JavaOne Registration Bug

A coworker was informed (by a flawed web app) that his JavaOne registration could not be found. And he was unable to login because “his email address is invalid”. Apparently his email must end in something like .com, .edu, or perhaps even .cc to be considered “valid”. (at least according to the JavaOne registration system)

Guess what? .coop is a valid domain name extension. When writing data validators, make sure you don’t reject valid data.

Mulletron-3000

For the easily offended, I had a mullet in the ’80s. In the ’90s I had a goatee. For the record, the Mt. Vernon, IL Super Wal-Mart provides fantastic mullet-sighting opportunities.

The Mulletron-3000 can identify state of origin based on length, style, and hygene.

I’m sure in the ’10s, I’ll look back and say…damn, what was I thinking?

An 8 Year Old’s First Impression of Java

This is a true story. It happened a few hours ago.

I was talking to my 8-year old son earlier today, describing the game Risk. I mentioned that several years ago, I was hooked on a computer Risk game. He was interested in playing, so I found this Java Applet version of Risk. I fired up the page, and a “Loading Java” screen of some sort showed up. While the progress bar slowly inched to the right, I tried bookmarking the page.

But the “Add Bookmark” dialog wouldn’t go away, no matter how many times I hit OK. The browser was pretty much hosed, while the “Loading Java” progress bar slowly inched across the screen. My son uttered the words…

Java is slow.

The game eventually started, I removed around 8 bookmarks (they were all created, but the dialog box was locked up while Java started), and he enjoyed the game.

Logger Level Confession

I confess…I never know what log level to use. Some levels make sense to me:

  • SEVERE – the program is about to exit
  • WARNING – bad, but I’ll keep on running

Those two levels should always appear in the log, because they indicate bad things that must be fixed.

But the remaining levels are a mystery to me: INFO, CONFIG, FINE, FINER, FINEST. In my opinion, there are too many choices. I believe the overall power of an API diminishes as you add more choices, particularly if these choices are ambiguous and subjective. I believe that no two programmers will interpret the choices in exactly the same way.

I figure I’ll stick with INFO, WARNING, and SEVERE.

Unsexiest Woman Alive

According to Maxim, Sara Jessica Parker is the unsexiest woman alive. Think about that. Out of BILLIONS of women worldwide, they claim she is absolutely last. Here is an MSNBC article; the original Maxim list seems to have gone missing. Maybe they backed down?

I tried contacting Maxim Editor in Chief Guido Selenko, pictured below, but he will not return my phone calls.

Maxim Editor in Chief

This is just a hunch, but the guy who puts Sara Jessica Parker on this list probably hasn’t visited Dirt Cheap Cigarettes and Beer in O’Fallon, MO on a weekend night.

Flash Usability Tragedy

The My Coke Rewards site features one of the worst examples of keyboard navigation I have ever seen. Their Flash GUI is painfully slow, focus jumps randomly from field to field, and it is rife with what appear to be threading bugs. Entering codes from bottle caps starts with this dialog:

My Coke Rewards

I played a bit with this dialog and discovered the following:

  • After typing the code, I can click somewhere else in the GUI. Now, when I click in the field again, the cursor jumps to position 0.
  • If I use the keyboard to move the cursor to a new location, and then click somewhere with the mouse, the cursor jumps back to the previous location. No matter where I click in the field, after a few moments the cursor mysteriously jumps back to the old location.
  • I hit Tab once, and nothing happened. Hit Tab again, and focus moved to the Done button. Wait a moment, and Done loses focus. Now I cannot see which field has focus.
  • Click in the code field again. Now the cursor again jumps to position 0, NOT where I clicked. Press Tab once and all of the text in the field is selected, hit Tab again and focus jumps to the Submit button. After less than a second, Submit loses focus.
  • Now I click in the code field and start hitting Tab. The focus order appears completely random if I keep hitting Tab: Help, “nothing”, “Select All”, Submit, Help, Help, Done, “Select All”, etc. It is complete nonsense, hard to explain without showing a video of some sort. It just randomly jumps from field to field.
  • After all this tabbing, now Submit doesn’t even work. But if I click Submit again, it accepts my code and grants 3 points. But wait…the code is still there. So I submit again, and get another 3 points. But several seconds later, an error dialog appears.

This is a huge company with nearly unlimited resources. This site is the centerpiece of a hugely expensive ad campaign. Yet…they can’t even make fundamental keyboard navigation work. These are not subtle bugs, either. They aren’t even close to correct.

I don’t get it.

XM + The Little Doggie Company

I’ve been through this before. I was a PrimeStar customer several years ago, until one fateful day when we received a letter describing how WONDERFUL it was that DirecTV acquired PrimeStar. This was, of course, in my best interest as a consumer, and I would soon receive many new benefits.

The migration from PrimeStar to DirecTV took quite some time due to incompatible equipment. They gradually rolled out service across the nation, and once the final customers were switched over…BANG! Rates went up.

Fast forward a few years, and the XM and Sirius merger is approved. Oh, wonderful. I cannot wait for the benefits. Here are my predictions:

  • Opie and Anthony will be fired from their XM show sometime in 2008.
  • Rates will go up in January, 2009, just after the holiday season.
  • Existing subscribers won’t receive any additional channels. (Aren’t they already at bandwidth capacity?) We’ll basically have the same overall number of stations, but content will be simulcast across both Sirius and XM satellites to save production costs. So if U-Pop is your favorite station on XM, it may go away and be replaced with something roughly equivalent from Sirius.
  • Advertisements will continue to increase. All of you non-satellite radio people might be surprised to hear that MANY satellite radio stations now include significant numbers of commercials. The number continues increasing, particularly with a larger audience and ad revenue these owners cannot refuse.
  • In 2009 we’ll see a “next generation” receiver that uses some new format. While current subscribers can continue using their existing equipment, new channels will only be available to people buying the new equipment.

Those are my cynical predictions. I REALLY enjoy Opie and Anthony and will stay with XM until they are fired in late 2008. Then I’ll cancel my subscription and will listen to Java Posse podcasts while driving to/from work.