Tuesday, March 28, 2006

JSF in SF: Usability problems in JSF.
Blog by Adam Winer on which things need improving in JSF.
Note: This is not a post that says "JSF is useless". It merely points out the improvements that are needed.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

15 Best Skylines in the World .
A selection of beautiful skylines from all around the world. Even if you don't agree with the ranking, you will still enjoy the nice photos.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Engrish : Chinese Menus

Warning: You may die laughing!! Some "English" menus in China.

Some gems:

  1. Soup and Sand ("Swallow to take the fish sand")
  2. The black the pig of picks???
  3. Butter many privates (Ha !! Ha!! Ha !!)
  4. White germ in silk in chicken row (Well dressed germ??)
RIFE : Web Application Framework

Snippet from the site:
RIFE combines both (request and component based frameworks) by taking control of the entire data and logic flow in a request-based model.
Developers remain close to the architecture of CGI applications and have full control over URLs, forms, parameters, cookies and pathinfos.

However, instead of mapping actions and controllers directly to the request, RIFE provides a component object model that behaves identically in many different situations such as individual pages, intercepted requests, portal-like page fragments and integratable widgets. Components can be wired together and be packaged as groups that are components in their own right.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mentawai Web Framework - Mentawai Overview
Yet another Web Framework in the J2EE world. The USP of this is that it is supposedly simple to use, flexible and complete (that is a dangerous word :-) ).
One Note: The framework developers believe that "XML is a major drawback of the majority of web frameworks out there".

Anyway, check this out if you are interested.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Main Page - Ajax Patterns
Ajax portal and homepage for the upcoming "Ajax Design Patterns" book (O'Reilly), with full text online.

Nice place to get Ajax related information.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We're just a few dinosaurs short of a full tank

Hilarious article by Dave Barry (originally published in April 2000).

Text reproduced below:

We're just a few dinosaurs short of a full tank

(This classic Dave Barry column was originally published on April 16, 2000.)

If you've been to a gas station lately, you have no doubt been shocked by the prices: $1.67, $1.78, even $1.92. And that's just for Hostess Twinkies. Gas prices are even worse.

Americans are ticked off about this, and with good reason: Our rights are being violated! The First Amendment clearly states: 'In addition to freedom of speech, Americans shall always have low gasoline prices, so they can drive around in `sport utility' vehicles the size of minor planets.''

And don't let any so-called ''economists'' try to tell you that foreigners pay more for gas than we do. Foreigners use metric gasoline, which is sold in foreign units called ''kilometers,'' plus they are paying for it with foreign currencies such as the ''franc,'' the ''lira'' and the ''doubloon.'' So in fact there is no mathematical way to tell WHAT they are paying.

But here in the U.S., we are definitely getting messed over, and the question is: What are we going to do about it? Step one, of course, is to file a class-action lawsuit against the cigarette companies. They have nothing to do with gasoline, but juries really hate them, so we'd probably win several hundred billion dollars.

But that is a short-term answer. To truly solve this problem, we must understand how the oil business works. Like most Americans, you probably think that gasoline comes from the pump at the gas station. Ha ha! What an idiot. In fact, the gasoline comes from tanks located UNDER the gas station.

These tanks are connected to underground pipelines, which carry large oil tankers filled with oil from the Middle East.

But how did the oil get in the Middle East in the first place? To answer that question, we must go back millions of years, to an era that geologists call the Voracious Period, when giant dinosaurs roamed the Earth, eating everything that stood in their path, except for broccoli, which they hated.

And then, one fateful day (Oct. 8), a runaway asteroid, believed by scientists to be nearly twice the diameter of the late Orson Welles, slammed into the Earth and killed the dinosaurs, who by sheer bad luck all happened to be standing right where it landed. The massive impact turned the dinosaurs, via a process called photosynthesis, into oil; this oil was then gradually covered with a layer of sand, which in turn was gradually covered by a layer of people who hate each other, and thus the Middle East was formed.

For many years, the Middle East was content to supply the United States with as much oil as we wanted at fair constitutional prices. But then the major oil-producing nations -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Texas -- got all snotty and formed an organization called OPEC, which stands for ''North Atlantic Treaty Organization.'' In the 1970s, OPEC decided to raise prices, and soon the United States was caught up in a serious crisis: The Disco Era.

It was horrible. You couldn't go to a bar or wedding reception without being ordered onto the dance floor to learn ``The Hustle.''

At the same time, we also had an oil crisis, which was caused by the fact that every motorist in the United States was determined to keep his or her automobile gas tank completely filled at all times. As soon as your gas gauge dropped from ''Full'' to ''Fifteen-sixteenths,'' you'd rush to a gas station and get in a huge line with hundreds of other motorists who also had nearly full tanks. Also a lot of people, including me, saved on heating oil by buying kerosene space heaters, which enabled us to transform a cold, dank room into a cold, dank room filled with kerosene fumes.

Buying gas and dancing ''The Hustle'' with people who smelled like kerosene: That was the '70s.

So anyway, the oil crisis finally ended, and over time we got rid of our Volkswagen Rabbits and replaced them with Chevrolet Suburbans boasting the same fuel economy as the Pentagon. Now, once again, we find ourselves facing rising gas prices, and the question is: This time, are we going to learn from the past? Are we finally going to get serious about energy conservation?

Of course not! We have the brains of mealworms! So we need to get more oil somehow. As far as I can figure, there's only one practical way to do this.

That's right: We need to clone more dinosaurs. We have the technology, as was shown in two blockbuster scientific movies, ''Jurassic Park'' and ''Jurassic Park Returns with Exactly the Same Plot.'' Once we have the dinosaurs, all we need is an asteroid. Or, if he is available, Michael Moore.

If this plan makes sense to you, double your medication dosage, then write to your congressperson. Do it now! That way you'll be busy when I siphon your tank.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How to Be a Demo God
A nice article on doing demos by by Guy Kawasaki

Monday, March 06, 2006

TechEBlog » Top 10 Strangest Lego Creations
Some strange (and some amazing) things built by using Legos.
XXFramework: Java XML Development Framework

Snippet from the site:

The XX framework is a configurable, XML-centric implementation of the MVC development paradigm that incorporates simple and commonly used patterns of development. The framework promotes a use case oriented development approach.

A key goal of the framework is to generate fully functioning web applications that use an open J2EE/XML/XSL approach that can easily be modified and enhanced.

The framework currently includes full automation functionality, where HTML form fields can be mapped directly to database fields for display or update without additional coding. XML files are used for configuration and XSL is used for display. Open source tools such as Hibernate and Castor are also utilized.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Calvin and Hobbes Searchable Database
Type in the phrase or keyword that you want and it brings up Calvin & Hobbes comic strips having those words ...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

How to be a CEO

.This talk was given by Dr. Jamshed Irani when he visited Persistent Systems, Pune, India on 23 February 2006. I have put down his words to the best of my recollection.

Note everyone can become a CEO, and not everyone wants to be one. Even then, I think that Dr. Irani’s words are still very useful and can be applied in your life.

Brief introduction to Dr. Irani

J. J. Irani is a director of Tata Sons, Tata Industries, Tata Motors and Tata International, among others. He is chairman of Tata Refractories and TRF. Dr Irani also chairs the board of governors at XLRI in Jamshedpur.

There is a more detailed introduction to Dr. Irani at the bottom of this article.

What is a CEO?

A CEO is like a magnetic coil twisted over a soft iron bar. When electric current is passed in the coil, the soft iron bar gets magnetized and all the poles point in the same direction.

In the same way, a CEO is supposed to align all people in the company in the same direction so that the company can progress.

Essential things that one should do to be a CEO someday:

  1. Have Credibility

This is #1 for any CEO. A team will follow its leader only if that leader has credibility. The team should trust him and believe him.

  1. Have a personal vision

Develop a personal vision for your own life. “Know the path”. Align your ideals with those of the company.

Note: If there is a mismatch between the company’s ideals and your own, it won’t work out. Leave.

  1. Change your mindset

Minds can’t be changed. Mindsets can.

Recognize the changes happening in your field. Change your mindset to meet new challenges.

  1. Prepare yourself for the opportunity

There is no such thing as pure luck. Of course, having an opportunity requires some luck. But to grab the opportunity, you have to be present there in the first place. So work hard and prepare yourself so that when the time finally comes, you will be ready.

  1. Be truthful

There is a famous saying, “You can fool some people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time”.

So be truthful. Lies may get you to some level in life, but they won’t keep you there. Only honesty and hard work will.

  1. Be fair

Nobody respects a leader who is partial. Be fair and people will look up to you.

  1. Do the tough things that no one else wants to do

Napoleon was always at the forefront of his army wherever it went. He did not stay in the middle/rear of his army, cushioned from attack. He did all the tough things, and that gave him the right to expect tough things from his men. His men also followed him everywhere because of this.

  1. Build a powerful coalition between management and board.

Sometimes there is a mismatch between management and board (or sometimes between management and ownership in case of a family owned business). Both parties are essential. Both need to get together. Do not try to bypass the board or treat them with disrespect. Try to bring both parties together.

  1. Guide the creation of a shared vision

Everyone has a personal vision. But unless this personal vision coincides with that of the company, neither the individual nor the company can progress. So guide the creation of a vision that everyone can share.

Communication will play a major role in this. In today’s age, there are a lot of ways of getting in touch with the employees even if the offices are geographically apart. Use these ways of bringing everyone together.

  1. Take the responsibility of being the main change agent.

“The buck stops here”. This motto should be followed scrupulously. Be the main agent for change. Bring out new improvements. People will follow.

  1. Create endless opportunities for 2-way communication.

One-way communication is of no use. If only the CEO talks, and everyone else listens, the company will not go anywhere.

Encourage employees to share their feedback. Have honest and open discussions. Everyone will ultimately benefit.

  1. Create opportunities for innovation in the rank-and-file.

“Human ingenuity transcends literacy”. There have been many instances of illiterate / less qualified people coming up with solutions to problems that have stumped more literate people. So treat everyone equally and give them equal chances of contributing. You will be surprised at the results.

  1. Maintain focus.

Focus is very important. Choose the area that your company wants to target, and stick to it. Do not try to diversify in all areas and ultimately lose in all of them. Stick to your strengths. Innovate, keep yourself updated, etc. but don’t forget the root area that you want to be in.

  1. Realign HR Systems if necessary.

If the HR systems in your company are not working in the way you want to, realign them. Give them directives that will help them be in tune with your (and your company’s) goal.

  1. Preserve the core values of the company and your own.

Under all costs, core values must be preserved. Resist the temptation of going for a shortcut that will compromise your values. Never risk the long-term goals of the company for short-term gain.

A more detailed Introduction to Dr. Irani

Actually Dr. Irani has many more achievements. But listing down all of them is simply not possible …

About Dr. Jamshed J. Irani

J. J. Irani is a director of Tata Sons, Tata Industries, Tata Motors and Tata International, among others. He is chairman of Tata Refractories and TRF. Dr Irani also chairs the board of governors at XLRI in Jamshedpur.

Dr Irani began his career in 1963 as senior scientific officer at the British Iron and Steel Research Association, Sheffield. On his return to India in 1968, he joined Tata Steel as assistant to director (R&D). In 1979, he was appointed general manager, and president in 1985. He became the managing director in 1992, a position he held till July 2001.

He has received a number of awards recognising his contributions to the company and industry. Prominent among them are the 'metallurgist of the year' award in 1974 from the Ministry of Steel and Mines, the prestigious 'Platinum Medal' in November, 1988, by the Indian Institute of Metals, Ernst & Young's 'Lifetime Achievement Award, 2001' for entrepreneurial success and the 'Twelfth Willy Korf Steel Vision Award' from World Steel Dynamics and American Metal Market.

Dr Irani has also been awarded the Qimpro Platinum Standard in November 2000, and has received the Indian Merchants' Chamber's Juran Quality Medal for the year 2001, for his role as a statesman for quality. In October 1997, an honorary knighthood (KBE) was conferred on Dr Irani by Queen Elizabeth II.

An academician, Dr Irani is an MSc in geology from Nagpur University and has a doctorate from the University of Sheffield, UK.

Apache .htaccess tweaking tutorial
Nice article. Explains the finer point of Apache's .htaccess (directory level configuration file) in detail.