Trillr Microblogging Platform

By |December 17th, 2008

The guys over at CoreMedia released their own micro-blogging platform under a BSD-license (open-source). Trillr is aimed at corporate (“Enterprise 2.0″) micro-blogging. I’ve used the original Trillr site for a while now and I think this is a great contribution to the community. Trillr is written using the Django Framework (Python) and the API is compatible with Twitter, making it easy to integrate with existing solutions.

The developers did release a word warning around the setup process simply because they developed the software as an in-house application and had to rip out some proprietary code before releasing it to the public. I think we should expect subsequent releases to clean that up!

On another positive note, these guys are working on a version 2.0 release already which they’ll also open source. Let’s hope they keep up the momentum.

Go download it and play with it!

4-Cylinder Lego Engine

By |December 15th, 2008

How awesome is this: A company named LPE power is making a 4-cylinder pneumatic Lego engine. A little pricey though, I think I could build one myself.

JSR 170 Primer

By |December 12th, 2008

In about July of ‘08 I decided it would be awesome to write a book about object-oriented content architectures. Aside an impressive outline, I wrote a lot of the basic introductory chapters. Then life caught up with me. So while I might finish the rest of my book some day, I decided that I should take the JCR part as a primer on the Java JSR 170 and JSR 283 specifications. There are just no in-depth manuals out there that I have seen. So here is my contribution to the geek world.

Read More >

Groovy and Grails join the Spring Family

By |November 24th, 2008

This is almost old news, but I just noticed that SpringSource, the company behind the Spring Framework, bought G2One, the company behind the Grails framework (see my earlier article).

This seems like a great move to me, completely aligned with Spring’s vision to make Java development easier. It’s great to see that Grails now has Spring’s full backing and a promising outlook in terms of integration with Spring applications.

Maybe one step closer to Grails in the enterprise.

Creating Browser Screenshots on the Server Side

By |October 22nd, 2008

In the light of the plethora of gloomy headlines in the past few weeks I have started taking screenshots of some of the major web sites online, maybe just to have an archive of how the world ended one day :-)

I started thinking there’s got to be a way to automate this. Indeed, there are a number of downloadable utilities out there to create JPEG images of web sites, but I really wanted to build this myself. After some initial online research I decided to give it a spin in C#. I came across the System.Windows.Forms.WebBrowser class which, as it turns out, can do all these magic things for me directly on the server-side without requiring a desktop application.

The caveat is that the WebBrowser does need to execute in a standalone STA thread. As a side-note, the code is a total memory-hog the way it is written now, mostly due to IE.

Buying a House in NY

By |October 20th, 2008

We’ve been trying to buy an appartment or a house in the area for a few months now, and after a few failed attempts (rejected offers, failed inspections, etc), it looks like we finally found something — an entire house up in White Plains, NY. Aside from having to adapt to suburban life, my commute will actually be the same as it is now from Jersey City. Anyhow, that’s all not that interesting to you, I’m sure, so let me get to the point.

We’ve decided on a beautiful 1923 colonial-style house, and as any old house it needs a little bit of work. The most interesting part is the heating system. The house has nice old steam radiators which are powered by one of the scariest pieces of equipment I have seen in a basement to day. An old ca. 1930s furnace which seems to be and old coal furnace which was then converted to oil. The icing on the cake (yeah, really, the white stuff on the furnace) is lovely asbestos. At first, I was a wee bit freaked out about it, but I quickly learned that this is pretty normal in these old homes. Obviously the removal of the monster and the asbestos will be the first thing before we move in, but I wanted to share some pictures of this antique.

Youtube starts offering premium content

By |October 13th, 2008

According to Ars Technica, youtube has introduced full-length video content also. All this video is supported by advertisement.

Youtube hasn’t been successfully turning the site into money yet, maybe this is a sad attempt at that. Frankly, I think it completely waters down their brand (if they really have one, that is). Who really associates premium content with the site that has an endless supply of kitten videos?

Then again, McGyver is hardly “premium” content. I wish they’d also add Airwolf and Knight Rider. You can already watch The Fall Guy on Hulu.

Sun Releases xVM Server under Open Source License

By |September 13th, 2008

It looks like VMWare ESX server is no longer the only freely available bare metal hypervisor (i.e. one that doesn’t require a full-blown OS but runs directly on the hardware). I tried to play with ESX but was kind of put off by the particular enterprise hardware it required, there is no way to run it on commodity hardware. Sun now released they xVM hypervisor under the GPLv3. Currently you can only download the source code, but I am looking forward to a binary release. I am hoping it’ll run on one of my servers at home :)
“Sun xVM Server is an outgrowth of the Xen project — which raises the question of why a company would go with Sun’s version rather than the Xen one. Apart from its support for SPARC and Solaris (as well as other chips and operating systems), Sun is also building a services and sales organization around a commercial version of xVM server… If you want to kick the tires or cut your costs, you can hop over to, download the source (GPL 3) and join the community. But Sun is betting that, as deployments move from an initial testing phase to active usage, large organizations will be willing to pay for guaranteed support (starting at $500 per year per physical server).”
Check it out on

Another one on Adversing Age

By |August 26th, 2008

NEW YORK ( — Almost six months after the companies started talking, WPP and Microsoft have reopened talks that could have the software company unloading Avenue A/Razorfish. But the question is whether Microsoft could ever get anyone to buy the digital ad agency for the price at which it needs to sell it.

Help, my company is up for grabs — Update

By |August 25th, 2008

Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) talks with WPP Group seem to be taking a more serious turn on the subject of the software giant selling off digital ad shop, Avenue A/Razorfish, AdAge reports. Microsoft acquired Avenue A/Razorfish when it bought parent aQuantive last August for about $6 billion. That purchase also included other aQuantive properties, among them ad network Atlas and digital marketing solutions provider DrivePM.
Read more on, AdAge, and now also Washington Post.