Archive for May, 2003


Appopriate use of J2EE.

AnnraĆ­ O’Toole: The Problem with J2EE. “…while J2EE is great, it isn’t the answer to every problem, specifically it is overkill as an infrastructure to deploy Web Services.”

Jon Udell: Appropriate use of J2EE/EJB.

Not that this has anything to do with web services, but… A few weeks back I heard some rumbling about requiring that any CMS we use be J2EE compliant. This pissed me off for a couple days.

  1. This criterion was being added by people who neither understand Java development nor are involved with any of the systems on which our web sites are deployed.
  2. We’re not a Java shop.
  3. There’s not a helluva lot of J2EE in the open source CMS world, obviously not in those written in languages other than Java. I’ll resist any effort to needlessly exclude open source solutions at the outset.
  4. Requiring J2EE is a vendor-driven idea. It seemed pretty clear that this was being suggested to play nicely with Oracle, who have a portal to sell us. Call me crazy, but I’m a sucker for choosing software that meets an organization’s needs rather than a vendor’s.
  5. Isn’t J2EE just a wee bit overkill?

Eventually I calmed down. We’ll need some sort of interoperability, I reasoned, and as long as it’s not set in stone as a requirement, J2EE might be useful. Too, it turns out that it’s just a suggestion. But still. It should not surprise me, but it sure as hell bothers me, the way these ideas are just tossed around as if they’re givens.



Blast it, I missed yet another TCPHP meeting on Wednesday. Looks like it was a good one, too. I’m just going to have to give up deluding myself that I’ll ever make it to one.

On the other side, that night I got to see The Matrix. That makes up for it, I suppose.

And then last night I got to spend a few hours with Owen walking along the Mississippi River. He’s started to be ticklish, which is just so much fun. There is no sweeter sound to my ears than my son’s laughter. He got tired after a while and dozed off on my shoulder as we walked, but occasionally would raise his head to stare wide-eyed at the trees. He is so damn adorable it breaks my heart.

Later that evening, I surprised myself by remembering to watch the lunar eclipse. Can’t remember the last time I saw an eclipse.

It’s strange, though. Normally when I look at the moon, I get a vivid sense of being a very small part of a very large planet, which is itself a tiny speck in the universe. This is at once humbling and enthralling. It’s the only time I ever even come close to imagining how truly vast and miraculous the universe is. I would have expected the eclipse to be even more awe-inspiring, but instead my reaction was very cold and analytical. “Oh look, the earth is casting a shadow on the moon, isn’t that unusual. Er, pretty.” I didn’t feel it in any way. Bit of a let-down, that.

Now I have a sudden urge to reread The Soul of the Night.



Kiara surprised me last night by taking me to see the Matrix. I didn’t expect to be there opening night; since Owen was born we haven’t been so gung-ho about seeing movies early on. So wow, what a surprise!

Very, very cool. Maybe not quite as cool as the first — if this movie stood alone I’m not sure that I’d be hyped up for a sequel — but I am already looking forward to seeing it again. I have a lot of questions, most of them having to do with Neo’s conversation with the Architect.

Here’s a tip: stay through the credits. You’ll be treated to a preview of The Matrix: Revolutions.

Update: I forgot to mention: the Matrix runs on Unix! Unpatched Unix, too, as these screenshots demonstrate. Note how she’s able to get root.


State Accessibility Laws

Via Bob Regan’s Macromedia accessibility weblog, a list of (US) state accessibility laws and policies.

Minnesota’s done some good work with laws, but our web accessibility guidelines are pathetic. A group of state agency webmasters spent a few months reviewing and editing standards and had a decent document, but for reasons that I still don’t understand the version that was forwarded for approval was a watered-down, error-riddled, piss-poor excuse for a set of guidelines. It was as if someone whined, “hey, this is too hard,” and ripped out everything that was good, correct, and meaningful.

Not that I feel strongly about it or anything.

And really, reading through it again, it’s not a completely useless document. But I strongly believe that it needs to be reviewed and updated.

I’m quite impressed by Illinois’s standards and, now that I have a list to work with, plan too spend some time looking at other states’ standards and guidelines. I’m curious how many have created their own rather than just adopt Section 508 or the W3C’s guidelines.


Happy Birthday, Robert.

I can’t believe that you‘re two years old already.


Open Source Digest

I just stumbled into this: the Open Source Digest, now in its second issue. I can’t tell anything about it from the web site, but the articles are informative.


Not-So-Quick Links

Bookmark cleaning time.


The World as a Blog.

This is nifty. Combining, RSS, and GeoURL, Mikel Maron does a sort of real-time geographical display of weblog updates. Every minute or so one or more new dots appear on the map, along with an excerpt from the RSS feed. Click on the dot to visit the updated site. If you use GeoURL, you can log in with your geocoded URL and see who else is watching the world update.


Nothing pisses me off like a software package that ignores –prefix.

So says Nat Torkington, and ye gods I’m with him.

I’d like to quote the gem of a last paragraph but then this site might be blocked the filters at Kiara’s school. Then the kids couldn’t see pictures of Owen. So just read it yourself. I’m still laughing a day later.

No, I don’t mean “Mumble grumble,” which I suppose is actually the last paragraph. Sheesh.

And he included a pointer to where he’s got a .dmg of Perl 5.8.0 build for Max OS X. Thanks, I’ve been meaning to look for that, just in case I didn’t feel like building it.


U.S. says Canada cares too much about liberties

Those damn freedom-loving Canadians:

The State Department report on global terrorism for 2002 suggests that while Canada has been helpful in the fight against terrorism, it doesn’t spend enough on policing and places too much emphasis on civil liberties.

That’s right, “too much emphasis on civil liberties.” Of course, that article is from, and you know how those Canadians are hell-bent on world domination.

Here’s the US State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism report, by the way. Should make for interesting reading. I, for one, am interested in why concern for civil liberties has become a threat to freedom.

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