Thursday, August 24, 2006


OpenSolaris on the HP Pavilion a642n

It has been a couple of weeks now of running Solaris on x64 instead of Sparc. This was a machine I got at Best Buy about a year ago and I prompted to replace my Sun Blade 100. So far so good, although it does feel a little weird running Solaris on non-Sun hardware. I guess this is payback for all those years where I ran Linux on Sun hardware before I got hooked on Solaris. I am still using my Sun UNIX style keyboard and mouse, so it isn't too foriegn.

After I got past the network card issue I have only had one hardware problem and that is that I can not burn DVD's with cdrw, but cd's are no problem. I gave cdrecord a quick try but had no luck their either. But I have to admit I am very lazy and don't like to read long man pages so I probably didn't use cdrecord to its fullest. But the coolest thing has to be all of those memory card slots in the front work without a hitch, that was a nice suprise. Even an iPod shuffle shows up on the desktop automagically.

Another strange experience was actually playing a video game on Solaris. Thanks to the nice folks at Blastwave I was able to download Quake 2. I bought the Linux version a while ago but I never could get it to run well enough to make it fun, I just never had the hardware necessary. Well it works just fine now with my hardware. And speaking of perfromance, this machine runs fantastic! I think Solaris boots in less time than it took to open Firefox on the Blade 100! I can build Emacs at about the same speed as my Sun Blade 1000 at work. The tru stress test will be with ON. But right now I only have 512mb so I don't expect miracles.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Book Review: “Java Transaction Design Strategies” by Mark Richards

Let me step up front that Mark Richards is an old friend of mine. He gave me first Java programming job and taught me a lot. As a matter of fact, I can remember him actually teaching me some of the things I came across in the book.

This is a very concise book that you can read quickly but one of those books you'll want to keep on your shelf as a reference. If you are a Java developer and you do anything with databases then you need this book. Transactions are one of things that everybody uses but often don't have complete understanding of because it just seems so complicated. But after reading this book you'll realize that nothing can be farther from the truth, transactions now will see easy! Mark does a fantastic job making the seemingly complex into a very easy to understand guide. But at the same time this ain't no guide for dummies either. You'll appreciate the thorough description of the three transaction models: Local, Programmatic, and Declarative and XA transaction processing. You'll also learn when each should be used and some of the common pitfalls. The rest of the book covers some design patterns that you'll use in designing your applications. One of the strong points of this book are the examples. Just about every example is shown in EJB 3.0 and in Spring. Both were new to me when I read this book but every single one of them made sense to me. But I can tell you I really can't wait to get going with EJB 3.0 and now I am intrigued to learn more about Spring.

So the bottom line is that I highly recommend this book for anyone that does anything with Java and databases. So I give this book five stars, two thumbs up, etc.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Swiched to AMD from Sparc and a gzip Scare

I finally made the plunge this weekend and switched over to AMD from my Sun Blade 100. So far the performance is much better, obviously.

But the switch did not go with out some porblems. Being paranoid I made two backups of the home directory. The first backup I had on a partition on the new machine. I planned on resintalling Windows (I'll keep that around for games). However, I went a little nuts with fdisk and lost that backup. I thought no big deal I still have another backup on the laptop. So when I got to gunzip the backup I get a crc error about halway through. First came denial, then panic, and finally despair. I had quite bit of stuff that I really didn't want to loose. I was able to get some, but not enough back, using zcat piped to tar. I tried on the new OpenSolaris x64 and even on Cygwin from the laptop and still the same problem. I copied the backup to my Sun Blade 1000 at work and thought I could use some of my development tools there to maybe get some of the remaining data. I found some instructions for restoring the rest of the data from a gzip file but they were pretty involved. But to my suprise, the file unzipped just fine there! I can't explain why the gzip file was no good on x64 but fine on Sparc. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


4th one's a charm...

Then Sun Blade 100 is just too old and needs replaced. I really wanted to play with ZFS and this bug is a killer:

So the family HP a642n is going to be my replacement. The problem is that the nic doesn't work so I went into my stash of spare parts and tried some my old nics. Old the nics I kept were ones that I knew were compatible with Slackware.(I hate dealing with installing drivers, no matter what the OS!) I had three I tried and all didn't work but one had some open source drivers available. Promising, but I was hoping for a nic that would work out of the box to make all the cycles of upgrading SCXR's easier. In desperation I went through the junk pile at work and found an old 3com from circa 1999. It wasn't on the Solaris HAL but I tried anyway and thankfully Solaris found it.

Note to anyone in charge of what goes into Solaris: ADD MORE DRIVERS!

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