Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This might be old news but India is officially out of the world cup. They lost to a vastly improved Bangladesh in the first game and then found Sri Lanka too hot to handle in a must win situation. There are various theories being attributed to the teams poor performance. These range from factionalism to seniors being worried about their position to too much experimenting. After seeing players being kept in the side even when they were woefully out of form, a bunch of players not doing too well in the domestic circuit have demanded a stint with the national team.
Anand Jon, a fashion designer of Indian origin based out of New York, has been accused of raping women by promising them prospects. Soon others joined in with similar claims. While it isn't uncommon for people to join in in such cases, the number in this particluar case has grown quite rapidly. So much so that they are thinking of filing a class action against jon.
Looks like Angelina jolie has adopted another child, this time from Vietnam. Brad Pitt apparently made her to take a flight back to LA lest she adopt a child from India if she traveled around in Asia. Shakira performed in Mumbai this month.
The hotel where she stayed left no stone unturned to please her arranging for things she liked such as books, music, fruits and flowers. They were however caught unawares when Shakira ordered for 'nimbu (lemon) and mirchi (chilly)' to ward off the evil eye. Next time, they plan to hire a 'tantrik' (A kind of priest who recites mantras and ties a band around your hand to rid you off all evil) to perform specially for her.

Disclaimer: This is meant to be fun and not intended at hurting anyone.

Monday, March 19, 2007

In the last couple of week amongst other things, one thing I have been frantically trying is to package my java application for deployment. I have a webstart version
for my app which I have made available from But, I want a exe version ready for my product which is in beta. So I tried various installers but Iam yet to find one that suits my needs. And Iam not just looking for the free ones which I know may not have all the necessary features. I haven't been able to get the evaluation download of even the paid ones to fulfill my needs. The installers I have tried include:

1. advanced installer - $199
2. launch4j - free
3. jshrink - $67
4. native4j - $45
5. lzpack - free
6. macrovision installshield - $449

Let me explain my requirements clearly which I think would be the same as anyone else in my position. You have built something putting in your hard effort and would like to guard yourself against unauthorized copying. So I would like to obfuscate my application. I have tried jshrink, porguard and recently allatori obfuscators. Next I would like to package my application classes in one jar file and specify the Main-class in the manifest file. The layout of my application is as follows:

com ----> root of application classes
resources --- used by application and contains icons, resource bundles - for my look and feel
META-INF - contains manifest file
lib ----> contains jar files used by my application

What I would like to do is package everything in one exe file for distribution. Is that too much to ask. Many of the installers I tried like native4j, launch4j cannot do this directly. They expect me to put all my classes and jar files in one big jar file and present it to them as input so they can do the packaging. This is easier said than done. There's more than 1 approach to do this none of which is satisfactory.

1. unjar all the jar files in a temporary directory and jar them al back into 1 big jar file. This doesn't work as many jar files' manifest contains signature information which prevent this approach from working

2. package everything as one jar file retaining the library jars as is. The problem here is the Class-path entry in your application jar's manigest only scans the filesystem. It does not check the jar file itself to see if the jars are in the classpath.

3. Find an installer that hides the details and packages everything nicely for you - Again very difficult unless you have the big bucks to buy a license for commercial installers like zeroG or exe4j.

The best promise is approach 2 and 3 but comes with the problems I have mentioned above. The packaging everything into 1 jar problem is addressed by the one-jar project hosted on sourceforge. But it doesn't seem to work either. Looks like there's a plugin for eclipse which I have downloaded but haven't tried. Iam hoping that this will do the trick. The other options include:

1. look more into izpack which seems to do everything I want albeit in a not so very starightforward manner
2. Try again with the installers that offer some promise atleast
3. Find some vendor who offers support and helps sort out all my troubles.

The cost is also a factor and I would like to get this done for as little as possible. Comments are welcome from people who know of a solution to this problem. I promise to give them a free license to my product if they help me sort this out.

Update: Since posting this blog, I went back to further tinker with Advanced Installer as I distinctly remembered having configured it correctly once. As luck would have it, I was able to get it working again. Looks like AI has a problem with jar files. When I supplied it with my folders expanded, AI was able to generate the setup file. But then AI costs $199 whereas there are cheaper alternatives around. Depending on available time and other factors, I may explore these alternatives someday.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Iam in Mumbai again this week and next for another round of meetings with a customer of ours. This time I made sure I packed everything including my sneakers, my swimming gear and a pair of shorts. Let's see if I get around to using them on this trip. There's a nice pool in front of the place where Iam staying but Iam not sure if I can use it. Yes, Iam not at a hotel this time and staying at the customer's guest house. Last week I managed to fit in 1 session at the gym and 2 hours of swimming into my schedule. Seems like I may be overdoing it a bit. But I had to to lose the calories I may have gained over the last month. In mumbai, I may take up jogging but that will have to wait till the weekend.
Nothing more on the jazoon front. Haven't heard from them. Probably it may take some more time before they send the details about the conference. I may also be writing an article for and the process has already begun and I will be exchanging drafts of my article with editor Chris Adamson shortly. I didn't know that they paid for writing articles. You are paid $500 for every article and there's no limit on the number articles you may write. You can however only write one article a month to give a chance to everyone. I have at least 3 articles in mind and plan to send them in over the next 3 months.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I have created a new java user group for the place where I live. I live in Chennai and the jug has been formed to bring together users of java in Chennai. The jug is called 'chugs' and caters to Greater chennai and the greater is there to mark the growing of chennai as an IT and automobile hub besides other sectors. So far, Iam the only member but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get people to sign up. These include creating handouts which can pinned in public places. This blog is another means to invite people to join. I hope to keep the jug a friendly place where people can come and discuss their interests related to java. Iam still looking for a place to hold the meetings and someone to sponsor the coffee, snacks etc. It would be great if some corporates could sponsor books, t-shirts, tickets to java events etc. Sure would go a long way in getting people to attend and take active interest. The jug is located at and you can join by visiting the site and clicking 'join this project' link. Depending on the number of people and the funds available, inviting someone to speak at one of the meetings is also an option.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

There's one place people visiting Chennai must see and that is Dakshina chitra. Dakshina chitra is a tranquil place situated about half hour drive from chennai city on the east coast road. It is a treasure tove of Indian culture especially south Indian. There is a small entry fee and after that you are on your own. You just follow the cobblestoned walkway and explore the place by yourself. Of course there will be a person milling about here and there. So you start exploring the place and the walkway takes you to rows of houses each built in a different style and you may be led to wonder initially. Then you notice the placards that tell you the style in which the house has been built. The sheer diversity of styles and the novelty of the concept will amaze you. Who would have thought that a place for preserving culture would exist right in the middle of resorts, hotels etc started out only with the interest of making money. The different kinds of styles of houses that exist include the chettinad houses, the tanjore houses, houses built in tirunelveli style, kerala houses including those belonging to hindus but also syrian christians, muslims and other houses. And the houses are not there just to serve as architectural examples. Each house is fully furnished with period furniture and other artifacts down to the minuscule detail. You would find the swing that the people used to sit on and rock themselves, the postle and mortar that old people used to powder betel nut, tobacco etc, complete utensils used in the kitchen, chairs, wall and house decorations etc. Once through with the houses, you can go to the restaurant and eat to your heart's content at the restaurant where you can find both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies from the south. There's also a small souvenir shop where you can buy various art works, handicrafts and items of cultural significance.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It's almost 3 months since I bought my Hitachi dvd camcorder. I thought I'll sum up my experience with the same for the benefit of others. The Hitachi DVD-CAM GX3200 comes with a 1.5 pixel resolution for video and 4MP reso for still images. For finer details, you can refer to the product specs available at the bottom of this blog. The best part I liked and had to shell out extra was for the infra red. This allows me to use my dvd-cam even in the dark and saved my $600 for the lights which I would otherwise have had to buy. The camcorder features Hitachi lenses and not the Carl Zeiss lenses which many would have heard of. Hitachi makes the world's best lenses atleast according to the sales guy. The Hitachi GX3200 features automatic stabilisation to correct errors induced by movement in the hands of inexperienced cameramen like myself which is another feature I liked. The sales guy was also kind enough to add a wide angle lens and a 6 hrs battery to the total package. The battery was another $200 extra but definitely worth it. The wide angle only adds marginal ability to shoot wide angle shots but is good nevertheless. The camcorder can use DVD-RAM or DVD-RW or DVD-R as the media. Again, I got 3 discs free along with the camera. These are mini discs and of 1/2 hour duration each. Iam not sure if there's longer duration discs of same size. So far I have used my camcorder to shoot the Chennai Open tennis, the music festival held during december and a few personal events. A really nice buy in my opinion and has sine become one of my prized possessions.

The camera specs:


  1. USB Connection Yes
  2. Recording Format DVD+RW (8cm), DVD-RAM (8cm), AVCHD to DVD,
  3. Optical Zoom Factor 15x
  4. Digital Zoom Factor 800x
  5. Image Stabiliser Yes
  6. Colour Viewfinder Yes
  7. LCD Screen Yes
  8. LCD Screen Size 2.7 inch
  9. Webcam Function No
  10. Built-In Flash No
  11. Photo Mode Yes
  12. Photo Mode Resolution 1280 x 960
  13. Media Card SD Card
  14. Sound Stereo
  15. Audio Dubbing No
  16. Battery Type Lithium Ion
  17. Manual Focus Yes
  18. Manual Exposure Yes
  19. Manual White Balance Yes
  20. Backlight Compensation Yes
  21. Built-in Light No
  22. Built-in Editor Yes
  23. 3 CCD No
  24. Minimum Light (Lux) 0.3 lux in Low Light mode
  25. Remote Control Yes
  26. Accessory Shoe Yes
  27. Analogue Inputs No
  28. External Microphone Socket Yes
  29. Filter Thread 30.5mm
  30. Dimensions (WxHxD) mm 48 x 86 x 121mm
  31. Weight 420g without Battery

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The grammys is an eagerly awaited event every year. This year too it came and there were awards won. I hear John Mayer has scored again with 'continuum' though Iam yet to hear it. Since I don't listen to much of english music, I cannot tell really say who the other awardees were. Iam sure they richly deserved it whoever they were. I did listen to 'come away with me' by Norah Jones and found it absolutely enchanting. A great singer good at the art of composing lilting tunes. No wonder the album was well received and fetched her a number of grammys. The title song was good but the song I liked was 'Don't know why'. The other songs like 'painter song', 'cold cold heart' were also good. I don't know why I bought this particuar album because when I bought it her album 'feels like home' had already been released. Further, I had no idea what her music sounded like. To be honest, I did find the music a little slow at first but soon was immersed in it jilted by Norah's voice and her music. It wasn't all moonlight and candlight dinner with Norah's music though. In the pack I bought, there was another album by creedence clearater revival, the great rockers from the eighties. They do rock and soon they had me jamming to their music. I especially like to karaoke the 'I see a bad moon rising' song as I find it to my liking.