Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
I've got some new releases to blog about today on this first day of October. More about that later. October is going to be a busy and fun month. I've got a lot going on at work, some paper proposals to write for ApacheCon EU 2008, a cool conference to attend (ConvergeSouth) and a They Might Be Giants show to wrap up the month.
Local multi-media and social software whiz kid Brian Russell is hanging out his shingle as an consultant. Best of luck, Brian. If you're looking to grow an online community or upgrade your organization to Web 2.0, check out his resume and portfolio.
I was pretty impressed how quickly Google was able to help my brother out when his Gmail account apparently disappeared. That makes me feel a lot better about trusting Google to manage my precious data.
Another reason to trust in Google is that they make good stuff. I decided to try Google Reader for a couple of days. I figured I'd be back to NetNewsWire after a couple of days, but now I'm hooked and I'm not sure I'll ever go back. The only things I miss are hierarchical folders and smart-subscriptions, which I was using to subscribe to a search within my subscriptions, e.g. alert me when any of the feeds I'm reading mention "roller". I'd like to see better blog-search integration in Reader and features like FeedDemon's popular topics.
My brother's popular film blog FilmBabble, hosted on Google's Blogspot site, is now dead in the water and he cannot find any way to get help from Blogspot or Google. He's followed the help links to send support requests to both Google and Blogger.com last week, but Gmail tells him that his email address does not exist!
Could this be another case of mass email deletions at Gmail.com? Personally, I wouldn't trust Google to host my blog or my email; I only use Gmail for mailing lists that are archived elsewhere. Seems like my caution might be well justified.
So please help, Google folks. Please tell us: how do you get help from Google when your email address and therefore your Google identity is apparently deleted?
Update 1: apparently Dan filled out this help request form on Friday. I wonder what kind of turn around time they have for this type of issue. Guess we'll find out.
Update 2: Google responded today and restored Dan's account, after only two business days. I must say, that's pretty damn good for a free service. Still, the "that email address does not exist" message is pretty damn scary. It's pretty nerve wracking to get locked out of your blog.
As my colleagues Manveen Kaur and Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine are reporting, Roller is now available via the Glassfish Update Center. Manveen explains how to get started: just download and install Sun Java System Application Server 9.1 and run $GLASSFISH_HOME/updatecenter/bin/updatetool. Too lazy for all that? Alexis has put together a brief slide-show that shows just how easy the process is.
There are a couple of caveats. First, this is an Early Access (EA) release and is based on a snapshot of the Roller 4.0 code-base from about 1.5 months ago. We put it through a couple of rounds of testing, but it doesn't have all the bug fixes found in the recent Roller 4.0 RC releases. Second, this release targets only Glassfish (obviously) and JavaDB. Still, it's a great way to try Glassfish, the Update Center and Roller.
What's up with the fishes and the mysterious "Welcome to SocialFish" seen in the slide show? I've already said everything I can say about that
Congrats are also in order for the JSPWiki team. As Janne Jalkanen notes, JSPWiki was accepted into the Apache Incubator yesterday. I'm proud to be one of the four mentors who will guide the project through the incubation process. Janne and the JSPWiki team put together a great proposal and I think it was clear to everybody involved in the vote that these folks know what they're doing. They'll master the Apache way in no time.
Yes this is my obligatory Glassfish V2 post but listen, for me V2 is a pretty big big deal. Like Eclipse, which was the IDE that pulled me away from VIM, Glassfish V2 is the app server that finally pulled me away from Tomcat.
You see, I've been using Tomcat every day for a very long time. I started back in 2000 when I worked at HAHT Software and I was working on the new "Rocketsled" J2EE version of the HAHTsite app server. We were ripping out the old proprietary page engine and plugging in Tomcat. It was a pleasure to work with and I learned a hell of a lot from the code-base. After joining Sun and switching from Eclipse to Netbeans because Sun-on-Sun matters, I still stuck with Tomcat. It's what we were using for blogs.sun.com and Glassfish was just too bulky and slow. I grew to love Netbeans, but I couldn't stomach Glassfish, until now.
Now that Glassfish V2 is out I'm switching from Tomcat to Glassfish for all of my development. It's more than fast enough. With Glassfish on my MacBook Pro, Roller restart time is about 8 seconds compared to 16 with Tomcat. And the quality is high; the admin console, the asadmin command-line utility and the docs are all excellent. The dog food is surprisingly tasty ;-)
Congrats to the Glassfish team!
I bought a new 3rd generation iPod Nano (4GB) yesterday to replace the armband radio that I wear on my daily runs and to complement my old 3rd generation iPod classic. As you can see, the Nano is tiny so it should work perfectly for me once I get an armband.
Here's old and new together.
I was happy to find that the new Nano fits in the old iPod cradle:
So far, I really like the Nano. It's the right size for me, it looks great and the UI works wonderfully. There's just one problem. It's flakey. I've had to reboot the thing four times in the 24 hours that I've owned it. I never had to do that for my old iPod and in fact, I don't even know how. To figure out how to reset my Nano I had to download the Features Guide (PDF). Here's how you do it:
1. Toggle the Hold switch on and off (slide it to HOLD and then back again). 2. Press and hold the Menu and Center buttons for at least 6 seconds, until the Apple logo appears. If iPod nano won't turn on or respond * Make sure the Hold switch isn't set to HOLD. * The iPod nano battery might need to be recharged. Connect iPod nano to your computer or to an Apple USB Power Adapter and let the battery recharge. Look for the lightning bolt icon on the iPod nano screen to verify that iPod nano is receiving a charge.
I also bought a Nano as a birthday present for my brother (that's today so Happy Birthday Dan!), so I really hope a software update will fix this irritating problem and soon. I'd hate to have to return these slick little gadgets.
ApacheCon is coming up fast. I just faxed in my speaker's agreement and I'm starting to update my talk to cover the latest changes in the upcoming Apache Roller 4.0 and 4.1 releases.
I've been four times now and ApacheCon is always a great conference. It's small and cozy enough, but almost all of the Apache projects are represented. So it's easy to find the experts, make new friends and get all of your questions answered. The session line-up looks great this year; here are ones that caught my eye:
Want to go? There's still time to shave a couple of hundred dollars off the conference fees by registering early. Early bird pricing has been extended to Sept. 22, 2007.
And the Weston looks like a pretty nice place for a conference:
ApacheCon US 2007 | Register here
I was playing around with the new flight simulator in Google Earth and flying over Raleigh when I noticed the extensive and very detailed set of 3D models for the NCSU campus. Here's an overview that shows the brickyard, D.H. Hill library and Harrelson Hall:
The details are pretty amazing, with signage and steps and hand-rails. Here's an example that shows the stairs on the side of Reynolds the old basketball coliseum:
The work was done by students competing in Google's Build Your Campus in 3D competition. Follow that link for a (tiny) video and you can also find a catalog of all the student's work on the Google Earth site.
Congratulations to the Apache OpenJPA team on making their first official release since graduation. I wish I'd paid closer attention to the OpenJPA mailing lists and tested the release candidates. Oh well. I'll download and test the final 1.0 release and maybe we can get it into Apache Roller 4.0 RC2.
Tim Bray: Java still remains by far the largest development ecosystem, and the selection and quality of libraries put pretty well any other language’s to shame, and it’s really fucking fast, and has superb tooling, and we know how to run it securely, and it’s Open-Source. So, if you want to move the state of the art along, a smart idea would be to work with, not against, Java.
Finally, something I can agree with on the topic.
This morning I woke up a little earlier than usual so that I could run, shower and look presentable by 8:40AM because today's the big day that Leo goes off to kindergarden. It's a bittersweet milestone both because Leo's our youngest and because I've seen so much of him for the past three years. Ever since I joined Sun and started working at home three years ago, he's been only a couple of rooms away. All day every day. I'm going to miss that. I'm going to miss taking little breaks and eating lunch with him and shooing him out of my office when I forget to lock the door. I would go on, but I'll get all teary eyed and I'm the strong one who doesn't do that. That's why I was the one who got to walk him to school today, check him in and sit him down at his little desk.
Atom protocol "features" extension
I try to follow the Atom community pretty closely, but sometimes I fall out of the loop. For example, I missed the discussion on James "Mr. Atom" Snell's important new extension proposal for Atom protocol features, which will enable blog servers to declare what features they support. For example, Roller could inform blog clients that you can enable/disable comments for each post, limit comments to N days on, "pin" a blog entry to to site's main page (if you are an admin) and more. Hopefully, we can get blog server developers to agree on a common set of features and blog client developers to support that set.
Publishing critical info with Atom
And I had to bookmark James Snell's excellent and important article Publish critical public warnings on the Web, with the sub-title "Atom publishing can provide a powerful and flexible way to distribute critical, life-saving information."
Sun Portal's blog porlet, powered by Atom protocol
This next Atom link comes from docs.sun.com. It's some documentation for the Sun Portal Server 7.1 - Blog Portlet. I did not realize that the Sun Portal blog portlet uses Atom protocol to enable publishing to Roller. It was developed and tested against Roller 3.1, so it probably does not conform to the final Atom protocol.
What to call Atom protocol?
And finally, folks are wondering what to call Atom Publishing Protocol. Is it APP or Atompub or Atom protocol? Ian Bicking says Iâve decided to make a conscious effort to call it Atompub from now on." I don't have a strong opinion, but I do think APP is to vague to be useful.
Lightweight image editors for Mac
I've got a copy of Photoshop Elements for the Mac, but I really hate to have to start it up when I want to crop or resize an image. So I twittered about it. Ryan Irelan pointed out ImageWell "the Free and Lean Image Editor". Rich Sharples recommended Skitch, a Web 2.0-ish desktop app that makes it easy to snap, draw and share images from your desktop. I'm on the waiting list for an invite. On my own, I found Seashore, which is a Gimp based open source image editor Mac, one that does not need X11, and it's pretty light-weight. I'm not ashamed to admit, I love the Gimp.
Whew! I've got a couple more links but my lunch break is over so there you go.
Todays news that Sun's stock ticker will change from SUNW to JAVA was met with pretty mixed reactions both inside and outside of Sun. On the day of the announcement, the more than 170 comments on Jonathan Schwartz's blog announcement were mostly negative and though there are some positive reactions in the interblogonet, they come mostly from Sun employees.
Below are the posts that I've seen in my feed reader so far.For (or seeing the positive)
What do I think? I'm not sure what I think of the change. The ticker SUNW was out of date because "workstations" are so 80s man, so it's a good thing to update it. And Java ISVs like BlogBridge should like the vote of confidence in Java. On the negative side, it's easy to search for SUNW to get Sun news and that won't work as well with the new ticker. And Java's not all Sun does. One more point. I'm not sure most folks really care what the ticker name is. If they did, don't you think Sun would have changed it years ago?
By the way. I didn't mean the hit the post button on this entry so soon, but it's out there now so I might as well let it stand. I'll update over the next day or two as reactions roll in.
UPDATE: Ed Burnette has a positive, neutral, negative and funny breakdown of his 25 favorite comments from Jonathan's blog post. He says that "Stockholders and employees are among the most vocal critics." of the change.
Just learned from Tim's blog that Greg Borenstein just came up with a cute logo for the Atom Protocol Exerciser (Ape), which, in case you don't know, is the closest thing we have to a compatibility test for Atom servers. The logo is featured on the Ape's home page.
I attended Greensboro's ConvergeSouth back in 2005 and it was a great experience. So I'm glad that this year, I'll be able to attend again. Looks like they've lined-up a great set of sessions covering blogging, podcasting, social networking, new media and Web 2.0 (Friday and Saturday schedules are on-line).
I just signed up and you ought to do the same here: http://convergesouth.com/register/index.php.