The Pragmatic Programmers Interview by chromatic — The Pragmatic Programmers, Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas, recently launched their own line of books on pragmatic software development. Since O’Reilly helps to distribute their books, we convinced them to do an interview about self-publishing, the state of the software industry, and how to become better developers.


It’s been a couple of days now, since I first installed FireFox 0.9 and it’s been an interesting journey. Pete convinced me months ago to switch to FireFox and I have been a devoted Firebird/FireFox user since then. The last version on my machine was 0.8 and I was very happy with the stability of that release.

After my initial experiments with FireFox, I had made it my default browser and I have been very happy with it. The idea of browsing with tabs is just amazing and it’s one of those things where you don’t know how you go along with it. Plus I loved all of the extensions that were available to enhance your browsing and development experience. I spend a lot of time developing web applications and I use The Web Developer extension by Chris Pederick and Live HTTP Headers by Daniel Savard extensively. Another extension that made life incredibly easy was the IE View extension by Paul Roub that adds a ‘View page in Internet Explorer’ links to the content and link context menu. Really handing for consuming those IE only sites.

I have now been using FireFox 0.9 and I have had several stability issues that are making me wonder if I should go back to 0.8. The first issue was really bizarre where I couldn’t even open FireFox under Windows 2000. Browsing the support site led me to a ‘before-you-ask-read-this’ page, which recommended starting FireFox from the command line with a -p switch that would invoke the FireFox profile manager. I deleted my old profile, created a new one and then everything seemed to work. On my other machine that’s running Windows XP, FireFox was a completely different story. I would double-click the icon and FireFox would start up and then exit and then start up again. I watched this for a few minutes via the Task Manager before killing the process and deleting my profile. I also had to uninstall the older 0.8 version before FireFox would start up.

In my limited time of running FireFox 0.9, I see some major improvements over 0.8 but the new features have brought some new instability with them. 0.8 was rock solid and I can’t say that about the latest release. Some of the things that I love in this new release are the new extensions manager, the new theme manager and the new built-in update manager. Once some of the initial issues are worked out, I’m sure the 0.9 release will be better than the previous release. Kudos to the Mozilla FireFox development team and I cannot wait for the official 1.0 release. Microsoft has pretty much given up on IE and I hope FireFox is a wakeup call, as people aren’t going to wait around for Longhorn, which may or may not arrive in 2006. Just saw this on BetaNews where Microsoft has assigned Dave Massy, a technology evangelist at Microsoft to promote IE. Let’s call this the Mozilla effect ;-)

If you’ve installed any of the release candidates of Windows XP SP2 on your computer and just purchased the Linksys Bluetooth USB adapter, don’t install the included software. Instead of my usual ‘just-plug-in-device-any-see-what-happens’ approach, I read the included instruction and tried to install the software. I got a BSoD in the middle of the install and had to reboot. Upon reboot, I discovered that the installer or SP2 had deleted some system files and I couldn’t even get into my machine. Safe mode or any other mode won’t work and I am trying to find my XP install CD to repair my current installation. Yikes!

Update: Phew!! Thank God for System Restore in XP – I was able to use my install CD to boot up off the harddrive and then run System Restore to get back my machine.

iPod your BMW

June 21, 2004

Chris just pointed this out to me on Apple’s website and I want it. I want to iPod my BMW, but alas I own a 2001 BMW 330i.

SpaceShipOne makes it to space today making it the first private manned spaceflight in history. I’ve been following this exciting story for a while now and this is great news. This is part of the race to win the XPrize, which is $10 million prize for a team the builds and launches a spaceship, able to carry 3 people to 100 kilometers, returns safely to Earth, and then repeats the launch with the same ship within 2 weeks. The goal of the XPrize effort is to jumpstart the space tourism industry. Can’t wait to see more details of this.

Google GMail invites

June 16, 2004

I have been one of the lucky ones that have had a Google GMail account with 1 GB of space for a while now. Every few weeks, GMail allows me to invite a friend to join GMail and I just got 3 new invites to send. The first 3 people to leave me a comment for this blog will get the invites. If you see more than 3 comments, don’t bother as the invites are probably gone. Go – ;-)

Update: As you can probably imagine, all the invites are gone. Keep checking back and I’ll keep posting free invites here, when I get them from GMail.

Looks like Hani is getting some competition. Just stumbled upon the causticTech blog via Scobble and I am still laughing. You have to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top and read all the entries. Hani’s been a little tame lately – Maybe a little competition will do him good and we can expect some timely and tasty bile soon. Maybe I’m the last one to discover the causticTech blog, but it is great stuff. I can’t wait for the Slashdot that starts to speculate that Phil, the creator of causticTech blog is really Steve Ballmer.

How Sweet It Is ) In a shocking turn of events, the underdogs Detroit Pistons shock the world and beat the LA Lakers to win the NBA championship in 5 games. I wish I had watched a few more Detroit games this season as they played a really exciting game. I am so glad that people like Karl Malone, Gary Payton and others that abandoned their teams to get a championship ring will have to try again next year.

My friend Chris posted a blog entry talking about his experience in working with SSH libraries for Java. After Googling, he’s settled on JSCH and J2SSH and needs some help on figuring out if there are any issues with those libraries or if he should consider something completely different. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and will lead to lots of good blog karma.

Donate for camera

June 14, 2004

Bill Zeller has come up with a pretty neat idea. He is trying to get enough donations to buy a new digital camera. The camera he is looking to buy is a Nikon D70 along with a telephoto lens and an adequate memory card. To that end, he is looking for donations from people and the one who gives the most will get his old camera. Pretty neat idea.

I liked Bill’s idea enough to donate $35.00. If I’m the highest donor, I’ll take the camera but I am sure someone will outbid me at the last minute. I just donated the money as I like Bill’s idea. Nice job Bill and I hope you get enough to get your camera.

Oh wow. The Detroit Pistons stun the LA Lakers and win the 4th game of the 2004 finals to lead the series 3-1. I am big basketball fan, but I really hate the Lakers and am really pulling for the Pistons to win it all. It will be nice to have someone else win for a change, but I’m sure the fix will be in and the NBA will make sure this goes to game 7 where, surprise surprise – the Lakers win in the end.

Low Card Potato?

June 13, 2004

This is really sick – I just read an article on MSNBC – Betting the farm on low-carb potatoes. Apparently growers in Florida, helped by state agricultural researchers, have licensed a new variety with only about 70 percent of the carbohydrates found in the Russet Burbank, the beloved and iconic coarse brown variety used for baked potatoes and for much of the nationís fries.

What happened to eating in moderation, exercising? Pretty sad state of affair.

Wouldn’t you just know it – Schumacher finds a way to win again at the Canadian Grand Prix win in Montreal making it his 7th win at Montreal. Atleast the pitbabes were out in full force

Just read an interesting article written by Robert X. Cringely entitled Together at Last where Bob muses about weblogs and their function. In his article, Bob asks the question if web log or blogs are for recording ideas or for publishing them. Bob postulates that the best use of blogs is to teach us more about ourselves.

This was a really interesting article from Bob, whose weekly columns are awesome and I highly recommend you add him to your must-read list. I just wish Bob would offer up a feed for easy syndication. Being the techie that he is, I’m surprised he hasn’t jumped on this yet.

The interesting thing for me reading this article was the discussion I’ve had with people about why I blog. My answer is always the chicks – Chicks love guys who blog and so… ;-) But seriously, I blog to capture and record my ideas and publishing just happens to be the side effect of that process. I blog and encourage others to do so because of what blogging allows me to do – It allows me capture my ideas, articulate them and preserve them for another day. I blog for myself and don’t really do it for an audience and that’s the hard part to explain to new bloggers. Write about anything that excites you, interests you and the audience will find you. So start blogging…

BlogJet 1.1 released

June 7, 2004

Just downloaded the latest release of BlogJet 1.1 (build 20) and I am hoping they’ve fixed some of the bugs I have reported in the past. The most annoying bug has been the one where BlogJet just exits at random without saving anything. That bug has cost me a ton of time and effort and I hope they’ve fixed it. I purchased a copy of BlogJet so that I can bitch about it and have them fix it.   This release also supports WordPress officially as well.

In addition to the bug fixes, they’ve added smilies and support for ‘now playing’ feature. The ‘now playing’ feature is where BlogJet can detect tune which you’re listening to (supports iTunes, Windows Media Player and Winamp), and insert artist and song title in your post.

Now playing: MetallicaFor Whom The Bells Tolls

So far the release looks great – I haven’t had BlogJet just close itself and exit and I guess I am very happy about that.

BEA’s dev2dev has a great article entitled Enabling Aspect-Oriented Programming in WebLogic Server using the JRockit Management API that talks about using AspectWerkz under WebLogic.

AspectWerkz is a dynamic, lightweight and high-performant AOP framework for Java created by the folks at Codehaus, with support from BEA. My journey into the world of AOP started with AspectWerkz and I am now playing around with the GA release of AspectJ 1.2. If you are interested, Val has a nice blog entry that sorta compares AspectJ with AspectWerkz.

The article is written by Jonas Bonér and Alex Vasseur, who are the founders and primary contributors to AspectWerkz. This is a great article that starts off with an introduction to AOP and AspectWerkz. After the intro, the article moves on to show you how to enable AOP in WebLogic Server. Great article and a must read.

BlogJet and WordPress

June 6, 2004

Just got BlogJet working with WordPress – Nothing magically here, but just choosing b2 in the BlogJet account setup screen seems to allow you to post to WordPress. BlogJet correctly downloaded my categories and so I will open a support ticket for them to just have an entry for WordPress in their next release.

Wiring Your Web Application with Open Source Java by Mark Eagle — Building a web application with Java can be a complex process when architecting a combination of UI, business logic, and persistence. This article introduces a way to leverage open source software to lessen the burden.

Found this on Erik’s Linkblog

CVS for dummies

June 2, 2004

Just found a great blog entry by Chu Yeow entitled Your own private CVS repository via Matt’s blog. In this blog entry, Chu Yeow walks you through creating a simple CVS repository and accessing it via. SSH without the need of setting up the CVS server process.

I use this technique to keep my projects in-sync between home and work and I use the CVS integration tool in IDEA 4.0 that was completely rewritten to support native CVS-SSH.