This year the robotics team is using The Finch for teaching the new programmers about programming. The robot is cute and I know I’d want to play with it so I bought one too.
While I like Eclipse better than NetBeans, the programming team uses NetBeans. I decided to try out NetBeans with the Finch so I’m familiar with their platform/interface. I’ll want it soon enough anyway to check out NetBeans projects from git.
Step 1 – Install NetBeans on the Mac
- Download NetBeans – the basic JSE edition
- Open dmg file which allows you to choose to run the installer.
- Choose defaults and install
- When first launch NetBeans asks if want to install JUnit. (not clear on why JUnit doesn’t come with NetBeans – it comes with Eclipse)
Step 2 – Import Finch project
This one took me a few minutes. You need to
- Download the NetBeans project
- Copy it to the NetBeans project directory which is /Users/me/NetBeansProjects on a mac
- In NetBeans, File > “open project” and then drill down to Finch.
Step 3 – Run a program
- Connect the Finch’s USB to your computer. (The tutorial doesn’t say this, but it is implied.)
- Per the tutorial, choose Run > Run File.
- Enjoy the Finch. It’s so cute!
Step 4 – Run a different programs
I very carefully misunderstood the instructions about not choosing Run > Run and did it anyway. Luckily, you can choose Run > Run File and have it ignore your preset default. Or you can completely unset it by editing the file FinchBeans/nbproject/project.properties and removing the main class line. Then I can remember to choose Run > Run File.
Disappointed with Adobe
The Future(?) of Adobe Flash and Adobe Air
The loss of Google Maps for Flash/Air feels like another nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash. Flex developers may recall that Adobe launched Air more than three years ago as a stand-alone Flash application platform. Adobe Air provides a run-time environment, similar to the Java JRE, that offers developers a richer feature set and more customization than a standard web-based Flash application allows. Unfortunately, with the growing mobile market, Adobe has virtually abandoned all efforts to market the Adobe Air platform. In fact, I can count on one finger the number of individuals, myself included, who I know have the Adobe Air runtime installed.
The last few years has seen the rise of mobile platforms in a big way, so much so that proprietary web platforms like Flash, Silverlight, and others have fallen by the wayside. I think Adobe’s biggest mistake regarding Flash in the last few years was in not actively pushing Adobe Air as a general purpose platform. Despite adding a number of Flash-specific features in the latest CS5.5 release, Adobe has not done a lot to encourage developers to stick with the platform. The loss of Google Maps for Flash may be just one in a series of events that leads to the end of the Flash platform as we know it.
When I work at home on personal computer projects, I have one of two problems:
- getting distracted from my main task by other computer things or other items that need doing around the house
- getting so absorbed in my task that I forget to look away from the computer causing me to get a headache and need to stop
Neither of these is an issue at work and I can usually get a couple hours of personal project stuff done on a given weekend day before it becomes a big problem. Which is all the time I usually have anyway. One weekend was different. I was technical proofreading a 300-400 page book (The Well Grounded Java Developer
) and needed to get a lot done in a short time. I blocked out my weekend to have 15-20 hours to do it. Then all I needed was focus.
I’d read about Pomodoro and decided it to try it with this particular project. (which is evidence of problem #1 – I was experimenting with Pomodoro
when I should be reading.)
First I installed the GNU pomodairo
app. Including the download of Adobe AIR itself, this took less than ten minutes. I added my tasks and kicked it off.
How it went
The beginning two Pomodoros were the toughest.
- On the first one, I got water 2 minutes before the break. I needed to trust it and wait longer. The sound was a bit jarring. I only read 3 pages (and played with an example.) Not much momentum yet.
- On the second one, I worked a whole pomodoro but only read one page (and fiddled with examples). I did get in the zone although I could have stayed there longer. I took a break anyway to avoid burnout. I did successfully wait out the Pomodoro to check my e-mail (which I noticed because gmail automatically pulls mail and I needed to refer to one as part of my task). I learned the tool shows your pomodoro as interrupted if you don’t click the right button at the end of a Pomodoro.
- On the third one I was starting to feel the flow. That time I did get fully into what I was doing in 25 minutes and got two tiny chores done during the break.
- At this point, it started working. I got absorbed during every Pomodoro.
My stats weren’t correct. I lost two pomodoros on the second chapter I read. I think it was because I didn’t explicitly select the next task when I finished the first one. But the stats didn’t matter. What mattered is that I was able to get focus and momentum going. And I didn’t have a headache at the end of the day.
I’m not sure if it was the Pomodoros themselves that helped me or the fact that I was doing something different so felt obligated to be responsible. Hmm. That sounds like a good question to post on productivity.stackexchange.com
. Did so here