Maven and Scalability @ DevCon

Sounds like it’s happening. More, much more that I could expect. Much better than before.

At Alfresco in fact we are finally about to close on two fundamental areas like ECM Scalability and on the availability of a fully fledged Maven based SDK.

As you might know (if you are reading this blog you probably will), these on the two areas I’ve always been passionate and involved for in the last few years. Just to let you understand how passionate (or romantic, almost Italian) about these topics, enough for you to know that:

    • I ranted about Maven for a few years now and, in this last year, I experienced a momentum never seen before both from a corporate and from a community standpoint. Literally, about to cry here πŸ™‚
    • I worked for many years as Alfresco Partner and Solution Engineer, without having a quantitative sizing and performance reference for my implementations. In the last year I participated to the Alfresco Benchmarks project, which has shown very interesting results and improved the scalability of our system exponentially. I am so excited about these improvements, both at process and product level, that I can’t wait to share those with you πŸ™‚

So it’s just a great pleasure and excitement for me to confirm we have a couple of so much awaited HUGE surprises on those areas πŸ˜‰

But without further ado then, it’s my pride to officially announce that …


…no wait, I have a better idea.

If you are really interested and you want to know what’s going on around Performance and SDK, it’s quite simple: you should just come by for one of the two great DevCons (Berlin and San Jose) that are approaching in November πŸ™‚

I will give two speeches at both EMEA and Americas DevCon, surprisingly enough about:

And if you are not convinced, hear is a little teaser πŸ˜‰

Consultant Life is Hard ep. I – Get that damn SSH X11 forwarding tunnel to work

This is probably more of a note to myself than anything else, since every time I have to do some sneaky X11 forwarding (e.g. to profile or perfomance tune a production server) it somehow never works the first time…having to waste at least 15, fundamentally boring, minutes to figure it out again.

Of course prerequisite is that you need to have some kind of X11 server running on your client, whose display will be forwarded to the server. Linux has it by default, Mac users can install it from the OS disks, for Windows users I suggest XMing to avoid the whole CygWin download).

So this is Gab self reminding recipe for that (tested from MacOS 10.6.8 to RHEL5):

  1. Make sure that
    "X11Forwarding Yes"

    is in your

    /etc/ssh/sshd_config

    on the SERVER SIDE

  2. Make sure that
    "ForwardX11 yes"

    is your

    /etc/ssh_config

    (or

    /etc/ssh/ssh_config

    for Linux distros) on the CLIENT SIDE

  3. Login to the machine with
    ssh -X user@host
  4. If “echo $DISPLAY” does not display any meaningful value (e.g. host:display) then you typically miss libraries on the server side. From root or sudo your should issue at least (this worked for me on all RedHat based distros):
  • yum install xorg-x11-xauth
  • yum install libXtst
  • yum install libXi

At that point you might have to logout/login but the you should be able to run whatever X based application (e.g. JConsole, JProfiler, can you tell I use Java? :)) directly from the server and see the UI pop up on your client.

Never forget anymore Gab…and thanks for reminding to write this down my friend πŸ™‚

Southparkstudios.com (Or possibly the weakest IP regional check I’ve ever seen)

Those who know me better definitely reckon that I am one of those crazy South ParkΒ  (<– Hem, you can open this link only if you’re in the US) fans which knows every episode by heart and that, together with Mau, tries to dedicate 30 mins Thursday night to watch the new episode, aired in the US the night before.

Till a couple of years ago the South Park official site (South Park Studios) was nice, free and open worldwide, airing all episodes and clips just right after US airing, once again demonstrating Matt & Trey (the authors) open mindedness and free-o-cratic approach.

Well that couldn’t last and months ago Comedy Central decided to start shaping traffic from the .com domain to national domains (e.g. SouthPark.nl in my case, being resident in Amsterdam). Pretty fair you would say?

Well, I guess so but you know, as a South Park fan, when they also started messing around with content, limiting views “based on pre-existing contractual agreements” and following the local Dutch TV Comedy Central broadcasting schedule (typically postponing a few, CRUCIAL, weeks after the US original airing), this became hardly bearable πŸ™‚

SouthParkStudios regional check

Basically if you try to access SouthParkStudios.com from the Netherlands (in my case) you’ll get a nice Cartman in blond dialog telling you to click and go to the national SouthPark.nl … with outdated content … outrageous πŸ™‚

To be honest, I could solve my issues using the infinite resources of online streaming πŸ™‚

But today I wanted to do something more: I actually wanted to send a friend a link to a specific clip from the last espisode (“Mysterion Rises”, 14th series, aired last Wed in the US), so basically something possible to just from the US site, SouthParkStudios.com.

First try: with little success I tried the standard Google Translate hack which was nicely detected by the SouthParkStudios, and still the blondish Cartman blocked me.

The way too easy win:Β 

Looking a bit closer to the type of regional check, I noticed than, upon detecting an access to the .com site from a non US IP address, a grayed out foreground DIV was overlaid on the pre-loaded (and fully functional) underlying .com page.

Well, then, why don’t try with a simple Firefox plugin like Firebug which allows me to point and click the web page and edit the live rendered DOM?

South Park Studios Firebug Hack for US only blockAnd the game was done: as you can see in the second pic with Firebug open on the SouthParkStudios.com page, I was easily able to identify the DIV which caused the geoblock (search for ‘geoblock’) , and using Firebug DOM editing features I could remove the guilty DIV (apologies to the dutch Cartman and the black DIV).

Of course you need to re-do the edit at every click you do, but you understand how easy would be to automate this using tools like Greasemonkey or successors. This way I could easily browse the .com site from the Netherlands and send the proper Mysterion link to my friend πŸ™‚

Now, get me straight, the intention of this post (and of this author) is NOT TO ANYHOW SUGGEST to use this hack (and anyways this was so simple that calling it a hack would be a unique case of overrating), but more to send a message to website writers all over the world, a message which goes something like DON’T INSULT OUR INTELLIGENCE πŸ™‚

Please, in the undesirable and potentially not agreeable case that you really need to perform this kind of blocks, take into account that the Internet public is growing in maturity day by day, and you don’t have to be anymore a computer science geek or an engineer like me to actually being able to break such a poorly designed and coded geoblock.

And with specific reference to Matt & Trey: I love you guys a lot, and if you knew me you would know. But you also know (or I think assume) that to watch and appreciate South Park your need a proper level of self irony and a decent IQ … also I know lots of real geek friends of mine which die for South Park, as yes let’s be honest there’s a geek irony component in the series …Β  then please hire (or tell the Network) to hire some serious guy to run you online video publishing, as with these ***ppy solutions “pre-existing contractual obligations” are doomed to a dark oblivionΒ  πŸ™‚

I know “someone” who would be definitely interested to spare a handΒ  πŸ™‚