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Google Web Toolkit (GWT) and JSON Serialization

Anyone interested in JSON serialization for Google Web Toolkit should give GWTProJsonSerializer a try. My company, Integrity Digital Solutions has allowed me to improve and contribute back. I have finished a major improvement to allow serialization of various map types and enumerations. I have also added the ability to serialize lists of lists or lists and so on.

Finally, it will also now serialize ArrayLists and HashMaps with no class implementing the JsonSerializable interface. This all means you can easily serialize complex data structures in GWT. Hooray!

Back On Track

I am back on track with blogging. We released TexasWideOpen about two months ago. Growth is slow, but there is movement. I would appreciate any feedback or help with marketing you could do. Use the free trial and tell me what you think.

I am mainly writing to get myself moving again with technical blogging. I am really digging into python and django lately. I had the occasion to write an app to do A/B or multivariate testing the past week. It was a great exercise. You can see the results at http://github.com/ubiquitousthey/django-mvtester.

I have also split up our TexasWideOpen project into several smaller apps that I am hoping to release sometime soon. My favorite is one that uses a JSON file to define a file format and then allows you to import that file into django models. We have used it to import files from roughly 30 sources. It is very modular and easy to add new format types. I think it could be useful for a variety of projects.

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing various things I have learned just to help anyone out there who might do a search. I'd love to save someone time the way many others have me. Adios.

Annual Six Month Update

A failed business venture (I am quitting PDI, or maybe not)

A new church (Driving for doctrine)

Deepening relationships (Friends take time)

Quicksilver (Why isn#039t there a windows version?)

A few interesting encounters with a drug addict (sad and exhilarating)

Some great sermons (www.redeemer.com)

Working out (Well, trying)

Three amazing boys

A new iPod (It is cool to have over 3000 songs and all your photos with you)

Playing sudoku (I thought it was silly, but now I am addicted)

96 hours of 24 (Jack Bauer is awsome)

More sleep (less blogging)

One awful 6 months of employment at PDI (But Enterprise has now replaced RMS)

Ruby on Rails experiments

Many visits from new neighborhood friends (some kids have it really rough)

Hundreds of blog ideas

Lots of things I can't tell you (Jack said it's classified)

A great wife to share it all with (Some great conversations, and...other stuff)

One wonderful God who has given it all (good and bad, I know he loves me)

P.S. Maybe I'll write before next June. Use RSS just in case.

Cross Cultural Experience In the Bathroom

Sometimes cross-cultural experiences can make for some of the funniest exchanges. Sometimes what is appropriate in one culture is just completely inappropriate in another. Beware, as many of these exchanges, this one is rated PG.

I was in the bathroom at work the other day out of the vision of those walking in the door. I thought I heard two men walk in. After a couple of seconds I heard each say a polite, "Hello" to the other. One voice I recognized as a relatively new coworker. The other was the voice of a small, old black man.

The next thing the old voice said was, "So, how big did it get?" After a couple of seconds, my large, tall coworker replied, "How big did what get?" "Your peter," the old man replied. Yes, you did read that correctly. There was a long, long silence. I was dying trying to hold in my laughter.

After a couple of seconds, the embarrassed old man apologized saying, "I didn't mean anything by that. I was only joking" Clearly, the old man had received the appropriate social punishment for such a statement.

This made me think about how I would react. In general, I don't really like to talk at the urinal, although, some would hold a perfectly normal conversation there with their pants unzipped. This is a good time for me to try to practice some spiritual discipline and love the guy anyway and just carry on as he does. Men should be forgiven if they violate a man-law.

It helps to be forgiving to imagine my grandfather standing at a urinal while some young guy comes up and says, "How's it hangin'" You can imagine the rest of the conversation...

Out of touch

Blue Denim Jumper Mafia is a term used by The Discoshaman. If you don't know what I am talking about, either you aren't a Christian, you don't live in America, or you're one of them. Sorry.

Well, my place of business and CEO's conscience was hit by a bombshell from this squeaky wheel. PDI has a summer picnic every year. For the past 2 years, they have produced a shirt for the kids calling them "Jr. Teammates." Teammate is a parent company thing: don''t ask. Anyway, they sent out the design for this year and asked for orders.

I thought it was very cool. We picked our colors and ordered our 2 (oops should have been 3). Picking colors is a company thing: don't ask. I was proud of our normally conservative CEO for going with such a cool design.

Then, we all got an email that there was a problem with the ordering and that we were to stay tuned. Then we got an email from our CEO saying that he feared that some parents might object to the "gaming" theme. The company logo is in the PS2 font, and there is a controller and directional pad. Last I remember he "gaming" industry referred to games played in Las Vegas not on your TV in your living room. Anyway, he was asking if he was off track.

Then we received a clarifying email triggered by a reply to him objecting to the design. The reply to him voiced some concern about a mom letting her seven year-old wear it. The only problem was that she was referring the ad and not the shirt design which required you to follow a link. She said she couldn't see it very well, but she wouldn't let her seven year-old wear it.

First of all, the email was clear. Why is it that reactionary people have trouble reading? There was a link to the shirt and a picture of a PS2 ad. It was not ambiguous. Secondly, why would we have a shirt that said PS2? Finally, if you can't see the design, how do you know if you object?

At this my group broke for a conversation. I wouldn't call my group the most conservative group in the company, so maybe we were not representative, but I think they were more offended by the fact that someone would think this than by the original design. They thought it was pretty ridiculous, and I must say that I agreed when them. My four and three year-olds play Xbox with me. Now we regulate it and only play age-appropriate games, but I as a hard-core Christian have nothing particular about kids "gaming."

In fact, I think this may show why there is a culture war and why Christians are so poor at reaching the lost. I am not saying you have to be a fan of Grand Theft Auto or even Halo, but come on. I found it highly ironic that someone is offended by the "gaming" theme in a company that gets most of its money from customers whose primary products are fossil fuel, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and beer. Could there be a more offensive industry? I really just wish that Christians would just shut up about small things. There are just too many big things out there.

Now that you have heard the controversy. Here is the shirt.

To make matter's worse, now there is an alternative shirt. This way we can split up into two groups at the picnic and gossip about each other. I am hoping my boys pick one of each, or maybe we should get the non-gaming one for our 4 month-old since we think that is too young to start gaming.

Courtney's (blog's) New Look

Courtey put a new theme on her site. Check it out. It looks pretty cool. The header image is from one of my favorite pictures. You can see the whole thing here.

Ain't she gorgeous. I can only take credit for the shot and the cropping on the header image. :-( But on the upside, I get to enjoy her beauty every day.!

Blog reading for newbies

If you are interested in keeping up with the blog for the next 26 days, I would suggest using RSS. RSS is a way for people to publish articles from their website. It is a good way to keep up with a lot of different websites that so that you don't have to go to the site to just check for new items. An RSS reader checks for you and keeps up with whether or not you have read the article and provides a consistent interface for reading articles.

Wikipedia's entry on RSS is a good place to start learning about RSS, or you can just Google RSS. You can download readers for free and keep up with all manner of news from my fairly irrelevant ramblings to world news from CNN. There are also web RSS readers like Google Reader or BlogLines.

While your looking at Web 2.0 technology, take a look at del.icio.us (my bookmarks are at http://del.icio.us/midnighthour and Technorati.

Time for bed.

Redeemer Community Church

I just thought I would point anyone looking for a good church in the East St.Louis area to Redeemer Community Church.

My good friend Rusty Mosley is the pastor there, and I am sure that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be both preached and lived.

They are starting services on Feb. 27th, and I am excitedly waiting to see what God will do in the comming months.

Pax's Birth Photos

More photos of Pax and family mere hours after his birth are available on our flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bheathr/

Pax Athanasius Robinson




Three Sleepers

Originally uploaded by bheathr.

Pax was born at 12:45pm on Friday Jan 27. He weight 8.0 oz, and measured 19in in length.

He and Courtney are both doing well. Courtney is an amazing baby deliverng machine. She looks as good as ever only a day after. As you can see, Pax, also quite a looker, if I do say so myself, has quite a head of dark hair. More pictures are coming, but I need to get them from Courtney's dad. I borrowed the professional camera to record the moment.

In case you are wondering, Pax means peace in Latin and Athanasius is the third in our series of church father names. For more info see the wikipedia entries:
Gage Augustin
Soren Basil
Pax Athanasius

For the most part these were all great men. Like all of us, they have their stains, but they were used by God to shape what all Christians believe even today.

Thanks for all your prayers. Praise be to God! Human life is an amazing thing!