Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No securemote on 7 64 bits

I checked and Checkpoint Securemote is not available for 64 bits architectures (and will not be). I have not tried anything more as all my tests with vista 64 bits were negative (more or less one year ago).

Checkpoint has released a new end-point client called 'Endpoint Connect R71'. This one installed pretty well and seems working except that the customer I am connecting to does not have the latest firewall to support this new client.

Practically this one is a big typical gotcha for anybody planning a migration!

Browsing about this, I read a few things about Virtual PC and XP mode (XP mode seems to be a Virtual Machine capable of installing old apps and publish them to the Windows 7 host - kind of screen less VM). This is my next target for the Vaio. If  I can get securemote working from there, I am done.This will be an opportunity to look at Microsoft virtualization solution.

On a higher point of view, all this make me a bit laughing at our industry. A properly designed architecture should have isolated developers from this 32-64 bits issue. I understand that this affects some critical spots in an OS but why a printer driver or a network application (even if it is a driver or service) needs to be aware of that silly detail (they don't address more than 3GB as far as I know) that's a key problem. The second major issue is that most people including experienced professionals find this absolutely normal. It is NOT. OS, VM, interpreters etc should shield us from these craps: we should be in the street protesting about these nuts designs!

Think again,was all that Java and .Net fuss not about this?

You think that's not possible? When Apple migrated from the Motorola 68000 processor to the Power PC most parts of the OS was running in an emulator. So why not doing today most of this coding so it would run in a Java VM (or .Net for Microsoft)?

Frankly there is an habit here for not looking at all these undelivered promises! Why? In my opinion because the industry analyst have an over sized ego and exhibit the common weakness that sustains major failures: the inability to recognize their own mistakes.

By the way I did one on this blog. I read that 7 has a disk burner application. I will try this later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Windows 7 64 bits & HP Laserjet 3550N

May be this will help somebody. I decided to try the Vista 64 bits drivers for my HP Laserjet 3550N on my Windows 7 and it works without a glitch ! Why is HP announcing this as not supported. Again mysterious.

Next I will try to get Checkpoint Securemote at work...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Windows 7

I re-installed again the new Vaio. This time with Windows Vista Ultimate. The install is very smooth and quick. Of course I lost the pre-installed application given with Vista. The most annoying being the CD burner. Why is this not bundled in a product called 'Ultimate' is a mystery.

The net result of installing a 64 bits OS is that I have now 2GB free on 4GB. So be happy that the half  RAM  of your new still idle, unused computer is free...

I must say that I was a bit confused about Microsoft OS naming. 95,XP,2000.. Vista and now 7...

May be, because, ideally you should have 7GB of RAM to get 4 free... or may be because I will have to wait 7 months to get drivers for my HP3550.

I must admit this HP printer was a bad choice, not because it is a bad printer but because some processing is off loaded to the host driver which is then more complicated and basically available much after anything... on board PCL and Postcript printers are much better supported. One remark, it now prints remarkably well from Linux.

Another  point: 7 seems to go on the hard disk for no reason every 20 seconds...strange...

So getting the right OS is still not easy. I prefer Windows to get Office - more used but also much more useful than Open-Office. It is good to remind that the common cut & paste is in most case not working between Linux apps.

I like Linux for the OpenERP and development in general. Vista is crap in average, XP becomes outdated and the XP64 bits support is problematic (drivers, apps) ,Windows 7 lacks some drivers.

Using VMWARE is of course an alternative. Although it  adds complexity on everything (cut & paste works even less in this case). My idea was to use Windows as a host for my VM. The reason was that I expected to carry this Vaio much more than the previous HP to replace my classical notebook. So the starting time of a session with Office is critical.

Summary for this sunny Sunday: getting it all at work is still not easy !

Friday, September 25, 2009

Printing the hardware config - Saved by MSINFO32

Just before scrapping Vista, I wanted to get a dump of the hardware installed just to be sure to be able to find the right drivers etc in case of troubles.

Unfortunately the control panel does not help you doing that.

Thanks to google I found back a utility I haven't use since years - MSINFO32.

Windows VISTA...

On my new Vaio, I got 4GB of RAM. Here are the figures just after having produced the recovery disk...

Total memory is 3GB (because it is a 32 bits OS). Cached is reported at 1950 MB! And free is reported to 0. The graph for memory shows 1,4 GB.

I don't understand these figures and not matching figure but what I see is that is already consuming everything... That could be a sign of optimization whenI I am using it, but here I have a serious doubt because nothing is installed and running.

Second, I continue to see the hard disk light blinking... for doing what?

So my plan is to get out of Vista on this one too. As a MS partner I have access top the early release of Windows 7. I think this is an opportunity to try it out...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ockham's razor - Joomla - CakePHP - Jake -jQuery

As explained earlier, I am trying to integrate a small app built with jQuery and CakePHP in Joomla.

My first idea was to use Jake - This is a generic Joomla component capable of calling a CakePHP application. I remember to have tried it more than a year ago.
Probably something changed in my settinggs (in fact the config - os /PH¨P/ Joomla is entirely different....) all I get is:

"Fatal error: session_start() [function.session-start]: Failed to initialize storage module: user (path: C:\xampp\tmp) in C:\xampp\htdocs\www\DiagTools\cake\libs\session.php on line 553"

I tried tweaking PHP sesson config, checked permissions (actually sessions files are created there). On the net, I found a few posts seeking for support about the same concern but no answer.

I remarked that Jake is still in beta since 2007. I think that's indication of at least future troubles...

A second option was not to integrate them, but to make them similar enough. I found a few posts proposing to recycle Joomla thems into a CakePHP theme so the two components would work side by side. I think this is a poor man integration, my customer will not be able to use the Joomla admin to administer the site or change security settings etc The worst being that I will have to rechange it if we go for another design.

Considering that CakePHP is used only for structuring the application, validating a single basic form and calling a web service (a feature that sits there but that nobody uses), why not getting it out and keep just the jQuery stuff?

So I started this third solution which is creating a fresh Joomla component.

One more time the Joomla community amazed me by its vitality and by the high number of good quality components and plugins available. SC jQuery is a plugin that makes installing jQuery a single click operation. In the confiiguration you may choose the themes for the user interface widget - really cool :

I have not done serious things with jQuery since a while, this theme concept is great and you can see it in action here :

So at the end of the day I got the kernel of the app running in Joomla. The layout still requires adaptation and I have to simulate the screens built with CakePHP...

Yet I am sure to have done the right choice, removing one technology, avoiding a bridge. This will  provide the best integration for the users and the most flexible options for the administrators of the web site.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to Joomla - Cake -PHP

So after a long Open ERP period I am back to the Joomla world.

Almost a year ago I setup for one customer an application built around JQuery and Cake PHP. A bit later the customer asked for a web site which has been built with Joomla. It would be perfect if the the web site and the application could share the same look and feel. I feel a bit faulty : at that time using Cake was for the simplest way (for me) to structure a small PHP app... but I did not plan anything concerning the web site - at that time his web site was made (by somebody else) with Wordpress - excellent for making a blog but terrible for making a web site...

My first steps today are basically to get back a development environment, the web site, (joomla,db...) the app etc. As usual I use Netbeans, here 6.7 - the PHP support is now stable and official.

Following Netbeans recommendation, I picked XAMPP ( to install PHP and MySQL - I am working on my HP XP portable (Paddle).

After having transferred the web site I got an error message in a few modules positions. I then restarted a fresh Joomla install - same result.

Warning: Parameter 1 to modMainMenuHelper::buildXML() expected to be a reference, value given in C:\xampp\htdocs\joomla\libraries\joomla\cache\handler\callback.php on line 99

Basically Joomla 1.15.xx is not compatible with PHP 5.30 (which comes with the currently latest XAMPP 1.7.2). So you need to get an older PHP version, thus an older XAMPP. Older release are not on the same site, so you need to go to to find what you need. I decided to go for 1.6.8 to be sure to get rid of PHP 5.30. Unfortunately I then hitted another issue with phpMyAdmin the MySQL tool I cannot live without...

Too bad. I did not investigate that one, I de-installed XAMPP again. So I moved to 1.7.1 which installed PHP 5.2.9. Proceeding with dichotomy for finding release that's the job I am in...

It is now working (after a small battle for setting up a user and a password).

The rumor says that this will be fixed with Joomla 1.5.15 to be released soon (october).

One more time, I regret the Java platform. Some so called Agile programmers believe that their productivity decrease because of compile cycles, I am laughing at that. These compile times represent little amounts of time for most programming jobs. For me, the Netbeans background compiler removed this concern entirely.

The key point for the pro-compiler camp is this for me : the semantic analysis is a job for developers not for users. When a code is compiled with Java 1.4 it runs on 1.6 just because the VM are backward compatible at the VM level and in spite the language continues to evolve. Language changes do not impact the compiled and so you can keep your olfd stuff working as designed on a recent platform.

At this stage the two interpreted language that I used exhibited the same poor facilities to handle changes in the language itself  : PHP & PYTHON.

So I move back to my stuff and still continue dreaming of the perfect environment for my job...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creating a startup script for svnserve on Ubuntu - init.d/skeleton

I am finally moving from my Suse Sles server and switched to Ubuntu (8.1.10 - 64 bits). As on my desktop I put webmin to manage the server processes. Simple and easy.

Installing svnserve (subversion) is easy thanks to synaptic - the package manager. The only missing piece is the startup script.

I first though porting the Suse script to Ubuntu. Not that simple.

I found the following link explaining how to proceed c

Basiscally the start is creating a one line script and putting the correct link to rcX.d directories (sudo update-rc.d svnserve defaults).

One user 'Sean O' helped a bit further. Thanks to him I know about the skeleton script in init.d.

This is the starting point for building a correct script. I modified shortly the script by adapting properly the variables such as :

DESC="Description of the service"
DAEMON_ARGS="-d -r /home/svn"

I added the USERNAME variable. It is referenced in the script like this

start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --chuid $USERNAME --make-pidfile --pidfile $PIDFILE --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_ARGS

This will now start the process under the svn account instead of root. The key is the command start-stop-daemon. Anyway I need a good book of practicall syadmin for Ubuntu...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Register your Vaio - Advanced lesson about ergonomy

I bought one week ago, a fresh notebook. My current (soon previous) one is a HP nx9420. Not a bad computer specially now that I 'upbacked' (downgraded is not appropriate as moving from Vista to XP was really a move to more for less) to Windows XP. Still the machine has only 1GB of memory and running virtual machines, Netbeans etc is still not obvious.

My policy for buying computers remains to find the best I can, on stock, for a fixed (in advance) budget. This Sony Vaio CS31 was well under 800€ for 4GB of RAM - 320 GB of HD. So basically 4 and 3 times bigger than the HP I bought a year ago.

For the first time I decided to downsize my screen. I started years ago with a Toshiba 12" (not sure anymore) then Compaq 14", next Fujitsu 15" and finally the HP 17".

The ratio changed with the HP. This is a nice screen but not that portable anymore... Also I bought a compact video projector so the big screen is much less needed.

Netbooks (Asus ee pc) are still not for me. May be one day. The screens are too small to work -- at least for programming, the horse power too weak and the autonomy still not good enough.

So here is the Vaio. I usually give our computers a name from comics heroes. The HP was 'Paddle' (Kid Paddle). I will name the new one Batman because of its glossy black piano like surface (to avoid as you see immediately fingers traces on it).

Sony encourages you (via a popup) to register your computer online -- an easy and supposingly no time consuming task...

Once clicked, the desktop icon (your desktop is filled with adware) your IE opens and brings you to the registration page. The easy process now prompts you for a 2 parts serial number.

As usual, all these numbers are on the back of he computer. Putting a secondary serial number sticker near the screen is too much for one of the biggest electronic manufacturer of the planet (its full of stickers but none of them is relevant) .

All the ergonomic, usability lessons are now forgotten as you move up your portable to see what's written under it... without disconnecting your network cable... if you can (no wifi in my office which is an cave). Of course there are multiple numbers. Which one is the one?

Don't imagine anybody thinking: let's write this is the 'serial number'. You dream. Why not use the web instead? Isn’t that more modern?

On the web a link is there - how to find the serial number... great (still I would prefer not having to ask) then a secondary window opens with a link to 'how to find a serial number... cool. One more click and there, finally I learned that the serial number can be recognized because it is a serie of 17 digits separated with '-'.

Practically speaking you can recognize it as it is made with the smallest typeface one can use to print a sticker -- so keep up your portable with one hand and use the other one to bring your magnifier close enough to read the sticker...

Desperately, I learned on the same web page that there is another way to get this number:
reboot (so loose your registration data),
press F2 enter the Bios config and ... it is there.
Great idea but why a giant such as Sony has not designed a small Active-X control to read this and make the registration easy that's a sign computer are still not designed to make every day user life easier...

After a couple of trials I finally entered the serial number.

The interactive web site, gives you the option to answer a small survey. But as the computer is damned fresh I decided that I could not say anything smart, so I skipped the survey. May be I should review this after all - just to see if they question customers about the registration process...

I then clicked to the Vaio club finally reaching home… huh a familiar 404 error page fired by Tomcat... I gave up, happy to know that I can expect now two years full of services.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oracle & SUN - Marketing

A few articles today on the net as Oracle launched an advertising campaign attempting to keep customers wit Sun hardware platform. I don't care about this pure marketing stuff. It just indicates how non convincing the deal was. May be they will later changing boxes colors. This classic white is now so boring...

I remember once an analyst explained why Next failled - because the hardware was black. Time changes (I just bought a black Sony Vaio) ...

More worrying to me is the absence of direction for Java itself. Java 7 seems to be a pack of non features (closure), long time sleeping stuff (Swing app framework) and self competing material (modularity - OSGI like).

Marketing tricks cannot do anything against lack of vision and I fear for Java and its community...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tribute to Alan Turing

A friend of me published this link on Facebook concerning the treatment of Alan Turing

The way this significant contributor to the victory in Europe during the second war has been treated by because of laws persecuting homosexuals remains appealing. It seems the consequences of the hitlerian ideology were not that clear even for the democracies at that time...

Turing is one of the father of computer sciences. Its theory of calculability is based on an finite state machine automaton with infinite memory capability.

This last concept has been largely implemented by Microsoft OS but only in the ability to use it...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Open ERP - Training module demo - concepts

Today I did a first demo of the Open ERP training module.

Of course this is not 100% finished but it is becoming workable. My customer was seriously pleased by the flexibility of the application. Automating administrative communications to participants and automating invoicing is a key decision factor.

Still the product is missing functionality for planning... I expected that remark and hope that can be worked out soon.

Summarizing this kind of application is difficult. Although I did a demo - 3-4 hours. I wanted to have a one page summary of the key concepts of the module.

Trying to connect entities quickly turned out into a spaghetti plate... so I removed most of the links and just defined major areas of the application to group concepts together.

Mind-mapping software usually promote the vision of a tree, from central to auxiliary concepts, in such situation such a diagram becomes impossible. I will come back in a few weeks to this as I am preparing my review of "Everything is Miscellaneous" from David Weinberger. Simple hierarchical modeling and classification are subjects to many pages in the book. I hope to add a software developer, database designer, knowledge worker perspective on these subjects as I found this book interesting but highly frustrating...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Open ERP plugins - Open source business model - does it work or not

Today I wanted to spend a bit of time on the extensions - plug-ins of Open ERP. I wanted to check Outlook - and Excel.

Integrating e-mails in the ERP makes sense for the CRM part. Reporting etc with Excel makes also sense...

I like to insist that these plug-ins are commonly demonstrated and advertised by Tiny. This is my number one source of frustration...

However searching for them on their web site... nearly nothing - nada - rien !

Finally I found using Google :

Well, that page leads to pages that do not exist.

However a hint is given. These have been developed by Axelor - Axelor is the developer of the web client of Open ERP. A nice piece of software, their web site however is the paradise of the 404 error.

Here there is no indication of a way to buy or download these plug-ins. the Open ERP forum is filled with messages of people searching the addons software.

With the common reply message from the moderator, pointing to the 404 page of Axelor...

So, I sent an-email to Axelor asking information about these plugins.

Beyond the practical aspect, I see here a major difficulty for the Open ERP model.

The open source approach has a lot of positive aspects however in some cases it prevents the development of finished affordable products.

  • Suppliers are waitting for the customer willing to pay some functionnality.
  • Customers are waitting in the hope somebody else will pay for them.

Between the virtuous open world of cooperation and the static 'je te tiens tu me tiens par la barbichette' -(sorry I don't know the name of that kids game in english - the first one to laugh loose the point... ). The gap is really small. This is attested in my opinion by the small amount (1 project) of modules developed under the concept of shared funding by Tiny.

On that subject I regret that Open ERP is not following the path of the Joomla community where small extensions are available at a very affordable price...

May be is this because the Joomla plug-in model requires less integration or may be because the user base is bigger, may be simply said Joomla users are so happy to find a solution for their web sites for a few dollars that they don't spend time argumenting on the price or the open-source, free aspect.

Anyway I am waiting for Chris Anderson 'Free' its new book about free business models with attention and some scepticism... Because there is nothing free like a free lunch !

Friday, September 04, 2009

python - version selection - easy_install

Finally, I found out the basic trick to use easy_install (so called Python setup tools) and to point it to the right python install.

Well : simply call the script with the right python version !

sudo python2.5 /usr/bin/easy_install -f "TurboGears==1.0.8"
easy_install -f "TurboGears==1.x.y"


D599,372 - idiot stupid patent of the day or proof of concept ?

So Google patented the design of its home page! Congrats to the US PAtent office. I though I lived in an area served by the most ridiculous bureaucrats - it seems I was wrong.

So please avoid the 1 logo, 1 text area 1 button, couple of links design... THIS IS PATENTED !

I think we should say thanks to Google. Yes THANKS. They did great by providing us one of the best example of how much the patents concepts is screwed and does not apply properly in the digital ages...

As I am writing '' is welcoming you with a "Maximum number of users has been reached". Probably nuts like me searching for this patent description...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Open ERP Business intelligence - what -where -when ?

The Business Intelligence module is still under development - I found a 'status' on the official blog :

Using bzr branch you can get the following from launchpad:

Although the concept is very interesting ,the current code is simply unusable.
Browsing the sample cube is not working :
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/", line 242, in dispatch
result = LocalService(service_name)(method, *params)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/", line 73, in __call__
return getattr(self, method)(*params)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/service/", line 583, in execute
res = service.execute(db, uid, object, method, *args)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/osv/", line 59, in wrapper
return f(self, dbname, *args, **kwargs)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/osv/", line 119, in execute
res = pool.execute_cr(cr, uid, obj, method, *args, **kw)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/osv/", line 111, in execute_cr
return getattr(object, method)(cr, uid, *args, **kw)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/addons/olap/", line 282, in request
mdx = mdx_parser.parse(request)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/openerp-server/addons/olap/cube/", line 163, in parse
return self.mdx_query().parseString(query)[0]
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/pyparsing-1.5.0-py2.5.egg/", line 1048, in parseString
instring = instring.expandtabs()
AttributeError: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'expandtabs'

Also installation with the standard web client is also not working (404 error) :

404 Not Found

The path '/browser' was not found.

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/CherryPy-3.1.2-py2.5.egg/cherrypy/", line 606, in respond
cherrypy.response.body = self.handler()
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/CherryPy-3.1.2-py2.5.egg/cherrypy/", line 227, in __call__
raise self
NotFound: (404, "The path '/browser' was not found.")

I find all this conflicting with the optimistic 5.0 release description : "
"a statistics engine (BI cube)" in

Obviously, I cannot complain for non-working code on a non-released product.

However I thing I could expect to get the level of functionality demonstrated on their videos...

Also I find that the numerous projects and branches on launchpad are forming a complicated maze...

So that's it for Business Intelligence as of today.