March 31, 2004

Selfpreserving biosphere

EcoSphere, is an independend biosphere where everything is completely recycled within the glas ball.
Just add light and see the shrimps living.

This is sooooooooo cool. I wanna have one!

March 30, 2004

Update on throw declarations

My stats showed that my post regarding throw declarations in C++ gets hit directly through search engines quite often.

I updated the information there so that visitors are not left alone with my tech-info-lacking ranting and leave with no better information about their problem.

March 28, 2004

Gratulations, NASA

In case you didn't hear from it until now:
This is great news, because it means we are perhaps at an entry to a new era in flight technology.
It has been the first flight of an air-vehicle at the speed of Mach 7.6. In commercial planes this could allow flights from London to Sydney in under two hours.

Look at Hypersonic jets Q&A, ramjet/scramjet diagrams or How Hypersonic Planes Work to find out how these planes are powered.

Tomorrow I'll be back at work. Reading my corporate mails at home tells me that much work is waiting there for me.
I have to make some fixes on TaskZilla, continue my work on the Demo-Installation, catch up with hundreds of mails and find back in general development of our product. I guess that in several parts of it much has changed in the last two weeks.
So I guess, I'll need tomorrow for gathering news and plan my future steps and start working on them on tuesday or wednesday...

March 24, 2004

Heavy breathing...

You can guess it: Yes, I'm still ill. I were at the docs on Monday and we decided that I give it two more days and look where I would be today.

Well, today I still find it harder to breathe than if I were healthy, but the doc wasn't in his house today. So I have to wait until tomorrow when he will be there again.
Probably I have to visit a lung specialist as my doc has almost reached the limits of its general knowledge.

I recognized that I forgot to give some info about how the proposed software update resulted. To sum it up, it failed again with the same effects as last time at almost exactly 08:00am.

We hoped, that the fixes we applied cured the problem we had, but it seems that we were wrong. We fixed potential problems, yes, but it seems that these problems are not the cause of our current difficulties.
So, back again to theory problem studying and analyzing...

I don't think that these problems are good for our impression on this customer...

March 20, 2004

Still sick

This seems to be the longest lasting cough I've ever had.
I'm in bed now for more than a week and I'm still coughing as if I had to blow my lungs out sometimes.
Tomorrow I'll take the last of my antibiotic pills and on Monday I will again make a visit to the doc and let me explain the next steps.

Well, perhaps it's a bit my fault. Altough I should stay in bed, I'm up from time to time to
- fight boredom
- bake a cake for my brothers girlfriends birthday (at least help baking)
- take lunch/breakfast/etc.
- take some care of the house (central heating, plants, etc.)

Damn, this had been one of the least productive weeks in the last few years so far. I don't like to do nothing...

March 18, 2004


On Teitans homepage this time I found a page with only a link titled "lachrymologie" pointing to "index2.html". Following the link I landed on a page with a lonely link "paraphrasis" back to "index.html".

Goin' round on this homepage, eh? ;)

I always find it quite interesting, which terms teitan uses with his rhetorical interests.
I'm curious, what he brings up next.

Since he updated the page, I can only point you to the google cache.

March 17, 2004

More illness

I think my illness will take a bit longer, I'm not feeling much better yet. My coughing makes my throat hurt and the doctor found an additional inflamation of the middle ear. But this doesn't hurt, I just hear everything as if my ear were plugged with something.

I don't expect to be healthy this week, what also means that I won't be present at this weeks software release change.

I would like to give some sentences about the recent spain stuff, but I don't feel clear-minded enough for that currently. Perhaps I'll do that later...

March 13, 2004

Software-update, second try...

Next week there will be a second try to update our software at one of our customers systems, which failed last time. My colleagues have fixed the most probable cause of this and I have also improved my software-part for more stability although it didn't have any stability-problems. But who knows how long this release will be running until the next (hopefully very major) update, I don't want to have it fail under any circumstance.

We're quite sure that this time the release will work as expected and without problems appearing after it.

Well, for us it just has the look of a "service pack" because currently our software has improved quite much since the last install there and we just made some changes, bugfixes and minor improvements to that old version.
It's also already running at the upper third of its capacity because although there are only slightly more clients using it for which it was initially designed, some of these clients use it through a "proxy", so one client generates as much load as several dozens of normal ones.

Our current software already has many design and capability improvements to handle a greater load and offer greater stability and flexibility on the clients side.

Hopefully THIS version gets installed the next time and not another update of the old piece. Maintaining the old version is more difficult every time.

Cough, cough...

Headache, fever and hurting arms and legs.

I'm getting ill in the last two days of my attendance, but I don't expect something to happen in these last hours. Been in bed the whole day, watching TV/DVD, reading magazines and sleep. But I don't feel much better now, perhaps the peak of illness will strike this night or tomorrow.

Damn, I have to get up on Monday no matter if I'm ill or not:

  • I have to pass on the attendance phone
  • I'm getting new shock absorbers onto my car, this should be the last thing to fix from the accident. Hopefully...

March 11, 2004

Taskzilla updated, anybody cares?

Near the end of the last week, I updated our installation of Taskzilla with the new layout made by the designer.

Now people have been using it for several days, reported some minor bugfixes to me and everything was fine.

But today I recognized, that on the edit page of every task the category entries were completely misaligned. The category "Task Type" contained the entries from "Dev-Type" and some more swapping around.

It was also impossible to add more CC people, if there was at least one entered, because the entry-field was disabled in that case.

I wonder, why no one has seen this swapping before me. Perhaps this design is that intuitive, but I rather guess, that people are already used to Taskzilla. But why no one has recognized the bug with CC is a miracle for me... Does anyone actually use this feature?

March 10, 2004

Democenter gets deadline?

Yesterday during a presentation for some of our developers/managers, a demo-center which runs entirely from CD was promised for upcoming Friday...

Nice that I'm at least informed during a presentation, that I have a target date for my Knoppix-based CD.

Meanwhile more problems arose, I think I have to remove NTFS-support from the CD for now because it always locks up doing nothing during mount and I don't have the time to dig into this until Friday.

March 5, 2004

Building demo centers

For some weeks now, a few of my collegues are working on an "All-in-one Demo Center".
This is a special installation of all our solutions combined on one system, to be able to show anybody instantly any of our different products if he is interested and to have a complete reference system running inhouse, which you can put almost everywhere.

Its currently placed on a notebook which is taken to customers as well be present on the somewhere around Cisco's corner.

The operating system is an installation of Suse Enterprise Linux 9(?), the database backend is running Oracle and the webinterface runs on top of Apache.

To distribute this solution on other machines, ISOs are created with Mondo Linux, which then can be inserted in almost any other computer, booted and puts the ISOs data on the computers harddisk. Existing data is lost with that solution.

I was granted to try to make anoter All-In-One center, which boots completely from CD on any computer but without harming the existing data on the disk. Running completely in a ramdisk without even touching the disks in any way.

I'm basing my installation on a stripped down distribution of Knoppix, which already runs completely from CD. It uses a compressed image as data-source, so it can hold some GB of data on a single CD.

Initially this seemed to work quite well, the database files (>2GB) compressed down to about 100 MB and the oracle binaries also shrinked a bit.
But soon I ran into problems because oracle could not start up in a complete read-only mode. It needed write-access to its database files, lockfiles and so on which was impossible to do on CD.

So I decided to temporarily mount existing drives and put the needed writable files as well as a swapfile (oracle needs plenty of RAM) there only during the time of demonstration and remove it completely on shutdown again.
Seemed cool idea, worked theoretically and found gread acceptance.
Practically I had the next problem: the notebooks of our marketing people, where this should run on, have only NTFS partitions and Linux currently has only reasonable readonly-support for NTFS.
Luckily I found the Captive project, which grants RW-access to NTFS by including the original WinXP driver into linux.

My work is to integrate all the pieces and give it a foolproof interface so that even the least experienced marketing person can use it to demonstrate our solutions anywhere.

Currently, I'm almost finished with preparing the environment for oracle. This means auto-detection of all partitions, their free space and file-system, let the user choose the destination, copy the datafiles, correctly split up and soft-link together again read-only and read-write files and finally start up oracle in such a patched together combination ;)

Somewhere by next week I should be finished with oracle and also have integrated the administration interface.
That means, if no other problems appear.

March 4, 2004

Raising my responsibility level

For some hours today I had to take care of a Oracle support engineer(?) who installed Oracle Application Server on some of our development machines.

In fact, I just had to stand next to him and watch him trying to work around errors.

But just the fact, that I had been the one who had to stay with him makes me think that I'm gaining a bit footprint in the company and that I slowly can increase my area of responsibility.

Perhaps I can grow out of the development area a bit, but I don't want to stop development at all.
'Cause programming is still fun for me.

March 2, 2004

throw in depth

What I meant recently with "Never use throw-declaration in C++" is following:

int throwing(int i) throw (exception_A)
  if(i > 0)
    throw exception_B;
  return i;

When compiling on ie. AIX no error is shown during compiling, but if the exception_B gets ever thrown, it magically converts into an uncatchable unknown_exception and crashes your app. I'm not sure if Linux also makes it uncatchable, but there are also no signs of dangers there during compiling.

Microsoft's Visual Studio ships around this elegantly: It just ignores any throw()-declaration everywhere.

I understand why no compiler enforces this to be correct, because of compatibility with old code and huge catch-statements with bad exception-derivates, but I don't know why no compiler has even an option to enforce the correctness of throw-declarations. This would save many people much headache when porting software between platforms.

March 1, 2004


Just received the standby mobile phone. I've been included in the attendance circle and this week I'm on the hot seat.
If something goes wrong with our product at one of our customers, I'll be called and I have to solve the problem as fast as possible.

More responsibility for me, I hope nothing bad happens.