Artificial Intelligence Joke

16. January, 2015

Slightly adjusted version of a Dilbert strip:

Boss: I want you to create an artificial intelligence that is as smart as me.

Engineer: OK.

Ten minutes pass.

Engineer: Done.

Boss: Wow, you’re fast.

Engineer: … Yes.

Eclipse is Slow – Finding out Why

8. January, 2015

In this article, I’m trying to collect the steps to find out the reason when Eclipse is suddenly slow:

  1. Java GC. To find out if that’s the culprit, go to Window -> Preferences -> General and enable “Show heap status”. You will get a little gauge at the bottom of the Window. If the gauge is almost full, then you probably have too little memory.
    a) Give Eclipse more memory
    b) Close some projects
    c) Deinstall or disable unnecessary plugins
  2. Check the Eclipse Error Log. Maybe there is a problem under the hood.
  3. Some plugin is acting up. Enable Eclipse’s own logging (see below) and watch the console.
    Some plugins have their own console (Groovy, Maven). In the Console View, click the arrow of the “Open Console” button to get a list. The Stacktrace Console – a useful tool to examine stacktraces from some external source – is also hidden there.
  4. The metadata got corrupted. Clean it.

Enable Eclipse’s Console Logging

When you start a Java application inside of Eclipse, you can see the output in a console view. You can do the same for Eclipse itself.

Open eclipse.ini and add these lines right before -vm (or -vmargs, if there is no -vm line):


See “Debug Mode“, “Eclipse runtime options” and “FAQ How do I use the platform debug tracing facility

On Windows, make sure Eclipse is started with java.exe instead of javaw.exe.

Eclipse will log errors and trace information to the console window. Check the output.

Enable Tracing

Many Eclipse plugins offer a range of trace options. You can see them if you open the plugin JARs. Look for a file called “.options”.

If you copy some of those into a file “.options” in the same folder as “eclipse.ini”, you can able various logging options.

Here is an example what the file could look like:


Maven m2e Plugin

If the m2e plugin causes problems:

  1. Look into the Maven console.
  2. Try Maven from the command line to see whether it’s a problem with the project in general or with m2e.
  3. Tweak the logging options of m2e by editing

m2e FAQ

App to Manage Terms and Conditions

28. December, 2014

There is this old joke on User Friendly about license agreements: “Have any of you ever actually read a license agreement?” “I have! A few words, anyway …” “And what did the part you read say?” “umm… ‘I accept.'” (whole story starts here; afterwards, someone actually wrote a version of Clippy for Vim called Vigor).

I remembered all this when I saw this video on YouTube:

And that led me to an idea: How about an app which tracks T&C for you? In general, it should take a license and show you the important bits. Then, you could say “okay, I like that and that and I can live with those.” The app would then remember your preferences. For the rest of the terms, you could chose “I grudgingly accept these” or “no business with me because of this term.”

Even better, the app could notify you of terms which don’t apply to you because of local law or because courts ruled them out.

That way, the app could just show you the parts of a new license which you want to know about, that is the parts which you didn’t already agree to and without the parts that you’d accept anyway.

c’t Inhaltsverzeichnis sortieren

23. December, 2014

Eine kleine Hilfe für alle Leser der c’t, welche einfach(er) einige Artikel archivieren wollen: Das verlinkte Script unten sortiert das Inhaltsverzeichnis im Archiv nach Seitenzahl wenn man auf “aktuell” klickt.

What Police Work Can Be Like

13. December, 2014

Police violence gets a lot of attention lately but that’s not a solution (neither the violence nor the media heating it up). Here is one solution:

Remember: Helping people before they commit crime is much better (and cheaper and more rewarding and more successful) than arresting them.

groovy.lang.GroovyRuntimeException: Conflicting module versions. Module [groovy-all is loaded in version 2.1.8 and you are trying to load version 2.1.9

8. December, 2014

If you see this error while running the code from Eclipse, check the .classpath file for this line:

<classpathentry exported="true" kind="con" path="GROOVY_SUPPORT"/> 

In this case, Eclipse adds version 2.1.8 to the classpath and Maven adds 2.1.9. At runtime, Groovy detects both versions and aborts since this will cause subtle bugs.

Solution: Delete the line above in the .classpath file.

If you see a line which contains GROOVY_DSL_SUPPORT, then you can leave that in – the Groovy plugin will use the JARs which Maven adds to the classpath.

Eclipse Finance Day 2014: Testing business applications with RCPTT

3. November, 2014

RCP Testing Tool (RCPTT) is an Open Source tool for UI testing of Eclipse-based applications. During the demo by Ivan Inozemtsev, I got the impression that they thought of everything:

  • There is a recorder so you can quickly create a test case by clicking thought the application
  • There is an assertion builder where you can say “this element should be red”, “this checkbox needs to be checked”, “this image must be visible”
  • There is special support for all kinds of widgets like text editors where “position” is row/column (i.e. cursor position) instead of mouse coordinates or character offsets. The test API allows for checks like “is styled like a keyword”.
  • If the UI is resized after the tests have been recorded, the tool will try to calculate the relative click point. Unless the UI element is special (like a graph editor) where it has different heuristics (like when you clicked in an empty area but now, there is something below at the coordinate). If everything else fails, the testing tool will try to resize the UI element to the recorded size.
  • There is a compact, extensible DSL to describe the test cases. The DSL supports procedures so you can reuse test code.

The tool was fast and stable during the demo. It could reset Eclipse’s workspace to a certain state (open perspective, open editors, open projects) – I’m currently thinking about using it to create the default workspace for our development team.

One more things from the demo: Black box testing is a myth or at least a dream. A testing tool for anything complex needs to know internal details (like Eclipse’s background jobs). Otherwise the tests will either fail randomly when some background job didn’t complete in time or they will be slow (since each of them will be sprinkled with “WAIT 1 MINUTE” instructions) or they will be sprinkled with application specific “wait” instructions.


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