Programming editors

Everybody who is programming is using one or more of them. My favorite programming editor is Epsilon from Lugaru Software Ltd., and that since 1996. It’s around since 1984. Although my first version was for DOS, Windows, and OS/2, I used it primarily under DOS for writing C programs. I started in 1978 with a BASIC dialect and 8080/Z80 assembler on a SORD M203 mark III computer. I wasn’t thinking about what editor to use back then, because there was no choice. I had to use the one that came with this SORD computer. A little later I switched to C and then C++, followed by Java in 1996. There will be something after Java, but I can’t see it yet. It’s not so much the programming language itself that keeps me, but the Java platform.

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Problem with Oracle

While operating synformation together with an Oracle database (prior to version 10g), the following error can occur during page compilation:

FATAL ERROR IN TWO-TASK SERVER: error = 12571
ksedmp: internal or fatal error

This error is logged by Oracle in the user dump trace files. After this error has occurred, no more pages can be compiled. From the ACU client software, it looks like the system is locked up. Only a restart of the synformation server software will help temporarily.

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If something goes wrong

When you build a software system, something can go wrong. You have to plan for that. It can be a programming error, an operator error, or a situation you haven’t planned for. I’m pretty sure you have seen web pages giving you cryptic error messages, thus indicating that something went wrong. In many cases, the given error message is useful for a programmer, but seldom for the average web user.

Fatal error:
Call to undefined function: some_function() in
/srv/domain.com/httpdocs/content/mytheme/header.php
on line 42

As a web user, what does this error message tell you? Maybe you can understand it. But can you do something about it? You can’t fix it, you’re left alone on finding your way out, it’s not helping you. Why then show it to you at all? The reason is, it wasn’t intended for you to see it. This error message is only useful for the developer. But he hasn’t planned for exactly this type of situation. Okay, it’s a programming error. But that you have to see this error in a form like this is lack of planning for this type of situation. Everybody knows or can understand that it’s not a good idea to have a web user look at a web page indicating an error like the one I showed you. But it’s still what happens in many cases. Why? Is it laziness on behalf of the developers, lack of good test cases, lack of imagination, lack of time or budget, or not enough knowledge? I think it’s a little of everything. The book Defensive Design for the Web from 37signals might tell you nothing a web developer should know already, but it contains a nice check list at the end to make sure he doesn’t forget to apply his knowledge.

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A night at Frankfurt airport

Yesterday, I received a phone call from someone who asked me to meet aircraft N279WA in Frankfurt on a cargo mission. It came from Chicago and went back to Atlanta. This aircraft has been converted to a cargo plane only recently. And it has a new livery now.

Aircraft N279WA during push back from position F215

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iPod in the car

For our family car, a 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-class station wagon, I wanted to be able to connect a MP3 player to the car audio system. We have an iPod and the girls have some other MP3 players as well. Although the CD player in the car can play MP3 CDs, it doesn’t always work. It seems to depend on the manufacturer of the blanks as well as the software the MP3 CD has been recorded with.

2006 Mercedes-Benz C-class station wagon

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