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Bits matter

Posted by daniel on March 15, 2005 at 5:17 AM PST

Can software be hazardous to your health?

Jonathan Simon sent me a link to a scary post that included this: It is still a common belief that any good engineer can build software, regardless of whether he or she is trained in state-of-the-art software-engineering procedures. Many companies building safety-critical software are not using proper procedures from a software-engineering and safety-engineering perspective.

In today's href="http://weblogs.java.net"> Weblogs Jonathan's post Killing your users reminds us of the people using our software in potentially critical applications. When I used to teach math there were always pictures of collapsing bridges or stories of famous and costly miscalculations (the NASA do we mean mi/hr or ft/sec blunder) with the caption "Do I get partial credit?"

Kirill Grouchnikov has written a detailed post on How to create custom popup menus . " Creating custom menu items in Swing popup menus is not as hard as it seems. Using few Java2D features (HTML support, anti-aliased texts and gradient paints ) and simple color interpolation allows to add visually appealing header items to your popup menus."

John Mitchell reports on the new Steele Fortress. He links to " Guy Steele's latest project is a new programming language called Fortress. "


By the way, each morning I read through the news items before posting them. Steve Mallett, our news director, continues to do a great job at finding nuggets of interest to the Java community (they don't have to specifically be about a Java technology). Feel free to submit your links to him using the URL provided below. Much of the news is XXX announces the release of YYY, but even then Steve looks for the Java in the story. Look for his Java connection in his report this morning about VB programmers feeling abandoned.


In Also
in Java Today
, J2SE 5.0 has introduced and changed some Hotspot Garbage Collection Configuration Options . This tip provides some examples of options and points to more comprehensive documentation. "The HotSpot compiler offers multiple options for configuring the model to use for garbage collection. The default is the serial collector that was available in the prior version of the J2SE platform. It only uses a single thread of control (that is, a single CPU). However, J2SE 5.0 makes available the following other models: throughput collector, concurrent low pause collector, and incremental low pause collector."

This month's Java News Brief from OCI is Lance Finney's Intro to JGoodies Forms . This article concentrates on the work of "Karsten Lentzsch at JGoodies [who] has created an open source Layout Manager with all the power of GridBagLayout without all the complexity. FormLayout is the keystone of the JGoodies Forms framework." The article presents a GridBagLayout example, looks at the issues raised, and then re-implements the design using JGoodies.


In Projects and
Communities
, Tuesday at 11:00 A.M. PST/19:00 UTC, bring your questions to the JavaLive chat on HotSpot VM performance with Sun engineers, Peter Kessler ( technical lead for garbage collection) and Ross Knippel (HotSpot Server Compiler).

Daniel Brookshier reports on new GELC projects including lionra (high performance computing), cas (computer algebra system), javabr (a Java web source for Brazilians), and JRoom (a learning project for room rentals).


The hotspot thread continues
in today's href="http://forums.java.net/jive/index.jspa">Forums. Murphee begins a question "On 64 bit machines, all pointers/references are 64 bits long... even though an address space that large won't be available for decades. Are there any ideas for using parts of the pointers to store data (think Immediate values, tagged values,...)?"

Still looking for a free or cheap reporting engine? Vladam writes that "You can try JFreeReport (and JFreeChart). http://www.jfree.org"


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Can software be hazardous to your health?