Put up or shut up time!

I asked on the developer list why we’ve evidently decided to use Flash for the next version of the GUI, when we’re all Java Linux developers. I suggested that the powers that be have a look at Google Web Toolkit which would allow us to develop in Java and cross compile to AJAX-y Javascript. And it’s all free and open source and all that good stuff.

So the development lead who is pushing Flash today came to me with a challenge – produce a demo that does everything his Flash demo does and looks as pretty doing it using Google Web Toolkit. I’m sure I’m going to be judged on how good it looks and how long it takes me , so I’ve got to hit the books pretty hard and learn everything there is to know about this toolkit, Javascript, CSS, and maybe a few other Javascript libraries while I’m at it.

And here I was just the other day opining that one sign of my advancing age is not that I can’t pick up new languages and technologies, but I’m afraid to even try. One thing I took away from my Google interviews was that all these young punks expect you to have memorized every single class in the Java API document. I, on the other hand, am content to remember where in the document to find the sort of class I’m looking for. I think I have “multiple language syndrome” – I think that one of the languages I use regularly does NOT allow C-style

if (cond)

statements and requires the “statement;” to be in braces, but I can’t remember which one it is so I use braces all the time. Whether that makes the Google geeks better coders than me is a subject for debate. I tend to think not, but I’m biased.

But with that aside, I need to come up with a nifty way to show the status of our file server, our management system (main computer) and a bunch of distributed computers that connect to the management one, with the status of each one visible and changing in real time. There is a variable number of distributed computers, so I’ll need to be able to dynamically place them. And he also wants some way to show (like by line thickness or whatever) if big file transfers are happening between the management system and the distributed computers. If anybody has any ideas on this or better ideas than this, please let me know.

Any interest in my old computer?

My old computer has been sitting here for a little while, and I haven’t needed it for anything, so it’s probably time to sell it. It’s a pretty nice box for its age. Tyan motherboard, 2 AthlonMP1800+ processors, 1Gb of Registered RAM (either PC100 or PC133, can’t remember) (3 sticks, 1x512Mb and 2x256Mb). Nice full tower case, doesn’t require tools to open and the drives are on sleds and trays for easy access. There are two short white slots and 4 longer ones (all PCI, I think). There is also an AGP slot which probably isn’t one of the faster ones. The NIC is in one of the short slots, and the video card is some cheap-ass ATI AGP thing. The power supply is an Enermax 535W.

Back in 2003 I did a major upgrade of the cooling capacity, adding case fans, a hard drive fan, and these two beautiful copper heat sinks that weigh about a pound each. That’s also when I replaced the hard drive with a 160Gb one.

In the last couple of years I’ve added a PCI card with 4 USB 2.0 ports on the back, and then I added a PCI card with two more ATA-133 IDE ports (you can add 4 drives, master and slaves). In recent months the computer has gotten progressively more flakey. I suspect that either the power supply was getting old and losing “oomph”, or the extra load of the having three hard drives and two CDs and the IDE card were just too much for it. But also, several of the cooling fans have gotten full of dust and some of seized up. So it’s possible that was putting too much load on the power supply. I’d advise anybody buying this to give the thing a serious cleaning and be ready to replace some of the case fans and possibly the power supply. I’ll include the 160Gb hard drive and one of the CD-ROMs (I used the burner in another computer).

Anyway, anybody want this? Make an offer. The thing is big and heavy, so I’d prefer local, but will ship if the buyer pays.