Blogstipation!


Listen up people. I’m suffering from a condition that affects many artists, designers, musicians, etc. It is a common issue that impedes the creativity centers of the mind. (Not that anything I’ve ever posted here is creative in the least but bear with me.) It’s a little embarrassing for me to talk about but I have to spit it out or else I’ll feel like I’m cheating you. (It’s one of those conditions people typically keep between themselves and their physicians.) I’m blogstipated! Yes, I’ve been getting my daily share of fibers though my diet is a bit crappy. (no pun intended.) I dunno, I’ve been writing lots of stuff but I haven’t been able to hit the post button for one reason or another. After all of the computer glitch and scratch drama weeks ago we had a bad storm in my hometown. I came home from work (on the Monday of my last week) to find the top half of one of my trees chilling half in my driveway. The other half was still hanging by a thread from a thin branch connected to the rest of the tree. Upon discovery I thought, “today would be a great day for my two-year-old to go playing in the yard. Hmm.. I could let her completely saturate the toddler curiosity by introducing her to the dangling top half of what used to be our tree. After all nothing compliments the good news of a new career move like a trip to the ER shortly before you start with your new company!” I was able to break it two days later and in the evening I finished the final cleanup treating my neighbor to a few days of yard debris.

But that’s not why I gathered you here today! No I have some completely new frustrations. Here I am near the end of my second week at my new job and I’m completely out of my element. You know how you feel house sitting for a buddy where everything is subtly out of place? You want to pour some cereal but they don’t have a pantry and the bowls aren’t in the cabinet next to the dishes. They have a coffee maker but it’s one of those fancy models that grinds the whole beans for you. The TV remote is universal but isn’t programmed to operate the cable box or DVD player. That’s the feeling I have. I know what I need to do. I know how to do it but everything requires that extra level of effort. To start I’m working from a Windows box. It’s a nice Dell with an Intel Core Duo Conroe and should rightfully knock the socks off of the box I used to work from, a Dell P4 2.8 Ghz with Hyper-threading. I’m not getting the performance bnang I hoped for though due to a number of obvious reasons.

  • I’m no longer running Linux natively (I took a crack at Ubuntu over VMWare on XP). Instead company policy is not to change the standard WinXP image on your machine. Instead one must order a new box with Linux pre-installed.
  • My company insists on corporate standard issue of the AOL software stack which includes AOL A/V anti-spyware, AOL keyword based browser/email/chat client in addition to the more recent corporate required move to MS Outlook for Email.
  • Did I mention that I’m running WinXP now?

That list is exhaustive enough to exhaust any modern PC, even one of those Maximum PC Dream Machines. Along with slower speeds from a beefier box I have to put up with the lack of Finesse Windows offers for developers. Most programmers don’t realize what they’re missing out on as they cling to the band wagon OS of choice. How I miss symbolic links! Windows shortcuts just don’t cut it! I had it up to here (I’m leveling my hand by the top most follicle of hair protruding from my scalp as I type…) when I started getting those classic Java backslash bugs. The one thing that pushed me over the edge was my latest attempt to launch Jetty from the command line. This attempt resulted in a baffling “‘Program’ is not a reckognized command or file name” error. I studied the Jetty install for thirty minutes reading over the launch batch file not seeing any trace of “Program Files” in any source. It finally dawned on me that an earlier sinking feeling I had when my JDK windows installer snuck the JDK into the “Program Files” folder had finally come back to haunt me. I had set my JAVA_HOME environment variable to where Windows likes to install stuff and that was the very same variable that the Mortbay/Jetty folks decided to use to launch the JRE. You could blame Mortbay, I could blame Windows, or we all could blame it on the fact that many Java developers prefer Linux and just don’t put the effort into Windows compatibility that they should. After all how many people run servlet containers on a Windows desktop from the launch batch file? I’d guess not too many or the error would not be there. (and here).

The other toe stubber I ouch along with is a completely different tool set. I was second cousins with Perforce, picking up Bazaar, and finally getting used to Subversion when now I have to use CVS. Add to that MyEclipse instead of Idea, and a portlet server with custom Ant scripts instead of Maven2/servlets development and you start to see how things are really similar but off by one. My IMs come through Trillian instead of the more familiar Kopete and I play my tunes with WinAmp instead of Amarok. I can’t stand it! It’s close but not the same, gold instead of platinum, MC Hammer instead of Wu Tang, crackers and soup instead of cookies and milk, the chubby friend with acne instead of the hot chick with the boyfriend you weren’t aware of, three quarters and two dimes instead of the dollar bill you needed to get through the toll booth, “America’s Got Talent” not “American Idol”… running out of analogies… holla back with your own…

2 Comments

  1. I see your pain.. Just an FYI, regarding the soft links on windows there are a number of tools for creating NTFS hard links and such (e.g. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_junction_point). I know this is just one of the pain points, but hopefully you’ll be able to eliminate all, one by one..

  2. Thanx for the tip Alex! I had no clue about NTFS junction points. I’m using them now and they work pretty good. Though I did have some trouble getting a sym link to point to a network drive, something that would be a no brainer with Linux. The big idea was to move my Maven2 install to a shared server so that the team could share the configs for our in-office proxy. I moved it but couldn’t sym-link to the new location since Junction points only seem to work for locations on the local disk. For the time being I use a mapped drive and changed my env var to point to the new spot.

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