Saturday, March 31, 2012


So, every now and again I review utilities for my Windows PC that I use and see if something better has come along.  Sometimes I find it online, sometimes by asking.  Here are some of my most heavily used utilities that I require on any PC I'm going to be developing on:

  • 7-Zip - - A great zip utility supporting a variety of formats, including tar, tar.gz, zip, and more
  • Notepad++ - - Beats the old notepad and adds support for regex replacements, search in files, and a lot more.
  • Launchy - - A Windows utility that allows you to essentially launch applications with a hotkey and a quick search.  Recommended to me by a coworker, and I'm not looking back.  Very strong catalog and if it is missing something, you can add a shortcut to the programs menu in Windows, right-click launchy, select rebuild catalog, and boom! 
Finally, after watching a coworker manage his windows, it dawned on me that I was missing a severely needed tool.  I needed a Windows organizer, and he had a great one.  I have added to my list of utilities.  With a simple click combination I can have a window move to the top center, and another click I can move it to the bottom right.  Sitting in front of 2 24" monitors, I just know this is going to come in very handy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Apache ServiceMix Integration

Pounded out an Apache ServiceMix Camel-route integration in about 11 hours of work today.  Not much existed before I got my hands on it.  Now, we have separation of ownership and can pull more developers into more tasks.  Having a framework that enforces a component-centered project structure is very nice to have when working with a remote team, eight hours out of your local time zone.

My new developer battle cry?  Go Camel!  Go ServiceMix!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Moving To VM Workstation

I've been getting by with VM Server for quite some time now.  They discontinued it, but it still works on Windows 7.  With the update to IE 9, all the plugins finally stopped working.

Sigh, time for my first VM Workstation purchase.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Appreciate The Docs

I've been messing with ejabberd these last few months for a big project I'm playing a role in.  The more I use it, the more I realize just how poorly it is documented, and I get how easily things are overlooked.  Essentially, to know how to use ejabberd, you had better get a pretty solid grip on Mnesia.  Since I didn't really account for learning a whole new language/paradigm/architecture, I'm pretty much relying on the mailing list.  I'm very appreciative of those who help a new guy out and it makes me realize how little I have been able to give back to the community.  I guess at the end, I'm hoping that with starting to blog again, I can also start to give back to the community, albeit a small piece at a time.  Here goes my part.

I have been working on clustering support for our deployments of ejabberd.  Particularly, I have been trying to get the servers in our DMZ void of any and all password validation for users and the servers behind our big firewalls to be the datastores.  Today  I learned that while we had four nodes working, one of the rear two nodes was only able to start up if the other "master" was started.  This is a poor solution for failover and creating a  .999 deployment, so it had to be researched.  In the end, we discovered that ejabberd is built as a list of features built on Mnesia, and if a database is stored as RAM only, then the features will wait until the remote node is available.  The discovery which directed me to the solution was a simple mailing list post:

So, lesson of the day, if your ejabberd server is starting, but none of the ports are listening, and you're not getting crash/error reports, the features are probably waiting for one of your remote nodes storing the database to come up.  The fix is to configure your databases to mirror one another, particularly in the "RAM and disc copies" selections of each table.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Aero Not Functioning

Wow.  Usually, as a techie, I feel it is my job to find the "why" something stops working, instead of just "fix it".  Tonight, my Windows Key + Tab wasn't working to rotate through Windows.  After some online research, I discovered the root cause was that Aero wasn't functioning on my recent Windows 7 install.  After much online research, I simply couldn't figure out why it wasn't on.  Finally, I gave up, probably the first time in several years, and reached out to the Windows troubleshooting application.

It worked.

It seems my desktop manager had been disabled by one of the utility installs I was testing out.  I've been looking for a new grid management utility for Window placement.  While I still haven't found a nice fit, I am glad to have my Windows 7 functionality working again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Networking Redux

Started dusting off some of the old networking stuff I have access to.  I've got my twitter feed back up at and of course this blog.  Not to mention I'm currently working on my new desktop PC.  I decided to put together a new desktop instead of trying to work from my laptop.  I miss the big monitors and great hardware.  I'm running a quad core I7 with hyperthreading enabled, 16 Gigs of 2133 DDR3, a new GTX550Ti EVGA GeForce graphics card, and a 24" monitor (soon to be two monitors).

Not only that, but I've decided to go the healthy route.  I'm now working at a stand-up workstation.  No more hunched over in a chair.  Although, I can already tell this is going to take some getting used to.