No News is Good News

In case you are wondering, I am still here and recovering from a recent debugging binge.  What was the toughest bug you had to fix?  For me, it usually involves odd multi-threading behaviors of the containers.  Of course, one time there was this fantastic piece of self-modifying code that was a real 'joy' to debug.  To put it simply, graphics data got converted into self-modifying code so it can be rendered fast without having to access slow page-flipping memory.  Fun to code but not fun to debug.

Feeling Sorry for a Rat

Two weeks ago, I was watering the garden when my wife screamed that there was a dead rat by the water faucet next to our garage.  Feeling happy to have the opportunity to be manly, I calmly told my wife to get me a bag and a pair of used chopsticks.  With disposal equipment in hand, I walked over to the rat and discovered that it was not dead at all.

The rat was actually the size of a mouse and its has rolled itself into a ball with its head between its crotch.  When I poked it, it started crawling slowly and erratically toward our garage.  It was obviously sick, probably from eating something bad.  The rat's heroic (?) attempt to reach the safety looked just like those melodramatic movie scenes and I started feeling sorry for the rat.

Only when my wife screamed at me to save our garage from the obviously dying rat, I started guiding the crawling rat away from our garage and toward the road.  After nearly 30 minutes of gentle nudging and foot stomping, the rat finally made it safely (?) cross the road.  Later that night, I got worried about the rat so I went to check and found it gone, a happy ending of sort.

Burningbird's post about grey squirrels reminded me of the rat tonight.  I guess I am soft at heart.  It's a good thing I have a hard shell.

Adobe Software Developer Mailing List?

I looked around for a mailing list for Adobe software developers but couldn't find any.  There is com.text.pdf newsgroup for PDF users/developers, but I think there is a need for Adobe developer-only mailing list.  Yes, I do have access to ASN, but there ain't much peer-to-peer activities going on there and ASN knowledge bases leaves a lot to be desired.  If you know of one, please let me know.

Update – Via Google, I found product specific newsgroups for developers at  Nevermind.

JDK Installer Trash

I was running out of space on my laptop's system drive so I started deleting trash left over by programs long gone.  When I looked inside my user account folder within the idiotically named "Documents and Settings" folder, I was surprised to find several complete copies of JDK and JRE installer files (MSI).  I am not sure why they were there but wiping them out saved me quite a lot of space.  If you installed JDK or JRE on your system, take a look inside:

> %SystemDrive%
  Documents and Settings
Local Settings
Application Data

Folders containing the copies have OLE GUID names like {ABCD-1234-ABCD-1234}.

Smoker’s Day in LA

Notice the odd wind direction?  It's the Santa Ana wind, high deserts' middlefinger to Pacific Ocean.  A simply amazing sight.  I am so glad I don't live in LA.  There must be armies of firefighters down there.  I hope all of them live through this hell.  Did I mention that my older brother is a Fire Chief?

From NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

If the landscape is unfamiliar to you, Mexican border is about at the middle of the picture and Santa Barbara is about one-third down from the top.  You can also see the Monterey Bay near the top.

Roller Weblogger

I played with Roller Weblogger yesterday.  Urgh.  It seems to be using jars from every open source Java projects out there.  WEB-INF/lib contains 50 jars, many of them betas or release candidate versions.  What is the chance of all 50 of them being free of memory leaks?  It also creates a pool of background threads and is memory hungry.  Adding Roller webapp to Tomcat increases memory consumption by 30 meg even before the first request is made.

This is ridiculous considering that JSPWiki adds only 1 meg to total Tomcat footprint which takes up 22 meg with default set of webapps.  SnipSnap which comes with Jetty web server embedded uses only 14 meg total.  Roller Weblogger will become a hallmark example of how not to write a Java web application unless the Roller team isolate non-essential features and options into add-on packages and refactor the remainder.

Longhorn Screenshots

Here are links to some of the latest Longhorn screenshots.  So far, I am not impressed.  Filterable Explorer views, categories to complement folders (I think that is what I saw in the screenshots), desktops as windows, and merged window title and menubar are not exactly worth the upgrade.  Scoble, give us a screenshot that will pop my eyeballs, something that justifies all the hype.  Spill the beans or else!;-p

Busy Saturday

Yesterday, I went to bed at 6AM and woke up at 9:30AM to hike with my family at Huddart Park alongside my son's boy scout group.  It was supposed to be an hour hike but we ended up hiking for 3 hours.  Everyone got dog tired from crawling all over the mountain and then getting lost.  I wasn't physically prepared to climb mountains with my flatfoot so when we got back, I ended up with a really nasty muscle cramp that just wouldn't go away until my wife gave me a massage.  My kind of enjoyable hikes are strolling in Zen gardens, not climbing mountains and being smothered in million acres of trees in zombie mode.

After taking a short nap to recover, our dinner guests arrived and it was party time til 10PM.  Waking up to an avalanche of muscle aches and a bad hangover this morning brought back memories of Lake Tahoe ski trips from my younger days.  Ouch.