Messing with App Inventor

I have been so busy I haven’t played with App Inventor in a long time. Yesterday I read an interesting article about MIT taking over the project. That got me wanting to get things set up again and see where it was at.

It was frustrating because I couldn’t get my phone to connect to the software. I was googling and wracking my brain to figure out the issue. I tried on multiple machines with multiple OS’s. After many hours a very simple solution to my problems finally crept into my brain. I went home, got another USB cable and all my problems went away. Annoying but I’m glad I got it figured out.

On a related note, the App Inventor software is run from the browser. One piece, the “Blocks Editor” is written in Java. So the browser downloads a jnlp file and it needs to be run. I was using Chrome. But when I told it to auto-open the file after downloading it wouldn’t give me a choice in what program did the opening. It was using the open-jdk (which the docs say not to use) and I couldn’t figure out how to get it to let me switch to the Oracle jdk. So I went to running it from Firefox, where I had no problem setting this up correctly. There is a lot I really like about Chrome, but when I want to get stuff done, I inevitably end up back on Firefox

Posted in Geeks In Action, Google, Programming Tagged with: , , ,

Wiring Adventure

I was at Baumax yesterday buying some things. One item I picked up was a plug to attach to a lamp I want to use here. The issue is I can’t figure out how I’m supposed to connect the wires to the plug. The posts that come out of the plug and go into an outlet are solid. There’s no immediately obvious way (to me) to connect the wires to those posts. Images below – click on them for larger.

Posted in General

Run On

It’s an old song, sung a lot of ways by a lot of people. I tend to prefer the Johnny Cash version the best, but that’s no surprise. One verse really stands out.

Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light

It’s not a popular position today but I do believe that much like there are physical laws at work in our universe there are also moral or spiritual laws as well. I believe that whenever anyone seeks to find the truth about life, that when they do it will be in line with these laws. Of course I also think a lot of people could save quite a bit of time by reading the Bible and getting a jump start on discovering what these truths are. All that to say that this portion of the song is based on scripture and is, I believe, something that can be depended on as much as gravity or the fact that 2+2=4.

Luke 8:17
For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

Posted in General

Clean the Fan

This video is supposed to be funny but it’s actually pretty good documentation of how I spent a good chunk of my morning. Ingrid’s laptop was overheating and needed to be cleaned out. I pretty much had to completely disassemble it as shown in the song. I didn’t have to do some things they have in there, but did have to do some they don’t show. Pretty poor engineering.

Posted in Funny, Geeks In Action, Hardware, Video

Vis Per Mare

Proud of my shipmates on the Chuckie-V.

An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 experienced an engine fire following a touch-and-go landing aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) April 11. The pilot was able to execute a single-engine approach and land on board. Upon landing, the aircraft fuselage became engulfed in flames. Carl Vinson’s Crash and Salvage team, assigned to Air Department’s V-1 Division, responded immediately with the P-25 mobile fire fighting vehicle along with the flight deck emergency hose team. The aircraft fire was extinguished using aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), and the pilot exited the plane uninjured. No flight deck personnel were injured in the mishap.

Posted in Military, Navy


I’ve never cared for moving. I like going new places, it’s the process of getting there that isn’t a lot of fun. We are getting to the point where we have to deal with a lot of the less fun parts of moving to Hungary. I found this video of Budapest to be motivating, as it reminds me of how cool it will be to live there. Technically we wont reside in Budapest. We will be living in Diósd, a small town between Budapest and Erd. But it’s close enough that I’m sure we’ll get to enjoy the beauty of the city regularly.

Here’s a map that shows Diósd in relation to the cities around it.

View Larger Map

Posted in Personal, Video, Work Tagged with: ,

U.S.A. Federal IT Dashboard

In keeping with my fondness for Drupal, I’ve got another impressive project that is built on top of Drupal. This one is the Federal IT Dashboard. This is how the site describes itself,

The IT Dashboard is a website enabling federal agencies, industry, the general public and other stakeholders to view details of federal information technology investments.

The purpose of the Dashboard is to provide information on the effectiveness of government IT programs and to support decisions regarding the investment and management of resources. The Dashboard is now being used by the Administration and Congress to make budget and policy decisions.

The site was developed by REI Systems. They are unabashed fans of Drupal. And they’ve taken the time and effort to lay out some great information on why they decided to use Drupal to build their project including the advantages it brought as well as some of the challenges.

They have posted two case studies giving brief but interesting overviews to the development of the IT Dashboard. One approaches the project from a technical perspective and the other gives a management perspective. I think both are great reading.

My real hope now is that REI might contribute back the custom work they did to the community where it is appropriate. Either way, they’ve shown what a powerful platform Drupal is.

Posted in Geeks In Action Tagged with: , ,

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