Oh my …. I’m full

Well after another trip around the sun,  Cath and I celebrated our 4th Wedding anniversary.   It was a low key event with a dinner out together – that is, just the two of us – a very unusual thing to be going somewhere without our son Quinn who was being dutifully ‘sat’ by Cath’s parents.

We decided to go mexican at the ‘Nachos Cantina’ in Blackburn (near the station) and had a vegetarian banquet.  After a couple of hours of great adult level conversation and some meal induced belt loosening we finished what was a surprisingly good value meal.   If you’re in the area pop in and try it out.

Crypto in OpenJDK

Well we have yet another milestone in the OpenJDK world.   b21 of openjdk now sees the cryptographic code (aka JCE) added to the OpenJDK source tree removing yet another part of the encumbered code (aka binary plugs).    This is a great step and the code is probably well worth a look if you’re into java based crypto as there’s always something to learn in that area.   For more information download drop b21 from openjdk.java.net

Bored of the Worlds

Ok, so we paid a lot of money to see Jeff Wayne’s musical version of ‘War of the Worlds’ and apart from the obviously very good band and orchestra it was overall quite poor.

I’m not sure what the reviewers were watching to give such glowing reviews, but to me it was basically $100+ to listen to some music, watch a crappy movie, some lame acting and a variety of technical problems.

It really didn’t help that the singer/actors were completely let down by the audio system. Justin Hayward faded in and out during Forever Autumn and what was with the Martian Fighting Machine stuck in the middle of the autumn leaves! Surely, that was also a technical problem with retracting the machine – or else it was just lame direction with either choice leading to a less than satisfactory experience.

Chris Thompson sounded sick during his performance, either that or the audio system just made him sound like crap. Pity as his performance is usually exceptional.

Rachel Beck as the Parsons Wife looked the part and gave a reasonably good performance, but she was being forced to perform with Shannon Noll as the Parson. Sadly he gave a luck lustre performance with an accent somewhere between the US and Australia which isn’t real good considering he was meant to be a pom 😦

The hologram of Richard Burton looked good, a very nice effect. However, guys, it looks pretty stupid when the lip sync is wrong. Fortunately it did marginally improve in the second half of the show.

Michael Falzon, you can hold your head up as you did a pretty good job. You seemed to be the only person to not suffer audio problems and had sufficient energy to wake us up from our slumber.

As for the venue – sheesh – well we didn’t pre-purchase tickets and that was actually fortunate as many of the people picking up tickets would not have seen the start of the show, whereas we just turned up, got a reasonable pair of seats and were inside while a large group of pre-purchasers lamented their fate.

If it was free I’d give it 6/10 , but since the price was far from free i’d have to give it a pathetic 4/10. Not good, buy the CD and listen to it, use your imagination and you’ll have a better experience

Is Java anti-social?

Many people complain that Java applications are anti-social when it comes to the overall operation and management of the system on which they execute. Do Java applications get along with the other kids in the playground? The answer is Yes and No. Yes they can depending on the application, how the application works and more importantly how the system is configured and No they don’t when you expect them to behave like applications written in C.

The most vocal complaints about Java applications revolve around suggestions that Java applications are bloated from a memory utilization perspective. So, why is it this way? It’s really not easy to find accurate definitive answers to this if you’re searching the web, however the root cause seems to be that the JVM doesn’t return memory from the heap back to the operating system even after garbage collection has occurred. This would be a requirement in some cases, such as an embedded JVM that may not have an underlying OS to return memory to, however with a sophisticated OS supporting the JVM I think memory should be returned to allow the OS more options in application workload management.

Admittedly there are some posts around that suggest that there have been improvements in this area but the current position is best illustrated by the following bug report . It’s particularly interesting to note the workaround which I personally don’t find inspirational and it certainly doesn’t consider all of the possible problems with all OS’s if you follow the advice blindly 😦

The RFE is still open and has been since 2002 – again not awe inspiring. Now that Java has been open sourced hopefully we’ll see a JVM that releases memory back to the OS rather than relying on OS based working set management – then maybe java wont get so many bloody noses when it ventures out into the playground.

Does this apply to all JVM’s? How much improvement has there actually been since 2002 and is it quantifiable? I don’t know – still looking.