Phil's 2011 Blog!



This blog will be about nothing in particular, it will be a collection of thoughts and happenings during the year of 2011.

If anyone wishes to send an email for inclusion in the blog, just say in the email "include in your blog" and it will be done. I will keep names to formats like JeffW, CarolK, FrankL to keep things somewhat anonymous.

The animated icons came from http://www.gifs.net/ . They said if I used their icons I had better include a link to them.


The blog entries for 2010 can be found here: Phil's 2010 Blog

The blog entries for 2009 can be found here: Phil's 2009 Blog

The blog entries for 2008 can be found here: Phil's 2008 Blog

The blog entries for 2007 can be found here: Phil's 2007 Blog

The blog entries for 2006 can be found here: Phil's 2006 Blog


Tue, 8 Feb 2011 16:45:18 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Once again this weekend

This weekend I once again had some time to spend on converting the String Transformation Utility to Java. This application will be designed to work on Linux, Unix, Macintosh, and Windows and this multi-platform approach brings up some interesting questions:

1.  How do I reliably determine what OS I am running under or on?
2.  Based on the OS, where do I create the directory where I will create my INI file?  Where will I have permissions to write?
3.  Will text files written by the Macintosh or Linux version be readable on a Windows machine or vice versa?

The last question might seem trivial, but text files in the Windows world have a CR/LF at the end of each line, that is a hard return in that environment. Apparently in the Linux/Unix/Macintosh world, the CR is missing and it only has a LF????

I started to create standard routines to read and write files so I don't have to think about it - I was planning to use arraylists but even that is a bad idea. Reading a huge file into or out of an arraylist will take too much time. I need to get these things into classes so in the future I can easily call them as standard libraries.

Implementing the drag and drop functionality in Java is becoming a larger issue than I expected because we are crossing the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) barrier. Dealing with the "native" system when you don't know beforehand what the OS will be means you must construct a data flavor map at runtime to translate between the OS and the JVM......doesn't that sound like fun?

Anyway, it was good to clear out some bugs this weekend, the application is working much better than it was last week. I am planning to use it help me format this blog entry. That is the driving force for creating these utilities, these are things I use every day to make my life easier, shaving minutes or hours from tedious tasks.


Mon, 31 Jan 2011 16:03:42 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Planning for the future

I drive a 2004 Toyota Camry and one of the features of the car is that if you live in an area where the sun always shines every day all day, the plastic speaker grilles will disintegrate. Yes, that is right - one day you will touch them and they will just crumble to pieces. In my case I did not touch them but eventually chunks started falling into the speakers. It is really all very exciting! The most exciting part however is when you check into the replacement details. It costs $20 for the plastic grilles and $400 in labor to replace them. This is due to how the car is built. The rear deck is assembled as one piece with the speaker grilles attached - then the rear deck is installed in the car and the back seat is installed. In theory to replace the speaker grilles you need to rip out the entire back seat, remove the rear deck, remove the old speaker grilles, install the new speaker grilles, then re-assemble the car. The alternative is to search the web and discover how to accomplish this for free which is what I did.

It always amazes me when something is built with no thought of how it is going to be maintained and serviced down through the years. I asked the person in the parts deparment if these new speaker grilles use plastic which has been treated to withstand exposure to the sun. He promised me in no uncertain terms that six years from now these new speaker grilles will also disintegrate so now I am an informed consumer.

In other news of course everyone knows the space shuttles are being retired and NASA has no immediate plans to replace them. For any space missions that would require a reuseable craft we need to hitch a ride with the Russians. This would mean that any deployment or repair of military spy satellites would need to be carried out by the Russians on our behalf? Something about that sounds very strange, I must be missing something.

There are two exciting new electric cars that are/have hit the market, the Nissan Leaf and the Ford Focus electric. They both have the same driving range, 100 miles plus or minus 40%. That is right, you might be able to drive 140 miles......or maybe only 60 miles, there is no way to tell until you buy one and try it out. It's so nice to have some mystery in life, don't you agree?

I see in the news that Chicago is bracing for a historic snow storm that could dump up to two feet on some parts of the city. In my experience, when they warn everyone there is a huge storm coming it somehow takes a different path and Chicago gets three inches. It is when they tell you that it will be nothing and you will only get three inches that you need to worry! (Editor's note: It turned out to the be the third worst snow storm in the recorded history of Chicago weather!)

My dad once asked, "Why does it have to be so difficult, everything?" I think that goes double for software development in the 21st century. I suspect they create Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to purposely use confusing terms to discourage non-geeks from even attempting software development. I mean, it points to a line in my application which looks perfectly fine to me and it says something useful like, "Object is not instantiated in the current scope, did you instead intend to encapsulate or overload your classes?" say.....WHAT????. It is almost like someone is throwing random words together as some sort of bizarre joke.

The really good thing is that with the handy-dandy Internet, you can put the exact phrase into Google and find five web sites where people asked, "What the heck does this mean and how do I fix it?" You will find that in the first two sites people posted solutions which when you spend an hour trying them you discover they do not work and when you go back to the web site you see that someone posted two years ago "that did not work". Then when you read on you discover there were other solutions that did not work and then everyone stopped posting answers six months ago. The next web site you will find no longer exists. The forth web site answers a totally different question and is no help at all. The last web site has the exact information you need but it is in German! Back to the drawing board!

Fri, 28 Jan 2011 09:48:25 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Brave new year, brave new world

It appears we are starting a new year so it is time for a new blog.

2011 will see many changes I think. At least it appears that way at the moment. Persson Technologies will become a reality. I will have a new business web site. My personal web site will be totally re-designed. By 12-31-2011 I want to have three products available for download on my business web site. We will see how that all works out.

My new business web site is being created by a web design company (http://www.infinitynine.com/) and it will employ the following technology:


Joomla (content management system)

Apache (web server)

MySQL (relational database)

Linux (operating system)

My personal web site will use all the same technology - it will be a twin but it will be totally separate from the business web site. Therefore, I can try new technology there before moving it to the business web site and if I somehow corrupt the MySQL database, my business will still be up and running. This is a good thing.

Right now my goal is to convert all the articles and photo pages from the old web site to the new format. I do not think I will convert these blogs as that would be a rather large project. Perhaps I will put that off until 2012. I want to concentrate on my business and getting my applications up and running.

Going forward the goal is for every software application created by Persson Technologies to run on every computer on the planet, regardless of the operating system being used. Of course, that is not really a realistic goal - but my goal is for the software to function on:


Windows

Linux

Unix

Macintosh

More updates to follow...