Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thousander Club Update: Week 6

Development Hours:

  • This week: 5/20
  • Total: 45/1000

Reading Hours:
  • This week: 0/20
  • Total: 40/1000

At first glance, it looks like yet another slow week, but actually it wasn't! I finally picked up on lots of stuff that I've been putting off for a while now. I did some organizing here and there, and I've also been busy working on the project; though I haven't been doing any actual coding yet -- I'm starting on that this week. As for the reading, it's kinda on hold for the time being, but I plan on catching up big time as soon as we're done with college (not to mention that the exams will help of course; a major reading time indeed!).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Changes, Changes...

"One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working." (Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Well, here's my obvious statement for the day: It's springtime! And, since spring is the time of change for me, you may have noticed the recent change of this blog's theme/skin. I just felt more comfortable with a full-width theme, and I actually liked this one's colors.

This isn't the only change, too! I have also decided to move the tutorials to their dedicated website on GooglePages. Here's the link. I put it together today and I've already copied the Java JDBC and DerbyDB tutorial there, and I will be posting any new tutorials there, with a notification post over here of course. I am also about to edit the existing tutorials here to reflect this move.

I'm hoping this would make it easier for you to access the tutorials, and for me to publish them. It has already made it easier for me to upload a sample application for the second JDBC tutorial.

I will also be working on a bunch of new tutorials as soon as I have more time to do so. I wanna write a whole series on DirectX 9 and Ogre 3D, and I already have some thoughts on the subject. I would just like to know if someone would actually read them, and what anyone thought of the current JDBC tutorials. So, I would appreciate it if you can drop in a few words on what you think about all this; including the new theme here and on the GooglePages site if you have any comments.

I know I'm a little late in saying this, but Happy Spring everyone! :-D

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

R.I.P. Edgy... And tribute to fallen others

- Rest In Peace -
"Edgy Eft Ubuntu"
Loyal Installation and Great Potential
29 February 2007 - 20 April 2007

Yep, it's dead. My Edgy installation passed out last Friday due to an unfortunate "upgrade" incident. All thanks to the recent release of the latest Ubuntu, Feisty Fawn. I was actually waiting patiently for that release and counting the minutes until I can upgrade and enjoy the new said enhancements. Unfortunately, my poor Edgy installation suffered the consequences of my haste, and I suffered the loss of a good installation and a ton of customizations. Rest In Peace, Edgy...

How exactly this happened, or what actually happened for that matter; I'm not very sure. I can't blame it on the Feisty upgrade; I might have had some inconsistencies in the system that Feisty only helped pull to the surface. What happened exactly was as follows:

I followed the suggested course of action: updated all the system packages to the latest, then downloaded the alternative installation CD and used it to upgrade the system. The first strange thing that happened is it downloaded a really large amount of data from the internet despite me using the CD for upgrade and specifically choosing to not get the latest versions from the internet. Anyway, I didn't give it that much attention and I decided to wait it out anyway.

Then there was the big surprise: I finished the upgrade and restarted only to find out the new system won't boot! I had been forced to install the 386 kernel instead of the generic one for the proprietary nVidia proprietary drivers, and now that kernel won't boot at all. I tried the generic one, which did boot but of course XServer won't start. It was catastrophic, and I was kinda tired of all the errors, so I called the death of my old Edgy installation, and decided to do a clean Feisty install.

But that wasn't the end of it. Far from that, I had to go through the painful process of installing the system, finding out that the nVidia driver still doesn't work properly even though I did a clean install, exchanging the nVidia card for my old ATI card (attempting to reinstall the system after changing cards broke XServer again), having the installation freeze up at 5% for about 100 times, then finally getting an Edgy CD and installing that instead! Believe me when I say, it wasn't pretty. It was one heck of a couple of days, and it left me feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, and I'm not even kidding about the emotionally part!!!

And to top things off, my 80 GB portable harddisk chose this week out of all the weeks to make acquaintance with the floor, after which it started from simply freezing up while accessing certain files to eventually not even getting mounted anymore. Thank God I got to save most of my things during the early phases; but of course there were some damaged files that were of importance to me, and now that it won't even get mounted I don't know what's left on it to begin with! Especially since it reached that non-responsive state in the middle of the attempted rescue operation. I'm not calling it yet, though; I'm waiting to put my hands on some recovery tool that might have a chance of at least restoring the data. My heart is filled with hope and prayers...

All in all, it hasn't been the best couple of weeks. I'm not complaining, though, I'm grateful to God for what I have and for the fact that this was all that happened. I have a feeling the unlucky streak is over, so I'll just be looking ahead and forward to the better days.

On the positive side, the final exam schedule was released yesterday, and I just found out that I only have 3 weeks left in college; possibly 2 or at most 3 lectures and I'm done! At least I have that to be happy about :-D. Of course there's lots of work to do on the project, but that's a different story :-P.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thousander Club Update: Week 5

Development Hours:

  • This week: 4/20
  • Total: 40/1000

Reading Hours:
  • This week: 1/20
  • Total: 40/1000

Well, I can safely say that it's the worst week on the chart so far! Things kinda fell out of place this week, but it was for a good reason. You see, the new Ubuntu ("Feisty Fawn") got released this week; and naturally enough I wanted to upgrade my system. It really sounded easy, just a couple of clicks and you're there. But of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems! But anyway, I'll save that story for a later, more detailed post. As of now, I have lots of hours to make up for...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tutorial: Java JDBC and DerbyDB (2)

EDIT: This tutorial has been moved here. For more details, see this post.

So, here we go again. Last time we got the DerbyDB installed and ready for use. Now it's time to take it for a little spin ;-).

2. First steps

(Click on the above link to go to the tutorial)

Thousander Club Update: Week 4

Development Hours:

  • This week: 18/20
  • Total: 36/1000

Reading Hours:
  • This week: 1/20
  • Total: 39/1000

Yeah, it hasn't been the week of reading, has it? Well, I've been kinda busy programming, and since I finished the book I was reading (Pro Ogre 3D Programming) last week; I kinda felt like more action than words. Besides, it's not like I haven't done any reading; stuff I did read include online articles, tutorials, blog posts, etc... But since those are usually in sudden, short bursts, I didn't think they could count as reading time, which I define as a focused reading session.

But overall, this week's productivity was a major letdown. I was staying home, so supposedly I should have had more done than this. I ended up with major amounts of wasted time, unfortunately. That's me, extra time means extra wasted time :-(. Well, I'm working on fixing it anyway. And I guess I'm not alone, this blog post on GBGames talks about how he deals with the problem. Maybe I should try some of the methods he suggested.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tutorial: Java JDBC and DerbyDB (1)

EDIT: This tutorial has been moved here. For more details, see this post.

That just came out of nowhere, didn't it? A tutorial, just like that! Well, I got a special request for some guidance on using database connectivity in Java, and I do have some experience in that; so I thought why not just share it with the rest of the world as well? Anyway, here goes nothing...

Basically, this will be the first in a series of tutorials about JDBC (Java DataBase Connectivity), in which we will be connecting to an Apache Derby database, aka JavaDB, and using this connection to do a bunch of interesting stuff. (The Derby database has many advantages that make it easy to learn and use. For more information about what Derby is exactly, please see the Apache Derby website. It's worth mentioning, however, that due to JDBC's flexibility, any code dealing with JDBC will probably work readily with any other database driver. I have only dealt with Derby, however, so I can't quite verify that. Nonetheless, my understanding is that this is how it's supposed to be.)

So, let's get started, shall we?

1. Setting up DerbyDB

(Click on the above link to go to the tutorial)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Thousander Club Update: Week 3

Development Hours:
  • This week: 7/20
  • Total: 24/1000

Reading Hours:
  • This week: 17/20
  • Total: 38/1000

This is one of the better weeks, I suppose. We had midterms this week, so there's no shortage of reading time (although I still didn't reach the 20 hours mark). I'm staying home over the weekend in hopes of getting some work done on the graduation project, but boy is it giving me a hard time!

The good news is, we have the whole next week off, with only the last of the midterm exams next Thursday. It's about time things slowed down a little, really. Hopefully I can get as much work done as possible this week... Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Google TiSP: Happy April Fools' Day!!!

My God, I'm still laughing!! I've been laughing on and off for 5 minutes now! I think I'm gonna be laughing about this at least for the rest of today!!!

If you've used the Classic search page today, you probably noticed the "New! Get FREE breakthrough broadband with Google TiSP (BETA)." line below the search bar. If you're curious enough, you might have actually clicked it and got to see the new, jaw-dropping Google technology, Google TiSP. Basically, the idea is they're providing free broadband access to home users, through toilets!

First you might be skeptical, or at best very curious. Then you will probably start following the links, reading through the Get Started with Google TiSP page, and eventually you might even reach the Google TiSP Help Group, which already has around 2700 users and 1700 messages, all of which seem to acknowledge how great this new technology is. All the meanwhile, your mind will probably be trying to grasp and accept the concept that people would flush a wire down their toilet for broadband! Even the press seems to like it, so why shouldn't you?! It's not that impossible anyway, this is Google we're talking about.. If anyone can do it, they can.

Well, and if anyone can come up with one damn good April Fools' Joke, they can too! Yeah, my money is on April Fools' joke. It actually took me a while to figure it out, but it just couldn't be anything else. It looks so professional and so well-thought, just like the 2002 Pigeon Rank page did. Honestly, they really out-bested themselves this time!

Seriously, Google, excellent work. What a creative joke, really! I don't think I laughed this much in quite sometime, and I definitely never laughed this much on an April Fools' joke ;-).

Happy April Fools' Day, everyone...

Edit: After publishing this post, I found this link on the Official Google Blog, talking about Project Teaspoon. From the backlinks, you can see the many other blogs referencing this post and talking about Google's latest April Fools' joke. It turns out Google TiSP isn't the only one, there's also GMail Paper. I have also found a news article talking about this and mentioning the past years' jokes as well as actual services, such as GMail's unlimited storage that got announced in 2005. People thought this unlimited storage thing was a joke too, which makes me think, could one of this year's two services be a real one? If so, I wonder which one it'd be :-P.