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Recycled Feelings, or: How to scare readers away with a phony title.

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Saturday, December 3rd, 2005
10:18 pm - Chess Review
I'm not shopping for a new chess set. I generally don't intend to spend the amount some of these sets cost on a chess set. I did, however, come across some truly interesting chess sets on the net tonight, and here is my take on them:

Horchow Chess Set

While the whole affair is quite noisy (even the store review calls this item 'decadent'), I truly like the pieces.
The board itself is unfortunate.

Note: the pieces might actually work with the mosaic board below.

Hammacher Stone Chess Set

The pieces look nice and conservative, but what with them being carved out of stone and all makes them extra special in my opinion.
Another advantage is that they aren't fragile in the least, and if they are left outside in the rain and start groing mold they would only seem more authentic :).

Preciosa Crystal Chess Set Figurine

The pieces are very elegant, and I tend to like glass boards. As with the 'Horchow', I like the blending of two materials.
In this case it works even better because the metal gives the eye a better grip on the glass pieces.

Godinger Crystal Shannon Chess Set

Pros: Very impressive and beautiful. The pieces shine and glitter and sparkle and do all sorts of stuff like that. They are shaped
practically, and I would bet this set would even be playable if not for the Cons: bloody shine that can poke your eyes out! (this is mere speculation of course).
Another possible problem is that you might have to adjust the lighting in the room to get the full effect, so this isn't your run-of-the-mill tournament chess set

Lord of the Rings Pewter Chess Set

Now, generally speaking, this entire set (IMHO) is born in sin. I mean, come on! Pewter pieces from Lord of the Rings that doubles as liquor glasses? Give me a break! And yet, while the concept seems ludicrous I think they pulled it off (explanation follows shortly).

The set seems to be excellent craft, and I do appreciate LOTR, but I'm not a fan, so the set is of no use to me as LOTR paraphernalia. Also, I have never played in a set that doubles as liquor glasses and the whole concept seems offensive (is there even a logical explanation for this?), but, who knows? Maybe there is a use case for this ;).

So, why do I think they 'pulled it off'? Because concept for the pieces is faces only. The faces are expressive and pouring liquor into the glasses really enhances the visual effect. That being so, the set is essentially playable, and although the theme might be a bit kitch, it is not without some basic good taste (the board is nice and simple).

This set should never have gotten to this list, but it is so well executed that on second look I became ambivalent and on third look interested.

Quality Folding Mosaic Chess Board

This is only a board, but it is very aesthetic in my opinion. I guess it could go well with Persian chess pieces, possibly metallic.

Tagua Chess Set

I like the piece's clean and abstract design. Tagua is also known as 'vegetable ivory'.

Italfama Staunton Chess Pieces AND Italfama Staunton Gold/Nickel Plated Chess Pieces

of the variety of chess pieces offered by Italfama, these two sets especially caught my eyes. I'm not sure why. They are fancy, without trying to stand out. (you have to see some other things they sell to fully appreciate the last sentence)

Italfama Renaissance in Brass/Nickel Plated Chess Pieces

These are the only figurine pieces that I like. The robe covering the figurines makes them simple enough as not to hinder chessplay, and they are, basically, a more concrete (and yet simple) rendering of the common chess pieces.

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005
7:57 pm - Derby can handle Jar files
I don't know if the issue has previously been discussed in this context, but it has just come to my attention that the Apache Derby open-source, pure-java DBMS can handle Jar files. This is significant for software tools that handle Jar file repositories, namely: DPML Transit and Apache Maven Wagon.

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Friday, November 18th, 2005
2:44 am - Dark Oberon
Dark Oberon is a beautiful open source real-time-strategy game.
What's so special about it? Well, I haven't seen it running yet (though I fully intend to) because so far it's mostly geared toward multiplayer (no AI, or maybe I missed it from the documentation). Having said that, I want to praise the graphics concept: the game is (as far as I can tell) viewed isometrically, and the pseudo-3d models are pictures of plasticine models! If done right, the game should have a feel of stop-motion animation. Here is a gallery depicting the preparation of plasticine models, and here is a set of screenshots showing them in the game.
Very nice!

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Friday, November 11th, 2005
1:44 am - On the same note
I found another tribute to Aria.

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1:35 am - Aria is going away
Aria, the cat I've been watching over for some 10 months, is about to move to her proper owner, Yifat this next Sunday. I'll miss her, but I'm sure she'll be taken good care of and I'll have my home to myself again. While I haven't any photos of Aria at hand to share (they wait on my mobile phone), I've found a proper link.

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Monday, October 10th, 2005
1:24 pm - Undecided about Yom Kippur
I'm undecided about yom kippur. I'm generally against it, but I do think it is a good idea. It's a conflicted opinion, I know, but then again that's also my opinion on communism and car-pooling (both of which usually amount to the same thing). I think it's good not to carry grudges against others. It's also vastly important not to carry grudges against oneself.

Most importantly, yom kippur preaches you to hold a grudge against yourself for the possibility of others holding grudges against you. That would have been very bad, if it didn't offer at the same time absolution against both yourself and others. The entire package promotes a conscionable society.

On the other hand, doing the yom kippur thing on a tight yearly schedule feels unnatural to
me, and also slightly passive agressive. I mean, if somebody ran me over with a truck while drunk, and the very next day came over to hospital to say they're sorry just-because-it's-yom-kippur, I'd be pissed. Naturally, it takes more than a truck to get rid of me :)

On the other-other hand, people shouldn't be overly apologetic all the time. It's better to be resolute with occational touches of fuzziness at the edges on your own schedule. That's no mean trick, and yom kippur sure is easier, but I don't like easy :-)

I talk too much.

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Tuesday, September 20th, 2005
12:10 am - Uncyclopedia take 2
My conscience is clear. Here goes. The following site has been /.'ed. It refers to "Flying Spaghetti Mosterism" right there, so that's a plus.
The site is basically a bunch of bull. I think it was Churchill who said there are three kind of lies: lies, damn lies and politics. He never heard about uncyclopedia. It is the evil twin of wikipedia. Highly entertaining.

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12:06 am - Uncyclopedia
This site is so good I decided blogging about it without even visiting it first! My reasoning is as follows: if it's good enough for /. then it's good enough for me. Hmmm... if I blidnly trust the opinions of my peer group then I'm a bigot! Ok, tell you what, I'll go watch it and be right back.

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Saturday, September 17th, 2005
6:01 pm - While you are reading this blog entry...
I'm considering posting a replica of this notice outside my apartment on a street pole, on which I have a good vantage point.
Taken from David Shrigley's interesting site.

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Sunday, September 11th, 2005
2:16 pm - The End of the Internet
Check it out.

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Monday, September 5th, 2005
2:56 pm - Gum Blondes
This little (yet talented) sicko chewed up bubblegums and made gum blondes out of them. Mostly paintings, but some bodyparts are sculpted!
Well... It's better than if he did it the other way around :)

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Sunday, September 4th, 2005
6:26 pm - Here are some UK patents
As opposed to US patents, the Brits don't patent bland software concepts such as a button or one-click-buy or stuff like that. They do, however, patent genuine nonsense. I came across these UK patents using StumbleUpon, which I will describe in the near future. IMO some of these tend to be tasteless, but others are downright cute.

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Saturday, July 23rd, 2005
2:11 pm - The Earth has been copyrighted
I haven't been able to get a decent satellite photo from google maps, but I found this picture: aerial photograph of Stonehenge, in which a similarity arrises between stonehenge and the letter 'c' enclosed in a circle.
Still, you might say, the way Stonehenge looks nowadays has nothing to do with the way it was intended to look in the past.
Enter Google Maps. While I haven't been able to find Stonehenge itself, I came accross
Maryhill’s Stonehenge
at Google Sightseeing, and was flabbergasted to see how a possible reconstruction of Stonehenge might look like. Yes, my friends, The Eath has been copyrighted by a party as-of-yet unknown.
Here is the proof: (c)
The commenter with the best guess as to who copyrighted earth, and how, gets to copyright Jupiter.</p>

current mood: amused

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Wednesday, July 6th, 2005
1:32 am - Up and coming...
... an article that has nothing to do with programming. And a good one, too! (Okay, it might turn out to be half a paragraph, but it'll have links in it!)

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1:26 am - Centralizing help in Eclipse
Article on DeveloperWorks:
Take advantage of Eclipse's dynamic help and plug-in architecture
Level: Introductory

I'm very fond of this approach for help. I'm writing this at 1AM I NEED HELP!@#

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1:24 am - MantaRay press releases

MantaRay is a JMS provider on steroids. It's GPL, but also backed commercially.

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1:21 am - Article on Inversion of Control on TSS

Should be a good primer on the subject. If you're into simplifying your job, it's recommended reading.

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Thursday, June 16th, 2005
10:04 pm - CSS-Only Forms That Don't Suck
<a href='http://dev.jeffhowden.com/css_forms/'>
CSS-Only Forms That Don't Suck

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Monday, June 6th, 2005
10:55 pm - Chucky Horror Movie a Reality!
If you see a lego robot coming you're way, escape!
Whaddayaknow? Chucky is is Java gone terribly wrong.
Oh, and to keep my dignity intact: I never saw these movies. I'm just horribly knowledgable on useless subjects.

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2005
3:12 pm - My take on SDO

If you want to have a good understanding of what SDO is about, you have to compare it to equivalent tools.
SDO has several aspects to it:

  1. "data object" implies some sort of collaboration with a DB.
    I'm less familiar with this.

  2. heavyweight DTO replacement with object graph semantics.

  • Smart Value Object - is very easy to grasp. very useful as well.

  • The following TSS SDO thread from last year mentions SVO.

  • Also note this TSS thread about SVO.

  • There is, however, a misconception in the SVO FAQ regarding SDO. the under-documented Eclipse implementation of SDO (SDO javadoc is ok though) available at the Eclipse EMF project allows generation of SDO objects according to Ecore models with all specified getters and setters. In this case the SDO api also doubles as an spi and the user is mostly exposed to code that makes internal use of it. Not exactly POJO, quite brittle, but as long as you stick with generation you're fine.

  • Detached object graphs are available under JDO 2.0 and Hibernate. Robin Roos has an article comparing JDO 2.0 to SDO in terms of dealing with detached object graphs.

  • The aged XDoclet manages to make an appearance here as well. The XDoclet value object module offers some abstraction over DTO's.</a>

  • The big mama of detached object graphs is the now-halted CarrierWave project. That project laid much of the groundwork for going beyond DTO's, and my guess is that it inspired SDO.

  • Chris Wensel, the man behind the project, still blogs about CarrierWave every once in a while. Interesting blog, too.

I researched this about half a year ago and decided to go with Hiberate detached objects out of convenience. Given a more encouraging eco-system around SDO, I'd take it over using a naked data model every day. One of the selling points of the EMF-SDO implementation is model transformation (once we have Q/V/T) that allows different data models for different tiers.

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