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Thursday, July 29, 2004

  8:42 PM - QuickTime runs best of Mozilla / Firefox
Shipwreck Central works best on Mozilla / Firefox, because the site makes extensive use of QuickTime. On my system the map works great on IE6 as well, but whenever I close a window with embedded video, IE crashes. Maybe everyone should just use Microsoft formats for their streaming videos, ha ha. Well, I'd like to blame Microsoft for the problem, but I think it's probably Apple that needs to fix it.
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  8:28 PM - OpenDarwin? Nope, won't open.
Well, now I find myself with an expendible Pentium II on which to play. I tried OpenDarwin - just because they said the install CD works on "some" IDE systems and I was curious whether mine was one. But it wasn't. Solaris didn't get corrupted by the attempt, so I still have that for awhile.

I've been thinking, I said a few posts ago that rpm based systems must be flawed, since they tend to degenerate over time, especially when combined with customized builds. I still think that's true. However, I should say Sun's package system is really no different. The only difference is I didn't update core libraries or the kernel with custom builds on the Solaris systems I've used at work (and couldn't even if I wanted to), so there was less opportunity for the bit-rot to set in.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

  11:09 PM - Solaris no more
OK, the pleasant nostalgia of having good old Solaris 7 at home wore off, so I downloaded Solaris 9 and installed that over top. I hadn't used 9 yet and wanted to give it a try. But now the increased bloatedness of the new version (as far as a 1997 vintage PC is concerned) and the general brokenness of the free / open source tools that ship with it pretty much guarantee Solaris 9's stay on my geekbox will be brief. It's well suited for the Enterprise; I'll give it that.
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Monday, July 26, 2004

  7:06 PM - Shipwreck Central unveiled
A project that has been kept me up busy of late had its public beta launch this weekend. It has been a very exciting project, and there are still some kinks to work out in terms of some older browsers such as IE5 for Mac. If you're running Mozilla/Firefox, Safari, or IE6, check out Shipwreck Central, an interactive map-based portal to a library of undersea video footage, marine archeological information, and educational content.
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Monday, July 19, 2004

  10:27 PM - Linux no more
This weekend I finally killed my Linux box, which I have had since 1997. It was actually a dual-boot Windows 95 (later 98, later Me - sudder) and Linux (Redhat 4, later Mandrake 6, later Mandrake 8).

This weekend I started thinking: the Linux side is starting to become less stable / less comprehensible, as tends to happen over time when you combine RPMs with hand-configured tarballs. Maybe it's time to upgrade again. And maybe this time, since I have a good XP box now and absolutely despise Windows Me, maybe it's time to blow away the Windows partition as well.

But after that I realized, RPM based distributions are flawed; it should not be necessary to rebuild every two years. I thought about trying out Gentoo but decided it would be too time consuming, and might not run well on my vintage hardware. So then, finally, I knew what I had to do.

I had to blow away both Linux and Windows 9x, and put something else on it instead. (Well, what would you have done?) So then I got to learn a bit about Darwin, which I like but was not adventurous enough to try, and finally decided to install Solaris. I had a copy of Solaris 7 that I ordered about 4 or 5 years ago - Sun had an offer where developers could get it for the cost of shipping - but that I ended up not installing since it wanted to go on the primary partition. This was my main computer back then, and I couldn't afford to wipe out Windows 9x at the time. So I put the CD-ROM on a shelf and forgot about it until this weekend.

Installation went very smoothly. Since the computer is so old, it detected all the core hardware without any problems. It didn't come with a compiler, its Java and Web Browsers were of course out of date, and it lacked some important tools that I care about, but the excellent sunfreeware site is getting me going. It helps that I know Solaris fairly well from work. However, until now I've only used it on Sparc, not on Intel hardware. There are some slight differences e.g. in the boot sequence and in some of the devices, but the user interface, the commands, the '/etc' filesystem layout, are all familiar.

Call me lazy for skipping out on Darwin and Gentoo. I don't care; I just want an enjoyable system to hack on and, for awhile at least, this is going to be it. (That and WinXP + Cygwin/X, of course.) Sometime down the road maybe I'll seek redemption by converting an old Sparc to Linux.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

  7:52 AM - Installing Tomcat with Jikes
After a few months of not being able to keep my Tomcat / Jikes installation package available due to bandwidth and space restrictions, and a few unsuccessful attempts to find another Tomcat-related project to collaborate with, I finally secured a new home for it on SourceForge.

So, tonight or tomorrow I'll upload the Tomcat 3.2.4 package and fix the links, and then in the next little while I'll put up a Tomcat 4.1.30 installation package as well, to address some of the shortcomings I found when configuring Tomcat 4.1.x for two recent projects.
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