Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

See this movie! I’ve loved Wallace and Gromit since my grandparents in England introduced me to them with a tape of the first two shorts one visit in the late 90’s. W&G; are tremendous characters, and the world they inhabit in Were-Rabbit is so wonderfully filled out by great characters (if stereotypical English villagers) and creatures, and a great plot. Lots of pop culture references in line with trend that unfortunately has befallen all animated movies these days (I mean how funny will half the jokes in Alladin be in 25 years?) , and the occasional off-color comment make doubtful its potential as an all time classic, but its a great ride. Probably one of the best movies I’ve seen all year.

Progress In Eclipse Land

Matt brought to my attention that two of the things we worked on (One of which I presented in a poster session at EclipseCon 2005) together at IBM are gaining traction with the core Eclipse platform team –

  • Control Sets: The ability to make rich contributions (more rich than the buttons/menus enabled by actions) to coolbars, toolbars, and the status line. We created our own extension point to do just that for IBM Workplace Managed Client (or whatever the management team has decided to call it today)
  • Personalities: The ability to fully control how the window is drawn in a soup to nuts fashion as is possible with the advisor, but such that more than one different kind of window can cohabitate simultaneously in the same VM/Eclipse Platform session

Good to see our ideas weren’t so crazy after all 🙂

Cleaning a grubby iBook

I had a problem with my ibook – the areas next to the trackpad (in front of the keyboard) had gotten grubby one sunday with newsprint on my hands from the NYT and I couldn’t get it out for the life of me. So I was at the library trying to study, and found that a white eraser cleaned up the click wheel on my ipod mini pretty well, and that’s the same porous plastic as that part of the ibook, so when I got home I put my trusty Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser to work, and the grubbiness is gone! Looking at the Staedtler site, they even recommend their plastic eraser for cleaning wallpaper and lightswitches.

Why I like Eclipse

Its a known element of human behavior that familiarity with something means one will like it more – make people listen to a set of music snippets, and the ones that they hear more they will rank better. So perhaps I like Eclipse just because I’ve been using it forever (or it contains at least small snippets of my code), and know all the keyboard shortcuts to be more productive. I’ve just commented on my dislike for IDEA Intellij, so I was psyched that the J2EE project I’m working on now does all the J2EE stuff in an ANT Script, leaving me able to use Eclipse as my IDE of choice.*
My top reasons I like eclipse this week (esp after recently using intellij):

  • Fast UI – it ain’t swing – when I go back to work there it doesn’t pause while it redraws.
  • Pretty intelligent workflow – smart enough as of the 3.0 Jobs framework to allow me to background long running tasks and get my work done. Continuous compilation. (as opposed to environments without that)
  • The ecosystem – this week I had to start working with a bunch of LoadRunner “scripts” which are actually C-code – and loadrunner comes with the worst editor ever. To the rescue, the Eclipse CDT – let me edit the code with an outline view and functionality almost as good as the Java mode
  • Eclipse also has performance tools which I’m hoping to try out this week once my loadrunner scripts are done

Well that’s all I got

* I was a little disappointed with the state of the Eclipse Webtools project last time I tried it – I guess after using WSAD and its successor Rational App Developer I expected at least a form-based web.xml editor – wonder why IBM didn’t just donate an older version of its editor?

Intellij IDEA sucks

I recently got a new job where most people use Intellij IDEA. This professional product claims to “intensely focused on developer productivity” – which is interesting because of the way when files change, or once just leaves the product idle for a little while, it launches a modal dialog to show you how long it is going to take to let you do your work again – sometimes if that’s long enough, it’ll show you the quick tips which you can scroll through – the more work it has to do, the more you’ll learn about the product presumably, and thus the more productive you’ll be when it’s NOT blocking you from getting one’s work done. How can a product be this unthoughtful about the workflow of its users. Eclipse handles this great.
This is all besides the fact that its written with an ugly swing interface which takes 2 or 3 beats to redraw when unminimizing the window.

Expensive car keys

Ugh, I lost my keys the other day, including my car key, remote, and house keys. Cost to replace house key, twice – $3 (including labor). Cost to replace car key, because it has a “chip” in it: $24 for the key, $44 for the labor to cut the key and hook a computer up to the car to tell it to start when it sees the new master key. I’m at least as much for progress as the next guy, but seriously, this shouldn’t cost this much.
Anyways, in the hopes that my keys will reappear (I lost them somewhere between my car and kickball, no more than a couple hundred yards) I went ahead and postered the immediate neighborhood So we’ll see if anything comes of that.
Lost Keys Flyer

Lying “Homeless” People

Now let me start by saying I’m not opposed to the impecunious members of society asking for money – I’m sure people can legitimately get into a situation where it becomes neccessary to ask strangers for money. What does bother me, and perhaps this is a thin line to cross, is those who lie to get money. For example: There’s a woman who I’ve seen riding the red line, moving from car to car – her story is that she had her bag stolen and needs $11 to get the bus home. That’s all well and good, but I saw her three times in two weeks with the same story. I would argue that it is highly improbable for one person to be that unfortunate with their bag – but people fork over money. Would it violate some implied social contract to stand up and point out that this woman did the same thing two days ago? In fact the man next to me last time I saw her whispered “She does this all the time…”. Too true.

Ambition and the Ambitionless?

Is there a fundamental tension between playing a sport “for fun” and also trying to do well at it? I play on a kickball team, and there’s a rough split between the folks who get caught up in the game and play their hearts out, and the folks who continually recite “we just here for fun, right” – I mean the reason people play any sport is for fun, and a lot of people work hard practicing/lifting weights for years in order to do their best and have more fun in the process. Perhaps that’s what separates people with ambition from those without? People who want to do their best (and continue to raise that bar) to get the most out of everything they do, as opposed to those who just show up- and this “ambition” applies to almost everything, not just work or what have you. I’m sure the latter (ambition-less) category has a good time, but what happens when the two groups meet?
Now I’m not suggesting kickball is a sport important enough to have two a day practices and team lifting regimens – just that kickball is fun, and winning is even more fun, so there’s got to be a way to get everyone on board to try to do both.