Oracle V. Google

Supreme Court opted not to hear the case despite a huge swath of IT folks sending in amicus briefs encouring the SC to hear the case.  :(

Well, I guess it’s far past time to stop using Java.

Oracle may have “won” but it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory when everyone and their dog stops using Java.

We’ve already started at my company. We’re phasing out products that rely on Java (notably Cisco ASA firewalls) and are going to either non-java-web-based products, or products whose admin tools don’t use Java in any form.

Not sure what’ll happen with Android’s ART/Dalvik, but I have to assume Google has something in the wings to throw in to place if they don’t win the fair-use trial. Or even if they do win, for that matter.

Though there may a loophole – since ART/Dalvik are already open sourced, perhaps they can use the GPL’d Java headers, and relicense ART/Dalvik under the GPL.

It’ll also be interesting to see how this affects the compatibility layers for Android that have started showing up in the newer Windows and OSX builds… Presumably, and sadly, they’ll be dropped in fear of being attacked by Oracle.

This may end up being a huge win for OSS, actually. If programmers stop trusting that they won’t get sued for being API compatible with a closed-source API then they may choose to use OpenSource APIs instead.

Still, fuck Oracle, and fuck copywrite maximalists. These companies that were built on innovation are now spending millions to stifle it. Fucking hypocrites.

Dell XPS 15 9530 8-month review

So I’ve been using a Dell XPS 15 9530 as my daily (and nightly!) driver for the past 8 months.  I have the top-end version (3200×1800 touch, Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD)

It’s not the perfect laptop, but it’s damn close.  I primarily use it for work, which is to say I use Windows, light virtualization, and spend a fair bit of time in Colocation facilities or at client sites.  I also use it for all my gaming needs – at least once I week I play a few hours of Borderlands 2, or Mechwarrior online.

Things I like:

  • Thin and light – For it’s size it’s remarkably powerful.
  • Touchscreen – I didn’t think I’d use it a lot, but I often find myself poking at the screen.  It’s nice to have the option.
  • Keyboard – The keyboard is great.  Absolutely no complains.  It’s a joy to use.
  • Screen – The screen is gorgeous.  Though I usually run it at half-res (1600×900) since a lot of the apps I use day-to-day don’t scale nice YET.  e.g. VMWare console, RDP, etc.  It’s bright, quick, and crisp.
  • SSD – The SSD is huge and zippy.   Once you go SSD you can never go back.
  • Battery life – Exceptional!  I regularly go all day without plugging in.  The battery in this thing is awesome!

Things I wish were better

  • Cooling.  Gaming on this thing requires some compromises, and it’s all due to cooling.  Most games can run at half-res + high detail at 60 fps for about 10 mins and then things drop to 10fps due to heat throttling.  To get around this I’ve had to run things at lower settings and cap framerates at 30fps.  With those compromises it can play for hours, but it would be nice if the cooling system was capable of handling the head load the hardware is capable of generating.  I get that compromises were made in order to make it thin & light, but IMHO Dell got the balance wrong here.
  • Trackpad.  The trackpad is OK most of the time, but sometimes it gets stuck down and I have to flex the chassis to get it to unclick.  Doesn’t happen enough for me to put in a call to support yet, but that’s something I’ll have to do before the warranty expires.  Heard similar complaints from other XPS owners.
  • Ethernet.  Why is there a trend to not put Ethernet on laptops?  For the love of Pete PLEASE give me back my Ethernet port.  Dongles suck.  For casual users wifi may be enough, but for anyone serious it’s just too slow and flakey and not always an option.  Had I realized that the 9530 didn’t have Ethernet when I was selecting it I probably would have gone with something else.

Overall, I’d give this laptop an A-.  It’s very very good, and juuuust shy of great.  If Dell had done a better job of balancing the components against the cooling system it would get an A+.


Why does Internet Explorer suck?

So last night I was installing a brand new Exch 2013 server on Server 2012.

One of the prereqs for Exchange had to be manually downloaded (unified communication library, or something) from Microsoft.

No problem, thinks I, I’ll just open up IE, paste in the link and download.

Except no.  Can’t download.  No download button.

Ahah, I think – I just need to put the site in to Exploder’s “trusted site” list.  Which I promptly do.

Still no download button.

Set the security level for trusted sites to the lowest possible – Medium Low.

Still no download button.

Add “*://*” to trusted sites.

Still no download button.

Install Google Chrome, and voila.  Download button!


How much animosity must exist at MS between their website group, their OS group, and their Browser group for this to take place?!?!

WHY is the easiest way to download MICROSOFT PRODUCTS from a MICROSOFT’s WEBSITE on a MICROSOFT OS involve installing a competing browser?

Just one more reason to make installing Chrome the first thing you do on ANY Windows machine, server or workstation.

Mosh, Putty, and Cygwin (with a side of Cygputty)

After reading about Mosh (Mobile Shell) I had to give it a try.  This is truly SSH for the modern age.  Connections STAY connected even when your IP changes, or you roam from network to network.  You can put your laptop to sleep while connected, carry it to work, open it up, and the connection is still live.  Amazing!

  1. Mosh on the server(s)
    • This part is easy.   Follow the instructions from the Mosh site for your distro.  Since I’m running Ubuntu 12.04 it was as easy as “sudo apt-get install mosh” but it will vary from distro to distro.
    • You may have to open some holes in your firewall – I had to do a “sudo ufw allow proto udp to any port 60000:61000” to let Ubuntu listen on the req’d ports. 
    • You’ll also need SSH access to your server, as the initial authentication + initialization of the Mosh session is handled via SSH.
  2. Cygwin
    • Also Easy.  Download the setup.exe from Cygwin, and run it.  There are a few extra packages you’ll need in order to compile Mosh for Windows, so make sure you select:
      • make
      • boost
      • libncurses-devel
      • pkg-config
      • and perl
  3. Mosh for Cygwin
    • This bit requires some compiling, but don’t be nervous.  Step by step instructions are at Gisthub.  We’ve done steps 1+2 already, so start from 3.
  4. Putty (Or Kitty!)
    • Download and install Putty, or Kitty if you prefer.  Kitty is a fork of the most recent Putty with a bunch of new features – like transparency settings for the windows.
  5. PuttyCyg Plugin
    • If you use Putty then grab this, or if you’re on Kitty then grab this.  Extract it in the same folder as the Putty/Kitty executable.
  6. Putty profiles
    • Last stretch!  There are a few things you need to do here.
      1. First, you’ll need to add c:\cygwin\usr\local\bin\ and c:\cygwin\bin to your path. 
        1. Open the start menu
        2. right click on Computer
        3. Click Advanced System Settings
        4. Click the Environment Variables button on the Advanced tab
        5. Under System Variables select “Path” and add “;c:\cygwin\usr\local\bin\;c:\cygwin\bin” to the end.  MAKE SURE YOU DON’T DELETE ANY THING – JUST ADD THE CYGWIN PATHS TO THE END
      2. Now, open Putty/Kitty. 
      3. Select PuttyCyg as the connection type
      4. enter “mosh” as the command – where is the host you want to connect to.
      5. Hit Open
  7. You’re now connected via Most to your host thru Putty/Kitty!  Yay!  SSH that’ll stay connected no matter how you move about from IP to IP.

Everything is a remix

Here’s an amazing video about why the patent system is so badly broken, how it’s strangling the public domain, and radically stifling progress.  Well worth watching – trust me, you need to see this.

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Doublefine Kickstart, and Game Dev Royalties

First – So exciting!  Doublefine (Tim Schafer – the name behind a slew of great games including Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend) has started a Kickstart fundraiser for a new game.  This is a great idea – bypassing publishers all together and putting the funding for the game in the hands of the audience.  I LOVE this idea – I just wish I had 10k to give in order to qualify for the lunch with Tim!

Next, this list underlines why a game developer would want to go the above route.  There are a number of incredible games on that list, many of which I have purchased from Steam or GOG.  Sadly, and unbeknownst to me at the time, none of the proceeds of my purchase actually help the developer in the slightest.  Many of them are out of business.  This is a huge problem in the gaming industry.  Publishers like EA (who haven’t actually developed a good game since the 90s!) pay a flat rate to the developers for the rights, and then pass nothing further on if the game actually does well.  And the big-name publishers wonder why people no longer buy their formulaic overpriced and overproduced piles of crap.  I basically read heading of that list as “You now have the right to pirate any of the following games.”  Which is not to say that I condone piracy – I do everything I can to support game devs, but that doesn’t include giving any of my limited budget to a greedy publisher just to fill their coffers while the folks that actually DID THE WORK have to find new jobs since their studio was closed down.  Grrrrr!  Ars Technica has a great article on the list that I highly suggest you read.

Hello (again) World

Lots of changes to the site:

  • I moved it from Godaddy to Amazon EC2.  For about the same price (and free for the first year!) I get a VM all to myself.
  • I’m flipping back to WordPress from Drupal.  Drupal 7.x’s bloggy XMLRPC interface just sucks too much ass.  Sad smile
    That means that all of the  remote management tools (e.g. to manage your site from Android) have failed to work since Drupal 6.x.  Windows Live Writer, Ecto, and all other offline blog editing software no longer worked either.  I’m giving up a bit of power in the site, but gaining a tonne of flexibility.
    It’s a pain in the ass to move back to WordPress – I had to manually copy-paste my posts from the old Drupal site.  Sorry to everyone, but the comments will be a casualty of the move.  Sad smile
  • I’m using a new theme – much cleaner.  I hope you enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy!  Smile