Thursday, February 26, 2009

(J|Str)uggling with Eclipse Updates and Plug-Ins

The Eclipse guys are working a lot on the update mechanism. Which they should btw, because it is still a PITA. Switching to a new Eclipse version takes way more time than it should. I seem to be able to upgrade my whole operating system quicker than Eclipse. (Yeah, screw those Mac OS fanboys.) And I am not even talking about porting home-brewed plug-ins. Anyway, intro-rant over, now for some info.

Now that 3.5 is almost out we dared switching from 3.3 to 3.4. Yeah, I know, we're conservative uptight lamers. Anyways, I used to keep all the plug-ins I collected from random sites separate from the standard ones supplied by Once you knew how, it worked alright. With the update manager you could create a new extension location (like a directory Eclipse-3.3-Plugins somewhere in your home) that looked like this:


Standard eclipse directory structure except the special file .eclipseextension. An empty file does the job.

Then, when you downloaded extensions you just told the update manager to store the stuff in that location and you were good. When you switched to a new Eclipse version you copied the file configuration/org.eclipse.update/bookmarks.xml from your old Eclipse installation to the new one to keep all your update sites. Not exactly what I call user friendly migration but it worked. Much better than manually adding all the update sites again.

I did that when switching to 3.4. Unfortunately that seems to deactivate Eclipse's new p2 Update Manager mechanisms and enable the Update Manager's compatibility mode. So I googled and read for a few hours. Because I ain't got anything else to do, haha.

In short: fiddling with Eclipse's plugins and features directories is no longer encouraged. I didn't really find a way to add an external directory for plug-ins, though. The option you seem to have with 3.4 seems to be the dropins folder.

There you can either have a standard Eclipse directory structure like outlined above or have plug-ins directly or group them in subdirectories or even have traditional link files. See the p2 document.

After having spent half the day with that, um, stuff, I went for the quickest option and created a symbolic link to my plug-ins directory:

    eclipse@ -> /Users/thm/Apps/Eclipse-3.4-Plugins/eclipse

And no, I don't have the feeling I am an expert on that. I just wanted to make it work. Tomorrow I will try to add all my update sites and see where they are stored. grep(1) is my friend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Even Macs are just computers

Every now and then even my Mac bugs me. For some so far (to me) unknown reason Spotlight hogged the CPU the other day. CPU usage was permanently above 150%, as reported by Activity Monitor. After a while that otherwise silent thing turned into a jet plane ready to take off. That's what fans at 6000rpm sound like. Plus the hard disk was grinding away so the machine was barely usable.

Googling did not really reveal anything except an article that gave me a hint that I still have to investigate: maybe Spotlight got stuck on a file. Although I think a grinding hard disk is evidence that Spotlight is not exactly stuck. Smells like some kind of endless loop, rather, and not one on a single file.

Anyways, the only quick way out of it was disabling Spotlight altogether. Great.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do Mexican congressmen have a brain?

Can you believe that from April on you will be fingerprinted if you are impudent, no, impertinent enough to want to buy a phone in Mexico? I mean, of course, how dare you?! Stupid me, must be my government-mistrusting paranoia.

But seriously, that's creepy. And the excuse they come up with to justify it is hilarious. At best. It goes like this: there are a lot of criminal bands in Mexico and if they could get all the cell phone users' fingerprints everything would be fine. Yeah, right. Apart from that “argument” (joke, actually) being totally flawed, nobody could really be stupid enough to think that criminals who order kidnappings, extortions and drug deals on their cell phones would be good boys enough to not steal a phone? Or could they?

So yeah, to answer my own question, maybe they have a brain. A single one that they all divvied up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

Who would have thought it is warmer and less snowy in Canada. I am freezing my ass off! And any other body parts, for that matter. Anyways, the Brits have completely different news about the white stuff. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For the love of Telcos

The other day I was all over the “city” (town, rather) trying to get internet and phone. So I wasted almost a whole day. Ran to shops. Studied offers. READ FOOTNOTES! For fuck's sake, you won't believe how many "different" offers with how many more footnotes there are. The usual offer looks like this: 16 MBit* DSL, €0 upfront**, €0 per month***, hardware included****, online flatrate*****, phone flatrate******, and whatnot*******. And then there is usually half a dozen offers per provider. And there is at least half a dozen providers. More like a dozen (O2, T-Online, Congstar, Vodafone, Alice, QSC, 1&1, Fucknet, Arcor, Unitymedia, yadda yadda yadda). With lots of variables. And promises. And all the facts carefully buried in tons of footnotes. Apropos, the footnotes for the average offer from above go like this (shortened to the essential information because I'll move my sorry jet-lagged ass to bed in a minute):

* Maximum speed, your mileage may vary. (And if you get only 1 MBit, hey, we're happy you pay us for 16, we told you it's maximum.) ** Only if you sign a 24 months contract. (Once we got you locked in you'll see our real face. You got problems? Too bad, we got your money already. Try calling that 0900 number, it's only €2 per minute. Enjoy being put on hold for a while until we pick up. If we do so at all, that is.) *** For the first month. For the remaining 23 months it'll be €30. (If you're lucky, that is. If you happen to live in a place for which our random number generator said you have to pay more, you're gonna pay more. Usually 5 extra bucks. Um, euros. That's eight bucks. Canadian. Sometimes really just because.) **** Only the crappy^Hbasic model, €39 for the a-bit-less-crappy model. (You want decent hardware? Go buy it yourself. For a decent amount of money of course.) ***** For offers 2, 7, 14, and 42, other offers may be charged by time or volume, see footnotes 17, 18, 19 and 1452. (And I'm just too tired to type in more numbers. I'll leave it to your imagination how those paragraphs look like.) ****** Only valid for the network of [insert provider name here]. No special phone numbers. (And boy will we charge for any other network. And dare you make an international call!) ******* Really, you won't be finished reading that quickly in reality. Appreciate my mercy here. And believe me, you'll always have the feeling you don't have all the information to make an informed decision. Even after reading everything. Twice.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Denial

I typed the following while I was on the plane. Surprise.

So I'll be in Germany very soon. But I feel I won't be "back". Nor will I be "home". I'm just leaving Canada. Despite that undeniable fact I'll post some unfinished stories as if I was still here. Well, “here”. As I am writing this I am in the middle of Canada, 10668 meters above the ground, going at 929 km/h, at a refreshing -57 centigrades. Outside, fortunately, which is well worth mentioning in that huge and not exactly tropical country. I tried to cheer myself up watching some silly Mickey Mouse cartoons but it didn't help. I loved that stuff when I was a little Thomas but it seems nowadays it takes a little more. Or just different things. Poor Donald is just getting rock'n'rolled by that huge turkey girl but apparently my favorite comic style has changed over the years. Anybody seen Paprika btw? Weird manga shit. Recommended. Not necessarily a cheer-up either, though. But at least a good time to send out a big hug to Mathieu et Julie. Apropos, I'm slowly getting tipsy. Again no upgrade to business but again a flight that has been selected for a customer survey. Read as “lucky old bastard's getting lotsa booze”. So far it's been Campari red wine red wine water coffee Baileys. Counting. Lufthansa, there's no better way to get drunk. Well ;).

Other than that I watched two movies on the plane. The first one was quite entertaining, Vicky Christina Barcelona or something (yep). The second one, however, was one of those that make you want to watch no more movies. Ever. Maybe it was just me being awake for about 20 hours after a very short night, maybe it was Richard Gere, maybe it was the lack of a story but it was just a pointless sequence of cheesy wannabe-meaningful/touching/moving/... scenes. I really couldn't believe that it went on and on and on and even the doctor died and that little teenage bitch^Hdaughter would suddenly be superclose to her mother blah blah blah. So cheap. Definitely not recommended. I so wish I could sleep on planes.

P.S.: omfg, I started typing my rant too early. Even the horses at the end. Could it be worse? No. Well, hardly. I actually expected doctor Gere to raise from the dead. At least they spared me THAT.