Java Events and Listeners in Head First Java

I have not managed to journal my experience with the Head First Java book by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, but it has been great. One concept that I have had trouble with prior to Head First Java is the relationship between events and listeners with graphical user interface controls. Coming from a Visual Basic background, the programming of an interface was largely simplified, and subsequently limited.

While teaching the use of the ActionListener interface, the book fleshes out the concept of interfaces in general via the hands-on experience gained while working through the GUI-related chapters. In short, if you haven’t learned Java yet, get the book!

Almost every spare moment I have had lately has been devoted to trying to get through the Head First book since I have so much work coming up with the J2EE study group. This weblog will probably be pretty sparse for a while.

Kathy Sierra on blind dates and developing

Kathy Sierra has another great entry in her weblog today. It’s titled How are you on a blind date?, and if you do develop software, this entry is a good reminder of a foundational principle – you are making something to be used by OTHERS.

Take a look at it; I found it a refreshing reminder that there is art and beauty in what I do. For me, that matters – and I think it should for everyone.

Debian Installer particicpation – I’m out

Not too long ago I posted about becoming more involved with Debian Installer than just being a tester. Since then, time constraints have forced me to choose some activities to drop. Given that the last 8 ISOs I burned for testing the new installer did not work, and that the activity has very little bearing on my actual work, the Debian stuff had to go. It’s not that I don’t like Debian or that I don’t think that it is a great Linux distro; I am just out of time. I closed my open bug reports so as not to leave stuff lying around on the Debian bug tracking system.

Most of my time these days is going toward advancing my Java skillset. I am going to be in a J2EE SCEA study group starting March 15, 2004, which is eating almost all of my bandwidth outside of work. I am looking forward to it, though.

RCS – version control for sysadmins

So I am working through the Absolute BSD book, getting my new FreeBSD install up and running. Early in the book, Lucas talks about using RCS to control your commonly-revised admin files. I had no idea that RCS was already on the system. I had even less of an idea as to how simple it was to use. If you are just getting into *nix, take the time to learn RCS. You can have an annotated and commented revision history for your key files, such as /etc/profile, /etc/rc.conf, etc. (Was that redundant?)

I will try to add in an example, but I am really pressed for time these days. If you want to know more, check out the book! It is a great complement to the other available documentation.

Now, if any developers are reading this and wailing at the mention of RCS, bear in mind that I am talking about using RCS for system administration tasks. Yes, there are better options for revision control, but for the average administrator, RCS is ubiquitous enough and presents a minimal learning curve. It seems to me to be a great fit for adding some process to the average *nix administrative workload.

For development, I don’t have too many problems with CVS. However, I am checking out Subversion based on some recommendations I have read. The only thing that bugs me is the use of non-text data stores, but for all the things it offers, I can’t get too hung up on that quirk.

Absolute BSD; a great book for new Unix admins

I took some time to look through Absolute BSD by Michael Lucas, available from No-Starch Press this morning at Barnes & Noble, and had to bring it home. For those of you either new to running FreeBSD or still not that comfortable with administering your FreeBSD servers, this book is for you.

In a moment of tragic fortune, my current FreeBSD installation got trashed this afternoon. So, I had to reinstall this evening. I am so glad that I had this book on hand. The section on drive partitioning is typical of the things I am loving about this book; it starts on page 10 of my copy. So many people dance around the topic of partitioning without committing to one approach or the other. Michael gives an excellent explanation of how to partition your disk subsystem and why he recommends certain choices, openly acknowledging that he knows that this will irritate the other half of the community who prefer another approach.

I have been looking for a resource to help me get my file, print, and DNS services in order, and this book looks like it will be a wonderful companion for those tasks.

Rolling up the sleeves with the Debian Installer project…

So I received a response on my queries concerning the Debian Installer PowerPC bug reports. You can read the whole thing here, but the key part of my reply from Sven Luther that grabbed me was this:

“Because the ones who care about powerpc are busy right now ? I think it
is exam time for some of them, or they are busy with other stuff. I
myself don’t have a pmac, so there is not much i can do, and i think
gaudenz has gone to work on discovery mostly. Don’t know about the

Maybe this is the right time for you (or others) to step in and have a
go at fixing this problem, if we want to have good powerpc support by
march 15.

Anyway, i have no idea about the keyboard problem you reported, but
this kernel issue, it should not be problematic. Does choosing unstable
instead of testing make a change here ?”

Well, I thought about that, and replied to Sven:
Continue reading Rolling up the sleeves with the Debian Installer project…

Debian Installer March 15 release pending with PowerPC glitches in place

Wow. I got back from out of town hoping to see that my latest Debian Installer bug reports (234681 and 235044) had been addressed, but no such luck. It’s kind of uncharacteristic. The new installer is a hot project, and those guys are usually on top of things. I am not sure what’s up, the push for the March 15th release seems so important…