joys of a portable computer really show themselves – I can well imagine working, if only part of the time, in such a fashion! And while the bells of a nearby church signal the midnight hour, I can also see the need for a backlighted keyboard like Apple makes it on the Powerbook series – I’m not a touch typist, and I have shut down the terrace lights so as not to be disturbed by the evenings insects…

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In The Back Of My Head? I suppose it’s just coincidence, that about a year ago I wrote about lusting after a brand new digital camera by Nikon: the Coolpix 5400. To think that I just bought one of these, without looking into my own blog. I’ll have to admit that I’m not using this in the way that I intended to – to keep track of weblinks… That says a lot about what blogs really are.

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Yes! It must be that holiday feeling…

Beach on screen

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