why the paperless office doesn’t work for everyone

For years, we’ve been hearing about how the paperless office is the future. Now that we have tablets, the future has clearly arrived. Quick. Throw out the paper. Actually, hold on for a second.

Different people have different work styles. For some, a paperless office is great. For others, not so much. Let’s look at a few valueable uses of paper.

Notes while coding
Personally, I like to make notes while coding. Ideas of things I still need to do. Stray thoughts. Anything. This is very transient information.

Some I could put into //TODO s in Eclipse. Some are better free form. Some are just stray thoughts that I can’t put into Eclipse because I don’t want to break flow.

We only have so much screen space. Some things, like the Java Docs, are great to have on screen.

Others, like learning a new technology from a book, can be nice to have on the table next to you. That also allows me to take notes (in the book) while writing.

I’ve seen teammates do the same with “how to” wiki pages they were unfamiliar with.

When I proofread, I do a mix of on my iPad and printed. I try to do a final read on printed paper. I find more errors that way.

I read a study that indicated there is actually some science to this.

Spatial memory
I use where information lies on the page as spatial memory. That way I can train my brain to location and not just data.

For example, when I’m giving a presentation I always print the slides and run through them in my hand. That extra tactial/spatial info helps me retain it better.

To do lists
My “master” to do list has been electronic for years. I do keep micro “to do” lists on paper though.

They are half baked thoughts of things that I am doing today. Or maybe a tiny piece of a task. Or what I am up to when getting up to take a break.

What do you do when your laptop freees/crashes? (Thank you Windows. It is 2015 and I still need to have a plan for what to do when you freeze.)

I go to my paper at that point while I wait for the computer to get back to me. I can organize my thoughts on paper. Or read something I have printed.

The same holds from when I call the help desk and they are using my computer. I don’t have dead time with some paper around.

I’m not saying everyone needs paper. Just that I think we are a far way from getting of paper completely.

I do try to recycle. I use the backs of paper that served another purpose for my notes. And I print 2 pages to a side in Word or PowerPoint when reviewing. Trying to balance saving trees and productivity.

The e-office of the future is great. Maybe we will get there one day.

what does it mean to be OCP Java Programmer II certified?

There are now three paths for one to become OCP 8 (Java Programmer II certified.) So what does it mean someone certified had to know to pass the exam. Well, that varies too.

The three paths

  1. Starting out with Java 8 – take the OCP 8 (IZ0-809)
    Pre-req: OCA 8 (1Z0-808)
  2. Holding a Java 7 Professional cert – take the Java 7 to 8 upgrade exam (IZo-810)
    Pre-req: OCP 7 (IZ0-804) or Java 7 upgrade exam (IZo-805)
  3. Holding any Java 6 or older Professional cert – take the Java 6 or earlier to 8 upgrade exam (IZo-813)
    Pre-req: SCJP/OCJP 6 (IZO-851) or Java 6 upgrade (IZ0-852) or SCJP/OCJP 5 (IZo-853) or Java 5 upgrade (1Zo-854) or Java 4 or lower Professional cert

What one would expect

It seems reasonable to assume some things here.

  1. People taking the OCP 8 directly should be tested on the topics that entail being Java 8 certified.
  2. vennPeople taking the upgrade from Java 7 should be tested on just the topics that were added in Java 8. This is the purple in the Venn diagram. There’s no reason to retest on the topics that the were already on the Java 7 exam. That’s the overlap in the Venn diagram. (This is a bit simplified. It’s really that the topics should be those on the OCA 8 or OCP 8, but not on the OCA 7 or OCP 7. Luckily the topics added on the OCA 8 are also on the OCP 8.)
  3.  venn2People taking the upgrade from older versions of Java have a more interesting situation. When taking a very old exam, lots of topics are different. For example, new topics include generics and the enhanced for loop for those upgrading from Java 5. These topics are so old that it is reasonable to assume the candidate knows this as these syntax changes are covered as part of questions on all sorts of topics. Since the exam changed a lot between Java 6 and 7, let’s just imagine all upgrade candidates in this group took the Java 6 exam. Which would imply the topics covered should be the purple OCP 8 circle except for the overlap with the OCP 6 circle. It doesn’t imply the topics covered in OCP 7 but not OCP 6 or 8 should be covered. After all, those topics were removed from the OCP 8 exam so shouldn’t be needed to get a Java 8 certification.

These assumptions turn out to not match what Oracle actually did. The rest of this blog post describes the surprises.

What people starting out with Java 8 were tested on, but those upgrading from Java 7 were not


  1. The concept of immutability
  2. The concepts of deadlock, starvation, livelock, and race conditions. They are tested when upgrading indirectly but with less emphasis.

My thoughts: No big deal here

What people starting out with Java 8 were tested on, but those upgrading from Java 6 were not

  1. The concept of immutability
  2. The singleton pattern
  3. The concepts of deadlock, starvation, livelock, and race conditions. They are tested when upgrading indirectly but with less emphasis.
  4. The entire topic of JDBC

My thoughts: Leaving out the first three isn’t a big deal. Leaving out JDBC is bizarre. That’s a whole topic that is part of core Java. It started being needed for Java 7 (or 8) certification. Upgrading from an older version seems like it should require it. But nope.

What people upgrading from Java 7 were tested on, but those starting out with Java 8 were not

  1. The computeIfAbsent() and computeIfPresent() methods on Map
  2. Also merge()  [removed from main exam in October 2015 and removed from upgrade exam in November 2015]

My thoughts: Odd to add topics on an upgrade exam. These are so similar, I’d almost think they were implied on the Java 8 exam.

What people upgrading from Java 6 were tested on, but those starting out with Java 8 were not

  1. The computeIfAbsent() and computeIfPresent() methods on Map
  2. Also merge()  [removed from main exam in October 2015]
  3. IO.2 – DirectoryWatcher, FileVisitor and WatchService
  4. Locks package in concurrency API
  5. DecimalFormat and SimpleDateFormat

My thoughts: This is bizarre. These three NIO.2 classes, the locks package and the two format classes were on the OCP 7 exam, but not on the OCP 8 exam. Oracle changing their mind and taking something off the exam for a later version is perfectly reasonable. However, I would think that would mean you don’t put it on the upgrade exam! Why should the upgrade exam cover something that isn’t on the target exam.


If I was writing the objectives for the upgrade exam from Java 6,  I’d have dropped some topics and added JDBC. But I’m not writing the exam objectives so will remain puzzled.

chromebook and att wifi

I had upgraded my mother’s Chromebook to a 4g model late last year. I had known that operating system updates didn’t occur over 3g. Unsurprisingly, they don’t occur over 4g either. She’s been taking her laptop to wifi to patch and enjoying the 4g speeds for normal home internet use. Everyone happy. Until now. Her source of convenient wifi has vanished. Now, she could go to Starbucks or the library o use wifi. But that’s not convenient. I decided to look at replacing the monthly 4g bill with a monthly wifi hotspot bill.

The difference

On a prepaid low bandwidth plan, the two are pretty comparable.

Category Verizon 4g ATT wifi hotspot (over 4g)
Where to find the price list Verizon page GoPhone page
Minimum plan per 30 days $20 $25
Amount of bandwidth included 1GB 2GB
Ability to buy more if go over $5 for 300MB $10 for 500MB
Next level plan if not enough bandwidth $30 for 2GB plan $50 for 5GB

In other words $5 more per month for double the bandwidth. And the Chromebook can see it as wifi so patches work.

Trying to buy the hotspot online

The AT&T Velocity hotspot is $149 if you want to use a prepaid plan. (Free with a contract.) I hit two problems trying to buyt it online:

  1. AT&T’s product page either doesn’t work in Safari or is relying on a third party site to render the ability to order the device. Or it’s just broken. I tried reloading the page four times to write this post and it showed up the fourth time. In any case, I switched to Chrome.
  2. When you choose the $149 version, AT&T asks if you are a new or existing customer. I clicked new customer. It then took me to a page to buy a “choice” of plan. The only “choice” was the $50/month plan.

I was able to find out online that while my local AT&T store didn’t have the device in stock, the one at the mall did.

Buying the hotspot in person

This went better. They didn’t try to trick me into buying the $50 plan. They warned me that I had to pay for the first month ($25) while still in the store. No problem. I had planned to buy the first month right away to test anyway.

The receipt was a bit odd. It said the $25 plan was for 1.5GB. Online it shows at 2GB when I check my use so this is just wrong. It also directs to att.com/wireless which isn’t the site to go to for prepaid.

Trying out the hotspot

When I got home, I gave it a shot. It was easy to use. The battery/case comes separated so I put that together. The hotspot is like a cell phone that doesn’t make calls.

The device tells you the charge, connection strength and whether you have any new messages. I had a few from AT&T about the product. It has a touch screen to get messages. Or you can use the website paygonline.com or att.com/mygophone to check them through a computer. You know you have a text because the device blinks with a green light.

The device also tells you how many connections are in use. I went into settings and lowered the max from 10 to 2 by going to http://attwifimanager once connected to the hotspot from the Chromebook. (One for my mother’s Chromebook and one for my iPad when I visit. Being able to use my iPad when I visit is a nice side effect of using a hotspot.) I got a message “The LCD display is in operation, use power button to turn LCD display off and try again” which was easy enough to move past.

I also changed the wifi name from ATT-WIFI-1234 to something more readable and changed the  password to a different set of numbers than the default. It suggests using numbers and letters but then wouldn’t let me choose letters. Once I changed this, my browser hung on saving because it was no longer connected to the new wifi network. Not a big deal, but they could have given a prompt. Once I reconnected, I also disabled broadcasting the SSID.

Note: I had to turn broadcasting the SSID back on to avoid having to enter the password on each connect. Chrome feels it is bad that I’m not broadcasting the network name. I’m annoyed ChromeOS doesn’t work well with hidden SSIDs. I understand that hiding the SSID doesn’t protect it from the bad guys. But it does prevent random people from trying different passwords. But at the same time, I’m worried this isn’t a well supported configuration and my mom will have other troubles later.

Anyway, then I went to settings > advanced to change the admin login so it isn’t attadmin.

I also learned the bandwidth reporting is realtime which is an improvement over Verizon. And that if you don’t use it for hours, you have to press the power button on the hotspot so the wifi network resumes broadcasting. Which is reasonable.

Connecting from the Chromebook

Connecting to the new wifi name is easy. Note that the network name is case sensitive
  1. Join other…
  2. my network with “X wifi” SSID
  3. Security: PSK (WPA or RSN)
  4. Enter password
  5. Don’t click share network

To remember the connection

  1. Click the wifi icon and click “Connected to X”
  2. Click network name
  3. Click “Prefer this network”
  4. Ensure “Automatically connect to this network is checked”
  5. Click “close”

The first Chromebook patch

I did a Chromebook patch over wifi. It took 7 minutes and was approximately 400MB. (GoPhone reports bandwidth use to the nearest 50MB). While that is 25% of the wifi allocation, there is no need to patch the Chromebook every month. Plus my mom has double the bandwidth she used to so it is still an increase.

How fast is the connection?

I ran a speedtest both to see how fast the connection was and to use a chunk of bandwidth to see how reporting worked. The answer was:

  • ping 33ms
  • download 19.94 Mbps
  • upload 11.76 Mbps


Every once in a while, I have to push the power button on the wifi device for the ChromeBook to connect. I haven’t seen a pattern on this, but it only happens on trying to connect.