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Michael R. Head's Journal [entries|friends|calendar]
Michael R. Head

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One more trick for testing outside of a J2EE environment (Resource environments) [13 Dec 2010|01:57am]
Recently, I was looking at running code -- that uses a container managed JMS connection factory -- outside of Websphere. I have some more code that uses some general "Resource environment entries" that provide application-wide configuration settings.

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Running code that loads a managed JMS connection factory outside of Websphere [10 Dec 2010|02:10am]
Previously, I had some code that used a container managed JDBC data source that ran in Tomcat. Today, I've got some code that uses a managed JMS connection factory to access an ActiveMQ server from within WAS 7.
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Latest Eclipse release [20 Jul 2010|05:19pm]
The latest Eclipse came out on June 23, 2010, and per usual, I'm writing a review to collect a T-shirt in this year's blogathon.Read more...Collapse )
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Strange to see NPR hosts on TV... [03 Jul 2010|06:09pm]
I was just watching a Frontline episode and noticed how much Adam Davidson's appearance resembles David Cross's.

Example A Example B
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Wallach's "Rebooting the CS Publication Process" [17 Jun 2010|05:35pm]
I just finished reading Dan S. Wallach's Rebooting the CS Publication Process, which proposes an arXiv-like publication system for Computer Science publications. It's a good read, even if it's a little more heavily focused on the issues of university academics than industrial researchers that also use the publication system (most of the current problems described and potential benefits that would arise translate well, though).

I certainly agree that a paper's influence metric should value more than just a simple citation count, and the CSpub system is designed around facilitating a change in that direction. I'm not sure about the query-based citation ideas, certainly if there's any kind of "auto-update" mechanism that changes referring papers references to "upgraded" papers.

Nevertheless, it's a good read. Something needs to change in the system. Reviewers must be overloaded these days (in my most charitable judgement), because many of the reviews I see are entirely too weak (e.g., a weak reject with no explanation or suggestion for improvement).

EDIT (2010-08-17): researchr.org seems to implement some of these ideas (publication interlinking and a "credit" metric of some kind.
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Recompile-on-save in Emacs [12 Jun 2010|03:13pm]

From time to time, I find myself trying to remember how to get Emacs to automatically recompile (or re-run pdflatex or whatever) each time I save a file. This isn't something to put in a .emacs file because most of the time this isn't desirable, but when writing or coding, it's nice not to have to think about re-running the build.


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Getting the java.util.logging facilities to log messages of ALL levels... [11 Jun 2010|08:47pm]

I spent some time today trying to figure out how to get my FINE, FINER, and FINEST log messages to print to the console without having to programmatically configure the Logger objects and without having to tweak the command line. Essentially, I wanted to configure the levels using a call to LogManager.readConfiguration(...) at the start of my program's execution.

Read more...Collapse ) Update (2010-12-10): Be a little more careful about loading the Logging.properties file. Throwing an exception from a static initializer will lead to a class load failure.
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Extending the root filesystem on a RHEL5 virtual machine running in VMWare ESXi [14 May 2010|02:13pm]
Problem: a RHEL5 VM with the default LVM filesystem layout has outgrown its initial root partition. How can the capacity of the filesystem mounted on root be increased with minimal impact (beyond having to restart the VM)? Read more...Collapse )
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Installing WAS 6.0 on RHEL 5u4 [08 Apr 2010|04:56pm]
Recently, I found myself installing Websphere Application Server 6.0 on a current Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5u4 for x64. I was running
$ sudo ./install
from the WAS directory on the installation media, but I kept running into problems during the installation. Read more...Collapse )
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Loading in a new virtual disk into a Linux virtual machine [18 Mar 2010|11:45am]
When working with virtual machines, it's not uncommon to expand the VM's storage capacity by attaching a new virtual disk. Unfortunately, the kernel doesn't seem to support hotplugging of these items, so to begin using the new disk, either the VM needs to be rebooted or the kernel needs to be told to run a re-scan manually.Read more...Collapse )
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Who's making decent laptops these days with the "nubbin" pointer? [28 Dec 2009|12:10pm]
[ mood | annoyed ]

My school Thinkpad's system board died last week (the video chip won't boot), so I shipped it in for service (we paid for a 3 year warranty on the core components). So far so good, I've been happy with Thinkpad support in the past. Unfortunately, I had damaged the plastic around the USB port 6 months ago, and the warranty we bought doesn't cover the broken plastic. So they told me they won't (OK, "can't" -- the USB port is on the system board) fix the covered problem until I pay to fix the uncovered problem... at a cost of $950 for a two and half year old laptop.

So, I guess I'm done with Lenovo / Thinkpads. I'm in no immediate need to replace it because I have a separate laptop from work. Nevertheless, I'd like to start planning it out.

So which manufacturers are still holding up the banner of quality? Are any of them coming with pointing sticks? Do other manufacturer's pointing sticks have the same feel as the Thinkpad? I have all kinds of trouble with touchpads when I'm trying to seriously use a laptop, so anything with only touch is unacceptable.

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Glass TTY TTF [31 Oct 2009|12:28pm]
I just found the Glass TTY VT220 TTF font. It makes for a great full-screen terminal experience. I set up a new gnome-terminal profile that uses the font at 20 points, disabled the menu bar, and ran it full screen:

From Misc


Edit: If you're into this, a more complete immersion has been possible for 5 years with Xscreensaver's phosphor program.
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Eclipse Galileo blogathon entry [03 Jul 2009|03:39pm]
The new Eclipse (3.5 AKA Galileo) is out. They're giving out prizes to folks that blog about the new release. Two years ago, they had another such contest for which I submitted an entry. I was so happy with the nice logoed polo shirt, that I decided to do it again. (Actually, I probably would have written a review anyway).

So, here's a bulleted list of items that were notable to me:
  • Under Linux, the buttons appear in the correct order (!). So "OK" appears on the bottom, right hand corner of a dialog, according to GNOME standards.
  • The Install tool is much nicer, making it a lot easier to find the right plugin quickly, such as Subversive, which is pretty much a required plugin these days.
  • VE is still installable under Galileo, though it continues to be the 1.4 version. Linux support continues to be present, but weak. (Installation instructions)
  • Webtools has long had a "Download and Install..." button for Tomcat 6 in the Servers view, but it still points at an out of date release (6.0.14) and failed to function on system. Nevertheless, it's easy enough to download Tomcat 6.0.20, extract it and place it under the control of Eclipse for deploying, testing, and debugging web/JSP/servlet projects.
    • A large number of servers are still supported, and the "Download additional server adapters" feature continues to exist, but the adapters need to be updated (the Glassfish adapters require an obsolete plugin, and the Jetty plugin fails to install).
  • CDT appears to work better than the last time I took a serious look at it. Completions seem to work better and more refactorings and source transformations appear to be available which should make working with headers and implementation files easier. I'm not sure it's enough to keep me out of Emacs, but it's getting closer.
  • It looks like TPTP is going into "Maintenance mode," and as such, has seen some improvement with respect to reliability. Under Linux, with Sun's Java 6 (update 13), code profiling works "out of the box." In the past, it used to require fiddling with Agents or switching to older releases of Java, due to the tooling API change in Java from JVMDI to JVMTI.
  • Mylyn continues to be solid and has a workable plugin installer (for third party support for additional task trackers).


So, the new release is an improvement. Some third party items need to be updated (particularly the additional Webtools adapters). If those tools are required, it would be best to wait some time before upgrading.

I'm still waiting for an improved welcome page with connections to the Eclipse community (similar to what I've seen in Visual Studio's start view).
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Starting my full on job search... [01 Jun 2009|11:01am]
[ mood | energetic ]

I recently defended my Ph.D. dissertation and will submit my final paper work for graduation in September. As such, I'm starting to look for work starting in October.

I'm most interested in working in a research lab building prototypes, authoring papers and patents, and attending conferences. The communities I've been most involved with are represented by the IPDPS, HPDC, and SuperComputing conferences, though I am interested in other fields.

I'm also open to considering joining a technology startup or working in more traditional software engineering roles, and will certainly discuss and evaluate any such leads.

My resume and CV are linked from my university web site: http://www.cs.binghamton.edu/~mike

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Accessing the java:comp/env JNDI lookup context outside of a J2EE container [25 May 2009|12:51am]
I was recently modifying some custom JDBC code that is meant to work inside of Tomcat where a JNDI naming context has been setup with a reference for a javax.sql.DataSource. Read more...Collapse )

Update (2010-12-10): The setupNamingContext() method above doesn't quite seem to work anymore, but I've made a new post about doing the same for JMS resources that sets up the context tree a little more cleanly.
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Tweaked IEEEtran.cls for IEEE Computer Society conferences [01 May 2009|06:12pm]
I've found some issues trying to match the IEEE CS conference formatting rules to the provided LaTeX class. After some fiddling, I've put together a modified IEEEtran.cls and sample input document which should match the formatting requirements.

I've placed this all into a web page at www.cs.binghamton.edu/~mike/ieee-cs-conf for posterity.
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Settings needed to get Mozilla Thunderbird to do the right thing. [10 Mar 2009|08:40pm]
I have used Evolution for a long time, primarily because it does the right thing for me. I have somewhat complicated email requirements due to the fact that I receive thousands of emails a day (mostly via mailing lists and many of which I may never read). Read more...Collapse )
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Spending in a recession... [12 Dec 2008|12:37pm]
After getting sick of brewing weak, yet bitter coffee at home for at least a year now, we decided to buy a new coffee maker. I had originally been eyeing these "grind and brew" machines which take as input water, whole roasted beans, and a brew time and output fresh ground and brewed coffee at the appropriate hour. Read more...Collapse )
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Converting chemical energy into mechanical energy [02 Dec 2008|11:47am]
[ mood | hungry ]

I finally got around to biking to work again today.

I foolishly thought I would save time by taking my bike to the shop to get a tune up. Sadly, the owner of the shop decided to take an unannounced vacation from the store and left me without the bike for two weeks. Worse, while he did a satisfactory job replacing the brake pads, the derailleurs aren't tuned quite as tight before, leading to gear slippage and even chain drop.

Still, it's working satisfactorily enough to get me back and forth to work. Even better, I've brought my on-road time down to about 30 minutes for the 3 mile ride. The weather was nice today, probably around 40 when I set out. My ski thermals, padded bike shorts, long sleeved shirt I got at SC08, fleece, ear muffs and gloves kept me warm enough once I got my internal temperature up on the initial ~300' climb.

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Highlights from first week in Austin [16 Nov 2008|02:24am]
After a week in Austin following a number of events, there have been a number highlights:
  • Burgers and beer at Casino El Camino
  • Burgers at Huts
  • Pad Kra Pow at Mekong River Restaurant
  • Forrest Gump mocked by Master Pancake at the Alamo Drafthouse
  • Drinks at the happy hour on the roof deck at Boundless Networks
  • Getting down with Junior Brown at Antone’s
  • Beers at The Ginger Man
  • Winning a rice cooker at Dave and Buster’s
  • Watching nurses rallying at the state house
  • Watching gay marriage advocates rallying on 6th street
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