Information overload

It’s been a while since my last post (18/01/2014) … This year I made a new year’s resolution to blog more (like I did in the good old days).

My first post since the silent years will be a bit of reflecting on why I actually haven’t blogged much and what I did instead. There are off course a lot of reasons why but in essence it boils down to a very simple reason. You set yourself priorities and whenever you don’t have much time, the things that don’t have a high priority you abandon … so blogging was for me not as important as my family, my work, … (you get the picture).

But there is actually another ‘good’ reason: Information overload. I’m constantly reading, viewing presentations, doing small Proof Of Concepts, … and doing these things has taken over producing content myself … I hope I can do things better in 2017 … let’s see 🙂

So What did I do in those last couple of years on a technical side:

Webpack + React + Redux

People who know me, are aware that I’m sometimes complaining about the javascript eco-system. On a regular basis I need to decide which technologies we are going to use to build a system that needs to be maintained for many years. During the last 4 years I’ve done assessments of which frontend framework to use. At times it really felt like the well known blogpost.

I’m pretty glad the Javascript eco system is stabilising (or so it seems). I decided to take a deep dive into Webpack, React, Rexud, …

simple conclusion: I’m glad I took the time to learn all these technologies a bit more in depth.


I’ve done several small NodeJS projects, for bigger applications I’m still more a fan of the Java / JVM world as it still feels more mature for me. However the concept of Node is simple and elegant, so if you have a similar solution in your preferred eco-system, you need to do some investigations … right?

simple conclusion: I’m glad I took the time to learn all these technologies a bit more in depth.

Amazon Web Services

Using one of the online platforms I took a pretty long track on a lot of the features of the AWS platform. I’ve been a frequent user of their services, but they are constantly inventing new things and there were still some blind spots for myself. That’s now much better with guided training and experiments.

simple conclusion: I’m glad I took the time to learn all these technologies a bit more in depth.

Scala course

On Coursera I followed a course on Scala. I followed already some talks and presentations, but never programmed it myself. During this session I was obliged to write Scala code myself. The least I can say is that it was … interesting 🙂

simple conclusion: I’m glad I took it, but will have to look for a more hands-on track as this was a bit to much focused on the theory instead of building real world applications.

NoSQL Tracks

I’ve done courses on MongoDB and Elastic Search. Both very nice products with their own positive and negative points. I’m using these technologies in several of our production systems and things are stable. Like all technologies there is some adapting and learning how they work in a production environment, but they fill the gap needed filling. So I’m glad we took this road.

simple conclusion: I’m glad I took the time to learn all these technologies a bit more in depth.

Mobile Development

My company builds server side applications, frontend applications and also mobile applications. In the previous company I founded, I wasn’t “officially” allowed to build mobile apps, so I had to beef up on this … which I did. In the meantime, I’ve build applications using Xamarin, Native Android, Native iOS (objective C, Swift is on the Todo) and Ionic (React Native is on the todo).

Very simple conclusion: doing what you love without technological impediments is how every developers life should be …

I’ll keep some more for my next post, but I’ll also do some more real technical articles.

See you soon (or so I hope)

Moved from Gnome to Mac

My last post was a follow up on Debian testing. This ran for a couple of months pretty smooth, but still it hang now and then. I had to use VMWare workstation with a Windows XP inside to run Outlook as still many of the features weren’t working using my Linux hacks.

When it crashed my VM crashed also. This had the consequence that now and then the VM got corrupted. So restoring backups was necessary. In the end it took me more time than I was willing to sacrifice.

As I didn’t want to switch back to Microsoft, there was not much left. Apple released their MacBook Pro with Retina display and this made me decide to finally switch (back). After almost 10 years of using a Linux desktops as my main environment, I abandoned it (now and then I had a secondary machine, one was Mac).

I’ve been using it for a couple of months now and it works pretty well. Okay it also crashes now and then, but I have yet to see this happen during a presentation.

The downside of Mac is off course that they try to hook you into each and every one of their products. I’m still using an Android phone and we still have a lot of Linux servers and other non Mac stuff running, so I won’t give in.

Switching from developing on Linux (and Windows) to Mac is also difficult in the beginning. As on Mac the keyboard layout is totally different from the regular LATIN-BE settings. However once you get used of it, it works pretty ok.

Like I mentioned I’m using a Retina display. The consequence is that not that much applications support the High Resolution, this gives a lot of applications a blurry look.

There is one thing I really love and that is the fact that switching from my Dell to my Mac, I suddenly got multi touch support on my trackpad. 2 finger scrolling and 3 finger gestures for switching between virtual desktops and calling expose to get an overview of all my apps and screens is just sweet. I know the reason I didn’t have this on my Dell is because Dell didn’t put the right hardware in, but that’s always the issue with all those vendors. They seem to always have som flaws in their configurations. This one I really have to hand to Apple. When they put together all the components, they seem to have figured out pretty well what are must haves and what are nice to haves. e.g. I don’t have a cd/dvd station in my system. During these months I still have to find the need to use it. Everything is online, you don’t really need this. If needed I still have a usb CD/DVD station from installing servers  that didn’t have CD/DVD stations.

As I also spent a lot of time talking to customers figuring out what is a must have and nice to have, it’s nice they manage to do this quite well.

Any way, enjoy your 2013. I hope to post some more stuff regarding the things I’ve been doing lately.

Postgresql nice to know

I had built a small application using Postgresql as my database. I used the phpgpadmin to create my database schema (if I remember correctly). When I tried to issue SQL statement I always received errors that the tables didn’t exist, I figured out that if I used “TABLE”, then it worked.

Yesterday evening I had enough. I started googling why this was happening. After some time I found the answer and doing some testcases, it seems that this behaviour was pretty logical.

In short if you use Postgresql

create table TeSt(iD varchar(200));

Is not the same as

create table "TeSt"("iD" varchar(200));

If you do the first you can actually perform select id from test (or select Id from tEsT (reverse capitals). I get the feeling everything is converted to lowercase!

But if you issued the second statement the former selects won’t work. You really have to make it pinpoint accurate. So any people out there giving Postgresql a go. Take care how you generate your tables!!

The fix I did was pretty straightforward. Export my database to a sql file (using phppgadmin)(Also export data!). Then open with your favorite editor and replace all ” with nothing, save. Drop all your tables (but be sure you exported also the data 🙂 ). After you schema is empty, perform the SQL and you should be up and running without the case sensitive stuff.

I do agree that TeSt is not the same as test. I’m pro linux filesystem file conventions, but for sql it really is a pain in the ass when you use generator tools and they fuck up.

Flex VS Silverlight

These days everybody in the web world is pushing RIA’s. We have the javascript frameworks like Scriptacilous,Dojo,GWT,… , we also have the browser plugin options like Silverlight,Flex,JavaFX. Probably I’m forgetting some here, but these are the ones I’m following.

As I worked with most of them (some more then others) my preference more and more leans to Flex for developing Web applications.


Well there are several reasons but probably one of the biggest reasons is the fact that Adobe has been releasing a lot of there core frameworks opensource. The Flex core is opensource, they recently released BlazeDS a Java framework for communicating in their own binary format with a Flash application.
For now the development platform (Flex Builder) still has to be bought, but if you want you can just use an Ant script to compile it.

Another big reason is the fact that Flash runs on Windows,Mac and Linux. Even the tool Flex Builder runs on those 3 OS’.

The fact that Flex can display a couple of thousand records in a Datagrid without crashing my browser is also nice. Try doing that with javascript (although I’ve seen a demo of a Dojo Datagrid displaying 100.000 records) but in most frameworks it just hangs your browser.

JavaFX is still in a early stage and IMHO is too little to late!

Microsoft offcourse is pushing their new Silverlight. I’ve seen some demo’s went to some workshops. And I have to admit it’s not bad but if you compare it to Flex, well hmm I’m not sure but they sure seem to be far behind. I just tried the tool Deep zoom (this was shown on mix 2008 as showcase for Silverlight 2) and I’m not really impressed. Compare it to this tool that was shown on Javapolis 2007 and you’ll see where I’m heading 🙂
On the other side Microsoft has the benefit that a Silverlight application can be written in the same language from Gui to backend. But I’m not sure if that’s really such a major advantage. If I look at friends and collegeaus they all seem to be doing some animation stuff with Flash for their customers. And most of them do it in Macromedia Flash MX. They also write code in there, the language is called ActionScript and is a real object oriented language. But these guys don’t know to much about building a large scale application. They do know however to write a nice Gui interface. So they can write components that can be used in Flex. So there Adobe also has a big advantage as they pretty much own the Graphics industry 🙂

One thing that most peeple however seem to overlook is the fact that with all these RIA applications the search engines will index much less of your page. If you for example have product catalog made with Flex,Silverlight or with one of the Javascript toolkits I’m not sure that they will be indexed by the spiders. But then again you can workaround this and always generate a Sitemap of your product catalog in plain Html. Hmm I wonder how many companies do that and how much money has been lost by companies who didn’t show up on top in a search engine because of this.
Another thing is that integration using links and parameters also gets a lot more complicated!

As I’m working with Flex at the moment you’ll here some more in the future.

PS I hope the upgrade of wordpress worked. Now I’m on 2.3.3 (currently latest stable release) If more SPAM should appear please notify me ASAP!!

Hauppauge 500

My mythtv box died, or better said, it can’t detect my hauppage card anymore :(. I moved it to a new PCI slot but lspci didn’t show anything. My best bet it’s dead.

I’ve been looking around for a hauppage 500 card (the one with the dual tunner). But it seems nobody sells them anymore? Does somebody know a dealer who still sells them, or does hauppauge have a new version out with dual tuner?
I saw they now have some digital cards as well. Maybe interesting to use this in combination with TV vlaanderen ?? Anybody got experience with this ?

Hotmail another bogus MS product

Lately a lot of my friends (who are not It people) send emails to our group of friends. Because they all use msn and hotmail, they sent it to my hotmail account. Because I have hotmail,gmail,jabber,… accounts I use Pidgin (formerly gaim) to do my chatting. This off course works perfectly. But I can’t see how many messages are in my email inbox (hmm, note feature to check if available). So today I quickly wanted to forward my hotmail mails to my own domain. Well really, you should try doing that … Really try it, I mean it!

In your webmail (hotmail live, piece of crap) you have options -> more options. There is an option forward to other email. If you read the comment, forward your email to other hotmail,msn or custom domains. So I inserted my own email address. Receiving the error that it wasn’t valid. So after reading the help, it stated that custom domains are not microsoft domains managed by microsoft (prolly something like you can do with google domain apps).

Hmm, no go. Then I started downloading some opensource tools (thunderbird extension,gotmail script,…) all couldn’t get the mail. Then I even tried getting it using gmail, still no go.

So in the end I have to say, what a piece of crap product is this. Compare this to google, google offers you pop3 imap to gmail, forwarding of emails even sms notification I believe (I only use this for my calendar and its free!!!! 😛 ) The webmail client of gmail is much better than the dog slow windows application. So tell me, if someone is asking you to make a new email address for him. Please consider before you lock yourself in like I did many many years ago. If only I had known 🙁

Any suggestions as how I can fix this ??? (And no I don’t want to delete my hotmail address, a lot of my friends have pictures from their events on it and prolly I can’t log in anymore) I’m even considering setting up a vmware with outlook express with a rule to forward to my imap box :s but thats really a big stupid work around imho. So … ??

Thnx sch3lp (again) 🙂
But I found a feature in pidgin that displays how many messages are in my inbox. It works for Gmail and hotmail, you just got to love those developers 🙂

Wii multitouch

When I was checking my rss feeds, I came across the following post. This is really amazing. I’ve seen some cool things that people did with the Nintendo wii, but this beats everything. Everyone who is a bit of a technology freak should really see this.

Now I’m really sure I’m gonna buy a Nintendo wii. Maybe schools should investigate this as well as it probably is much cheaper than those smart boards.

Thnx sch3lp
seems my link is timing he supplied me with the youtube vide over here

New OS’s in my house

Like I posted a couple of weeks ago, I bought a Windows Vista laptop. The more I use it, the more I’m convinced it ain’t that great. Even friends of mine who are microsoft consultants don’t like it. So the things you read about it are really true 🙂

I have a customer who has a couple of Macs inhouse and they asked me to do something on it. I had never used it before and the first experience was kinda weird. Because you are used to using computers, you can everything rather quickly. But your feel stupid and slow. If somebody would ask me a support question I couldn’t answer it. So I bought myself a MacBook. The smallest cheapest version that’s available. And I have to say it’s actually really nice. It actually feals familiar to my Gnome desktop even thought it is a bit different.

The thing I like the most is the fact that underneath this system, there’s a BSD kernel running. And offcourse the hardware … well what can you say about it. I wish they would produce Linux prebuilt laptops like that. I would buy one immediately. (Although I miss my firefox spelling checker (default on my Ubuntu system) 🙂 )

Another thing I never thought off

A while ago a made a post on web standards saving money (ie for google). Today I was listening to another podcast, they had an interview with Chris Dibona He works over at google. He was talking about how google has its own team of kernel hackers. He explained how some small improvements in the linux kernel of this team could save google millions of dollars.
My first reaction was offcourse, your site will run faster you need a couple of computers less and that’s where your savings come from. Well he explained it somewhat different. Let’s say you have 100.000 computers (prolly google has much much more), your computers will stay a little bit cooler maybe even consume less power. So your airco could run a little bit slower. So a code optimization could result in a cut back in power usage. You would maybe even save some trees!

It shows how in each and every sector of the it you have to worry about different things. I have to admit, when I’m doing java development and I’m not sure if I should choose an int or a long, I’ll be choosing a long because memory is no problem for us and it’s only running on 2 or 3 severs. These guys will check,recheck and then check again if they instead of the int maybe even could use a smaller datatype.