Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft Creates the Coolest Thing Ever

From, Microsoft has introduced their "Surface Computing" system. This has got to be one of the coolest things on the planet...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Big Day for Soccer Fans

Today is the UEFA Champion's League Final. AC Milan will play Liverpool in what's sure to be...
...oh who cares.

I'm an ignorant American and I don't give a damn about Soccer. I've been listening to sports radio and poking around on the internet a bit. I can appreciate the magnitude of it to the individual fan, this is their SuperBowl, their World Series. Here's the thing though, the rest of the world doesn't give a damn about those two events either. A large portion of our planet will be watching this event, think about that.

It's amazing that Soccer is such a worldwide phenomenon and still, as of yet, hasn't taken hold here in the states. I don't know anything about Soccer, and I'll never play it (too much damn running around on a field the size of Luxembourg).

My (almost) 5 year old daughter is going to be doing a little Soccer with the Park District this year. Maybe she'll get hooked? Maybe I'll get hooked? Somehow I doubt it...

What do you wanna bet that this will be my only post with the tag "Soccer"?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

One App, Multiple Architectures

I've got my eye on a few different technologies these days. I figure it might be fun to write one application in each of them and see how it goes. I intend to write a basic wine cellar application (gotta scratch my itch) using a few different technology stacks.

First, I'll go with my usual set. Java with Spring 2.0, Spring MVC, Spring Webflow, and Hibernate. I may not finish this as it will probably bore me, but we'll see. Maybe I'll do this as a 100% Webflow app; who knows.

Second, I'll play with something I've been dying to try for a bit now. This round will be Java with Wicket, Spring 2.0 and Hibernate. Spring and Hibernate are like peanut butter and jelly to me, they are just meant for eachother. Writing a java app without them these days is just masochism. I'm dying to try out Wicket for the MVC layer, I love the vision they've come up with.

The third iteration will be Ruby on Rails of course. This will probably take me like 2 hours to do what the previous two iterations will take me 2 days to do. Really, it will take me longer as I'm not as fluent in Ruby as I am in Java. I love the database conventions set forth in RoR and will be following those throughout this little exercise.

I may or may not make a pass at Seam. I'm on the fence as to whether or not I like it. I can't pass judgment yet as I haven't spent enough time looking into it.

I figure this will be an interesting thing to do. It gives me something to do with these technologies. I've always said that programming is like painting. You can't just paint something, you need inspiration. Same with programming, you can't just "write an app". You have to have a purpose. Hell, I may never get past the first app with all the stuff I got going on right now anyway (still gotta work on that OpenId support for Acegi).

We'll see how it goes, and I'll post little tidbits of what I find along the way. Maybe I'll throw all the code up at googlecode when I'm done, who knows.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

F*cking Logan...

Boon Logan gave up a Pinch Hit Grand Slam to Derek Lee off the bench to put today's Sox Cubs matchup out of reach.
And now back to drowning my sorrows...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sox @ Cubs

It's interleague play time this weekend for Major League Baseball. I am a White Sox fan as everyone born on the Southside of Chicago should be. Really, as everyone in Chicago should be. The Sox-Cubs series is always a good time around Chicago. I love watching all the cubs fans wear their cute little red, white and blue jerseys, and then look away in shame when a Sox fan comes along.

I am not a huge fan of the interleague games outside of the rivalries; Sox-Cubs, Mets-Yankess, Giants-A's. Other than that I really don't care to see the Sox play the Pirates. Anyway, this isn't the "real" interleague play period yet, that's in June when it goes on for two whole weeks. The Sox-Cubs series is always fun though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update: Acegi and OpenID

I was going full-tilt into refactoring the OpenID support in Acegi. Unfortunately I got held up with home and work (gotta have your priorities in order). There are few central points that I'm focusing on right now...
  1. Replace the JanRain support with OpenId4Java.
  2. Replace the Servlet that is in there with an AuthenticationProcessingFilter based approach.
  3. Try and get some form of integration into the contacts sample.
The JanRain library is all but deceased, and it doesn't seem to support redirects anway. The OpenId4Java library seems to be the most active, and properly supports redirects and discovery. The Servlet that is in there now is well intended but doesn't mesh with the overall architecture in Acegi.

I'm going to try and get this stuff ramped up pretty quickly. Since Ben Alex is starting rumors he's going to be talking about it at Spring One.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Nope, that's not a typo in the title...

Buildr is a new java application build tool. The fun part is that it's written in Ruby and based on Rake. Rake is an extremely powerful build tool for Ruby applications. There have been a few attempts at adapting it to building Java applications. Most of those attempts were based on the idea of pretending that Java app is really a Ruby app. That principal packs the tool full of workarounds and hacks. Buildr isn't like that at all.

Buildr ties together a few components to build java applications; knowing full well they are java applications. It embraces all of the good ideas behind Maven, without the main bad part: Maven itself. Maven can be very powerful, but that is overridden by Maven being amazingly difficult and unpredictable. The good parts of Maven are the conventions and guidelines around the project directory structures and dependency management via repositories.

I originally discovered buildr through a post at Tim Bray's Ongoing blog. In that post he links to an article by Assaf Arkin. Assaf is one of the folks behind Buildr. Assaf describes his pain with Maven and how they solved it with buildr.

Buildr is still very limited in scope (that's a good thing right now). It doesn't appear to have means of running cobertura for unit test coverage yet. Buildr also lacks an idea task for building Intellij IDEA module files, though it does have an eclipse task. You can see were Assaf's loyalties lie on that one! I'm toying around with writing the idea task myself, but I've got a lot of learning to do in the Rake department. Buildr also doesn't do any of the site generation stuff that Maven can do. This can easily be fixed with a few rhtml templates and ERB.

I toyed with Buildr this weekend for a little bit and was able to get the code for Fizzle (more on that later) to build and publish very easily. You can build multi-component projects with only a single RakeFile at the head of the project. Maven requires a pom.xml in every module. Each repeating various inter-module dependency names and versions all over (bleh). Multi-component stuff is much imporved in Maven2 vs. Maven1, but still hard to approach.

Right off the bat I fell in love with Buildr over Maven for one very simple trick.
The following tests failed:

Come on Maven, how hard is that? I really don't want to scroll back through 1000+ lines of unit (in Acegi's case) test output to see which one says FAILED. That's ridiculous. I was so inspired by this I stopped everything I was doing to mention it to the buildr folks.

As I said above, Buildr is very light right now. I think overall it has a chance to really be great if it gets enough love. I wonder if we can move Acegi to it, that might be fun :P

Check out Buildr, and discuss it on their google-group.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

President Feed: Widgets and Politics

I've added the fancy-schmancy flash widget from to the right hand side of the blog. If you haven't checked out, you should! Sign up and vote!

It's fun to watch the approval ratings shift after casting your approvals and disapprovals. For example, after watching the Republican Presidential Debate on NBC. They asked McCain if he believed in evolution, he said yes. Then they asked for a show of hands of those that do NOT believe in evolution. Brownback, Huckabee, Tancredo all raised their hands. Well, that gets a 'disapprove' vote from me any day. Come on guys, wake up. Also, really, do we want "President Huckabee" hanging over us for 4yrs? That sounds ridiculous.

After watching the Democratic debate I cast some votes too. I dissed Kucinich, because he seemed to squirmy for my tastes. And I dissed Gravel because he came off as "the crazy old man in the corner".

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Twitters from Java One

Tim O'Brien is out at javaone and twittering out some updates. From what I hear, JavaFX ain't too shabby. Check out Tim's Twitter page and 'follow' him for updates.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Playing with Twitter

Following Gary Vaynerchuk's lead, I joined Twitter. If you'd like to join with me I registered as NewbNamedRay. NewbNamedRay is my wine-related alter ego :P

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tim O'Brien interiviews Tim Bray

Interview with Tim Bray: Atom, JRuby, and the Ecumenical Sun

Tim O'Brien, O'Reilly author and overall smart guy, got a chance to sit down with Tim Bray for a chat. Most folks who know of Tim Bray know him as the "father of xml". Bray is also a big proponent of Ruby, Atom (which you'll see all over any blogspot blog, look below), and many other current technologies. Bray has a blog at where he'll post on a very wide variety of subjects. Unfortunately he'll also post nothing but pictures of flowers for a week if he feels like it too. It was Bray's blog that got me looking closer at OpenID actually.

Way too smart

My friend Andy Cirillo just informed me he setup his "Homepage". Homepage. I love it. Andy is a brilliant dude that I learned a ton from while I was working with him back in the good old days at Spririan.

I started looking over his blog posts this morning. Unfortunately I think they're all in Italian or something because they make no sense to me. :)
Welcome to the internet Andy!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Landlord

I should have posted this a while ago...

The Landlord