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How did everyone except me know this?

Mac OS X; SoftwareUpdaterLauncher; hangs

For any random OS X update that hangs in the dreaded "SoftwareUpdateLauncher" gray screen, do the following:
  1. Unplug all external peripherals including secondary monitors
  2. At this point the SoftwareUpdaterLauncher should allow the Apple Menu to work.
  3. Select the Apple Menu Logout button.
  4. Count to five.
  5. Click your heels together and repeat: "I want to go back to Kansas Working MacOS"...
  6. Take a deep breath and press the Return/Enter key.
  7. After a second or so you will see life again: a prompt on whether to Restart or to install and Restart. Since you're here for that update, you might as well choose Install and reboot.
  8. Watch it install, and restart.
  9. There is no next step. You are done. If not, try the Apple support forums.

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Java folk, please vote up Jsr-310

Getting JSR-310 into Java 8 is a major step (see http://threeten.org/), but to make it even more useful it should be recognized by major other APIs. There are issue trackers where you can trivailly vote on to help get this message across to API suppliers:

JPA -> https://java.net/jira/browse/JPA_SPEC-63
Android -> http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=62192

A great burst of enthusiastic voting might help the powers that be realize that devs are really ready for a real Date/Time API. Because it's time.

Thanks!

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Another Day, Another Year

"When you're young, five years drags. An eternity. When you're older, five years rushes past, dragging you kicking and screaming toward  eternity." -- Glynnis Campbell in "Retrospect", in Best of Star Trek graphic novel.

So another year has come and gone, and precious few blog entries have come or gone here. I'm still developing mobile software (Android) for University Health Network. Still teaching for Learning Tree. I'm finalizing the Third Edition of my Java Cookbook. And I'm doing some writing for InfoQ. And of course still making photographs.

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Join me and other photographers at the Carden Nature Festival

May 31-June 2, 2013 - 2 hours from Toronto

This annual event on the unique Carden Alvar ecosystem features a number of presentations on the ecology of the area, birding, exploration by bicycle or canoe, night hikes, and of course photography.

Photo events include an amazingly-priced full day with David Hemmings focussing (literally) on birds in flight, advanced wildlife photography, wildflower photography, my own Introduction to Wildlife Photography, and even a photo contest! Here's a link to all the photography sessions.

Registration is now open, so please sign up - it starts at the end of this month. Hope to see you there!

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eBay busybodying cranked up a notch

Officious Intermeddling, or, putting 3 barriers in the way of 1 honest transaction

I am just about ready to stop using eBay altogether. Their level of customer support is so limited, you can't send them a message and get a response, you have to talk to them in real time on the phone, when you have a problem like this. I had been unable to use the shipping calculator because there were too many variables involved. So I was trying to tell the buyer what the shipping choices are. I typed my information and hit Send, and got this snotty, condescending little note back:

Your message wasn’t sent because we’ve noticed that it might suggest a purchase outside of eBay.
We realize that you may not have known this, but eBay members should not use the site to contact each other about offsite sales. This policy is in place to make sure that you are covered by eBay protection programs and feedback policies.
Please edit your message and remove anything that indicates buying or selling outside of eBay.
To learn more about our Offers to buy or sell outside of eBay policy, please see: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/rfe-spam-non-ebay-sale.html

And the offensive message?

Hi ___.
The case is packaged and ready to go. Canada Post wants C$7.72 for Small Packet Surface, or C$11.10 for small Packet Air. Neither provides tracking.
The next one up that provides tracking is International Parcel - Surface at C$43.10, which is way too much for a 99c item! (Even if you value it for $10 and they lose it, you're still down about $30 :-)).
So, if you can paypal me the amount $0.99 + one of the above shipping rates I shall send it out to you ASAP (Post office is closed tomorrow (Monday) for Easter national holiday).
Or if you want the formality of a PayPal invoice please tell me which shipping choice and I will invoice you.

Do you see anything about selling outside of eBay? Neither do I.

So then I set out to use their "Send an Invoice" mechanism hoping that their idiotic borked censor feature didn't apply there so much.

Of course a different one did. After I butchered the message to fit the tiny messge box in the Send An Invoice form, I got this:

2 characters left. HTML cannot be displayed.
Message too long.

I did finally send it, by shortening, but I really think it's time to drop off the eBaytanic and start over.

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