Review 2004

1. What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?

Have fun reading manuals? Not a very good one.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

See last post for 2004’s resolutions and I will definitely make some for 2005.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes.

5. What countries did you visit?

Switzerland (skiiing). France (grocery shopping).

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

More free time. More travels. More motivation instead of sitting on the couch zapping.

7. What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory?

10. September. My “Surprise Party” present ­čÖé

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Keeping my weight down.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Getting absorbed by work so much that it started becoming a subtle type of stress that wears me out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Ein milder H├Ârsturz Anfang des Jahres.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tungsten 3. Radically improved my organizational habits.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Those few going new ways, f.e. the Beastie Boys (giving away music for free on the Wired CD)

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

The same person mentionned in question #25.

Politicians depress me every year again.

Advertising targeting children, the people who develop these ads make me sick!

14. Where did most of your money go?

Besides the usual stuff as taxes, rent and food? Clothing. I spent nearly 1k on a shopping trip to buy new clothes to accommodate my newly lost weight.
And lots of money on gizmos (tungsten, computer, computer chair, tft display)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Improved cooking and eating habits.
Improving my software development skills and process.
Putting last touches on my rpg character for the “big campaign” and outing the huge secret surrounding her ­čśë

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2004?

None specifically, I don’t get around to listen to music a lot. I listen to the same music all the time and rarely by fresh albums. This year I listened to Within Temptation, Sirenia, Tristania and Robbie Williams a lot. Metallica was also on the list.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? less happy, last year I was very exceited about losing weight. More stressed out by my work
b. thinner or fatter? thinner.
c. richer or poorer? richer. Feeling more secure about lot of things.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More gaming definitely and more sports. More vacation. More reading. More movie going. More going out into the sun in summer.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I still eat too much unhealthy food and chocolate and I watch too much TV.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With the family. I’ll be cooking a lot I guess.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

My mother, big surprise as she is the only one I regularly talk to on the phone. I have grown to dislike telephone conversations in the last couple years.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?

I was and I am in love.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?

Zero.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

None really. I am zapping mostly. Which makes the above mentionned “too much TV” even worse.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is a pretty strong word. But I developed a strong dislike for someone who appalled me a lot see Question 13.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?

Novels? “Pattern Recognition” by William Gibson, it is not only good but one of the handful of novels I read this year ­čÖü
Manuals? “Effective Java”
Cookbooks? any by Jamie Oliver

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Black Album by Metallica (yes I never really listened to it before this summer)

28. What did you want and get?

Lots of new clothes. Tungsten. TFT 19″. Barebone PC. Office chair. Big bad goth boots.

29. What did you want and not get?

Powerbook. Digicam.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?

Didn’t see so many movies. “Coffee and Cigarettes”. I don’t really remember anything else that was worthwhile.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 27 this year. I worked. The party was the week-end later. I will never – if possible – work again on my birthday. It sucked.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Actually go on that summer vacation. Anywhere.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

Orange.

34. What kept you sane?

Who said I am sane? But if I am: pragmatism.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None. Geez. What a question. Years ago that would have been easier.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Abroad: The US presidential election and all the noise around it.
Athome: The elections where the NPD got seats in regional parliaments

37. Who did you miss?

the lazy unblogging luxembourgian

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Two come to my mind. More specifically this is not the place I feel comfortable writing this down.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.

If you want it done right, do it yourself (talking about food here!)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Via Mama Musings.

Frohe Weihnachten

I wish everyone reading this a Merry Christmas. Have a few quiet days with family or friends, great food and lots of presents.

We’ll be leaving for the families in an hour or so.

third something

It’s not a third eye, mind you! pesky’apostrophe found something else for you:

If youÔÇÖre anything like me, you notice things about people. Women are not particularly good at choosing the right bra size. If they were, you wouldnÔÇÖt be exposed to the atrocious crime of nature that is the dreaded third boob. Third boob usually happens when a woman wears a bra that is too small in the cup, thus her bounteous mammaries spill out over the top of the cup.

It’s not only worth a good laugh (read the comments too!) but it’s true as hell. Bra buying is no easy sport! Find one that fits, find one you like and when you are willing to pay the price after fulfilling the first two requirements: congrats. It’s not necessarily repeatable either. Products being discontinued or seasonal …..

Java Threads

A pretty cool tutorial at the ibm developer works Concurrency in JDK 5.0. You must register for the tutorial, but is well worth it.

The new java.util.concurrency package offers a lot of cool features which I haven’t completely incorporated in my daily programming practices yet but it is among the new 5.0 features that which will have the most impact on program design.

My latest threading enlightenment is this neat little idiom (of course this enlightenment didn’t come out of nowhere I saw it in several places like the concurrency tutorial mentionned above, the java specialists newsletters mentionned previously on the blog and more ….):

final Executor pool = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(
                THREAD_POOL_SIZE,
                CheckThreadFactory.getInstance());
        
while(!queue.isEmpty()) {                    
   final MyTask task = queue.poll();
   final Runnable runTask = new Runnable() {
      public void run() {
         //perform task blub .... 
         task.methodX();
     }
   };
   pool.execute(runTask);
}

The part I call “idiom” is where you use the anonymous class to perform the computation of your task threaded but the computation code stays where it logically belongs … it is a very obvious thing to do this after seeing it once. It is much easier in structure than my previous construct which included a class implementing Runnable providing the run method and another class to start the thread where the computation was often done in yet a third class … not pretty.

Of course the code snippet contains more than that idiom. I just want to make you drool for the new 5.0 features like ThreadPools and Queues ­čśë As far as I understand the package there is something more in there which should provide the functionality of a combined ThreadPool and Queue somehow. But I haven’t “got” it yet.

Modern eating?

I am currently reading Die Dickmacher by Renate K├╝nast. For those who don’t know who she is: Germany’s “Bundesministerin f├╝r Verbraucherschutz, Ern├Ąhrung und Landwirtschaft” = Minister of consumer protection, food and agriculture. Hard to translate because leo does not supply ministries of this type. The book talks mostly about how and why people in Germany are becoming too fat. It is an analysis of the past and present and she provides some pointers to possible solutions for the problem.

Gest├╝tzt auf das Expertenwissen f├╝hrender Ern├Ąhrungswissenschaftler zeigt sie, welche Fehler wir vermeiden sollten und wie eine gesunde, zeitgem├Ą├če Ern├Ąhrung aussieht.

Mit diesem Buch bringt Renate K├╝nast eine ├╝berraschend andere Gesundheitsreform in Gang. Und die ist dringend notwendig; denn im Schatten breiter medialer Berichterstattung ├╝ber die Risiken von Rauchen und Alkohol, ├╝ber BSE- und Nitrofen-Skandal entwickeln sich die Deutschen zum Land der Dicken. In punkto problematische Ern├Ąhrungsgewohnheiten Amerika dicht auf den Fersen. Was wir zu uns nehmen, ist kaum noch frisch, setzt sich zunehmend aus industriell weiterverarbeiteten Produkten zusammen und ist oft erschreckend kalorienhaltig.

It is a good idea to read the customer reviews (especially the critical ones: different opinions are always good) on the amazon site for additional insights. I am not yet done reading but it’s a quick and enjoying read even for such a seriously dreary topic. Food and eating has become an important topic to me and it is good to see it covered by politicians and even better if I can agree with (most) of what is said.

Another organization that takes an interest in what people eat is (oh yes surprise) Greenpeace. They have some information on “Gen-Food” and especially useful is the brochure Essen ohne Gentechnik – der Ratgeber you can download at their page.

Consumerism also plays into this topic for a cool novel on the topic get yourself The Store by Bentley Little. A recommendation from the Unknown Armies mailinglist.

Bug Classics

If you tried everything else, you are probably editing the wrong config file!

Note: if for whatever reason your apache is called apache-perl it’s config is living not in the /etc/apache directory but in instead in /etc/apache-perl