Upgrading BlackBerry Eclipse Plugin And Old Component Packs

If you find yourself wondering how to use your old component packs (and hence simulators) from the first Eclipse plugin (v1.0), there’s a great discussion on the support forums tackling exactly that.
Creating an .ee file and adding the JRE to the workspace worked like a charm for me. I’m using the upated plugin v1.1.2 on Eclipse 3.5 and all this has been an incremental update from 1.0 (beta).

Business Technology


There is the popular coding challenge whereby the developer/hacker/gunslinger/coder has to create a piece of usable software in less than N hours (usually 24). You may have heard about it, read about it or actually even done it. There’s usually pizza, coke, coffee, energy drink and loud music involved and also cleverly disguised as an all-night party for binary miners. Nonetheless, if hosted to your linking, the challenge is a great way to flex some brain and skill. And it’s exactly how >_catchit was born.

The mission: create a usable, as shelf-ready-as-possible BlackBerry application within one working day: typically 6-8 hours of productive coding. The only absolute minimum requirements are: source control and an automated build process. Mission accomplished.

Remember when cellphones first came out and they suffered multiple personality order? Couldn’t decide if it was a mobile phone for communicating, an anti-mugging personal protection unit or a military grade close-quarter offensive device (I’m referring of course to it’s 2 foot aerial and 4kg of rugged manufacture). Yes, they’ve come a long way since then. But the thing I most remember about the early days of mobile phones was how they nurtured and flourished your rudeness.

You’d be talking live, face-to-face, in person when all of a sudden a phone would ring. No matter how deep the conversation or how mid-sentence you were, that was it. Conversation abandoned. Code Red! Pick up the phone! Yes, we’ve come a long way too since then (well, some of us at least). So >_catchit has been designed to help you catch those badly-timed calls when you don’t have to leave your caller hanging and you also don’t want to interrupt the “now”.

When activated, if you choose to ignore an incoming call, a screen will present you with an option to send a pre-populated text back to the caller immediately. You can alter the standard text if you like, or just send as is. Neat. In automagic mode, it’s even less obtrusive. Your caller automatically gets a text. Deactivate it, and there’s no more >_catchit. It also works with missed calls, if you want it to.

And that’s >_catchit complete. One full working day, one working product including user documentation (this post). And yes, you can safely download it from here by pointing your BlackBerry at this link.

perspective Technology

HOWTO: Adopt Agile

I’ve heard the stories, read the reports, discussed and debated, disagreed and agreed, worked together and against each other; i think there may even have been blood spilled at one stage? I vaguely remember something about a keyboard and a dwarf… Indeed, if there ever was a word in the software industry which could raise the room temperature, it’s the little word “agile”.

HINT: If you ever find yourself listening to a techie and he/she/it is boring you with details from another universe and you don’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about (or what language they’re using even if it does sound remarkably close to your mother tongue), just randomly blurt “Agile!”- then stand back or run.

One of the concepts in agile is iterative development because iterative processes help achieve a goal efficiently by giving you the flexibility to change your trajectory as the goal itself moves. If you’re aiming at a goal that never moves, then this story is not for you. Also, check your goal for a pulse- it might be dead. Hence, it makes ironic sense to adopt agile in the same manner: iteratively. That is assuming you want to adopt it at all because if you don’t then there’s no point in proceeding any further. There are none so deaf and blind is how i remember the expression…

And the processes, practices and insights that agile opens us up to- testing, refactoring, pairing, reviews, continuous integration, dry, yagni and company- are also metaphors for adopting the very process itself. And even deeper, the metaphor for every software project should also be embraced for setting up your own company’s adoption of agile. Can you feel the power of recursion starting to make your head throb?

So think of adopting agile as a software project on its own and take it from there. Create stories like “get Paul* to integrate more than once a day consistently”. Get team players to estimate on the story. The team players in this case are those who actually want to get agile ticking along (volunteers). So it’ll probably take 2 weeks before Paul gets it right. Maybe if Igor* took the story he could “convince” Paul inside a week? Create your storyboard, organise the flow, derive a project plan, split it up into more iterations (if need be)- the usual. Then “code”.

Having trouble with Paul? Pair-up with someone. Tag-team it. Refactor. Check in your working “code” regularly. Review what’s been done. Write new stories. WARNING: You might actually start having fun. Role-playing is an essential survival trait of almost every developer. It’s addictive and to pretend that you’re actually the software is going to be a little mental for some, a little esoteric for others but hysterical for a geek. Oh, and don’t be surprised if your developers start to get a little carried away and come dressed as hexadecimal numbers to work. Just keep a straight face and say “Ah. Good morning, 1.6A09E667”.

On the serious flipside, when you start to setup a project plan for adopting agile in this manner you also get to eat your own 0xbaadf00d; practise agile more; refine valuable skills; learn lessons; incorporate it into team culture; get an empirical idea of how close you are to hitting the mark and have a working team at all times (this is most serious). All the feel good fluffy things you want to hear.

And on the negative, less fluffy, pessimistic , dark and evil side of things, when you start to overrun your estimates badly on a lot of stories, you also start to get some really good feedback on when to can the adoption and/or start again or try a new tact. Ok- that’s actually good news too. But how much you try will depend on the strength of the character flaws in your project leader.

And before you know it, you’ll be miles away from being the perfect agile team. Indeed, just like software, there’s always one more feature you can add or take away. There’s always that one routine that can be a little better. And over time, you need to make changes that help you stay relevant and marketable and profitable. It’ll always be perfectly imperfect. And so you keep coding, creating and evolving something even more beautiful (and useful) than you ever imagined in your wildest electric dreams.


But wait… there’s more

It all started with the revelation that (under South African law) piracy is not a crime. That tied in oh so nicely with the declaration by the US government regarding the estimated cost of piracy. All within the same week. So what’s the real story?

How are we who copy songs from our friends (who may or may not have bought those songs in the first place) labelled criminals by the hyped-up media and propaganda campaigns while the multi-billion dollar industries who pillage and profiteer in the name of capitalism can be labelled victims of the same “crime”?

What does irk me is the untruthfulness of these campaigns. If the law did in fact make piracy (for personal use) a criminal offence then the campaigns would be legit and all would be well. But to lump it all together with the hardcore mass-scale pirates, blur it and then through propaganda make it seem like a legal precendent…

It’s no small wonder why we (and yes, we, not just me) are growing increasingly distrustful of large formal organisations and governments- they (ab)use their power to deceive the people who put their trust in them. Power corrupts…


Piracy is NOT A Crime*

I did not see one this coming. Under South African law, piracy is not a crime. Contrary to all those ads on the DVDs and the big screens sponsored by the DTI and all the talk and all the hyped media…

I’m no lawyer and like most people rely on the messages that are published by authorities to understand what we can and can not do. So my boundaries are then subsequently defined for me when I choose to assimilate those messages into my day to day life. It seems that one of the big lies has been: piracy is a crime. Ok, maybe not a blatant lie. But they certainly did their best to link the criminal element in. You wouldn’t steal a handbag….?

But all is not what it seems.

It does appear to me as if the spin doctors were doing their best on this one to, well, make or save a buck. And if there’s one thing I learned a long time ago, if you don’t understand who/what/why of any situation… follow the money.

* not a crime for personal use only. not referring to them that import thousands of pirated copies and then bootleg them on the street corner. that IS a crime.



If you enquired as to my health and i responded that i was previously ill, what would you assume my current health status to be?

And if you enquired as to my financial status and i responded that i was previously poor, what would you assume my current financial status to be?

If you enquired to my racial group and i responded that i was previously disadvantaged, what would you assume my current racial group to be?

And as with all things, when we attempt to be politically correct, instead of using plain black and white language, we start painting ourselves into the proverbial.

And if you reasoned that my current racial group is now advantaged by virtue of the fact that it was previously disadvantaged, what is the implication? For there to be a group that is disadvantaged, the assumption is that there exists a group which is advantaged. And now the existence of a previously disadvantaged (and hence currently advantaged) group implies there could be a currently disadvantaged- perhaps the previously advantaged?

It’s a language thing, and language lends itself to all sorts of abuse by implication, perspective, context and ignorance. And which is probably why language is so often used in politics- and the more the better.