Podcast comment

This morning I was listening to my cup of javaposse. They started a discussion about the difference between good and bad codemonkeys. The said that a good monkey would be 300% more productive than a bad one, but what’s more strange is that they would probably still be paid the same.

As I know what a lot of my collegeaus earn, I really have to agree with this. There are guys out there who really get paid way to little for what they know and do, and others who actually don’t do much get paid even more. This is really frustrating, I know that if I’m in charge of the money I’ll be giving my best programmers more than those who do little and know little.

In my former job, I now and then had to interview some sollicitants. I always asked the very simple question, tell me the difference between an abstract class and an interface. If they didn’t knew, well sorry your not a programmer in my eyes. It’s one of the basics of OO programming, what’s almost a defacto standard.

My current employer works with consultants (as I am one of them), I told him as tip. If you get a consultant, just type his name in google. If you don’t get any results, I for one wouldn’t hire them (unless he can explain). Why you might ask, well actually very simple. If you can’t find something, where do you look. Google,Support,… in most cases if you log a question or something you have to provider your credentials, so you leave your credentials behind. These things get picked up by search engines. It’s not always true off course, but in many cases it will give you an indication of the person who is sitting before you.

Now I was wondering if you could take it one step further. Afaik if you are programming you are using your keyboard, hence a person who knows who to type without looking at his keyboard should be faster than someone who needs to look at his keys. So should you say, if you can’t type, you won’t get the job, or is this taking it one step to far?


The past years I’ve been living together with 3 friends. We rented a house in Kessel-Lo (near leuven). As of today the I’m renting a small appartment, it’s on the Diestsesteenweg (behind the train station in Leuven). It’s a new appartment, this weekend we painted the bedroom and the kitchen. Still to do is the livingroom,hall,storage and my office. At first I’ll be living in it mostly alone as my girlfriend still is studying in Hasselt, she will be joining me after her studies or if she misses me to much still this year. Who knows ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the things I hope to accomplish with living alone is to get some spare time for doing some opensource development. At the moment all of my time goes into my own company and driving to work. When everything is finished I’m willing to ‘host’ some hacking evenings for those people who are interested, I’ll mention it over here. Who knows maybe it grows to some great Belgian event ๐Ÿ™‚


Today someone told me, you always come back to money and cars, talk more about hacking would ya. Well actually I know that I talk about this a lot but there is a good reason for this. I’m 26 years old and counting, my girlfriend and I have been together for over 2 years now, next year is here last year at college. After she finishes she’ll move in with me and we’ll start saving for our own litlle house with a garden. That was the only requirement she had.
So I started counting, I have been working for over 4 years full time and during my collega I did summer jobs and after school I helped in small software firms. Building php3 applications (those were the days ๐Ÿ™‚ ). As I’m not the big spender I do have some savings my girlfriend however (as every student) has little savings.

We agreed that in the future we would have 2 kids, and that I would get my own little office in our house. That makes a 4 bedroom house, nobody likes commuting to work but I will have to do it, that’s no problem at all but how long my commute will take is the question. Will I buy a house where they still are cheap and commute for nearly 3 hours every day or spend some more money and commute only 1 hour a day, hmm though question. But now comes the point I wanted to make, if at the moment you want to buy a small house with 4 bedrooms and a small garden, well that’s gonna cost you easily 200.000 รขโ€šยฌ. Well I for one don’t have that money, so I started looking at loans. Well let’s say you leand 180.000 รขโ€šยฌ (you don’t want to blow all your savings!!) well that comes down to over 1200 รขโ€šยฌ a month for 20 years. Kinda makes me sad. Well blaming me about talking to much about money is the same as blaming me about thinking about my future!!! So first things first, I’ll be putting my self on the (hopefully) right track to the future my girlfriend and I want, once I’m on that track I promise I’ll be my old self again and I’ll be talking about coding day and night. And that’s a promise I’m not going to brake, So don’t worry I’m not going to become a suite. Maybe from the outside I’ll be wearing one, but hey it’s easier to influences from the inside and you musn’t judge people on how they look, right?! Yes right!!!

Eclipse Callisto

As some of you might know, there is a new version of eclipse out. Well together with that version came some other eclipse projects. One of them was BIRT (Business Intelligence And Reporting Tools) well I think it’s really amazing. If you don’t believe me checkout this screencast and tell me I’m wrong!! Actually funny as at the moment we are doing a Crystal Reports integration and I had mentioned Jasper Reports here (an java opensource reporting tool), guess they have a strong competitor on the market. Let’s hope they push eachother to the limits and the community will only benefit from it!! To bad we still are working here with Crystal Reports, believe me I’m trying to convert everybody to opensource.

my bad, callisto is the name of all the projects combined ๐Ÿ™‚

Totally unrelated, I’ve been very very busy the last couple of weeks. I’m trying to get my needed capital to start my own sweet BVBA or better EVBA. On saturday I hope to get the approval for renting a nice 2 bedroom appartment in Leuven. If everything goes well, I’ll be having a lot more spare time in a few months and I can finally can help some projects I like but don’t satisfy my needs at the moment. I maybe sound stupid but I always get the feeling I’m not doing enough for the oss, I’m spreading it everywhere I come, I submit bugreports, now and then a small patch nothing fancy yet. I even set myself a goal “for every company I’ll work for, I have to at least introduce 1 opensource project”. But I hope to have achieved much more in a year from now, probably one of the first projects I’m going to take a look at is Diva. If you don’t know Diva go check it out!!

Spiderman 3, what I saw in the trailer

This morning I found this in my mailbox, as I was/am a big comic fan I had to check it out. The sound started and I was already sold, I’m such a softy for that kind of movies. Still have to wait a year until it comes out ๐Ÿ™
A couple of weeks ago I was actually telling my girlfriend about this movie, I had read somewhere that they had chosen the lizard as spidermans opponent for the third release. I told here it was actually a bad choice, there were so many more arch enemies they could have chosen. I told here the best choice they could have made was Venom as that one is the story I like the most, well guess what they started that story in the third version. If I’m not mistaken I saw the guy how will become venom and in the trailer there were also some glimpses of the symbiont that plays the leading role in the venom story.
Off course there were some actual enemies in the trailer: sandman,green goblin (reincarnated as the son of the original, however no lizzard, hmmm strange. Anybod got some more info?

mythtv finally!!

This weekend, I wanted to setup my mythtv box, I had planned already a couple of times, but almost everytime something came up. Well this weekend, I almost locked myself in and started it using the knoppmyth cd. Peace of cake you would think!! Well actually if you know what you’re doing, yes, otherwise no!!

First I had some very strange hardware issues. The computer I wanted to run it on was a used pc I bought half a year ago. Well I put in a 180 Gig hd instead of the small one that was in there first. The strangest thing happened, the hd was primary master and the cdrom was secondary master. The freakin thing wouldn’t recognise the hd. Okay unplugged the cdrom, k now it worked. Plug it back in, and same problem not recognised!!
Okay put the cdrom on slave, hd detected, but cdrom not? :s Okay put them on the same ide hd master with slave, cdrom slave (even cable select), none got detected? Finally I tried a new ide cable for my hd, the cdrom on another cdrom and the final thing I changed was I removed the plug on my hd. It was set in master with slave (there was no master only option). And finally this worked, okay already a couple hours lost ๐Ÿ™

Then first install, but I remember from our lug meeting that knoppmyths be support was very poor. So I downloaded all the scripts, to bad I was running a different version then the scripts were for. The channels.sql script dropped the channels table and the whole thing blew up (hmmm, no backup of mysql made, pffff, restart).
After some hours testing and breaking it, I came to the simplest solutions thus far. Install the knoppmyth, scan for your channels. Use the guide.xml for the tv guides and then start renaming your scanned channels to the ones the tv guide has. Now my myth box is setup, I already recorded a csi miami and temptation island show ๐Ÿ™‚
I still have to do some reading as the shows both are an hour and are 2 Gig in size. I did find a xvid option somewhere, well that’s for another time.

A funny note, my girlfriend isn’t always interested in my it stuff, but I showed here this thing and after 5 minutes I got a list of stuff I had to record for here. ๐Ÿ˜€

Web standards can save your business money

As I blogged earlier, I’m reading kernel development. Now for a day job, I’m creating a web application using some java frameworks. As view layer jsp was chosen. Now I had to start from the existing application, so I cleaned the html using dreamweaver and put all the display in 1 CSS file.

Now my project is going live on monday and I’ve tested all the functionality and everything should be okay. So I started reading designing with webstandards. I’ve already read +100 pages in it. It’s really a good book and reads very nicely. I recommend it to everybody who does web development. The author made a very nice point. He was explaining the fact that if you use webstandards, you split your design in to html/xml/xhtlm and CSS. Because your html/xml/xhtml is only content and no layout it gets much smaller thus less bandwith has to be used. Your css is mostly cached by the browser so this doesn’t get send on every visit. Big deal well actually yes. Imagine you have a site that gets 100.000 request a day. You prolly have a contract with your ISP for X Gig of traffic, now imagine every page would be 80 k, that would result in 7,812 Gig of transfer okay that’s not that much but imagine your google and you would have to pay for transfer (I doubt they have to). The get millions and millions requests a day. If you could decrease your page size to 40 k. You would have half the transfer. So instead of 200 Gig you would have 100 Gig. Now that suddenly is a lot and could save your company a big sum of money.

Another good point he made was ‘ffcourse compliance and portability. If you’re using webstandards, chances are your site isn’t that bad on portable devices, screenscrapers,… So imagine in the future your boss wants to have his site available from a smart phone or pda. If you wrote your web tier web standards compliant it should work out of the box. By work I mean, all the functionality should be available. Another investment saved.

And yet another point (this time I heared in on a podcast) if you use web standards, your site should be accessible to blind people. A thing I never really thought off. But those people to use computers. Just imagine if a blind person should go to a site thats fully done in flash, its utterly useless to him. I’m not sure, but I suppose a site that has a lot of markup and isn’t a valid xhtml isn’t going to look good on his interpreter (don’t know the exact word, sorry). On the same issue they also explained that AJAX is nice, but again for the blind people it renders a page useless. I haven’t looked into this yet, it could be that the AJAX triggers and results do get displayed to the user, so I’m not going discuss it, but it surelly makes you reflect your decisions when designing a website

working at google sounds nice

I went to fosdem as I said, heared some good talks, on of them was the talk of Jon Trowbridge. He’s really hilarious, the one joke that stayed with me all this time, wasn’t really a joke but an anecdote.
As you might know, Jon stopped working at novel and went to google. He couldn’t say much about his job, but he did say this:

If there’s one reason why you should come work for google it would be that every developer get’s 2 24 ” tft’s to program on!! If I come home my 21 ” tft seems so small!

Now why don’t all managers think like that? That’s why I would never buy a laptop with 1024×786 resolution, once you’re used to programming on a bigger resolution, or even worse dual screen your really stuck. That is, if you use it the right way. Have your documentation,UML model, DB,… open in you other screen and are developping in your current screen. There are off course better reasons why it’s handy …
Okay I know, everything you can do with a dual screen or high resolution you can do on a small resolution 2, but hey I’m a geek and I like to do geeky things! ๐Ÿ˜€

Bad week

Don’t you sometimes know, you’re gonna have a bad week? Well I do, and I’m going to get one now. I bought all the components for a new computer to sell to a friend. First of he had to week more than a month because the stupid supplier couldn’t ship the ligthscribe dvd burner, I got sick of it and bought one myself.

Sunday evening I started putting the computer together, I booted and all seemed normal except I didn’t get see the BIOS, hmm that’s strange, unscrewed the motherboard and all the components placed only cpu, cooler, memory and graphics card in there, same thing, hmmm very strange. Okay removed every component, even cpu and cooler checked the contacts of the cpu, put all back together, no luck, tried other videocards I had lying around but always the same.
Monday evening tried it again, I had to be at my friends house at 8, would I get there in time? Nope, still same problem. Pfff, I called my friend and told him, that probably 1 of the 3 major components was broken and it would probably take another month to deliver them. So he could best just forget about this computer and order one from another store, otherwise he would have had to wait over 2 months to deliver a computer.

Lessons learned from this?? Hmmm always have a small stock in house ๐Ÿ™‚ So my next invoice will probably contain some cpu’s,mobo’s,mem’s and graphics cards. I already made a small calculation and all seems possible, but still have to check with my accounted.

Not much programming the last couple of days, except off course in my day job. But that’s not to hard, the base platform is finished, all the needed services,dao’s are in place and the first product has been implemented in the struts layer, now final tweaks and first deployment.

tiki back online

Just to say my tiki is back online

you can find it over here

As it wasn’t the latest backup of the mysql db, some entries could be lost. If you do find something missing just send me a hint and I’ll try to fish it out of my docs or maybe even my brain ๐Ÿ™‚

Now of to soccer practice!

btw after installing the jlibrary, I was a bit dissapointed, it isn’t nearly as far is I had hoped, but maybe I set it up wrong or something.

I’ll post a review on it later on.