Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo from the Austin Java Users Group, March 25, 2014

Tyler Hobbes spoke to 85 Java developers about Cassandra, the NoSql database created at Facebook, but used by Netflix, reddit, ebay and instagram. My bullet points:
Cassandra has no Master-Slave architecture, but instead has a network of peers all sharing data.
Cassandra is fully distributed and has no Single Point of Failure (SPOF).
They use Murmur to build 64-bit hashes.
Yuki Morishita talked about Cassandra Query Language CQL.
You can use sqlsh, a command-line version of CQL.
Cassandra is not good for ad-hoc queries, the database structure has to be designed for your planned queries to be useful.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mezer Tools for Screen Capture and Measurements

A friend recommend Mezer Toolkit, an excellent utility for Windows screen capture and measurement. Selecting Windows-S brings up the app which lets you choose two corners of a rectangle to define which part of the screen gets put in the copy buffer. Saves lots of time. No more ctl-alt-shift-prtscrn. Mezer will also let you measure items on your screen.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pictures from Austin .Net User Meeting - Overview of Fiddler with Eric Lawrence

Eric Lawrence gave an overview of "Debugging with Fiddler" to 60 people at this month's Austin .Net meeting. Eric has a light, breezy presentation style which makes listening enjoyable. Fiddler was Eric's hobby project for years before Teleric offered to finance the project. Fiddler (download) really is a Swiss Army Knife for http investigations. My jumbled notes:
The command line has mucho power like ">50K" will only show data more than 50K
Alt-Click on a column shows all other lines with that value.
Fiddler runs on Windows, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu, but just barely on the Mac.
Fiddler can deal with HTTPS encryption and HTML5's WebSockets
It has an image inspector to give info on images
It has Regular Expression based HTTP rewrites
You can remap domains and ports - useful in testing to map a test server to the live server's domain or port
HOSTS command to reroute ip addresses since the HOST file in certain situations is not read
Autoresponder allows you to replay http sessions very fast for demos
FiddlerScripts let you write programs in Fiddler
It has lots of insertion points for adding customized code (AOP)
Watcher x5s is also a good tool
Lastly, the entire core of Fiddler is available as a library for use in your programs.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hidden Easter Egg Game in Windows 7

I love gaming as much as the next guy and wanted to make sure everyone knew about this hidden gem in Windows 7. To play this game you need a Windows laptop, a docking station, and multiple monitors. The game is called "What Monitors Will Windows Recognize Today?" (WMWWRT, pronounced Wim-Wart). Whenever a developer walks in the office in the morning, we all gather eagerly around them as they dock their laptop and bet on "heads", meaning windows will recognize all the monitors - at the correct resolution from yesterday, or "tails" meaning the OS won't have a clue about yesterday's settings. This is a great team building activity. Often we try to correlate why it recognized the settings - was it the low barometric pressure, the phase of the moon, the price of Microsoft stock? Great hilarity ensues as we try to delve into the mystery that is Wim-Wart.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Natural Gas to Gasoline at Half the Price

Imagine if we could take cheap, plentiful natural gas, stir in some pixie dust, and turn it into gasoline.
A startup Siluria thinks they have the magic dust to make that happen. Siluria takes natural gas and through a process using proprietary catalysts, converts it to ethylene (C2H4) which can then be converted to gasoline at half the price of current gasoline.
If Siluria can make the catalyst cheap enough and it lasts long enough, it will change the landscape of the oil industry and political world. Then, with the additional oil from unconventional sources we will get the following:
  1. The price of oil, of course, will fall a little. It will then slide quite a bit, as producers rush to sell their oil before the next guy. Think buyers market. Think $30 oil.
  2. The price of natural gas will rise reacting to the increased demand. Currently, drillers don't go for "dry gas", that is gas wells without oil, but with the rising price drillers will go for even more gas wells.
  3. Companies extracting expensive oil will start to suffer, like the tar sands in Canada.
  4. Countries depending significantly on oil exports, will become unstable. Russia comes to mind - without the oil revenue to paper over their inefficiencies, the government will be in trouble.
  5. The Middle East will cease to be such a focus of all the oil hungry countries.
  6. Israel will benefit, since many of its enemies are oil-funded, and it has natural gas off its coast.

Many companies have tried this Gas-to-Liquids path and been unsuccessful. Many are trying right now.
I'm rooting for Siluria and hoping they will be able to realize its dream.
This will buy us some time until ultra-capacitors can be designed to power our electric cars of the future.

Monday, January 27, 2014

AppCmd: Cannot find APP object with identifier ...

I'm using AppCmd for the first time to automate installations for IIS7.0 for create an app.  I kept getting this error:
Cannot find APP object with identifier "CoinStacking".
My problem was not prefacing the identifier with the website, although the examples I found on the web didn't indicate the prefix was needed - probably not needed in some circumstances.

My final appcmd to create an App and set its application pool:
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD add app / /"Default Web Site" /path:/CoinStacking /physicalPath:E:\Inetpub\wwwroot\CoinStacking

%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD set app /"Default Web Site/CoinStacking" /applicationPool:MyPoolParty

To delete the app:
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD delete app /"Default Web Site/CoinStacking" 

To reset a physical path:
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\APPCMD set app /"Default Web Site/CoinStacking" /[path='/'].physicalPath:E:\Inetpub\wwwroot\CoinStacking\v2

 Photo from

Monday, January 20, 2014

Where Are the Millionaire NSA Brother-In-Laws?

Seems to me with NSA analysts gathering all this meta-information on phone calls, some of them would be tempted to call their brother-in-laws and say something like, "Hey Ted, the head of IBM acquisitions has been placing a lot of calls to Acme Quantum, that California company that IPO'd two years ago. I checked their credit cards and Acme Quantum's executive team and the IBM team were in the same Vegas hotel last month for four days. For some reason, everyone traveled there on separate planes, never met in the same restaurant, and ate a lot of room service. I haven't a clue about what they were saying, since everyone knows the NSA doesn't record the calls, just the fact that the calls were made. I know this information isn't useful for anything, but I thought you'd find it interesting since you tell me you get bored sitting at the trading desk all day."