Category Archives: Life

Xydroid – Xymon monitoring on Android phones

Finally, an update for the blog! Well, what has been going on with me? I’ve been busy at work, and perhaps even busier with my studies. I’m currently doing a course on Concurrency, which got me started on a bit of lovely threaded java programming again. It’s nice to be back to writing a bit of code, and boy have things gotten better over the few years since I last did anything major with it.

In other news, a couple of friends have bought themselves new Android phones, the HTC Hero. More and more of them are coming now, and it really looks like a wagon I’m liable to jump on any day now. They just need to release a new revision of the hardware, preferably something with one of the new Snapdragon CPUs in it …

So what could be more logical than to do a bit of programming for the Android platform? I struggled for a short while to figure out anything worthwhile to write, but then I came up with this: How nice would it be to get the status of your monitored systems direct on your phone? No more needing to browse to the hobbit Xymon system now, just a look at the phone to see how everything you care about is doing. Well, in theory. Except I don’t have the phone yet. Slight flaw in the plan.

None the less, I’ve made the software, in a sort of early beta version, and it’s available on a webpage of its own: Xydroid. Feel free to have a look .. if you want to actually use it, you should probably get in touch, and I’ll be sure to work on it enough that it will actually work properly as well.

After I’d started writing the software – actually, after I’d gotten quite far in the process – I found out that other’s have actually done the same as well, in the form of Xymon Monitor, for which they charge €2.99. Well, at least this might end up as the slightly cheaper alternative 🙂

Oracle Beehive course: The trip

A couple of weeks ago, one of my bosses came into my office with a curriculum description for a course on Oracle Beehive. He asked me to go it over, and tell me what I thought about it. After a quick flick through it, it seemed like a nice course to get some more information on the product, as it’s something we have been thinking about deploying. My boss asked me if I was available to go, March 9th through 13th. To California.

I left home at 3:00 on the 8th, where a nice friend of mine had agreed to look after my car for the week, meaning I could drive to the airport, and not have to get a bus there in the middle of the night. It turned out I was there rather too early, but early is better than late in these cases. So at just around 6:00, I was able to board an airplane for the very first time, for a quick hop to Amsterdam.

Yes, that’s right, I’d never flown before. And the flight didn’t start out too well, with what felt like rather a bumpy ride. The cabin crew seemed cheery enough, so at first I thought it was probably just normal, and wondered how I’d survive the trip across to the US – but then the captain turned on the fasten seatbelt sign, and mentioned that due to all the turbulence, he’d requested permission to fly a bit higher up. Phew! It turned out flying was a lot more comfortable than my first experience had shown, and we got to Amsterdam before time, at around 7:30.

Amsterdam airport, more correctly known as Schiphol, seemed like a nice place to be. It was certainly a lot nicer than Billund, and as I later found out, nicer than San Francisco Intl. After a couple of hours wandering about and using the wireless there (at €12/90 minutes) they finally let us board the plane – after a security check right at the gate, which seemed a very silly place to put it.

The plane for the second, much longer, half of my journey was a newly refurbished KLM MD-11. I was seated in economy, which didn’t bode well, but the plane was only about 2/3rds full, so almost noone had to sit directly next to anyone, meaning a bit more room to move about ones arms. The seats had screens in them, and once we’d gotten airborne and on the way, they were completely individual “entertainment systems”, capable of showing movies, episodes of tv-series, playing music, audio books or games, or following the in-flight tracking system.

I watched Quantum of Solace and WALL-E on the way, and enjoyed the food, snacks and drinks the very polite cabin crew were serving. The food wasn’t exactly excellent, but it was very decent, and we even got proper metal cutlery to eat it with. Sleeping wasn’t very easy, but I did manage to fall asleep for a couple of hours or so, before landing at San Francisco Intl. at about 14:25, only a short time after we’d taken off at 11:10. Okay okay, there was the small matter of the time difference on top, making it around 11 hours total … yawn.

The hotel, Sofitel San Francisco Bay, were nice enough to pick me up in their shuttle and save me the $30 cab ride, which was a nice touch. The hotel itself was very nice, and while my room wasn’t a lagoon-facing room, it still had an excellent eastward view of the sunrise over the mountains in the morning, and a by my standards huge King-size bed. Everything was nice and clean, and I even managed to unpack and hang my clothes before slipping into a more coma-like sleep.

Television license as tax?

A discussion popped up this morning on one of the major Danish newspaper’ website (in Danish): Should the television license paid in Denmark be a part of the tax, instead of as it is now, paid separately? The idea was aired jointly by the culture spokespersons of both the largest government party, Venstre, as well as the largest opposition party, Socialdemokraterne, in a rare display of complete agreement on a previously controversial subject by the two parties.

However, it quickly turned out it wasn’t actually an agreement. The political leadership of Venstre quickly issued a statement that the views of the culture spokesperson were not the official views of the party, and that the idea had not been discussed in the party leadership. Bummer. At least the idea got some airtime, and hopefully started some discussions.

The television license in Denmark is in fact known as the media license, since it no longer covers just television and radio, but also computers capable of playing online media content, or mobile phones with such capabilities. It is estimated that 99% or more of all Danish households should pay the license fee, yet only around 93% do. The fee is currently set at 2190 kr/year, and is in effect a regressive tax, in that practically everyone is liable to pay it, but for a low-income individual the percentage of income paid is higher than for high-income individuals – for a student on government allowance, the license fee sums up to 3.6% of his or her income.

I’m fully in favour of changing the current system, and I’m sure most of the population are as well. The main beneficiary of the license fee however, Danmarks Radio, is not. One reason may be that all the current license fee collectors would be made redundant, which is of course a concern. More likely is it that they fear too much government involvement, should their money have to come from the taxes rather than from direct collection. While I sympathise with such fears, the system works for many other organisations without evidence of government involvement, and the board of Danmarks Radio are politically appointed, 2/3 by the parliament and 1/3 by the minister of culture.

In all, I hope this brave outspokenness of the culture spokespersons pays off, and that we get a renewed debate in this country about the social imbalance of the current system. Or, if not in this country, then on this blog. 😉

Danish Design in Batman: The Dark Knight

The latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, includes quite a few instances of Danish design. Having moved to a new flat recently, and not actually having bought all my lamps yet, I am quite attentive to nice lamps I see around town when shopping and such. And lo, there were some in The Dark Knight as well:

AJ Gulv

Arne Jacobsen floor lamp

Arne Jacobsen floor lamp

The Arne Jacobsen floor lamp was designed in 1957 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. Bruce Wayne has a number of them in black in his Gotham City penthouse apartment.

PH 4½/3½ (or one like it)

PH glass shade lamp

PH 4½/3½ lamp

The Poul Henningsen glass shade lamps were designed in the middle of the 1920’es, and based on a logarithmic spiral. The mayor of Gotham City has one in his office in the movie.

Apart from that, one of my friends noticed a Danish designed Kirk telephone in it as well, Bang & Olufsen are getting more business because one of their stereos was featured in it, and I’m certain more of the furniture was Danish designed as well. I like this trend.

Sigfreds Kaffebar: Good coffee in Århus

Writing a post like this in English might seem a little strange – but at least it will be readable for foreigners who may want to visit Århus: I’ve found a nice place for coffee in Århus. It’s Sigfreds Kaffebar.

For anyone who knows Århus, it probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Sigfreds is known as a place of good coffee, and even though we have the Starbucks-style Baresso around here as well, producing somewhat consistent quality coffee, Sigfreds is just a different league – and a wholly different atmosphere. It’s a lot more cosy and café-like. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to place here, but I think I’ll be going back tomorrow and might get one.

I had a cortado, basicly a double espresso with about the same amount of steamed milk in it, for 32 kroner. It doesn’t come with any accessories, apart from an optional glass of water, but it didn’t need any: The taste was great. Freshly ground beans, and judging by the videos on the website and the behaviour of the barista, a very keen attention to hygeine and cleanliness. Thoroughly recommended.

All work and no play…

Last week, I started working at my new job (which is the same as the old one, but full time) at DAIMI. At the same time, moving has been going on, and I’m almost done now, only really needing to bring along a few things to put in the store room, as well as my electric piano, which I’m going to bring today.

Working full time and moving as well has taken up almost all of my time, which is why I haven’t posted much here. I’ve started cooking a lot more, and I’m really enjoying having my own kitchen and a separate living room and bedroom. So expect some news about food in not too long.

PHP is taking up a lot of my time at work, I’m trying out Zend Studio which seems to be really nice, albeit quite expensive. I may have to try out PDT to see if it’ll do the same sort of things. More about this later as well.

Lastly, if you haven’t seen them yet, you should take a look at the photos I’ve taken of my new place: The first ones taken when I was about to move in, the next ones when I got my dining table and curtains in place, and the latest with my new sofa and sort of living room arrangement.

Moving!

I’ve moved, and gotten my blog back up after I accidentally knocked it over. Pictures from the new flat are available at my gallery.

As soon as I get the last stuff moved – Monday or so I hope – I’ll take some pictures of the flat with furniture in it. I still need to get my bed, though, and because of an error on the part of the furniture supplier, that won’t be coming until the 16th. Ick. Luckily, one of my friends let me borrow his folding bed, which will have to do for those two weeks.

Panoramic picture

I found a nice place a couple of days ago, that I really wanted to share with all of you. Unfortunately, the view there isn’t easy to catch with just a single photo, but I’ve tried my best anyway. I wanted to upload it directly using WordPress, but that doesn’t seem to like the idea of a 26775×1588 pixel picture. Anyway, by a bit of hackery:

A scenery near Vorre, Denmark

Don’t be shy, click the image. The tiny thumbnail doesn’t do it much justice.

An update, slightly delayed

Now, some time ago I expected I’d be updating my blog every 10 days with news about my moving plans, which would make for a good few posts – but I wasn’t home when the time came to post with 30 days left, and I didn’t really have anything to write.

I called up the landlord on Tuesday, and inquired as to whether I could move in on June 27 instead of on July 1, which I was might be possible, though entirely dependent on whether the builders were done yet. If they were, it’d be no problem, though I’d naturally have to pay the few days extra rent. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks.

Furniture shopping is at a standstill, since I seem to have figured out the style of furniture I’d like, but I’m not sure whether I’ll have the room for it nor money to buy it. I know for sure that I’ll need a bed, but everything else is a bit more optional, ranging from simple things like “a nice lamp” through “a table and chairs” to “a complete Wegner lounge”. I don’t really think I can realistically buy any of it before I move.

The first exam of the year is on Tuesday, and is in “Technical Project Management” – that is, management of technical projects, and not the technical aspects of managing projects. We’ve been using a book called Applied Software Project Management, which is decent, but as one of the other students in the course pointed out, it isn’t really up to date with agile methods, and the level of some of the advice given approaches the trivial, for example by spending most of a chapter introducing Subversion.

Procrastination has set in, and I’ve resorted to reading food blogs. Some time ago, I was trying to find a recipe for Heston Blumenthal’s oxtail stew, and instead stumbled upon someone who’d actually tried to cook it. Intrigued by the writing style, and the whole subject of a food blog, I’ve spent a couple of hours reading Becks & Posh, as well as a bit of time at Hedonia, especially having fun with the Eatsdropper posts. Recommended.