Wildlife photography

Nikon F6006, Sigma 80-250 mm, f/5.6, UV Filter, Fujichrome Sensia 100.
One of the most annoying things while travelling along the Amazon river, Brasil is the amazing amount of mosquitos. The shot was during sunset.
(This series of wildlife photographs is to highlight the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2003 Award and exhibition).

Swedish meatballs

swedishmeatballs.jpgSome of the more Swedish dishes would be herring, smoked salmon, beef with beet root and fried potatoes and sausage cubes (pytt i panna). Swedish Meatballs, though, is probably the most Swedish dish of all dishes. You can find the ingredients anywhere in the world.
For 4 – 5 portions you need: roughly 400 g of mixed minced meat; 3/4 dl of bread crumbs (you can also crush dry white bread); 2 dl of milk; 1 – 1,5 teaspoon salt; 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper; 1 tablespoon grated onion; 1 egg.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2003

I have just been to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2003 Exhibition at the The Natural History Museum, London. It had an amazing display of photographs in various categories like Animal Portraits, Composition and Form, The Underwater World, In Praise of Plants and more.
It was great to always see the equipment used and the exposure settings. One amazing photo was taken in the middle of the night, with three subsequent flashes and a shutter speed of 24 minutes (!). It only took the photographer 6 months to make exposure tables to enable him to take the shot.
If you cannot attend the exhibition then at least browse the web site and be inspired.
To highlight this occasion I have searched my collection and will be showing some wildlife photographs during the next week.

Nikkon F6006, Nikkor 300mm, f/11, UV Filter, Fujichrome Sensia 100.
A native bird drinking in the Los Flamencos National Reserve, Chile.

And all that Work

I wish the title was saying ‘And all that Jazz‘ but it is not because it is Saturday noon and I am working. At least it is from my own bed and with Ginger next to me.
The annoying thing with the recent project has been lack of design and the scope of technologies that are in use simultaneously. I have no problems working with a couple of those technologies but all at once takes away some of the concentration.
We are using an unorthodox mix of Data Access Objects (DAOs) and EJB 2.0. What we learned was that you have to watch out not using both technologies to update your precious data base tables. If you do, the EJB container locks the tables and your DAO methods start failing and rolling back to left and right.
I have previously used XDoclet to help with the formalities of EJB 2.0 and Struts framework. This time we have not taken the time (pun intended) to set up XDoclets so it is a pain every time the data model changes or the EJB implementation is updated and the interfaces need to be updated accordingly. At this point of the project, nearly end, it doesn’t make sense to start adding XDoclet tags and modifying the Ant build scripts but I have made a mental note to use XDoclets from the beginning next time.
The front-end is prepared for internalization and device independent rendering by using XML/XSL. I found that the Castor frame work is great for converting your complex Java objects to an XML representation. Later Xalan is used for the XSL transformations. One trick from the big bag of tricks is to have dynamic XSL style sheets by using JSPs. This allows us to use constants from our standard Java interfaces and to internalize our pages with the help of JSTL.
Axis framework is a great help for setting up web services for cross application wide services and sending those SOAP calls.
There has not been as much JUnit testing as we first anticipated due to lack of time. Instead of writing JUnit suits for all classes I have only written tests for core utilities that are used by several modules in the application. It was quicker to write the tests and making sure the utilities pass than to face kludgy code that would need thorough debugging.
The mix of everything is fun but just when you are getting groovy with the required on-the-fly design and UML modeling you are interrupted by some nasty JavaScript debugging or even worse, CSS problems.
I wish we find the resources to have a couple of front end developers (scary, MS Word just highlighted the last word because it found the same entry in my Outlook contacts, too smart for my liking).

Feed your mind

Did you know that you can access over 500 courses from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)? The best part is that it is for free through the MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW).
You have access to lecture notes, assignments, exams and more to anything between Japanese I and Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos.
I can definitely recommend you to have a look at the mouthwatering selection of physics courses. I did and found more gems than I can shake a stick at.
[via M Sinclair]

Werewolfs, vampires and a cute clown fish

Underworld” was a very dark movie indeed. You are thrown into a battle between werewolves and vampires and it is hard to tell who is who. During the course of the movie you change your opinion about who is bad and who is good; several times.
The music and the dresses were very much inspired by The Matrix. Tight leather suits and sunglasses dominated the movie; as did the large amount of firearms.
The characters dreams and hallucinations used the same technique as was used in the Lord of The Rings when the ring was worn.
Movie buffs like us are not satisfied by one movie alone so we went straight to the next performance which turned out to be Finding Nemo.
The contrast between the two movies was surreal to say the least. From blodspitting and carnage in Underworld to cute animations and lovable characters in Finding Nemo.
Turtastic movie duuuuude.

This week in brief

If you are a web designer and using embedded objects (Applets, ActiveX, Flash and etc) in your web pages, you will have to have a second look at your pages. Microsoft has responded to the judge decision by making changes to IE. There is a patch to be downloaded that will break your IE or you can wait until January next year when new systems are expected to ship with the “patched” IE. This is what the visitors to your page will see:

There are however workarounds so visit MSDN to learn about them.
SunnComm recently released a new CD copy protection method. It was quickly bypassed by a Princeton University graduate student. He exposed it as utterly lame in a recent paper. When I first saw this I was worried that SunnComm might try suing the student under the DMCA legislation. Not long after, the law suit was a fact. Is it just me or does it seem as if SunnComm is desperately trying to cover up their incompetence?
The source code for Half-life 2, this years mostly anticipated computer game, was stolen from Valve earlier this week. A hacker had planted keystroke recording software on several of the companie’s computers and was able to access the source code repository.
The company claimed only non-vital parts of the game were stolen but the hackers have now released a workable version of Half-Life 2. This indicates that maps and images must have been stolen along with the source code.
So now you know 😉