Monday, August 30, 2010

In an uproar!

I spoke with my son, Danny, this morning about his recent promotion on tour. Since the end of Van's Warped Tour, he's been working another one named Rockstar Uproar doing the same sorts of things as on the tour he's worked for five or six years now. However, he was quickly promoted to "tour festival manager." As I understand it, his duties include the entire layout of the park, the emplacement of the stages, the concessions, where the buses, trucks and trailers are parked, etc.

Uproar will be in Salt Lake City on 15 September out at the USANA amphitheater.

Gotta love bad musicians playing ear-piercing music and shouting the f-word at the top of their amplified lungs!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Apache ant: something mean in our sandpile when we were children?

I'm always behind the times. For example, my definitive ant tutorial at Java Hot Chocolate.

I should have written this up almost a year ago when I was hot and heavy on it. Instead, I waited until I had a moment, something that never came.

I don't have time today either because I'm busy writing an important application for Android. However, I figure, while it's hot in my mind, while the ant build script I'm writing for my application is closer to what I'd want to present than the humongous thing I wrote last fall for GWAVA, which is proprietary anyway, I had just better do it.

Anyway, I've got it about one-half written today, mostly the ant stuff proper, and I'll finish the Eclipse integration stuff next week, which won't be much more to add in terms of column inches.

However, I'm really behind my time. Maven's been here for what, forever now?

I've been playing with Maven for a couple of years, but because of Eclipse, have just never made the leap. We use Maven at Avocent for our builds, but I haven't undertaken to integrate it for my own use at home yet. And, I still feel very intimidated by it. It's so easy, so powerful and yet so nightmare-ish when things go south.

One day, my Maven prince will come. (Ooooo, did I say really that?)

Friday, August 20, 2010

The tubby gourmet from Provorampour


Out of the blue this morning I got a ping from the local store of Macey's Grocery chain to do a one-night cooking demonstration in the Little Theatre of their Provo store. I'm thinking of
  • Saag shorba
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Vegetable khurma with cauliflower, also carrots and peas
  • Fancy rice with traces of roast cumin and coriander, plus saffron threads
  • Roti brushed with oil, garlic and parsley

I'm having trouble imagining myself as Provo's Indian answer to Yan Can Cook. I mean, some fat, white guy who, until he got corrective surgery at 40, couldn't eat spicy food? On the other hand, I do a passable imitation of Indian software engineers arguing about how much turmeric to add to a dish.

Well, I could do something like a French country loaf. That would take me all of 10 minutes. —Nah, too boring.

I'd have to do the chicken ahead of time because there probably isn't a grill handy, at least not inside the theater, plus I've only got an hour and it would ruin the presentation (and possibly the rest of the food) to have to pop out constantly to watch over the grilling. So, uhhhhh, reheat the chicken in the oven?

I'm supposed to do stand-up, make bird calls or carry on other entertaining antics during the cooking so it doesn't get too boring. I'm thinking I'll have to do a dry-run at home to make certain I've got enough material. Maybe if I work hard on my Indian accent and memorize something out of an episode of Flying Circus? Hmmm... well, I don't want to offend.

They've got an electric range. That will be a challenge, but then, that's what I have to use when I'm doing Thai at the house of my friend, Jay Sevison. Anyway, the trick will be to prepare just enough ahead of time not to fail, but not so much that there's nothing going on during the demonstration.

My nightmare? Someone Indian actually shows up.
If this little activity happens, it will be in October. I won't be crying the date from the rooftops for all the reasons you can imagine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BlackBerry: All in a day's work

I'm scrambling to get this done before leaving for the Utah Java Users' Group meeting tonight. I'm leaving as soon as I post this.

I've successfully put together a development environment and a Hello World application for BlackBerry. And, as usual, I've written it up concurrently so that a) I have a place to return to for links, information and to see what I've forgotten, and b) others can step up faster and easier, or so I hope.

This is an experiment after nearly three weeks of deep-ending in Android development, quite successfully so far, I might add.

Of course, the two display systems are radically different, so the code I write for one will not be reusable for the other unless I can figure out how to get a little MVC separation, my next project.

At least I'm "up and running" in BlackBerry.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Today was my annual Van's Warped Tour outing with my youngest son, Danny. It's been a couple of months since I last saw him.

Danny runs a bus, some trucks and a crew who oversee various concessions at the venues. They travel all over the United States and Canada to do this. It goes on nearly three months.

My fellow Provo attendees included my wife, Julene, and her youngest, Sam. Other family members included my daughters, Andrea and Penelope, plus their daughters, Trista and Leila. My son Vic went on tour the night of the Paul McCartney concert and won't be back until October. He's tattooing all over the country out of this RV/bus he's fixed up.

Salt Lake City was treated to a rather cool day, only 90° or so and lots of wind and threatening thunderstorms that mostly glided by the Utah Fairgrounds without disturbing much other than to force the tour crews to stake down some of the tents that had been erected shoddily earlier in the day.

We made our usual pilgrimage to eat at the local Red Ignana, always excellent, best Mex anywhere!

When we got back to the fairgrounds, we wandered around collecting junk for the little girls (my granddaughters) who are always up for the trick-or-treating aspects of the show where their uncle Danny's connections net them at least a pair of sunglasses, a t-shirt, a bag to carry them in and some candy. Speaking of candy, most of us got some Skullcandy® paraphernalia too.

Then we stood on a VIP platform overlooking the main concert venue to watch Big Fish perform until I had my fill of f-words and lewd gestures, and retreated to the bus—probably four songs in all. This annual show has rather become my live, mental image of an old Gothic depiction of what hell will be: bad music, horribly dressed and empty misguided children, as well as vulgar language screamed at the top of amplified lungs. Right off the canvas of Hieronymus: Gotta love it!

Between sorties for food and fun, we chilled on his tour bus and jabbered while his mother and sister did massages in the main business office on the grounds.

A fun time was had by all and we love our Danny. His tour ends in a couple of weeks, then he's doing a two-month Skullcandy tour before coming home in early October.

I have such interesting children. I love them all.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Attaching sources to the Android SDK JAR in Eclipse

An annoying thing about Android development is that you can't easily penetrate down inside Android library code because of an inexplicably misguided decision by Google engineers who've all but disallowed it. I'll stop editorializing there because I'm trying to be kinder and gentler.

In the land of Eclipse, as long as you have the source, you can easily attach it (refer to it) from the IDE in such a way as to a) Ctrl-click an identifier to jump to its implementation or b) step down into it when running in debug mode.

I spent the greater part of today researching this problem. Much has been written about it, mostly bitter (and justifiable) complaining, but some have tackled the problem and tried to solve it. Maybe the solutions I read worked back a couple of years ago when they were inked on the Internet, but you could not prove it by my own experience following them.

I also found a lot of solutions required somewhat non-standard tools on your utility belt like git, Python and other stuff you might not ordinarily associate with Eclipse use and Java development. I'm no wimp, but my productive hours aren't ones I'll willingly spend on planet Geeky Prime just to show off my technical manhood.

In the end, I solved it (probably again 'cause I'm surely not the first) with help from a more recent website that graciously posts the source code in almost exactly the form I need it for association with Eclipse.

Pursuant to my great frustration and deep-seated desire for no one else to have to rack their brains over this, I've detailed it in my article on Android development on my Hot Chocolate site. See here.

I hope this solution saves more than one person a lot of time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The hawk's afternoon...

...or l'après-midi d'un rapace !*

Cruising toward the I-15 on-ramp after work this afternoon, I saw a hawk dropping out of the sky near my road bordering undeveloped land. Its peculiar action drew my attention. Despite my speed, as it was on a corner that I have to take, I saw just about the entire movement.

It fairly floated by the time it was 10 feet above the ground with its tip feathers extended and talons deployed.

As I passed by within probably 20 feet of the spot, it settled on prey I could not see by reason of the ground being elevated just a bit above the roadway and the dry grasses being also just a little too high. Though there were no other vehicles on the street, I had to turn my attention back to my motorcycle: I did not see the mouse or rabbit that supplied the ensuing feast.

It was pretty remarkable, just the sort of thing you'd not think twice about after seeing it on PBS Nature, but this was live and within a few feet of me.

* Meant to evoke Debussy's tone poem, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Mallarmé's verses that inspired it and which also speak of "prey."