Thursday, June 29, 2006

Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, apostles and martyrs.

St Peter, pray for us who look unto your example of zeal, courage and love for Christ. Remind us that no sin of ours is greater than His mercy, but may we grow to love Him more through our humility.

St Paul, pray for us who need repentance and conversion. May your shining example encourage us to keep the faith, fight the good fight and finish the race until the day the crown of righteousness awaits us.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 Catholic web portal is the first(?) customizable, personalized web portal (like NetVibes) that aggregate Catholic news feeds from various sites and offer useful information like mass times (worldwide!), daily mass reading, daily reflections, Saint of the Day, and spiritual soundbites.

Do check it out and if your life and work is online (like me), it might just help you achieving Unity of Life™ :) Brought to you by the same guys behind and

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I agonized over whether or not I should write that I am happy reading this article, but what can I do; I was happy!

Papa Benedetto XVI said: "Sacred polyphony, especially the so-called ‘Roman school,’ is a legacy that must be carefully conserved, maintained alive and made known." Domenico Bartolucci, 89, who had been appointed "Maestro in perpetuo" of the Sistine Chapel, directed a concert held in honor of the Pope by the Domenico Bartolucci Foundation. Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf wrote what a reversal the Pope's move seems to be, after years of bad liturgical music sung in the name of "Spirit of Vatican II".

Again, schadenfreude seemed to sweep over me this morning after sitting through the memorial mass of St Josemaria last night butchered by uninspired singing and an incompetent musician. Forgive me Father for this glee, but let sanity and common sense prevail over your Church's liturgy once more!

Feast: Memorial of St Josemaria Escriva (June 26)

St Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer hardly needs introduction! In times when Catholicism and anything related regularly make appearance on the front page, St Josemaria stood out for being a visionary of his time. Lay spirituality is as old as Christianity itself, but St Josemaria anticipated a springtime in the Church through active apostolate of the laity and he sharpened, revolutionized this message. Thus he became an 'apostle of apostles' to the rest of the world through his firm belief that sanctity is not impossible and sainthood is within reach for all of us—even those who are not called to priesthood or religious life (which I think is a misleading term, because all Christian lives should be consecrated!)

Today we celebrate a feast in his memorial; in Singapore, a mass was said at Holy Spirit Church today. Get to know him through Opus Dei and his works here.

O God, through the mediation of Mary our Mother, you granted your priest St Josemaria countless graces, choosing him as a most faithful instrument to found Opus Dei, a way of sanctification in daily work and in the fulfillment of the Christian's ordinary duties. Grant that I too may learn to turn all the circumstances and events of my life into occasions of loving You and serving the Church, the Pope and all souls with joy and simplicity, lighting up the pathways of this earth with faith and love.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Good stuff

Sun Java Wireless Toolkit (WTK) v2.5 (beta) is out! Great APIs support include:

SIP API (for implementing IMS through SIP)
2D Vector Graphics API (if you know what a pain it is to resize images in J2ME, thank God for this!)
Advanced Multimedia Supplements API (for advanced multimedia stuffs, including advanced camera op)

Now, it's waiting time; time to wait for the handsets supporting these APIs to come into the market soon.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

This year is the first time (of many more to go, I hope) that I am a little more 'aware' of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, more than just to mention it in passing. Although I came from a convent school whose name is literally translated as "Our Lady of Sacred Heart", I never knew there was a devotion and a feast (and a whole month!) dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, until I 'bumped' into such a devotion group after one first Friday mass last year.

"Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth."

Those were the words Jesus said when He appeared to St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

Last Wednesday, my prayer group discussed this coming Sunday's mass readings (Job 38:1, 8-11; Psalm 107:23-26, 28-31; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41), where the recurring theme seems to be "high waves" in everybody's lives. I think that if God had wanted all of us to live our lives 'without waves', no doubt it would be done. Yet in each person's life, there IS turmoil, meeting which is not a matter of 'if', but 'when' and 'how'. The Psalms reading recognizes God's power to create storms and still storms; and all we have to do, it seems, is to trust Him completely: cry out to the Lord, and He brings us out of our distress. Suffering seems to be a 'most precious treasure' He wanted to share with us to bring us ever closer to Him.

I remember this when in moments of darkness I could not feel the presence of God in anything that I encounter. A little bit of faith and lots of grace drew me to seek Him in the Eucharist. Ever since, almost without my own effort, I somehow became more conscious of the blessings He has given in many sweet little moments; moments which in the past I surely would have ignored or spurned. What a merciful Father we have!

The Sacred Heart of Jesus loves like a mad man; His love is endless and it longs for us to love Him in return, both through our love for God and for our neighbors. In today's mass, Fr Anthony testified about his mother's devotion to the Sacred Heart, and how abundantly God had responded to her. It is just a little token from us to Him who loved us first, for who could fail to be moved when God spoke so:

When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords, with bands of love;
I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.
How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel?
How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim?
My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.

Hosea 11:1,3-4,8-9

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I place all my trust in you. Give us a heart of flesh, and make it Thine!

Memorial of St Thomas More (June 22)

I recently read a biography of St Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd. Here is a man whose life I could not write much about, but much could be learned and followed from his life.

St Thomas More is more famous for his martyrdom, it seems, than for what he did in his life. He studied Logic at Oxford for two years before training to become a lawyer, and eventually became Chancellor under Henry VIII. From what I know about law practices, it doesn't seem to facilitate one's path to sainthood. It is easy to lose one's head (figuratively and physically!) when one is in More's position of power, yet More found the key to sanctity in spite of his challenging environment. Like most saints, he had a deep-seated humility and faith firmly grounded in regular prayers and daily Masses.

What struck me most was his attitude towards his calling: that 'lay people should give themselves wholeheartedly to their work and make as great a success of it as possible.' And yet, this should not be done out of desire for riches and fame, but from a 'sense of duty to family and society'.

"Duty" has always been a strong incentive for most of my actions, and sometimes it seems at odds with what a lot of my friends are advocating. These days the emphasis seems to be 'follow your passion', 'realize your dreams', and anyone who does not, is soo.. old-economy, or unenlightened. What if our joy is to be found only in carrying out a vocation that God has specifically equipped each one of us to carry out? That is duty; duty to do what is right given our circumstances and capabilities.

O Lord,
give us a mind
that is humble, quiet, peaceable,
patient and charitable,
and a taste of your Holy Spirit
in all our thoughts, words, and deeds.

O Lord,
give us a lively faith, a firm hope,
a fervent charity, a love of you.

Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation
and all dullness in prayer.
Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you,
your grace, and your tender compassion toward us.

Give us,
good Lord,
the grace to work for
the things we pray for. —St. Thomas More (or attributed to him)

More on joyful duty later... Communicasia is finally ending! *Relief*

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"How was the Procession?"

I haven't set aside time to enthuse about the Corpus Christi Procession last Sunday at the Cathedral (This week Communicasia Exhibition is going on—our hands are full). It was the first procession I attended here, and both mass and procession were beautiful! I missed the Vespers.

We had a short sequence and traditional Corpus Christi songs all beautifully sung by Peter Low's choir. Unfortunately, not many of those who attend seem to be familiar with Panis Angelicum, Tantum Ergo, Pange Lingua, O Salutaris Hostia, Te Deum, Adore Te Devote in either English or Latin; so following the mass involved a lot of page-turning of the mass booklet to search for the hymns' lyrics—only some of which were printed. Msgr Francis Lau's homily was a condensed catechesis on the feast history, as well as an exhortation for the faithful to revere the Eucharist more.

The Procession started off slowly, with lots of other parishes' representatives and the choir in tow. Little girls dressed in Korean traditional costume threw flowers on the path of the procession. We made just one solemn round around the Cathedral while saying the Luminous Mysteries. It was solemn in spite of the balmy evening, with added smoke from the incense, and the road outside the Cathedral is uneven because of huge trees' roots uprising. I am not aware whether there were precedents of Corpus Christi processions in Singapore; but it seems that some kind of 'public gathering' license is required to carry out the procession outside the Cathedral grounds. Quite a fair bit of onlookers saw the procession and stopped to see.

"In your midst stands one whom you do not know!"—St John the Baptist

Wouldn't it be great to have a procession every year: bringing Jesus to the streets for everyone to look at, like here?

Elsewhere, Amy Welborn has a lot of her readers posting about Corpus Christi procession all over the world. I took some pictures—not very clear because it was dark—but I have already changed mobile phone again before I could extract them. My friend Bravo might have some too.

UPDATE! Bravo's Photos are here. He's a much better photographer than me!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Church of the future...

... I hope not!

Sandro Magister has an excellent article about what the Duomo of Milan has done in its effort to bring out "new evangelization" through "today’s forms of art."

I am amazed to read all that; I wonder whether the author is being satirical or truly believed this would be the future of the Church! (I am also amazed that I am shocked.. such a traditionalist :) Anyone going to that cathedral might not recognize that it is a Catholic church, unless there's a mass going on.

Where is Jesus in all that? No more gospel, no proper music, (dare I say..) no Catholics in attendance?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mystery of the Eucharist

Corpus Christi, a relative late-comer in my acquaintance with the Church feasts, is one of my favorite feasts in the Church liturgical year.

Yesterday was the first Procession I ever saw and took part in Singapore. It was just a walk around the Cathedral, but it was good to see so many people—including young people—faithfully following the Blessed Sacrament in prayer. Even passers-by stopped and looked with wonder.

Mysterium Fidei
That little humble bread that is Jesus has intrigued me since the days when I was a child (from a not-yet-Catholic family), made to go to frequent Masses in the convent school I attended. When my friends went for communion prep classes, the non-Catholic kids were left behind in our classrooms to play on our own. When we went for Masses, the non-Catholic kids would be left behind in the pew during Communion. When we went through religious classes, several things/teachings were simply incomprehensible to the non-Catholics because we did not attend catechism. But the most intriguing part was when I saw my Catholic friends, teachers bow and kneel to receive the little white Host with reverence. It was mindblowing to see grown-up, imposing and strict teachers as well as my naughty classmates, humble themselves before a tiny piece of bread. I felt a curiosity, which grew into a longing for Somebody they told me was in the bread.

In religious ed classes, we were taught that in the Eucharist is the real body of Christ. It was one of 'opaque' things we non-Catholic kids encountered; just another teaching of the Church my teacher said was inspired by God. How can it be? How could the logical mind ever ascertain whether the transubtantiation taught by the Church really happened? There were Eucharistic Miracles, yes, but it was long after I believed that I heard about those miracles. The real miracle was the gift of Faith which made me believe in the Eucharist, and the ever growing love for it.

I once read somewhere somebody said that Jesus humbled himself to be present in a substance that is known to mankind as a staple nourishment. Another said that no, God made bread such that even a little child could instinctively know God by identifying Him as the ultimate nourishment, without which we'd die a death that is as certain as actual death.

In the Eucharist, God entrusts His body to weak men and women, subject to the elements and abandonment as well as abuses. Two years ago, I discovered the practice of Eucharistic adoration. It was not as instinctive as recognizing God in bread that we eat. Amazed by the stories of saints who kept themselves close to and drew strength from the Eucharist, I was slowly drawn and I am hooked!

I don't know how the exact process was; it seemed to start as simply as being more reverential to the Eucharist while receiving the Communion and a short visit to the Eucharist after masses. And almost without my participation, I became ever more conscious of the unworthy things these hands of mine have done. And through that fear and trembling whenever I approach the table of the Lord, I am slowly learning to overcome my reluctance of going to regular confessions because again, I get reminded what a wretched sinner I am at every Mass and how my sins defile the Body of Christ.

Stopping to reflect, it's been an amazing journey seeking for God in the Eucharist. In the eucharist we see God empty Himself; it is in the eucharist we learn about the God who gave all, and we aspire to give a little better in our daily work, a little more generous, a little more patient, a little more loving until the day where we can truly become What (and one with Whom) we ate.

With fear and trembling we approach the altar of grace, always sure we are not worthy, but trusting that our Lord gives strength to recognize Him in our daily work and to go through this exiled life until we are truly reunited with Him in our true patria.

Thank You, Lord, for the most wondrous gift of the Eucharist. Lord, I believe, do Thou increase my faith!

Update: Two wonderful articles reflecting on the gift of Eucharist.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Jolly good show!"

I've just watched "The Bridge on the River Kwai", circa 1957. A WWII story that captured a lot of things to think about: leadership, principles and loyalty. Great characters and great acting.

(Spoiler Alert!)

A controversial issue is raised when the commander of the POWs decided to use the forced labor project to rally his men's morale and discipline. With the officers' experience and direction, the men were doing a really good job, and the medical officer questioned him, the colonel,

The fact is, what we're doing could be construed as, forgive me sir, collaboration with the enemy. Perhaps even as treasonable activity...Must we work so well. Must we build them a better bridge than they could have built for themselves?"

(Oh, I could identify so well with this question, in my present working arrangement!) But the colonel reasoned that accomplishing this building would show the Japanese of the superiority of the British soldiers' engineering skills, teamwork and discipline, even in defeat.

One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it. Not a gang of slaves, but soldiers, British soldiers, Clipton, even in captivity.

The movie builds up its momentum as there was another team of guerrilla commandos, amongst whom there was a reluctant American escapee from that same labor camp, sent to destroy the bridge, an important part of the railway that they feared, might help extend the Japanese control from Singapore all the way to India.

It climaxed when the colonel discovered the now-completed bridge has been rigged with explosive. Somehow stirred by his love of the bridge, the colonel alerted his Japanese captor (at this point, more of a counterpart really) at the last moment when the train was due to cross (and the bridge to be blown up), and caused two of the British commandos' death, before he realized what he had to decide between his beloved bridge and his nation's interests.

Oh well, I'm a sucker for action movies, and this magnificent film is one of the best so far!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Corpus Christi Mass times

The Corpus Christi feast triduum begins this evening at the Cathedral:

Friday: Jesus, God of Love
Mass at 19:00, P&W at 18:30 and Adoration and 'General Healing' at 20:00

Saturday: Jesus, The Savior
Mass at 18:30, P&W at 19:30 and Adoration & healing at 20:00

Sunday: Jesus, The Giver of Life
Mass at 08:00, 10:00 (with Adoration & healing), 18:00 (with Procession).

Another consortium for Linux on Mobile

Several big names have decided to join forces to promote Linux for mobiles. Motorola, NEC, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Samsung Electronics, as well as two mobile operators, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone, announce an independent effort to build Linux platform for mobiles.

This announcement seems like a duplication of efforts; this is not the first consortium ('Linux Phone Standards Forum' and the 'Mobile Linux Initiative') and Linux-based systems were already running on 14% of smart phones (Symbian is leading at 75%, and Windows Mobile holds 5%). This multiple consolidation seems to reflect that Linux on mobile has the same problem as Linux on PC; many contributors, many levels and points of consolidation, and many stakeholders.

While the Good News™ is yet to come for a developer, it is yet another hopeful sign that most of the code written for a particular Linux kernel will run on other hardwares running the same branch.

News here, here and here.

Corpus Christi at the Cathedral

I've been wanting to post this and invite everyone, everytime I saw the notice on the Cathedral door after weekday mass.

This year, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd celebrates its 160th year, on the Feast of Corpus Christi. A triduum of healing (as all masses are!) Masses is planned from Friday evening until Sunday, and this Sunday's evening Mass will have Eucharistic Procession. There is also food fair all day.

I forgot the exact times, will post again with more precise information. Don't miss this... we can never have enough of eucharistic adoration!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Feast: Memorial of St Anthony of Padua (13 June)

St Anthony of Padua is one of the saints I am probably named after. (The circumstances of my baptism were somewhat unusual; I didn't know which St Anthony is my namesake)

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, St Anthony lived an extraordinary life for such a short period of 36 years. He first joined the Augustinian Order and then left it and joined the Franciscan Order in 1221, inspired by the first Franciscan martyrs who died in Morocco, Africa. On the way to Morocco however, he fell seriously ill and was shipped back, first to Sicily, and then later to Padua. Some excerpt from

He is called the “hammer of the Heretics”. His great protection against their lies and deceits in the matter of Christian doctrine was to utter, simply and innocently, the Holy Name of Mary. When St. Anthony of Padua found he was preaching the true Gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes. He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, to whom He miraculously appeared, and is commonly referred to today as the "finder of lost articles." Upon exhumation, some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.

St Anthony was declared a saint less than a year after his death. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1946. His memorial is celebrated on June 13th.

St Anthony, pray for us, inspired by your example, that we may become as loving, humble, prayerful, faithful and zealous witness that you were.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

J2ME Bug: mapped SoftKey values

Description: In some Motorola handsets, J2ME application running Canvas does not seem to respond when the left, middle or right soft key is pressed.

Affects: Motorola V3, V3x, SLVR L6 (only tested on these)

Workaround: In your code, expect the values of left, middle, and right soft key press to be -21, -23, -22, instead of the original 21, 23, 22.

In J2ME Polish, change the affected devices specification in devices.xml to have these extra capability parameters as described here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Unexpected joy

The house where I stay is crazy about soccer. The landlady subscribed to cable TV just to watch World Cup matches. So tonight I arrived home when half of Japan-Australia first match was over, with Japan leading 1-0. Not understanding the point of soccer, I read a book next to three excited girls glued to the TV set, and blurted a memorable line:

Girls, where's the ad?

When the match seemed to almost end with a Japan win, you could see anxiety grew in the Australian fans' faces. But the Australian team itself didn't seem fazed at all. In fact, they scored three goals in the last six minutes. Isn't it fantastic, a team that looked like it's a goner (they didn't score a single goal in the last 32 years), rose from the dead to victory?

(What happened aferwards was interesting; because my friend emphatizes too much with any losing team and accused me of not sympathizing with her 'side'. But that's for another topic of "What can happen to you if you are not allowed to express joy when your team wins")

The only thing I 'like' about soccer is that determined seeking to score goals and that earnest joy when they are beget. Another thing is that, this is a game that gives both teams a chance to win til the very last minute, the very last second. What an unexpected joy it is to see hope born!

Kinda remind me that for grace is like that; it comes in the least expected moments and for some people, it literally snatches them from the jaws of Hell moments before death... like this lucky creature here.


UPDATE: My friend Vergel writes a classy commentary live for the World Cup series. You can read his writings on your cellphone by downloading this free mobile application here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

God's eye candy today

While strolling outside a church's meeting room today, I saw a tree with beautiful leaves. I don't know what it's called, but it sure made my day! How great He is who made them!


PS: Picture quality was degraded due to MMS size limitation (original resolution: 1280x960, reduced to 640x480)

Ultimate weight-loss activity

I bought a little drawer set made of wooden frames and cardboard boxes this morning, in an effort to combat mess. When I came back tonight from the Choice reflection day, I sat down to assemble its parts together.

Being the eldest daughter in a family with no sons, I grew up as my dad's assistant handyman. I guess I'm out of practice, because I'm totally drained and my arms are still shaking after taming the imperfect holes with wooden plugs and screwdrivers and L-wrench. Some pictures to entertain the idle visitor: (Sorry, no picture of the parts before assembly!)

This is the trickiest part: putting together the drawer handles!

For anyone who wants to burn serious calories to lose weight: purchase a small furniture from IKEA, assemble it yourself, feel the hunger in your rumbling tummy and enjoy! My thumbs are now bright-red. Hope this little baby brings order to my room. Have a good weekend.

Friday, June 09, 2006

J2ME Polish: obfuscator bug

This bug has been the bane of my life for the past few weeks. To a non-IT person (that's a lot of you and I, before my company started), it might have seemed strange to want to obfuscate anything!

The American Heritage® Dictionary defines obfuscate as:
1. To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand
2. To render indistinct or dim; darken

For people who gets irked when their code gets lifted, obfuscation can be done on their codebase. In J2ME, obfuscation helps to reduce the final JAR size by eliminating classes which have been declared but never referenced, at the same time renaming classes to one-letter or two-letter names, thus 'obfuscating' it for the code thief. It is a nearly standard practice, and I would like to document my little tête-à-tête (or a wrestle?) for others whose search take them here.

Description: J2ME Polish v1.2.4 seems to have a problem obfuscating code which contains the class.

Should we abandon Polish? What if your codebase has grown dependent on Polish? What if, worse, you've fallen in love with Polish' elegant UI? Both were true for me. So here's what I did:

1. Don't obfuscate
No go. I absolutely need two library JARs, one for floating-point-decoding operation (33KB), the other for xml parsing (kxml2-min.jar—18KB). Total JAR size was 295KB. Costs a bomb to download OTA. How can we ever hope anyone would download it to their phone?

2. Manually prune my code & optimize images
Eclipse helps me to see what methods and variables are not being used. I also renamed packages, methods, variables and packages to use shorter names while trying to remember their mnemonics! Basically, all the 'good programming practices' taught in school have to be thrown out of the window when it comes to making lean codes for mobile phones. I only have two 1-KB image files. My effort reduced the JAR size to 188KB.

3. Attempt to implement my UI using Canvas
This took me two days: euphoria and dypshoria took turns when it worked smoothly on Nokia 6230i and then I realized I might have to provision customization for every single phone model!

4. Attempt to fix it
I suspected this bug might be due to two JAR files used by J2ME Polish containing the Manager class in the same package So I bravely combined the two JAR files and replaced the Manager class in Polish' JAR files with the original Sun Wireless Toolkit's. Didn't work.

5. Use Proguard's parameters in J2ME Polish
I tried introducing some parameters "-dontskipnonpubliclibraryclasses", "-dontusemixedcaseclassnames" and "-keep" on the Manager class, in the obfuscator element of the build.xml file. Didn't get past step one, because it requires me to overwrite a Polish obfuscator class.

6. Upgrade to J2ME Polish v1.3-beta4
Not only this version doesn't solve the problem, it introduces new bugs for the function Display.setCurrent(Alert, Displayable)

7. Use alternative obfuscators
Jode, or Retroguard both didn't work with v1.2.4 and v1.3-beta4.

8. Upgrade to ProGuard v3.4 or v3.6
Didn't work. These two versions are not backward-compatible with the calls that Polish v1.2.4 make.

9. Finally, (THIS WORKED!) Obfuscate outside J2ME Polish
I compiled the JARs in Polish for some fifty phone models without obfuscation. Open them using other Wireless Toolkits (Sun's, Siemens' or Sony Ericssons'), attach the source and the library JARs independently, rebuild with obfuscation (Proguard v3.2—same version as what Polish uses)! Smooth as butter. Extra patience required.

RESULT: Final JAR sizes are between 95KB to 106KB (depending on device models).

Talk about dismantling the whole building just to fix a little plumbing problem. What one wouldn't do for something one loves... Hope this helps, folks!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pentecost & Holy Trinity

As Trinity Sunday approaches, the Church reflects on unity of the 'visible'—aspiring after the ultimate unity of the Holy Trinity. In last night's prayer meeting we discussed how sometimes it is hard to see unity, harder still to promote it! Today I found the Pope's homily at Vespers, on the eve of Pentecost. What a wonderful teacher we have in him! Read it for yourself, and may you grow in the love of our Triune God!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

J2ME: Golden bug

I have exactly 13 days to release my company's app (and the other company's app too). After playing around with the look-n-feel, and running it hard to slim down the JAR file size, I finally got to look at the part that reads from the mobile phone's filesystem. At first, the bug's behavior is hardly noticeable underneath all those J2ME midlet permission pop-ups (one for every file listed).

On most Java MIDP2.0 phones supporting JSR-75 (FileConnection API), the following call should return the directory names requested:
should return
"file:///c:/pictures/"(or something equivalent applicable to the handset make).
Similarly other getProperty calls to "fileconn.dir.tones", "fileconn.dir.videos", should return ringtones' and videos' respective folders.

On Sony Ericsson's models K750, W800 series and possibly its entire Java Platform 6 family, this call fails—returns nothing basically. The root cause of this was simple:

“” has accidentally been misspelled as “” in those phones' Java API implementation.

Link here

Many programmers, especially those new to J2ME, spent countless hours of near despair wondering what on earth happened, or did not happen, on that tiny machine. Despair no more!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Elsewhere on the blogosphere...

1. 06-06-06: Back to work—good day for me—all tests clear! Evening spent at my company's new office. Not seen anything unusual this day. Besides, in a hundred years, we will get 06-06-06 again!

2. Roundup on Pentecost celebrations
Reflecting on the Holy Spirit's gifts
Some crazy rainbow sashers denied communion: someone distributed the Host to them illegally.

This brings to the point of liturgical practices: I haven't been in the Church long enough to know what proper liturgies should be. My experience of being denied Communion on the tongue (the excuse being to curb the spread of Hand-Foot-Mouth disease—which doesn't happen in Singapore where no cattle grazes) was the furthest extent of my disturbance. Bad taste in music is next, but I will even say sometimes it can be tolerated with a thought to charity.

Some of the hardcore traditionalists like Gerard have either really experienced banal liturgies or are just plain cranky :) One of them suggested that in a traditional Novus Ordo mass or Tridentine Mass everyone would take the Lord reverently (while kneeling, on the tongue) no one would take the Host and break it and give it to those who protest the Church's teachings (and by definition, not in Communion).

Without going into 'liturgy' and definitions, my take on the Mass is that it should be carried out as reverently as possible. Certainly there are times when the Spirit infuse some of our parish members to express themselves more 'joyfully' than others, but Fear of the Lord should always guide liturgists. After all, they do not celebrate liturgies to showcase their 'talents' but also for their fellow parishioners. More often than not, unnecessary embellishment to the Mass (in the name of local culture) rather lessens than magnifies the solemnity given to the occasion.

Our pope BXVI, while a Cardinal, wrote ever so eloquently:

"I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us. But when the community of faith, the worldwide unity of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else then, is the Church to become visible on her spiritual essence? Then the community is celebrating only itself, an activity that is utterly fruitless."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Feast of Pentecost

Veni Sanctus Spiritus!
Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

After nine days of praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit, Pentecost is finally here! Rejoice!

Mens sana in corpore sano: I'm not fit to write anything this weekend. Wishing all of you a blessed Pentecost and a renewed spirit!

Friday, June 02, 2006

J2ME references

This week I've been grappling at low-level firefighting on the J2ME mobile platform. One of the most frustrating things I encountered is finding similar problem being reported in the various forums, but not the followup!

So here are some reference for those who stumble here through late-night Google search:

For newbies who get frustrated by JSR-135 non-compliant implementation in Nokia phones: theory vs. practice
Mobile Media API Support In Nokia Devices

For those who find their JARs too big / want to 'hide' their code so that codelifters have to work a little harder:
Obfuscators: Proguard, Retroguard, Jode, etc.

For those who want to 'polish' up their clunky app:
J2ME Polish—be warned, there may be some problem using J2ME Polish with Obfuscators!

Update: Will post more on my wrestling match with J2ME-Polish and Proguard later. Down and out for the week.