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Showing posts from 2008

I guess it has begun: the environment is at fault for everything

I'm always amazed at the amount of bullshit people are able to come up with, especially when explaining some corporate move.

Take for example my main bank BRD - Groupe Société Générale. Yes, it's the same Groupe Société Générale which showed at the end of 2007 a € 4.9 billion fraud. But it's OK since the Romanian branch is really profitable for them due to limited consumer education here and powerless consumer protection institutions.

I just noticed a new message from them on the Internet Banking site: due to increased environmental awareness from the Bank, they are encouraging people to get alternative bank account statements via online banking or by post. Otherwise you are entitled to one printed account statement per month from their offices.

The reason is, of course, to save the trees by printing less. Of course they are willing to print tons of the stuff if you are willing to pay -- which will go directly into their profit but that's another problem, no ?

Also add her…

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For a while now I've started using GMail's "Archive" button aggressively on my inbox. The end result has been that from thousands of emails, I now have 0 (zero) ! Everything is archived.

When I get a new email, it sits in the Inbox until it is resolved (ie. I reply or read it). Then it's instantly archived. Out of sight, out of mind.

I've found that this technique greatly reduces the information overload coming from emails. With a full inbox that was also showing snippets of the message (ie. small previews), every time I looked at my inbox I had some information to process. Like: oh, look, that one is starred, I wonder when they'll reply or hm, it's been quite some time since I've got an email from X as the name is on the bottom on the inbox, etc. etc.

Basically a full inbox sends you some information even when no unread emails exist. It's also quite a bad way to "search" for email. I used to manually look for some subject and/or sende…

Oh, my, how the NetBeans community has grown !

For quite some time now I've noticed an interesting trend: I don't have the time to read the email in the NetBeans mailing lists. A lot of emails where I could have given some help just fly by me as they are just too many.

Just now openide@ has 2000 unread messages, the oldest unread being from 26 November 2006 about the Manifest File Syntax tutorial (boy, a lot have changed in the Editor APIs). nbdev@ also has about 1700 unread but that's ok as I rarely post / answer there.

Now, this trend seems to be caused by two reasons: me being busy (and lately I'm working full-time on getting the Editor APIs usable in a standalone way) and the community growing.

I do remember the time when I had zero! unread messages. Now I hardly notice when another hundred adds-up.

So, how do you guys handle the workload ?

Of course, the solution might be to be a little more methodical about it and dedicate some exact time (like 30 minutes / day) but it just doesn't seem to work with me. Must b…

I'm not sure I like Web 2.0

Remember when an URL linked to something static on the net ?

Sure, an URL could be actually a script behind that allows for a more dynamic page.

But when the script is used to discriminate users for a supposedly free site like YouTube, I'm getting kinda annoyed.

This video is not available in your country ?


So Web 2.0, besides all the AJAX thingy, also brings a wide-spread encouragement to use a proxy to hide your identity ? Is this a social construct to teach us about security and privacy ? Or just a degeneration of what the Internet was supposed to be ?

I forgot what Alt + F4 does

I saw today an avatar on a forum which said "To view my display picture hold down Alt + F4".

Now, it was clearly some funny-man trick but then it occurred to me that I'm not certain what Alt+F4 does.

I've been using OSX for so long I had forgotten about Alt+F4 on Windows. I guess this is enough Microsoft-independence.

I never wanted to program on Windows or using anything Microsoft specific. This lead me to Java initially then Java on Linux and soon to Java on OSX...

Should the language shape the mind ?

I've read an interesting blurb from Lera Boroditsky (Cognitive Psychology & Cognitive Neuroscience, Stanford University) in Do our languages shape the nuts and bolts of perception, the very way we see the world?, where the basic answer is: yes, languages not only influence our way to interpret information, but also they way we perceive it.

There is an often quoted phrase in the programmers circles: When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail ,which basically states the same thing: the languages we programmers know and use influence the way we perceive reality.

That's a dangerous thing, because languages (programming languages) were only supposed to help up interpret information. Skewing our perception means we obviously don't even notice the wrong path we've taken.

Being multi-cultural -- that is, knowing multiple languages -- helps, as these may overlap and give you various perspectives on the information and thus mak…

NetBeans Platform autoupdate via BitTorrent

Something I'm pursing nowadays is having my platform applications as decentralized as possible.

And the fist pet peewee I had is that fact that the Update Centers are such, big, centralized, monolithic blocks.

I always assumed that I would need to hack the AutoUpdate module from the NetBeans Platform quite hard in order to get what I wanted all along: BitTorrent downloads for new or updated modules.

So, the first thing we have to notice is that the AutoUpdate Catalog (see DTD) provides for each module in the Update Center a location called distribution. The distribution may be a relative path to the catalog location. That is usually something like ./com-example-mymodule.nbm or it can be a totally new URL.

Now we have a first step towards splitting traffic: we can put the actual NBM file on another URL altogether. Or, if we have the AutoUpdate Catalog location sit behind a servlet we could even try a bit of balancing and return a different distribution link depending on how loaded are…