Got Flix!

Using Albert Banks‘ cool plugin, I’m now able to display the movies I have checked out from Netflix. I had to play around with the CSS but it all went in OK I think.

I’m interested to get your feedback on the 3-across layout — Larger images on top of each other left too much whitespace. I think this works…let me know!

Things I Have Learned Interviewing Java Developers

I have been conducting interviews with Mid/Senior level Java developers, and I have learned some interesting facts about the language that I did not know.

  • If you use “==” to compare two objects such as Strings, your code will not compile.
  • The difference between a checked exception and and unchecked on is that you must handle a checked exception and you cannot handle an unchecked one.
  • Omitting the access control modifier from a method reverts to the default access control which is the same as protected.
  • To pass information from a Struts Action to a JSP, you set it in the response.
  • In an MVC architecture, such as Struts, the JSP’s represent the model.

Guys, if you are going to interview for a programming job, brush up on the fundamentals! May I suggest a certification or two; perhaps a black belt?

Updated 5/32/2006 -CB

Agile Project/Issue Management

The dev shop I manage really has no choice but to be agile.  With lightning-fast changes in priorities, there’s no room for wholesale planning beyong a couple weeks out.  What’s missing, however, are the tools to make this all work.

Sure we do the best we can with JIRA (a fantastic traditional bug tracker) and MS Project (a not-so-fantastic project management tool), but there doesn’t seem to be a good selection of tools to mimick an agile team.

I want creamy visual objects that represent features which can be moved between developers.  I want a view of each developer’s workload for the next week, month and year.  I want to know in 10sec what’s going out when, and which tasks are the limiting factor.

The closest thing I’ve found is VersionOne, and I haven’t had a chance to fully evaluate it yet.  If anyone has any clues, I’m all ears.

Terrifying Aspirations

I don’t spend a lot of time regurgitating political mantra on my blog, but I feel must do my part to bring light to this corner of the political world. If you, dear reader, have any inclanation against a U.S. Empire — one that forces its hand at the international rule of law despite the U.N., the E.U. or even common decency — keep reading.

During the 2004 campaign season, I became aware of a group called the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC. This group, made up of just about every Bush croney in the White House and nearby, states “that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.” Sounds a little fishy, but it gets better. Casual perusal of the site uncovers the tenets of PNAC which include:

  • Military increases
  • Stronger ties to allies (do we still have any?) and stronger threats toward enemies (used to be able to count those on one hand)
  • Promoting the cause of freedom abroad (presumably through war, see the first bullet (no pun) point)
  • America (not NATO, not the UN, not Western Civilization) is unique in its ability to rule the world

I strongly recommend reading the PNAC Statement of Principles which goes into more detail and also lists the members (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, just to name a few).

Folks, this group scares me to death. They outright state that their goal is to build military might and take over the world! Anyone see a problem with this? Is the reasoning behind our meddling in the Middle East becoming more apparent now?

If the last 3 years have shown us anything, it’s that PNAC is incapable of doing good. The Middle East is just one little section of their plan, and it’s failed miserably. Imagine what might happen if they get their tentacles into other parts of the world. Sheer disaster.

Please do your political duty and get familiarized with this group, so that you see what the White House is up to. Many decisions made after 9/11 will become clear when you realize the motives of the people we’ve elected.

For a more thorough assessment of PNAC, read Miles Wooley’s recent article on

My First Rail

I finally got a little time last night to check out Ruby on Rails. I have been hearing the hype now for over a year and I was pretty certain it would live up, and I’m here to tell you that it does. As a J2EE developer I respect OO design and and well thought-out conventions. Ruby embraces both and delivers a slick little setup that lets you get a data-connected webapp running in minutes.

The nice part is that with one install, you get the Ruby language along with Gems, the package manager. Gems works a lot like Yum does for linux, and with one gem command, you get the complete rails package, including a little webserver called WEBrick. RoR passes the 10-minute test with flying colors.

I followed along with one of the recommended tutorials before I hit the sack, and I found myself lying in bed running through use cases for my new score. Damn I’m a geek.