Zembly victim of Oracle takeover

Posted in: Enterprise Java

Just received this email from the Zembly team at Sun. They don’t specifically point the finger at Oracle, but it doesn’t take a genius to join these dots.

We regret to inform you that on November 30th, 2009 we will be suspending the zembly service.

More than three years ago, we started this project with the goal of making it easy to create next-generation Web apps. Our original tagline was “Build the web, using the web,” and the ideas we were incubating around platform-mediated Web applications, Web API mashups, and social programming were brand new.

We learned a lot along the way. Your confidence and enthusiasm helped us improve the project and do amazing things that we never imagined when we began this journey.

Thank you to everyone who’s been with us through the ups and downs. It’s heartening to see that many of the best ideas pioneered in zembly have started to appear elsewhere. With your support, we’re proud to have contributed to the DNA of the Web.

For more information about the zembly suspension, please refer to the FAQ section at http://zembly.com

Finally, if you have questions, please contact us at zembly-support@sun.com

All the best,

– The zembly team

Sun Microsystems, Inc.
4150 Network Circle
Santa Clara, CA 95054
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Apple MacBook Pro Memory Upgrade

Posted in: System Administration

When I buy a tech gadget, whether it be a cell phone or a laptop for example, it always costs me twice as much as everyone else. No matter how good a deal I try to find, it always ends up costing me exactly twice as much as everyone else. Does this happen to you?

It is caused by Geek Wife Gadget Purchasing Syndrome, wherein I cannot buy any cool technology without also getting the same thing for my wife because she also covets cool gadgets.

We had planned to update to the latest MacBook Pro this coming January, as that would mark 3 years since we purchased our current identical in every way MacBook Pros. However, in these turbulent economic times and because of the syndrome mentioned previously, we decided to explore alternatives.

In the end we decided the laptops were not too bad and we could probably squeeze another couple of years out of them, but we had to do something about hard drive space and RAM. So this post details the RAM upgrade and I will detail the hard drive upgrade in another post.
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Microsoft Hates Testing … Um, No Surprise There

Posted in: Software Development Best Practices

A colleague of mine forwarded an article to me during this last week, which he prefaced with the following statement …

guys, I’ll write it in all caps and bold:

I AM NOT PROMOTING OR IN AGREEMENT OF ANY OF THE POINTS THE ARTICLE MAKES.

… which begs the question, why did he send it not only to me, but an entire team of people? I choose to believe it was because he is an enlightened soul that understands that the best way to reinforce your own beliefs is to read more of the opposing point of view, not more of the view you already have. I am lucky to have a few of these souls working for me right now.
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Design Patterns 15 Years Later

Posted in: Software Development Best Practices

It is one of the most venerated books in the world of Software Engineering. It is such an icon it even has its own nickname and even the acronym of the nickname is easily recognized by most software architecture and design zealots.

I am of course talking about Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson and John Vlissides. Also known simply as the Gang of Four book, or even more simply as just GoF.


I in fact never purchased the book myself, but I have definitely read it and it has been on my bookshelf for the best part of a decade now. When I first moved to the United States I moved into an apartment that was being rented and paid for by the company that hired me. It was the heady days of the .com explosion so there was a high rate of turnover at the company. When I moved into the apartment, it was clear that the previous occupant/employee had only just vacated and had left some personal belongings behind. One of the items carelessly discarded was a copy of Gof.

Now to be fair, the book will put the hardiest of readers to sleep pretty easily – it is most definitely a tome of knowledge, not a work of entertainment. But nonetheless, my copy is certainly worth the dead trees it is printed on.

As with many new ideas, there is rarely just one person thinking about them. It usually takes these visionaries getting together and coming up with some common terminology and cohesive thoughts to really launch the new idea into the mainstream. This is what GoF did for Design Patterns, and it is in this launching that its main value resides.

It is hard to believe that this book is already 15 years old. But InformIT has just published an interview with 3 of the gang (Vlissides died on Thanksgiving Day in 2005) to look back on the book, its influence on the Software Engineering industry since its release and whether in the rapidly changing world of app stores, mashups and the like, whether the book is still relevant.

InformIT: Design Patterns 15 Years Later: An Interview with Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, and Ralph Johnson > Design Patterns 15 Years Later: An Interview with Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, and Ralph Johnson

Google Wave Introduction

Posted in: Uncategorized

Adobe Flex 4 Overview

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Palm WebOS Overview

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Performance Analysis and Monitoring with Perf4j

Posted in: Enterprise Java

The Twitter Book – The First 100 Pages (#TwitterBook)

Posted in: Social Networking

I couldn’t get to sleep last night, so pulled out The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein. I purchased it the day it came out a couple of weeks ago, but with JavaOne etc. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

It is an easy read so far, I made it through the first 100 pages before my eyelids finally gave in.

I think I have bookmarked every other page so far, because there are things I need to go back to and address – mostly websites and tools I need to take a look at.

I will post up a more complete review when I am finished with it.

Get Your Firefox Add-Ons Under Control

Posted in: Software Development Best Practices

Firefox add-ons can be hard to manage – for me, mostly in terms of finding quality add-ons that do something you find useful.

There is a new feature available called Add-on Collections. The name is helpfully descriptive – basically people can now group related add-ons together, give that group (or “collection” if you will) a name and list it on the site. So if you are on every social network, there is a collection of all of the add-ons that allow you to stay connected with those networks from the browser. If you like to travel, there is a collection that pulls together all of the add-ons that will help you do your thing. You get the idea.

Read more about Firefox Add-on Collections here.

So, if you consider yourself a web developer of any kind, please take my recommendation and install the Web Developer’s Toolkit collection right now, today, without delay. Hopefully you are already using Firebug, but there are a bunch of other add-ons in this collection that you might not be using already and you really should be.

And if I can provide one more piece of advice today – learn to use the tools you have available to you. Every day I see software developers doing things the hard way, particularly when it comes to debugging issues. There is a cornucopia of tools out there to help you do your job and if you know how to use them and you know what issues they will help you solve, you will instantly become a better developer – more efficient, more productive, more reliable, more dependable – perhaps, dare I say it, a craftsman.

Imagine an Electrician who carried around a whole toolbox of tools, but only knows how to use a screwdriver and a hammer – he can probably complete most tasks with those two tools, but he is probably going to disappoint his customers and not make much money as a contractor.

So, in summary, get some decent add-ons for Firefox to help you be a better Web Developer, and then actually take the time to learn how to use them. Easy.