Monday, December 3, 2007

Around and Beyond SC07

Before I even noticed, two whole months flew around that emotional and exhausting conference in Reno. I was unintentionally and indirectly reminded the other day that anxious readers have been waiting for news updates, here comes the chronicle summary I guess.

  • CIMA High Availability prototype finished before SC07. Several application level bugs and protocol limitations have been discovered, fixed, or planned for improvements. After enormous physical cable pulling tests in the machine room, we were finally confident with what to expect in various failure cases, and set up the two failover servers in geographically distributed locations. Well, 50 miles apart may not be much, but it's better than 5 inches.

  • SC07 had been quite eventful: attended GCE07 because my name incidentally appeared in one of the papers; gave a booth presentation on the CIMA High Availability project; served as the mobile communication center between reno booth and CIMA east coast headquarter office; met old friends scattered in booths around the show floor; and most important of all, witnessed the great conquer of data capacitor winning the bandwidth challenge, which makes us all proud.

  • Heading back and onto the portal world, we started a project to replace open direct data links in CIMA portal with GridFTP on demand transferring services. The idea is rather straightforward, while sorting through complex code structures resulted from a blend of Windows and Linux developers over the years had not been. A prototype is now in place after all the funs with jars, and the portlet is about twice slower than the original. Our clients cheered whole-heartedly, "Impressive! Much faster than I expected!" Though paying a performance price in exchange for security is expected, we are still seeking ways to bargain.

  • iCenter project that collaborates with the biology department to establish data management infrastructures for a new light-microscopy core facility is steadily progressing. A couple of productive meetings acquiring user requirements have been held.

  • WIYN ODI Data Pipeline and Distribution project is also marching forward, and we had a whole day planning and discussion meeting with visitors from LSST and NOAO just recently.

  • Now talking about meetings, there had been a few others too, like final TeraGrid weekly status meeting, status meeting with glorious data capacitor, and strategic meeting preparation meeting. Does Skype video conferencing count?

Looking forward, a couple of other portal projects are in the lineup too, and I'm hoping to work/write more about the high availability project with DRBD and heartbeat in my copious free time, before it's completely spaced.

With the holiday season right around the corner, I'm very attempted to make a resolution about more dedicated blogging in the coming new year, via a youtube-banned video. So long, 2007.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Leopard widget repair DIY

After (thankfully) upgrading to Leopard, a couple of my favorite dashboard widgets started to have problems. Obviously it's hard for me to live without knowing the current weather outside, or the current date in Lunar calendar, I started my hunting trip of those little tiny lines of codes that broke under the latest Safari/Leopard, and here's a summary of how:

  • Sharp the weapon: in Developer Tools that came with Leopard, Dashcode is a nice debugging environment that one can view, modify and test run widgets from source. Once installed, it can be found under /Developer/Applications/

  • Know the enemy: all downloaded third-party widgets are installed in ./Library/Widgets/ under user's home directory, and the widget source can be viewed via "Show Package Contents" option with right mouse click.

  • Onto the weather: after downloading WeatherBug Local Weather version released on Nov. 7, 2007, Leopard complains that it can't be installed because it's not a widget. Dashcode revealed the truth that file Info.plist is missing. Actually it was not missing, but named as info.plist, with the small "i". That's all needed to get radar maps back on board.

  • Finally the date: China Calendar widget stopped reacting to mouse clicks on any buttons under Leopard, and its "confirm" button appeared to have misalignment on edges. Only file mycal.html needs to be modified for complete repair: replacing the parameter this.tag with in all mouse movement functions fixes the former, and specifying source of genericButton.js to use the system one at file:///System/Library/WidgetResources/button/genericButton.js fixes the later.

One less thing to be unhappy about Leopard.