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The meaning of deadlines

Posted by daniel on February 9, 2004 at 7:20 AM PST

Deadlines are kind of like speed limits. The percentage of people submitting papers before the last day permitted is just a bit lower than the percentage of people driving under the speed limit on the highway.

Last week National Public Radio ran a story they titled Students Blame FedEx for Missed Deadline . The story details the experience of "thirty students whose Fulbright applications were rejected because they arrived late at the U.S. Department of Education." In the interview, graduate student Jason Seawright described the Fulbright award as "the most prestigious fellowship that's available to a social scientist." He said that it "opens doors" and "helps you for the rest of your career".

Like many of us, Jason's application wasn't submitted until the day that it had to be postmarked. The story summary says that "The students missed the deadline because FedEx failed to pick up the package at the scheduled time." Of course, the students also missed the deadline because they waited until the last moment to send off the application.

I'm no different. In Projects and Communities we link to today's deadline for submitting to O'Reilly's Open Source conference. Mine will be among those last minute submissions. I'd love to see the stats for how many of the JavaOne submissions come in on the last day or two. A former student of mine once went to submit a talk just hours after the deadline to find that the submissions page had changed to an announcement that submissions were no longer being accepted. He searched for the page in Google and used the cached version of the page to submit his paper.

The other featured community is
NetBeans
which announces the availability of NetBeans 3.6. The new features include appearance and coding enhancements.


Deadlines also loom in today's Weblogs . James Gosling reminds you to Support the T-Shirt Hurling Contest! The deadline is approaching for the JavaOne t-shirt hurling contest. Gosling invites you to "Get outside your box and think of some cool way to get t-shirts out to an audience. To spice things up a little I've decided to try an experiment to boost the prize money. "

Richard Monson-Haefel reports back on your feedback of what can be done to make EJB better in 13 improvements for EJB . Many of the items indicated a desire to change the CMP model. Another requested feature is to ease portability by making the deployment descriptors more like XDoclet.

Bob Lee's debut blog is on Exception Handling in Web Applications. He writes, "If you've ever diagnosed a bug in a web application, you've undoubtedly experienced annoyance digging through a list of fifteen exception stack traces trying to identify the one you're interested in (if it's even present), or a sinking feeling when you tailed the web server log only to find:
java.lang.NullPointerException

I sure have. The output to the browser client helps even less, typically churning out the de facto, "Cannot display page," message.


In
Also in Java Today
if you are looking for a quick overview of what's new in the Tiger beta release, check out J2SE 1.5 in a Nutshell. In addition to the pointers to the 15 JSR used in Tiger, you will get before and after code examples that result from adding Generic Types, Metadata, Autoboxing, and the enhanced for loop to your code. There are also examples of varargs and how to take advantage of the new code profiling features.

Lara D'Abreo writes that J2EE frees you from " such low-level issues as threading, synchronization, or persistence, you also relinquish control of key architectural considerations such as load balancing and scaling. Leaving these tasks?which strongly impact performance?to the EJB container can lead to performance problems, because ultimately no third-party software can know your application as well as you do." D'Abreo offers J2EE Design Strategies That Boost Performance .


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