Older blog entries for richieb (starting at number 42)

8 Sep 2001 (updated 8 Sep 2001 at 02:11 UTC) »

Well, I just finished my first week at a new job. I'm slowly customizing my work environment. Can you say Cygwin is your friend? Plus the development Sun machine has "bash" and "emacs". I'll have to get the admins to install Xemacs.

Living on a corporate network is a pain though. I can't telnet out, my home page is filtered out (!!!), so I can't read my home email. On the other hand my home web server is visible, so I had this "brilliant" idea - why not write a web application that allows you to read mail from some other POP3 server. Guess what, about two dozen people had the same idea, as a quick search of Freshmeat showed.

So, I got Webmail - a Java/servlet app - to read your email. And it's GPLed too. This weekend I'll set it up on my home web server and I'll be set. Talk about scratching an itch....

BTW, work is OK so far. The people I met so far are really nice, but I still have lots of learning to do...

To pull my mind in a completely different direction I started to read Linux Device Drivers...

Since my last diary entry, I got the Abra example to work with PostgreSql. I just had to install PostgreSql 7.1. The earlier version had bugs in the JDBC driver.

In other news I started a new job today. It's still Java, at a larger company and I'm stepping into the middle of the project. I'll have to adapt to somewhat different environment (like Windows 2000 on my desk) and more corporate rules - as this is a somewhat larger company. However, everything is still in early stages, so I should be able to work Linux into the picture somewhere. After all the production system will run on bunch of Sun machines.

Well, I got our new project posted on Sourceforge. After I posted my support request to the right forum, I got response within 30 minutes. And on Sunday night no less!

The project is called Abra and it's a light weight Java persistance O-R mapping library with some tools. So far it works with Oracle and PostgreSQL - although there is one small wrinkle with PosgreSQL with Timestamps.

26 Aug 2001 (updated 26 Aug 2001 at 01:54 UTC) »

I've been working on our new open source Java/Persistance library. I'm running into some problems getting it to work with PostgreSql. The version on RH 6.2 system has some stupid bugs in the JDBC driver, so that retrieving a Timestamp value causes an exception.

Meanwhile I've started s Sourceforge project, but I've messed up the CVS a little - so I'm waiting for the support people to fix the CVS before I attempt the upload again.

In other news there is some stuff happening on te job front, but it's too early to discuss it here.

I'm starting two week vacation today. Suprisingly I'm still employed and still getting paid, although the future of my company is not yet completely clear. In any case, for the next two weeks I'm not going to worry about it.

I just read Neal Stephenson's In the Beginning Was the Command Line in about a day. I had read parts of this book online, but it's more fun to have the physical book.

Meanwhile the eGTK project is showing signs of life again. A person volunteered to work the GOTE tool to generate Eiffel external declaration based on C header files. What we need is for GOTE to generate classes that work with ISE compiler and with the SmallEiffel compiler.

One of the cool things about the most recent version of the SmallEiffel compiler is that it now has a simple source level debugger.

Other than that we are trying to open source a Java tool we developed at work. This tool is a object to RDB mapping tool with related classes that provide a nice Java persistance layer. So far it works with Oracle and we almost have it working with PostgreSql. Perhaps I'll work on this during this vacation - when I'm not too tied up at the beach ;-)

Again I have not written much here for a while. I guess the most significant thing that happening now is that the company I'm working for is failing (it was a startup). I'm still employed as part of a core tech team, but it's not clear how long this will go on.

It's too bad, as we went live with an actual customer in the beginning of June. I thought we did a pretty good job, from nothing to production in about 9 months - with 5 developers.

Other than that my son started to learn Java. I showed him how to compile and edit under Linux and he wrote several applets. Mostly they were copied from a book, but he fiddled with them.

One of these when started displays a question: "Will I dream?" and has two buttons "yes" and "no".

I'm enjoying having fast access to Internet. I decided to switch my Debian box back to Red Hat. I simply don't have time to figure all the basic stuff out (like how to set sound, networking, X etc) and RH is so easy for me.

I almost bought RH 7.1 from Cheapbytes, but then I realized I could download CD images. I did it over two nights - started a download before I went to sleep and had the complete image downloaded in the morning.

Now on the RH 7.1 box I'm trying to get the CD burning tools to work. When I have some time I'll finish it up. I'd like to be able to burn CDs without having to boot to Windows.

One of my favorite tunes of all time is Charles Mingus's Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - a composition dedicated to Lester Young. You do know who Charles Mingus is, right?!

Anyways, I decided to create a CD of only this one song done by various artists. So far I have seven different versions. There are two by Joni Mitchell, one by Jeff Beck, several different ones by Mingus himself. I mostly use Gnutella to get these (I only have Joni Mitchell on vinyl) and it's faster to download the songs than to rip them.

7 May 2001 (updated 11 May 2001 at 02:13 UTC) »

I didn't post entries for a while. Basically March and April were pretty busy. Between work (I worked 4 Saturdays in March) and all the family events I had barely time to breathe. Fortunately, things are slowing down a little.

I still don't have much time to work on OSS projects, however I have had pretty good luck getting people at work to use some Open Source software. The latest is the Struts Java library from the Jakarta Apache project. Struts is a framework for building servlet/JSP applications.

Other than that I finally got a cable modem, so I can surf at full speed. I set up an experimental web server running on an old Pentium 120. You can try getting it here: http://richieb.dyn.dhs.org:8080/richieb. For now there is not much there, but I'm working on an experimetal Slashdot style application - I'm writing it to learn more about the Struts library...

I also got my father a computer for his birthday and set up an AOL account for him so that he can surf the net and use email. I got him a Windows machine for now...

It's a Sunday night. Yesterday was an intense day. Got up at six in the morning and went to work. At least the commute is much easier on weekends. Left the office at 3 in the afternoon and got home little after four.

I only had time to grab a cup of coffee and had to go out again. With my wife and son we went to a comedy club to see Lewis Black (he is a comedian who often appears on the Daily Show on comedy channel).

The place where the show was, was a bit like a scene from a B-movie. It was a Holiday Inn in Hasbruck Heights, New Jersey and the place where we ate dinner had a green neon sign over the buffet World's Largest Pickle Buffet.

The show was great though. We were sitting right in front of the stage. At the end Lewis Black shook my sons hand and then signed a CD for him.

Today it rained all day and I didn't do much.

On Friday my new laptop had a head crash on the hard drive. I managed to save most of my data (I had recent backups anyways) and I ran a program to find all the bad blocks. This program took several hours to run, but at least now I have a usable laptop. Now I have to call IBM and get new hard drive...

It's only Tuesday and already I'm tired. I'm slacking off at work doing 11 hour days (:-)), which coupled with three hours of commuting eats up a lot of the day. I'm going to have to work several weekends in the next month or so..

It's about ten o'clock at night and I think I'll go to sleep soon. While typing this I'm listening to the new Jeff Beck album (You Had It Coming). It'll be a good CD to drown out the noise at the office while I try to code.

I've been reading a lot of stuff about Napter and the copyrighted music and so on, and I thought that there must be a lot of people out there who'd be happy to have their music heard without worring about copying. So I did a search on "free music" and found plenty of relevant web sites. I thought about starting a Slashdot style website that would index/review the free music available around the web.

I probably haven't mentioned it in my diary here, but I have been playing guitar since I was 12 (and that's a long time ago) and I have put up some Mp3 of my playing in the net. If you like blues you might check these out here. These recordings were made with a portable cassette desk during a jam session, so the quality is not great. :-)

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