Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We're getting closer to NetBeans IDE 6.0 Beta 1 was just released today. NetBeans is definitely my favourite Java development IDE, thus I try to follow its development. Some of the really cool updates are: smarter code completion; editable Diff (screenshot below); support for Ruby/JRuby/Ruby on Rails (including Ruby debugger) – for all those fans of Ruby programming language; finally NetBeans profiler has been integrated into IDE - now no need to download and install the NetBeans Profiler separately, thus you can immediately start optimising your Java apps; built-in visual designer for web applications including a Visual Page Flow editor (wow!). However, my favourite update is the new game builder for mobile applications, with API that supports animated sprites and the ability to arrange tiled layers into scenes – mobile game development has never been easier! There are actually quite a few updates related to mobile app developers such as Visual Mobile Designer (VMD) – finally it’s more stable – or integrated UI for CLDC/MIDP and CDC development. If you’ve never used NetBeans you definitely need to try this. The tool is absolutely FREE and provides lot more features that commercial Java development IDEs. If you live in Indonesia, I'd also recommend subscribing to NetBeans Indonesia Community. You'll have a chance to meet some of the best Java developers around.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This morning, there was another strong earthquake near the shore of Sumatra. Since yesterday, the area was hit by multiple earthquakes, including at least three really big earthquakes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today, there was a major earthquake very close to Bengkulu (~130km) (Sumatra/Indonesia) around 18:10 (WIB/GMT+7). As seen on the ShakeMap below [source USGS], it could be felt even in Jakarta, that is around 620km away!

The scale of the earthquake is difficult to comprehend, just notice the huge area of the Sumatra island that was affected. Actually, it was a string of multiple strong earthquakes in the area. Almost two hours later, there was another magnitude 5.7 earthquake in the same region:

And another one at 21:40 (GMT+7/WIB). I must also mention about the SMS based earthquake information system that I developed - sorry for boasting. After almost one year of testing, optimisation etc. it really worked well. The first SMS was sent to subscribers on 18:24:49 (WIB), that is only 14 minutes after the quake. From the user perspective it was like that, I was on the car and noticed lots of people going out of office buildings, something that looked like evacuation, so I wonder what was going. Within few minutes I already got details of the earthquake in SMS message. The precise message was "GREAT earthquake (M8.0) occurred on 12-Sep 18:10:19 WIB 146km (SW) from Bengkulu (Sumatera), 416km (SSE) from Padang (Sumatera).", or for Indonesian language subscribers "Gempa berkategori !! SANGAT BESAR (M8.0) terjadi 12-Sep 18:10:19 WIB 146km (SW) dari Bengkulu (Sumatera), 416km (SSE) dari Padang (Sumatera)". Most people working in tall buildings in Jakarta got really scared as you could really feel building swaying, or even see furniture shaking. I was on the car that time so I didn't feel much. The great thing about informing about earthquakes via SMS, is that after I received SMS informing about earthquake, it took another 10 minutes for any radio station to inform where was the earthquake. Every station just reported that there was an earhtquake felt in Jakarta, but none could specify where - and I already had this information delivered to my mobile phone. I think all this worked really well and I'm quite happy to see it functioning. The only issue was that some of the users called complaining about receiving 3 messages informing about earthquake, while they expected one. The reason for this was simple, there actually was more than one erthquake in the area and system decided to report all, because the magnitude was above 7 - in application everything above magnitude 7 is reported, even if similar earthquake was already reported. Obviously, the application does not report all earthquakes in Indonesia as it would sent more than 10 SMS a month, it only reports the earthquakes that are somehow important. FYI it took one year of optimisation to make all this work well and systems sends now from 4 to 5 SMS a month. Anyway, if you live in Indonesia and are interested to subscribe, simply sends SMS with content "REG EARTHQUAKE" or "REG GEMPA" (for Indonesian language version) to number 6768 - works with all subscribers, and when there's earthquake anywhere in Indonesia, you should know details within 15 to 45 minutes (depending on magnitude and location), that is often lot faster than you'll hear anything from TV or Radio! - the cost Rp1000 per received SMS (~US$0.10).

Update: I got information from Radio Elshinta 90,00 FM that out of 4 systems that should warn about possible tsunami (there was a risk of tsunami here), none worked! So much money put into this by various government agencies after the Sumatra tsunami, and not a single tsunami warning system worked and warned about possible tsunami - can you imagine this? I'd just say that they all are really lucky that this time there was no tsunami, otherwise lots of people would lose their lives for incompetence of people responsible for this.

Update: Quoted from news "The National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said sea level readings showed that the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 8.2, did indeed generate a tsunami, and that it may have caused destruction along the coast. A wave of up to 9 feet was reported to have hit Padang about 20 minutes after the quake, said Suhardjono, an official with Indonesia’s meteorological agency, the A.P. reported. But there had been no sightings of strong tidal waters two hours after the earthquake, usually the critical time for the formation of a tsunami.". Unfortunately, what I've wrote in my first update was not accurate. There was a tsunami after the earthquake. Now, I just wonder what government will do considering the fact that none of the four systems that was supposed to warn about tsunami worked. Let me guess, KKN?


KKN - indonesian term for corruption, collusion, and nepotism.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

On Saturday, Sept. 1, a very rare meteor shower will take in the skies. The peak time is 6:30-7pm WIB (Jakarta time), which is not a favorable time for a Jakarta observer, because of two reasons. First of all, the sky is still relatively bright before 7pm, and the second reasons is that unfortunately in Southern hemisphere the meteor shower will be less visible as Auriga constalation - source of Meteors - is far below the Horizon during the peak time.

Those of you who live in North-Eastern Indonesia are obviously more lucky, as meteors will be easier to spot on a dark night sky and the Auriga constalation is also closer to the horizon. The best spot to observe this unique event is obviously Jayapura:


Myself, I plan to observe it from Puncak area as Jakarta’s sky during night is little too bright to have a clear view of meteors. For those who also plan to watch this interesting event from Java, just look at the North-East side of the sky after 23:00.

Actually, this week is full of interesting astronomical events, as last Tuesday we could observe a total lunar eclipse. Good luck in observing meteors.

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