December 15, 2005

GMail Contacts get Groupy

My favorite new Gmail feature is the long awaited, most requested feature contact groups. I just noticed it today, so however long it's been released I'm not sure, but it's about time. I've long been waiting to be able to group my contacts through my favorite webmail client.

Until next time

December 8, 2005

The gloves come off.

Well, it may not be new news, but I'm too busy to stay on top of every emerging technical artifact. If you are a mapquest user, shame on you. For some time now the beta version of Google Maps has been up and running, and if you don't like the idea of using a beta then they've launched they're latest version of Google Local which is their Maps interface tied into their Local service.

Not a fan of Google? Well Microsoft just jumped on the band wagon (AJAX band wagon that is) with their new Windows Live Local which is so close to being a clone of Google Maps that it is scary. Sure I'll admit that they have added their own little tools and tricks, but it has the stench of sweaty Microsoft researchers spending the greater part of last year digging through Google Maps. But that's just my opinion.

Don't forget the 3rd party in the web big brothers, Yahoo!. They've been beta testing the newest round of Yahoo! Maps that definitely has it's UI similarities to Google's Maps, but you better be a fan of Macromedia Flash. Let's just say that Yahoo! is trying to help Macromedia stay afloat with their idea of rich Flash web apps being the alternative to the newest wave of AJAX development.

Sure Mapquest is still out there and even working on a beta of their own, but I have yet to see a dragable map from them, then again, with so many other easy to use cool map services online I haven't really spent much time with Mapquest. Maybe they're further along than I realize, but you won't catch me using them for my next road-trip.

Until next time

November 30, 2005

New Firefox New Address

Well, Firefox 1.5 has officially been released. If you haven't been using the beta or release candidates then you will want to go get this one. ( And while you're there if you don't really recognize the place that's because Mozilla just gave their two top products (Firefox and Thunderbird) a new home. ( The site is clean and simple. No more clutter about things you aren't interested in if you are strictly there for one of these products.

A quick list on new features in Firefox 1.5:
  • Faster back/forward navigation
  • Drag and drop tab functionality to order your tabs the way you want
  • Automatic updates
  • Clear all private data with the click of one button.

    That is brief, for more details check out the Firefox 1.5 page at
  • November 6, 2005

    Browser Bash

    I'm watching Black Hawk Down today. A really great film in my opinion. The things that happened during the events that this film is based on were hard to swallow. The soundtrack to this film is awesome as well, one I think I will probably purchase eventually.

    Anyway, sitting here with the movie playing in the background I am messing around with the many browsers I've downloaded. The internet browser is in probably as many homes as the television these days. Most people don't realize what is available to them, they usually just use what comes on their Operating System, and since that the majority of the world today used Microsoft Windows their main browser is Internet Explorer (IE or, if you've done much web development, Internet Exploder). It just goes to show that just because everybody used it doesn't make it the best. Probably one of the worst browsers to use is IE yet it still holds well over the majority of the browser market.

    Currently my personal favorite is Firefox. A browser that has it's roots in an open source company named the Mozilla Foundation. Firefox is a very customizable browser and with it's roots in teh open source community it has tons of techy computer nerds out there just cranking out useful and easy to install extensions. They have incorporated the highly requested tabbed browsing ability (a favorite alternative browser feature for years before Firefox for the tech junkies out there). Tabbed browsing helps you keep your desktop free from multiple windows and helps save system resources by not having 10 or more IE windows open. Firefox is very easy to begin using and has a very light download (if you are dial up it still seems big, but it could be worse). Live Feed Bookmarks are also a nice things about Firefox. If you use any sort of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader or service then you'll love the ability Firefox gives you to add live feeds to your favorites and view the latest headlines you're interested in without having to go directly to the site. There are many other features and extensions that I love about Firefox but I have other browsers to talk about and I don't want to make this post any longer than it has to be.

    Before Firefox began I used several different alternative browsers. Mozilla's orginal browser that came with the Mozilla Suite was ok, but pretty much a clone of Netscape Navigator. What I don't like about Mozilla and Navigator is that they have a pretty large resource footprint and load time. They are relics of the mammoth browser age and I really prefer not to use them.

    Over the years I've also used Opera several times. Opera is probably one of the more mature browsers around, being older than internet explorer. The people behind Opera have done a pretty good job at keeping it sleek and efficient. Rivaling Firefox at page load speed this browser has had a pretty solid following over the years. Until within the last couple of months the biggest set back that held Opera at bay was that they didn't offer their standard product for free. They offered a free version, but it was riddled with an ad banner that was pretty tough to get rid of. Many people didn't want to pay to use the standard version, so they either toughed out the ads or just settled for a free browser.

    Recently I've come accross a new browser that is just getting it's start in the world, Flock. The Flock community has based this new Web 2.0 browser on Firefox and added some pretty nifty tools that come standard on the browser. If you blog any then you may consider this browser (although you may want to wait at least until they release a more mature version, currently they're at version 0.4.10). They have a built in blogging interface that currenlty works with most major blogging services, and with intentions to work with most others. One thing that is neat but not useful to me is that their bookmarks are integrated with, if you use that it's good, if you're like me it isn't very useful. This browser is very young but I expect it to pick up pace as it matures.

    Until next time,
    Les Martin

    November 1, 2005


    I'm fatter than I used to be. My hairline isn't quite as low on my forehead anymore. I can't do 60 push-ups in one go and I'm all around more out of shape than I used to be. One thing is for sure, things change. That is why what I do (software development) is such an awesome job. When you are getting bored with what you do you find that you have to learn something new to meet a new need or new technology. Just over 2 years ago I first learned of PHP, what a new world it was for me, I thought that struts were just things on vehicles. But now, I'm into JEE and STRUTS and JSPs and Servlets and EJBs and on and on. Last year I got hard core into HTML and CSS standards for web development, now I'm constantly reading about modern DHTML on the DOM and AJAX.

    It is even evident from a user perspective. 3 years ago I used Internet Explorer, sometime between now and then enter Firefox (Pheonix, Firebird) and I'm off and running with a new browser, but don't forget for short periods I used Netscape Navigator and the original Mozilla browser. Currently I'm writing this entry with a blogging tool built right into a new browser based on Firefox called Flock (experimenting with the 0.5 beta).

    Speaking of beta, how about Google and beta testing. GMail was in beta for what seemed a lifetime, GoogleMaps is still marked beta as well as GoogleSuggest and many other Google apps. All of these also have a link with AJAX because they are largely based on it.

    2 years ago who used any online map besides mapQuest? (you computer geeks that have a list waiting to rag on me with don't count, I'm talking regular people) Now I don't go anywhere but GoogleMaps, but I guess I am a tech geek. It will catch on though.

    Last year the Sooners were at the top of the BCS charts, this week we finally made it back to the polls at 25, not such a great season. Like I said things change.

    Until next time.

    October 30, 2005


    Words that rhyme with Java:
    Fava (as in the bean)
    Hava (from the Jewish song)

    Words that rhyme with code:
    Dod (the Hebrew word for physical love, i.e. sex)

    Words that rhyme with computer:
    ...Roto Rooter?

    Thank you.
    And stank you. Stank you smelly much.


    October 25, 2005

    Growing with the trends.

    Catching the latest in commercial ad marketing between scenes in the latest greatest crime drama I began to ponder about, as pondering usually ends up, the good old days. I remember the good old days when my mom was into QVC. If you haven't heard of it QVC is a television shopping network. We were forced to sit and watch as the next big deal would come into the screan and watch while the sales people would pitch thier product. QVC was where I got my Sega Genesis game console. What lead me to this line of thought was ebay's new commercial "It".

    Over the years modern consumerism has changed greatly. From the JCPenney and Sears Catalogs to television shopping networks to and ebay. ebay has made it their purpose as a business to be everything to everyone as seen in their latest wave of commercials. They don't do this with any concrete product of their own, but by allowing people all over the world to offer theirs.

    That is software engineering at it's best.
    Until next time
    Les Martin

    October 17, 2005

    More BS from MS

    Well, leave it to microsoft to stay in the back field on a trend and then jump on the band wagon in the last moments. Sort of like the time Gates said:

    "The Internet? That'll go nowhere." [my paraphrase]

    So, if you are anybody that is in anyway familiar with web development trends then you've heard of AJAX (
    Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) [ever hear about Google Maps?]. Well MS is finally on the bandwagon, BUT, they can't stand to be on the coat tails of anyone so they have taken the liberty to push MS AJAX development under their own monicker: world MS would like to introduce you to the one and only original never before seen Atlas.

    So much for the internet huh? And this is just more evidence of the bottomless innovation of our good friends at MS, and that's no BS.

    Until next time,
    Les Martin

    October 14, 2005

    Sun Thinking Scalable Naming System.

    So Sun Microsystems is finally considering a more scalable form of labeling for their technologies. For a long time we've all known about and used the terms: J2EE and J2SE which stand for Java 2 Enterprise Edition and Java 2 Standard Edition respectively. The wondering mind might always have wondered where Sun go with an upgrade. J3EE? or maybe even J5EE? But with a little help from some brilliant minds Sun has decided to start working on a more scalable name, a name that is independent of what version of Java it is based around. So now, if you find yourself reading technical articles from Sun, IBM, and others don't be surpised to see the more scalable names such as JEE (Java Enterprise Edition) and JSE (Java Standard Edition). Now the sky is the limit with this standard of naming without a clutter of numbers all over the place.

    Just thought you ought to know.
    Until next time
    Les Martin

    October 6, 2005

    Autumn Chill and Cubical Life

    Well, today is what I consider the first fall day we have had here in central Oklahoma. The wind was blowing steady out of the north and the temp averaged about 50°. I love the cooler weather, I guess I'm getting too old for summer, but not really old yet as is evident by my enjoying the cold.

    Life on the job is going great. I've been learning a lot, not all about developing either. A lot about group communication and politics and the way a large group of people work together for a single goal. I can never inphasize enough the importance of people skills. In school people try so hard to either get ahead of the rest or just pass the tests that it is hard to realize that what we do is all about working with people.

    No cubes for the Gang yet but the people whose computers we will recieve got in their new PC's this week. What a fun time that is, spending several hours (if you are lucky) installing all the software we use is a pain. And then you have to deal with configuration issues that can and probably will arise. Fun times. We will all get to do that when we get our PC's too.

    Until next ime,
    Les Martin

    September 29, 2005

    Diversity Training

    Well, today at the job they had all of the newbies go to a meeting where we would be treated to a talk and video about diversity in the workplace. It wasn't really that educational. Nothing was put forth that we didn't already have a knowledge of. I guess it is just a way that the Company covers their butt. During this little meeting I did begin thinking about some things, namely about respect of persons during work.

    One of the key things that was impressed upon us was the fact that we should respect other people's background, lifestyle, up-bringing, etc. This made me think. When I am at work I shouldn't have to know anything about anyone else except what is their overall work function and what is their overall use to me in that respect. Religion, background, sexual-orientation, and any other underlying difference they have with me shouldn't even be an issue unless we are spending personal time together. In other words, unless I get involved with a co-worker outside the work arena then there is no reason for me to have to respect their lifestyle because it wouldn't/shouldn't come up.

    Am I being narrow minded here? Probably, but my point is still valid. There are things about me that I know many people would gladly argue against (even co-workers who would claim to be my friend) but it isn't an issue because these things aren't related to J2EE development. I know that there are certain things I should leave at home when I go to work. I can't get all up in arms or go all hoity-toity at work over my religious convictions or lifestyle choices, they don't belong there.

    I didn't go into a job interview trying to make my personal points or sway people to accept my religion or background, if I had then my resume would have found file thirteen. How can I expect my day to day job life to be different.

    Now all that being said I would say you shouldn't worry about me being non-social in the work-place. But realize that there are places in personal conversations I may choose to go that I won't go in a conversation with a colleague.

    Now with that ramble, which probably makes no sense and treads on the thin line of causing me loss of respect (as if I had any to lose), I will exit until next time.


    September 26, 2005

    blog, don't die

    Well, we're back at The Company and everything is going great so far. I think pretty much every one of us is getting really anxious to have our own cube and computer. I myself am definitely ready. In the meantime however, we're programming, analyzing, designing, meeting, and learning. Essentially, we're making the most out of our time with the senior programmers as we possibly can. Even though I'm ready to start contributing to the team, I know that I've learned so much from my mentor, and learned a lot more about how we are expected to do things at The Company, so in the end I guess it all works out.

    It's really cool that we all had the 7 weeks of training to get to know one another. Aside from the fact that we're already pretty well acquainted with the basics of the architecutre, there is also the fact that there are nine other faces that you're familiar with. That alone makes the acclimation process so much easier.

    Well, I didn't really have much to say. Everyone else should post...don't let the Gang of 10 die!

    Peace out,

    September 22, 2005


    I want:

    My own cubicle.
    My computer.
    More money.
    Fewer bills.
    Someone to take care of all the boring stuff I need to do so I don't have to do it.
    More sleep.
    More free time.
    Dark Tower VII.
    A new car.
    A girlfriend.
    Someone to cook for me.
    To write a book.
    A good idea for a book to write.
    To learn Tae Kwon Do and Bushido.
    And some other stuff...


    September 9, 2005

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

    Well, coming in in mid-to-late in the current iteration has been very interesting. Point in fact: we get to see things in an almost complete state so we may not know exactly what they are intending and they may need fixed. If that sentence doesn't actually make sense then you do get the picture. There is no way we could have been injected into this project without being paired up with someone already working on it. I guess that is why they planned this. I am really looking forward to finishing this iteration and starting a new one. At that point we may actually be more involved in the a&d so we will know way more about what is going on and actually have some claim in the code.

    I think everyone is fitting in well, as far as I can tell they paired us up with compatible counterparts (I speak for myself and what I've seen, if I'm wrong I apologize). Everyone seems to be getting on well after training. My team is currently in bug-tracking-and-smashing-phase (yeah that one's not worded exactly like that in the books) and there seems to be a bit of pressure to get to a release point, but nothing major.

    On a personal note, life after Dallas is good. I really don't get to rest as much now that I'm home as I did there (huh, responsiblities), but everything is starting to fall back into place.

    Until next time.
    Les Martin

    August 29, 2005

    So... You wanna be a programmer.

    Well, boot camp is over and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I'm glad to be home, on the other I'll miss Don and class in general. What did I learn? Well, there isn't really enough time for me to sit here and expound on that subject so I'll just say that I learned more than I bargained for. After this training I see that being a programmer is more than just sitting down and hacking out lines of code. Programming is about offering a service. And anytime you offer any kind of service you have to do the following: working with people (communication is probably more important than being a senior programmer), planning (no more of this: "Okay, I've got my problem so let's see what code I can throw out there to figure it out."), and much more.

    What does it take to be a good programmer and not just a programmer? Well, in school I was completely naive in this area. Given an assignment I would spend hours just staring at a blank screen hoping that the code would miracuolously type itself. Now, I think that to be a good programmer you just have to have the proper resourses (and not to mention being able to work with people). Google has become a good friend of mine recently. If I face a problem I'm not sure of how to approach then off to the WWW I go. Some students think this could border on cheating, but don't be mistaken. I'm not suggesting copying code fromt he web (cheating), I'm saying find a place you trust to give valid information about your particular subject and use it. In the real world you aren't going to know every key word or syntax, you'll have reference materials on hand for when you need them. The internet should be one of those resources.

    Well, that about does it for now. I close with this:
    -Forrest won the best blog award (computer Whiz to him).
    -Team Ninja won last weeks programming project by the skin of our teeth, Freebirds did an awesome job on their project, we just got lucky.
    -Thursday is the official first day at The Company, looking forward to that, but glad we got a break because I have got to get things organized at home before getting busy.

    Until Next Time.

    August 23, 2005

    The Freebirds ~vs~ Team Ninja

    Well this week we've been split into two unique groups. We have to face off in a battle of developer wit and stamina (or maybe just development skills) and see which team can finish this weeks project first.

    The Freebirds:

    Team Ninja:
    me (...Les...)

    Not a bad match, this should be an interesting week. We are splitting the work amongst team mates in order to work in different layers at the same time, we'll see how that goes.

    Until next time.

    August 15, 2005

    What a Difference a Week Makes

    This past week was another week-long group project. The last time we were split into groups, we had the then daunting task of adding a few extra fields to the Create screen of our basic CRUD application. The excercise was a thoroughly challenging one, and involved adding pieces of functionality to already existing classes in the reference implementation. It was challenging enough that most of the groups (mine included) barely got the project done by deadline. Little did we know that this week's project would be twice the difficulty with the same time restrictions.

    Our assignment this time around was to implement the Retrieve and Update functionalities (betcha can't guess what our next project will be...). This time, however, we didn't have the nice classes to add to, we had to create our own classes in almost every level of the architecture. Super tough. The good news is, after many, many hours of work and some gruesome battles with bogons, my partner, Ramy, and I were much more comfortable with The Company's architecture. Since we're going to be expected to extend it on a daily basis, it's good that we've been thrown into it in a training situation rather than having to mess up a real-world application that our employer relies on for its daily revenues. Our crashing through the layers came at the expense of the consultants' personal time though, because they also had to stay up here with us far later each day than they probably should have. The end result is hopefully worth it, because I think we all understand a great deal more about what goes on in the system.

    This week, we're going to be learning about Enterprise Java Beans. That should be an interesting task for my part, because I have zero experience with them. I guess that's pretty much been the story about every aspect of the training for me so far, so nothing different there. Of the new things I've learned, the award for most awesome thing easily goes to taglibs and Expression Language in JSPs. I love the concept of code that reads like plain-English and accomplishes a lot in a small snippet.

    Oh, and one side note about group projects. In college they seemed to be little more than excercises in futility, because you would invariably get teamed up with people who either wouldn't do any work at all, or wouldn't even show up for group meetings. In training, it's been the exact opposite. I've already had two incredibly awesome teammates that have worked very hard and that I have also learned a lot from. If this is what it's like at The Company, then I'm going to have an awesome time working there for sure.

    Well, anyway, just two more weeks and we'll finally be able to head to The Company every morning instead of The Consulting Firm. That's right folks, we'll actually get a work phone number and email address, woot, woot! It's going to be really strange when we return, having been employed for almost two months and still being "the noobs." It's okay though, I can't imagine how much harder it would have been to have just been planted on a project without all of this training. Hopefully, we'll be prepared enough to step right in and contribute when we get back.

    Forrest Humphrey


    I just lost the game.

    August 10, 2005

    Can't See the Trees for the Forest

    Take a moment...

    Step back...

    Sleep on it...

    So tomorrow I have to go back at the Reference Implementation with a fresh start. What a mess it can seem to be at times. Sandeep and myself have been working together this week on the next iteration and it has been a slow week. We decided today after a little progress and a lot of work that we needed to call it a day and step back into it with fresh minds in the morning. I know that for myself I am still working on grasping the entire framework. There is much to learn, but with time and effort I will get a handle on it.

    Next week is J2EE/EJB week, that should be very educational.

    Advice I give myself:
    We were brought to training to learn to work together toward a single development solution, don't be competitive and leave someone behind or be prideful and get left behind.

    Until Next Time,
    Les Martin

    August 7, 2005

    A Few Helpful Struts Links

    Here are a few resources I have found helful in learning the Struts framework:

    Struts, an open source MVC Implementaion
    - IBM
    First Steps with Jakarta Struts Part 1 - Sitepoint
    First Steps with Jakarta Struts Part 2 - Sitepoint
    The Struts User's Guide - Struts Apache Site

    Les Martin

    August 4, 2005

    Half-Started or Half-Over

    Well, we have officially breached the half-way mark in our training. And I can say for myself that so far I cannot complain. After covering what we have covered I am psyched about Java and J2EE development. I've done a little web development, but never on this scale. The things we are doing now are some of the coolest things I've ever done in code. I'm growing to love design patterns, coming from my background I haven't had a lot of experience of knowledgably implementing patterns. This week I have grown to love the Controller and Command patterns.

    STRUTS is an awesome framework, I am really looking forward to getting farther into it. I really like the way the MVC is tied together so seamlessly. Model and View are finally real world concepts to me now, not just something I've read about in a text-book.

    Although the training is going great I am not sad that we are over the half-way point. I look forward to getting home. I also am looking forward to getting to work using what I'm learning at work. I finally feel like I am a Software Developer (or at least I have the skills and knowledge to be). All being said, I want to be home, but the training is priceless.

    Things the Gang Will Miss:
    Ping Pong

    Things the Gang Won't Miss:
    being away from home

    Until next time,
    Les Martin


    August 3, 2005

    Honeymoon is Over

    Yes it's true. As of lunch time today we are officially half-through our training. It's been a long, tiring, and fun 3.5 weeks, and I'm sure the remaining half will be just as stimulating. Now it's time to see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real (as they say on that one show).

    Yes, as the weeks are wearing on we are getting more comfortable with each other and might be using a little less energy trying to keep everyone happy. I can tell my temper is getting shorter and I have to try harder to block out annoyances. Of course it's strenuous for everyone to be away from family and I know that the crap internet here at the hotel has made me scream at my monitor more than once. I'm also sure everyone has personal stresses that seem to infest our daily lives as well. It's really important that we band together and try extra hard to curtail those dark little personality traits that creep up on everyone once in a while. I definitely would want someone to tell me right away if I was doing anything that bugged them, and although I hope I'm not doing that I know it can happen without thinking.

    The training is affecting everyone a bit differently. I am finding myself trying to dig in and pay attention, but end up going back to my old pattern of absorbing the lecture in my periphery, and then reading the material for myself when I need to use it for the assignment work. I still pick up new concepts quickly, even the difficult ones we've been doing recently. I am really glad we'll have our training binders to refer back to in the coming months (years?).

    I am really looking forward to our next week of working on the reference implementation and getting a partner for pair programming. I like having someone to talk to while coding and it's nice to be able to run my (sometimes crazy) ideas past someone so we'll waste less time and have tighter code.

    That's about all from your resident hardwareguy tonight. Sleep tight and WRITE UNIT TESTS!

    Seperation of Code and Page

    Ahhhh, the wonderful world of seperating logic from UI. JSPs can get very large and confusing after adding more and more functionality into them. If all you html and Java all goes into the JSP then it gets to be very dirty looking, and then it becomes hard to read which makes it hard to debug and scale. If you've ever done much html on the side or otherwise you know what a pain layout and styling can be, add to that a bunch of Scriplet tags and Java code and you've got a nightmare of a page on your hands. Enter the ability to tie your JSP to a Java Class (a Java Bean but not EJB) with some handy little JSP Server tags, ~voila~, logic seperated from UI. Still looking forward to STRUTS though... so more to come on that.

    More about The Ten:
    Well, lets see. It seems that The Company couldn't have chosen a group of people that are so different yet so similar at the same time. We all come from very assorted backgrounds. Some of us came farther for this opportunity than others (I myself have been an Okie for more than the majority of my life). There are some here at the training who haven't yet found places to stay in OKC. Although there is a kaleidoscope of backgrounds we are all very similar. We are all here for one purpose: to seek a career in software development. Oddly (at least we have discussed it and find it odd) that of the ten people that were hired not one of us is a smoker. Less than half of us are married, but to my knowledge there is at least one of us that is engaged. Working together is pretty easy for us. We all have different programming backgrounds so we all seem to pick up the slack where we can. I think The Company did a great job (with the help of a few well mannered consultants) at building this team.

    Development Environment: We are using Websphere Studio Application Developer 5.1 (wsad). This is a great IDE, well, it is built on a great IDE. wsad is actually a platform built around the open source IDE eclipse. There are a lot of neat things that come in the package for J2EE development. I do look forward, however, for the company to upgrade to RAD 6 (Rational Application Developer) because it is built around Eclipse 3.0, while wsad just uses Eclipse 2.1, but one step at a time, wsad is great whichever eclipse it uses.

    Until next time.
    Les Martin

    August 2, 2005

    System.out.println("Hello World");

    Hello, my name is John and I am one of the other trainees in the incubator. This is my first time posting in a blog as well as reading one. So if my post doesn't sound very exciting or catchy, then maybe I could post some java code for the uber geeks to get excited over. I have been living in Oklahoma City for all 22 years of my life. I graduated from Oklahoma City University just a few months ago. I was one of the fortune people to get hired right out of college. But before starting work at The Company, the ten accepted applicants must enter a program in Dallas for additional training. Which brings me to the present...

    for ( int i = 0 ; i < infinity-1 ; i++)
    System.out.println("must hold your attention a little longer...");

    For the three weeks that I have been here, it has been very fun, educational, and tiring. I have made new friends, who have been very helpful. They helped me with the coding as well as other things outside of training. The training itself was very..."juicy" (what an adjective to use, lol). So much content is covered each day, that not everything could be retained completely. Because the training starts with the basics and progressing up, I find myself having difficulty dropping old programming habits from college (I was too cool to do analysis+design back then, why start now). As for new concepts that I have never worked with before (jUnit, servlets, jsp, etc), I started struggling. Thankfully, the instructors are there to help.

    Well, its time for me to wrap this up and hit the books again. Hopefully this was a good initial post for me in this blog. More details next time.

    Fatal Error:
    Unable to recover from...

    Gang of 10 Best Post Award

    Well, Matt came through and has offered a trinket to be used as the reward for the best post on our Gang of 10 Blog.

    Here it is:

    If you are interested all you have to do is post a blog or two, about whatever, but if you want you can post about our training.


    August 1, 2005

    JSPs and HP-6

    Well, Another week is going strong after a grueling monday back at Valtech. We're doing (as previosly announced) JWEB which means we are covering Servlets, JSPs, STRUTS, and related technologies. Today was pretty nice, we wrote a few JSPs to handle simple currency conversion. It was simple enough logistically, but getting used to the J2EE web programming may take a little extra study.

    I'm looking forward to getting into STRUTS. I'm ready to seperate all Java from HTML. I hate mixing the different kinds of code in one file, I'm ready to step up to the next level.

    I'm almost finished with HP-6 (Harry Potter book 6), not a bad read, but pretty plotless. It seems to be a filler to the rest of the series than a story on it's own, but it is pretty good. Having just been convinced last year by my wife to read the HP series I am new to the series, but as far as good fiction goes the books don't dissapoint.

    Things I like about Boot Camp:
    The training is hands on and in-depth.
    The Valtech folks have been great (Don and Matt are really helping us along).

    Thing I dislike about Boot Camp:
    Being away from my wife.

    Until next time.
    Les Martin

    So I Guess It's My Turn?

    Nathan here.


    This is me.

    Incubator Boot Camp Thing.

    Good stuff.

    JSPs are confusing.

    More later.


    Hi, I'm Erik

    Hi all. My post won't be as eloquent or verbose as Forrest's or Les's, but I wanted to let everyone know I was alive for the most part and will possibly be contributing to this website from time to time. I really don't even post a lot on my own site, but that would be the place to go for relatively up-to-date news on me. I'm really psyched to be a part of this so-called incubator training for The Company. My trainers are well versed in what they're teaching, and my co-conspirators are smart and cool. There is a lot of crap being shoveled on us at once here, but everyone is getting through it with relatively little friction. Time to pad this post with generic biographical information. My name is Erik Beach. I have lived in Tulsa, OK for my whole life. Around 5th grade I decided I loved computers and wanted to use them all the time. I finally got my first computer in 9th grade and have been building new ones for myself every 1.5 years or so and upgrading every chance I get. I graduated from the University of Tulsa in May 2005 with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. I'll be moving to OKC in a few weeks and can't wait to get started at The Company. That's enough for now. Keep 'er in the paint!

    This is me

    So here's the deal. I don't really post to blogs. Well, not until now, obviously. My problem is that I don't see why anyone would find anything I could post to a blog interesting, so I haven't ever had one. Therefore, if you find yourself here and you are asking yourself, "Why would I want to read this stupid crap?" My answer to you is, you probably wouldn't. However, if you happen to be a CS major wanting to know what an entry level Software Engineering job is like, or if you just want something to do, feel free to give us a read.

    As of right now, we are beginning week 4 of our 7 week training period, cutely named "Boot Camp." So far, we've covered Object-Oriented Analysis and Design, the Java Core (J2SE), Unit Testing, Aspect-Oriented Programming and J2EE. Last week, we finally got a peek inside the code we'll be working with on a daily basis, known as the Common Architecture. It's the working code base that our employer already has in production, and is the foundation that all of our work will build upon. Good stuff.

    Looking back on the last three weeks, it seems like we've really been covering a lot of material. My main concern about myself is that I won't be able to retain all of the information we've been learning. Especially the stuff about OOAD because all of it was completely new to me. I've been trying very hard to refresh myself as we progress in order to keep from losing what we've been taught, because I see the importance of mastering this topic. In college I wasn't taught a single thing about Analysis and Design. If we were given a project, we would basically just start coding it. This almost always led to endless hours of frustration adapting the design of your code around or just trying to troubleshoot a horribly bloated method that does way too many important pieces of business logic. Analysis and Design, when done right, should leave the developer with a much better understanding of how to create the software and also leave them with a nice working set of artifacts to look at should they need more clarification later on.

    On tap for this week...learning JSPs, Servlets, and Struts. Awesome. I've had so little experience with web applications. I've only created static HTML web pages in the past so this stuff is blowing my mind.

    Anway, this is officially my first blog post ever, so marvel at the noobishness while it lasts.

    July 29, 2005

    Fridays with J2EE

    Well, it is another Friday here at boot camp and we are all ready for the weekend. What a week this has been. Everyone got their weekly project completed (mostly functional anyway). Working with the 5+ layered architecture has been a learning process, but we are beginning to grasp the patterns (no pun intended). You just have to remember that every layer must hand over the correct objects to the layer it communicates with. It is still a little confusing to me, but with more experience working in the system it will become second nature.

    Next week is the JWEB course so we will get more involved in Servlets and JSPs and we will finally get to talk more about STRUTS. Fun times friends, fun times...

    Until next time.
    Les Martin

    July 28, 2005

    Behold.... the power of bug.

    Coming from a programming background that was not as healthy as some others might have been I am just now getting used to practices that should have been planted into my thick skull from the beginning. For instance, in my IDE [most IDE's] there is a little bug image I can click, and if I had set a break point then ~voila~ I can step through my code and see exactly what is going wrong before it goes wrong. The simplest problems within code are often easiest to overlook. Debugger helps step line by line through execution in your project and #BAM# you find the problem. If I had only known about this in college my life would have been a lot easier. I can remember nights of printing out C++ source and reading line-by-line through it to find the simplest of mistakes that the compiler has overlooked.

    So, for my Computer Science I class that I may someday teach, no matter what language we use, I will cover the following things early in term:
    Unit Testing

    These things make life so much more understandable (well, not life, code).

    Ok, there is my morning rant.
    Until next time.
    Les Martin

    July 27, 2005

    The Common Architecture

    Wow. The Common Architecture Classes we are working with is a huge bundle of seemingly abstract functionality (oxymoron?). Just the small project we are working on this week can be a bit thick to step through. It is pretty neat what they have set up for us to use as a foundation, but it can sure be a head-ache getting everything setup correctly on your machine so that it builds correctly. Now we are working in groups of 2 checking code in and out of a CVS.

    This weeks project is pretty straight forward, just add functionality to what is already there. This gives us a chance to really wrap our minds around what is already happening within the system. By the end of this training we should know this stuff in and out (mostly) but for now it is a slow process. There are so many classes up the heirarchy you may have to go up several super-classes to find out what a simple bit of functionality is. In this long run it will be easy to grasp, but for now it is just mind-boggling.

    On another note, it is both welcome and regret to be doing this as a web project. Welcome because I am familiar with Web technologies and what goes on, plus I haven't actually worked with any J2EE projects so many of the tools we deploy are new to me in practice. Regret because as mentioned I've done web developement (but not on this scale so that is another plus) and I was looking forward to deploying different types of apps. But to tell you the truth without sounding really redundant, there are so many new tools to use in the J2EE world that it does feel like I'm in new territory. I am looking forward to moving on into the projects and getting more familiar with STRUTS and the other technologies and patterns surrounding it.

    Current Recreation: Reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
    Research Shopping list: JUnit/Unit Testing materials, STRUTS references

    Until next time,
    Les Martin

    July 25, 2005

    Dallas Traffic...

    Well, it is becoming clear to me that in Oklahoma there is really no true understanding of rush hour traffic. Don't get me wrong, at the end of any work day you will find plenty of vehicles on the road, but you could spread a picnic in the road and not stop traffic. Here in the Dallas area on the other hand every street/highway is treated like the road to the lake on the first day of summer. Bumper to bumper, no room to breathe. One thing is for sure, when I get back to Oklahoma City I will enjoy the light traffic the highways hold there.

    On a more technical note, I would like to sum up a little bit of what we have been doing. Last week I mentioned that Java was the thing. Well, it was actually pretty cool. We got to write a program for the board game Monolopy. We went through the whole Unified Process with it. Defining the business objects, drawing out the diagrams, showing the dependencies, and then taking it to code. It was pretty enjoyable overall. It gave me a chance to see the concepts we learned in week 1 in action with a practicle application (and a practicle application that didn't require 1000 lines of code).

    This week is an entirely different ball game. We get to work with our company's Common Architecture to write a project. We will be working on C.R.U.D. [creating, reading, updating, deleting]. This is giong to be a learing experience, because it is our first chance to meddle in the Business Architecture of our company, we are officially getting our feet wet (or maybe the correct term is going in head first).

    On a side note, configuration is a pain. Everything has to be just right and when it is something can still go wrong. I have to go in early tomorrow (not too early though) so that I can get a fresh view of the Project and rebuild it, some files aren't being generated on the build, oh well, I will figure it out.

    Until next time.
    Les Martin

    July 20, 2005

    Hotel Java and Coffee Code

    A few months ago if you had asked me what I was planning to do with my summer spending time in Texas would have been one of the last things to cross my mind. But ask me now what I'm doing for the rest of the summer and it's all changed. I'm now in the mid-week 2 of a 7 week stay in the Dallas area. What am I doing? Honestly, I'm going back to school, but not just any school. Seven weeks of intensive OOA&D and Java/J2EE training for my new career.

    Object Oriented Analysis and Design was on the agenda last week. We worked on thinking in real world concepts and integrating them into usable artifacts. The most I got out of it? With proper planning and documentation programming business software is a piece of cake.

    This week it's all about Java, and what a breath of fresh air that is. Everyone seems to be enjoying the chance to actually get to write some code... after all, programming is what we do. It is funny how you can take the simplest things and work them into object oriented code. This week we've done a simple Dice Game and now we are on the down side of a Monopoly game. Whatever everyone else may think this stuff is fun. Yes, I know that sounds childish.

    I'm definitely looking forward to next week. We get to work with the common files and make a project based on it. That will definitely make the week go by fast.

    Well, that is all you'll get from me now, later.

    Les Martin