Friday, September 30, 2011

Mun CS Games Fall 2011 Singles Competition!

Each Fall and Winter at Memorial University's Computer Science Department an ACM rules programming competition is held for their students. These events have enjoyed much success due to the tireless work of many people on the CS Games committee. To help increase the popularity of the events I started donating prizes to the top placements in the competitions, and this Falls' Singles game is no different, so without more ado...

The Prizes!

The third place prize consists of a Mun market bag, a box of Carnation Hot Chocolate mixes, a Mun mug, a DVD of Office Space, and a copy of O'Reilly UML 2.0 pocket reference.
The second place prize prize consists of a Mun market bag, a box of Carnation Hot Chocolate mixes, a Mun mug, a DVD of Scott Pilgram vs the World, and a copy of O'Reilly JUnit pocket reference.
And finally the first place prize consists of a Mun market bag, a box of Carnation Hot Chocolate mixes, a Mun mug, a DVD of the four Matrix movies, and a copy of O'Reilly Vi and Vim Editors pocket reference.

Some lucky runners up will receive a loot bag containing a Mun pen and a Ubuntu 11.04 install CD -awesome I know!
The Fall 2011 CS Games (Singles) are tentatively scheduled for November 4th, 2011, in room EN2036 at 5:00pm to 7:30pm. There will be a sign up sheet in the CS department head office, please contact them if you're interested in competing - seats are limited (CS students only). When a link to the information regarding competition rules, and other details become available I'll update this post.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Memorial University CS Games Team (triples) Fall 2011 Results

The Fall 2011 CS Team Programming Competition took place last Friday night at Memorial University.  Six teams (18 students), took part - trying their skills against the algorithmic conundrums the programming competition committee prepared as their set of three problems (see link for problems & solutions).
After two and half hours of competition we were able to draw the games to a close and announce our top three placements.
In third place, Team C: Megan O'Conner, Ryan Brushett, and Andrew Hobbs.

In second place, Team D: Mark Stacey, Gerry Hall, and Ryan Russell.

Finally in first place, Team A: Robert Robere, Melissa Reid, and Ken Collingwood.

Please join me in wishing them best luck as they head to St. Francis Xavier University to enter the preliminary round of the Atlantic Provinces Council on the Sciences programming competition. If they place in the top three teams at SFX then they will advance to the Northeast North America Regional Competition of the 2010-2011 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest sponsored by IBM.

I'd like to thank all the students, volunteers, and the games committee again for making these CS games possible. I hope to see everyone again for the Fall 2011 Mun CS Games Singles competition on November 4th.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preparing for Apache Karaf 2.2.4

The forth maintenance release of the Apache Karaf 2.2.x branch has entered the planning phase, as such I'm preparing for the release management role.
Preparing for Apache Karaf 2.2.4
To prepare I've selected a bottle of Quinta São João Batista Syrah Reserva 2007 to decant while listening to some Hawksley Workman albums. As mentioned in my last 'preparing for apache karaf' post the 3.0.0 release is still underway in preparation, this 2.2.x update is part of our efforts to make kit releases more often.

The wine will of course only be sampled after being gave proper time to breath in its container, after the first release candidate has be up loaded for voting (see our release guide for more details on our process).

Unfortunately I can't share the wine with you, but I can share a few links to Workman videos.

I'm looking forward to starting the 2.2.4 release process. I'll be posting updates to our Twitter stream (#karaf) and on our IRC channel ( #karaf).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thanks GSU for playing the Piled Higher and Deeper movie!

The GSU presented the Memorial University showing of the PhD Comics movie this evening. If you're a fan of the comic strip or have experienced Grad school then you won't be disappointed by this film. The core characters are faithfully reproduced on screen, with Prof Smith's intimidating and unsympathetic character shining through. I won't dive into any of the details of the movie, but I have to say that I wish we could see more of Cecilia's Hash Table dance -- queue the Key-Bucket-HashTable costumes for this Halloween at CS mixers near you ;)
Grad Students, PhD candidates, Post Docs, and the scattered UnderGrad filling up seats.
Worth the wait!

Apache Karaf on IBM JDK 7!

As of Apache Karaf 2.2.3 JDK 7 is supported as a runtime JVM, it has only been recently though that IBM's JDK 7 implementation has been available so I took some time to test it out.
Apache Karaf console startup screen.
I'm happy to report that the Apache Karaf 2.2.3 tagged source tree fully compiles and runs on the new JVM! :)
Karaf info command output on IBM JDK7 for Linux.
There are a few IBM centric modifications related to JDK 7 that have been noted, mostly centered around the memory management, class data sharing, and diagnostics components amongst other changes (see IBM's JDK 7 information center for more details). 

The memory management changes I find particularly interesting, new GC options are outlined here, and the new Balanced Garbage Collection Policy is outlined here. The new GC policy being of particular interest to users whose heaps are regularly larger than 4GB (not too uncommon these days). 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When NL geeks gather...

As a follow on to my last post, here are a few hang outs for our NL geeks online and IRL.

The International Game Developers Association Newfoundland Chapter are a relatively new community in Newfoundland. Their mandate is to provide a gathering place for the video game development community that is growing in the province. Their key online gathering place is their facebook group, from which they organize meet ups in St John's.

/newfoundland is our sub channel of the popular link sharing site reddit. They maintain a facebook group, and hold meet ups in St John's. All topics related to Newfoundland are discussed here, so posts can be quite eclectic.

The grand daddy of them all, #Goodtimes has been around since before the term social networking became a house hold term. The heart of this group is their IRC channel, where their web community takes on the feeling of a coffee shop, all topics are up for conversation and everyone feels welcome.

If I've missed your online community please let me know in the comments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Other NL Geeks Coding by the Sea!

My tech blog was recently nominated for the NL BlogRoll bloggers choice award for Best Science/Technonology blog 2011. I feel very honored to have my blog considered, and would like to thank everyone for all the support - you guys rock!

Seeing that I'm seeing some increased traffic during the awards voting period I thought that I'd take the opportunity to shine a spot light on some other NL geeks in the software and other industries.

So please click the below links, and follow my fellow NL coders.

Take it or leave it NL:

Journey into gaming:

Shameless Ramblings:

Code Crystal:

Jon Anstey's Blog:

Adam Walsh:

Are you a NL programmer with a blog I didn't list? Please leave a comment below with a link to your blog and I'll be sure to add it!





Friday, September 16, 2011

Reminder: Mun CS Team Games next Friday!

The below is a repost from the Mun CS Department, announcing the team programming competition taking place next week. If you're a CS student considering entering a team for the first time but are put off from competing with third and forth year student teams please do not be discouraged! Teams composed of first and second year students have year after year placed very well, and all have enjoyed the event greatly (even if you don't place there is pizza, pop, and cookies served, as well as all the fun and excitement of the competition to take in). So drop over to the main office and register your team.

Hope to see you all there next week!


Calling all Computer Science Students!  Team Programming Competition!

Here's the blog link with the CS Team games prizes for you:

Also, here's the the URL for the solutions from our previous competitions:

Team Competition

Would you like to participate in the APICS Annual Programming Team Competition? Each October, this competition is held in conjunction with the Annual APICS (Atlantic Provinces Council on the Sciences) Conference and is sponsored each year by a University in Atlantic Canada.  This year, the Conference will be hosted by St. Francis Xavier University.

The top three teams from the Preliminary Round at SFX are then invited to the Northeast North America Regional Competition of the 2010-2011 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest sponsored by IBM.

The winning team from our Departmental Competition on September 23 will be invited to attend the Annual APICS Conference at SFX and participate in the Preliminary  Round.  This conference also includes a Student Paper Presentation Session. Our departmental competition will be held:

Date: Friday, September 23, 2011
Time: 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Regina Edwards in the Computer Science General Office or by email by Wednesday, September 21, 2011, with the names of your team members.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Piled Higher and Deeper Movie at Mun!

Jorge Cham's PhD Comics movie will be playing at Mun, courtesy of the GSU, on September 21, 2011, 8-9:30pm, in the INCO (Bruneau) Center, room IIC2001. Tickets are $5 with proceeds going to the campus food bank. You can obtain tickets at Bitters pub, and the main GSU office (GH-2007 Field Hall) or by contacting I can't wait to see this movie!! Excited!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Programmer's Day 2011

Tomorrow is International Programmers Day 2011, it's an unofficial holiday that is celebrated on the 256th (0x100th) day of the year. Like many other professions I think that programmers need an appreciation day, but the question is how to celebrate? I haven't read any material stating what would be traditional so I guess it's up to each of us (or employers) to decide on how to celebrate.

As a freelance contractor I set my own rules, so I think I'll kick back, have some BBQ and cold beer. How do you plan to spend Programmers day? Does your employer have special plans for you? If so please post in the comments below.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest lecturing CS3716 Software Methodologies at Memorial University Fall 2011

I have another opportunity to talk with students enrolled in CS3716 Software Methodologies at Memorial University this Fall. This will be my third time to present to Computer Science students, so far it's been a fun experience. As with my past talks I'll focus on various subjects including a brief introduction to the Apache Way, the projects I've worked on, my views on technology (locally grown and in general), and project management (specifically talking about Apache Karaf).
The Engineering building at Mun - there is no snow down now, but give it a few weeks ;)
My talk is scheduled for 10:30am October 20th, in room EN-1051. If you're not enrolled in the class but would like to drop by for the talk,  please contact the course professor for seat availability (generally there is room for an extra dozen or so people).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sometimes it is sunny in St John's

Earlier this summer I posted on walking the East Coast Trail Blackhead path, this past weekend I had another opportunity to walk the route but this time it was actually sunny out (a big deal here after a dreadfully overcast, rainy, foggy season). So I figured I'd post up some pictures to let you see what the Island looks like when everything is lush from summer.
The view from Blackhead looking towards St John's.
That little dot along the hill top on the right hand side is Cabot tower.
Blueberry picking - the essential past time while hiking the trails this time of year.
Looking towards Cape Spear.
Cape Spear Light House

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Apache Karaf 2.2.3 Released!

The Apache Karaf team is pleased to announce the availability of Apache Karaf 2.2.3.

This release of Apache Karaf is based off of the 2.2.x series branch, representing an update to Apache Karaf 2.2.2. It contains bug fixes identified in the prior release, and introduces improvements including; Optional JDK 7 support, a spring-jms feature, and a macro allowing users to identify the contents of a specific config file. Several dependencies were also updated, bringing Jetty to version 7.4.5.v20110725, Eclipse Equinox to 3.6.2.R36x_v20110210, and Pax web to 1.0.6.

To help make the transition from Apache Karaf 2.2.0/2.2.1/2.2.2 to 2.2.3 easier I've put together a table of changed dependencies:

Karaf Version

For more information please see the release notes.

As discussed in my prior Apache Karaf 2.2.3 preparation post, I enjoyed listening to Joel Plaskett albums throughout the release process and was delighted to try the Chateau Roc de Bernon Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion 2006 once the release was complete. Now, sadly, I find my carafe empty... luckily Karaf 3.0.0 is now much closer to release time :)