David Chandler's Journal of Java Web and Mobile Development

  • David M. Chandler

    Web app developer since 1994 and Google Cloud Platform Instructor now residing in Colorado. Besides tech, I enjoy landscape photography and share my work at ColoradoPhoto.gallery.

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  • Sleepless Nights…

    August 2010
    S M T W T F S
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Archive for August, 2010

The ultimate file browser for maven repos and more

Posted by David Chandler on August 26, 2010

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of work with maven where I needed to verify that the correct artifacts were deployed to a maven repository. While it’s easy enough to view a maven repo in a Web browser, it’s a pain to click through all the levels, and the POMs don’t show up very nicely due to the XML content.

So, I reached way back in time in my toolbox and pulled out lynx, the text-only browser created at my alma mater the year I graduated. (Ironically enough, I was then unaware of HTTP and lamenting that all the interesting work in EE had already been done. I had even used the Internet, as my wife and I would telnet across state lines with our campus VAX accounts to chat on the VT220 terminals in our respective dorms. But I didn’t see the Web coming, and it’s most of what I’ve done for the last 18 years…).

You can quickly browse maven central, for example, using

lynx https://repo1.maven.org/maven2/

For extra speed and the ability to look at POMs in vi, pull in the HTTP repo first (POMs only for speed) with wget:

wget -r -l3 --no-parent https://repo1.maven.org/maven2/com/whatever -A.pom

Now for the really fun part. Inspired by the ability to launch Finder on the Mac with “open .”, I tried

lynx .

Sure enough, lynx has finally cured my emacs file browser envy. Use the arrow keys to navigate, “o” to set options, including vi as your editor, then “/” to search just like in vi and “e” to edit any file. If you have to edit a bunch of files in multiple directories, this definitely trumps tedious “cd” and “vi” commands, even with shell filename completion. For really hardcore users, there’s

lynx -vikeys .

Of course, all this would be unnecessary if the Mac Finder worked a little more like Windows Explorer. Or if I’d learned emacs instead of vi.

For a real blast from the past, pull up the Google home page with lynx. Even Gmail works! I love text, I really do. Although, for the record, I do much prefer GMail and GCalendar in Chrome with keyboard shortcuts on.

Posted in PC Tech | 2 Comments »

Mac tech notes (phantom NumLock stuck, KeyNote)

Posted by David Chandler on August 19, 2010

The latest episode in my adjustment to the Mac involved the nonexistent NumLock key on the MacBook Pro. Twice during presentations, the keyboard has gotten stuck in NumLock mode in which the j,k,l and surrounding keys function as the numeric keypad and no other keys work. Thankfully, my password has a letter in the phantom numeric keypad area so I could diagnose this situation when typing in the login box. The trouble is, the MacBook Pro has no NumLock key (older Macs used Fn + F6), so it is a mystery how I got into this mode. It appears to be a bug in Mouse Keys. The solution is to tap the Option key 5x to turn off Mouse Keys or go into System Preferences | Universal Access and disable Mouse Keys.

On the bright side, KeyNote rocks. I kept noticing that the most polished presenters were using KeyNote, and now I see what they’re seeing: a presentation console on the notebook LCD that shows the current AND next slides (which makes smooth transitions much easier), speaker notes, and a giant digital clock. It uses extended desktop mode beautifully: console on the notebook display, and audience slides on the secondary display, to which you can also drag over all demos, editors, etc. KeyNote alone has finally sold me on the Mac.

Posted in PC Tech | 5 Comments »

I don’t miss Outlook / Exchange

Posted by David Chandler on August 14, 2010

Having previously seen only the personal edition of Google Calendar, I was skeptical of its value as a replacement for Outlook / Exchange in the enterprise. But now that I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that uses Google Apps for the enterprise, I can’t imagine going back. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

  • See anyone’s calendar. Including, of course, other people at work (Apps edition of Calendar has a nice Find a Time feature similar to Outlook), but also my personal Google calendar (yeah! ONE calendar at last!) which I’ve shared from my Gmail account, calendars of other Gmail users who have shared with me, various team calendars, even the Atlanta Braves calendar so I know when to avoid the downtown connector (see Add | Interesting calendars).
  • Google Calendar on my iPhone (and, of course, Android). It’s a beautiful thing, works anywhere, and you can even set your Calendar settings to send you text message meeting reminders. Of course, I can see ALL calendars shared with me on the phone in one unified view, including personal, school, work, etc.
  • Google Calendar widget for Gmail (Settings | Labs to enable). Shows my day at a glance in Gmail. Works well with the Right-side Chat widget (also in Settings | Labs) to make more room.
  • Click and drag to create an appointment. Easy! Quick Add is great, too. Just type “Dinner with Vicki Fri 7-9 pm” and presto, you’ve got a date.
  • Search. Of course.
  • Keyboard shortcuts! This was my biggest fear moving from Outlook / Exchange. Microsoft helped make the transition easier by hiding many of my old favorites in the new Outlook ribbon bar. Happily, I’ve found that Gmail and Calendar keyboard shortcuts are every bit as productive as Outlook. Enable in Gmail and Calendar Settings, then type ? to see a list of available shortcuts. My newest favorite: “/” for instant access to the search box. Makes perfect sense if you’ve ever used vi.
  • Finally, I can get my calendar anywhere, anytime. No VPN required, no installed software. I think Google is here to stay.

Combine all this with Google Docs and Sites, and I really can’t understand why every small business hasn’t moved to the cloud. Google Apps is a sleeper.

Posted in PC Tech | 2 Comments »

My fingers are so happy…

Posted by David Chandler on August 3, 2010

Just when I finished remapping Eclipse editing keys on the Mac to satisfy muscle memory, I discover that I could have been using vi keystrokes all along. There are several vi plugins for Eclipse, but vrapper is nice because it works within existing editors (like the Java editor).

On the subject of keystrokes, if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Gmail settings, type “?” to get a superb list of all shortcuts. Now if the Wave guys would just get onboard…

I’m liking the Mac thing more and more all the time, especially Terminal (and all the goodness of Unix that comes with it), and especially since discovering that Command+T pops a new tab (although Command+Shift+{} to switch between tabs is a little whacked). My only outstanding Mac complaint is the lack of Shift+F10 to pop a context menu, which, on Windows, allowed me to avoid the mouse almost completely in Eclipse and Windows Explorer. As near as I can tell and read on the forums, the closest equivalents on the Mac still require you to move the mouse.

As a side note, I noticed that another vi fanatic in the office also has an ergonomic keyboard. Hmmm….

Posted in Ergonomics | 4 Comments »

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