Sun J2EE 1.4 SDK on Mac OS X; spoke too soon

Looks like I spoke too soon on that last post. The contents of install.log in my installation for the Sun J2EE SDK include:

INFO – Start core server configuration.
ERROR – default domain creation returned following exception: abnormal subproces
s termination: Detailed Message:/usr/local/SUNWappserver/bin/asadmin: line 11: /
usr/local/SUNWappserver/jdk/bin/java: cannot execute binary file

INFO – End core server configuration.

Shucks. I have to be out of town this weekend and will not have Internet access, so this won’t get touched. If anyone has any ideas, post a comment and I will email you back.

Sun J2EE 1.4 SDK on Mac OS X; sweet

I was going over my mailing list boxes and stumbled across an entry by Christopher Elkins on the Apple Java Mailing List that points to a tip for installing the Sun J2EE 1.4 SDK on Mac OS X. The tip is from the Enterprise Java Technologies Tips for December 22, 2003 published by Sun. While Mac OS X is not officially supported, the install seems to go quite well. It was especially funny to me, because I have had a horrible time getting the J2EE 1.4 SDK installed on my Windows 2000 workstation at the office.

Christopher, thanks for the heads up!

FreeBSD 5.2.1 RC2 – very nice

I am redoing one of my tower PCs with FreeBSD 5.2.1 Release Candidate 2. That is such an impressive operating system. The debug window in the second virtual console during installation is so convenient. It’s probably been around for awhile, but this install was the first one I have done where I was prompted to look there for more information about an installation issue with one package. The debug info is so thorough.

Open Source installations are much less hectic now that I journal the installation. I use either a notepad or a second computer to record my steps, and it is quite helpful, particularly when things hit a snag or you have to remember a setting chosen earlier.

My wife and I went to her high school 10-year reunion last night, and I ended up meeting a classmate of hers that is a FreeBSD committer (developer, more or less). That was an interesting twist to the experience. I rarely meet anyone who knows what FreeBSD is, much less develops for the project.

William Gibson Interview From Philadelphia

William Gibson popped up on Slashdot today. There’s an interview from when he was in Philadelphia on the current book tour I had written about recently. The article, titled “Squinting at the present”, was written for the Philadelphia Inquirer. If you missed the Atlanta visit by Gibson, that’s a good piece to read.

A friend also recommended that I read “Disneyland with the Death Penalty”, an article Gibson did for Wired Magazine some time ago. I haven’t checked it out yet, but getting Gibson’s take on something is always a treat. Wired apparently sent him to Singapore “to see whether that clean dystopia represents our techno future”.

Debian Installer – plodding along

Well, I jumped back on the bandwagon to get the Debian Linux distribution running on my PowerBook G4. I have nothing to show but a little more experience with the Debian Bug Tracking System and some new coasters (junk CDs of install images that I burned). I am participating in the testing of the new Debian Installer. They are making some real headway, and overall Debian is great. It’s just that my timing for attempting to install seems to always coincide with serious issues within the distribution system for Debian.

Web Services Count On Moore’s Law Matching Hardware Buying Cycles

Tonight’s AJUG meeting covered web services within the broader context of service-oriented architecture (SOA). While SOA can certainly have something other than web services involved, the focus of the discussion was web services, since that’s been a hot topic for a while. The more I hear about web services, the more reservation I have about a wholesale embrace of them. They are certainly not the panacea for technological integration ills (and consultant salary ills) that so much marketing hypes them to be.

So, what’s my big hangup with web services? XML versus a binary protocol, that’s what. In every presentation on web services that I have attended in the last two years, I have heard reference to Moore’s Law. The presenter makes reference to Moore’s Law because invariably someone like myself asks the question, “so what kind of impact does the use of human-readable XML instead of a binary protocol have?” The presenter usually states that the overhead can be 2 to 3 times that of a comparable transaction using a binary protocol. But, according to the presenter, that’s irrelevant, because with Moore’s law the power of machines will double shortly and the overhead will be imperceivable.

Whew, that’s a relief. Well, not really.
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Kathy Sierra read my weblog!

You bloggers and web devs out there…you’ll get a kick out of this one. You know how you just pop over to your site or weblog on a whim to see how it looks, and you feel like it roughly communicates that you are either really slack or that you probably wear white socks with your sandals? (I used to do the white socks with sandals thing regularly, but my wife put a stop to that. I never knew how many people were bugged by that.)

Well, today was one of my days for taking a look at my sites and saying to myself, “Dude, these look like crap.” I messed around with trying to get Meerkat working using the XML-RPC interface (the easy Javascript way seems to have universally crapped out some months ago), but I didn’t have enough time before starting work, the work that actually pays my bills. So, I blew it off, worried in the back of my mind that someone important would see it before I could fix things up. The worry diminished as soon as the daily grind kicked in…

Until I checked my email this afternoon. Kathy Sierra had sent me an email. She had read my reply in the long thread that followed her blog post titled “What’s so bad about making it easier to learn Java?“. Shen then apparently followed the link in the post to my weblog and my site, and took the time to fill out a very nice message on the garish “Contact Us” link on my All Things Computed site.

Procrastination can really bite you in the fanny. Embarrassment over the site’s condition and the lack of recent blog posts aside, it was a pretty killer day for me, getting a message from Kathy. I am still thoroughly enjoying the Head First Java book, and I should post an update on my experience with it soon.

William Gibson comes to an Atlanta booksigning

This Friday evening was a special event for my wife Laura and I. We are both William Gibson fans, and he came to Atlanta as part of his tour for the release of Pattern Recognition in paperback. We arrived a bit late, expecting to just take our place in line. However, much to our surprise, we walk in to William Gibson standing at a lecturn doing an informal Q&A session with the 100-150 people who showed up. How cool is that? It was neat to hear his answers to the questions. He was very approachable and gracious; several of the questions were fashioned to exhibit the questioner’s intelligence or knowledge of Gibson, and I was surprised at how politely he answered them without being annoyed.

We were among the last people in line, and as we were leaving, my wife and I were telling our friend Tom that we were up for getting something to eat. Laura then told us that she figured William Gibson might be hungry, too. Tom and myself hung back sheepishly while my wife went up and invitied William to dinner. Unfortunately, he had a really tight schedule and had to fly out that night. It was pretty neat though; I am glad my wife has the spunk to do that sort of thing. I would just think of it and then regret not asking for a couple of weeks if not longer.

Repairing a damaged Quicken data file

Well, I finally figured out a hack to repair my hosed Quicken data file. I use Quicken 2003 for Mac. Because the cute little “package” files are in fact folders with the special resource fork dressing slathered on, you can manipulate their inner contents from the command line via Terminal. So, what I basically did was this:

Note: For this example, the damaged Quicken data file (which will be looking and acting like your plain vanilla folder) will be called “bad_data”; the new file created in the example will be “newdata”. Be sure to substitute your actual filenames if you use this hack. And for heaven’s sake, BACK UP YOUR FILES BEFORE YOU TRY THIS!!!

1. Create a new Quicken data file from within Quicken; to make the next steps easier, don’t use spaces. In this example I will use “newdata” for the filename.
2. Exit the application.
3. Perform the following commands at the command prompt (in Terminal):

pbg415:~/quicken_purgatory barryh$ mv -R bad_data/Contents newdata
pbg415:~/quicken_purgatory barryh$ mv -R “bad_data/Data File Alias” newdata

Essentially what has happened is that you have moved your precious albeit defunct data into a folder that Quicken sees as a valid package file for it to process the inner contents. This cleared my issue right up; I hope it helps someone else.

Oh yeah, and this suggestion comes without warranty, either explicit or implied, and all that legal mess.