Friday, 26 March 2010

Rainbow outside


In a hindsight, it appears that it could've been a better idea to take this photograph through the clean window rather than the one close to me. But whatever's done — is done. Too bad it didn't last more than couple of minutes.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Hadoop's "DistributedFileSystem vs DistributedCache" mystery

FileSystem dfs = DistributedFileSystem.get(hadoopJobConfiguration);
final FileStatus[] sts = dfs.listStatus(new Path(this.hdfsDirectory));
for ( FileStatus s : sts )
if ( s.getPath().toString().endsWith(".jar") )
{"Jar found: " + s.getPath().toString());
DistributedCache.addFileToClassPath(new Path(s.getPath().toUri().getPath()), hadoopJobConfiguration);
catch (IOException e)
throw new MyException("FileSystem exception while caching JAR files: ", e);

Hadoop still manages to surprise me every day. Now, it would certainly make sense if I take Path object from DistributedFileSystem and feed it to DistributedCache's addFileToClassPath. It would. But it doesn't work.

In fact, full Path in Hadoop looks like http://hadoop-master-host:9000/path/to/the/file. But if you want to use this path with DistributedCache you need to chop off everything but the path itself, which is /path/to/file in this example. And of course, there's no other way to find out about this but to try (in fact, I only figured it out because I had some hard-coded constants which did work, while nice and clean code didn't).

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Have you ever tried TrailRunner?

No, really, have you seen it at all? I bet you didn't because otherwise you would've tell the world about it — I'm using it for quite a while now, and I can firmly say: this is a program which just works, and makes my life substantially easier.

What is it anyway? Here you go: I think the screenshot is pretty much self-explaining:

TrailRunner screenshot — click for full resolution

As it follows from the name, it's initial purpose was to track GPS trails of your running, but now it could do much more than that. In short words, it allow you:

  1. Plan routes for cycling, running and hiking, drawing it on the map and uploading to a GPS of your choice.

  2. Importing and analysing your records from GPS — so you can view not only the route itself, but also elevation, pace, speed and so on.

  3. Manage your own library of favourite routes, which you can adjust and load to GPS

  4. Show your routes on different background maps, including Google Maps Satellite, Terrain, Streetmaps, and also OpenStreetMaps and Bing Maps (wow!).

  5. Share your routes on (which I personally adore) and

  6. And so on, and so forth, so go and check the list yourself at

TrailRunner is donationware, and I most definitely consider donating to author — this is so great, when somebody creates a really useful piece of software which just works.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

On cycle superhighways and shining wisdom of TfL

Personally, I think that Cycle Superhighways project is bogus — at least in a way it is right at the moment. Why is it? It's simple. Take a look at this photograph:

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 15.35.16.png

What you think, is there anything wrong with it? Lanes are blue, highly visible and all that stuff — sure it couldn't be any better?

Well, it could. Do you see two buses far ahead? They are going over this lane. This is wrong. They are going over the lane, and this pretty much makes them useless — people who are scared of cycling because of lorries won't cycle if they'll need to share their lanes with buses (and I understand them!). You see, we have these green lanes now — does it mean much for us? Say, there's a green lane which goes over the Chiswick High rd / King st towards Hammersmith. I'm cycling there, and then ... oops, what is it? Lorry is unloading — I need to go to the traffic lane, bend it over and then go back, just to realise, that another car is parked just 30 metres from it, and then there's a bus stop, with a bus, naturally... Wait — do I need this lane at all?

Q&A document at Superhighways' section of TfL website clearly says:

A Cycle Superhighway will be a clearly marked cycle route designed to make it easier to travel by bicycle. Cycle Superhighways are being introduced to encourage people to commute by bike between outer and inner London and to make it safer and easier to do so. Cycle Superhighways will be safe, fast, direct, continuous, informative, visible and comfortable. Each Cycle Superhighway will be supported by marketing and other initiatives to encourage people to cycle more often or start cycling.

and also

Cycle Superhighways will be blue (middle sky blue) for high levels of visibility, to provide a consistent look and feel, and to distinguish them from the green lanes of the London Cycling Network.

This is all great, but it misses one and only one thing. Cycling lanes should be separate from traffic lanes. This is only thing which is required — and without it it can be as blue as a sky and it still won't make much sence. There's one picture on TfL website, which shows what it should actually be:

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 15.47.00.png

This is an only way it will work. Yes, it doesn't guarantee cyclists' safety — but they would be so much safer from idiots drivers, who hate cyclists with all their might, and idiots lorry drivers, who give no shit about who could be in their blind spot (or, rather, blind stripe). This is an only way you can guarantee that a car won't stop there with their emergency signal on, just to buy a box of cigarettes in off-license. This is an only way more and more people will choose bicycle as their way to commute to central London — and the colour of lanes matters very little.

Developer's comfort vs Manager's comfort


So very true, really! Too good my manager feels quite comfortable with me using JSON, Python and Hadoop =)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Cycling along

Shortly — it works. Took me almost an hour to get through 12 km — mainly because many times I slowed down to actually understand, where should I turn, as GPS (being guided by pre-defined route) provided me very little help should something go wrong. But I did it anyway — and CycleStreets did show that:

  1. It is possible to plan an (almost) traffic-free route in London. Well, relatively traffic free of course, but you know what I mean

  2. They indeed know about most unidentifiable passages and streets in London

  3. They don't give a .. well, they don't give practically anything about one-ways, so if you're following their route — watch for traffic signs!

Otherwise — that was immensely cool, I got from uni to home following streets most of them I've never seen, even though I live, work or study just next corner. Try it yourself — I'm very positive about it!

And this is how the route supposed to look:

Screen shot 2010-03-16 at 09.02.33.jpg

They are not really that different. By the way, any ideas how to plot two GPX tracks on one map just to compare them?

Monday, 15 March 2010

Trying out Wordpress app for iPhonr

Pretty good looking, can moderate/answer comments and upload pictures - sounds good, as far as I'm concerned.


Backing up your Wordpress blog

Perhaps, I'm not an only one who uses WordPress as a blogging platform of my choice — surely it's my domain and my hosting, but still. Recently I've discovered very neat and nice way of backing up your entire blog, which can be described in a few simple steps:

  1. Go to and create a private blog

  2. Go to and export all entries (Tools – Export)

  3. Go to your blog and import this export file

  4. After import is finished, mark the checkbox that you want to download all attachments too — WordPress will download all images, videos, etc which you've posted to your blog

That is it! Now you have a backup of all your content, which could certainly be helpful at the moment when you discover that you should've done backups.

But, of course you're doing backups ... wait ... what?!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Files and folders icons in Finder toolbar

Did you know you can do it?

  FreeAgent Drive1.jpg

Drag the icon and drop it to Finder's toolbar, that's it! Another picture after the break

Saturday, 13 March 2010

New is online!

Screen shot 2010-03-13 at 14.22.00 - 13 Mar 2010.jpg

Finally, on my own domain and my own hosting — Posterous was cool, but I want a bit more control over what I have.

Few pictures from #wherecampeu

Here's a #wherecampeu schedule for Friday. Looks simple, huh?


And here's a classic blackmail photo — Holger @HD42 Dürer betrays Linux (which is apparently not able to cope with such a thing as a wireless network) and uses MacBook


Few more photographs after the break with a free bonus: picture myself and Walter @Andrag — kudos to Gary @vicchi Gale for having his iPhone ready!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Almost there

Heavily tuned uTheme by CSS WITH COLOUR is uploaded, and the blog looks pretty much the way it supposed to. Last step is yet to be done — will need to change DNS for and update the address.

Screen shot 2010-03-11 at 15.40.03.jpg

Apparently, it's going to happen tonight, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Preparing to migrate

Slowly preparing to migrate from Posterous to my own blog. Well I can always leave Posterous as one of the ways of updating my blog, but I realised I still want my own design, my own file storage, and decent blogging clients support. Yes, ecto rocks :-)

Screen shot 2010-03-09 at 15.36.12.png

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

OH during the component-based software development lecture


— I am personally not convinced with EJB-QL approach and I don't see why you should be unless you love to embed SQL into your code, then surely you can say "Yay! I love it" — otherwise, as I said, I am not convinced.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Flash must die and Flash eventually will

Start-up airline Virgin America has decided HTML is "good enough" for animating online content on its brand-new website, which went live Monday, dumping Flash.

I would only say I am not surprised at all by this step — given amount of pressure Apple has pressed on Flash-based content (and obvious progress of JavaScript support in modern browsers) it is not surprising.

© The Register —

British Piracy Bill May Kill Most Small Public Wi-Fi Connections

The new Digital Economy Bill, a piece of copyright crackdown legislation, would hold owners of open Wi-Fi connections in Britain liable for any form of copyright infringement conducted on their networks. There would be zero exceptions for individuals, businesses, public locations, libraries, universities, or small businesses.That could essentially kill the popular open Wi-Fi movement by making it too dangerous to businesses and universities to offer open services to their customers. Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University states, "[The bill could] outlaw open Wi-Fi for small businesses. This is going to be a very unfortunate measure for small businesses, particularly in a recession, many of whom are using open free Wi-Fi very effectively as a way to get the punters in."

Very disturbing news articles from DailyTech and Telegraph — namely these two:

If this is indeed the case, Orwellian future is closer, than we used to think.

Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, told the Times newspaper: “It is grossly unfair that Labour expects millions of innocent customers to pay extra each month because of the actions of a minority. By their own admission this will make broadband unaffordable to tens of thousands of people, which flies in the face of Government policy to increase take-up in disadvantaged communities.” ISPs have been vocally opposing the Bill for some time. BT described the measures as a “collective punishment”, while Carphone Warehouse called on the entertainment industry to pay for the measures, rather than consumers.