Saturday, May 31, 2008

Epictetus - A Java Database Explorer....

I haven't played with it yet but Epictetus looks like a competent Java based database explorer. It is built on the Netbeans platform, but you don't need Netbeans to run it. Note though it is still early days for this application.

Why the mention? Well, I went and looked at the fuzzy little video there. No strange voice talking over it. Just MC Hammer's Can't Touch This... I was off looking for my big trousers in seconds.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm now aggregated at Friendfeed as codepope.... which includes me on twitter as codepope, on Jaiku as codepope... etc, etc. Find it here, for a complete single feed of all my nonsense.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Smooth Criminal with Fred Astaire

This is a sweet little video mash. I especially like how it credits the movies, directors and choreographers at the end.

(via Boing Boing)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ok, so some people are thinking about GUIs...

Here's a neat tweak on the scrollbar concept, Popup Scrollbar Concept, though it strikes me as kinda familiar and I can't exactly put my finger on it. I do note that it does lack absolute repositioning though. But then this is the kind of research that we need to do, especially as in the future we won't know if it's a mouse or a finger manipulating the UI.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Been giving Twhirl a twirl....

As Twhirl now supports FriendFeed and Twitter, I thought I'd give it a go. And it got me thinking.

The thing that strikes me is how, back when Java was trying to do cross platform look and feels that matched the target platform, people complained it wasn't exactly like the target platform and QED Java sucked. And now we have Air and Silverlight, where the delivered apps look nothing like the target platform, but go for this generic look and feel and... Well, if people were consistent, QED AIR and Silverlight suck.

But they don't. You know what? Cross platform look and feel consistency is now a big red herring. Web applications showed that you could do 90% of what you needed with buttons, buttons, buttons* (and some text fields and scrollers, but mostly buttons). Prettier the button, prettier the layout was, the slicker the web application was. Big buttons, rounded buttons, what turned up was a new design paradigm for applications, rectangular, rounded, and if you can make it translucent, +5 points. And into this world come AIR and Silverlight... same idea; it won't match the targetted platform, but who cares, it speaks a nice simple visual language. Click something, something happens.

Did we just rewind twenty to thirty years of GUI development?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A thought... Annotated licenses....

When mixing code libraries together, wouldn't it be neat to be able to enumerate all the licenses that applied to the code base.

How about an @License annotation?

@License(name="MyNeatLibrary",type="BSD",author="Blah Blah Inc")
@License(name="IrregularExpression Library",type="CCattrib",attrib="Fred Flintstone",attribemail="",attriburl="")

At run time, the "About" dialog then scans the code base for the annotations, which would be set to runtime persist, and then display about information based on what is actually used.

It wouldn't attempt to enforce the licenses, but would allow for automatic visibility of licenses.

Of course, this would have to be done in some coordinated way to standardise the types and attributes, but it has some potential... just as long as we don't end up with per-method licenses.

[ This thought caused by following Matt Gemmell on Twitter ]

Monday, May 05, 2008

Finally, an end of Time (and Date)

Top of the list of things that any Java developer can agree, sucks like a sucky thing from suckington, suckania, it's Date and Time. These have never got better, and like a scab have been picked at with no healing up. Well now there's JSR 310... and here's an interview at Java Lobby with the JSR leaders.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This is going to be a long four years.....

Stanley Johnson (Boris's father) on News 24

"I have been amazingly impressed by the determination which he has shown. Number one, he hasn't had a drink for three months. Now if you give up drink for three months, you have to be serious. I mean you have really to be serious about what you are doing."

Oh, that's so reassuring that is. Let's see how Boris wrapped up his acceptance speech.

"Let's get cracking tomorrow, let's have a drink tonight."

Friday, May 02, 2008

On Climate Change and Feedback

From a conversation with DHM...

DHM: I'm still a bit boggled by the discovery that none of the climate models have any feedback effects in them. They know that raising the temperature of the Siberian permafrost a few degrees will release a LOT of methane, for example, and there are many others associated with melting sea ice and the like but none are included, which I think means we're all about to get a salutory lesson on control theory any year now

Me: I have to say, I wasn't overly boggled by that. The reasoning appears to be that there are no ways of knowing all the feedback effects and counting 'known' ones would leave the model open to being redone every time one was determined. So they go for the baseline...

DHM: The problem to me is that once that's been filtered through the PR dept and the press, the worst-case first-order projection is presented as the worst-possible-case projection

Me: I prefer to think of it as a projection half full of doom than half empty.

An experiment....


Take a friend with kids and a number of crappy PCs running Windows XP. Plaugued with virii, despite AV controls.

Ask them to try "Ubuntu" and install one machine for them and give them a quick guided tour.



Phone call the next day. Friend loves it, so does her children. Installed it on all the other machine herself last night. All machines are "Just so much faster and everything is just there".


Ubuntu Linux... it's what a Mac user like me can recommend to someone who has a crufty PC.