Monthly Archives: August 2011

Recently installed Java 7 on Mac OS X

I recently installed Java 7 on my Mac OS X system. Although the installation went smoothly, I did run into one problem that might not be a big issue for you.

I didn’t go through the hassle of compiling it for myself. Instead, I opted to grab a precompiled JDK from here:

Specifically, I chose the OpenJDK 1.7 universal (32/64 bits) from Mac OS X branch download. Then I ran the /Applications/Utilities/Java to 1) pull both 1.7 versions to the top of the list, and 2) select those 1.7 versions, and 3) unselect the 1.6 JDK I also have installed.

NetBeans seems to run just fine. I’m able to create a new target JDK for the IDE, etc.

Now the problem: I tried running jrunscript from the command line to do some simple tests of new functionality in Java 7. I have found the simple jrunscript JavaScript interpreter to be an excellent way to quickly access Java classes for simple tests, confirmation of APIs, etc. Oddly, the tool didn’t run correctly despite being available in the JDK’s bin directory. Here’s the output of my attempt:

$ which java
$ which jrunscript
$ jrunscript
script engine for language js can not be found

Anyone ever see this before? Find a solution? Thanks in advance.

NetBeans 7 has no UML tools?

After mentioning earlier that I am using Omnigraffle to create UML diagrams, I remembered that NetBeans once had a decent UML tool. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything for the most recent NB 7 or 7.0.1 version. Oddly, the NetBeans page itself refers us to JDeveloper for UML support. Why point me to JDeveloper? I really want to use NetBeans.

The same page above also recommends a 3rd party plugin from Visual Paradigm, but Visual Paradigm seems limited to NB 6.2 if I’m reading its page correctly.

My suggestion for the above “UML support” page is this…just remove it. Having the page refer to out-of-date plugins or different IDEs altogether is no help. NetBeans crew, you know I love the product, but I also have to say it how it is. If there’s no current UML plugin, just say that and maybe give us an indication whether one is in the pipeline. Don’t tease me with a support page that points to other IDEs and outdated, presumably non-working 3rd party plugins for older versions.

Amazon Customer Support Always Makes Me Smile

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I own an Amazon Kindle 3G+Wifi device, my 3rd. My first Kindle worked great, and I used it all the time. During one of my business trips, I lost it in an airport. After realizing that Southwest’s lost-and-found wasn’t going to help, I bought another one.

After some heavy use and maybe a little abuse (dropped once or twice), the 2nd Kindle began to malfunction, making it impossible to read. I made a call late one Saturday night around 11pm to Kindle’s support number. I described the problem, and the service rep insisted that this was just a bad device. She was quick and efficient, and I didn’t have to beg or make excuses. She sent a 3rd Kindle to my home within days. The service rep was amazing; the experience caused me to become a loyal Amazon fan. So delighted with my call, I actually laughed afterwards. I told my wife, family and several friends about the customer support experience.

So, now I have a 3rd Kindle. After a very, very cold night during a recent Mammoth Lakes camping trip, this 3rd Kindle developed a quirk. It’s not something I can reproduce at will, but the problem occurs sporadically and requires me to reset the device. The problem is aggravating, so guess what I did…I called Amazon’s Kindle support. This time I made the call at 10:30pm on a Friday night (tonight). An Amazon rep answered the phone, asked me a couple questions about the device’s behavior, and apologized to me several times. After 5 or 6 minutes on the phone, she promised to send me a replacement Kindle by Tuesday.

My experience with Amazon’s customer support has been amazing. I really enjoy my Kindle device. I recognize that it isn’t perfect…it can break and can malfunction. However, Amazon’s customer support is so easy to work with! I’m so impressed by how this person actually wanted to help me, actually did help me, and made me smile in the process. As I recall, I felt the same way after my first call to the support center.

I look forward to getting my replacement unit next week. Oh, and I’ll be ordering a new Kindle for my son’s birthday too. He uses mine too much so I decided to get him one.

Amazon, thanks for putting the customer first. You guys always make me smile.


Omnigraffle and UML?


Some coworkers recently recommended Omnigraffle to me as a UML diagramming tool. After installing a copy, I discovered that although UML “stencils” are available, the tool is not in fact a dedicated UML tool at all. Ahem…obviously I should have read the description a little better.

Now that I have Omnigraffle, however, I will need to use it at least until I find something better for UML diagrams. I have found a few stencils — stencils are pre-made template objects that can be used in your diagrams. So far I’ve found these:

  • Bantik UML — not really full featured but certainly nice looking. It’s not a reasonable choice because it just doesn’t have a full set of UML diagram types.
  • UML 2 — again, just not nearly a full set of diagram types.
  • UML 2.1 Collection — has practically everything I need for now. Best set of diagrams I’ve found. The only trouble I had was that the unzipped stencil wasn’t properly named. When I finally added the .gstencil extension to the unzipped file, Omnigraffle recognized it.

If you know of a better set than the UML 2.1 Collection above, let me know. Until I find something better, that’s what I’m using. I feel a bit silly for using OmniGraffle in the first place. It isn’t exactly a UML tool, but it can be forced into it as needed.

Since I started using NetBeans again recently, maybe I’ll check out the plugins available for it. Surely someone has created a UML plugin. I’ll check that out tomorrow and let you know what I find.

NetBeans vs Eclipse for Maven Projects

I thought yesterday that I had pumped up NetBeans unfairly without regard to other tools. To be fair, I decided today that I’d try to open up the very same project in Eclipse, just to see if it matched NetBeans’ ability to immediately understand the project.

First thing I noticed was that Eclipse did not automatically understand Maven. A quick search of “maven plugin eclipse” put me in contact with a couple plugins. I tried the first one. Installed it like Eclipse likes by pointing to the plugin repo. Downloaded the plugin and then restarted eclipse. I thought Eclipse would behave like NetBeans on this, but no it didn’t. No good; the plugin options, if they even exist, don’t appear anywhere in the menus.

So, back to the search. I find another maven plugin. This time, I’m more successful installing the “m2eclipse” plugin. It actually exposes a “Maven” project in the menu system this time. So I point to my source code, and try to open the pom file. It opens the pom file, but it doesn’t open up all the modules or seem to understand that I want to see the source code in my ide. Hmmm, I wonder if I’m just not doing something right.

Of course, I’m not doing something right. I’m really a maven newbie. If I really knew what I was doing, I’d have this project up and humming in only minutes. Instead, I’ve been fiddling around with Eclipse for 1.5 hours, trying to figure out how to open an existing maven project in the tool. I can’t show anything productive for my labor. I’m disappointed.

So I go back to NetBeans, wondering if what I did before was something special. I did nothing but point NetBeans at the file directory, chose the File->Open Project menu and pointed it to the root directory of my Maven project. NetBeans just understands this is a Maven project. And I downloaded how many plugins? None, nothing at all. Worked right out of the box…again.

Yes, I know I didn’t give Eclipse a fair shake this time either. But why should I at this point? I can become an expert in Maven later and learn whatever it is that I need to integrate Eclipse later. But I have coding to do now, and don’t have time to mess with Maven. I have to work on my actual product, and time wasted on integrating my IDE with it is just wasted time.

Gotta love NetBeans. It just works.