Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is this the end for Java

News that James Gosling (father of the Java programming language) has left Oracle might spell the end for the Java programming language.  Not that Mr.Gosliong was that involved in the day to day development of the language, but more in the fact that he probably didn't agree philosophically with Oracle's future for Java.  We can only hope that Oracle will make good and continue to Open Source Java and ensure the future of this wonderful programming language.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


1. slow and uncoordinated in movement.
2. nonactive; slothful: a slothful project
3. a software project were some participants are unwilling to let go of their old waterfall ways.

I'm currently working on a large project that has big visibility in the company. On the IT side, we are running the project using an agile process. We are using 2 week iterations with stories, daily stand ups and collaborative documentation using a wiki. Overall we are being very successful and have accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

Our business partners however want to create an SRS, have multiple weekly requirements meetings and are using Word docs and Sharepoint site for documentation.

We have invited them to our daily stand ups, give them access to our iteration wall (virtual) and granted them access to our Wiki. But no go.

So, ultimately can this project succeed? My gut feeling is that we are doomed for failure, mainly because we just can't get on the same page. However, from and IT side of things we are accomplishing a lot of work in short periods of time and are able to keep up with the changes that the business come up with. Isn't that one of the main benefits of agile, to manage change easier. Time will tell.

I can't take credit for this term wagile, Patrick was the one who came up with it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to the belly of the Beast

My professional development career started in 1989 writing restaurant management software using Microsoft QuickBasic PDS (Professional Development System) for DOS. From there I started working with Visual Basic 1.0 for DOS until about 1994.

From 1994 through 1997 I used Visual Basic versions 3, 4, 5 and 6 and VBA on a multitude of projects working as a contractor. I also worked briefly with Visual J++ on a project.

In 1997 I made the switch to Java full time and haven't looked back. I've been developing with Java professionally since 1997. I currently work mostly with Java, but have also worked with Ruby on Rails.

Last year my company purchased another insurance company. While we mostly develop in Java, they develop using .Net. So far, I've spend a couple of months in training on C# and the .Net framework and some training on their applications architecture.

Overall, my observations about C# is that it's really not that different that Java. Since .Net was developed using Java as the model, that's pretty easy to understand. From a language standpoint, there are more similarities than there are differences.

In the Java world using Open Source libraries (Spring, Struts, Apache, Hibernate, Log4J, etc) is a way of life. It seems that the .Net world is a little behind in implementing these types of Open Source libraries (although C#/.Net versions do exist). This is probably more a product of the teams working on C#/.Net projects than anything else.

One of the things I used to love about Visual Basic (Studio) was the IDE. Over the years, I have used many IDE's and Visual Studio was one of the best. I currently use Eclipse for Java and migrated back to NetBeans (6.1 and 6.5) for everything else. Overall, Visual Studio hasn't really kept up with the advancements of the Java IDE's and while it still works really well, seems to be missing some of the newer advancements. One of the biggest is the ability to load more than one project solution at a time. With large applications that span multiple solutions this can be a pain since you have to switch each time.

Anyway, it looks like I will be working on mostly C# and .Net applications in the future. I've been away from the Microsoft development world for quite awhile. It will be interesting to see how it compares to Java and Ruby.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Firefox is no longer a safe haven

Eventually it had to happen. With Firefox gaining market share from Microsoft IE at an incredible rate, the virus/malware/spyware writers had to take notice...and they have. I spent the weekend removing a virus/malware/spyware that my wife got on her machine just by visiting a website devoted to children's toys, and she was using Firefox

She didn't click to install anything, she didn't download anything. All she did was visit this particular website. She was not running virus protection at the time (my bad), mainly because it slowed her machine down to much and I wrongly felt she was safe as long as she only used Firefox.

The virus (Antivirus XP 2008) is particularly viral and also downloaded a lot of other viruses/malware/spyware once it had taken over her machine. None of the major virus scanners were able to remove this virus, although they did remove some of the other ones that downloaded along with it. Here is a list of the tools I used with varying success.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
Spybot - Search & Destroy
Ad-Aware 2008
Avast Home Edition
Avira AntiVir Personal
ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition 3.5
PC Tools AntiVirus Free Edition 4.0
Norton AntiVirus 2008
Trend Micro HijackThis 2.0.2
Process Explorer

In the end a combination of the manual instructions here and looking at the processes and DLL's running using Process Explorer, I was able to determine that the virus was completely removed from memory and won't load again on startup. However, I'm not as convinced that all of the files were removed.

Needless to say we are now running virus protection on her machine again. A combination of AVG and Threatfire.

I do plan on visiting this particular website again to see if I can recreate how this happened. I will be using a combination of Windows XP and Linux (Firefox and 3.0.1) running in Virtual Machines for protection. I will post my results at a later date.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Top 10 Geek Movies

I've decided to try and list out my top 10 geek movies of all time. This includes movies about geeks, geek subjects, things geeks like, etc... This of course it not an exhausted list, just of my top 10 favorites.

10. Tron - OK, on it's surface Tron was not a great movie. But at the time, the graphics were considered very high tech, and lets not forget the beginning of the movie when Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is sitting at it computer hacking all night long right before he gets sucked into the computer. What geek hasn't imaged that happening after staying up all night hacking away?

9. Sneakers - Overall plot was a little thin for me, and as usual Hollywood doesn't always get the tech stuff right. But it's a fun movie with lots of tech and geek stuff.

8. Enemy of the State - What geek doesn't think the government is out to get them, and that they are using the most sophisticated and high tech gadgets imaginable.

7. T2 - This could just as easily be the original Terminator movie, but I liked some of the higher tech graphics used in this one. The original was a much lower budget movie, so the effects were pretty bad.

6. The Matrix - I still remember sitting the theater watching this movie and every few minutes repeating the same thing over and over again; "Wow, so cool". I'm so glad they decided to not screw this movie up by making crappy sequel's.

5. Office Space - I have personally lived this movie over and over again in my career. It's so funny and yet so true to life. I just love it and have to watch it every time the replay in on Comedy Central.

4. Star Wars - Like many people, this movie changed my life. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. That first scene with the Starship flying in over the screen. I knew then that I was and would forever be a geek.

3. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan - I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, I'm not sure why I just never got into it. But Wrath of Khan was a great movie and in my opinion stands as the best of all the Star Trek movies.

2. Blade Runner - Actually, this is my favorite movie of all time, but it's only #2 in the spot only because #1 is better geek movie. I've seen both the original release (with voice overs) and the original directors cut, and I have to admit I still prefer the voice overs.

1. Wargames - Without a doubt the best geek movie ever. The biggest problem with movies about technology and computers in general is that Hollywood never gets the technology right. Wargames got it "mostly" right.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

NetBeans revisited

I used to use NetBeans exclusively until about 2003 when I begrudgingly made the switch to Eclipse. Not because I stopped liking NetBeans, but mostly because all the over developers on my projects were using Eclipse and Eclipse had much better support by the community than NetBeans. But I always thought that NetBeans was easier to use, had a much cleaner interface, and didn't have Workspaces. Also, I found that NetBeans was so much easier to build a project from existing sources, so you could take your old projects and get them into NetBeans very easily and cleanly.

Lately, I've been searching for a good Ruby on Rails IDE and NetBeans 6.1 seems to fit the bill pretty well. Again, NetBeans' interface is very clean and Ruby and Rails support is built right in.... no plug-ins necessary. Also, it supports both Ruby and JRuby and allows you to install your own versions of each. It also supports both WebBrick and Mongrel as integrated test servers. Overall, I find the Ruby on Rails support to be pretty damn good.

Way to go NetBeans!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

KDE 4 Initial Reaction

It's been awhile since I posted, my wife and I had a baby in March and things have been a little crazy. Not much time recently to check out new technology, but I did recently download and install the latest Kubuntu 8.04 KDE 4 Remix.

I've alway been a big fan of KDE. I've preferred it over Gnome, mainly because I feel if you're going to have a desktop it might as well have all the bells and whistles, and KDE has plenty of bells and whistles. Over the years the biggest complaints with KDE has been that it is slow and doesn't have cross application compatibility with Gnome apps. KDE 3.5 pretty much put all those complaints to rest.

KDE 4 is a huge makeover from KDE 3.5. There is plenty of new stuff under the hood in KDE 4, but I won't go into all of that. My initial reaction is with the menubar. This is the bar at the bottom of the screen where you select which applications you want to run, or to shut the system down, etc... The previous version were very Windows 98 like, you click the icon and the whole menu would expand and you selected which applications, application groups, etc.. you wanted. The new version has icons for each application group which you have to click on to load the list of applications or sub-application groups under that group. To many clicks, and it's difficult to follow where you are in the menu. I find it a huge step in the wrong direction.