Sunday, May 15, 2011

New HD and Gaming

The new internal harddrive from Newegg arrived, a Western Digital 500GB caviar blue.
I installed the hardware and rewired, cleaning a little in the process.
Then I initiated, partitioned, formatted, waited over an hour or so for it to complete.
And finally the empty 465GB of space was available.

I moved the Steam install to the new drive and began downloading Bad Company 2 and Left 4 Dead 2.
In the end these took up about 20GB of space.
I could only hope that BC2 would run on the other machine (new drive was needed as no space available) since it won't run on this single core old machine.
And it has been about 2 months since I last played it on my now relinquished work laptop.
Thankfully it appears to run fine so far when I tested the single player.
Besides the new HD, I picked up a new headset, Logitech H530, which is the same model my old coworker had and a slight upgrade to my relinquished work headset.
So hopefully I am now set for some gaming again.

TV Catchup and HD

Finally, I watched the Fringe finale, and wow it was action packed.
The future! Death of Olivia! Disappearance of Peter!
Leaving so many questions!
I haven't listened to the Fringe Podcasts about the finale yet, but am looking forward to it.

Also finally watched The Cape finale.
I had hoped it would try to end the show well, but it didn't.
It only left on a mostly sad and unfinished note.
In the end it was a comic-hero show that had potential for a but didn't live up to it, and sadly another cancelled show for Summer Glau (Firefly, 4400).

Watched a couple new shows lately.
Including the US version of Being Human. So far it has been better than expected given the reviews I read (either loving or hating). I'm of course a fan of supernatural themed shows with vampires, werewolves, ghosts (Supernatural, True Blood, The Gates, Angel). And yes the werewolf always makes me feel bad for him and his sad face.
Also a show called Moonlight off Netflix about a vampire detective that is cheesy (green screen background in car) but I like made-for-Scifi-looking shows.

I found a lonely Western Digital 1TB USB external harddrive lately.
I tried it out with some TV content since the 80GB and 40GB drives on this machine are mostly used up.
It was seamless to add another video source in XBMC for TV shows and have them appear in the same list. Videos played fine from it as well. Ended up loading about 12GB of content on it.
But it wasn't all smooth. Getting the data on the drive could be slower at times, apparently from being overloaded.

JSONP, Proxy, Valve

I'm not a JSONP fan.
But overcoming the cross-domain REST calls is important.
I don't like that it is restricted to GET requests.
I don't like that it doesn't return any error information from the server.
Yes, I could make GET versions of my POST calls. Yes, I could return error messages in a custom json error object.
But I'd rather not if possible, and there are other options.
I've read countless examples of writing up some PHP proxy code, to make the request to a different domain but allow a local request for it.
But I much prefer setting up Apache with mod proxy and a rewrite/proxy rule to handle it.

Recently I wrote my first Tomcat/Catalina valve, although to be used in JBoss.
This was also my first time coding using Apache Commons HttpClient.
It worked surprisingly well to accomplish the same goal to proxy the request without using Apache.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Although I really don't have time to devote to it, I am acting as a mentor on a Google Summer of Code project (Maven related) for OpenMRS.

Tonight we finally were able to connect on Skype and have a productive session going through the bumps of getting started.
I was able to get my dev VM environment up (despite its protests) and we could walk through using the existing code together, tackling errors and exceptions as the appeared.

Sadly this is really the only window of time I have available, in the hour before sleep.

Monday, May 2, 2011

jQuery Plugins

I've been trying out a few jQuery plugins lately: templates and globalization
Although the documentation for them is somewhat lacking
I made a few examples using them and I was impressed with the results

I originally started looking at the templates plugin as an alternative to the datatables plugin
Not to replace datatables, but just as a simpler solution for filling in tables rows without needs like paging and sorting
I originally found the jQote plugin and then the templates plugin. Very different syntax between the two, and I chose the later.
It was as simple as creating a template for a row (in script tag, mixing html and javascript) and passing in a JSON array of data.
Works well with REST services passing json data back.
Also with JSON mappings for descriptions, like supporting multiple languages (re-render template with new JSON data).
One thing I didn't use from any of the template plugin examples was the use of appendTo(), instead just setting the html() value.

For globalization, I just wanted to be able to format dates, format numbers, and parse dates.
But also have the flexibility to easily change this formatting (like month name in the date or currency) based on the locale.

These two plugins are in a beta version, and I look forward to them being released and official jQuery plugins (as mentioned in news stores from last year).

Maven, New Comic

I had an old Java project lying around, a simple class to parse a Wikipedia page and send an email when text changed.
I used it to notify myself when a new issue of a comic, the Walking Dead, was available.
Finally I took some time and converted it over to Maven.
Surprising as it is, I didn't have it installed on here, so I had to set it up.
I created a basic pom and ended up changing to using commons-email instead of just the mail api and smtp.
Finally I ran the class using the maven exec plugin.
I also configured the main class and classpath in the jar plugin, incase I decide to run it as a jar instead.

I like Maven, I am an enthusiast, but migrating to Maven is not smooth, especially with ongoing development.
Usually a branch gets created, porting and testing the project in Maven, while trunk dev continues.
And since merging can be ugly and lose information, it can be better to just redo the changes on trunk when ready to move over.
I've done this in the past by creating a bash script to run on the trunk when ready, moving the files to the standard layout and adding the poms.

So the comic issue notifier code works well as long as someone else is updating the wiki page,
which didn't happen this time, so updated the page myself.

Read through the new Walking Dead issue #84.
Glad to see the possibility of Carl surviving, the group working together, and Rick finding himself.
I was disgusted with Rick in the last issue, running away and leaving people he cared about to die.
This issue restored some of my faith in him.
Though if Carl died, I can just imagine him spiraling out of control.
I really hope this doesn't happen, Carl is badass, like the gunslinger, and I hope he continues on.
Waiting time, another month to find out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

TV, Fringe

Although I like XBMC, it is not without its issues.
Sometimes new shows are not picked up when trying to update the library.
I've seen this happen a few times.
But recently I found that exiting library mode, navigating to the show, and looking up the show information solved the problem.

I've gotten into Fringe more lately. I'm caught up with all episodes on Hulu.
There is s03e19 LSD in Olivia's mind with Inception-like creepy moments where everyone on the street stops and looks, and animation with zombies! Thankfully this episode ended Olivia's annoying Bell voice.
Then s03e20 6:02 AM with Peter and Olivia finally together, the surprise of the machine rejecting Peter, and the start of the machine's destructiveness.
And just finished s03e21 Sam Weiss explaining a little about Sam, and having the very dramatic moment of Peter and the machine with his life building up to that moment.
These episodes have been exciting and pulling the pieces together.
But now only one episode is left for the season! I have no idea where it is going, apparently the future?

Since I ran out of Penny Arcade DND podcasts, I went looking for a new podcast.
I stumbled across the Fringe podcast and I have enjoyed it so far.

Wore my superman shirt recently and finally watched an episode of Smallville after a long break.
Like Fringe, s10e12 titled Collateral took place inside the minds of the characters, in a virtual reality reminding me of the Matrix.
Over halfway through the final season!


I found myself staring into an empty breadbowl
and it reminded me of Minecraft
digging or exploding a cavern underground
and I haven't played it in a while
but it is still fresh in my mind

I always find myself excited by SVG images
usually through my viewing of Wikipedia
to be a scalable image and XML data
like HTML5, too bad browser support is still lacking for it