Wow, almost a month from the previous post. If blogging were one of my New Year resolutions, I’d be behind already.
Anyway, I was pretty busy lately. We had friends visiting for Christmas, more friends visiting between Christmas and New Year, and an orienteering event at Lake Johnson to organize.
I’ve been playing with vmware quite a bit lately, partly for my work with software appliances (which are a very cool concept) and for Condes, the Orienteering course editor. I initially tried to run Condes under wine, and it installs and starts, but for some unknown reason all features on the map are drawn with extra thick lines/points, so everything becomes unreadable. I believe something in the way Condes displays OCAD maps. Otherwise, Condes can be run in Windows under vmware, but it’s slower. I’ve found a thread about Condes on Linux here, and I’ve chimed in, let’s see how much interest my experience generates.
I’ve also dipped my toes in the murky waters of Java programming, working on porting some jira plugins to the latest and greatest, version 3.7.1. I haven’t decided yet if I like maven or not. The fact that maven2 is not backwards compatible with maven1 (and doesn’t complain if it can’t find the .pom file) makes me a bit hesitant. Also, packaging Java applications feels weird: each application ships with all the jar files. Sure, you remove the inter-dependency between applications, you can now independently upgrade one without touching the other, but if you have a security issue and have to patch version X of a jar file, you’re dead in the water since there are no good ways you can list all applications that use a jar (that I could find, at least). That’s my 10k foot view of a subject I am not familiar with, so take it with as much salt as you like.
Back to software appliances. Isn’t it nice that when you need a PostgreSQL database server, you just go and download a PostgreSQL appliance that you unzip and start using vmplayer or xen and run it as a server? It even comes with phpPgAdmin, so you can do all the administration remotely. It literally takes a few minutes to have something up and running and not worry about extra packages you have to install, extra hardware to solve possible security problems etc.
One final gripe. I spent an hour last night with someone from Fidelity trying to understand where some of my ESPP stock has gone. To make the story short, they will gladly lose history of your purchases because the software that does the transactions uses an “oldest first” policy. Enough said. Your assets are still there, it’s not like you lose money, but you do lose important historical information.