Monthly Archives: February 2003

Freenet Gets Good

I’ve plugged The Free Network Project almost since I started this weblog more than two years ago. My first entry mentioning it was only a couple of weeks after I started. But only recently has it finally reached that magic point where performance and usefulness are finally here.
So what is the promise of this project? Well, it’s two-fold. One thing is absolute anonymity from others being able to tell what you post and what you choose to download. Want to say something politically unpopular? Go right ahead, there won’t be any repercussions for you. You can also utilize its other major feature, peer-to-peer distribution of files to offload bandwidth responsibilities to a host of servers for popular content.
OK, so how is all of this relevant to Java (after all, I posted this as a Java development link and that means it’ll appear on JavaBlogs)? Well, the primary version of Freenet is written in Java and many of the tools released for it so far are also written in Java. It doesn’t have to be that way, it just is. So, I’m just curious to hear what people would come up with if they could build web services or websites where bandwidth (currently several US dollars per GB transferred) cost nothing, zip, zilch, zero or alternately where anything can be shared or retrieved in absolute anonymity.

Surviving “Weapons Of Mass Destruction”

I wish a lot more people would read this: A Soldier’s Viewpoint on Surviving Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Attacks
It’s a sane, sensible, short discussion of the attacks terrorists would likely use and why they aren’t as threatening as you might think if you just keep your head (in the highly unlikely event you ever encountered any of them). Reading this would be far more helpful than buying a roll of duct tape.

New Mozilla Release

I’ve already been using some early versions of the Mozilla 1.3 Beta Release for some weeks now. I desperately wanted something that would do some spam filtering for me and I’ve never exactly been “in love” with Outlook Express as a mail client.
So I moved to the beta and found that most of my spam just goes away before I even have to look at it. There are lots of new features besides the spam filter in this release but this download is worth it just for that alone. Spam filtering, tabbed browsing, popup filters that actually work, mouse gestures, the list just keeps getting longer and longer. Mozilla is innovating in the browser arena and IE just sits there. I keep hearing that IE has 95% of the browser market but my logs sure don’t show it. I see >30% Mozilla/Netscape 6+ (which is based on Mozilla).

Last Forgotten Struts Link And Various Follow Ups

OK, hopefully this link is the last Struts resource I used a lot that I forgot to site in my first posting: Java Guru: Struts FAQ Index By Topic

Here’s a quick follow-up about being able to read the RSS feeds that JavaShelf offers in various categories (i.e. to find out about new Struts books for example). I checked out the example channel that Bertrand mentioned ( and HotSheet had no problems with it. So you can easily use HotSheet to watch JavaShelf for books and it will handle filtering out books it has already seen (i.e. it only shows you a RSS item once that has a particular title and link) and you’d only see new items when new books were added.

Finally, here’s some of the wonderful things you can learn via JavaBlogs.

And it’s all 100% Java information. Or not.

Forgot The Struts Tool I Used

I forgot to mention the tool I used to do all my editing of the Struts config file: Struts Console
Simple. Straight-forward. Works. Some of the Eclipse based stuff I tried I just couldn’t get working. That’s not to say that it won’t end up better in the end, but I really dislike having to fight to get my tools working. That’s why I picked Java Web Start to launch the stuff I distribute. It’s simple, it works.

Struts Resources

Several people are mentioning Struts in their weblogs recently and since I am just finishing up my first web application using Struts I thought I might add my two cents to hopefully help anyone just starting out. Here are the resources I used and an opinion or two on them:

Struts In Action
Manning offers you the opportunity to buy this one as a PDF (bravo!) from their website for less than what you have to pay for the paper version. Alternatively you can buy it using the link above and I get a tiny amount of money. 🙂

Programming Jakarta Struts
I got this one through my Safari subscription but again, you may prefer the paper version.
The Struts user and developer guides
Contains some IMHO can’t-do-without information that is skipped by both of the two books above.
The Struts user mailing list
Rapid responses to your questions and a huge searchable database of answers that prevent you from having to ask them in the first place most of the time.

Basically, the conclusion I came to after having worked on this a while is that although the state of the documentation for Struts is better than it has ever been in the past (I first looked at it a long time ago when its documentation consisted of a couple of tutorials), any single source of information still leaves much to be desired when you are actually building a web application.

I found myself frequently flipping back and forth between the two books and the official Struts documentation to answer questions I had as I worked and there were questions which I only found the answers to in each of the three books independently. There was no single book that answered all the questions I had. So my recommendation at this point is to lay your hands on all of the resources you can afford to purchase. Comment

Several people have mentioned Your Java book store on the Web! in their weblogs recently and I’d just like to make a small observation.
While this makes a nice all-in-one place to look for books, it has the same problem that small bookshops tend to have. Price. They will tell you about prices at only three places, Amazon, Powells, and Blackwell. Not familiar with Powells or Blackwell? Wondering why they were chosen over (where you could buy used copies of many Java books) or BookPool (which usually has much lower prices on technical books than anybody else)? The answer is simple, all three have associates programs that pay JavaShelf money if you buy the book through them. So be sure you shop around before you take the best price among three prices that might not be so good.

8:03am Fort Worth, TX

At 8:03 this morning my wife and I were woken up by what we thought was the sound of a large explosion followed immediately afterward by another smaller explosion. Since it was right at 8am I thought that it was someone doing demolition and they had to wait until a certain time before they could do it (there are lots of largely ignored rules like that for construction in Fort Worth).
I was wrong. It was the sound of pieces so the space shuttle creating sonic booms as it entered low atmosphere. It has broken up and in all likelyhood all the crew is gone, hopefully there will still be enough that doesn’t burn up in order to determine what caused the tragedy so it doesn’t happen again.
Twenty years ago I was in my dorm room in college. I was sick and couldn’t go to class. They interrupted what I was watching to break in and tell me about what had just happened to the Challenger. This time, it happened right over me.
P.S. Small correction, it was seventeen years ago, not twenty as I reported earlier. I thought we had just passed the 20th anniversary the other day but I was wrong and didn’t bother to do the math in my head like I should have.