Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Month: August, 2008

JavaFX: The New Hotness

I went to JavaOne a few months ago. It was a pretty neat experience and I learnt a lot of cool things. One of the things Sun was touting was the JavaFX family of technologies. It allows you to create RIA (Rich Internet Applications) using JavaFX Script, a domain-specific language built on top of Java. The demos were pretty impressive and it looks like Sun’s answer to Flash and Silverlight. I went to a few JavaFX sessions and I signed up for the preview SDK, which came out a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been playing around with the language to see what it can do. The language is pretty neat and being dynamic, has some pretty cool features like closures, list comprehension, lazy/incremental evaluation (through binding), and triggers. In addition, it uses a declarative model (although you can still use the traditional model) for describing a GUI. The API provides Swing components, but I believe the intent is to completely move away from that and use only JavaFX GUI components.

Calendar widget

Using a language that is only in preview is pretty interesting. The API is unfinished and the language isn’t completely mature, but this is to be expected. That being said, it still looks promising and seems to be a very capable and expressive language. Also, seeing as it is built on top of Java, you have access to all of Java’s rich API in addition to the numerous third-party Java libraries and API’s that are out there. I’ve been playing around with it for the last week or so and I was able to write a small calendar widget. It simply shows a month view for the current month, with the current date highlighted. I haven’t had much experience with writing GUIs in Java, so it took me a while to figure it all out. I shamelessly stole the colour gradient background from one of the demos in the preview SDK. The only issue I have right now is the load-time of the widget. It seems to take a while when you load it first. I don’t know if it has to do with the way I coded it or not. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it the best way, but I expect to get better once I get more familiar with the language.

Here’s a screenshot of the widget running on Firefox 3 on my Ubuntu laptop (the theme is a Leopard theme):

Calendar widget

I have more details on the project page.

WTF is up with the 2009 Acura TL?

I love my 2007 Acura TL. In my opinion, it’s the perfect mix of luxury and sportiness for the price. I love the way the engine growls when I step on the gas, and I love the way the body looks. For this reason, I was pretty excited to see what Honda would come up with for the 2009 Acura TL. When the 2009 TSX came out, I was even more excited because it looks pretty awesome and I was sure that Honda wouldn’t disappoint with the TL.


Yeah. Seriously… WTF?! I don’t mind the grille. They seem to have borrowed that from the MDX, and the TSX has a similar one. It’s not bad at all – it’s pretty streamlined and aggressive-looking. But seriously, what the hell is up with that curve on top of the front-wheel. Seriously?! It totally breaks the streamlined look when you look at it from the side… it just looks bad! So yeah, I was a little disappointed, but I thought that the weird curve was something I could get used to. So then I tried to see what the rear looked like. The rear on the current generation of Acura TL is very nice. It’s imposing and it kinda raises up the rear of the car giving the entire vehicle a pointed, streamlined look. So what did they come up with for the rear of the 2009 Acura TL?


What the hell, guys?! You kinda just took the rear of the 2008 Honda Accord and the 2007 Civic Coupe and squished them together to form a horrible ugly mess! I thought the rear of the 2007 Civic Coupe looks pretty nice. Even though the tail-lights were small, they were balanced out by the larger trunk door. I didn’t really like the rear of the 2008 Accord because the rear lights looked way too small. Honda seems to have taken the worst of both ideas to create the rear of the 2009 Acura TL. It has small tail-lights and a small trunk door. It’s just ugly.

So yeah, I’m pretty disappointed. I hope in newer versions they will redesign the rear exterior (like how Honda does with the Accords and Civics), but I doubt that’s going to happen seeing as how they barely made any changes to the current generation from year to year. All in all, I don’t like the 2009 Acura TL, and I think they could have done a way better job. Guess I’ll have to wait till 2015 to see what they come up with next.

Sorry for the delay

I’m really sorry for not updating this journal for… well, seems like forever. I figured I’d start writing regularly but that turned out to not be the case. A few things got in my way. Ever since I started working at Infusionsoft, I’ve had less of a desire to come back home and sit at the computer… again. The reason being, that most of my code-cravings are taken care of at work. Seriously, I love it. As a result I don’t really feel like coming back home and sitting in front of the computer.

The second thing was that my parents were here for a long time, and so I was spending most of my time with them. Then what else… oh yes, there was a thunderstorm and the power went out and my server decided that it didn’t recognize the NIC it had recognized for the past four years. So I went and bought a new one, and as soon as I plugged it in, it recognized the old one. I love computers. Then of course, there’s the fact that I was just pretty lazy. For some insane reason I decided that I wanted to upgrade the server to FreeBSD 7.0 and then I kinda just dragged my foot on setting everything else up.

Finally, there was my getting deployed again. Yeah, you read that right. I was going to Iraq… again. I pretty much found out about it around the time of my WLC training. So there was all the preparation for that. I really wasn’t looking forward to going (who does, anyway?) but I figured I had to (all that duty stuff, raising my right hand, taking the oath). However a few weeks ago I found out that I really didn’t have to go. As it turned out it hadn’t been two years since I got back and so I had the option of not going. So I told my readiness NCO that I didn’t want to go. I have my career to think of, and I think one tour in Iraq is more than enough. I was pretty torn when I had to make that decision. It took me about half a second to decide what I wanted to do. Part of me almost wanted to say “yes”. But I think this is the better decision.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I’m alive and that I’m definitely going to try and write more frequently on this journal. I’m doing a lot of exciting things at work and I’d like to be able to write about them. So, until next time…

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