Monthly Archives: September 2001

Jsh/eLance/TV Premieres

Obviously, we have all listened to every opinion on Earth at this point. We have heard hundreds from people on TV and the radio, your spouse, your children, everybody has an opinion about what happened. Here is mine. It doesn’t concern the people killed and hurt or terrorists or anything else like that, it’s about moving forward. This is day one, right here, right now, today…
Start over with a renewed energy and fight to be a better you than you have ever been you before. Make everybody you know stand up and say, “Wow! You seem improved somehow.” Lose weight, build something, give blood, return your library books on time, it doesn’t matter… Just improve yourself and make your life and those around you better. That’s my opinion about how to react to this.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program:
Jsh is a Java shell that runs multiple Java applications from the same Java Virtual Machine. Jsh is capable of running conventional Java applications and JNLP launched ones as well. Version 1.0 release candidate 2 came out today.
This precisely sums up my experiences with eLance. It is an utter waste of time as it stands now, I’m just glad I only wasted time learning that earlier and I didn’t have to pay for a membership. I don’t know that I agree with the author’s suggestion that people posting projects put up a $200 deposit but clearly there would have to be some drastic changes to make the site appeal to me.
TV premieres I actually care about:

  • Junkyard Wars – September 12th
  • Enterprise (New Star Trek series) – September 26th
  • Smallville (Let’s hope it’s not Superboy meets Party Of Five) – October 16th
  • The Tick (Very funny comic book comes to prime time) – November 1st
  • X-Files – November 4th
  • Justice League (Animated series from the people who did the incredible Batman and Superman series of the last few years) – November 17th
  • Futurama – December 9th


A few weeks back I was trying to decide which open source project to tackle after I got HotSheet through its next release. The candidates I had decided on were a game and a service that would let you store your bookmarks and use them from anywhere. I decided on the former and maybe it was good that I did. I ran across a project just recently called Bookie that seems to have much the same focus as what I wanted to do. Let’s hope it goes far.

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

The W3C has made Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) an official recommendation. Now we can expect Microsoft to implement it in IE two to three years from now and do so very very badly, just as IE 6.0 can’t even handle XML and XSL 1.0 specs long long after they were released. Hopefully Mozilla will do much better.
In the meantime, Adobe has released a beta of the next version of their plugin for handling SVG in IE. If you aren’t boycotting Adobe, as many people are for their DMCA actions, you can get it here.
Screwed up companies like Microsoft and Adobe aside, there are lots and lots of uses for XML vector graphics in applications. You can use SVG to lay out reports, generate images programmatically for websites, as a replacement for Flash, use it as a lingua franca file format to replace .CDR and .AI files, or you could even use it as the foundation of a graphics system like NeXT did with Postscript.

Multi-threaded Retrieval/Plans

There is a new version of HotSheet available via the automatic update mechanism. It’s not really the next version yet because the UI updates aren’t finished. But it does have multi-threaded retrieval of channels using a thread pool built in. In my tests so far this has greatly sped up how long it takes to perform a “Refresh All Channels” command and it should scale even up to a program which retrieves thousands of channels.
So, what has to happen now before a new release? I’ve got to fix the UI so it shows the progress of channel retrievals and that is going to require careful updates to the RSS library. I’ve done some already but I want to review what I did to make sure it seems consistent with the rest of the library. After that I need to see if I can use Harshad Oak’s code to give us a broader set of channels to pick from. Then I’ll do a release before I reopen the patient again to add scripting and fix up the messy item history system.
By combining scripting and some new methods for marking news items or separating them from the rest of the items users will have the ability to start tailoring HotSheet to their own particular needs. I’m toying with a few different ideas but one that is sure to be implemented is the idea that each item will have its own set of properties. That way I can tag items as “read” and they will stay tagged. To the library the properties will just be strings and numbers associated with the items, it won’t have any idea how they are used. It will be up to the program that uses the library how it interprets different properties.
Given that capability it will be easy to add a “score” to each news item and make HotSheet aware of scores on news items. Scripts could review news items and create a score based on keywords they see or other characteristics that will be attached to the item. HotSheet will draw items that have a score property differently than ones without, draw them differently based on how high the score is, or perhaps place them on a different tab. I’ve been thinking that it would be neat to have separate tabs in the UI with all the news items on one tab and the “hot” news items on another. Anyway, suggestions are welcome because I’m just trying to think what kind of abilities I’m going to want to make available to the scripting languages that can be connected to HotSheet.

Switched From NetBeans to Forte

I’ve unloaded NetBeans 3.2.1 and substituted Forte 3.0 Community Edition. It adds more wizards and support for things like RMI, XML, and JDBC. They still keep their J2EE stuff in the Enterprise Edition but I think it’s ahead of what comes with NetBeans 3.2 and way ahead of what Borland lets you have with JBuilder 5.0 Foundation Release. Like NetBeans the Community Edition of Forte is free.