Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change


Consume this!

Muahaha. *snicker*


iPhone Unplugged

Well, that didn't take very long. The iPhone (for those fanboys out there who care) is now unlocked.

Details here and here, suggesting that like all things Apple, this too might be more hype than substance, unless you're willing to get out a soldering iron and produce a little lead vapour to help Apple stay near the bottom of the green electronics leaderboard.

Notes 8: Part 3: M'aidez!

After much digging and hacking I've found a number of places to go for help with the newest Notes offering. That's the good news. Usability score: +1

The bad news is that if you're like me and used to tracking bugs a la Eclipse Bugzilla or Sourceforge, you will be sorely disappointed with the options for bug reporting for Notes 8. Usability score: -1

I hate to bite the Big Blue hand that feeds, but there are much more efficient tools & processes to manage software development than the use of a discussion forum. Sure, it's a case of eating your own cooking +1, but I've used lots of Notes databases in my 8 years with IBM that were more user-friendly than this -1. Why is using Bugzilla (or sourceforge's tracker) such a big deal?

Well, for one thing, they're transparent, open source systems. For another, using a system like Bugzilla provides consistency across dev teams. Notes 8 is proudly 'built on Eclipse' +1 but hasn't adopted the Eclipse Way yet for issue tracking, so developers that work both sides of the fence (like myself) have to learn more than one system and in some cases, report issues in more than one place -1. So much for the mantra of 'do more with less'.

Anyway, here's a couple places to go for help, which it turns out are all linked from within Notes 8 itself under the Help menu (unless you're on the Getting Started page or a web browser tab, in which case they magically disappear) +1 -1.

  • Notes/Domino 8 Support Forum

    Well trafficked, but a bit of a pain to use -- cannot attach screenshots or log files without the use of some free service like or; cannot view an entire expanded thread in one page; follow-ups may be posted anonymously (as far as company name goes, anyway) so there's no enforced accountability; 4 different ways to search for my posts (only two produce results, albeit differently) +1 -4

  • Product Feedback Form

    This form proudly states "We value and review all comments, but cannot respond directly to them." +1 -1

Here's a few handy blogs +3:

Now, just in case it's perceived that I'm actively trying to embarrass or offend, I'm not. Let me clarify:

  • I blog to talk about things I like and things that bug me, with hopefully some balance between the two. By showing the things that bug me, it's my hope that those annoyances will be fixed, or that someone will share a hack / workaround, or prove me wrong. By talking about the things I like, I hope to encourage others to try those technologies or use a hack I've worked out. I'm a tester by nature, and I want software to work well. Think of me as the Penny Arcade of usability nerds, without the advertising, merch, comics, and clever dialogue. Oh, and the shipments of free software. And the write-ups in Wired. And 7-figure income. Yep, just like 'em.
  • I've signed up to be a Usability Tester for Lotus. Time will tell what that means.
  • And, as it's better than a boot to the head, I plan to hang out in the forum and try to help out as best I can. Of course this will also yield some of my own bug reports discussion topics from time to time, but it's all about balance.

As always, the contents of this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.


PDT: PHP Debugging w/ Zend

Saw a post on dzone about setting up the Zend Debugger for use with PDT. It inspired me to finally try this out.

Installing PDT and Zend Debugger (client) is easy -- just add these two Update sites to your Eclipse and grab all the updates:

After restarting, you can do console php debugging as shown in in the above article. Very cool -- breakpoints & console work as expected, and you can step in/over/though code and see variables, just like with the JDT debugger for Java code.

Getting PHP web debugging to work took a little more effort. This is partly because of my sandbox setup, but also because I didn't RTFM properly. Also, I encountered an editor management bug which might be related to how Mylyn and the Auto-pin Tweaklet play together.

Anyway, after breaking with tradition ("hack first, ask questions later") and actually checking in a newsgroup for help, I found a link to Installing the Zend Debugger Server. Server installation was straightforward -- just grab the latest server code and unpack it into /opt or similar, and follow the steps in the install guide / README.

Then I had to simply configure PDT a little...

... toggle my /etc/hosts file, and launch a project web page (ALT-SHIFT-D, W) to try it out.

HOWTO: Install Eclipse for Multi-User Linux Systems

Here's my advice for installing Eclipse onto a Linux box shared among multiple users. I see three solutions with varying amounts of disk space use / user control.

  1. Full User Control / Maximum Disk Usage

    Each user installs their own Eclipse in ~/eclipse. This occupies maximum disk usage (perhaps as much as 400M per user), but allows each and every user to configure what plugins/features they need in their Eclipse.

  2. No User Control / Minimum Disk Usage

    Root performs a single central install of Eclipse in /opt/eclipse (or their distro's preference). Minimal disk space needed, but users have NO control over updates or of what plugins/features they have access to, just their private workspace(s) in their home dir. This means that if you have some CDT users and some PDT users, everyone will be able to do everything -- and all users will have the same pile of plugins loaded on startup, regardless if they ever use those plugins.

  3. Hybrid Install: Partial Control / Medium Disk Usage

    Each user installs the Eclipse Platform Runtime Binary (~40M) in their ~/eclipse. All other plugins/features are installed into one or more "extension locations" in (for example) /opt/eclipse/modeling, /opt/eclipse/pde, /opt/eclipse/jdt, /opt/eclipse/pdt, etc.

    Users can then cherry-pick the feature groups (extension locations) they want depending on their needs via Help > Software Updates > Manage Configuration > Add an Extension Location, but can't run updates -- only root can. This means everyone's install *could* be the same, but you could also have Modeling users, PDT users, and PDE/JDT users who only have installed to their Eclipse the plugins they actually need to perform their job.

    If they need a feature that's not available in the common shared /opt space, they can install it themselves into a new extension location, such as ~/eclipse-plugins-phpeclipse. Then, if root notices that several users have downloaded and installed the same features, they could copy those features to /opt/ and symlink the users' extension location folder(s) to the common folders in /opt/ to save disk space.

In all three cases, I would also ensure that users have read the FAQ entries on starting Eclipse and tuning memory usage, so that as they add more features they don't crash their Eclipse or hog system resources. As root, it would be easy to create desktop shortcuts (and/or shell scripts) for a number of different canned Eclipse startup methods, using -vm /opt/jdk50/bin/java or -vm /opt/jdk60/bin/java, -data ~/workspace1 or -data ~/workspace2, and with -vmargs -Xmx256M -XX:PermSize=64M -XX:MaxPermSize=128M

This is how I would address this issue. How have other sysadmins solved this?


Notes 8, Part 2: Great Personality

Today I decided to upgrade my mail template from Notes 7 to Notes 8:

  1. "Open" Menu > Favorite Bookmarks > Workspace
  2. Right-click your Mail icon (Your Name on Local).
  3. Application > Replace Design...
  4. Choose the Mail (R8) template.

After the update, I discovered some cool* new usability gotchas:

  • Inbox layout corrupted; had to restart Notes. Fine after restart. Question: if this is a "Built on Eclipse" tool, why not just prompt me to restart, like any other Update?

  • The option to default-sort my inbox in 'order arrived' appears to be gone.
  • When first opened, my inbox now shows me my 5 month old mail at the top of the box, rather than my most recent arrivals. Clicking the date column sorts in reverse, but puts the selection at the bottom of the box so I have to scroll back up to see today's mail. Oy.
  • I can't column sort up AND down anymore, just in one direction.
  • Down the left, the Folder icon & its accompanying text can be clicked to open... but only the icon can be clicked to close. The Tools menu, however, only opens/closes via the icon. In both cases, however, the cursor becomes a hand over the text even if clicking it does nothing.
  • If you scroll-wheel over the inbox scrollbar, it will move up and down without moving the inbox contents; scrolling in the inbox itself (not over the scrollbar, over the contents) does move the content (and the scrollbar too). Clicking and dragging the scrollbar also works. Related to this, I can scroll up and down in the SameTime contacts widget, but when I pick someone's name, it always jumps back to the top and I end up selecting a completely different person. (This seems to only happen after the initial startup; after that it's fine.)
  • In the screenshot below, note the completely useless tooltip telling me that my cursor is over the 'preview pane'. Uh, thanks.

zx suggested I have a look at the OS theme (File > Preferences... > Windows and Themes > Theme > Operating System Theme). I wonder if this ability to reskin SWT will be donated back to Eclipse one day. This is pretty cool, since it means I can reskin Notes by just changing my KDE preferences. Very cool.

Anyway, as I said the other day, I'm pleased with Notes 8, despite its usability gotchas great personality. It's the little touches that make the Notes experience so very unique. ;-)

* Why cool? Because while being odd, they're quirky enough to be entertaining, yet not annoying enough to be character flaws.


Notes 8: Better Than Notes 7, Still Room To Improve

Notes 8 has been released, and because I know people who know how to get things, I've managed to score a copy to try it out. Compared to Notes 7 and its less-than-Linux-friendly forebears, Notes 8 is an absolute delight to install as an upgrade to Notes 7.

  1. Download zip & unpack
  2. $ sudo su
  3. # chmod +x; ./
  4. # exit
  5. $ /opt/ibm/lotus/notes
  6. Configure Notes (same as in Notes 7)

However, putting on my Usability Police hat...

  1. The installer still doesn't create a K-menu shortcut -- though that's a KDE-needs-to-reboot thing. It also doesn't create a desktop shortcut, presumably because RHEL and SLED (the officially-supported platforms) put their users' desktops in different places than the MEPIS/Kubuntu convention of ~/Desktop or because no one's ever thought to ask root where to create the .desktop file. Also, there's no notes.png for me to make my own shortcut, just a notes.ico (which can easily be converted with GIMP, but still).
  2. Databases are now called "Applications". Why? Search me -- after 8 years of using Notes mail & application databases, not enough people were confused by the concept, so it was time to rebrand. This begs the question -- if my mailbox is now my Mail Application, wtf is Notes itself? My Mail Application Application?
  3. I created a custom 'Home' page involving two frames -- Inbox & Calendar. It accepted it & saved it, but then didn't display it -- just the 'welcome to Notes' page. Then, I hit 'just give me the default' and my page appeared. *Weird*.

  4. Notes 8 still features the Workspace, but it didn't find any of my existing Notes 7 databases (even though they're referenced in the same folder), so I'm going to have to recreate all those all over again (as I did when moving from Notes 6 to 7). The good news is that the Workspace is now pretty much irrelevant because the "Open" menu / Bookmark Bar provides about the same functionality, without the ugly (albeit colourful) Workspace tabs.

  5. File > Import still only works with structured text and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. Why can't I migrate from an old Workspace or Desktop file to a new one?

Usability issues aside, here's some of the new features I discovered:

  1. Notes 7 was built on Eclipse 3.0.2. Notes 8 leaps ahead two years and is built on Eclipse 3.2.2, including EMF 2.2.2, GEF 3.2.2 and XSD 2.2.2. Strangely, it includes PDE and JDT too, not just the RCP and platform stuff. Why? No idea.
  2. Notes finally remembers non-Notes (Internet) addresses when composing an email!

  3. Browser settings are now global, rather than per-Location.
  4. The "Office" location is now called "Online", which contrasts better with the "Offline" location (previously called "Island"). Kudos on finally using the same terms as all other mail clients with this capability -- though I still prefer the way Netscape Mail (and now Thunderbird) handles the "Work online/offine" toggle, with its "plugged in / unplugged" icons.
  5. Preferences are no longer split into multiple submenus (File > Preferences > Location Preferences, File > Preferences > User Preferences) -- instead, they're in one centralized multi-page Eclipse-like Preferences dialog. However, File > Security > User Security is a still separate preferences page. Mail/Calendar settings are still done within that database (which makes sense because those are per-database, not global).
  6. I can run Notes 7 and Notes 8 at the same time -- which is handy because I have to manually recreate all my "Applications" in my new Workspace. However, running Notes 7 on the same desktop/workspace file messes up Notes 8 (see below).
  7. UPDATE: The SameTime (7.5.1) / Day-At-A-Glance / (RSS) Feeds sidebar rocks. Turns out that yes, you can break it apart (Open In New Window) or reorder the views, despite my previous comments. Oops. It also remembers where I left it (including detached SameTime window).
  8. The new "Open" menu can be modified by simply dragging shortcuts around to reorder them. How do you add a new shortcut/bookmark? Open some application/database and select Create > Bookmark, then put it in your "Bookmark Bar" (aka "Open" menu).
  9. There's a new "Show Thumbnails" button next to the new "Open" menu, which is a neat feature, but about as useful as the password entry box's distracting/changing "keychain" icon and "XXX = one typed char" protection system (image above).

Unfortunately, things got a little hairy after trying to run Notes 7 and 8 at the same time:

  1. I shut down Notes 7, but now my Notes 8 Workspace was blank. Notes 8 itself wouldn't shut down, so it was time for some killall eclipse java. That didn't work either, so I had to kill -9 the notes2w process.
  2. Now, Notes 8 wouldn't start -- instead I got this li'l beaut':
    This software has encountered a problem and needs to close.

    Then this, slightly more educational (though equally useless) message:

    Failed to login
    CLFRJ001OE: Notes initialization failed

    And finally, this console log:

    2007/08/18 01:19:55.328 CONFIG eclipse.buildId=build20070731-1521
    java.fullversion=J2RE 1.5.0 IBM J9 2.3 Linux x86-32 j9vmxi3223ifx-20070714 (JIT enabled)
    J9VM - 20070713_13151_lHdSMR
    JIT - 20070109_1805ifx5_r8
    GC - 200701_09
    BootLoader constants: OS=linux, ARCH=x86, WS=gtk, NL=en_US

    Framework arguments: -dir ltr -personality -product -plugincustomization
    Command-line arguments: -os linux -ws gtk -arch x86 -dir ltr -personality -product -data /home/nickb/lotus/notes/data/workspace -plugincustomization /opt/ibm/lotus/notes/framework/rcp/plugin_customization.ini ::thread=main
    2007/08/18 01:20:00.706 SEVERE CLFMW0008E: Error returned from bootstrap dll during init call. Closing down the client ::thread=main
    2007/08/18 01:20:06.009 SEVERE CLFMW0030E: Error Initializing Notes, Check the logs for details of the error$1.done() ::thread=main
    2007/08/18 01:20:06.513 SEVERE CLFRJ0013E: Notes initialization failed ! ::class.method=class ::thread=ModalContext
    2007/08/18 01:20:08.199 WARNING CWPST0306W: Exception calling proxy method ::thread=main ::loggername=package


On restart, I had a shortcut in K-menu > Office, and Notes 8 once again worked and let me log in, even without being VPN'd (though the built-in SameTime 7.5 client complained about not being able to connect, as I'd expect). Too bad there's no Zap Notes 8 available yet. UPDATE: To Zap Notes 8, just run nsd -kill.

CONCLUSION: After 3 and a half hours of poking at it, I'd say at this point Notes 8 is visually and functionally better than Notes 7. It's easier to install, adds some nice new features, doesn't introduce any significant annoyances, fixes a few old issues, and stays true to its roots. Kudos!


phpeclipse vs. PDT, Part 2 [Update 2]

As I mentioned in Part 1 I've been a phpeclipse user for a couple years and have loved it, but have recently switched to PDT.

I'm happy to report that in the last month the PDT folks have closed 3 of the 6 bugs I opened back on 2007/07/23. Kudos to the team for their responsiveness!

In order to encourage more PHP developers to vote for some of these bugs (and to prove that the squeaky wheel does in fact get greased if you write a cogent enough bug report!), here's the top ten enhancements I'd like to see added to PDT:

  • [197565] FIXED: NPE thrown when using PHP Explorer Working Sets in Package Explorer
  • [197572] FIXED: PHP/Script Explorer: keybinding conflict - ALT+SHIFT+Q, P
  • [197579] FIXED: Window > Preferences > PHP > Debug will break if an invalid server config is entered and cannot be fixed
  • [166178] FIXED in PDT 2.0: Provide "mark occurences" action
  • [162771] Detect undefined variables as warnings (already in phpeclipse)
  • [169062] Code completion for file paths in include()/require() (already in phpeclipse)
  • [161760] [Usability] UI to add PDT nature to existing Eclipse projects
  • [197573] [Configurability] Use smaller features (eg., split debug feature from runtime)
  • [197490] [Reuse] Question: Use outline view provided by the Eclipse Platform?
  • [197581] [Simplify?] Question: All-In-One tar.gz contains lots of extra features vs. Update Site?

UPDATE, 2008/05/22: none of the above 7 pending bugs are closed, though one got marked as a dupe of another open bug, so I've updated the number. Nine months later, no closer to closing my top ten list -- so much for the squeaky wheel theory. Hopefully PDT 1.1 2.0's release in September December 2008 will include a few of these.

UPDATE, 2008/09/12: one more bug closed. PDT 1.1 is now 2.0, and the schedule's been pushed back a bit to accommodate all the new stuff they've been adding into it. Coming soon -- new web, metadata and releng content!

This Just In..., Part 2

As Mike reported earlier today, the results of the JDJ Reader's Choice Awards are finally out (a mere 7 weeks after they were supposed to be available). Mike covered a lot of the Eclipse highlights -- here are some Modeling highlights:

  • Java Component: Infragistics JSuite mysteriously sneaks past EMF (when 153 votes appear AFTER the polls closed). Despite the voting irregularity and as yet no response from JDJ to explain the surge, we did beat out EJB and JSF. I do find it a little suprising -- unlikely even -- that a $795 - $1495 component set beat out 3 free offerings from Eclipse and Sun, but hey. Maybe if the JDJ makes the voting/auditing process open next year, we'll have nothing to kvetch about.
  • Modeling Tool: MagicDraw UML, followed by MyEclipse, EMF, and Borland's Together 2006.
  • Java Persistence Architecture: Hibernate, BEA Kodo, Java Persistence API, TopLink. Next year, Teneo? EclipseLink?
And a few IBM highlights:
  • Java Messaging Tool: IBM WebSphere MQ (3rd place after SwiftMQ & Sun)
  • Java Virtual Machine: IBM (3rd after Sun & JRockit)
  • Enterprise Database: IBM DB2 (3rd after Oracle and MySQL)
  • Java Application Server (Commercial): Websphere Application Server (2nd after WebLogic)
  • Java Application Server (Free): WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (4th after JBoss, GlassFish, and Geronimo)


SOC Backronym Madness

As Wayne reports in this post, we have a minor trademark problem with the "new" SOC technology project at Eclipse.

So, to help define a good backronym, I've composed this list of Some Options to Consider...

  • Students' Outstanding Code
  • Students Of Consequence
  • Seeking Optimal Code
  • Selfless Open-source Committers
  • Students as Open-source Committers
  • Students Opting for Cash
  • Spiffy Opportunity for Cash
  • Somewhat Organizationally Chaotic (!)
  • Source: Open? Cool.

Or, we could just trademark it as "Eclipse SOC", and never define what "SOC" actually stands for, a la GWAR.

We could also just rebrand, like Mylar/Mylyn did:

  • SOSC: "Summer Of Student Committers"
  • SPOCK: "Summer Projects Of Code Kids"
  • SOCK: "Summer Of Coding Keeners"
  • SPORK: "Some Projects Of Real Keeners"

Too bad 'Ed The Sock' ("Eclipse Development That Harnesses Eager Summer Of Code Kids") is probably already trademarked. ;-)


I was bloggin' when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin'
Coulda sworn it was Bugzilla Day
My IDE was purple,
There were people codin' everywhere
Tryin' to help out the commun'ty
Eclipse is you and we all care

They say two thousand zero, zero, party over,
Oops, out of time!
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's bug 1999 (99)!

My code was buildin' when I wrote this
Don't sue me if it tends to crash
But life is just a testcase, and heap space ain't meant to last
Bugs are all around us, my mind says prepare to fight
So if they've gotta die so I'm gonna fire up my debugger tonight

Yeah, they say two thousand zero, zero, party over,
Oops, out of time!
So tonight I'm gonna party like it's bug 1999 (99)!

* Enhanced Prince Lyrics


Notes 7: Crash Different

Like a fool I spent 30 mins composing a detailed email this afternoon in Notes, including colour, font styles, and tables. Why a fool? Because any time I'm busy doing something in a java-heavy application and haven't saved it lately, it dies. I just have this gift, apparently. Anyway, tout à coup and as if on cue, Notes died on me. I couldn't edit, save, or exit. I could however see my wallpaper. Go, go, gadget UI thread!

Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls, MA, as seen through Notes 7

It was time to zap Notes and restart. Amazingly, I only lost a few minutes worth of editing. Why?

File > Lotus Notes Preferences > User Preferences ... >       Basics > [x] AutoSave every [n] minutes

I didn't know Notes had this feature, but I was very glad to discover it there today. Notes 7 may still crash fairly often on me, but at least it's made the experience less painful than before.


Ain't nothin' but a SCO thang

Another nail was hammered into SCO's coffin on Friday:

[T]he U.S. District Court for the District of Utah Central District found that Novell is the owner of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights, dismissing SCO's charges of slander and breach of contract. The judge also ruled that SCO owes Novell for SCO's licensing revenue from Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. SCO is obligated to pass through to Novell a portion of those licenses, the judge said.

... [B]ecause Novell is the owner of the Unix copyrights, it can direct SCO to waive its suits against IBM Corp. and Sequant. "SCO can't sue IBM for copyright infringement on copyrights it doesn't own," Jones said. [more]


My Shiny Metal A...

Some Lenovo / ThinkPad news:


Road Trip, Day Two

Woke up around 7. Quick breakfast and chat with other visiting guests and we were off on the road again to get to Moxie for the day's rafting. Thankfully, this time the drive was 5 minutes instead of 9 hours. Moxie's improvised base camp was a repurposed offseason ski hill, with no signage anywhere except on the road

The Moxie gang we were very laid back (check in time is 8:30 but we didn't get to the river until about 10:30) and in fine form:

Are you here to ski? We usually get an inch or so by 10. You've got to be ready to go by 11:30, and off the hill by 2 'cuz it melts pretty fast.

Comedy aside, the trip went pretty smoothly except for a few minor issues:

  • We signed up for the 'Double Trouble' package which involves running the river twice back-to-back, and that had to be cancelled because it turned out only two people (us) were interested in it (better marketing for next year would help!)
  • We got stuck with the Party Boat (aka The Cadillac), a somewhat oversized raft which was heavier (and thus tougher to steer)
  • The other 5 people in our boat had never rafted before and were more interested in sight-seeing than paddling so we didn't have much opportunity to surf any hydraulics

Other than that, we had a fantastic guide (J.), the river was beautiful, lunch was great, and the last two Class IV rapids were a blast. Due to the cancelled Double Trouble trip, Moxie was good enough to give us a CD of trip photos for free. However, even though they had my credit card on file, they still made me call head office to get reimbursed for the second half of the trip instead of simply crediting it back as soon as they knew the second trip had to be cancelled. Ah, well, water over the dam. ;-)

Some frothy Class III whitewater: I'm in the front with the black/orange sleeves and blue/white paddle; SWMNBN is behind me with the ballcap under her helmet

Catching some air

Later that day, I decided to wander around the farm to check out its residents:

Back at the B&B (because apparently I have 'computer geek' tattooed across my forehead) our host D. asked me to fix her wifi so that her guests could share it.

Within 5 minutes I had hacked into her router, disabled her WEP protection (she decided that would be simpler than telling people what the network password was), and assigned a new router password to keep people like me out in future. Note to would-be h4xx0rs / network admins: using 192.168.{0,1,2}.1 as your gateway IP and "admin"/"admin" as your username/password makes getting in suprisingly simple.

Dinner was at the attached Warfield House Restaurant, and though they were apparently out of almost half the menu (this being the off-season, they're not open Mon-Wed), everything we wanted was available and worth blogging home about, including SWMNBN's 2 required Cokes.

Tomorrow, it's off to Shelburne Falls for some quick sightseeing and then nor'eastward to my dad's place in Essex, MA.

Road Trip, Day One

The drive to Charlemont was uneventful, though we unfortunately left about an hour later than planned, and got stuck in contruction and long weekend traffic just getting out of Toronto. Once we got to the 1000 Islands bridge, the border took no more than 20 mins to get in and through.

I was a little worried about having to drive over a US bridge after the recent news about the bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed this week, but we were over in no time, and ready for the next southbound leg of the trip. By 8pm we were in Albany, and by 10:15pm SWMNBN had managed to navigate the Scenic Mohawk Trail (aka Route 2) in the pitch dark...

... to find our B&B, the lovely Warfield House Inn.

Thankfully, people were still up in both the inn and restaurant and we were able to check in to the 'penthouse' suite on the top floor of the house -- a beautiful room with two skylights, private bathroom, and oh-so-comfortable bed -- which was unfortunately also stifling 90 degrees. With all four windows open and the AC cranked, it got down to a tolerable temperature in no time, and it was time for sleep: rafting tomorrow!


What I Did On My Summer Vacation: The Remake

In Episode 2 of WIDOMSV, I saw Evil Dead: The Musical for the third and final time. This time we went with Sara and Ulysses and sat in the front row of the Splatter Zone. Unlike the previous two visits to row two (with splatter across the chest and/or lap), this time we got front row tickets and we all got it in the face or hair. And then it kept coming: the 10 year old Peacefire shirt from my UofW days entered the show completely white. In keeping with the original trilogy, this final time wasn't the best performance (with two casting shuffles), but was by far the funniest.

Anyway, I'm off to Essex, Massachusetts this weekend (by way of the Deerfield Dryway in Charlemont) for a week's vacation at my dad's place, including some whitewater rafting, kayaking, boating, and a whole lot of driving. But hey, it's the summer -- it's road trip season!

Married To The

Hopefully, I won't be completely off the grid the whole time.


Linux vs. Windows

More good news for the Linux folks in the battle for desktop supremacy:

  • Seeking to avoid downtime and trojans, a Vancouver law firm switches 3 dozen Windows desktop machines to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop over a weekend; reduces desktop maintenance by 20%. [1]
  • Want to avoid phishing scams? Get a smarter browser (Firefox) / mail client (Gmail, Thunderbird, Evolution) / OS (Linux) for free and educate your staff ... or spend US$25,000. [2]
  • Survey shows businesses are having second thoughts about Vista. [3]

    [O]nly 28 percent agreed that Vista is more secure than XP. Meanwhile, the no votes increased to 24 percent.

    Reconsiderations about Vista have given rival operating systems a second chance at breaking into corporations. Last year, Linux and Max OS X had only meager appeal to the CIOs, CSOs, IT and network administrators surveyed: 2 percent said they planned to deploy the open-source Linux, while none owned up to Mac OS X plans. July's survey, however, noted a six-fold increase in the total willing to do without Windows on at least some systems: 8 percent of those polled acknowledged Linux plans and 4 percent said they would deploy Mac OS X. (emphasis added) [3]