Once you've installed Tomcat on your Panther machine, you may be looking for an application to deploy with it. In my case, I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone - one, start mucking around with JSP and Java, and two, establish a new weblog-type site dedicated to my homebrewing exploits.
Granted, nobody is going to be able to browse such a site if it's living on my PowerBook, but until such time as I have someplace to host it will have to do.
After a failed attempt at installing OpenCMS, which was probably way more CMS than I need anyway, I found Roller and set up a cron job to begin downloading the source and tools at 5:00 AM, so it would be ready by the time I got up. (Dial-up sucks.)
It built without a flaw, but after following the installation guide I restarted Tomcat, and tried to access Roller via my browser, and received an Exception.
What fixed it in my case was moving the context data out of the /Library/Tomcat/conf/server.xml file and into its own file at /Library/Tomcat/conf/Catalina/localhost/roller.xml. (Assuming you're running Tomcat 5, and that it's installed at /Library/Tomcat.)
Works like a charm.
Reason number 18,142 I'm glad I don't live in the People's Republic of California anymore:
If Atlas Shrugged had been written in 2004, this could well be one of the absurd laws and regulations that ultimately cause all of the nation's thinkers and doers to give the the collective finger to the government, and then disappear off the face of the earth to let the Liz Figueroas and ignorant citizens of the world deal with the mess they've made of things with bullshit lawmaking like this.
I am reminded of the time the city of Santa Monica tried to ban ATM surcharges - (How dare banks charge money to let non-customers use their infrastructure!) Once the ban was announced, all of the banks in Santa Monica got together and said, "OK, not a customer? Then you can't use our ATMs AT ALL. Are you happy now?"
How grand it would be for Google to just give California a hearty FU, re-incorporate in Sealand, and block every single IP address in California.
Found on the shore of Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks, at a parking area.
I didn't bring many clothes, and I didn't really spread out much in the 5 days I was here... some bottles of water in the refrigerator, my jacket in the closet, and a pile of laundry were all I really needed to consolidate; all of my tech gear has been living in the backpack I've been trucking around all week anyway. I grabbed some shots of the apartment for posterity. (Of interest to absolutely nobody but myself... and probably not even myself with the passage of time.)
Pastry for Breakfast
Eager to enjoy some more italian coffee and pastry from Caffe Reggio, I left my neatly packed bags in the room and walked over to MacDougall street, trying to time my arrival to their 9:00 AM opening time.
Too early by a minute or two, and the guy opening the restaurant told me to come back in another 10 minutes or so. I strolled around another couple of blocks, and 15 minutes later walked into the restaurant... I was still the only person there. And another worker looked like he had been hoping to finish whatever it was he was doing before customers started showing up.
The Napoleons I spied in the dessert case last night were just as good as they looked, made with mascarpone cheese instead of pastry cream. I felt would be remiss if I didn't try some of the "Original Cappuccino", so cappuccino it was instead of espresso.
It didn't take me quite as long to get my check as it did last night, but it certainly did take a few minutes to get the waiter's attention, and wait for him to add it up... not a place to go and sit down if you have a pressing engagement.
In my case, I did need to get myself up to Penn station in enough time to purchase my ticket and get onto my train, so I reluctantly did the flagging-the-waiter-down-and-saying-"check, please" thing. I did not, however, pantomime scribbling on an invisible check while merely mouthing the words.
By the time I got back to the hotel, it was suddenly ten o'clock, which gave me exactly an hour to grab the subway to the train station, get my ticket, and get to the platform.
I wouldn't call the hour that followed exactly frantic, but I wouldn't have wanted to cut it any closer than I did. The subway was fine, but the line at the Amtrak counter nearly killed me.
Room For Improvement
Speaking of Amtrak, I'm in business class as I write this. All of the single seats were already taken, so I'm sitting on the aisle next to a stranger. Unfortunately, this means I'm stuck with battery power until people (hopefully) start getting off the train in Connecticut; the only outlets are in the outside wall of the train, and I'm not going to ask somebody to sit there with my power cord across their lap. An outlet in the divider would be quite welcome... I'd love to watch a DVD, and not have my screen as dim as it will go. (I love my PowerBook, but Apple's claims of "up to 4.5 hours" are preposterous. I can maybe get two and a half hours out of my battery if I turn off airport, dim the screen to the point of near-illegibility, and run TextEdit only.) And forget about watching a DVD - I'd probably kill the battery in about 45 minutes.
Also, what's with the conductor throwing my ticket stub in the trash? That's the receipt I need to get reimbursed by work. She did open up the trash and fish it out, but jeez. I don't think I've ever travelled by plane or rail and not received a ticket stub.
Everything through the last section was written on the train last Friday, and sat in a text file on my hard drive until I took a few moments to dust it off and create a retroactive entry for it.
Hard to believe day 4 was already a week ago... it doesn't help that the morning after I got back, I turned right around and headed for upstate New York (like, 45 minutes from Ottowa upstate) with my family, to attend my sister's commencement ceremony... not that I'm complaining about that, it was nice to go on a trip with my family- it just made for a very long week and a half.
It Comes Down to This
I saw it coming yesterday, but here it is, my last full day in New York. I finally got around to trying a cup of coffee from the Porto Rico Importing Co., and immediately wished I'd gotten around to it sooner. As good as the coffee was, I thought their storage method was questionable; the whole store is full of sacks of roasted beans, completely open to the air and getting staler by the minute. I was also surprised to see so many flavored (read: cheap and perfumed with fake raspberry/hazelnut/chocolate) beans at a store claiming to offer the finest coffees in the world... but I suppose if a large part of your business is selling large quantities of coffee to other business, you need to offer that stuff. I'd buy a pound of something exotic and unflavored to take home with me if I thought it hadn't been sitting out in the air all week.
I think I recovered the karma I wasted on Monday morning's Starbucks bagel by patronizing Bagels on the Square at 7 Carmine Street. As I sat in Demo Square enjoying my bagel, I watched a dapper, elderly gentleman as he puffed on a huge cigar and fed the pigeons.
The company whose office I've been working at this week was so gracious as to provide me with a set of keys, in case I decided to get an early start. I haven't needed them so far this week, but today I got there about half an hour earlier than their usual starting time. As I opened the door it occurred to me to wonder if there might be an alarm system nobody had remembered to tell me about.
Sure enough, a friendly ADT control panel started beeping at me as soon as I came through the door. Knowing full well it would do me no good, I pushed the 'stop' button, which silenced things for about 30 seconds, at which point the console started beeping again before launching into a full-on alarm.
At this point I realized I didn't have so much as a cell phone number for anyone at the company, much less the alarm code. I called the ADT number on the control panel and told them what had happened for what it was worth, but naturally they couldn't do anything if I didn't have a code.
After about 10 minutes the klaxon turned itself off, but the alarm system was presumably still telling a police station somewhere that I had broken in... but an employee got there within 10 minutes, and thankfully I didn't have to convince any officers of the law that no, I really was a guest of the company.
Otherwise, it was a good end to a productive week.
I had been thinking about checking out the 1849 restaurant, but apparently the weekend starts on Thursday night around here and it was way too crowded and noisy. I kept walking, going further away from Bleecker, looking for someplace that looked like it would be good without being pretentious, or overly expensive, and not full of people trying to out-cool each other, and so it was that I happened upon Caffe Reggio, home of (so they claim) the oldest Espresso in New York.
It's a small, dark place with years of accumulated old stuff covering most of the free wall surfaces. According to the web site, a Caravaggio hangs in the restaurant - my past masters recognition capabilities are not what they were in high school, but I did spot a couple of very old looking paintings on the walls, and assumed they were nice reproductions until I visited their web site.
The food was great for the price, and while I suppose many would complain that portions were small, I was pleased that my plate of pasta pugliese wasn't bigger than my head, nor was it swimming in white sauce.
I had been eyeing the dessert case since entering the restaurant, and I had to try their Italian style cheesecake, made with ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese. It was served with freshly sliced strawberries (not frozen strawberries in syrupy goo), and it was so good I probably could have eaten a second piece. I probably should have eaten a second piece; I doubt I'll have another piece of cheesecake that good for a long, long time.
I don't know of anyway to substantiate their claim of being New York's oldest place for espresso, but the shot I had would certainly have been worthy of the title.
All in all, a great place to spend my last night in the Village - if/when I get back down there, I'll definitely be returning.
After dinner I thought I might head back to the Peculier Pub for a pint of something or other, but it was packed to the gills. I took a futile walk around the block, looking for a pub with room at the bar, and found nothing. I know the saying goes that nobody wants to eat in an empty restaurant, but criminy, I'd like to eat (or drink) in one where I can hear myself think! I really miss MacGregor's in Rochester. Dark, quiet (a nice, mellow blues jukebox that played strictly in the background), and generally not so crowded that you had to shout across the table.
So, I picked up a bottle of Young's Old Nick, which I've been enjoying as I write this. The night is drawing on, however, and I should drag myself up to the loft to get some sleep so I can get up early, pack and have plenty of time to enjoy an espresso and fine pastry at Caffe Reggio before checking out and heading up to Penn station tomorrow.
I should stop feeling like a tool for taking photos; people who live here must be used to it, and fellow tourists don't care. I took a few photos of the Washington Square arch. This was on my way to the...
Phantom Krispy Kreme
While searching for a different place to try for breakfast, I came across several references to a Krispy Kreme store on 8th street, within easy walking distance. It's been at least two years since I had a Krispy Kreme donut, and they are a thing not to be missed if within walking distance. However, after walking back and forth along 8th street for several blocks on either side of where The Internet said it would be, I concluded that it must have closed recently enough that it still shows up in some directories.
So I wound up with an excellent cup of coffee and an unremarkable muffin from Oren's Daily Roast on Waverly Place between Green and University.
New York Dogs
One thing that has struck me is how happy the dogs I see are. I mean dogs out for walks on leashes - I can't say I've seen any strays here in the village when people are out and about.
Every single one has a big grin on, and just seems perfectly content and happy to be out and about in the big city with their people. Furthermore, quite a few establishments I've walked by are dog-friendly.
I think it probably has to do with the fact that if you're going to have a dog in a place like New York City, you're going to be spending a lot of time in close quarters with it, and you're getting it to be a friend and companion... unlike rural areas where a lot of people seem to think of dogs as something more like possessions, to be kept out in the yard at night and ignored at will.
The End in Sight
This morning it was just the middle of the trip, but this evening suddenly it's my second-to-last night here. Time to start thinking about heading home, in other words; both work-wise (which loose ends need to be tied up tomorrow) and tourist-wise (one night left... what am I going to do with it?) It's amazing how quickly time passes when you're in a situation that demands that you keep track of it.
I cross-referenced my yellow pages search for nearby diners with Google image search to try to locate a real, classic diner. The nearest one was the Moondance Diner on Sixth Avenue at Canal street.
It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either - I'm finding that to be the case with most lower-end places I've been eating at here. The decor was disappointing; much of the original detail seems to have been layered over with paint, and while nobody could mistake it for anything but a diner, it has that nobody-cares-about-me-anymore feeling found in so many coffee shops in Los Angeles I think I need to head up to midtown if I want the definitive glass and chrome experience.
Poor Old Banjo
I've been missing my banjo as the week goes on - evenings would be the perfect time to practice. The longing is particularly acute tonight, as somebody in a neighboring room is practicing The Seeker over and over and over again on electric guitar. Great song, but I am reminded of why I became disenchanted with playing electric guitar; playing without a band sucks. Banjo is perfect for solitary picking, and I'm looking forward to being able to sit and play on my porch again.
I scoped out the Ben and Jerry's store on the next block over on my way home tonight - open until midnight every night, and until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays! Far be it from me to ignore a late night craving with such a resource available, so after posting Day 3 I went and paid way too much (even by Ben and Jerry's standards. Damn, New York is expensive) for a waffle cone sundae. I think Herrell's Ice Cream in Northampton has me spoiled, because although the B&J's was was good, I don't know that it was $5.50 good. Herrell's costs an arm and a leg too, but it generally feels worth it.
What trip to New York would be complete without at least one photo of the Empire State Building?
This is the view north across Washington Square Park from Sullivan street, just north of Bleecker.
I made good on yesterday's threat and did a yellow pages search for diners near the hotel, the nearest of which was the Washington Square Diner. It's not a diner in the classic 1930's glass and chrome way, but it does have the requisite cozy booths and counter with stools. The food wasn't fantastic (I strongly suspect the pancakes came out of a carton), but the service was good enough to elevate the overall experience to one I'd recommend despite run-of-the-mill food. Very friendly and relaxed.
I've been here long enough to settle into a short-term routine of sorts; I have a basic mental map of the neighborhood, I've noted landmarks and potential points of interest, and reached the "You know, I could get used to this" stage that occurs during any pleasant trip that lasts longer than a day or two. (Never mind the stratospheric cost of living, or population density that made us run screaming from Los Angeles to the hinterlands of central Massachusetts not even two years ago.)
I was treated to dinner at an excellent Thai restaurant (the name escapes me, I will try to make a note of it if I pass it again) by my business hosts, and at one point dinner conversation turned to an exchange of city mouse/country mouse observations. Every time I listen to Manhattan residents discuss daily life and geography, I'm the tiniest bit envious. I've been fascinated by the City both times I've been here, and there's just too much to it to absorb without actually living here. Those encyclopedic, cartesian street coordinates that pinpoint the locations of shops, restaurants, galleries, and landmarks take time to accumulate, and they must be ever-changing. It's not really so different than knowing how to navigate your way across the dirt backroads of East Overshoe, Massachusetts, but the sheer density is so overwhelming and yet appealing at the same time. In my heart of hearts, though, I know I wouldn't be happy here on a permanent basis. I like New York City infinitely better than Los Angeles, but there's something in New England that's deep in my bones.
According to things I've read online, the building I'm staying in was built around the turn of the 20th century as some sort of gentlemens' hostel, and degenerated over the years into a seedy flophouse before being renovated and turned into trendy Village apartments in the 70's. My unit appears to have been done over since then, but the public spaces in the interior of the building certainly haven't - it's all brown tile, mirrored columns, brass flashing, and concrete in an ugly, rough vertical stripe pattern, all illuminated by big white globes. Does everyone find the popular styles of their early childhood creepy, or is it just my wife and I?
I spent the rest of the night sipping a bottle of Young's Dirty Dick's Ale, watching cable TV, and instant messaging with my wife. Being in a place as vibrant as New York City, one has the constant feeling that one should be Out Doing Something with every spare moment, just because There's So Much To Do... but going out just for the sake of Going Out is never something I've been good at, especially when I'm by myself. It's OK to chill out, whether you're at home or in a loft in Greenwich Village.
As for the Dirty Dick's, once again I found myself celebrating the wonderful balance of English ales... a little bit fruity without being too sweet, with nice mellow undertones. I don't think I've had a bad beer from Young's yet.
This is a bad one, and I'm a little surprised that Apple hasn't addressed it yet.
Fortunately, there's an easy enough fix, but it's somewhat hackish.
If enough people start pointing this flaw out, hopefully Apple will stop putting its fingers in its ears and saying 'LA LA LA LA LA LA LA', and issue some sort of fix.
Washington Square Park, New York
This guy was sitting in the tree, happily working away at a peanut. He was pretty sure I was going to try to steal his nut, hence the steely-eyed stare you see in this photograph.
Washington Square Park
New York, New York
My alarm clock worked like a charm; I woke up to the sweet strains of Prong. I got up, did the requisite e-mail check, and went out to see what I could see in the way of coffee and some sort of sustenance.
Like a big loser, I wound up getting coffee and a bagel from Starbucks. A bagel, I'm in New York City and I get a bagel from Starbucks. It was early (before 7:00), and I was surprised not to find more places open... in the end, familiarity and tired feet (new shoes, much more walking than usual) won out. Tomorrow morning I am determined to seek out a nearby diner/classic coffee shop with the help of the internet.
On my way back from the office where I spent the day, I wound up straying past Thomspon avenue, and started back towards my neighborhood on Broadway. When I crossed Prince street, I realized I was a hop, skip, and a jump from the SoHo Apple Store, so I ventured in. It was rather like the one in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, but a lot bigger, and fancier in terms of interior architecture. (It is SoHo, after all) I picked up a wireless mouse for the Compaq laptop I'm using for this trip, but declined to pay $20 for a 7 foot CAT-5 patch cable for my hotel room - there's a nearby wireless hot spot that is intermittent, but good enough.
I walked back to Bleecker street along Broadway, past all the painfully trendy haute couture clothing and furniture stores, and wondered to myself (not for the first time - I used to work in Beverly Hills after all) what it must be like to have that shit matter to you.
I had dinner at the Peculier Pub just over at 145 Bleecker Street. Well, when I say dinner I mean a Philly Cheesesteak and fries - good fries, hot and crisp if a little bit greasy. The sandwich wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't bad either. I settled on the Peculier after reading a few reviews praising its extensive beer selection.
I think the last time I saw that many beers offered in one place was at Barney's Beanery, or possibly The Yard House. (Not many places come close to The Yard House when it comes to beer selection. They actually had Watney's Red Barrell on tap.)
I jumped at the chance to try a draught pint of Old Speckled Hen, and was struck as always by how well-balanced so many British ales are. While enjoying the Old Speckled Hen, I spied Kronenbourg on the beer list. Kronenbourg is one of my all-time favorites, largely for the strong memory associations its taste triggers; Kronenbourg was as common as Budweiser when I visited Switzerland for two weeks in high school, and it's really good beer.
What I got was a somewhat skunky, stale bottle of beer that had probably been languishing in the cooler for a couple of years... a disappointment after the Old Speckled Hen. Upon consulting the Kronenbourg web site I see that what I had at the pub was Kronenbourg '1664', as opposed to regular old Kronenbourg, but either way it was stale and skunky.
Nevertheless, I would recommend the Peculier to anyone who likes sampling uncommon beers, and servicable junky bar food - and if you stick to the beers on tap, you can't go wrong.
Yes, the ultimate fanboy photo. After using Windows XP extensively for the last couple of days, though, I have to give Apple some props. I had honestly forgotten how much of the tedious Windows configuration/troubleshooting crap just goes away with OS X on single-vendor hardware.
As originally mentioned, I'm in New York for most of the week.
I don't travel much; plenty of day trips, but rarely do I go anyplace involving a mode of transport other than car, or a stay in a hotel, so I've never really had the occaision to keep trip diaries like my friend Josh. At least, not since starting a weblog.
I didn't really keep any record of my last trip to New York other than a nice photo or two, and four years later I don't remember a whole lot. To be fair, there's not a whole lot to remember - New York city in February is kind of harsh, and it gets dark at about 4:30; I spent most of my time in the city either in the office or in my hotel room.
So this time it goes in the blog. I'm already a day behind, so here's day one in a nutshell:
Took the train from Amherst, Massachusetts in to Penn Station, where I caught the A train straight downtown. A five minute walk brought me to the hotel, which is really more of a 'short term corporate housing' sort of a deal - fortunately I got here before the office was closed. I suppose the concierge might have been able to do something, but it's hard to say. This trip happened on fairly short notice, and this was the only thing available that wouldn't have required a cross-town trip to the office where I'll be spending my days. I even got upgraded from the place originally booked, which is how it is that I find myself in a furnished studio loft in the heart of Greenwich Village, with fridge, stove, and cupboards full of plates, pots, pans, and cutlery. I don't know what's going on in the city that would make rooms so scarce - perhaps people coming into town for commencement at various colleges around the city.
I spent my first evening in New York exploring the Village for a radius of a couple of blocks around the hotel. After surveying the dozens of restaurants and cafes, I decided to start the trip off with a slice of pizza from a nondescript hole in the wall... just like last time, when I had a piece of pizza from a nondescript hole in the wall up in midtown, it kicked the ass of just about anything I found in six years in Los Angeles. And, I must admit, it was better than a lot of the pizza I've found in north central Massachusetts.
I wound the night down by nerding around on the computer, as evidenced by my photo post and the OS X Cron/iTunes alarm clock geekery. (Which, I might add, worked perfectly.)
Time to get going - more to come.
I find myself tonight in New York City without an alarm clock. This probably isn't much of an issue, as I rarely sleep much past 7:00 AM these days, but seeing as I'm staying at a place that doesn't have a front desk, as such, (it's a long story, but a nice place) I figured I should look into something I can run on my PowerBook to wake me up.
There's no shortage of alarm clock utilities out there for OS X, but most are shareware and as I only need it for the next five days, I can't be bothered.
Especially since I found this most excellent page that addresses the problem in true geek fashion:
Looking west towards Sixth Avenue. Taken after an evening spent strolling around Greenwich Village.
Movable Type 3.0 is out, and the MT faithful are pissed at Six Apart for having the temerity to try to make money on their product.
I haven't familiarized myself with the pricing structure, but it does sound expensive compared to Movable Type 2, which was... free. You know, everybody's much loved, versatile, powerful Movable Type 2 which they can continue to use with all of its features, which was... free.
Yes, MT has benefitted tremendously from a community of developers who have created dozens of plugins that make MT far more useful than its core engine, and yes, I'm sure a lot of people have donated what they could to Six Apart in the past, and both of those groups of people are probably a little bit stung.
But you have to consider the alternative... if Six Apart gives the full-blown, unrestricted version of Movable Type 3 away on the same honors system basis, they're not going to be able to sustain themselves as a company and continue development.
A good many of the angry TrackBacks to Mena Trott's announcement mention that alternatives X, Y, and Z are free/cheaper, and threaten to abandon Movable Type forever.
My speculatation that all those free alternatives are part of the reason Six Apart is pursuing a new, aggressive pricing structure. If MT 3.0 had been priced at pretty much anything but free, people would still go storming off to the other free tools out there. The grass-roots fan base is nothing if not devoted, but it's not where the money is*. Six Apart may have a good many more corporate clients than we lay users suspect, and people who make informed purchasing decisions for companies generally don't mind paying a premium for software that works well. Is it a bummer for single, non-commercial users? Sure. Are Ben and Mena evil? No, they run Six Apart, whose flagship product is Movable Type. Is Six Apart evil? No, they're a business whose primary objective is to sustain itself, which means making money. I don't think the new pricing is a money grab, I think it's an anticipation of a shift in customer base.
Bottom line, MT 2 is a nice tool for running a weblog, it's still free, and nobody is forcing anybody to upgrade. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't feel particularly betrayed/dismayed:
*Yes, there are plenty of hobby users who did make donations... but I expect there are a lot more who didn't. (I didn't, and I have more than 300 entries in my MT site.)
A Google search for this little problem turned up exactly one result, so let me disseminate the knowledge further.
To access the BIOS on a Toshiba A45 series laptop, Hit 'ESC' during the boot screen. It will tell you to "Check System, then Press [F1]", which will let you into the BIOS setup screen.