May 25, 2008

Getting BlazeDS running on Leopard

(hey I haven't posted in forever, but since I actually had something to share...)

I was looking for any information about getting BlazeDS running locally on my Mac to take a stab at learning Flex remoting, and I found this nice tutorial over at Coding Cowboys, but got disappointed when I realized that while the author was working on Leopard, he was actually setting up BlazeDS on a linux server.

But in my normal "oh this should be pretty easy" fashion which has on other occasions brought down the boot sectors of powerful hard drives, I decided that following the instructions on the page would just work on a mac too.

And it did!

It should be pretty clear why I'm just not sending you on to the aforementioned post if you go look at it - he's also setting up Amazon EC2 webservices, which I'm not as interested in at the moment. Also, I'd like to just play with Flex remoting for a minute at home, so I don't need to get a server involved. Especially since I have this handy unix workstation right here on my desk.

Ok, no more silly patter. Here's how to set up BlazeDS on your intel-based mac running Leopard. I should also mention that I have the developer tools installed, but I don't know that that makes a difference.

Getting BlazeDS running on Leopard

  1. Download the turn-key package
  2. unzip it to a directory -- /blaze is good. You now have a folder at the Root lavel of Macintosh HD called blaze.

    If that "unzip it to a directory" direction is alienating to you, just double click on the zip, let Mac OS unzip it for you, and rename the directory to blaze and move it to the top of the Macintosh HD. Pretty much the same thing.

  3. In terminal, go to that dir - ls /blaze (just for fun maybe - I'm terrible at doing commands like sudo ./blaze/tomcat/bin/ ... I usually just cd to the directory and do ./
  4. You need to issue two commands in terminal:




    Note - when executing these commands either from the root (/) which is the command above, or from the directory they're in, you still need the leading ./ -- so if you're in the /blaze/tomcat/bin directory, the command to start tomcat is ./, not which will give you an error.

    Note #2 - You can close the terminal window. It says "hey, closing this will end processes running blah blah blah" but BlazeDS still works after you close the window. If you're just playing around, it might be worth leaving it open since it tells you in the console output how to shut the server down.

  5. open in a web browser.
  6. Play with the pretty flex remoting demos.
  7. Learn everything else. =)

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November 18, 2006

reusable flash Creating Reusable Flash Buttons Controlled by HTML


In this tutorial you will learn how to create a reusable flash that can be configured through the HTML of the page displaying the SWF file. Using the technique you will be able to use one single SWF file for all your buttons in a single page.
This is one of those things that I've tried to do a couple times, but it never worked out...and truth be told, after reading the tutorial I'm not sure what I was doing wrong (maybe I wasn't passing the variable to the swf the right way).

Anyway, it's cool to see it work. Now I need to figure out how to force justify the single word in the button, and actually get the text how I want.

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November 13, 2006


I was looking for some information on how to style lists and blockquotes (I'm getting a little annoyed with them -- I can't figure out how to change their default indentations, and browsers give them way to much vertical space.

I found this nice site (or 5 sites) by maxdesign that look pretty helpful. At least they should help me figure out my list problems, if nothing else. And the Floatutorial: Step by step CSS float tutorial looks like required reading since I just got a headache from trying to figure out how to clear the floats in the new layout I'm working on.

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November 12, 2006

CSS From the Ground Up

Nice CSS tutorial, aimed at designers. Mostly nice because it gives tips on how to translate page layout concepts to CSS.

CSS From the Ground Up

Can you tell I'm working on a website?

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the advantages of knowing thyself

From Republicans look to Reagan era for inspiration (Yahoo! News):

But Joe Barton of Texas, also considering joining the House Republican leadership race, doesn't see the party of Reagan as extreme.

"Our party does not suffer the affliction of being a boiling mad collection of fringe interests with notions so cockeyed that they ultimately rub each other rawand make average Americans cringe," Barton said. "Republicans will never be that."

That is so awesome I can't even stand it. Good luck getting your party back together -- with your eye on the ball like that, nothing can get in your way.

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November 6, 2006

August 22, 2006

I can't believe that took as long as it did

I finally found out how to center divs on a page. I feel so stupid for not finding it earlier:

Max Design - CSS Centering - fun for all!

Theoretically, you should be able to apply auto margins to the left and right of the containing block and it should center on the page.

The W3C Visual formatting model states: "If both 'margin-left' and 'margin-right' are 'auto', their used values are equal. This horizontally centers the element with respect to the edges of the containing block."

So, a containing block should be able to be centered using the following rules:

margin-left: auto;
margin-right: auto;
width: 50em;

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June 27, 2006

simple human decency

A very funny satirical(?) essay from a recent Harpers: On Simple Human Decency

I hardly mean to imply that George W. Bush is a delusional party hack whose aim is to rob and mislead us for the benefit of his friends. That idea deserves to be stated outright: George W. Bush is a delusional party hack whose aim is to rob and mislead us for the benefit of his friends.


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June 13, 2006

Pantagruel at BibliOdyssey

BibliOdyssey: Pantagruel I

Pantagruel is a great collection of crazy creatures. Just looking a it I thought it beat the clap-trap in most of the Fantasy RPGs I've played. Some game company should give this stuff serious attention.

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June 2, 2006

fixing the MT bookmarklet for Safari

I knew if I googled this enough times I'd eventually find the rigth answer. This is totally the right answer.

Fixing the MT bookmarklet for Safari :: The Daily Journey ::





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May 28, 2006

MacBook video game tests

So I got my hands on a new MacBook Pro. It's seemed very fast, but you don't really know how good a computer is until you see how it runs a couple games, am I right? So I decided to test it out, espeicially after a guy over at the Vanguard forums asked about how good his Mac would be for Vanguard and he got all kinds of ign'ant guff from the regular brand of PC partisans who didn't understand his question (he was aksing if the MacBook running Windows would run Vanguard, not if there would be a "mac" version). So I typed this up:

Ok, first of all -- I'm no super star video game scientist, so don't start waving technical stuff in my face that I should have throttled the buffer overide and overclocked the stfpu in order to get "real" results.

How I did my "tests":

Stock MacBook Pro: Intel Core Duo at 2 GHz, 1GB ram, and a 7200 rpm hard drive, but could only afford to give Windows a 25gb partition (Apple really needs to get a 200-300 bg laptop HD from some vendor, do they even exist yet?). The video card is an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256 mb ram.

I used Bootcamp to make a partition, installed Windows XP Professional SP 2 and the Apple Windows Drivers. I did not install any updates (who has time for updates? I had video games to play).

I did no tweaking. I wanted to see what "Stock" performance was. The only other thing I installed was Firefox in hopes that I could go 24 hours without getting some sort of malware infection (sorry to make the jab, but it is perplexing to mac users how bad the malware situation is on the Windows platform).


I decided that in order to guage what a future game would be, it would make sense to install a game that pushed the limit of current computers. The MacBook just squeaks in under the minimum gigaherz requirements for Oblivion (2 GHz), but has twice the ram and video card ram. The X1600 chipset is a supported video card. But this install reminded me why a laptop is not a gamer's first choice for a rig.

Surprisingly, when Oblivion autodetected settings, it put the MacBook in high quality mode. I went with this, so keep in mind that better perfrmance could likely be squeezed out by lowering some settings (but what a shame since the engine is so beautiful). The resolution was set to 1024x 768 which I bumped up to the screen's native 1440x990. Lowering it back down didn't seem to enhance performance noticably.

Performance was basically acceptable. It hovered around 15-20 fps, both indoors and outdoors, although things could get a bit herky-jerky. I expected it to be worse in towns. If a number of NPC models were in view, fps could sometimes drop to 5-10 fps, but I'm not sure if that was the 3D engine or maybe the game engine loading & caching dialogue and sound effects. This seemed worst with humanoids, I'm guessing because of the complexity of the facial systems. Rats and Goblins didn't seem to chunk it up so bad, although in fights with 3-4 goblins fps was dropping to the 5-10 range, which was pretty jerky and hard to fight.

Oblivion verdict: Basically acceptable. To play the game through, you'd probalby want to explore a bit on high quality to get a sense for the beauty of the engine, but then you'd want to tone it down to medium or low quality for more fluid gameplay. I'm not sure how the end game fights would go (they had tons of actors on screen at once), but I'm not playing through the game again to find out.

World of Warcraft:

I didn't bother looking at the specs on Blizzards site, because I knew it would run. WoW is almost 2 years old now (goodness time flies), so a new machine will definitely run it. I was lazy and I just copied my WoW directory from my PC and ran it. No problem, of course.

Maybe this test is unfair since Blizzard tuned their engine and models to work on lower end computers, but this was smooth as silk. Well,maybe not in Ironforge (the Alliance Capital) where I was getting 15fps -- but they were a "smooth 15 fps), but I was getting an average of 30fps in the more normal "adventuring" areas. But unlike Oblivion, even when the fps dropped, the action on screen had a definite smoothness to it, so I guess I'm saying that there's 10fps and then there's 10fps that feels like a flip book. I had WoW running at 1440 x 990 with all options set to maximum. Again, you could probably get much better fps with some options turned down, but why? It played and looked great.

The wide screen is definitely nice in a MMORPG. It gives you a place to put all your gee-gaws and widgets and you still have a nice center area with a basic 3:2 ration (like a tv) for all the action.

World of Warcraft verdict: Excellent. This could be your main gaming machine for WoW. I'd still prefer a desktop (I usually play on a 2.21 GHz Athlon 3500 with dual SLI GeForce 6800s and 2gb of ram -- much preferable for games in general, but I wish I had money for a widescreen =P), but I can rationalize having a bunch of computers in the house since it's my profession and lifelong hobby. And my wife accepts that every 2-3 years I "need" to buy a new gaming computer.

Gut Feeling Summary

If you need this machine and want it but are afraid you won't be able to play games on it, don't worry. You should be able to play most of the current crop of games with no problem, all though the real gpu pushers might chunk you up a little bit (this is a curse of the latop, not due to the picture of the apple on the case). It's hard to know how Vanguard specifically will be since system requirements aren't public yet.

Maybe if I get into the beta I can let you know :D

Posted by illovich at 10:10 PM | Comments () | TrackBack (13)
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May 25, 2006

Fly for fun (or fee?)

Flyff: Fly For Fun is the cutest free mmorpg I've seen in a while. I think they may use in game RMT for funding, which is less cute.

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I think I'm in trouble

Dofus Arena looks to be Final Fantasy Tactics remade as a multiplayer internet game.

Uh-oh. I hear my productivity dropping through the floor now.

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May 23, 2006

Race online, or "cybertypes"

A review of Cybertypes by Lisa Nakamura.

From: Kali Tal - Reviews: Lisa Nakamura: Cybertypes:

Nakamura gives us excellent coverage of the phenomenon she calls "techno-Orientalism" in her chapter "Race in the Construct and the Construction of Race: The ‘Consensual Hallucination’ of Multiculturalism in the Fictions of Cyberspace." In this chapter she takes a variety of popular ‘cyberpunk’ novels and films –including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and The Diamond Age– to task for reinscriptions of racism within their texts. Her reading of Andy and Larry Wachowski’s The Matrix is most interesting for its incorporation of George Lipsitz’s notion of "the possessive investment in whiteness"(78), upon which her analysis of the character Cypher is founded: "the only white man on the crew betrays the humans precisely because he wants to jump the ship of multiculturalism and reclaim his possessive investment of whiteness."(78) Nakamura persuasively argues that "[Cypher’s] claims to being oppressed while he is receiving no less and no more than any other crew member … invokes the ways that a lack of white privilege can be experienced as oppression."(78) The comparison of Cypher to Allan Bakke (famous for his "reverse racism" suit in the late 1970s), filtered through Lipsitz’s lens of possessive investment is downright brilliant, and all by itself is worth the price of admission.
Seriously, was Cypher the only white guy in the crew? I swear there was another white guy.

Edit: yeah, there was another white guy. The idea that Cypher's sellout is an pointer to white privilege is still pretty compelling though.

For some reason the neologism "Cybertype" irks me. Apparently Nakamura also coined "Identity Tourist" for which I am eternally grateful, and so I'll probably let cybertypes go.

Posted by illovich at 2:57 PM | Comments () | TrackBack (5)
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May 16, 2006

Terry Jones on Barbarians

Decline and fall of the Roman myth - Newspaper Edition - Times Online

The Romans kept the Barbarians at bay for as long as they could, but finally they were engulfed and the savage hordes overran the empire, destroying the cultural achievements of centuries. The light of reason and civilisation was almost snuffed out by the Barbarians, who annihilated everything that the Romans had put in place, sacking Rome itself and consigning Europe to the Dark Ages. The Barbarians brought only chaos and ignorance, until the renaissance rekindled the fires of Roman learning and art.

It is a familiar story, and it's codswallop

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Did you really read all of that? Sheesh.

Fortune: "You have a potential urge and the ability for accomplishment." I swear, I really got this fortune. I am not making this up.

spinning hampster -- I really love this hamster

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