July 28th, 2006



Tagged by semperar:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag three people.

"We drifted from hermit to hermit all the afternoon. It was a most strange menagerie. The chief emulation among them seemed to be, to see which could manage to be the uncleanest and most prosperous with vermin."

From A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark Twain. Delightfully hilarious and absurd, and Twain knows exactly how absurd it is and has a lot of fun with it. I've read it before; I started bringing it to work to read again during lunch.

Tag! ellie, lsduncan, golden_d
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Programmery Goodness - non-programmers may skip

I'm now quite fond of the Head First series of programming books. I bought Head First Java and have borrowed Head First Servlets and JSP from a coworker. Granted, when you first open them, you think, "This can't be frickin' serious." The pages are littered with funky fonts and clipart and all sorts of wacky irreverence that you'd never expect from a real programming book. But, somehow, it works. They explain things remarkably well, give good examples, and the overall experience is a lot more entertaining than the programming books we're accustomed to (i.e., page after page of dry, stodgy paragraphs). My old intro C++ and Java books put me to sleep after three pages. These books do not- and have even helped me understand things that I knew about Java, but never really quite "got." If that makes sense. So, if you're in the market for programming books, you may want to give this series a try.

Anyway, I've been edumacating myself on Java servlets and JSP, since it's a big thing to know for tech support here. We never played with them at university- shoot, we barely even touched on XML in my web development languages course- so it's new stuff, but I'm getting the hang of it, slowly but surely. I managed to get a really simple app deployed and working via Tomcat- well, sorta. Worked great when I used the servlet to spew out a response in HTML; verily, I beamed with pride. Worked not-so-great when I tried to route the response to a JSP instead. Tomcat blows up when compiling the JSP- get this- on line -1. WTF? No one at work knows what's going on; all the files I need are in the right places and all environment variables are set. A Google search on the error yielded nothing. Remy suggested that Tomcat might be using a different JDK to compile than the one I used on my servlet, but Tomcat's using 1.4.2, and according to NetBeans (what I used to compile the servlet), it is too.

I'm inclined to think it's NetBeans' fault. This wouldn't be the first time it's given me crap, so I blame it. But, I'm learning stuff! Next time I level up, I can legitimately take skill points in Geekery! =)