5 year retrospective – Project document management in Alfresco

pályazatThis post is the last in my current retrospective series, that sampled the projects I was working on years ago. You can see the previous posts here and here.

While the previous posts were about projects that span through years, this will be about a project that took no longer than a couple of months.

I was desperately looking for a screeenshot in my archives, to add as an illustration. I finally gave up, and tried to go with the University logo from the Internet. Imagine my surprise, to find the application is still up and running! It wasn’t used since 2013, but considering it was not maintained since the end of 2010, it was quite well done. You can see the version number on the bottom of the screen.pályázat-version

Disclaimer: The project is described best from my memories. I tried to keep the story professional, still there were emotional aspects that I tried to present in the back story. 
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10 year retrospective – SCISy, or “Supply Chain Inventory System” @ IBM

scisy-screenshotThis is the second part of my retrospective series I started here.

When I’m asked about my favorite project in my career I always talk about this one. Every part of this project was solid, well established and justifiable. There were no need to make any compromise on anything. We didn’t have to worry about licence fees, as long as we used IBM. 🙂 And what’s most satisfying about a project? The sponsors and the users find it useful!

Disclaimer: I’ve put this together mostly from memory and the few remaining documents I found laying around in my archives. I have no idea if this system is is in use any more, for all I know it probably is.


A few years passed after the Intermed project, Java became a strong player in enterprise development. With the J2EE application servers becoming a viable option, coding your entire stack from scratch was no longer necessary. Still there were quite a few gray areas that had to be worked around.

I was working as a contracted freelancer at IBM at the Hungarian manufacturing site, that produced (and still produces) high-end data storage systems. The manufacturing site ran a high number of IT components: shop floor control systems, order management systems, procurement systems, truck load tracking. All in all it was a smooth running operation, but still faced a problem. There was only a really limited communication between the systems, so monitoring the actual status of an order was quite difficult.

Production monitoring is essential for running this operation. No two orders were the same. During the “free” time the plant manufactured “prebuild” machines, that were configured for the most likely order configurations. These were placed in a buffer, and when an order came in they were reconfigured with the exact specifications. This required a common monitoring application that could be used to match the orders and the available machines. The most time in the build phase was used for testing the configuration. If a “feature” was removed from the machine it didn’t require re-testing, and it was easily shipped. It was essential to use pre-tested prebuilds that had minimal difference to the order.

To achieve a transparent order monitoring a Lotus Notes application was created which was loaded with  data from the relevant systems provided real-time reports to oversee the operation. There were some problems with the solution, as it was not as fast as expected. The data load was running so long, that the incoming datafiles stepped on each-other’s toes, data was inaccessible during the load, so basically the system was down for the better part of the day. The project was started to overcome these problems.

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15 year retrospective – InterMed ’99

kliensI was looking for the Christmas decorations on my attic, when I came across a set of compact discs. I got rid of most of these, except for some that seemed important enough to keep for posterity.  These disks contained an original Window 2000 Professional edition, and one titled Medex Backup 99/05/13.

Yesterday I took my time to review what’s in the backup, and took some time to reconstruct the architecture in my mind and the reasons behind it. It occurred to me, that it might be a good time to go through some of my previous projects since, and sum them up, to see how IT (or at least what I’m part of) changed in the past few years.

Strap yourself in, for a travel back in time to the land of the possibilities and techno blable!

Disclaimer: I’ve put this together mostly from memory and the flashbacks I had during the installation on my virtual machine. I might have left out some interesting aspects, lessons. 

Coming up: “10 year retrospective – SCISy, or “Supply Chain Inventory System” @ IBM”

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Install DB2 Express-C 10.5 on Ubuntu Trusty 64 bit/(Upgrading from DB2 9.7 32 bit)

DB2 Express-C is a fully functional and very powerful database offering from IBM, that can be used for free. Currently it’s limited to two cores and 4GB RAM, that’s enough to be used in small-medium applications.

DB2 plays well with LXC, and I had no problem using it for years in a hosted server environment.

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Followup on my blog-spam experiment

spamalysisAlmost a year passed since my experimental “honeypot” post on the spam received on my blog. As I then decided, I let all spam comments through, that were not captured by the Spam Karma. I did this about 3-4 times in the passed months, as I don’t spend much time on the administration interface. Based on an emerging pattern I observed I then started to do this more frequently in the recent weeks.

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Migrating from EJB2 with shared libraries to EJB3 environment

Darth BuilderCurrently I’m working on a major technical upgrade, that involves the upgrade of several infrastructure components including WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal Server and JBoss EAP. This requires all a “fresh” installation of all the applications that reside on these components. All JEE containers currently in the system are being upgraded, so it opens a window of opportunity to get a huge overhaul of the system.

(NB. As I have to rebuild the entire application stack multiple times a day, I’ve been referenced as Lord Builder or Darth Builder by my highly esteemed colleagues)

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Cleaning up the mess – analysing spam blog comments

I keep this blog mostly for my personal journal, so I won’t forget what I worked on, and to keep my writing skills up. I never thought anyone would seriously be interested in what I wrote, so I’ve paid little attention to the comments I received for my posts. To keep the steady flow of spam at minimum, I’ve set up Spam Karma 2, and didn’t worry too much about it anymore.

Just now when I entered the admin area for routine upgrade, I’ve noticed that beside the 2500 spam comments I also have about 30 not marked as spam, and I became curious. Are these real comments, or have they bypassed the spam filter?
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Time-lapse movie on Linux – How is it achieved ?

This post is for summarizing the information about the time-lapse movie I mentioned in my earlier posts titled Using a standard web camera to capture a time-lapse on Linux and Compiling UVC driver for Linux with still image support.

As it turns out this topic is one that was actually read by someone out there (based on two feedbacks I received), I decided to publish my findings.

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Compiling UVC driver for Linux with still image support

To support my web camera project and enable it to use higher resolutions I need to patch the UVC driver in the kernel with still image support found on https://github.com/yangh/uvcvideo.

First the chages made in that project to the standard UVC driver were merged with the driver in 3.0.4 kernel I’m running now.

The newly compiled driver seems to work ok, however the capture utility (also found there) doesn’t seem to produce output. I got as far as identifying the way it should be parametrized, unfortunately I always recieve a memory allocation exception. Based on the logs it seems that it’s trying to allocate 0 bytes as an output buffer.

To trace that, I need to revive my long-extinct C(++) skills and maybe some gdb knowledge as well.

It’s still a mystery to me why it doesn’t work in the first place.

If I’m done with that I’ll try to include this capture method in the http://www.firestorm.cx/fswebcam/ project and maybe replace the entire current capture with that.