My Mobile Office

When I gave up my desktop ubuntu box, I had to find a good mobile solution for that could handle building and running about 7 java web servers with a mix of Oracle and Mysql dbs. i.e I wanted to be able to run the full stack on my mobile hardware.
After a year on the road, I’m very happy with my setup.

Lenovo Thinkpad W520
i7 2720QM 2.2Ghz Quad Core
16GB Ram
500GB Sata 3 Drive w/ Windows 7 Pro
128FB SSD Drive for virtual OS’s
Toshiba USB Mobile Monitor 14 inch

I started out w/ dual boot linux and it was a royal PITA because of linux driver issues for some key thinkpad w520 devices. Also, got sick of recompiling so many drivers after every kernel update, and still having a wonky experience. Also, skype is a business requirement for me and I never could get microphone to run under linux. With the virtual vmware linux image running off SSD, I’ve been very happy. I honestly couldn’t discern a performance difference in my day to day development tasks between native and ssd virtual linux.

For running linux virtually on windows 7, vmware player was much more stable than virtualbox. I tried virtualbox for months at recommendation of our IT dept, but it just kept crashing and failing to restore the image after suspending it. Also, it couldn’t handle my portable dual monitor setup. Vmware Player seems to have much better drivers. I’m using our corporate ubuntu 10.04 LTS,and works fine except for sound and mic. Have to skype and play music directly from windows for both virtualbox and vmware.

Windows OS is on the big, cheap sata drive, and the linux vmware image is on the smaller, pricey SSD.
Everything is backed up and encrypted on a terabyte portable esata drive that I carry with me, and I periodically backup the entire vmware image to the cloud using CrashPlan Pro. Even if both my laptop and my external drive are stolen or damaged at the same time, I can still start developing again as soon as I’ve downloaded my backup vmware image from Crashplan onto whatever commodity laptop is available at latest location.

Very happy with speed of development environment for Java and mysql development, and the second monitor is a big plus.

Posted in Tips, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Solved: Activating Maven Profiles by Environment Variable

The maven profiles manual is confusing when it discusses activating maven profiles via environment variables. The examples do not work on Ubuntu, so it’s a tough starting point.

Given that you have set an environment variable in bash or system wide using /etc/environment.


Wrong way:


Right way:


Right way, if you only care that an environment variable exists. Not what it’s value is:


These are your friends when configuring your profiles and env properties:
mvn help:active-profiles
mvn help:effective-pom

Note, if you activate 2 or more profiles that all try to set the same property, the last profile in the list will be the winner.

Hope this helps.

Posted in Tips | Tagged | 7 Comments

Nx Client from Mac to Ubuntu – Alt Key

If you’re here, you probably already know the problem. If you use intellij like I do, I hope this helps with your imports.
Given Mac OSX connecting to Ubuntu over NoMachine’s nx client

1. Create and/or or place this in your ~/.Xmodmap on your mac

keycode 66 = Alt_L
clear Mod1
add Mod1 = Alt_L Alt_R

2. Start/Restart X11 on mac from Utilities>
3. Do *Not* start NxClient via Mac GUI. (If you are starting NxClient by clicking on the red NxClient icon with the mouse, this isn’t going to work.)
Instead, create an X11 terminal window. (Make sure the top left icon says X11, to know you are usings the correct terminal app.)
and start NxClient from that terminal’s command line:

/Applications/NX Client for

4. If you are in Intellij, your Alt-Enter key combo will be this on a macbook pro:
alt/option + the small ‘enter’ key next to the right Apple key.
It will Not work with the usual alt/option + the big enter/return key.



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Intellij 9 Indexing Bug Workaround

Intellij 9 release on Mac routinely corrupts the index of classes. This manifests itself with compilation errors claiming that classes X,Y,Z cannot be resolved. However, when you check, all the classes are in the right place. Also Intellij correctly compiles the individual class, and all the nice syntax highlighting, etc is working for these classes.

Go to Module settings and remove those directories by unchecking them as ‘Sources’. Click OK. Let Intellij reindex. Once, it’s finished, go back to Module Settings and add the directory(s) back into Source. Let Intellij re-index, and then do a rebuild.

If that quick fix doesn’t work, you may have to resort to the (very) long rebuild of your entire intellij cache:

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Samsung TV and HDMI Audio through a Nvidia gt220 video card

Got a Series 4 Samsung 450 plasma with PC inputs. Plugging in the audio failed w/ DVI/HDMI video. Turns out it was expecting audio from the HDMI on my video card. But there was no audio coming out or any way to select nvidia audio.

I had a Sound Blaster Audigy card already installed. I disabled it from Device Manager, rebooted, and now Nvidia audio took over as main sound device automatically. Sound is now coming out of HDMI cable into TV with streaming netflix. awesome.

btw, the motherboard builtin sound had to be disabled at the bios level first, but I did that in order to install the Audigy card a year ago.

Windows XP SP2, 64bit. The ability to switch audio devices is apparently terrible in Win XP.

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Restoring syntax highlighting in Intellij

Found and fixed an annoying intellij bug recently.
Intellij was having severe stability problems, so I was turning off all plugins and wiping the cache to try to resolve the issues. As a side effect of this, Intellij lost the ability to highlight java server pages and javascript files.

This is because the plugins for inspecting those files were disabled when you first load the project. Intellij will assign those file types to be treated as plain text. Then when you turn on the jsp and js inspection plugins, Intellij will not go back and associate the plugin with these industry standard file types/file extensions. (That’s a bug in my book.)

However, you can go in and fix this yourself:

Settings > File Types > Java Server Page files > Add *.jsp

Settings > File Types > Javascripts files > Add *.js

Ditto for any other files that have lost their syntax highlighting, even though the appropriate plugin has been enabled.

Posted in Tips | Tagged | 1 Comment

intellij Patch Tool – Fail

I love intellij most of the time.
But the patch tool sucks. Any tool that leaves you in an unknown state with no messaging after a problem sucks.

I have 8 files in a patch. I work through 4 files using the diff tool. Then inexplicably Intellij decides not to use the diff tool on the next file and it just throws an error about a single line change, and leaves me in an inconsistent state. Awesome. Exactly what I do not want it to ever, ever, ever do! Did the 4 files get totally patched? Did the other 3 patch without a problem? Did the 9 changes in the bad file get applied before the problem line?

How freakin’ hard could it be to just keep sending me to the diff tool when there’s not a clear automated fix for a line?
And give me summary of what just happened to my code.

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parking carma == vaporware

Parking Carma? Why oh why can’t you get your shit together? What’s it been 3, 4, 5 years without delivering on the promise of creating a market place for all the untapped parking in the world? All the ideas are there, the same ones that loads of us have had. But not a single feature on the site worked! (except for the registration. hooray?)

Parking Carma has made a facade based on a strong feature set, but it doesn’t work in downtown San Francisco, and that means it doesn’t work. (Especially when the company contact phone numbers start with 415.)

I could not reserve a parking place in San Francisco.
I could not offer to sell my excess parking place in San Francisco.

ok, it looks like it only works at some BART stops and a couple other places…that they were touting in 2005! However, the site is set up pretending to be selling spaces all over downtown and SF, but they end up being all greyed out links.

It’s starting to feel like this is an example of Microsoft’s classic FUD to keep other, more competent companies out of this market.

And have some self respect and lighten up on the Google ad words?

Posted in Rants | 1 Comment

Best Photo Sharing Widgets

ok, you would think this was wildly known and popular, but sharing your photos outside of Facebook in a widget has not caught on. Well, there’s a lot of use cases where it rocks. The official Facebook photo widget is horrible. I knew that I could write one pretty easily, so somebody else had to have done it. The only one I’ve found that is good comes from Slide:
It works for other social networks (Myspace) too. Unfortunately, Slide doesn’t know how to do SEO, so you’ll never find this by searching for ‘facebook photo widget’. (Well, to be honest, I went to a youtube review of facebook photo widgets that showed in my search results. How roundabout is that?)

Check it out:

Also, the official Flickr slideshow widget is head’s and tails above all other 3rd party Flickr widgets. You’ve got to try the fullscreen button. And, it supports my videos too! Nobody else has functionality that good in a slideshow widget. Unfortunately, they don’t advertise it well. So, here’s the link to get started:

And an example:

These two widgets officially handle all my widget slide show sharing needs.
Well, no one has made a Facebook video widget yet…

Now, if they just



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment fail

I write software to connect Flickr and Facebook. I’m interested when I hear there is another photo company on the web that supports unlimited storage and bandwidth for photos.  A blog post links me to, which supposedly has all this for FREE! Wow! Maybe Flickr’s days of $25 Pro accounts are numbered.

Then, I spend 10 minutes clicking every link on Zooomer’s site, trying to figure out what service they offer. Seriously, they don’t put a description of their plan on any highly trafficed, visible part of their site. (Or I am blind today.) Heck, if the blog post hadn’t told me that this site hosts your personal photos, I wouldn’t even know that they support that!

I went to the forum to ask what the deal was. Unfortunatley, their OpenID support is broken with my yahoo openid. I’m not signing up with my email after all that.

Since, I can’t post this information in their own forum, I figured I’d put it on my blog.

Zooomer. WTF?

What do I get from you if I create an account with your site? What service are you providing for me?

Do you want money from me?  What would I get in exchange for my dollars?

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