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Recharging your Batteries

Posted by daniel on August 15, 2003 at 8:21 AM PDT

Fifteen hours of no power means no computer, no tv, no cellphone, and no lights. It also means a couple of candles, a deck of cards, and the best view of stars we've had in Cleveland since the last blackout. This morning, as many of us compare notes, we feel refreshed and ready to go.

Taking time to recharge your batteries shouldn't wait for the next forced break from our wired world. Sometimes you need time away from your current project to learn new technology, to play with a new programming language, or to catch up on your reading. This isn't vacation time - it's work time - but some places treat this necessary professional development time as not necessary because it doesn't contribute to the bottom line.

Developers at Connextra Ltd use the notion of Gold Cards. You earn so many gold cards per month and can spend them to take time away "to explore technical possibilities in a controlled and focused way that leads to innovative stories and that gives team members a chance to be individually recognized. This has resulted in a noticeable increase in innovation and improved job satisfaction among developers." You can read more in Innovation and Sustainability with Gold Cards.

There are many ways to institutionalize this necessary activity. What are you trying?

In answer to today's most frequently asked question (where was I when the lights went out), I was at the UPS store mailing the final page proofs of my latest book back to Prentice Hall. That was yesterday afternoon at around 4 pm. To my amazement, despite the power problems at my end, at the destination end, and everywhere in between - the package was delivered this morning by 9:30 am.

In today's featured Weblogs Chet Haase explores the characterization: BufferedImage as Good as Butter. He recommends that you always use the BufferedImage instead of the old Image APIs.

In particular, check out the simple commands like:
new BufferedImage(int width, int height, int type)
that give you an image of the width/height/type you require, synchronously (that is, after the method returns, that image does exist; no need to send it through MediaTracker to await its imminent arrival). You can then get at the data directly (getRGB, setRGB), grab the Raster object (which allows more ways of getting at the pixel data), get the ColorModel, and all sorts of other complex and interesting stuff. But you don't have to do anything complicated with it to take advantage of this API; you can just create that image, get the Graphics object, render to it, and away you go.

Our other weblog entry is from Erik Hatcher. Erik wrote the recent Lucene Intro. He notes in today's entry Nutch - Google in a JAR that the open source search engine framework will use Lucene for indexing and searching.

In the Also Today section, we link to project iwakichat. Take a look at the source code for this "one to one encrypted chat application." We also link to a series of articles on autonomic computing that I wrote based on sessions I attended at developerWorks Live! this past spring. The goals of autonomic computing is to create systems that are self-managing, self-optimizing, and self-healing.

From the Java Today News Page, news editor Steve Mallett, has gathered the following News Headlines .

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