Archive for February, 2008

Unexpected but refreshingly frank information from the web: Don’t see “Sweet November”

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Bean Builder logoSo I was looking at a Java tool called Bean Builder. (Geeky stuff.) It is a tool for working with visual JavaBean graphical elements. So, I was reading the content on the main site. In a normal western language style, I was reading from top to bottom, left to right. Towards the bottom, after the scroll, I started to read the “Documentation” section. First I see the “README” link. I click it and read through the README. I hit the browser back button. Okay, next is the “Tutorial for the Bean Builder”. Noted, I will check that out later. “Bean Builder Architecture” link; maybe read sometime after I get a sample working. Ah, last link, “A Manifesto for Component Assembly”. What’s this? It says:

“A bit of a ramble about the future of programming that I wrote on a plane because the movie sucked. Don’t see “Sweet November” starring Keanu Reeves. It really does suck.”

Wow. I didn’t see that coming. I just found it a bit humorous to see this amongst the other, dryer, geekier information on the technical software page.


non-eBay item: Nintendo Game Boy Advance Home Brew Kit

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Game Boy Advance Home Brew KitNotice that this is a non-eBay item. I tried to list it on eBay, but eBay won’t accept it because it could be used to circumvent copyright. But last time I checked, a general purpose computer could be used to circumvent copyright. I wasn’t using it to circumvent copyright. I wrote a program that would display pictures on the Game Boy. For instance, right now, the cartridge has a program that I wrote that displays two baby pictures of Sydney. I was also looking at the Game Boy hardware as a potential for some sort of visual display, like a gauge or something. It could be hooked up to the computer and display additional information on its screen, like the current number of unread emails, the current temperature, or something. I never went much further with this though because the screen was relatively hard to read in low light conditions like my normal programming environment. Hmf. DMCA and the ilk strike a blow against using hardware that you bought how you want to. Anyway, this is what the eBay listing would have been…


  • 1 Game Boy Advance – used, but in very good condition. Only used by adult in home brew software development.
  • 1 Game Boy Advance SP – used, but in very good condition. Only used by adult in home brew software development. Includes cord for recharging Game Boy and original box.
  • 1 Flash Advance Pro Linker – Includes the actual Flash Advance Pro Linker used to transfer programs to 256M (bit) card (included). The 256M card is used to store home brew software on. The card can then be inserted into the Game Boy Advance or Game Boy Advance SP. The game system will then run the software stored on the cartridge. The Flash Advance Pro Linker is designed to attach to a parallel port. An original floppy disk includes Windows software for transferring files to the cartridge. A power cord for the Flash Advance Pro Linker is also included.
  • 1 MultiBoot Version 2 – Includes the MutltiBoot device for downloading software to Game Boy internal memory. Designed to connect to a Windows parallel port for programming and serial port for debugging. Includes the original floppy disk.

I haven’t actually used this hardware for a couple years. But when I was using it, I wanted to create my own programs for the Game Boy Advance. For instance, I created a little program that would display digital pictures on the Game Boy Advance. This system, along with software and information available at sites like can provide information on how to get started programming for a portable game system.

eBay item: Garmin GPS 25-LVC

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Garmin GPS 25-LVCI have just posted an eBay auction for a Garmin GPS 25-LVC. I bought this component from Garmin a couple years ago. I was going to use it a home automation device as a source of accurate time. But I never got around to using it. (I can blame it on becoming a father. Or just my own laziness.)

[Updated 2/24/2008: Item sold for winning bid of $11.00.]

What Would Google Do? Sometimes it may be worth asking.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

I have seen a couple different posts pose the question, “What would Google do?” I am taking a different tact. I work for a large organization making web applications. The web applications are used by external clients, but there is a rather limited group of users. Limited as compared to an application that is designed for general use on the Internet.

So, sometimes there are challenges developing our applications. I try to use Google as inspiration for coming up with creative solutions to the challenges.

To start this column out, let’s begin with a common task: uploading data files. Assume that you have a feature that uploads a batch data file. How should the file be formatted? This is a situation where I might ask, “What would Google do?” There are a couple different data uploads that Google supports.

Google Base is a service that provides a data feed. Google Base provides a way to describe structured data that will be included in a Google search. Here is more information about the data feed.

Google Apps, Google’s hosted applications like email, word process, and spreadsheet, has a data feed for provisioning users. They call this a Provisioning API.

In upcoming posts, I plan to look deeper into both of these data uploads that Google supports to help answer the question, “What would Google do?”

eBay item: Lego Writing System 1999 Adventure set

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Lego Writing System 1999 Adventure SetI have just posted an eBay auction for a Lego Writing System 1999 Adventure Set. I used to use the pen at work. It was a bit geeky, but I am a computer geek, so it worked. After I left that place of employment, I put it back in it’s case and didn’t take it out again. I found it in a box in the basement. Since I wasn’t using it, I thought that someone else may like it.

[Updated 2/17/2008] The eBay sale ended with no bids. So, I still have the pen set. If anyone wants it, feel free to contact me directly and we can work out something.

The Mickey Mouse dual balloon returns!

Friday, February 1st, 2008

I had forgotten to write about this. While we were down at the Walt Disney 2008 Marathon Weekend, I was surprised and excited to see a balloon in our hotel lobby: it was two balloons in one, one colored balloon shaped like a Mickey Mouse head inside a clear outer balloon.

I was reminded of this encounter when I read Jeff Pepper’s recent post; “Souvenirs: The Return of a Classic“. He includes a picture of the balloons in his post.

This style of balloon was the type that I remember when I first visited Walt Disney World when I was about 7. 🙂