OpenOffice vs LibreOffice on Windows 8.1

Just recently I wanted to install Libre- or OpenOffice on my Windows 8.1 machine. Google wasn’t much of a help: there are a lot of pages comparing OpenOffice with LibreOffice. Yet most of them conclude with a “it doesn’t matter which one you choose.”

But there is a quite relevant issue that is not covered in all the pages:
If you’re not working with administrator priviledges (which is recommended), LibreOffice is the way to go! OpenOffice installs the menu entries etc into the administrator account. This isn’t a major issue – You could easily add the menu entries manually.

Well or just use LibreOffice, which installs correctly – no manual intervention required!

Compiling Cascading: FAILURE: Build failed with an exception.

Today I ran into a really stupid error message when I tried to recompile cascading-jdbc:

Evaluating root project ‘cascading-jdbc’ using build file ‘/home/…/cascading-jdbc/build.gradle’.

FAILURE: Build failed with an exception.

* Where:
Build file ‘/home/…/cascading-jdbc/build.gradle’ line: 68

* What went wrong:
A problem occurred evaluating root project ‘cascading-jdbc’.
> Could not find method create() for arguments [fatJarPrepareFiles, class eu.appsatori.gradle.fatjar.tasks.PrepareFiles] on task set.

* Try:
Run with –stacktrace option to get the stack trace. Run with –debug option to get more log output.

BUILD FAILED

Total time: 5.355 secs

Solution

Check your gradle version … I ran a brand new Ubuntu with the shipped gradle version 1.4. Well the cascading readme states that gradle 1.8 is required … and it really is.

Feedly being DDoS’ed – Open communication leads to a boost in Pro Accounts

You might have heard that the company providing Feedly (a news aggregator application) is currently being extorted money by attacking the website. The attackers are DDoS’ing the website to make website and the complete webservice unavailable until Feedly pays money.

While Feedly still refuses to pay ransom they’re battling the third day against the attacks. While DDoS attacks are not a novel crime in the battlefield called internet, Feedly decided to communicate openly about the situation.

The Feedly community obviously rewards the open communication: In a tweet, Feedly announced that “the rate of Pro sign ups has doubled over the last 3 days”. Feedly: Keep up and stand your ground!

IntelliJ IDEA and Scala being awfully slow on Windows 8.1

At work we are working mostly in Scala and most of us are using IntelliJ IDEA for coding. The choice of the operating system is up to the developer. As I am quite convenient with Windows (and use MS Office quite often), I am a happy Windows 8.1 user (btw: who the hell needs a start button when you have the windows key!? Anyways … different story).

The Problem

After a while when I started a Scalding project, IntelliJ became very slow and often turned to be non responsive for some seconds about once per minute. So over all it was a very inconvenient and unproductive situation.
Continue reading IntelliJ IDEA and Scala being awfully slow on Windows 8.1

“Easy going” vs “Taking care”

Freitag Abend. Heimfahrt in der BOB (BayerischeOberlandBahn). Wochenende here I come!

In Bad Tölz (eine Station vor meinem “Zielflughafen”) höre ich “Hausham? Da sind sind im falschen Zug.” (Hätte man vor einer halben Std in Holzkirchen umsteigen müssen). Ich denke mir “Arme Sau – jetzt fährst erst mal wieder zurück – oder du kennst hier jemanden der dich fährt – Ist mir aber wurscht – denn ICH bin gleich daheim. HA-HA!”.

Der Zug steht noch – ein junges asiatisches Mädchen das gerade ins Teenageralter eingetreten sein muss läuft etwas hektisch herum und spricht mich dann an “schuldi-gung – Hausham?”
Ohoh. “Hm tut mir leid, falscher Zug, steig schnell um in den Zug am anderen Gleis. Du musst zurückfahren.” Verzweifelter Blick ihrerseits. “ik ver-stehe nicht?”
Oh verdammt – kurzer Versuch in Englisch – nada. Noch maximum 2-3min bis der andere Zug fährt. Oh – scheiße – das bekomme ich jetzt nie erklärt. Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt: Noch ein Versuch es ihr zu erklären. Auch die Taxioption versteht sie natürlich nicht.

Option A) Schultern zucken, mich nicht weiter kümmern, das Mädel bis nach Lenggries fahren lassen (wo sie nicht weiter von Hausham weg sein könnte) und gleich daheim sein (also ich – sie sicher nicht). Ist ja schließlich nicht mein Kind.
Option B) Zusammenpacken, das Mädel in den anderen Zug setzen und hoffen, dass mich irgendwer fahren kann (oder dass diesmal wenigstens Taxis da sind) weil MEIN Zug dann ganz sicher weg ist.

Continue reading “Easy going” vs “Taking care”

“bad subifd directory” Replacing/removing bad SubIFD

Handling bad SubIFD entries in photos you want to geo tag / the problem

I just converted some of my RAW photos in RawTherapee and polished them in Photoshop CS. Of course I also wanted to GeoTag them (using GeoSetter) before putting the images in my archive. Fortunately, a GPS point was found in my trace for all photos. Unfortunately, I couldn’t write the Exif-GPS position due to a “bad subifd directory”. That’s what exiftool (which geosetter uses) tells me.

So – how to get the geo information into exif – or how to get the bad SubIFD directory out?

The solution:

In the end the issue was rather easy to solve:

  1. copy your images to a linux machine (or vm or whatever)
  2. copy all images to a directory “conv” AND in parallel to “conv2
  3. enter “conv2
  4. remove all exif information from the conv2 images by
    find ./*.jpg -exec exiftool -exif:all= {} ;
  5. enter “conv1” & copy the exif information (except SubIFD) to the cleaned images in “conv2” by
    find ./*.jpg -exec exiftool -tagsfromfile {} -exif:all --subifd:all ../conv2/{};
  6. you’re done.
  7. (fire up geo setter and geo tag your photos)

Be happy!

Convert Mercurial repository to Git

I have converted yet another googlecode Mercurial repository to Git – and as it took me (again) a bit too much time, here is my recipe:

Prepare

Log into a Linux shell (Windows will hardly work – at least it didn’t work for me). If you don’t have some remote shell, download an Ubuntu VM and fire it up (you might need to install VirtualBox if you haven’t installed it already).

Check out your HG repo:

hg clone https://code.google.com/p/MyHgProject/

Check if you have to remap some author information:
hg log MyHgProject

If you want/have to remap, simple create an author map file
oldemail@example.com=Firstname Lastname

Convert

Get fast-export and convert your repo:
git clone git://repo.or.cz/fast-export.git
mkdir new_git_repo
cd new_git_repo
git init
/path/to/hg-fast-export.sh -A ../authormap -r /path/to/MyHgProject
git checkout HEAD

Push

Now change the source setting in your google code repository to git and push the local codebase:
git remote add origin https://code.google.com/p/MyHgRepo/
git push --all

At this point, your upload might fail with something like “error: RPC failed; result=35, HTTP code = 0”.
This can happen if your upload takes too long and this is a documented bug.
I simply solved this issue by pushig the git repo from a shell with a fast enough upload speed as my local connection obviously was too slow.

Wiki

Now you might realize that you have “lost” your complete wiki – don’t worry, it’s still there!
Switch back your repo setting to Mercurial and repeat the process for your wiki which you can usually find at https://code.google.com/p/yourProjectName/source/checkout?repo=wiki

That’s it. You should now be ready to use Git!


Thanks to following sites hedonismbot, scrambled tofu

No more windows backup after uninstalling Acronis True Image Home 2011

I gave Acronis True Image Home 2010 and 2011 really quite several chances but it seems that either the product cannot reliably perform regular backups for my computer or I am just incomatible with it. Anyways – I finally wanted to draw a final stroke, get rid of Acronis True Image Home (ATIH), uninstall it and try Windows’ native Backup and Restore.

After unsintalling TIH I wanted to configure Windows’ backup and restore tool.
But – the according window just didn’t open!? Is TIH still bothering me AFTER I uninstalled it?

After quite some googling, I found one article in the Acronis Knowledge Base “14741: Acronis True Image Home 2011: Disabling “Integrate True Image into Windows” Does Not Work“. Unfortunately this only applies to an installed Version of TIH where Dis-Integrating TIH from windows backup does not work. – It’s quite a while since I tried it – but if I remember correctly, this didn’t work out for me. So another round at google was waiting for me…

Continue reading No more windows backup after uninstalling Acronis True Image Home 2011

How to write useful error messages

Each programmer has to deal with error mesages in some way. Either we have to check our data (and possibly raise an error/exception) or we are using libraries and have to deal with error messages or exceptions that are raised in these libraries. The purpose of this post is to point out how meaningfull error messages can save you time. Either your own time (by avoiding answering support questions) or your own debugging time.

So how can an error message save or waste time? Imagine the situation where you try to open a file and all you get is an error. What do you do next? I guess you’ll probably check if you’re trying to open the correct path. Maybe you did, then you possibly check if the permissions are okay, if you’re trying to open a directory or a file, etc until you found the problem that is causing the error. Actually this can be quite some wasted time – why? Becasue you’re doing all the stuff that the system already checked. The system decided that one of the condidtions failed and exited. So – shouldn’t the system just TELL the exact reason? And even better: shouldn’t it also just tell you a possible solution? Well – actually I do not blame “the system” but the guy who write the line that threw the error without any further information. Everytime I get an absolutely uninformative error I think “was it really so damn hard to add one more line of code that just mentions WHAT went wrong?!”.

Assume the situation where you try to open a file with the path being configured in an external config.properties file.
I think the quality of an error message can be categorized in one of the three categories:

  1. Reporting: The system just reports that there was an error.
    Example: IO Exception occured.
  2. Informing: Same as 1, just with more information.
    Example:  IO Exception occured while opening file: <filename>, null=false, exists=true, is file=false, is directory=false, readable=false, writable=false
  3. Supporting: same as 2 with additional information of how to solve the problem.
    Example: IO Exception occured while opening file: <filename>, null=false, exists=true, is file=false, is directory=true, readable=false, writable=false; Was the pat set correctly in config.properties?

In the past weeks I have seen very useful error messages in Google’s Android (“… Have you declared this activity in your AndroidManifest.xml?”) or in twitter4j (Displaying a shortURL to an FAQ page explaingin a very common error).
Bad examples are plain NullPointerExceptions when 3 parameters were checked, one of them was null and the according is just followed by a throw new NullPointerException so that you even did not recognize from the message WHICH parameter was null.

Conclusion: Please write robust code and please provide helpful and supportive error messages to the folks using your code!

Parse Error: There is a problem parsing the package / Beim Parsen des Pakets ist ein Problem aufgetreten

Just finished my first (real) Android App and wanted to deploy it in my phone (not just in the emulator).
So I sent an email to myself with the .apk attached as several tutorials said that you can just open it from your mail to install the app.
On the phone, I opened my mail app K9 and opened the .apk. But instead of installing I unfortunately just got

Beim Parsen des Pakets ist ein Problem aufgetreten.
(in english) Parse Error: There is a problem parsing the package.

even though the minSdkVersion was set correctly.

The solution was rather simple: Do NOT open the .apk in K9 directly but save it to the sdcard and open it via a filemanager like Astro.