Saturday, February 06, 2010

Manually updating Ubuntu system alternatives

I like to have the freedom to install the latest Java releases without waiting for them to be available as an Ubuntu package. The problem is, if you manually install java, you need to update Ubuntu's update-alternatives framework so that other components which use java can be made aware of the new version.

Assuming you just downloaded jdk1.6.0_18 and placed it in opt. Here's how to do it:

sudo update-alternatives --install java java /opt/jdk1.6.0_18/bin/java 1
sudo update-alternatives --config java

I might have screwed up my update-alternatives configuration for java, but I had to repeat this process for all the java executables that update-alternatives tracks.

I got a list of them using:

ls -l /usr/bin | grep java

And then performed the same two steps to set each one to use the jdk1.6.0_18 version.

There's also a good article on the Java site about manually updating the Java Firefox plugin:

The Ubuntu update-alternatives utility can also be used to set the Firefox java plugin:

sudo update-alternatives --install /opt/jdk1.6.0_18/jre/lib/amd64/ 1
sudo update-alternatives --config

Monday, June 25, 2007

Corporate Kung-Fu

It's the classic tale of revenge and office battle royal you all know and love!

Eric recently asked me about our high school senior english video, so it's here for your viewing pleasure! Long live Mr. Cole!

Note: The version I have on my machine doesn't appear to be our final version. There are a few places where more editing was clearly needed, and a few gaps in the "story line" (such as it is) that we later filled in. Most notably, when The New Guy dons his motorcycle helmet / shower nozzle getup after the meeting scene, there's no explanation that it is, of course, and ACME Stealth Suit which allows The New Guy to surreptitiously place a note in The Boss' pocket. Also, the end credits are, regrettably, missing.

Regardless, here it is in all its glory:

Virtual Bubblewrap

One of those ideas you should have thought of :)...

Virtual Bubblewrap

Monday, May 28, 2007

Civil War Miniatures

Over Christmas I broke out my half finished High School senior thesis miniatures for my dad to use as test subjects for his macro photography box. The results are some pretty cool close up shots. I've still got a file with all the research, rules, and sketches--it would be nice to finish the game some day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Must Post More...

I probably make a this post every couple of months... but here it goes anyways :).

I've never written a journal before--or at least if I've tried it's never lasted very long--but it's always something that I've wanted to do. Now this blog isn't really a journal. When I think of a journal I think of a very personal account of someone's day to day life. Here I'm just trying to put down anything and everything interesting that I think of, see, do, or find on the internet--hopefully some of which might even be of interest or use to someone. At the very least, many of the posts have information that I think I might like to remember sometime down the line.

Anyway, I need some system to force myself to make more regular posts. Suggestions welcome :). I'll let you know if I think of something.

Myth II Soulblighter

Ahh a wonderfull game from back in the day. I remember playing the original Myth (circa 1997) over dialup from the upstairs attic of our house (then my Dad's office I believe). Myth II came along a year later and, despite being officially dropped by Bungie in 2002, still has hosted servers and regular updates from a still thriving online community.

The site playmyth.nethosts the games online servers and acts as a repository for the multitude of player created maps which have given the game such a long lifespan.

Other community projects like Project Magma, The Tain, and Flying Flip update the games themselves.

Myth II, for example, was made before OS X, and certainly long before Apple's switch to Intel processors. So the original executable on the CD will not even run on my fancy new 24inch core 2 duo imac. However, the good people at The Tain have an updated Auto Installer which copies the files you need from the Myth II disk and applies the latest updates and bug fixes as well as patches necessary to play on's servers now that the famous is no longer hosting Myth.

But that's not all!!! There's a new update currently in beta which turns Myth II into a Universal Binary application! How freeking cool is that? An almost 10 year old game that I can install, pull some updates off the internet, and run it native on my core 2 duo. So props to the amazing community that the Myth series fostered. Bungie produced a real gem with Myth. Too bad they sold their souls to Microsoft--and while they're still producing amazing stuff (read Halo) the fact that it's first available only on XBox/XBox 360 really stinks. Especially since this is from a company who started out on the mac; producing, among others, the genera defining Marathon Series (which, by the way, also still has an amazing cult following). Of course with Marathon the following in more focused on decyphering the amazingly subtle and detailed storyline and looking for connections to various other Bungie games.

So if you do decide to give this gem a try, look around for Shebanator on the playmyth.netservers. I'd be happy to own you ;).

Board Game Geek Web Widget -- 5 Games from my Collection

On an earlier entry, I posted a link to It's still a thriving site which I recommend to anyone interested in board gaming.

Anyway, they recently implemented a fun little web widget that allows you to, among other things, link to random games from my collection. I've entered the games that I own into a database and the php/javascript web widget on allows me to display them here. So here goes, 5 random games from my collection!

Edit: Well damn, blogger aparently doesn't like scipt tags. That really sucks. But I typed all this so I'll publish the darn entry anyway.

Friday, August 25, 2006


For those living with their heads buried in the sand, this month witnessed the 2006 Apple WWDC and the unveiling during Steve Job's keynote of Mac OS Leopard. Now during the keynote, one of the really cool Leopard features Steve unveiled was the Dashboard Webclip Widget, which allows users to make a dashboard widget out of any section of a web page. The example used during the live demo was the creation of an automatically updating daily dilbert comic widget.

I used to check religiously, but stopped somewhere along the line--probably after my hard drive got nuked for the third or fourth time and I lost all my firefox bookmarks yet again. But that little snippet of the keynote got me checking the site again.

Now on a seemingly unrelated note, I was recently reminded of the funniest gaming cartoon ever -- the Knights of the Dinner Table Gazebo encounter -- by a Knights of the Dinner Table comic in the back of a friend's car. Fast forward a few weeks, and I suddenly have the urge to check on the web for Knights of the Dinner Table comics and lo and behold: the gazebo in flash animated glory. Oh, and there's lots of other funny ones :). Enjoy.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Starbucks versus McDonalds

Here's an interesting graphic on the growth (over time and geographically) of Starbucks and McDonalds.

It really surprised me that Starbucks doesn't have more sales--what with one of the funniest Onion articles ever being a gag on the Borg-like expansion of Starbucks. This article was eight years ago too (how I remember it I have no idea). If they were expanding so fast to be noteworthy back then, how do they only have 6700 stores world wide? Seems bizarre to me. Or maybe they just aren't counting all the franchises inside bathrooms...

Software Development Blog

Found this blog on The entry that especially interested me was the entry on personality trates of good software developers (especially his assertion that the best software developers are 28 times more productive than the worst--a fact that quickly becomes not very suprising at all after doing any work in the field).

Anyway, personal goal: read more of this guy's stuff.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Commute by Bike

I've recently heard some commute horror stories, which always remind me how lucky I am to be able to bike to work (and sometimes I definitely need reminding, given just how much I pay in rent for that priviledge). One of my coworkers has a 2 hour commute (each way). Another is thinking above moving a bit further west since rent is steadily climbing here in Reston, but might be looking at a 30 minute commute depending on traffic.

So here's my commute statistics for comparison:

2.43 miles
15.15 minutes
9.62 average speed

Throw in the added exercise and subtract expenses for gas, and you've got yourself a pretty sweet deal.

Oh, and speaking of expenses reminded me of the other reason I recently patted myself on the back for bike commuting. Virginia and Maryland have pretty strict vehicle inspection and emissions standards, so when Jason moved up here he had to get his ride inspected. Apparently they didn't appreciate a few rusty holes in the exhaust system, so there's a $700+ repair right there.

Virginia DMV

I wrote the following post on 3/27/2006, however at the time I never actually finished and published it. Well, the saga is still continuing (believe it or not) and I figure I should finally publish this old post and then give an update:
So this weekend I finally decided that I'd procrastinated long enough and needed to go out and get my VA driver's license. According to the eligibility rules new residents are supposed to get their license transferred within 60 days of moving... oops. Of course without a car it's tough enough to force myself to get up at 8am on a Saturday morning for a 7 mile bike ride up to the DMV office (they close 12pm on Saturday, but 5pm on weekdays, which really doesn't give me enough time after work to make it up there).

So last weekend I gathered up all the documents I needed, planned my route, and set out...

Only to get half way and be stopped by a bike path which sort of petered out into a wooded area beside a massive 6 or so lane highway. I even used Google satilite images to check out the route a bit ahead of time. Of course, I learned in retrospect that what looks like a tiny brown smudge when you're viewing from space can turn out to be a giant ditch that's a real pain to haul your bike over.

On the bright side though, Google maps does a pretty cool job of letting you look for alternate routes. The maps are much clearer than MapQuest and you can even sometimes make out where the bike paths are. As far as I can tell there aren't any convenient bus routes up that way either. Ahh well.. I'll just have to try again next week.
So a few weeks after the above post, I actually did find another route which actually worked out very well. It turns out that the Washington and Old Dominion Trail is an excellent resource for bikers. It passes right through Reston, as well as through a number of other towns in the area. Using that I was easily able to Sterling and the DMV office (100 Free Ct., Sterling, VA 20164).

Finally! I had my license......

Until I realized that the receptionist had misspelled my address.......

And made a typo on my birth date!

So soon I've got to haul myself back out there, stand in the crazy-long line, and get the darn thing fixed. Oh joy.

Caylus and El Grande

Finally -- after months of waiting for Rio Grande Games' inane shipping schedule which seems to take popular games in and out of print in long half year cycles -- I got my hands on both Caylus and El Grande from

From what I've read about TimeWellSpent and from the one order that I've made with them, I'm definitely impressed. They're not only a family owned business, but they're a family of gamers! The prices are very competitive (and often way better than the really big name online distributor for euro-style games So I'm more than happy to support them.

I've finished two plays of Caylus (both with only two players--but one of the great things about Caylus its excellent scalability from as few as 2 players to as many as 5). I haven't gotten to play El Grande yet (again mostly because it really requires at least 3) but I hope to rectify that on Monday when our bi-weekly Metron game night starts up again after a rather lengthy summer hiatus.

Unfortunetly I'm not very good at remembering enough of games to write very good session reports--something I'll work on--but suffice to say both games of Caylus so far were a blast and I look forward to playing with more people.