MySQL Eats Their Own Dog Food
This is a good thing. I would find it hard to trust a company that didn’t use their own services. Would you trust a Toyota if you knew that every Toyota employee drove a Ford? It certainly would seem suspicious. But MySQL.com uses their own service … but this time it was to their embarrassment.
Just this last Sunday, a series of attacks were placed on the MySQL.com, MySQL.fr, MySQL.de and MySQL.it servers. Attacks, I might add, that were absolutely successful … and they did it with a blind SQL injection. The hackers later published data retrieved from the servers: usernames, passwords, credentials of MySQL and Oracle employees, etc. The hackers also stated that the vulnerability they found had been there since the beginning of 2011. The same hackers who compromised the MySQL corporate servers performed the same attack successfully on the Sun servers.
While I’m sure there will be a fix out for this injection soon, it’s a bit embarrassing for MySQL and ultimately Oracle. Based upon Oracle’s reputation, I hope for all our sakes they don’t cancel the MySQL project. Then we’d all be forced to use Microsoft SQL Server!
Your $80 Gaming Mouse vs. My $10 Off-Brand Optical
I have a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set. It’s really quite dreadful. While I love Logitech and all the things they do for us, the barely noticeable lag in Bluetooth products is just enough to drive a man crazy. I can tolerate when I’m performing routine tasks on the computer, but when I sit down to relax with a game of Portal, it because glaringly obvious.
So, I set out to by a wired set. I considered spending as much on a gaming mouse or some such nonsense, but luckily Metalocity has saved us all from falling for that cheap trick anymore. Metalocity is a free piece of software that runs benchmark tests on optical mice.
Verizon is Creeping Me Out
Jess’ phone, an Android-based HTC Incredible, has long-since been possessed by the devil. It regularly takes control of itself, opens and closes applications, clicks buttons on menus she has open, and deletes all of her text messages (by opening the menus before her eyes and select the correct buttons to do this). This is all very frustrating and creepy, but this far she’s pretty much just dealt with it. But last week, it took it to the next level …
Emilie Lee Lynch sent out a mass text to Jess, her mom, several of her other friends, and her fiance. It contained a cute picture she had taken while at her internship. No big deal there, right? Jess received the message, thought it was cute, replied, and placed her phone back in her pocket.
A few minutes later, her phone buzzed. She looked at the text she had received and saw that it was from … Emilie’s fiance. Strange. Why was he texting her? Upon reading the text message, it was obvious it was a reply to the mass text Emilie had sent out, and he had clearly meant to send the message to Emilie, not Jess.
A few minutes later, Jess’ phone buzzed again. Same situation, but this time the message was from Emilie’s mother … also a message clearly meant as a reply to Emilie’s picture, not a message meant for Jess.
It’s worth noting that Android has had a bug in their Message application that does occasionally send to the wrong contact. However, the two replies Jess received were not from an Android phone. Therefore, I can really only conclude that this issue must be with the Verizon network. When receiving a mass text, unlike a mass email, the receiving phone should not be made aware of other recipients of the same message. Even if it were made aware of this, to allow one of those recipients to reply to another without their knowledge is a huge security violation. Come on, Verizon. You’ve got the network, but do you have the reliability?
Environmentalism and Fusion vs. Fission
The other day, in discussion on environmentalism (from a Christian perspective), I was asked whether or not the nuclear power plant situation in Japan has caused me to rethink my views on environmentalism.
Um … no? I responded by saying, “Nuclear power is the safest, cleanest, and most efficient form of power that has ever been invented. It’s extremely reliable and extremely misunderstood by society, which is why there hasn’t been a nuclear power plant built in the US in three decades. Even still, a natural disaster devastating something as awesome as a nuclear power plant will likely have a catastrophic outcome … but a natural disaster in-and-of-itself will likely have a catastrophic outcome. What I mean to say is, the events in Japan, horrible as they have been, do not cause me to reevaluate my ethical stance on the use of nuclear power.”
What I gleaned most from this discussion was that those who loudly proclaim themselves as environmentalists, from what I’ve observed, generally offer more criticism of a given circumstance without offering any real solution. It’s easy to criticize nuclear fusion and the nuclear waste that it generates, but … what are you alternatives? Solar power? Wind turbines? Please. Or I suppose we should all just keep using old-fashioned coal power plants. You know, because those are known to be so clean. Maybe plants that burn fossil fuels? Except … didn’t you want us to stop drilling everywhere too?
But my point in this section wasn’t to start an environmentalist discussion, though I do love a good debate. I wanted to touch on the fact that, though the events of Japan are saddening, they have helped to dig the spurs deeper into the side of the nuclear fission research horse.
Nuclear fusion works in a sort of opposite manner as nuclear fission. Where nuclear fission creates a similar nuclear reaction to the atomic bomb (though slightly more contained), splitting an atom apart and turning the explosive energy into power, nuclear fusion works by using the generated energy from joining two atoms. The coolest (or should I say hottest?) part about nuclear fusion is that, since it is sort of the reverse of nuclear fission, it basically eliminates every safety hazard that nuclear fission has.
Nuclear waste? The reactor is basically the only element that sustains waste, and it is only declared dangerous for 50-100 years (whereas the bars from a nuclear fission reactor are declared unsafe for thousands of years). A nuclear explosion or meltdown? Since we’re joining the atoms instead of separating them, this is essentially impossible. Need to shut down a fission plant? It takes days or even weeks for the radioactive process to stop even after the machines have been turned off, because it is a self-sustaining process. Since the radioactive process of a fusion plant is forced by superheat, it stops as soon as the heat disperses, which is … well, whatever the cool down time is from something as ferociously hot as that reactor is, but it would be at most several hours.
So, if nuclear fusion is so amazing, why haven’t we done it yet? First of all, the word “nuclear” is a dirty word because it’s so misunderstood. I have find nuclear power to be awesome and fascinating–one of the greatest technological advances of all time, I think–and it’s sad that we haven’t replaced every dirty coal plant in America with a clean and safe nuclear reactor. Until nuclear power is seen by the safety standards that it actually does boast, we probably won’t see many fusion or fission plants built in the near future.
Additionally, where fission plants are relatively easy to start (and hard to shut down), fusion plants are the opposite. The amount of energy required to start the initial superheated process within a fusion reactor currently is not attainable. There are several small-scale reactors that have been made around the world which can generate a fusion reaction for several seconds or maybe even a minute, but none of them can sustain the reaction, and they certainly couldn’t power a city with it.
Nuclear fusion is expected to be attainable within the next fifty years. What I love most about this figure is that I’ll likely still be alive when the first fusion plant opens … and I’m really hoping I can get a tour!
How do the events in Japan play into all of this? With all the issues that keep arising in the fission plant in Japan as it is slowly deteriorating, it is being made more clear that, though nuclear fission is safe and clean in ideal conditions, if fusion could be attained, it would be infinitely more so. After what has happened in Japan, safer nuclear power plants are even more desirable, so the Research and Development teams responsible for attainable nuclear fusion have been given considerably more grants. Here’s to hoping the first nuclear fusion plant can now be built within the next twenty-five years. Oh, and Jess? A tour of that plant would totally be the best anniversary present ever …
We Crashed the JavaDoc Generator
It’s embarrassing, really. Java has had a NullPointerException in their JavaDoc generator since late 2008. The path is well known (catch the exception and ignore it!), but with each new patch and release of the JDK … it remains unfixed. So I present you with Ryan’s and my solution to the issue.
The issue will only present itself if you have JavaDoced class-level variables in a class that is within the default package. The NullPointerException will rear it’s ugly head only if these conditions are met. The simplest solution is to not have class-level variables in a class contained within the default package … and why are you putting classes in the default package, anyway? Shame on you. But if you insist on having a package in the default package, and if you refuse to move your class-level variables into main() or some other function within that class (which you really should do since you can’t even access variables that are contained within the default package), here is another solution.
In your build-impl.xml (you know, the file that it says in bold at the top DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE?), do a find for use=”". Remove that. Now generate JavaDoc. It works!
The issue is that Java is doing a usage search on all JavaDoced elements, and in that search it naturally returns the package that variable and class are contained within. However, the default package is apparently set to be null, so when the JavaDoc generator tries to evaluate the String package name … it crashes. It’s likely a one to three line fix for Java. So how about you stop being lazy and fix that before you released JDK 7, okay guys?