Welcome Mihai

Starting today, one of my colleagues, Mihai Corlan has started his own blog. If you’ve visited our local adobe site (myadobe.ro – sorry, romanian only) you have probably enjoyed some of his posts. He has posted on the myadobe blog for quite some time and now he’s got his own place to rant about stuff.

I can only wish him good luck and encourage you to visit him.

OpenSuse 11 and WiFi

A week or so ago I shuffled computers around the house. As a result one of my desktops couldn’t be reached by wired Ethernet any more, so I thought of going wireless. Bought a cheap Asus PCI-Wireless card (WL-138G) which worked like a charm on Vista and XP. That’s the sunny side of the story.

In the spirit of weekly change, Thursday night I got my hands on OpenSuse’s latest and greatest – version 11, Beta 3. It installed fairly quickly, it looked nice, and it even seemed that it got all my cards – including the WiFi one. Oh joy. But my joy did not last too much – one click on the Firefox icon and doom came: there was no internet. So I tried changing the settings in the Network Settings menu of Yast2, using the Network Manager to shuffle even more seetings, but all in vain.

Back to the internet for a solution. Most links I found involved blacklisting the default driver and using ndiswrapper to extract the firmware from the Windows drivers. Which of course didn’t work. Late last night though I found a solution in a forum, somewhere. I had to tweak it a little, but it worked.

Technical data: the card uses a BroadCom 54G Air chipset, shown by a lspci command as BCM4318. I also had an ethernet port, which proved essential to get the wifi to work.

Steps:

  1. Open Yast and go to the Software management category.
  2. Search for and install most things that have to do with wireless. Especially the K WIFI NManager.
  3. Search for and install the b4xx_fwcutter and curl.
  4. Open a terminal and run ‘su’. Then enter the root password.
  5. Run install_bcm43xx_firmware. This will fetch two packages and install them.
  6. Reboot the machine. On the page I found this idea it said that it should work.
  7. However, when using the K Network Manager to setup my wireless there was nothing detected. Nor were any networks found using the K Wifi LAN Manager scan.
  8. In the K WiFi Manager, in the settings tab there is an instruction that allows you to change the signal strength thresholds. Once you click that, wifi will start poring in.

So this is it, guide to WiFi in OpenSuse 11 Beta 3 in 8 easy steps 🙂

Now if I could get libxine, mplayer and lirc to work with my specs I can get rid of Windows.

360 Flex Milan is over

The first edition of the 360 Flex conference in Europe is over. It’s been three interesting days of talking to people, attending sessions and networking. Overall the conference was interesting, although there were less people that I was expecting – but I guess this is because in Europe the conference doesn’t yet have that much popularity.

The sessions were mostly held by non-adobe speakers – there were three sessions held by Adobe guys and the keynote during the first day. The rest were people that used Flex, have done cool things with it, or developed tools to help in working and deploying Flex applications to clients. Some thoughts:

  • the guys from Kaltura are pretty funny. And they have an interesting concept to boot: a wiki-like application for rich content. It uses Flex for the video editing tools – check them out at kaltura.com.
  • the guys at NitroLM came up with a hosted licensing solution for Flex and AIR applications. And they work with Flex 3 – NitroLM homepage
  • there were a lot of other interesting sessions,  like the one Jaco held, but my plane will leave soon, and I need to get off the wireless 🙂

Fun facts at the conference:

  • I spoke too fast and finished my preso 20 minutes earlier 😦 fortunately people were curios enough to stay and ask question and just talk afterwards.
  • The guys at simplified logic burned their Guitar Hero 3 set – plugged their 110V into Europe’s 220. They only sang a last "puff"
  • Koen had a lot of misfortune – his mac crashed twice during the presentation and one of the demo apps would not work no matter what 🙂 So macs are human too.

Next post will have pictures – if I can get them from Mihai’s camera.

Flex API contest extended

The guys with the Flex 360 conference have extended the deadline for their Flex API contest, so that participants for Europe can sign in as well, The new deadline is 4th of April, the friday before the conference begins. See more information on this here and here.

Also, there’s almost a month to go until the conference. From the Romanian side of Flex I and Mihai Corlan will participate, with two sessions – Mihai with Developing Data-intensive Flex applications and me with a session on Flex and (web) services. I will mostly talk about SOAP services, but won’t ignore REST ones. As part of what I will present  at Flex 360 I’ve started a series of articles on the blog – the first one is already live and presents a sample application that searches videos using web services. So let me know in the comments if I’m off track or not.,

Preview handlers

I’m using Office 2007 for some time now and the ability to preview the content of some files without actually opening them in the dedicated editor is quite nice. It’s a pity that the number of supported file types is so small. A good thing is that they everyone can create such a preview handler, because the API is publicly available and documented on MSDN. So I looked around the net today for some handlers that would allow me to preview zip archives and some other common file types – like .as or .mxml. One of the interesting resources I’ve stumbled onto is a blog post that links to a msdn article and also to download the handlers demoed. Get at it here. Another pack of handlers for some of the programming language files is here.

Oh, and these handlers work for Windows Vista too, so if you have the preview pane opened, it will load a quick preview of the file in there.

But how do I use that code?

That’s a question I’ve seen quite a few times on the Adobe labs and pre-release forums over the past months. And the question is used in relation with the code being generated by the web service introspection wizard.

Although we’ve tried to make the code as simple and versatile as possible, as in to cover most use-cases, it seems to still need some explaining. It is possibly caused by change. The way in which you used web services has changed substantially, and disruptive changes are not always easily understood. We’ve gone from a full run-time experience to strong-types and ActionScript representations of the service. So I’ve tried to put together a small application that uses a web service and shows how to use this new nifty feature.

The example will stretch over two posts/parts, each covering a way of using the generated code to arrive at the same result, structured like this: Continue reading

Flex 3, BlazeDS & AIR 1.0 are out!

Finally, the combination for RIA goodness is upon us. Adobe, through the combined efforts of the Flex, AIR and BlazeDS teams has launched these three products aimed to making the life of web developers a bit easier, and the life of the web user a lot easier. You can check out the products on the adobe.com website, where you can also download a trial version (for Flex Builder) or the full versions of the Flex 3 SDK, AIR SDK and BlazeDS.

air  fx_appicon_web blaze_ds_logo_web

Now it’s time to see how the web experience shapes up – I’m looking forward to ever-increasing levels of interactivity on the web, and a nice blend between the web and the desktop (which AIR aims to increase).

Here are some stories on Digg, on the same topic, here, here and here.

OpenID’d

Just got the bug up and running using OpenID – or so I hope – the plugin threw a warning, but seems to work ok … So if you have an OpenID account you can now use it to register or post a comment. The good side – you’re comment will get through moderation (I hope).

So, let’s see how much fun this will be and how long it takes for OpenID to really take off and get some major social websites on it.

Oh, I’m using WP-openid (search for it, the link is out of reach).

SideNote: My laptop is freaking me out tonight, it keeps pausing to do stuff with my hard-drive …. if it keeps it up it will end up in a corner of the room.