Friday, November 30, 2007

Mac OS X v10.5 and Java 6

So, it's well documented on the web that it was expected that Apple would ship Java 6 with Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard) and didn't. For those who have been living under a rock, they shipped Java 5, despite Java 6 existing for Windows, Linux and Solaris users for well into the "years category" now. There has been quite a lot of heated action on forums.

But the thing is that most of those people can live with Java 5 - it doesn't make a huge difference to them. It does to me - my main development machine is my MacBook, our software is written in Java, and we upgraded to Java 6 not long after it shipped. About when the Apple JDK 6 beta shipped, actually.

Anyway, I've been looking around the web for evidence that the beta (that Apple have helpfully removed from their website without replacing it with another version) runs on OS X v10.5, in the hope that I can continue working on my MacBook with the old beta. I've done the upgrade, and for those who want to know - no, you can't run the JDK 6 for OS X v10.4 beta on v10.5 - the installer won't let you install it.

So, we'll have to see next week whether we actually use any "JDK 6 only" features when I'm forced to use JDK 5, or if I'll have to "downgrade" to OS X v10.4 or even a PC with Linux.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

XT Forester

So, with the Pulsar SSS well gone (only took a week to sell), we've since purchased a Subaru Forester XT. It's a 2.5L Turbo, all wheel drive mum-mobile, which my wife quite likes. It is a bit rolly-polly (particularly compared to my WRX STi), but it's a good tradeoff between practicality and performance, particularly at the price they go for.

So if you're looking for a practical family car and don't want to spend big bucks, but want something that's still a bit of fun to drive, go test drive an XT Forester.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

GTiR Pulsar conversions

At the moment we're selling my wife's 2000 Nissan Pulsar SSS. It's never been modified, and is listed on carsales.com.au at the moment. So I was just looking through the other ads, and it's amazing how many "GTiR conversions" are for sale.

For those who don't know, there was an all wheel drive, turbocharged Japan-only model called the GTiR, of which there are quite a few here in Australia brought in as second hand imports from Japan. A friend of mine had one, and had it up for sale for around $14000.

Now, the SSS is worth about $10000 - $11000 unmodified, and is front wheel drive, and doesn't have a turbo. Now, these conversions; the GTiR engine must cost at least $4000 to put in, plus extra for the turbo and exhaust - why on earth wouldn't you just buy the real thing for the same price or less?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poetry and Linux

I was browsing KernelTrap today, and came across a report on a thread of Rusty Russell writing documentation in poetry. It's worth the read - this is funny stuff. The funniest of the lot for mine was one from Rusty:
There was a poetic infection
Which distorted the kernel's direction,
The code got no time
As they all tried to rhyme
And it shipped needing lots of correction.
Now that's just all class, isn't it?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cleaning out the photo collection

About two years ago my old Minolta "point and shoot" camera, which I paid $1000 for around the turn of the century. I sent it back once to be fixed (zoom was stuffed), and it cost $500 to fix. Two months later it was stuffed, so I decided to replace it. My thinking was "bugger it - lets buy something that doesn't suck".

Canon had not long released the EOS 350D (sold as Digital Rebel XT in some markets), an 8MP digital SLR camera aimed at the enthusiast market. At the time I didn't know much about photography at all, so it was an ideal camera. Cost about $2100, including two lenses - an 18-55mm, and a 75-300mm kit lens. Of course, the current equivalent kit from Canon costs under $1500, and if you're looking for a camera, it's probably a good pick.

The bit I didn't realise was how average the lenses are that are in the kit. Earlier in the year I started doing some photography courses with Ben from Fusion Photography, who's a real passionate professional wedding photographer. I think we've done about 12 hours worth of lessons with him, and it's amazing the difference it has made to the photos I'm taking. A mix of skills learnt from Ben and better lenses (my latest purchase is a 70-200mm L-series Canon lens) has made quite some the difference.

Earlier I ran out of disk space on my laptop, and needed to clear some space, as I downloaded the trial of Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Mac (Intel). Over one third of my disk space was photos, so I decided to clear them out. First time I'd looked at some of them since 2005, and there were some shockers there which I had once thought were ok. Lots of them were so dark, and it made me realise how good the f2.8 L-series lenses were compared to the f4-5.6 lenses you get in a kit. Might put my old lenses up on eBay, and just get rid of them.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gran Tourismo 4

Going back about six months, Sony's Playstation 3 had yet more delays, and Microsoft had released the XBox 360. As a result, Sony reduced the PS2 to $186, and all but the absolute latest games to about $30. Seemed like good value - I'm not paying $600 for a console, and $100 per game.

So anyway, I went out and got myself a PS2, with a steering wheel (Logitech Driving Force - $150), with Gran Turismo 4, a few Rally games, and one or two others. Initially, I couldn't get into GT4 - it felt like MS Flight Simulator - modeled reality, but wasn't very interesting a game.

Anyway, more recently, I've started playing it again. I don't know what is different this time, but I've found out why people love this game. Sure, it's a great simulator, but you can choose your own way through the game. If you like American trucks, you can buy one of them and take on the Truck series. If you like turbocharged Japanese cars, buy one and take on that series.

And I realise - when GT5 is released in 2008, that's about the only thing that will make me want a PS3. But that means a new TV (to support High Definition), a new steering wheel (why can't I just use my PS2 one?), and a console, plus the game. Not sure that I'll bother - maybe I'll wait until PS4 is due, and the PS3 is $186.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Eclipse 3.3

We use a lot of open source Java software at work, and we seem to spend half our lives in Eclipse. Not only do we use Eclipse as our development environment, but we use their Java GUI widget set (SWT/JFace) for our user interface.

So it was a nice suprise to see that Eclipse 3.3 has finally been released. I've been using pre-release versions of the SWT/JFace destined for Eclipse 3.3 for months now in our product, and on the Mac platform (which is what I use as my desktop), as I found it to be more stable and layouts to be more compatible with Linux and Windows implementations.

So here's to the Eclipse people - good job guys, thanks a lot.