Saw this today and thought it was classic:

Part of diagnostics is spending time figuring out not only what the problem is, but also sorting through what it isn’t.

Java – it must be caffeine free

A lot of folks look at Sun’s “Java” engine as a most wonderful, empowering tool. I, however, shudder each time that little red coffee cup appears on my screen. Why do I react that way? It’s because in my experience, Java is problematic. There are tons of versions, none of which really are compatible with each other. Some products built on the platform require version X, and others version Y. Heaven help the poor soul who needs to run both of those products on the same box. A lot of web apps are java based. I go to fire up a web app, see the “coffee cup of death”, and my heart sinks, knowing that I have a 50% chance of achieving my goals, and a 50% chance of being frustrated for an hour or more while I troubleshoot this pathetic excuse for an engine. Some of the time, it just won’t work no matter what I do. I roundly curse the Java geeks, and find another way to achieve my goal.

So c’mon folks, let’s either put some caffeine into Java (Sun? Hello?), or quit using the stupid thing. Please! If more developers turned their back on the platform, it would probably get more attention by Sun. As tons and tons of people persist in using it, Sun has limited incentive to get this right.


Illegal Aliens – the Arizona controversy

I’m quite appalled at the controversy raging over Arizona’s new tougher illegal alien laws.

First, for those of you who don’t know; I was not born in the US.  I was born in England.  My family emigrated to Canada, and a few years later, to the US.  We did all our paperwork and so forth, and we pay our taxes, and now we’re all US citizens.  It wasn’t rocket science, and it was the right thing to do.

We have a lot of illegal aliens in the US, as many are aware.  Here’s the inane thing: a lot of them don’t pay taxes, and are living under the threat of deportation, yet we (as a country) bend over backwards to give them and their families all kinds of financial aid, medical aid, schooling, and so forth.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Pardon me for drawing a line in the sand, but I did it the right way, and as far as I am concerned they should too.  If a person is in this country illegally, they should NOT get any sort of services at all.  The only service they should EVER get is a ride back to their country.  It’s simple.

For the bleeding hearts who think that we should save the world: Donate YOUR money to a charity that helps the impoverished in the foreign country of your choice.  Arguing that we should let them stay here, and forcing ME to foot the bill for them is just plain wrong, yet that’s exactly what we are doing.

In other countries, there is just no tolerance for illegal aliens.  If you are in their country, you’d better have a visa or residence permit, or be a citizen.  End of story.  Some countries don’t just ship you back to your country.  They throw you in jail, or shoot you.  I think perhaps that is a little “over the top”, but I think that our permissive lackadaisical attitudes in the US are foolhardy, and expensive for those of us who actually DO pay our taxes.

Powermat – a cool accessory for your phone

Here’s a cool phone accessory I ran across:  Powermat USA

Powermat with devices charging

There are two classes of devices that can be used with this charger.  Supported devices (iPhone, iPod, BlackBerry, etc) are provided with a replacement back cover which contains the wireless interface.  All other devices have to use a small square interface with a mini-usb connector attached.

How does it work?  There is a pad which is connected to a wall-wart charger which you plug into the wall.  To charge your phone (with the replacement back cover installed), you don’t plug anything in, you just lay the phone on the pad.  This is really nice because in addition to being futuristic and geeky, you shouldn’t have problems with the phone not charging overnight because you didn’t get the plug inserted “just right”.  I’m quite sure I’m not the only one who has had their cell phone die part way through the next day because of this.

So, while I think this is a great product, and just might have to get one, I do have to wonder about the second category of devices.  They give you a square box with a cable sticking out of it, and you put the box on the charging pad, and plug the cable into your phone.

Um… I just can’t see how this is any better than just plugging the original charger cord into the phone.  In fact, I’d call it worse because now there’s another item in the “charging chain”, and any link in that chain which fails causes your device not to charge.  As a result, I don’t think I’d have any use for the charging adapter, and would only want to use this with “supported” devices which have all the cleverness built into the replacement back cover for the phone.