Ext Reader for Jersey Web Services

I just started exploring the impressive Ext JavaScript framework. It is very easy to work with and supports a number of options for getting data into your Web 2.0 applications. I also started experimenting with Jersey, the reference implementation for JSR 311 RESTful web services. After playing with both for a couple of days, I thought I would try using the two together, easier said than done.
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Feisty to Gutsy Upgrade

Over the weekend I upgraded two boxes running Ubuntu Linux 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) to 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). The upgrades were initiated through the distribution upgrade option found in the update notifier. The boxes were a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop and a Dell Dimension XPS desktop.
There really isn’t much to report other than the upgrades just worked (see my other post on moving from Edgy to Feisty).

Gutsy Gibbon ScreenshotThe only disappointment was the new indexing application, Tracker. Search results were inconsistent at best, with the first day working great and the next day queries that worked the day before returning nothing. The desktop applet that integrates with Tracker appeared to be broken as well, particularly when it found an email but wouldn’t open it, the applet just closed without an error (disk files worked without any problems). I searched the application logs and Ubuntu forums trying everything from delaying startup at boot time to forcing a complete re-index. I reverted to Beagle for now until all the bugs are worked out.

The amazing part is this is the third distribution upgrade on these machines without any major problems. I know for a fact this wouldn’t work if you tried an in place upgrade of Windows 2000 to Windows XP and finally to Windows Vista.

New Site Layout

I found an exceptional WordPress theme named Abstractia by Rob Goodlatte. I liked it so well that I made it the theme for this site. There are a few kinks to work out such as getting Transmenu to work with IE 7 and figure out why I can’t add bookmarks to the bottom of my posts. Bookmark plugins work with my old WordPress theme but not this one. Kudos to Rob for a job well done!

Open Source in Healthcare

I read an interesting blog entry on ZDNet the other day titled “What is stalling open source in healthcare?“. Dana Blankenhorn put forth bureaucracy and proprietary advantage as possible forces preventing the adoption of open source in healthcare. I responded that part of the problem may be the lack of open source developers with the necessary domain expertise.

I have been trying to start an open source healthcare project (openEPRS) without much success. While I have received numerous inquiries from users, FLOSS developers have been unusually silent. If this is due to a lack of developers with domain expertise, a project like openEPRS can still succeed by attracting amateur developers with the requisite healthcare background. Amateur developers who are domain experts can make enormous contributions to a project. I have experienced this first hand with a number of consulting projects where the amateur developers know what they want, and the professional developer helps them get there.

Others have suggested that healthcare projects are too complex for open source. Perhaps this view can be attributed to the development of monolithic standards from openEHR and HL7, organizations that are so bureaucratic it takes forever to produce anything useful. If such standards are designed properly, adding complexity should not be that difficult. There is no rule that stipulates that a specification needs to be complete before development starts. Complex healthcare applications are perfect for agile development methods, start small and grow.

Healthcare is an area that could really benefit from open source, on the other hand, maybe its boring compared to coding 3D gaming engines.