Archive for September, 2008

Big LOL at a Linux old-timer (i.e. myself)

September 13, 2008

I’ve just had a big LOL at myself today. I bought a small Bamboo Wacom tablet, brought it home and plugged into my Linux box. First impression: it’s good. Tablet was recognized as a mouse, I could move cursor and click things but, well, GIMP didn’t like it as a damn tablet. Taught by years of hacking Linux I fired up Firefox, googled for “linux wacom tablet”, found excellent Linux Wacom Project and started debugging/configuring/messing around with system settings. The problem was that everything seemed to work as expected but damn GIMP refused to treat stupid tablet as a, well, tablet. Half hour later I read about disabling something when RedHat is booted with tablet plugged in as it differently autoconfigures tablet when it’s connected before system start and when system is running. *DING!* Maybe my old habits just don’t apply to modern Linux times when things Just Work? Automagically? I rebooted (I know, I could’ve just killed X) with tablet connected and voila! everything Just Works.

Shit!

LOL!

Happiness 🙂

That happens when you’re just so used to manually configuring things that you just don’t think that free software is up to the task of applying AutoMagic(tm) and everything Just Works 😀

UPDATE (2010.05.01): Since Ubuntu 9.4 (or possibly earlier version, can’t remember) it’s not even necessary to have it connected at boot time, just Plug’n’Draw baby, anytime 🙂

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Converting MIDP threading applications to Sidekick

September 12, 2008

While porting to the Sidekick platform one of the most mysterious issues I was fighting with were massive application slowdowns. What was most interesting they happened e.g. on the menu screen which, after it’s initialized, is basically a static screen. After trying various approaches I started to think 😛 and remembered I read something about threading issues in “Java ME Applications on the hiptop Platform” document (available from Danger’s developer site).

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Automated News Crawling Evaporates $1.14B

September 11, 2008

It’s just too good not to mention it 🙂 I just checked calendar… no, it’s not April 1st but if it was it’d be my 100% candidate for a hoax 😉 Here’s a Slashdot article:

“The Wall Street Journal reports that Google News crawled an obscure reprint of an article from 2002 when United Airlines was on the brink of bankruptcy. United Airlines has since recovered but due to a missing dateline, Google News ran the story as today’s news. The story was then picked up by other news aggregators and eventually headlined as a news flash on Bloomberg. This triggered automated trading programs to dump UAL, cratering the stock from $12 to $3 and evaporating 1.14 billion dollars (nearly United’s total market cap today) in shareholder wealth. The stock recovered within the day to $10 and is now trading at $9.62, a market cap of $300M less than before Google ran the story.”

I’m surprised it’s not on Revealing Errors yet 🙂 (update: submitted the article) Full story here.

Sidekick coding: sick Pen API

September 6, 2008

Sidekick has a powerful API but it has this feeling of in-house development where not enough thought has been put into making it clean and well designed. Instead it sometimes feels like methods has been added on an ad-hoc basis whenever someone felt like something is needed. Then there’s really a lot of deprecated/unused methods and constants. Generally it’s not a bad API at all it just feel a bit random at places 🙂

But there are places that are really bad. I know I’m not the most experienced Sidekick programmer out there but I can tell bad API when I see one and one of the things that frustrates me most in Sidekick API is danger.ui.Pen class.

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