Wednesday, December 28, 2005

JBoss forums/support

Earlier this month I found a minor problem with how JBoss AS deals with web service handlers returning false. It looked like a bug as I could reproduce it on both JBoss 4.0.2 and JBoss 4.0.3RC1 so I dropped a note onto the forum.

I got a quick professional response agreeing that it looked like a bug, and was requested to produce a simple ear that demonstrated the fault. It was a busy day at work, so I waited until the evening to create an example. Following morning I visited the bug description in Jira JBWS-544 and found it had already been fixed! I then had a choice of either waiting for the next release (4.0.4RC1 is estimated as 31/12/05) or taking the changed source and applying it to the web services version I was using. Fifteen minutes later I had a trivial patch I could apply to our development server and the JBoss unit tests to prove it worked.

The point of this post is that this is a fantastic level of service that would be near impossible to match from a closed source vendor.

Top job JBoss.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

P990 specs released

Ah my extremely battered P900 only has a few more months to struggle on.
Specs include wifi :)

Excellent review here although it looks like we will be waiting until at least March.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Skype in the field

As promised an update after spending a week with Skype in the field.

I've just returned from a week at JavaOne and used nothing else for calls.

The overall summary is that it was excellent, I made around 3 hours of Skype-Skype calls, and about two hours of SkypeOut to landlines in Europe. Both where excellent, most where made from wireless connections with speeds around 2-5Mbs. The only time I had any trouble, was with an open wireless connection from a neighboring hotel that had the habit of going away from time to time, and nothing was likely to work under those conditions.

The video also worked fine, with the exception of being able to keep up with my four year old boy running around (think Dash from the Incredibles). Its great to be able to see the folks at home on such trips, I can only reccomend it to all. The mini webcam and headset are going to be the first things I pack for all future trips!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

More Skype/Video

The folks at video4skype have produced a free plugin for Skype to allow a video stream to be sent along side a skype-skype call. My exstensive ( two days ;) ) testing looks good, the quality is fine depending on bandwidth. It does the traditional picture-in-picture view, I'm hoping to use this quite a bit when I'm on the road later this month to keep in touch with the kids.

I've bought a little webcam from Creative to clip onto the laptop when I'm roaming. Its a great little toy that packs away into a very small bag provided with it.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mars Network Monitor Plugins

I've written a couple of plugins for the Mars Network Monitor, Mars is a small java application that allows you to monitor certain types of web-services (http/https/jdbc etc) and trigger alerts via emai/popup etc when a service cannot be contacted.

A couple of years ago I wrote a plugin to allow the notification of a problem to be sent via Jabber which was added to the release.

The new plugins are for notification of problems via AOL instant message or SMS message. A couple of people have asked for copies of the source on the Mars discussion forum so I have made them available here.

As with the Jabber stuff last year I'm happy for them to be included in the core Mars framework if they fit into the projects goals.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Olympia DECT/ Skype Cordless Phone/Dual Phone

Back in March I bought one of these Dual Phones to see how they worked out. Its a normal DECT phone that also connects to Skype through a PC. The phone rings when a Skype call comes in, and you can talk wirelessly for the range of the phone.
The phone also keeps you informed of users coming online/offline and allows you to make SkypeOut (calls to landlines), normal Skype and landline calls from the same handset. It works as described, right now it lacks the ability to pickup voicemail messages with it, but I suspect that is something that will be added to the software over the next few months. Searching the contacts can also be a little tricky with a 2 lines of 6 characters. The killer feature is the 50m range, you can make/receive calls unteathered from a PC - it won't be long before people are making hardware that allows this to be done without a PC at all.

Skype In/Answerphone

I've mentioned Skype before, and things just get better and better with this service. Around three weeks ago I took out the 30euro option to get on the beta of SkypeIn/answer service. This gives me an ordinary London based telephone number which will divert to any location that I am logged into Skype. If I'm not logged into Skype then the call gets directed to an answer service and they get the option to leave a message (this is also the case for normal Skype calls to).

All in all I've found it great - I work in several locations at the moment and have been experimenting with it. Most of the people I work with directly already use Skype so for them calls to me are free, those who don't now have the option of either my mobile number or the SkypeIn number - in terms of costs SkypeIn is *much* cheaper (local or national rates) than calling my mobile provider.

The only minor niggle I have is that you cannot tell if you have a voicemail left for you from the Skype website. The ability to listen to these messages from just a web-browser would be helpful in certain circumstances.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be doing a fair amount of traveling including the US (JavaOne here I come) some time in Germany, and hopefully some time in Brussels if a new contract comes off. I'll report back on how SkypeIn works for this - in theory the savings should be huge.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

More OpenVPN

One of our corporate clients has an authenticating web proxy and no other external links through the firewall (that I can find). It turns out that OpenVPN can work completely through SSL - i.e. if you tell OpenVPN about the proxy/authentication it will connect through the SSL proxy to the vpn server and setup a tunnel. This is sensational for us as it now means I can show demonstrations of our work running against our own test databases to the business users.
If you need to setup a VPN you really should take a look at OpenVPN.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


I make quite a few international calls and in the past I had played with Skype and had quite a few problems setting it up alongside NAT and the local firewall. Well today I found a voucher for some free airtime using SkypeOut in amongst a headset I have bought so I thought I would give it a try.

I installed the latest Skype beta for XP (Linux/Mac clients are also available) and it just works fine. SkypeOut lets you call people who only have landlines available and the quality certainly seems acceptable. Skype-Skype calls are free and the land line rates are a little high for local calls (UK), but hands down beat our existing supplier (Telediscount) for calls into Europe.

I need to do some more work to see how it behaves in an office situation, but I'm already seriously looking at some of the toys^H^H^Htools they offer.