Monday, May 15, 2006

JBoss Rules...Well, not quite!

I have been attempting to work with JBoss Rules (nee Drools) and have mostly met with frustration.

With the acquisition by JBoss, the Drools site ( pointed me to JBoss for v3 of the API. In fact, today, I can't even get to any more. Now cleverly annointed "JBoss Rules", I downloaded the version 3.0 RC2 of both the binary and the IDE.

No joy, however (several errors reading the DRL files). Tried various alternatives including recommendations on their mailing list by some of the project's leading lights that one use Eclipse 3.2 M6 and not 3.2 M5 as indicated by their docs. Still no joy.

Finally, I decided to download the source and built v3.0. Pay dirt! Actually, you don't need Eclipse 3.2 M6 -- the docs were right it works just fine on M5.

On the subject of docs, they are mere shells. The original Drools site used to have a plethora of documented examples, and usage documentation. Not any more. What is the syntax for the new DRL files? I see "duration" is a long, but what is it? About the DSLs? Why get rid of perfectly good documentation of the concepts?

OK, since the docs aren't there yet, I decided to join the mailing list. Again, I followed the instructions and tried to subscribe by sending email to Again, no joy. I got an automated response that read

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

Sorry, no mailbox here by that name.

So, what next?

JBoss Rules...I don't think so.

Friday, February 03, 2006

RailsConf: If you announce it, they will come...

The RailsConf has been getting a lot of press. So methinks let's see what the hullabaloo is all about.

Q: What are the sessions going to be?
Silly me, that's not been decided yet. Don't worry they have over 80 proposals.

Q:Where is it going to be held?
The web site says: Chicago, Venue TBA. TBA!!? What kind of amateurish prank is this? Oh, well, drill down a few pages further and you figure it's at a Wyndham hotel. Phew! At least I know where I'll be staying!

Important details aren't fleshed but they want you to register.... Do they ever! Better get there soon if you want to catch the "super early bird" blue light special. What gall!

That's not all, Mike Clark, Dave Thomas and cohorts (from the NFJS circuit) are drumming up the support on their blogs.

I am sure -- given the track record of the names named -- it will be a great conference. However I did not expect such premature promotion from so far east of Redmond. The Ajax Conf (or Experience or whatever they call it) is another example of a conference that was announced, much hyped before any details were available.

Is this to be the trend? Announce a conference, announce keynote speakers, build up clientele on the shoulders of the blogosphere an then work out the details?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wisdom of Amazon crowds?

I often find myself relying on the wisdom of crowds to guide my purchasing decision. How so? I go check out the customer reviews at Amazon. This has been a very a very good barometer for my purchase.

Analyzing my habit a little further, I realized that I don't just pick out the majority opinion. BTW, is there a way to get a summary of the customer reviews for an item? Such as,

Acme's New Super duper toaster ratings:
95% -- 4+ stars
2% -- 3 stars
2% -- other

probably could using Amazon web services. Anyway, what I seek out is the not-so-silent minority. I want to see why, while the page is filled with 5-star or 4-star reviews, there are a discordant few. I do read (some of) the majority opinions. However, you tend to get the drift after the first few. Have you noticed that the majority opinion cites similar reasons? However, the minority seem to have more variety -- or maybe its just a matter of numbers.

It is the gripes I pay close attention to: is the review just a sore rant or do the complaints seem to have merit. Are these reasons something that I feel is important to me -- or do I not care that the toaster doesn't have a mirror-like sheen?

Such an analysis has held me in good stead over the past few years of major and minor purchases. In retrospect, this seems to weight the few heavier than the many -- contrary to Surowiecki's contention.

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