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Archive for October 2009


I’ve posted a lot lately,  but I think this post is well deserved. Tomer has recently finished an open source project he’s been working on for quite some time – ant-intellij-tasks. It is an ant task that takes an intellij-format project structures, builds and tests it. We have been using it for the past two months or so, and I must say it has brought great joy to the CI. Before that, we used to maintain two separate sets of files – IntelliJ project files, because that’s our IDE of choice, and Eclipse files, because … that’s how the build system worked. Many a times the build broke because one did not apply a change to the eclipse file, and “it all worked on his machine“. No more (we still have broken builds, but usually not because of compilation errors).

In related news, JetBrains recently open-sourced IntelliJ itself. Tomer’s work is still worth while, simply because there is no other tool we know of that does what it does – however the code there might use some refactoring now that he can simply use portions of the IntelliJ codebase. If you want to help, go on to the project homepage.

There’s a (meta) community emerging

As you probably know, I joined the new wave and got my own Stack Exchange site. It’s really amazing how many different SE sites are emerging so rapidly. There’s a strong sense of (meta) community with most of the site owners heavily participating in discussions on meta stackexchange.

There is some overlap between different sites, but most sites I’ve seen are original and useful. The owner/s of one SE site have been nice enough to post links to other SE sites, including Draw3Cards, at the top of their homepage!

Today I convinced a friend at work to open his own website, and I think you should to – before all the good ones are taken. Come and join us, it’s really that easy.

Trying out the StackExchange platform

For the last couple of days I’ve been obsessing over a new toy. Jeol & Jeff, the powers behind StackOverflow, have launched a public beta of StackExchange – a platform for hosting Q&A sites. Browsing the list of stack exchange sites, I saw several more and less successful sites, including:

I decided to try and open my own site, about Magic: The Gathering. The setup itself was rather easy. I:

  • Bought a domain and set it up, with some help
  • Seeded the site with some questions and answers
  • Tweaked the color scheme, logo and favicon (thanks Eran)
  • Got some friends to help out (though so far they’ve only posted answers, not questions)
  • Setup Google Analytics, and noticed incoming search traffic only stayed for 42 seconds on the site
  • Opened a small AdWords campaign, paying 1.5$ a day to test the water.
  • Post the site on this blog, of course.

Now what remains to be seen is whether the site can accumulate the needed critical mass. For now, the site is in beta, meaning I don’t have to pay anything to keep it running (except time and effort). When the beta is over, the cost will be $129 a month, which is quite challenging to make using adsense.

Keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂


Just got a $100 coupon for AdWords by visiting Google Webmasters Tools – how cool is that? In a second look, it appears the coupon was lying in my Webmasters Tools inbox for two months now, just waiting for the perfect opportunity.

I also forgot to mention opening a uservoice forum (+ adding the widget to my site).

Zendikar draft walkthrough (mono-red)

Chcek out my recent draft walkthrough on monored Zendikar.

So this is what an empty StackOverflow looks like

Well, I said this would happen.

StackOverflow’s flood gates are open, and there are many new sites based on the stackoverflow engine.

One of those that I think has great potential is Ask Science, though at the moment it’s rather desolate:

Ouch, System process is locking my folders!

A devilish problem I’ve had in the past week is the the Windows “System” process was locking a folder or two. This was on a build agent, and was causing problems deleting that folder as part of the build. This was all happening while I was introducing a new build type to our collection – automated system tests using Selenium – and I initially thought some voodoo in Selenium was causing the problem.

LockHunter (a 64-bit Unlocker equivalent) wasn’t able to unlock the folder (though it did well on folders locked by other processes). The problem seemed to go away after a reboot of the build agent, but then came back to haunt me. I tried asking this on SuperUser (StackOverflow’s colorful twin), but to no avail.

Well, last night I finally found the problem – my own computer had an open explorer window on one of the folders in the build server. I believe this window persisted even after an agent reboot. Closing it solved the problem, and achieved world peace.