Friday photo

I should rename this contrived little blogging crutch to Saturday photo. I never seem to get to it until 11:30 Friday night. This week, another photo taken by my father. The photo is a view from the Snowbird Mountain Inn in North Carolina.

Photo of misty mountains named Santeelah Vista
Photo copyright Charles S. Johnson, Jr.

Wanna buy some wood?

Was it just me, or was Bush's strategy for tonight's debate to out-shout both his opponent and the moderator?

Solaris x86 and JDS observations, Part I

Here are some notes about my adventures setting up my new Sun w2100z workstation with Solaris and JDS:

  • Solaris x86: I installed the most recent update of Solaris x86. The installation went very smoothly and seemed less trouble than Debian or Redhat installers that I have used recently. The only snag I hit was my monitor. The kdmconfig program mentions my monitor by name, but not my video card. I picked the NVIDIA driver but it cannot drive my monitor at 1900x1200 so I settle for 1600x1200.

  • JDS desktop. Installed recent build of JDS. The JDS desktop is based on GNOME, but it really looks great, much better than I have been able to make GNOME look. I think this is mostly due to a great theme, all new icons for everything, and proper config of fonts/anti-aliasing - but I think there are some other improvements.

  • and pkg-get. Installed pkg-get from which is the Solaris equivalent of Debian's apt-get. Once you have pkg-get, you can install any package on the list by typing pkg-get -i <package-name>. Too bad the JDK is not in the blastwave dependency tree; I think it would be really cool if I could just type pkg-get to upgrade the JDK too.

  • Upgrading Gaim. The JDS build I'm using includes Gaim 0.76, which can do all instant message protocols including AIM, Yahoo, MSN, and Jabber - Yahoo does not work because Yahoo has changed the password protocol since 0.76 was released. So I used pkg-get to upgrade gaim. But, pkg-get installs gaim in /opt/csw/bin, which does not overwrite the JDS version of Gaim in /usr/bin. Both versions of Gaim work, but I suspect that the software under /opt/csw/bin could get out of sync with JDS if I am not careful.

  • Eclipse 3.0: I used pkg-get to install Eclipse 3.0 (package name eclipse). Eclipse for Solaris x86 is linked to Motif rather than GNOME, so it looks like crap.

  • Netbeans 4: I downloaded Netbeans 4.0b2 from and fired it up. It doesn't look all that good either. The fonts are not quite right. Hmm... maybe I should try JDK5 and see it that makes a difference. I'll do that now and report back later...

New box arrives, old boxes die

I'm been scrambling to wrap up Roller and Chapter 4 of my book (more about that later), so when my new box arrived I had mixed feelings. The new machine is awesome, a new Sun w2100z machine, a dual processor AMD Opteron with a 24" LCD flat screen, so I'm excited about setting up and seeing what it can do, but setting up a new machine takes time and I don't have a whole lot of that.

Anyhow, I decided to set up the new box and do all the moving around of machines and wires and junk that a new box always requires. I do that, get everything re-hooked up, turn the power on, and find that poor old Snoopdave, my homebuilt Debian box, has died and won't even emit a beep code. Arg. Now I'm in the market for a low-end Linux box.


That's what the Sun w2100z looks like. I would have posted a picture of mine, but Snoopdave was not the only casualty. My Kodak DX3600 camera also decided to die. It has frozen up and is now flashing the E13 error code, which apparently is the Kodak equivalent of the blue screen of death, except that it is permanent. So I'm also in the market for a new digital camera. Happy day.

Setting up the new Sun workstation was pretty easy. The Solaris 9 OS install was smooth and I found all of the software I need at (even Eclipse, but don't tell anybody). More about that later, it's time to get to work.

Roller status

I've been working on the Roller user management and login code for over a week now. I just committed a bunch of changes. Here is a summary of my progress in this area:

  • HTTPS for login only: Roller can now be configured to force logins to happen over HTTPS, while the rest of the UI remains on HTTP. I did this by using Jon Lipsky's SecureTag from AppFuse to force the login page to HTTPS and then later to force the UI back to HTTP.

  • Editor/Admin UI URL improvements: Editor pages under /editor, admin under /admin. This makes it easier to setup security constraints for editor and admin roles. This was a sweeping change that affected almost all Struts actions in the editor/admin UI.

  • Admin role: admin users are no longer specified in the Roller config, instead they have the admin role. The user-admin page now allows you grant and revoke this role and there is a command-line utility for doing the same.
  • Allow admins to create new users: admins can now create new users through the editor/admin UI, even if new user registration is off.

  • Encrypted passwords: Roller can now be configured for encrypted passwords and a utility exists for converting Roller from an unencrypted setup to an encrypted one.

  • Confirmation passwords: all password prompts now ask for password to be entered twice for confirmation.

  • Unit tests with HSQLDB: Added a couple of Ant tasks and so that the Roller build script can start, init, and stop HSQLDB as needed during unit testing. Also added Ant targets so that you can start, init, and stop HSQLDB when you run are running unit tests directly from your IDE.

Apart from bug fixes the only thing holding Roller back now is comment spam. I need to add some form of comment authentication and introduce some better tools for comment spam removal.

Bloglines Web Services

O'Reilly Network: The New Bloglines Web Services: "Bloglines today announced a set of new web services APIs, allowing developers to write applications for reading RSS and Atom feeds by drawing data directly from the Bloglines databases. This is a very significant change in the landscape of RSS/Atom aggregators, the newsreading applications that have become more popular over the past few years. Along with the release of its web services, Bloglines announced that several desktop RSS/Atom aggregators, including FeedDemon, NetNewsWire, and Blogbot, will begin using these APIs to provide additional capabilities in their applications. The Bloglines Web Services make it very easy for developers to use RSS and Atom content for many purposes, and the services will also ease the traffic."
A "very significant change" indeed. The coolest part of the article is a blog app: a 150 line Groovy program that implements a complete BlogLines newsreader.

Throw the bums out!

I've always avoided "controversial" topics such as politics on my blog, but that needs to change and this is important. Russell is right. Get out there and convince somebody to vote for Kerry and Edwards.

Friday Photos

I missed a couple of Friday photos, so today I have two for you. Both from the soccer double header last weekend. Alex and Linus had back to back games and my dad was there with his telephoto. First, here is Alex seconds before scoring a goal:

Alex about to score

Linus didn't score a goal during his game, but here is a shot of him playing goalie.

Linus playing goalie

Those boys are about as sad as can be today. We just learned that the stray cat we took in last year has stomach cancer. Luna was the sweetest cat. She got along great with my three loud and rowdy boys because she was totally deaf. We will be having another one of those tear-filled back-yard burials again tomorrow. Sigh.

Pictures of Wilco in Raleigh

My bro located these pictures of Saturday's Wilco show in Raleigh. It was an amazing show, BTW.

Blogging with Ant

Simon Brown describes how to upload build artefacts to your blog with Ant using the Pebble Ant Tasks. Very cool.

Netbeans beta 2 is out

Time to take another look at Netbeans (downloads and key features).

SonicBreakdown adds RSS feeds

SonicBreakdown is turning into a very cool blog app. As I mentioned before, the SonicBreakdown client scans your music collection, uploads the info to the SonicBreakdown server, and then provides you with customized news, local concert dates, and release information for your favorite artists - from 80 news sources. Now it does all that, plus it serves up customized RSS newsfeeds based on your music collection.

Bookmarks to...

Cory Omand: "For quite some time, I've wanted to publish my large list of bookmarks on the web. The primary reason is to give me a map of information to use when I am not near a browser with my bookmarks. Another reason is to let others benefit from the time I've spent gathering and organizing these links. I could just upload my Netscape bookmarks.html file, as it is just HTML, but there are issues."
Cory shows how to use HTMLTidy, Perl, and XPath to parse his bookmarks.html file, filter out entries from internal corporate domains, and generate stuff. Well, he doesn't actually show how to generate anything yet, but he is ready to generate just about anything. For example, he could generate OPML and then import bookmarks into Roller 0.9.9 (coming soon) for display as I do here. Or, he could write the additional code necessary to check each bookmarked link for an RSS feed, using RSS autodiscovery, and then write the links to those RSS feeds to OPML format for import into his favorite newsfeed reader.

Microsoft to release open source Wiki

Microsoft flexes more open-source muscle | CNET "FlexWiki is the third piece of Microsoft code that the company has released this year under an open-source license, all under the Common Public License (CPL). In April, Microsoft posted its Windows Installer XML (WiX) to, following up a month later with the posting of the Windows Template Library (WTL) project."

Fleury on open source "girly men"

JBoss honcho Mark Fleury: First of all, I am pissed off that there is a blog war with SUN in which I have no part to play. It annoys me given my long nasty history there. [...] RH is a PACKAGER, not a technology house. How do they DARE call SUN on technology innovation [...] So to me both SUN and RH are open source "wannabees", or as one of my developers put "open source girly men."
Fleury admits that feels left out of the so called "blog war" between Sun and Redhat, uses the occasion to vent all of his Red Hat grievances, and finally remembers to spew some bile in Sun's direction. Ain't blogs grand?

Java.Net moves to Movable Type

Java.Net powered by Perl? Gotta figure out how to do something about that.

Blog vs. blog via The Register

Red Hat opens losing propaganda offensive against Sun | The Register: "Tiemann will lose this battle of blogging wits in a big way. It's probably best, Michael, if you toddle back to the labs and find new and improved ways to put proprietary wrappers around Torvalds' code."


HowTo RSS Feed State

Randy Charles Morin explains "how to properly publish and pull RSS content from the Web" using skipHours, skipDays, TTL, ETags, GZip, and HTTP cache control headers. (Via breyten's links).

Rome v0.4 is available

The Rome project has released another alpha version of the Rome newsfeed library. Rome 0.4 adds adds an HTTP client for fetching feeds and handles XML charset encoding defined by XML 1.0 spec and RFC 3023. The next release will be a beta.

Thanks Sam!

While I was enjoying a soccer double header with Alex and Linus playing back to back games, relaxing at Cupajoes, and rocking at a sold out Wilco show, Sam Ruby was doing my work for me. He dove right into the Roller source code and implemented the hard parts of the RFC 3229 "feed" instance manipulation method. Check it out: FeedDiff for Roller.

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