Recent blog entries for CryoBob

Well almost another month since I last posted. The thing is, it's not really because I have been all that busy, but rather, I have just not been up to anything worth mentioning.

Did get some kick butt new RollerBlades, I finally learnt how to skate backwards at a reasonable(or unreasonable in some cases) speed. Managed to get a huge blister on my foot because of it though.

On the tech front, I have been playing with Apache SOAP, and am successfully using it to develop an n-tier application. It's closed source, so I won't say to much, but if the initial reaction to the product is good, I may open source the base, and see how it goes from there.

As much as I love using open source software, and I agree with the concepts, I still feel wierd just giving away something that I have worked long and hard to create. I guess I am just a pure bred capatilist at heart. Yet saying that, if the product is good enough to be marketed, how much better would it be if it had a bunch of kick butt open source developers working on it. Guess I will just have to way up the pros and cons of it all, and just go with what looks right.

Any thoughts. Does anyone actually read this?

Not too much to report since I last posted. Just working, eating, sleeping etc. On the plus side, the Jtrix project is still barely alive, our chief documenter and project manager NikSilver had an article on Jtrix published on JavaWorld. Pity there aren't any live nodes out there for people to play with.

Guess I might have to rectify that problem since I still think it is *expletive deleted* cool technology. A couple of the Jtrix crew are still keeping in touch through a mailing list setup by our ex-sysadmin (MartBrooks), so maybe we can keep the ball rolling and turn Jtrix into a viable Open Source project.

On work front I have been shifted over to a new project, doing some Japanese localization testing, pretty straight forward stuff.

Another week slides by. To be honest I don't know where this week went. Managed to get quite a bit of work done, from writing test cases to doing some benchmarking of an alpha client.

Finally got paid for some web design work that I did ages ago, I was also paid my first weeks contracting wages. It's sweet...

Other than that pretty boring week, even on the home front.


Had a crazy weekend. Seeing as we are having nice weather for once here in England, my friends and I spent most of the weekend out the the greens(read parks) throwing an aerobi(read modified frisbee that can travel over 1400 meters) around. It was good fun, spent a fair amount of time in the many pubs in and around Cambridge as well.


Got a preview build of the client today, so we can start writing some test cases. I am getting the boring ones out of the way first(read UI) and then I can move on to the more detailed ones like making sure it can connect through a SOCKS 5 proxy.

Always fun...

Yes I know that I have not written anything in about 2 months. But I have been busy looking for a job. Now that I have one I can concentrate on a few other things.

As you may have heard if you read any of the ex Jtrix peeps diaries, Jtrix is no more. I am now out in the world of contracting. It's quite funny really I have landed a contract with one of my old companies.

I get to play with Mac OS X. So one more feather in my hat. After a bit of a rocky start I am finally getting used to the UI of the Mac, and I have to admit that it is fairly easy to use and help is readily available.

Unfortunately due to the nature of the work I won't really be able to play with some of the cooler applications since I cannot install the developer tools.

Installed Mozilla quickly since the version of IE that ships by default is quite dire, and extremely slow. Mozilla is faster by quite a bit which is interesting.

Well that's what I have been up to recently. This should be updated almost daily now.


Finally, Webtrix works. It works, now I can actually get on and do some real work. Ok so I am getting excited about basically seeing tomcat running for the 1st time. But after fighting with the darn thing for 4 days I am finally getting results.

Now comes the softly, softly catchy monkey testing of what works and what doesn't work when it comes to the various parts of the site. Currently JDBC does not work, but I can at least get to a stage where the driver loads. Error pages works since I am testing these in the JDBC code. Now just to get all the configuration variables into some sort of format that can be used from within Tomcat.

On the home front I converted my home box to the ext3 yesterday. It seems pretty stable so far, but I guess time will be the real test. Still need to get a few niggly bugs sorted out so that I can run gnumeric, but Siag Office will do for the time being. Now just need to get my Palm m505 to sync using Gnome pilot and I'm gonna have absolutely no reason to use windows at all.


Well we are getting somewhere with the webtrix stuff. It seems that if you turn on debugging in the embedded version of tomcat that we are using then exceptions are thrown. If you leave it off, then all is well.

Frustrating to say the least. So now that I can run webtrix I am slowly but surely migrating the site on to it. I am currently in the process of getting it to run jsp pages. This is something of an issue with the class loader. It seems you can set the class loader for tomcat, but you cannot set it for Jasper(the JSP compiler) Hence it seems to be struggling to find certain required base classes.

I can't seem to find a way to circumvent this, which is good since it means that Jtrix platform makes it difficult to run untrusted code.

Still I have always said I enjoyed a challenge.

Had a fairly frustrating few days from the middle of last week. We have started the process of moving our current web site on to the Jtrix platform.

We have written a distributed web server based on Tomcat, called webtrix. This should be able to run the site, the only problem is that I can't seem to get this thing up and running. It throws NullPointer exceptions and won't respond to HTTP requests. The problem is that the exception is being thrown in the Tomcat code, and I don't have the source to this so can only speculate where it is being thrown.

Sure I can download it, but I am not sure that it will be the same code that we used in Webtrix. I just wish I had the time to read through and fully comprehend the Webtrix code so I can get the fully picture as to what is going on.

On the home front, I had lazy weekend, managed to get out on Saturday night for a really good session at the local club. So am quite relaxed for a Monday.

29 Jan 2002 (updated 29 Jan 2002 at 17:15 UTC) »

I've been working on the Jtrix DNS code, and once I finally got my head round it, I managed to change it so that it makes use of the MIB(Management Information Block) to store its data. Basically the DNS system can be distrubuted across multiple machines & networks and the MIB is a data area that gets replicated across all the nodes. This means that if the main manager object dies, the data won't die with it.

It was pretty cool seeing this work. You start up one node, it becomes the leader manager, then when you start up another node, all the applications migrate across to it. Kill the main node, and the other one picks up where it left off.

Extremely clever, and again I am amazed at how easily this has been accomplished with the Beatrix API. Once you get your head round its plugin architecture you're sorted. The plugin architecture works really well since you can add new functionality at will and then just add one or 2 lines of glue code and your functionality is integrated and it percolates throughout the system.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could choose all your software, and just have the updates migrate across to your system without you doing anything, and all in a completely secure manner

Finished running through the Beatrix application framework document and read all the core parts again just to make sure that I understand the whole thing. All I can say is, I am quite amazed at what can be accomplished with just a few classes. For example I write 7 classes and I end up with a service that can be accessed via the command line, and is redundant across multiple machines(these could be located anywhere in the world), have access to a distributed file system and network resources. Not too shabby.

Finally managed to run the Webtrix(Distributed Tomcat) demo today. After having to force my JVM to give me enough heap space. This seems to be the only issue that I have with Jtrix - it needs hardware, it's not so much resource usage and a resource addiction, however giving the JVM a 128Mb of heap space seemed to satisfy it and allow me to run the demo.

Another plus to the documentation is that I understood everything and can grasp what is going on in the back-ground.

Right best sign off and catch my train...

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