Leeland's blog

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History of Change

Something I vaguely remember seeing once, and always wanted to see again was the series called Connections. Finally decided to go hunting and found it. It wasn't as long as I thought, only 10 episodes. It was a neat presentation of how things came into being based on the evolution of history. It was the presented and created by James Burke for BBC. Interestingly it is now available on YouTube for free. So now I get to watch it again.

The series information and YouTube links are here: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/james-burke-connections/

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Moved and lights off

It took a week of effort, but I am pleased with the results. I am running the site almost as I would like. There are a few deficiencies but they are either "nice to haves" or easily "will be fun to correct" items.

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Switching Hosting Services to FatCow from Netriver.net

After a long and generally good relationship with Netriver.net things finally got to a point where it was worth the effort to move to a new hosting service. Generally speaking we just kind of grew apart. Netriver had decided some time ago to focus more on their co-location services and began trying to simplify and reduce their web hosting services.

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Microsoft's Cloud Computing platform.

I love the presentation style for this video on Microsoft's coming technology:

What is Windows Azure?

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Re-evaluating Project Requirements

In developing project criteria/use cases/stories a certain point is reached where it is concluded that "enough" has been done and the results are "good" to begin work. Which is to say that the requirements are "good enough."

It is not unusual to wonder, after work begins, if the information really was good enough. It is worth re-evaluating the requirements once a little effort has been done. This helps to flush out missing details. A reasonable set of questions to ask are:

  • Were any important variables missed in collecting the data used to produce the requirements?
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Unit Testing Java

Basic testing patterns are important. But it is also important to properly plan the testing. Building a matrix really helps make sure you are covering all the basis.

A simple case is something that will compare two items for you. These little helper classes need to be built all the time for sorted lists and other such uses. However, it is amazingly easy to get something out of alignment. So for argument sake lets stick with something simple: "Compare two strings as being equal, allowing nulls to be used such that 2 nulls return true."

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Recovering Lost Data From Page Firefox Cache

Big company, large IT department, huge wiki server used by all. Do they have a recent backup? If you count 6 months old as recent then sure. Of course for a project started since the last back up that put 100% of the documentation into the corporate wiki when the server breaks and they have to go back to the back-ups this sucks.

Now of course being a tech-head I have ultra paranoid cleanup settings on my cache, browse history and other things. But, managers and office types often don't care nearly as much.

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Long Pause

Wow, cannot believe so much time has passed. So what happened? Why a child of course. My son hit a coming to awareness level where he wasn't just a feed -> sleep -> poop machine but started talking, playing and of course the running.

This of course is the point where most parents disappear from everyone's lives for a year or two.

Now my desk is buried in piles of papers, my books have a nice layer of dust, and the house needs a year's worth of maintenance. Oh and I am trying to remember where I left off with this place. I see nothing has changed.

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SSH vs. nohup and hung jobs

Every 6 months or so I have some little loop I wrote to run a process on a long list of servers sit and hang forever by waiting for the nohup background process to end before moving on to the next host. Naturally I come back after getting lunch expecting all the boxes to be busily humming away to find 3 have finished and the 4th is still running. This of course causes me to remember that ssh hangs on processes even if they are pushed off to the background with a nohup.

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Copyright and the Internet

This is a compilation of a 4-part series of articles on the status of digital rights management from the Digital Rights Management Watch site (which has transitioned into a new format now and can be found at http://copyrightandtechnology.com/. I think it’s a very good overview on some recent technical, commercial and legal shifts in the digital content domain, so worth a read.

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Pulling Myself Up By My Boot Straps

What a funny story. (warning spoiler ahead) I mucked it up but good.

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Getting a grip on my daily routine

Well I need to force myself to be better at time management and project management. It has been a long time since I taught my time management course and I find that without that regular refresher my time management skills have been slipping.

So what to do. Well obviously start researching time and project management again, dust off the course and start collecting data.

So far I have found some very interesting things.

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Try Looking at Your Own Legacy Code

Just had a reason to open up my code archives. Not a big deal, just checkout the older stuff from the Subversion archives and add some new Eclipse projects.

Lions, tigers and bears oh my. What the heck are all those warnings!?

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Where should exceptions go?

Lets talk about exceptions for a moment. At the office a discussion came up that essentially was about if we should group our exception objects together into a single module/subsystem wide package or have them called out in the packages next to the code they were used by.

Personally I think packages specific to exceptions are bad ideas because it detaches them from the business objects they are supposed to be supporting. An exception should represent the possible result of a direct action on a domain object. I think they should be subsystem/object specific.

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Register to Vote, or look up your buddies

This might be a public service announcement. After all it is a heated U.S. presidential election and you really should participate. With elections coming up it is a good idea to double check your voter registration.

Thread Slivers eBook at Amazon

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