Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finally Moved Project To SCM

Believe it or not, I have been working on 3 different open source projects in the last couple of months beside holding down a full-time job; and this has been keeping me quite too busy to enjoy other things outside software development and computers in general.

If you read my last blog, you will have noticed that I just bought myself a new top of the range Nikon D3 camera. This of course is what I have been indulging in lately to give myself the much needed break from open source and software development. Although, I still find time to code in the evenings, but at least I get to spend the day outdoors having fun.

Now, today's blog post is a note to myself to remind me of when I finally imported one of my pet projects onto a version control system. I'd planned to finish one of my longest running projects, but didn't get round to working on it - partly because it wasn't on a version system and couldn't be seen on my project list.

So, this afternoon, I finally decided that the only way I could get it finished was to move to where I could see it amongst other projects.

My aim now is to spend a few hours each month and it should be enough to get it complete. Another reason I have not finished it is because I started working on it on my old Windows XP laptop; but didn't get to move it since all my current development is done on Ubuntu and Mac.

But with it now finally in the same place as other projects I'm working on, it should and will be getting the same attention and effort that I put into other projects.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Getting New Camera - An Excuse to Experience The Outdoor

Sometimes it makes sense to just let your hair down and let it all hang out. So, I thought I'd go and spend the week hunting for a nice Nikon D3 camera that I hope to use for the rest of the summer experiencing and enjoying the awesome weather that we currently have.

If you are like me, you will notice that it does help to step out now and again from the computer and not code all the time. At least one needs to have human interactions more often than just sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end.

With that in mind, I decided to buy myself a very powerful Nikon D3 camera that I will be using to indulge in one of my hobbies that I've relegated to the back of my priorities for too long. This is something I should have been doing more often, but as lazy as I am, I find it quite hard to step away from my computer once I fire up my beloved IDE - Eclipse.

But with the new camera now around, that would be a very good excuse to get out more and experience the beautiful and wonderful country that we have. One should do more touristy thing - finding out more about important places we have and photograph them.

With so many different makes and models of cameras out there, it was almost impossible for me to pick which to buy until Sebastien recommended the amazing Nikon D3. This is a cool baby...I'm still trying to get it to fly though, once I get it rolling, be certain that there will be photos here.

Wish me luck as I struggle with it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

London Android Developers Meetup

Today, I thought I would stop by the London Android Developers meetup to see the latest in handset technology and developments. It actually went quite well - only that I was a bit late so missed the first half of the talk. Otherwise it was a packed and interesting presentation.

As usual, more in depth discussions carried on in the pub across the street, so I had to tag along just to make sure that I not only get to hear all the gossips, the next killer project, and some awesome complex demos, I also get to swap business cards and bitch around too. What else could I do at the pub - I don't drink.

In general, it was a good talk and will definitely try to make it much earlier next time and bring even more business cards. Oh, I forgot my camera at the office so didn't manage to take any pictures. But I will make sure that I don't forget next time.

That's it for now, I have to go now...have to be up early in the morning for an appointment with a client. Stay tight, don't drink and one another and be happy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Twitter App for NetBeans

Ok, I know that there are already thousands of Twitter apps out there on the internet, but as self-respecting hacker and Engineer, I thought I would give it another quick jab and knock up one more app just for kick :)

So, this evening, I quickly out together a small proof-of-concept app that has been running riot in my head for sometime. This app plugs directly into NetBeans. Although it works quite well, it lacks most of the bells and whistles you'd expect in a fully fledge desktop version. Actually, what this small app does is nothing more than allow you to send tweets, see your timeline and retweet. Just like the web version, you will have to manually copy/paste the tweet and add the 'RT' for your retweets.

The features that are not implemented are notifications - there's no way of knowing when you have a @replies, DM works just like a normal tweet so that does not need implementing. Another feature currently missing is the picture that identifies each of people you are following. What you currently get is just their userIDs and updates.

In the coming days and weeks, I will try and implement the rest of the missing features above; and clean up the code.

Finally, as some of the features rely on some third party library, I will have to re write it to ensure that it uses on the standard Java API. Only then will I be ready to put it on the world stage. In the meantime, if you want to take it for a spin and don't mind letting it all hangout, then holla at me :)

That's it for now. Please remember to be nice, be good, love one another, code everyday and God bless Marcus Garvey!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scala Servlet HowTo

Following on very nicely with the theme of software engineering and software development, I thought I would show you a very good tutorial for those who are looking to explore the possibilities of taking up Scala programming.

In this tutorial, the author discusses how to miss Scala and Servlet; and how to deploy them on a Tomcat server. Though, the tutorial does not go deep well enough into how to go about dealing with errors and installations, but assumes that you already have the necessary installations and how to run Servlet applications.

One other thing I like about the tutorial is that it also answers one of the questions that new developers always ask: If you package library jars with every web app, then you will potentially have hundreds of the same .jar file on your system - each with every web app you deploy. The answer to that is that you place a common jar that your apps will depend on in ${tomcat}/shared/lib instead of putting it in each WEB-INF/lib. In fact, one of our new developers asked the same question when we did a pair programming together.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Free SVN Hosting Project - CVS Hosting

A friend was looking around for ideas on where to host a project they will be working on with other developers and thought it would make sense to use a good source code management system.

Although there are lots of project hosting sites out there, but almost all require that you register an open source project with them to get your source hosted free or you'd have to pay for a pro account. But because this is not going to be an open source project, they had to look around for something that fits their need. A few promising sites were suggested including xp-dev.

I have not used it myself, but I will definitely look into it when I have the time. For me, I have a server at home that I use for all my hosting needs. Infact,I have a static IP for the last 2 years, as such, I host some of my applications and pet project sites on my server at home.

However, I was able to install, configure and get an SVN running in under 30 minutes. You may also want to invest in Practical Subversion, Second Edition if you want to learn to run your on SVN. I can't recommend that book enough, it has just about everything you'd need to run a successful SCM from a one man project to a truly complex development setup. Here's another good review on Pragmatic Version Control Using Subversion, check it out and see if the material is for you. This is particularly useful because -
  1. I can organise my own back up
  2. run my own continuous integration on it
  3. choose and change my tooling needs without getting stuck with whatever a
    provider supplies

What makes this very good is that it does not have to run on a powerful computer - infact, just about any computer would do.

So, having discussed the benefits for hosting oneself, he was convinced it was a good idea to go with that.

One other thing most people do not realise is that with no incentive for the hosting company to back or even keep the service running, you are likely to lose all your valuable source code in a flash. But why would you risk it when a small fee would give you the same level of service, but with added sense of reliability.

So, if you are looking for a free SVH Hosting, you may want to consider paying for it or get a cheap dedicated VPS server and have your very own free SVN Hosting there for yourself and your friends too. Don't rely on free services, instead pay for the cheapest and expect it to be reliable.

That's it. Get out more, enjoy life, make love not war, help the needy and God bless Marcus Garvey.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Computer PC Repair in The UK

With the economy this bad, it's not surprising people are finding ways to not only make ends meet, but to make sure that bills are paid and kids fed. It would be a bad idea to believe that wages alone can sustain a family with all the mountain of bills that come through the door every other day.

For some, Computer Repair during the weekends have become another attractive way to make extra cash every week. My friend Ken was one of those who didn't think he could make extra cash to help with the odd payments here and there. Now, having read what people were making, he quickly joined the guys at London's Computer and PC Repair. That way, he can be assured of something at the end of the weekend.

In fact, he's not unique to this trend - more and more software developers have also started signing up for freelancing jobs online. According to a recent survey, over 70 percent of IT related companies now use remote software developers, PC Repair and Computer repairs in a bid to save of running cost.

What makes this particularly attractive is that you don't have to pay for what you do not need. For every piece of specialized software application you need, you call up your remote developer with the details which they quickly knock up. Another plus to using this sort of service is that the cost is almost always reduced.

So, if you are into any sort of IT industry and have not thought of taking up freelancing jobs in your spare time, I'd suggest you give it a try and see if it's for you. It doesn't matter if you have experience inComputer Repair or PC Repair, what counts is the amount you could potentially make at the end of every job.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Learning Scala

In the last few weeks, I have seen lots of discussions on many blogs and forums on using Scala in anger. Although I have been using it on and of in the last couple of months, I have not really thought about using it on a real life project.

So, to take up the challenge and seriously immerse myself in it, I decided to get the Programming Scala: Tackle Multi-Core Complexity on the Java Virtual Machine. If you have not seen this book, I'd suggest you read the review here to give you an idea of the positive reviews it has been getting.

However, I will be blogging about my progress as I meticulously work my way through the book and my project. Due to the nature of the project, I won't be disclosing the details, but I efforts will be made to discuss and reference various aspect of the project as it progresses.

So, please follow this blog or leave your thoughts in the comments below if you would like to join the discussions. And please remember, you can also share your tips and tricks too.
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