Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oracle and Java

Since using Google is faster compared to loading the saved Javadoc, I always read the JDK Javadoc online. There was something odd today - the favicon (what's a favicon?) looked a bit off: it's a red square with a white O in the middle.

Heading off to I see that the header is different. It says "ORACLE: Sun Developer Network (SDN)". So that's where the red favicon comes from !

Well, I guess it will take some getting used to. I don't really know anything about Oracle, but I really liked Sun's logo much more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Linux: The last 10% will take another 10 years

Note: The blog post bellow was written on the 6th of December 2007, but I never published it. It seems to still be valid today and given that the laptop I'm talking about went dead and was sent for repairs last week (but most likely they won't be able to fix such an old model), I'm finally publishing it now as a remainder of what that little machine had to endure :-)

Everybody in the Linux world will tell you that Linux has GoodEnoughTM hardware support. Meaning of course that all the good stuff is missing but that your system is fairly functional.

Which is fine ! I mean, as a programmer why would I want to squeeze 100% of my machine ? We can always buy another one which will be even faster but, due to the "LackOfLinuxDriver compensating factor", will fell just like the old machine would have felt with proper drivers.

That is, bad hardware support makes you feel on today's hardware as if you are using a refurbished machine.

Ok, enough ranting. The reason I'm evil in this post is because Linux killed my laptop's battery.

I have an old Dell C840 which had a battery that only lasted about 30 minutes. So I spent about a quarter of the laptop's current value on a new battery (the Dell has two battery bays which is kinda cool).

So now, with the new battery I had about 4 hours off the grid, which was acceptable.

That is, until one night when I just let my laptop with the lid closed but, somehow, it didn't suspend/hibernate as it normally did. Instead it kept on going and going and going upto total and 100% battery drain.

Strangely, the old battery (Li-Ion), after being at 0% and about 16 hours of charge recovered and it's now back to the regular 30 minutes.

But the new battery, after days of charging is dead. Hello LI-Ion deep discharge ! Now, why in the world didn't Linux shutdown my machine when it was clear the power was running out ? Or course, some weird hardware support-related fluke. Do I care ? No: my new battery was killed.

This is sadly a losing position for Linux as they can't write those drivers in some situations (due to so called evil corporations) but it sure makes me mad to use less then what my hardware has to offer...

Another example: Linux (Ubuntu) on a MacBook Pro. It's like the ugly duckling ! The scenario is like this: I use OSX with the nice fonts, Expose, I reboot, I select Linux and then I see the horror. It's as if the machine was reduced to a cheap NoName laptop: the image doesn't "look" good, you see pixelated things, then you see ugly fonts, then you see windows that barely drag/refresh due to lack of a proper driver, then you install the binary-blob-driver from nVidia and notice that the "effects" don't hold a candle to OSX' experience (and some more pixelated stuff).

It's this last 10% threshold that I'm talking about here. Sure, hardware works 90% of the cases, but I sure would like to know I'm using the full power of my machine. Gnome does give you some GUI but I sure would like to see fonts I can stare at for 10 hours a day or some decent effects that aren't there just to show what OpenGL does.

In conclusion: I really like Linux and the reason I bought a Mac was because I needed an "unix" with proper hardware support. Because Linux still doesn't have a place as the main machine.

Linux on a headless server ? Sure ! Linux on my main machine I have to stare at the whole day: not if I have a choice.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I wonder how much does AllegroGraph cost

Although I'm not a big RDF user, I did notice that some SPARQL queries take some time on my machine so I cannot but ask myself how much faster would it run using AllegroGraph ?

Franz Inc does provide a free edition that's limited on how many triples you may store so at some point it should be easy to run some benchmarks.

But -- how much would the AllegroGraph enterprise license really cost to get rid of the triples limitation ?

Like any company that is (or thinks it is) selling an expensive item, the price is not listed, all you are given is a phone number.

I wonder how many customers are they losing this way because people assume the product is way more expensive then it actually is. Because I won't pay 0.5 million dollars to get the enterprise license. Then again, what do I know, it might be 5 mil plus  :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Personal growth a purpose in itself ?

2 or 3 years ago I used to read some of an internet-famous person's blog posts. They were mostly economical and entrepreneurship related and I liked the way they were written.

Ever since, I stopped reading his blog since his personal growth "road" has taken him into some strange areas I don't really care to follow.

For example, there were some traces of some kind of mysticism, and then he decided he should separate from his wife, then try polyamory and this year he's going into BDSM !

I know the last part since I re-open once in a while his link to see if something interesting might pop-up. Imagine my surprise when I read his latest blog post...

Of course, it could also be some cultural blocks that deny me to see the "value" in what he's is trying to achieve, but I think at some point personal growth might be able to turn malign.

Humans aren't really built for infinite growth given the simple limitation that people die. So, it might be that trying too much to "grow as a person" leads to desensitizing towards normal life. Which means that it's possible to start using more extreme "personal growth" experiences to make up for it.

Go see Avatar

Yesterday I watched Avatar in a proper cinema with 3D glasses. The experience was almost surreal and while I had already read the book long ago, the adaptation was decent.

But really -- the 3D part of the movie is where all the magic is. Well worth the ticket price !

Monday, January 04, 2010

No such thing as a bad technology

The human race will adapt to the tools and technologies it has developed. That's why the cell phone companies for example just have to play a long term game and wait: in time fewer people will be sensitive to their cell phone radiation.

It's just another level in the "adapting to the environment" game. Even if this time the environment is man-made.

The Trouble with Harry time loop

I saw The Trouble with Harry (1955) a while back and it didn't have a big impression on me. But recently I rewatched it and was amazed a...