Review of Ant Developer’s Handbook

Well, the reviews of my book Ant Developer’s Handbook are in. Here is a picture of the reviewer as he curled up in his favorite easy chair with a fresh copy. His comments, “Great, Daddy!” and “I liked pretending that I loved it!” Maybe I can get him to write a review at

Thomas, my son

What I Don’t Like About the Java Plugin

Why can’t the Java Plugin on Windows unload itself after you leave a page with a (stupid) applet on it, or after X amount of inactivity? I generally despise applets, but sometimes I have to use them, such as the one on the WebLogic console. What I really hate is pages that have an applet just for ad rotation. I have no problem with sites having ads, but loading up the Java VM (no small amount of RAM there) just to rotate ads bothers me.

But anyway, if they won’t do an auto-unload feature, at least give me the option of killing it via the Windows systray? (I am pretty sure that on Linux systems the plugin doesn’t hang around, but I could be wrong.)

How hard is that?

It’s Dead, Jim

I’m working with some Java wrappers for some CICS programs on our mainframe. I’ve been having a devil of a time getting the thing to work properly. In typical mainframe fashion, when it fails you get an ABEND and then some less-than-useful messages. Dig the one that I just got:


At least it was honest…

Federal Agent Molests Penn

You’ve got to read this. It’s a journal entry by Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller (you know, the magician/comedians that do really gross illusions). Well, Penn (the tall one) had a bit of an experience when he flew back in November with out wonderful new Federal airport security screeners. Here’s a brief excerpt:

I say, “You mean videotape? Yeah, go get it.”

She says, “Well, it’ll take a long time, and you don’t want to miss your flight. We have no problem with you, you’re free to go.”

The cop says, “Your guy grabbed his crank. That ain’t right.”

The whole story is really funny and sad, all at the same time. I laughed. I cried. It moved me.

OK, Maven is Cool

I installed Maven tonight and within about 20 minutes had one of my simple projects building with it. Once I create the project.xml file, running maven java:jar fetched, compiled and jarred everything into a ready-to-use jar file. Running maven site:generate generated an entire project website including developer information, code metrics and other useful stuff. Very nice indeed. And this after spending less than half an hour with it!

“Weird” Error Messages

Whilst trying to use the nifty management console included with JRockit (supposedly the world’s fastest JVM), I recieved this error

COM.jrockit.common.util.AssertionFailedException: Received a weird y = 114 or weird time = 1041533639613 class = com.jrockit.console.ui.chart.DataSourceMemoryHeap

That’s the first time I’ve ever been told by a machine that something was “weird.”

Maven and Eclipse

I got this from James Strachan‘s blog. It’s about how you can have Maven generate the .project and .classpath files in order to have Eclipse auto-grok your project!

You can define this property a local, in the in your home directory or on the command line via -DpropertyName=value in the following command.

Then to update your eclipse installation so that its aware of the Maven repository, type the following.

maven eclipse:add-maven-repo

Now once you’ve configured your Eclipse installation, you can just cd into any of your maven-enabled projects directories and type

maven eclipse

and Maven will create a .project and .classpath for you!

Here‘s the full article. I’m a huge fan of Eclipse, and as I said before Maven was something I’d been meaning to look into. This adds another reason to look at it.