All posts by systemout

WiFi Rail Works Great – When You Can Find a Hot Spot

Anyone that rides BART knows that getting Internet connectivity can be a pain, especially if your cell phone doesn’t support tethering (another reason AT&T is terrible).  Even when I borrowed a Blackberry with tethering support enabled it wasn’t that fast.

WiFi on BART would rock if it were available.  It’s now starting to be deployed due a contract BART signed with WiFi Rail recently.  They’ve been testing their hotspots in the main 4 downtown stations for a while now and a few weeks ago I noticed that I could keep connectivity partially through the TransBay tube.  The speed and consistency in the tube is not that great but in downtown I was able to get upwards of 400-500 KB/s (yes, bytes, not bits) from Powell to Embarcadero even while moving between stations.  It was enough bandwidth to download the latest version of Sun VirtualBox.   I do wonder if the speed in the tube is the issue since I don’t know how well WiFi will roll over from one hot spot to another.

All I want to know is when are they going to put the WiFi on the rest of the Pittsburg Bay Point line?  That’s the busiest line in the system (hint hint WiFi Rail).  My advice, fix the TransBay tube and extend through Oakland next.  The longer it’s available continuously the more use it will be to people and the more willing they will be to pay for it.

Yes, I’m still alive!

I realized it’s been a while since I posted so for those that check in on me every now and then here, yes, I am still alive. 🙂

Myleene and I recently welcomed our twin boys, Evan and Carter, into the world. They were born early at 33 weeks, 6 days so they spent 3 weeks and 4 weeks in the NICU, respectively. They are both home now and doing well. They’re gaining weight and Carter is already over 7lbs and Evan is right there behind him.

I’ll post links to photos soon but I’m exhausted (as expected) and need to get some sleep before the next feeding.

One day I’ll finish my technical posts that are all still in draft mode. 🙂

I Suppose The Firebug Developers Should Be Flattered…

I was looking for some IE developer tools (because they generally suck) and came across this at the Microsoft site:

Wow, that doesn’t look like Firebug or anything does it??   And it won’t even work on IE7.  Sigh.  Trying to troubleshoot css/javascript issues on IE makes me hate web development so hopefully this will make ie8 at least somewhat bearable but that doesnt’ help trying to fix things on IE6 and IE7 which are still a majority of the traffic I server (luckily this ratio is dropping steadily however).

Annoying Java.Blogs Bug

Hopefully some of you are coming to this page from the daily Java.Blogs update e-mail that shows up in your inbox every night.  And maybe someone that maintains the site will see this and figure out why this bug happens.

On entries where the name of the blog is a domain name (i.e. the anchor tag terminator for the link to the blog entry does not terminate at the end of the link but rather it continues to consume the domain name of the blog as well which means the only way to get to the link is to copy paste it into my browser window.  Annoying!

Basically you get something like this:

<a href=”″><wbr>action?id=123456<br></a&gt;

when you really should get the </a> tag after the ID number and not the domain name.  Like I said, though, it’s fine if the blog’s name is not a domain name.  Can one of you guys fix this??  🙂

Also, when looking at the source for this problem I came across the <wbr> tag.  I spend a lot of time on the front end these days I can honestly say I’ve never seen that tag before but lo and behold it is real:  I guess I learned something new today.

Sending obscure HTML in an e-mail is probably not the best idea anyways.

This Is The Biggest Load Of Crap

Read this article at the Wall Street Journal.  This has got to be one of the biggest loads of crap.  I might as well have gone and bought a huge house I couldn’t afford, transfer all my assets to someone in my family, then declare bankruptcy and ask the judge to lower the principal on the house to something I can afford.

I will admit I don’t know the details and the limits of the bill but this is just ludicrous.  My wife and I bought a house that was within our means in 2001.  We could have gone and upgraded a few years back to a bigger house or one that was more expensive but we decided to stay put, do a little work on it and keep paying it off…like responsible people.  We didn’t go out and speculate and buy multiple houses or a bigger house than we needed or could truthfully afford.  And now, people that did the irresponsible will get a break while people like me will have to pay more taxes in the long run to subsidsize this travesty.

Why should someone that was dumb enough to buy a house that has lost 45% of its value from its peak get a bailout (I know people in this situation)?  Seriously, how can you even try to justify this any longer.

The America I grew up reading about doesn’t exist anymore.  Just call us the handout country now.

When Voice Recognition Goes Bad — Horribly Bad

I was grocery shopping the other day and wanted to find out what a hothouse tomato is so I spoke the words “hothouse tomatoes” into the Google Mobile App for the iPhone and it returned “penthouse letters”. Not exactly what I was expecting.

Normally this app is amazing in how well it figures out what I said but I can’t figure out how it got this one so wrong. Strange indeed.

What annoys me most about Flash…

Is that it doesn’t pass Alt-D (or any other hotkey for that matter) to the browser. Like most developers, I use hot-keys as much as possible. It slows me down if I have to reach for the mouse all the time. And when I’m browsing I hit Alt-D a lot to get to the address bar. It’s faster for me to start typing a domain name and have Firefox autofill it rather than getting into my bookmarks.

This is just yet another way that Flash breaks the browser experience (back button anyone?).

You know your anti-virus software is a POS when..

It needs 100MB to run effectively.  How does McAfee need 100MB to run?  Seriously.  I’m not even running the firewall or other tools.  This is the biggest resource hog/POS.

And let’s not even go there on why the OS needs a 3rd party AV package to keep it safe.

Well, at least I don’t have to use Mac hardware…I couldn’t keep my prior attempt at running a Mac from locking up on me at random times.

Update:  I have actually switched to Mac now.  I still was unhappy with the fact that my old laptop kept locking up but my new one has been run happily for a while now.

Ternary operators in JSP

Every now and then I come across things I haven’t used before but should have been using.  The ternary operator in JSP is one of them.

It makes it so much easier to write out some text based on a conditional without having to put it in a request attribute explicitly or do an if/then conditional with a possible set operation using the JSTL core library.


${booleanTest ? 'output if true' : 'output if false'}

This came in really handy for adding an additional css class to a div based on a condition in the JSP in this particular case.