Showing posts from March, 2008

Windows Live Writer

During the transition from JRoller to Blogger one of the factors that drove my decision were the available editors. Both offer some sort of WYSIWYG HTML editors to compose blog posts. However I was not too pleased with either one of them. Both tended to produce somewhat bloated markup with lots of divs and spans, combined with inline style attributes - in the end not really much better than <font> tags... In the end I gave up on the "rich edit" modes and wrote the markup by hand, usually with Bluefish . While I was generally fine with that I still kept looking for some decent blogging tool a little more sophisticated than either the browser's text-area control or Bluefish. I tried ScribeFire for a very short time, but was not pleased with it. Maybe it suits people better who usually blog about stuff they find while surfing the web, but for me it just did not work. Finally - I cannot really remember when or how I got to it - I stumbled across the Windows Live Wri

Follow-up: Strange InnoDB Locking Behavior

On March 4th I wrote about an observation we made concerning InnoDB locking behavior in combination with foreign key constraints. Since then we have been in contact with MySQL support and they in turn with the InnoDB developers. One of the conclusion I can already draw from the whole thing is that another level of indirection (InnoDB being a part of Oracle, i. e. an external resource to MySQL, too) does not tend to speed things up... But be that as it is, here is a more thorough explanation we got about how the more aggressive locking comes to pass in case a foreign key constraint references a parent table's primary key. As the original response from the support staff spans several emails and includes some internal stuff I will paraphrase to protect the innocent (i. e. me ;-)). First - just to remind myself - some notes on how the foreign key checks work. For any update you do to a child table, the DBMS needs to make sure that you cannot concurrently remove the parent table&

Enable Explorer Window Titles on Vista

Something struck me recently about the appearance of the Vista desktop. I did not consciously realize it at first. What's "wrong" with this picture: If you do not see it, compare it with this one: See the difference? The second screenshot was taken with " AeroBar " loaded. The only thing it does is make use of the otherwise wasted space in the title bar by displaying the folder name. Does anyone know why Microsoft would not do this by default?

iPhone SDK - Sweet with a smack of bitterness

When Apple released the iPhone SDK to finally allow 3rd party applications on the iPhone and the iPod Touch, I was immediately excited. Even though Apple claimed that web applications were a great way of developing software for their devices, I did never think so. It may be a feasible way for some simpler types of software, but not being able to leverage the full potential of a "fat client" (even on a device as thin as that ;-)) always struck me as a severe limitation. However the sun does not shine so brightly after all. The Register's Bill Ray writes about his view on things in " Cometh the hour, cometh the iPhone SDK ". I tend to largely agree with him. When I watched the " March 6 event " video I didn't even realize that the $99 fee for the development tools was supposed to be a yearly subscription, but got the impression it was simply the price for a license to use the tools in the SDK. This is still what I understand from the iPhone Develop

iGoogle for iPhone

While iGoogle is nothing really new, I only recently (and by accident) noticed, that there now is an iPhone optimized version of it. While the regular Google home page for mobile devices has seen some improvements specific to the Apple mobile devices as well (tabs at the top of the screen), I really like the combined iGoogle and small display optimized combination iGoogle/i offers. Unfortunately the latter one does not have the nice tabs to quickly switch between GMail, Calendar, Google Reader and the other apps they offer. This would be the last thing to make it close to perfect for me. I wonder how this got past me without noticing it earlier... For some screenshots see (iGoogle/i) or TechCrunch (Google/m). It seems you have to use an iPhone or an iPod to see the differences, the "regular mobile version" appears to be unchanged when opened with e. g. Internet Explorer.

Monsters of the Programming World

Through a comment on my post about my latest encounter with unexpected/unexplained locking phenomena David Linisin's blog caught my attention. Looking through some older postings there I found a post called " The Cruel World Of Programming " which contains some hilarious drawings of "bug species" everyone knows. Go have a look, a hard copy of this is now pinned to the wall behind my desk :-)

Importing Audiobooks to iTunes on Windows

I may have found a new passion: Audiobooks. While for quite some time I was rather skeptical, even when my girlfriend gave me " The Hobbit " as a Christmas present a year ago I hardly tried it. I just could not imagine sitting around and listening to someone reading a story to me. However back then I did not have an iPod (or any other portable music player for that matter), so now - listening to podcasts most of the time I drive, walk or do my household chores - I reconsidered when I got hold of a " Glenkill " set of CDs. My first shot was to just import them into iTunes. However that way all 5 CDs with all their tracks showed up in my "Music" library section where I really did not like them. Even though you can change the files' properties to exclude them from shuffling this was not really acceptable for me. A colleague told me that he had found " Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes " when he was trying to do the same thing for his chi

InnoDB Primary Key and Secondary Index Locking Strangeness

Recently we noticed a strange locking problem within our application. While the previous release worked flawlessly the current version produced a number of Lock Wait Timeouts. The code itself did not change in the area we experienced the problems, however our persistence framework had been updated to a new release in conjunction with our app. One notable difference was the schema generation strategy (the schema is generated based on an UML class model). In the previous version primary key columns were always created alphabetically. Because that is not necessarily a desirable thing it always created a secondary index, too, that contained the same columns in a user-specified order. In case you really wanted the alphabetical order you ended up with two identical indexes. Especially for InnoDB this is a very inefficient thing to do. (See my Index Analyzer tool for more info on why.) Often we ended up with something like this: CREATE TABLE `parent` ( `A` char(3) NOT NULL defaul

Vista (Home Premium)

Last weekend I decided to buy a license of Vista to replace the XP install I still kept for the occasional necessity. I went for the Home Premium version which I got from for €89. As I usually use Ubuntu I decided to do a clean install to replace the XP partition completely. All documents are on the Linux disk anyway, so nothing to lose there. The install worked flawlessly, even though I do not know how long it took, because I let it run over night after I had entered the product key. In the morning it was asking for a user name and allowed me to log in shortly afterwards. At first glance I did not notice any striking differences compared to the RC1 build I had tried out some time ago. Nevertheless I quickly realized that the computer was beeping using the internal speaker. A look at the device manager (Ctrl-Pause still works) revealed missing drivers for my sound card. Windows update pulled about 170MB and wanted a reboot. After that I had new graphics drivers (nvidi