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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wordpress on Windows

First I need the downloads: MySql, PHP, Apache and Wordpress. Also TOAD for MySql

This was easily installed on my windows XP pc. However wordpress must be completely reinstalled for every blog that is run from your server... This might be fine for a company blog, but not as a public blog service!

There are a couple of other blog applications I have downloaded and checked out, one is a modification of Wordpress - the advantage being that wordpress themes can be easily applied. Another is a more advanced abstraction - more on this when I get back to my PC at home!

The other wordpress derivatives I tried were both multi-user implementations. What I am looking for is something that will allow users to sign up and create their own blogs - like blogger and co. But will not require the complete re-install of the blogging framework: Wordpress-mu and
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Monday, September 24, 2007

real donkey kong

From [Geeks are Sexy]

In the following video, the guys from Viva La Bam and Jackass are having fun reenacting a real life reproduction of a Donkey Kong game.
It is rather funny... a great way to let kids play video games and improve their health... probably not, those barrels look like they hurt!

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Integrated Debugger for Java*/JNI Environments Part 3

I am in the middle of putting together an integrated debugger environment for Java/JNI. It is a very cool idea from the Intel What if community program. But I am having issues getting Harmony JVM to work correctly in Eclipse, it is probably an issue with the build I am using or how I am putting the packages together!

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Apache httpd, php, mySQL and phpWiki on Windows

Apache httpd, php, mySql and phpWiki. I downloaded the latest stable version of each. Though the latest stable phpWiki seems a little old! After installing phpWiki, I recalled a friend recommending twiki wiki - which requires PERL for windows and for me to change the first line in every command script to point to the location of PERL on my computer. If I was using Linux/Unix, Perl would typically be installed where twiki expects it (/usr/bin/perl). On windows it is likely to be C:/Perl/bin/perl.

Twiki is a resource that uses a user password file! Which may not be that useful if you are managing a large internet application like wikipedia! And it requires Perl, which is a pain to install on windows.

Update: My friend recommends TikiWiki, which also comes integrated with:

  • Forums (like phpBB)

  • Blogs (like WordPress)

  • Articles (like Digg)

  • Image Gallery (like Flickr)

  • Map Server (like Google Maps)

  • Link Directory (like DMOZ)

  • Translation and i18n (like Babel Fish)

So I'll be looking forward to getting home and playing with this!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Careering through life

Careering through life is the new blog of team mate Jason. As Jason's blog indicates, he is the business head in our group.

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Integrated Debugger for Java*/JNI Environments Part 2

In part 2, I will try from scratch to build an integrated Java/JNI development environment using eclipse. I feel I failed in part 1 largely because my eclipse enviornment as had so many add on packages. It isn't a clean environment, it's an old environment!

I am using (on windows XP... if this doesn't work, I'll next try on SUSE Linux 10.0):

I extracted the NCAI patch over the harmony JDK installation.

I got into building my objects... (remember to add the eclipse plugin) Checked that I had the Mixed java application option (working)...

More on this later.

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Why add BlogRush to your site?

BlogRush is a weblog syndication startup that has just spread across the blogging world like lightening. I couldn't see any good reason why. Until I read the BlogRush blog. The blog demonstrates an expert knowledge of web marketing and develops relationships with other 'respected' bloggers.

A product is anounced early, but details are difficult to extract from the other wealth of content in the blog. BlogRush is officially anounced and only days later secures 40 million page views. Issues existed and are being addressed, but a market is secured. The issues allowed people to add multiple BlogRush widgets to their blogs and webpages and increase credits and other reasonably minor offences like that.

Why do I have one on my blog? Because I'm interested to see how viral it is, it looks like an uncustomisable google ads widget to me.AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Rebel Rabble's blog

Belle has just started her blog Musings of Rebel Rabble which should be filled with cool stuff like this.
Belle is the design, graphics and basically all around cool stuff part of our yet to be named company (stay tuned for updates on where this is going and what is happening). Syndicate to Rebel Rabble!
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cool clean webdesign

source webflections

This website is really cool and clean... I'd like to see clicking on the items just bringing up a little window in the middle of the page, with some info on the webdesign, why they went that way or something else interesting... but then thats more work, why not just link to the clients?

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Integrated Debugger for Java*/JNI Environments Part 1

I post a little on DaniWeb, not really sure how it started, I think I was trying to find some answers for a javascript/ajax problem I encountered at work.
alpha_foobar has contributed to our community. So I post support there every now and again and sometimes some really interesting problems come along. This is one of those interesting problems - debugging Java/JNI solutions.

I didn't really expect this would be possible, native binaries and Java don't really mix very well and usually I wouldn't recommend it.
vvl who I can only assume is an Intel software specialist, recommended using an new Intel product Integrated Debugger for Java*/JNI Environments

The first thing that I should note is that the page would not load when I clicked on the download for windows link. After trying a couple of different email addresses and both the linux and windows download, I looked at the URL and noticed all the ampersands had been escaped to "&", after editing the ampersands, the download worked. I am using Firefox 2.0.x.
I also had to download the harmony JRE from Apache harmony. I initially went with the latest stable build...

I used to use dev-c++ to build basic c applications on windows, but I currently have microsoft's visual studio, So I thought I'd build a basic JNI hello world application.

I should also point out that I saw this as a sort of basic technical challenge... so I went and checked out how I write a JNI enabled application (it's been a while)...

I found some useful example programs under codeguru and I ended up creating the JNI HelloWorld example from the Java Sun JNI spec.

The first thing that took me ages was to realise that I needed to include the working directory on the classpath for javah to work!

It was rather easy to set up visual studio to spit out the hello world library... following the Java instructions. I had to move the Javah generated header file into the visual studio project directory (yup, I thought I could add it from anywhere!). I forgot to create a dll application, so I created an application and changed the output type to be DLL. VS still output a file named HelloWorldLib.exe, so I just renamed it and copied it to the Java classpath.

When I ran this in Java it worked! So next step is to debug it from eclipse!! Took me a while to get it to run in eclipse, had to get the libraries included, ended up doing this by editing the VM arguments in the run dialog: -Djava.library.path=.\lib Was really trying to get this done quickly now!

Debugged in Eclipse to prove to myself it wasn't going to magically work without the Harmony JVM running or intel ide plugin! It didn't :)

Now I had to follow the install instructions for the intel plugin for eclipse....

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Free open solutions to managing your online distributed projects

Part 2 of Distributed Project Management

Free open solutions to managing your online distributed projects, I will discuss the tools we are using in our company (name still pending) and how we are using them. I would also like to know about alternative uses, and software products that people are using for these tasks.

But firstly the situation, we are a company of 3 technically experienced persons, using multiple workspaces to keep in contact and do the research and work activities required. Obviously a lot of information is being created on a local disk, but using a web based solutions means that all of us can access the same information, where ever we are... perhaps in the future we may also be able to access and edit this information from our mobile phones.

Our current online solutions include:

  • gmail for email and chat - that is obviously a no-brainer for most people... free email, almost unlimited space, spell checking, dynamic address look up. But it does drive a lot of our other solution choices, as we all have a google log in, this makes central identity management easy for our documents, blogs and also provides aRSS reader. Gmail provides conversation tracking and updates conversation asynchronously - which is very useful for webbased mail. It also allows chat and as it is web based and mobile friendly, we can check email easily at the airport on a net terminal or mobile phone, no configuration required, except that your mobile connect to the internet.

  • Google Docs for web based document and spreadsheet management. If we were all using yahoo mail (with unlimited disk) or something else, then we might have also looked at Zoho documents. What is useful here is that documentation changes are tracked and multiple users can edit the same document... within reason, I believe somewhere around 5 - 10 users can edit the same document? But with our 3 man team, this won't be an issue until we have money to expand. A document can be created and edited and then uploaded, which is also the case with other tools.

  • Zoho Project, which I am still very excited about. We have been able to add in our project milestones, giving ownership to the respective team members and timelines for our objectives. The free version is only limited in the number of projects you can create, allowing you to use the calendar application and set up meetings, even recurring meetings and check out the gantt chart that shows the overall progress of tasks and how they fit together.

  • skype - forgot all about this magical invention - free voip, how could we run our projects without it?

I guess that these sort of tools do not seem very spectacular to your typical project management team - what we have here is email, word, spreadsheets and a project management tool. But you would be amazed how much time is saved by being able to access these technologies anywhere and without any configuration, email and rss even works on my cell phone! I suppose I might be able to log into Zoho and get task list on my mobile?

Future web applications that we expect to use:
Wiki - documentation is represented in a paper format, but really information is more versatile. A wiki allows sharing, linking and creating common documents quickly. Some of our current Google documents will possibly be moved to a Wiki, but I don't think a wiki completely replaces documents, it just makes it easy to reference them. Another strength of Google Docs is the ability to publish documents and reference them online.

Other interesting webbased tools:

emacs web clone: 9ne looks like a really well developed tool, but I can't remember any of the key mappings anymore.
ecco - this looks like the shizzle of web based ides. But it is only in alpha.
aptana -this is the shizzle of web based ides. Why aren't any online now? I'd really like access to good web based IDEs.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

online project management tools

Part 1 of Distributed Project Management

With the start of our new company looming, we have projects to plan! So I have been checking out project management tools that allow me to set up projects and manage them online. There were two tools that I have taken a look at, both using Firefox:

  1. which I found to be unusable in Firefox. I could not full in all information to milestones or assign tasks to the milestone. I did get a response to my feedback on this issue within a day. But I thought I might have had restricted functionality because I was using the Free version. I suspect that it is because I use Firefox. The Ajax Magazine review of the the product was very positive, but I won't be using this tool.

  2. Zoho Project Managernew-doc-sheet is the tool we have chosen for our company's project management needs. I have found the tool easy to use, easy to add users to, easy to create meetings. The free version does have limitations, I can only create one project. However after this first project, I am sure we will be purchasing a version of the Zoho tool... once we have a little money in the register.
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javascript style

The Ajaxian has a good bullet point summary of Douglas Crockford’s Elements of JavaScript Style part 1 and part 2.

Javascript is a language here you can get by not really understanding the language and proper styles, so if you browse through the source code available online, you'd likely see any mixture of four types of code...

  1. Java style - where the code is formatted in respect to Java coding conventions, you'll notice brackets on the same line as method declarations, conditional statements and loops. You'll also notice 'camelBack' naming and perhaps also the use of prototypes as Objects and possibly different files for each set of coupled functions.

  2. C-Style - Here you will see the code following C coding conventions. Brackets on new lines, naming convention using the underscore for naming variables and functions. Prototypes used as structs - this is really the closest to what prototypes are, as you can't have function pointers in Java.

  3. VB-Style - you won't notice there is any formatting in the code and none of the lines will have a semi-colon at the end.

  4. Obfuscated - There are two methods of obfuscation: 1. Write using urlEncode - which can be used with other steps to obfuscate the code, there really isn't any method of obfuscating javascript that can't be reversed by the client. 2. So using functional pointers, really small variable names and no redundant white space, seems like a pretty good idea. Which is what Google does to power its web applications.

Unless you are trying to improve the user experience, I don't think obfuscation is sensible. HTTP is a text based protocol, you should just accept that people will take a look at your code, so unless there is a massive amount of common code you are optimising, take a look at a style guide and make it look as good on the inside as it does on the outside.

The DOJO Toolkit also has a comprehensive style guide.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

mikeos 1_0_0 release

The startup of our own company is in the pipeline and more exciting for me. However, I am also a big fan of this type of thing. Operating system design centric operating systems... MikeOS is:

"MikeOS is a 16-bit real mode operating system for x86-compatible PCs, written entirely in assembly language, which boots from a floppy disk or CD-ROM. It features a text-based dialog-driven user interface, a command-line, support for FAT12 (MS-DOS-like) floppy disks and sound via the PC speaker. It can load external programs and has over 30 system calls. Additionally, basic DOS .COM program support is included."

Check out the handbook for more info!
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team assembled

Yes, it has finally happened. A team including myself and two others, met in Auckland to discuss opportunities in a digital age. We discussed how we may benefit humanity and ourselves through exploring our own ideas. A number of great ideas were discussed and I suggested those that we didn't have the time or energy to explore should be published to the world - so others might also benefit from our ideas.

What amazes me, is that many of the ideas I thought were original, were published on blogs the morning of our meeting, before my team even had an opportunity to discuss the idea. But I don't see this as any reason to trash a business opportunity, as you can always add your own spin on an opportunity and we live in an age where information is shared at an alarming rate - I doubt Richard Pearse or the Wright brothers would have stopped trying to fly just because they knew someone else was working on the airplane across the world.

The team is yet to incorporate itself or set up a website... but planning has begun and an online presence and a sneak preview of what we are going to be all about is only a few weeks away. The rest of the team will also be blogging about progress and web 2.0 influences, but their blogs are not yet available - so stay tuned!
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

guerrilla marketing on social networks

Putting a non-profit organisation on myspace and using myspace to market locally are two really good articles on getting your organisation online. One relates to non-profit organisations, but there is little difference between marketing non-profit and business. Though I'd say that non-profits have a massive advantage. On Facebook, several groups have been set up for non-profits, these easily attract members to a 'good cause'. On the other hand, businesses and products almost need a solid 'fan club' or cult status before any online group is likely to be successful. For the profit based organisations, widgets and applications should be considered to be the first step. And if you take Red bulls lead (arguably Red Bull is already an expert in the guerrilla marketing field) - the application doesn't even need to be related to your organisation, but fun... with enough depth, your message will be spread.
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Adding in bookmarking functionality

All of these features are really an investigation into how difficult it is to incorporate these site social marketing techniques into blogging utilities so they actually work. Firstly I noticed that as soon as I went into compose mode, blogger added html line break tags into the javascript!
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Also looking at eyeOS & ghost.

This looks like a really interesting and proactive assault on the web based OS market... which as such is a developing area, gaining strength through Google Docs.

Unfortunately, I was unable to register an account with ajaxWindows, but the screen shots on Maverik's blog look impressive.

I was able to check out the demo for eyeos - it was really easy to use. It lacks a spreadsheet application. The cool thing about eyeOS is that it is open source, so any features you'd like it to have, or bugs you'd rather it didn't have, can be removed by you - if you are capable.

This open source software blog does a nice review of both eyeOS and ghost (a proprietary system, with free demo accounts).

Being a software developer myself, the two features I find particularly interesting about the future of webos, is the ability to write code and integrate it into the platform. youOS does this very well, making it a better example of the social powered web. Though, being open source, eyeOS really does this a different way.

Techquila Shots

Personally, I can't stand tequila. But this is a very interesting blog by Steve Poland. It outlines a number of business ventures that he thinks are interesting or will work. He has also asked for public donations to fund one of them - which is news worthy by itself!

I think this blog is interesting because I have been thinking about business ideas in the last couple of weeks. I think I've considered some 20 or 30 ideas, which I thought was excessive and almost impossible to complete them all in ones lifetime. But I hadn't really thought about publishing them and getting user input on them... which is really releasing them in the public domain.

I am pretty sure Steve Poland doesn't hold IP or copyright over any published ideas - but who cares? who has time to implement so many ideas? Steve is up to "original idea" number 74!!

Steve also runs a buy/sell service for web2.0 companies... which is a pretty good start-up idea. I think I'll also start publishing business ideas, writing about them is much easier than making them work!

Also worth checking out technocrunch news, which is sort of like the opposite to techquila shots... technocrunch looks at what is good and bad and happening in the web space - sort of opposite to techquila shots. Now technocrunch indirectly led me to... The business card search engine... it's a cool... sort of a diner business card pin up wall for the internet (so you can search it)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Zimbra is a pretty cool alternative to Google applications (if you happen to have access to your own server to host it). This mashable article on Zimbra's growth explains the effect of Google documents on Zimbra's growth.

Column oriented database systems...

Vertica, Google BigTable, seems like they perform faster and smarter... how? Just by being smarter? They use less space... is it the way of the future? No more normalising tables?

Ok perhaps not.. from Google Labs:

"Bigtable is a distributed storage system for managing structured data that is designed to scale to a very large size: petabytes of data across thousands of commodity servers."

From Wikipedia bigtable article

"BigTable is a fast and extremely large-scale column-oriented database system, with a focus on quick reads from columns, not rows."

The wiki article on column oriented databases sums it up nicely... As most data in a column is of a similar type, it can be compressed to reduce disk reads and the database need only read a few columns as opposed to the entire table with row oriented database systems. However inserting/writing a row is obviously faster.

But it seems to me that the ratio of File IO performance to CPU power must need to be specially geared for us to be able to search extract and decompress data faster than a row oriented system can find and deliver the all important information?

C-Store DB
Google labs whitepaper(pdf)
How Google works

Monday, September 10, 2007

Business plans online

Some resources available online to assist and guide setting up businesses and the business plan. Mostly targeted at the USA markets, but usually this type of information has a global audience.

interview with a teen entrepreneur
finding a niche
interview with a teen entrepreneur
restaurant startup notes
bar startup notes
staff resourcing startup notes
eBusiness startup notes
Teen business ideas
Business Plan toolkits
1000 Ventures
Business plan basics
Business plan ideas
Microsoft template

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Corporate VM solutions

I am currently trying to get a virtual machine development environment set up that conforms to corporate restrictions - it is a real pain. But hopefully it will save future developers a lot of head scratching as they try and configure their own personal environments... *hopefully* we will be able to copy, reSID, add to domain and start coding - with Mr./Ms. new Developer only being involved in the later step: Start coding!

Stumbled across this solution provider, so it looks like there is some money in this. With off-shoring/out-sourcing, internet based secure development environments must be in demand - at least in the future?


Grabbed the source for cgic and dropped an executable into the cgi-bin directory... everything worked very easily. But what are the security concerns of running executables from the cgi-bin? I presume they are the same as running scripts from there, with the added overhead of being more cautious about array length...

As a java developer, we tend not to worry about this type of exploit very much. Even though it still applies.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I was going to look into YUI, but I found jQuery, which is a lightweight javascript toolkit to help speed the javascript development process. So far, I'm a fan. But perhaps it doesn't provide as much functionality of other JS toolkits?

Other stuff:
visual jquery
15 days of jquery