How to Fix the “Invalid jdkhome” Error Message on NetBeans Load

For NetBeans IDE users: Whenever you upgrade/downgrade your JAVA installation, more often than not you will encounter an error message when firing up NetBeans that essentially complains about not being able to locate the JAVA installation in the specified jdkhome variable:

netbeans invalid jdkhome specified error screenshot

(Note, selecting the Yes option will work 9 out of 10 times, unless of course you have completely uninstalled JAVA from your system).

It turns out that to fix this invalid jdkhome error is pretty easy. First, navigate to your NetBeans installation folder which by default should be “C:\Program Files\NetBeans 8.0″ and look for the folder “etc”. Inside that folder should be a file with the name “netbeans.conf”. What you need to do is to open the file with your favorite text reader (notepad as an example) and look for the line that starts with netbeans_jdkhome=.

IMPORTANT: You might need administrative rights to save changes to this file. In that case, first open your text editor by right-clicking on the text editor icon and selecting the Run as Administrator option. (This is assuming that you are using Windows)

The next step is to alter the line to point to the currently installed JAVA JDK version. It should look something like this netbeans_jdkhome=”C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_20″. If you are unsure as to which JDK version you currently have installed, navigate to your java’s installation folder (the default path is C:\Program Files\Java) and look for relevant JDK folder there.

Save the changes, and restart NetBeans.

edit netbeans.conf to fix jdkhome error

Simple as that.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER vs Airbus A340-300

To be fair, the ‘vs’ in this post title is completely misleading – but it just so happens that I’ll be experiencing both the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER and the Emirates Airbus A340-300 on my trip from Cape Town to Japan and back again (with stop-over in Dubai) – which kicks off this morning I might add!

Both planes came out in the early 1990s and both carry more or less the same amount of people, so it will be interesting to compare the flights across the two. Three out of the four legs of the journey will take place on the slightly more modern Boeing 777-300ER, though when I remember that each leg is roughly 10 hours in length, my excitement for these flights diminishes ever so slightly. (That’s a lot of flying to NOT particularly be looking forward to.)

Still, the Emirates in-flight entertainment system looks promising, so hopefully the time goes by faster than what I’m dreading…

Boeing 777-300ER

The Boeing 777 is a family of long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliners developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world’s largest twinjet and has a typical seating capacity for 314 to 451 passengers, with a range of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles (9,695 to 17,372 km). Commonly referred to as the “Triple Seven”, its distinguishing features include the largest-diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and a blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between Boeing’s 767 and 747. As Boeing’s first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer-mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-aided designed commercial aircraft.

The 777-300ER (“ER” for Extended Range) is the C-market version of the -300. It features raked and extended wingtips, a wing aspect ratio of 9.0, a new main landing gear, reinforced nose gear, and extra fuel tanks. It also has a strengthened fuselage, wings, empennage, and engine attachments. The -300ER is powered by the GE90-115B turbofan, which is the world’s most powerful jet engine in service, with a maximum thrust of 115,300 lbf (513 kN). Its maximum range is 7,825 nautical miles (14,492 km), made possible by higher MTOW and increased fuel capacity. The -300ER can fly approximately 34 percent farther than the -300 with a full load of passengers and cargo. Following flight testing, aerodynamics refinements have reduced fuel burn by an additional 1.4 percent.

Produced: 1993–present
Number built: 1,212 through June 2014
Unit cost: 777-300ER: US$320.2 million

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777#777-300ER

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

Airbus A340-300

The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner. It was developed and produced by Airbus, a consortium of European aerospace companies, which is a subsidiary of Airbus Group (which was previously known as EADS). The A340 was assembled at Toulouse, France. It seats up to 375 passengers in the standard variants and 440 in the stretched -600 series. Depending on the model, it has a range of between 6,700 to 9,000 nautical miles (12,400 to 16,700 km). It is similar in design to the twin-engined A330 with which it was concurrently designed. Its distinguishing features are four high-bypass turbofan engines and three-bogie main landing gear.

The A340-300 flies 295 passengers in a typical three-class cabin layout over 6,700 nautical miles (12,400 km). This is the initial version, having flown on 25 October 1991, and entered service with Lufthansa and Air France in March 1993. It is powered by four CFMI CFM56-5C engines and uses the Honeywell 331–350[A] APU, similar to the -200. Its closest competitor is the Boeing 777-200ER.

The A340-300E, often mislabelled as A340-300X, has an increased MTOW of up to 275 tonnes (606,000 lb) and is powered by the more powerful 34,000 lbf (150 kN) thrust CFMI CFM56-5C4 engines. Typical range with 295 passengers is between 7,200 to 7,400 nautical miles (13,300 to 13,700 km).

Produced: 1991–2011
Number built: 377
Unit cost: A340-300: US$238.0 million

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A340#A340-300

Emirates Airbus A340-300

(In case you are wondering just why I am so excited by this flight prospect, please take into account my love for planes and the fact that I have never ever flown overseas in my life before. That’s 34 years of looking up at the sky and marveling at these metal beasts of burden!)

I Lost Jessica.

I’m not making a very big deal out of this, or at least wasn’t at the time, but in truth it really is a big deal. You see, today I lost Jess. I did not know where my daughter was and it was scary as heck. At the time I was calm and collected, but looking back at it now, it was scary as hell.

And it could have ended much worse.

The stupid part is that all of it was down to a very basic parenting mistake quite frankly – I should, and do, know better. Parenting 101. But mistakes do happen and today a very big one was made.

With Chantelle working, I was left on kid duty for the day, and still needing things for my upcoming trip to Japan, I bundled Emily and Jessica into the car and headed off to Somerset Mall. With Emily in her pram, and Jessica holding my hand, we entered Pick ‘n Pay and made our way through a very busy store (payday weekend) down to the furthest corner which houses the clothing section.

Together Jessica and I browsed through the t-shirts and loaded up the pram with a few new ones which she helped me pull out. Then I stopped to have a quick look at the shorts because the only pair of shorts that I currently possess has a great big hole in the crotch area and I’m having huge difficulties in sourcing shorts big enough to fit my large posterior and tree trunk legs. One pair in particular looked quite promising.

Meanwhile, bored, Jessica had taken to climbing up and down the staff ladder and was happily busy entertaining herself in the clothing area.

I asked for access to the fitting cubicle and pulled Emily, pram and all inside. I looked to my side and saw Jessica still happily playing on the ladder. I told her that Emily and I were going inside, and when she is finished she must come here to me. I closed the door and started changing pants.

All of a sudden I hear Jess’ voice crying “Daddy, daddy, where are you?!?”, and recognizing that the voice was travelling away from the area at a very fast pace, I basically flung open the door, pulled up my pants, grabbed Emily’s pram and started searching. Soon I had a number of ladies that were in the area helping me with my search (it is a very large store), and whilst they combed down the aisles, I headed straight down the line of tills, loudly bellowing “Jessica!” down each and every aisle that I passed.

As I reached the entrance of the store, one of the ladies who was helping me look down the aisles, caught my eye gestured that she had spotted Jess, and I won’t lie, my heart skipped a beat when I turned at the entrance to spot a quivering, sobbing Jessica sitting at the manager’s desk in the front of the store.

I swooped in and picked up my frantic little girl, giving her the biggest bear hug that you can imagine.

Twenty seconds later, with a packet of Nik Naks now in her possession, and no more tears in sight, we were walking back towards the clothing section, hand firmly in hand.

(For the record, this time Emily, Emily’s pram, Jessica, and I all squeezed into the cubicle together. The shorts didn’t fit.)

jessica lotter eating mcdonalds chocolate sundae ice cream

A lesson learned indeed.

Princess of Hand-Me-Downs

Shame, if being the second child is already so sucky compared to being the firstborn, I would hate to know what it feels like to come third!

Emily is without a doubt the Princess of Hand-Me-Downs, not a title to be proud of mind you. Eight months she has been with us already, and do you know how many new toys we’ve bought for her in all of those eight months?

Zero.

Zip, zilch, nada.

Quite frankly (from our point of view) she can make do with all of Jessica’s old baby toys and whatever other colourful piece of plastic that catches her eye and won’t cause her to choke. It’s quite shameful actually, but other than clothes, dummies and baby bottles, there isn’t very much else that we’ve bought brand new for her. (And to be honest, if we hadn’t given away 99% of Jessica’s baby clothes to worthy causes over the years before the arrival of Emily, she’d probably be living in those as well!)

If it wasn’t shameful enough, in terms of photos taken with the digital camera (best quality) as opposed to just quick shots with the phone camera (okay quality)? Pretty close to zero as well.

It gets worse though. Number of Emily photos up on display in the house?

Big fat zero.

So Emily Lötter, Princess of Hand-Me-Downs, without a doubt. Shame, no matter how adorable and more cute you might be than the firstborn as a baby, being the second seriously sucks!

baby emily lotter eating a lemon

Overwhelmed and Underpaid

Spotted this Dilbert cartoon from Scott Adams the other day and it kind of resonated with me and the way I am feeling regarding work at the moment.

dilbert on having too many projects

To put it lightly, I’m tired. I’m stressed and I’m tired. I’m tired of being responsible for everything, I’m tired of running everything, I’m tired of having to implement, maintain and monitor everything at work. Never enough resources, too many bent and broken promises and agreements, and too little focus.

I’m tired, and probably very near the end of my lengthy journey within the current environment.

I take solace in the fact that I’ve restructured my week to now work 80% of the time from my Gordon’s Bay home office in order to spend more time with the family. The truth however is that I now end up putting more time into work instead of less because of the more flexible working arrangement.

Perhaps this imminent two week complete break from my job responsibilities will lift my spirit and revitalize my working soul, perhaps, but for now it is a simple fact that I am stressed and that I am tired, and in all likelihood, need some change.

Back to Work She Goes

Having two kids is expensive. It doesn’t have to be of course – you could just dress them in newspapers and toiletpaper – but needless to say we prefer to be able to give them a little more in life.

Sadly, Chantelle’s Cupcakery hasn’t recovered very well following the loss of the Sacred Ground supplier contract as well as our withdrawal from the food market circuit, and saddled with the heavy debt incurred during the disastrous Stellenbosch Christmas Market debacle at the end of last year (don’t ask, but thanks to poor planning on the event organisers’ part, it was a complete and utter fail) –  so needless to say, things have been pretty tight in terms of the Lötter household finances this year.

So much so that Chantelle has finally had her hand forced and has re-entered the job fray, joining up with her old employers Gordon’s Beach Lodge as a part time guest house manager for them (Hello Andy!).

So it is back to the horrible notion of morning and evening shift work, not to mention working over weekends, but what has to be done, has to be done. It just means that I need to up my Daddy skills – looking after one little girl is a breeze. Looking after one little girl and a baby by yourself – not so much.

Anyway, for Chantelle’s Cupcakery it is business as usual (wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cupcakes), but at least now we are guaranteed a little more stable of an income to make up for those times when everyone in the area appears to be on some or other diet…

gordon's beach lodge

Sadly, 5 Country Mews is now off the Market

Back in April I announced that we had put our house up for sale and were indeed very excited at the prospect of moving back to Bellville. Six months later, cap in hand, I’m back to announce that in the end, the house failed to sell (in fact, interest was very, very low), and given our current poor financial state of affairs, we’ve had to contact Len and instruct him to withdraw the house from the market completely.

It’s maddening and saddening at the same time – I thought the house would sell pretty quickly, but at the same time, perhaps it was just as well that it didn’t, because quite frankly Chantelle’s little business isn’t doing nearly as well as what we had hoped it would (more on that later).

Still, it’s not to say that we won’t try again, once our position has stabilized and we have a little more money in the bank we will definitely restart the process – but for now we’re back to being full time Gordon’s Bay residents.

Ending off on a positive spin, at least now Emily will be getting plenty of glorious beach time this coming Summer season then!

5 country mews home

Capsule Reviews: Movies (Walk of Shame, The Love Punch, etc.)

Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)

Batman: Assault on Arkham is set in the universe of the Batman: Arkham video game franchise, and occurs after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins. The story focuses primarily on the Suicide Squad, particularly Batman villains Deadshot and Harley Quinn, with Batman in a supporting role. In the film, a Suicide Squad of six hardened, super-powered criminals is dispatched by Amanda Waller to break into Arkham Asylum and retrieve a specific item, where they must contend with the asylum’s inmates, including the dangerous as always Joker, and not to mention the ever present Batman, as they attempt to complete their mission.

When we first heard that the latest offering in the excellent DC Universe Animated Original Movies line was to be yet another Batman title, we sighed. But as it turns out, Batman isn’t exactly the star of this particular outing, making for quite the nice twist as we follow a rampaging group trying to achieve their goal and thus buy their freedom, against some pretty overwhelming odds. It is to date the most violent (and graphically so) outing in this great movie line, but ignoring that this genuinely isn’t a half bad attempt at doing something different and it certainly entertains from start to finish, with more than a few surprises hidden up its sleeve. It’s a solid, good looking animated film that is a great watch for any Batman comic book fans.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 85%

batman assault on arkham movie screenshot

Walk of Shame (2014)

Walk of Shame stars Elizabeth Banks as a resourceful reporter whose one-night stand with a handsome stranger (James Marsden) leaves her stranded the next morning in downtown Los Angeles without a phone, car, ID, or money – and only 8 hours before the most important job interview of her career.

This movie had me laughing out loud, and as such, is a genuinely laugh out loud comedy that will keep you entertained from start to finish. Elizabeth Banks is thoroughly entertaining in her role, and as a whole the movie is well put together and a proper polished comedy gem, despite the weirdly low Rotten Tomatoes rating. Both Chantelle and I loved it, making it well worth it as a date night watch!

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 12%

walk of shame movie screenshot

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

There is a new criminal mastermind at large-Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) – and not only is he Sherlock Holmes’ (Robert Downey Jr.) intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade, points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder – a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes and Watson as he spins a web of death and destruction – all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.

I enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s first stab at Sherlock Holmes very much, and as such, Holme’s second outing is equally as enjoyable. The second installment is as expected, louder, longer, and perhaps a little more action-orientated than the first (which is in truth a pity), but nevertheless remains a great action/mystery film watch with superb action, style, and filmography. Definitely worth picking up!

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 60%

sherlock holmes a game of shadows movie screenshot

The Love Punch (2013)

In a nutshell, a divorced couple of pensionable age (Pierce Brosnan as Richard Jones and Emma Thompson as Kate Jones), have their retirement nest egg wiped out when Richard’s investment firm is defrauded and the pension fund is siphoned away. Learning that the unscrupulous French financier behind the scheme has just purchased a $10 million diamond for his bride to be, the divorced duo grudgingly agree to set aside their differences, head over to France, and hatch a plot to gate-crash the wedding and steal the jewel.

Sadly, this movie just doesn’t work. Despite the talent and one or two chuckle-worthy moments, the whole plot is just too contrived and as a whole, The Love Punch comes across as a bungled attempt at classic caper cinema. Everything runs too smoothly, there are too many leaps in plot and as a whole, nothing feels believable behind the whole adventure. Not worth checking out to be honest.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 27%

the love punch movie screenshot

And Sometimes even Trained Mommies get it wrong! Part II

Almost exactly three years ago, Chantelle gnashed her teeth and threw her arms up into the air in exasperation after turning all of baby Jess’ clothes pink thanks to an errant red baby tracksuit pants that was in the wash.

This time around, all of baby Emily’s clothing is now blue (plus our bathroom mat), thanks to an errant navy blue baby pants that was in the washing machine.

Luckily, Emily happens to look cute no matter what she wears! :)

Oh, and just because our baby-toothed, solid food munching Emily doesn’t get all that much exposure on this here blog these days, here are a couple of photos of her chilling at the Baby Steps creche:

emily lotter at baby steps

emily lotter in her cot at baby steps

emily lotter with the other babies at baby steps

See, cute as a button, isn’t she?

(Extra note: Baby Steps is using preschool2me to provide us with daily reports these days, which means that we get treated to a new photo of Emily in her now natural habitat each and every day. Much more fun that the boring old book they used back in Jess’ time!)

AfriForum SMS Spam a Scam?

I received this delightful gem in my SMS inbox yesterday:

AfriForum spreek beweerde bedrog aan by Elandsbaai Vismark. Ons kort ALMAL se hulp. SMS jou naam na 45265 (R1) of STOP om te staak.

This isn’t the first SMS message I’ve received from AfriForum in recent weeks mind you, though that said, I have no idea if this is indeed the work of AfriForum at all!

It’s probably best to begin with the fact that I have no affiliation to the group whatsoever – they appear to be an Afrikaaner non-profit rights group that seem particularly keen on bringing to light corruption, especially when it affects Afrikaaners. Now I’m not particularly fond of activist groups composed around a particular aspect like language, ethnicity, demographic or religion, which in turn means that I am VERY much sure that I’ve never previously interacted with the group whatsoever, hence the particular dislike for this spam that keeps hitting my SMS inbox. (The Democratic Alliance (DA) spam is at least tolerable, annoying make no mistake, but tolerable, purely because I at least vote for the party so therefore I can expect them to have my details on file).

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. My question is simple, is the AfriForum SMS simply spam or a more insidious scam?

Why? Well the use of a premium rated shortcode bothers me here. The minute a premium rated shortcode comes into play then you know that somewhere, someone is making money. If the premium rate was high, let’s say R10 or R20, then it feels like a donation drive and as such you can be pretty sure to find some news around the campaign somewhere in the media, thus validating it. If you don’t, well then it is probably scam and you should definitely not be responding to it.

However, at such a low premium rated number, based on the percentage split that the initiating party receives for an incoming SMS, it becomes very difficult to make a large amount of money unless you are guaranteed a very large reply base, which then raises the question, why use a premium rated shortcode at all? I work in this industry so I know how easy it is to set up a shortcode that can make me a few bucks in just a handful of minutes. Who is to say that this isn’t exactly what is going on here? If AfriForum did indeed set this up, then they need to publicize it in the media in order to let the public know it is legitimate. Searching on their website or on Google turns up nothing regarding Elandsbaai + AfriForum, which means that I have to infer that this could quite possible be a scam and that somewhere, someone is hoping to line their pockets with a little bit of Afrikaaner coin.

So AfriForum, scam or not?

sms message received on a mobile phone otherwise known as a cellphone