One week late last year, on a lark I made a traditional Sunday breakfast: pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup. The kid has on every subsequent Sunday put in a non-negotiable demand for more of the same. The good news is that the pancakes are getting better. The bad news is that learning sucks, and my JXTA pancakes are still kind of burnt and misshapen.

Mixing and Flipping · Pancakes are pretty simple: mix, eggs, milk, fry, flip, serve. But there are a lot of variables; the proportion of milk to mix, the temperature of the pan, how you grease it, how long you cook it, how many you try to fit into the pan, and so on.

The goal is to have ones like my Mom & Dad made ’em: perfect golden brown, round, fluffy but you can get your teeth in. As of now the number of misshapen or burnt or underdone pancakes is decreasing, but it’s nonzero, and a couple of the early batches were pretty poor, and yes, I did set off the fire alarm once. My flipping technique remains cautious and tense, and every week I manage to drop one hanging over the edge of the pan or on top of another.

But I am getting better; if you practice pretty well anything, you’ll learn and you’ll improve. There are a few wonderful occasions where what you’re learning is so compelling that you don’t even notice the work you’re putting in, but you know what? Those occasions are few.

JXTA · I need some dynamic-cluster underpinnings for my Zeppelin project, so that you can run it on a bunch of computers and notice when some go away and replace them, and add more to the cluster when the workload goes up and so on.

Jini is supposed to be good for this kind of thing, but it does a whole lot of other stuff too that I don’t care about (obviously, others do), and also I think I’m not really smart enough to understand it without the investment of a couple of full-time study weeks that I just don’t have.

JXTA is pretty hairy too, and the way it deals with XML kind of offends me, but I bought the O’Reilly Book and when I read the “Hello World” example, it was doing almost exactly what I thought I needed to do: always a good sign. And when I downloaded the “Hello World” and ran it, it worked first time, aside from the stupid “JXTA Configurator” popping up (Someone needs to put a paper bag over that program’s head; then shoot it).

Anyhow, this afternoon, I finally got into seriously banging out the code, and it was that awful phase when you’re dealing with a new API and you have to stop and think and chase docs for every method call and every bloody argument to it. By the time I had to knock off at six for the kid’s soccer practice, I was seriously blurry around the edges.

At least I didn’t set off the fire alarm. And if it does what it says it does, the result should be total fucking magic.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
June 01, 2005
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