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January 2015

Regina's personal blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Just Logging In... 01.21.15

The Australian Open started [here] Sunday evening, and I have been watching quite a bit of that. [Prize Money Info]

Live coverage is being offered by ESPN2, WatchESPN [Tablet Apps and Flash offerings], and The Tennis Channel. There may be others, however these are the offerings I can tune in, too. Check here for what may be available in your area.

Anyway, last night around 7:00, I set up my Mother's Verizon Ellipsis [which now has the WatchESPN app installed], my Acer Netbook [for live scores], and the television in the den, for an evening of live Tennis.

ESPN survies about the app-- and though I tend to ignore these types of survies, want to offer- "I am very impressed with this offering", i.e., WatchESPN App for Androids. Compared to the Flash version via one of my computer's web browsers- the Verizon Ellipsis app-- it is amazing. The results are just as good as the HD television even if the screen is a bit smaller. The Flash option uses a bit less bandwidth.

Other things I have been up too?

  • Movie: Philomena
  • Made Almond Cupcapes w/ Almond Buttercream last week.
  • Saw this huge bird in one of the neighbor's pines. [You can enlarge that image. Do you know what it is?]
  • As noted by earlier posts, updating operating software for one of my computers and researching issues that have come up.
  • My Mother recently purchased a new cabinet for the living room, so I am thinking about what she can put on it. For those of you who knew me when I lived in Bowie, yes that is the chair that was in my bedroom.
  • Thinking about the huge cocoon that fell from a tree in the front yard. It is so ugly, I would not take a photo. I think the weather confused the inhabitants. It looked like a big gray basketball. I was a bit concerned school kids might come by and play with it. I think someone tried to set it on fire... I hate things like this.

The huge bird in the tree:

Had the Apple Strudel shown in one of the images below-- this morning for breakfast. My Mother went to Costco yesterday, and purchased the PopChips [had for a snack last night] and the Strudel. Yes, the diet is on hold.

Australian Open Tennis is on for another week and a half, so that will keep me busy. I am also working on more upgrades for the same computer system I have been working on and there is news from Washington, though a bit confusing so I will keep it to myself. By the way, abstract reports suggest many of you downloaded the Java Runtime "fix" referenced in the last post and are pleased with the results. I am too.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Java Applet Support... Runtime Environment Issues

As you may know, I develop Java Applet applications. Examples include the Blogger Calendar, World Weather Tool, and many of the other tools that were found on WiredPages.

With my recent Windows98 system upgrade to a WindowsXP platform, I found issues with Java support that I had to resolve and want to address.

Because I setup developer environments insofar as Java, on the main computers [Macbook and Acer Netbook] I use, I seldom allow automatic upgrades of my Java development nor runtime environments.

What this means, I am sorry to say I did not understand fully that my Java Applet applications are having problems on older platforms like Windows XP, where Java Runtime Environments are allowed to be updated when a new release is offered.

I do not want to bore you with too many technical details, however briefly want to explain that the Java Development Environment [SDK or software development kit] that I download for Java I rarely update. I can do this because I use the early safe AWT framework which rarely changes. This allows me to be consistent across many platforms [Macs, Windows, Linux] without having to write too many code workarounds for the many platforms and the browsers they support.

Unless you are a Java Developer you will not need to worry about downloading the Java SDK.

The Java Runtime Environment is the problem. This is the framework that allows Java Applets to run in most Internet browsers.

What I found:

My Mother's Windows 7 HP Notebook allowed an automatic Java runtime environment update. The update was for a Java 7 release which blocked applets from being displayed in her browsers, e.g, Blogger Calendars on my Blogs would not appear. It was an easy fix to update within the Java Control Panel to enable Java Runtime Support for all of her browsers. The Java Control Panel is found under the Control Panel- click Java.

When I was updating my new WindowsXP system, I downloaded a Java 7 runtime environment along with later versions of browsers I had been using with my old Windows98 environment. Though I was able to get the Java 7 runtime environment to work for Internet Explorer, I was never able to get Firefox to work. So I downloaded a Java 6 Runtime Environment release and then deleted the Java 7 Runtime under Remove Software Programs also found under the Windows Control Panel. This worked.

In summary: The Java 6 Runtime Environment releases work for everything. Java 7 and 8 you have to make changes within the Java Control Panel.

As I stated earlier, the Java Software Development Framework I use is very safe and does not require signatures for my applets. Later Java features like Swing and FX were more powerful and required developers to "sign" the tools for use over the Internet in browsers.

This is the basis for the new Run query that Java 7 [and above] Runtime Environments prompt for when a Java Applet is encountered on any page you visit with a browser.

I would like to protest to Oracle, Sun and Java about the new security measures implemented across the board. Only in that I use the very first framework-- Java AWT and it is very safe. The warnings from the Java 7 [and above] Runtime Environments look more dangerous than they are for my applets and applications. That said, only allowing updates through Java 6 Runtime Environment Releases will correct the problem. See this link: Java Archive Downloads- Java SE 6.

The following shows the options for one of the Java SE Runtime Environment Releases, 6u39. Major release 6 update 39. I used this one with my new WindowsXP platform. I used 6u39 because I have 6u31 on my WindowsXP netbook that works. Why not 6u45? I am a programmer and 6u31 "looks" more similar to 6u39 than 6u45. We tend to note major differences with numbers. That said, they do not use fractions, so maybe it did not matter. I had a Java SE 5 release on this system before I did the recent Windows XP upgrade. I am showing the 32 bit release. My mother's HP Notebook is a 64 bit system, however when the automatic update was installed it also used the 32 bit release.

I may update this article to include more images, of how to access the Java Control Panel and exactly what you need to do, but it will be for the Remix Business Blog. This is not really that complicated.

What about the newer FX and Swing frameworks with the older runtime environment? By default they always required signatures anyway. That said, what I do not know is how newer SDKs work. The software development tools and the applications that are produced by the newer SDKs. My older ones will not allow me to do certain things unless I sign the work. My tools do not require the signatures and should not. I do understand it was a global decision for all frameworks but feel my tools are a lot safer that some of the newer developer frameworks like AJAX or JQuery.

Around Summer of last year, I noticed the Washington Post stopped using the Java Applet they used for years [starting in 1998 or so] for their Crossword section. This worried me. I knew I might have a problem [with my abundant use of the Java Applet] but did not investigate the reasons for their change. I think the Crossword is now a Flash program. Do I plan on changing the Blogger Calendar? When I move and fix most of the widgets on WiredPages what will I do? Most of the widgets on WiredPages are Java Servlets that run without a Applet GUI interface. Some are Applets. When and if I move the site-- I will make those decisions. Yes, I have given it some thought.

In the meantime, If you are not a part of academia [they tend to do a lot of work with Java too and like new features]-- and loved the way WiredPages worked-- Java 6 Runtime Environment Releases will work across the board.

Access the Java Contol Panel on your Windows platform:

Clicking the Java Icon provides the Java Contol Panel. To prevent updates use the setting shown here under the Update tab.

The Java Control Panel refers to the release as 1.6. However the releases are referred to as 6, 7, or 8. Only the number after the decimal [yes, they do use decimals]. Keep this in mind if you have to remove a later version than 6.

I have tested the Java 6 Runtime Environment releases and they work [also referred to as 1.6]. I have found problems with 7 and 8 using my Windows systems. These Java Runtime Environment downloads only assist with running Java Applets in your browsers. This should not affect other browser features or operations.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Windows Software Arrived Today

The Windows XP upgrade software I ordered for my Windows98 SE computer system arrived today, so after clearing away some other tasks, I went upstairs to start the installation process.

Before ordering the software, I contacted the seller and explained the situation with my older system disks [long ago, lost]. He wrote back, providing I should have no problems because of the lost disc and I did not.

It took about 1.5 hours for the installation. Most of the drivers already installed for the Windows98 platform transitioned over except the printers. I was surprised, even an older HP Scanner connected via a parallel port worked without re-installation of the driver.

Then I installed the driver for the new Konica Magicolor laser printer and the old EPSON inkjet [re-installed] and everything worked.

Over the last month, I added a color laser desktop [important because the computers I use mostly are my Macbook and Acer Netbook, which are not desktops] to my business assets for about $200.00 and I am very pleased.

I own an older version of Microsoft Office Professional which includes Publisher and Access along with Word, PowerPoint and Excel which makes this old system worth the effort to upgrade.

When I could not get my new color laser printer to work with the Windows98 system, I considered purchasing a new system for under $500.00. The problem, new systems ship with the newer Windows operating systems which are not compatible with my older Microsoft Office Professional Software. So instead, I decided to upgrade the Windows98 platform. I saved about $420.00 with this option.

In the package from Amazon today, I also received two USB printer cables and a 32GB Kingston flash drive [along with the WindowsXP upgrade software].

When I was backing up for the end of the year [2014], I noted the site archives at over 1GB now. So, I am going to use my new 32GB flash drive to save the 2015 backups for and I should do this about once a month. I save all of my posts [in the form of plain text files] and graphics to external hard-drives as well as the internal hard drives on my computers-- so sometimes I am a little lax about doing site backups.

I have been doing some other things which I will discuss in my next post. Just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with today's efforts.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Tennis is back....

I am in the process of upgrading one of my computer systems and currently waiting on software to arrive. Upgrading from Windows98 to WindowsXP.

I know most of you are asking, why bother? When I develop software tools and interfaces for the Internet I like ensuring the tools work on as many platforms as possible. Including older systems. The Windows98 system that will be upgraded no longer has system disks however does have Ethernet and therefore Internet connectivity.

I also write and prepare business material on the system- so being able to upgrade printers and other peripherals is important. This is kind of difficult without the original operating system disk. When I purchased the system from my sister in Jan. 2006 she thought she had the discs, but later determined she did not. She moved the prior December so perhaps they were lost in the move. Anyway, the system is pretty good, so I thought I would upgrade to the WindowsXP OS and add some new peripherals. I am kind of excited about this.

While in a mode that really prevents me from updating or upgrading my online presence or tools [other than blogging]-- I have been finding other things to do. Professional tennis is something I started watching just before the French Open in 2014 and now watch as often as possible. That said, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are very few- if any tennis tournaments scheduled.

It's now January and World Tennis Organizations are again in full swing. Most of the tournaments now, are in Australia or New Zealand, with the Australian Open starting next Monday, January 19, 2015.

This of course is considered a Major [Grand Slam] so most pros will be there and I hope to catch many of the matches on ESPN or the TennisChannel.

Other things I have been up to:

  • Movie: "Purple Noon an earlier version of "The Amazing Mr. Ripley" w/ Matt Damon
  • Movie: "The Other Woman" with Cameron Diaz
  • Movie: "No Way Out" w/Kevin Costner. Seen this many times but watched it again last evening.
  • Tennis: tournaments from New Zealand & Australia.
  • Updating Amazon Stores:Brass, Computer/Electronics Home Office.
  • Installed the FiOS TV app on my Mother's Verizon Ellipsis. Works nicely.

It snowed the other day. I took the top photo from the vantage point of the loveseat [lower photo] while lying down, of how it looked from the front window in the den. [Okay, I am a little bored]. I thought it was a beautiful scene--- probably because I did not have to go anywhere nor clean the driveway.

Yes, there is news out of Washington however I am going to hold off providing details. I will let you know how the computer system upgrade turns out.

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