Pithy Programmer

Jason Alexander

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Top Stories by Jason Alexander

I occasionally start small projects for friends or family. I intentionally use technology I have not used before in order to learn new things. The client gets something, I learn something new. It's nice also, because it forces me to finish the projects. Last year, I started writing a small application using the Adobe Flex SDK, (version 4, even though it was just beta when I started). The app simply streams audio and flips slide images, a Flex/AS3 component, or a customizable automatically-generated questionnaire/quiz at defined timestamps. All of this is configured through a reasonably small XML file, all via the network. The first problem I ran into was finding a decent development environment. Adobe's Flex Builder, (based on Eclipse, now called Flash Builder), had few nice features but also some things I couldn't live with. For what it provided on top of basic Eclip... (more)

Symlink Functionality on Windows (NTFS) With Junction Points

Junction Points in NTFS 3.0+ allow you to make one or more links to a folder that acts like the folder itself. As I must use Microsoft Windows at work, I have greatly missed the joys of a UNIX platform. Until I started my present job, I was able to have a Linux or Solaris computer as my main computer for work, (and home!). Since I joined an enormous corporate environment, I must comply with the corporate standards. Surprising to some of you, I can be compliant. Stop laughing! It just means I need to sanity hack[1] at home. One feature that was dear to me on UNIX was the symlink, (sym... (more)

Java 1.6 on a 32-bit Core Duo Mac

I have a first generation Macbook Pro (Core Duo 2.0 GHz, 2.0G, etc) with Mac OS X 10.5.X. It's a really nice machine and has held up well for the past couple of years. It works beautifully. Everything works well, except Apple doesn't support Java 1.6 on 32-bit Intel Macs, which applies to the Core Duo. My primary skillset, (other than UNIX/Linux), revolves around Java. I admit, I was about to sell my laptop and head to the Apple Store, when I found a few links that can ease the pain. I found a link on Tomas Varaneckas', (Paranoid Engineering), blog about SoyLatte , a Java 6 release... (more)

Extracting the JDK from Oracle's Windows installer .exe

The Oracle JDK downloads for Windows are only offered as EXE files, or install executables.  Unfortunately, for some of us, we don't want to install because we want to develop with more than one version and/or we do not have the rights on our computer to install software. 1. Install 7zip.  Open the installer EXE in 7Zip File Manager, either by using Open with... or changing the extension of the file to .7z. You can browse the file in 7zip by using Open Inside.  Browse through the exe until you find two files, src.zip and tools.zip.  Extract those to a directory you want to store th... (more)

BBP Hybrid Messenger bag for my macbook pro

I received a obsidian black BBP Hybrid Messenger laptop bag for my birthday, (thank you, parental units!). These are known for their urbanomics because, as a backpack, the weight doesn't rest entirely on your shoulders. Benefits: First, as I have a macbook pro (15") laptop, I really can't afford to carry it around in something where it can easily get damaged. They are pricey! Second, I really like all of the pockets on this laptop bag. It is inconvenient to dig through a pocket full of loose pencils, pens, change, notes, usb drives, cell phone batteries, AA batteries, mp3 player and ... (more)