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Debian is a wonderful “open source” Linux distribution that I have been using for quite some time now. One problem that creeps up every now and then is the whole “open source” thing–frankly sometimes you need proprietary software. Now I hate that and if you know any better you probably do too, but such is the world we live in.

I needed Java SE 7 to try to fix a small problem I had been having with PyCharm. For some reason the “ctl+v” for pasting is not working and I had seen somewhere on a forum that the java version could be causing a problem. I had been using openjdk-7 –and since I don’t do much in java–that really hadn’t been much of an issue. But now it was and Debian does not have the official Oracle version in the repositories–anywhere. (Oracle is evil by the way).

So off to some “googling” to find out a solution…

While Debian does not provide the oracle version in the repos, they do have a neat package called “java-package” which is kindly provided for the sole purpose of helping poor developers install the evil official version of java on their systems. (Get the feeling that this is a fairly frequent problem). This lovely little package installs a program called “make-jpkg” which you can then use to compile a .deb installer to install on your system.

So should you need to do this little exercise it will look like this:

  1. Download Java SE 7 to your computer.
  2. open your terminal and cd into your Downloads folder or wherever you downloaded the file to.
  3. then make-jpkg your-file-here.tar.gz to compile that compressed file into a .deb file.
  4. Finally sudo dpkg -i your-new-deb-file-here.deb to install Oracle’s java.

You are also probably interested in using this version of java on a regular basis–and since you have it now maybe even all the time. We can do that also!

In your command line type sudo update-alternatives --config java. This will bring up a small command line menu that will enable you to change which version of Java you want to be your default version:

kevin@debian:~/Development/FlaskHF$ sudo update-alternatives --config java
There are 2 choices for the alternative java (providing /usr/bin/java).

  Selection    Path                                           Priority   Status
------------------------------------------------------------
  0            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-i386/jre/bin/java   1061      auto mode
* 1            /usr/lib/jvm/j2sdk1.7-oracle/jre/bin/java       317       manual mode
  2            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-i386/jre/bin/java   1061      manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number:

Simply enter the number of the version you want and you’re done! Hopefully this will be of some help to you. Leave any comments or helpful tips below.

PS This didn’t solve my Pycharm problem so if you have any tips you can pass those there also :(

PPS I just solved the PyCharm problem it was related to keyboard layout order in Debian. Weird! see thread.

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Interesting read over at VentureBeat.com about Elon Musk and the way he views and analyzes problems. The articles refers to his principle of analysis as “first principles thinking”:

Over 2300 years ago, Aristotle said that a first principle is the “first basis from which a thing is known” and that pursuing first principles is the key to doing any sort of systemic inquiry — whether in philosophy, as he did, or in business, as Musk does.

Musk has led his team at SpaceX to do their thinking from the ground up and not just do comparisons or “analogy” thinking. I admire Musk’s accomplishments with Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX and this article really helps to show one of the reasons he has experienced so much success.

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SVG is a big deal. It seems to me like its becoming a bigger deal, at least, I’m running into it more often. The trend toward responsive design is probably at the root of this push. SVG allows for fantastic scalability and the source code behind the images is actually xml and editable. I ran into Steven Bradley’s blog vanseodesign.com a few weeks ago and have really profited from his tutorials on SVG. If you’re looking for a good starting point I would recommend you start here and follow along. He has a great writing style and his examples are understandable.

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Great Article on some “best practices” for PHP. We can never underestimate the need for keeping our code and our servers up to date. I’m still trying to figure out what to do about WordPress and HTTPS, and this definitely made me do some more thinking about it. You can catch the article over here.

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I remember wondering whether Heaven would be boring. I’ve become convinced over the years that it won’t be for a number of reasons. Dave Radford published a great article over at DesiringGod that deals with this issue. If you’ve wondered about this it may help out.

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Your email isn’t secure. It may be stored securely (or not), but it is not sent securely. Between the government being able to raid hosting services or email services and between the government being able to snoop on internet communications, your emails don’t have a lot of privacy.

PGP is by far the best way to secure your emails, but its kind of difficult. And oh yeah, no one else uses it. So everyone is constantly saying things like “your emails are weird” or “hey, your php is broken” (which is still cracking me up actually).

Sounds like the folks who were behind Lavabit–what used to be a bright spot in the email security arena–are working on a new protocol that will help keep your emails safe. Ars Technica recently wrote a write-up about them here and its worth a read. Hopefully the DarkMail Technical Alliance will be able to get their new protocol functional and adopted–which I suspect given the current opposition to encryption will be fairly difficult.

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WordPress does great as a Content Management System, but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to getting ready for Social Media. Google, Facebook, and Twitter all have their own markup schemes which really provide some enhancements to content that is shared on those networks. Getting that markup on WordPress is the challenge. There are plugins that help provide this sort of functionality, but I prefer to keep it simple and I also like to know how it is done. So I rolled up my sleeves and put something together to get the job done.

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Disney has usually done a pretty good job with technology. Unfortunately for me, “Its a small world” always gets mentioned as an example about that somehow and it breaks back some very painful memories of a trip to Disney World….

Thankfully this article doesn’t discuss that ride, and instead highlights Disney CEO Bob Iger’s push at Disney to assimilate and advance new technology at Disney and Pixar. Neat insight into his leadership style and organization. You can read it at here.