jq - like sed for json alvin November 27, 2014 - 9:02am

I learned about jq yesterday. As their web page says, “jq is like sed for JSON data – you can use it to slice and filter and map and transform structured data with the same ease that sed, awk, grep and friends let you play with text.” (I learned about it via this tweet by Grzegorz Kossakowski, who I met at the Scala Summit in 2013.

How to create outlined text using Gimp

Here’s a quick look at how to create outlined text using Gimp. I don’t know if that’s the right term, but I’m thinking of the large white text you see with a black border that you usually see on meme images.

Here are the steps I just used:

  • Select the text you entered, such as, “I USED A var”. Make sure the Text Tool is active.
  • Click the “Path From Text” button in the Text Tool panel.
  • Click the Select menu, then “From Path”. You should see some action on screen here.
  • Create a transparent layer, move it below your text, and make it active.
  • Click Select, then Grow...
  • On the popup dialog, enter 3 pixels, 5 pixels, whatever you need for your font. When you click OK you should see the selection area on screen change size.
  • Click Edit menu, choose “Fill with BG Color”, or “Fill with FG Color”.

If you use a white font with a black background color, your image should look like this:

How to start the Android command line shell

Android FAQ: How do I start the Android command line tool (so I can interact with my Android emulator or device)?

You start the Android command line with the adb shell command:

$ adb shell

This makes at least two assumptions:

  1. You have the Android SDK installed.
  2. You have an Android emulator (or physical device) running.

When you start the adb shell, you'll see a very simple prompt that looks like this:

Free Function Point Analysis software ( alvin February 1, 2011 - 5:15pm

Function Point Analysis software tools: As a brief announcement, I've just created a free Function Point Analysis software application at

If you're not familiar with Function Point Analysis (FPA), it is an industry standard technology that lets you determine the "size" of a software application. What "square feet" is to a house, "function points" are to a software application.

A Gimp circle tutorial: How to draw a circle in Gimp

Gimp circle FAQ: How do I draw a circle in Gimp?

I just used Gimp to create several circle images in my iPhone Safari browser privacy and security tutorial, and here's a short tutorial on how I created them. I normally use hollow circle images to highlight something in the original image, I'll demonstrate that here, but I'll also show how to create solid circles in Gimp, which are even easier to create.

How to draw a straight line in Gimp

It's embarrassing to say how long I've been using GIMP without knowing how to draw a straight line, but ... skipping that story ... here's a quick tutorial on how to draw a straight line with GIMP.

GIMP straight line: Step 1

Step 1 in the process is to have an image you want to draw a straight line on. I'll assume you have a practical image you're working with, but for my purposes, I'll be drawing a straight line in black, on a white canvas. Here's my white canvas:

Continuous integration software development best practice alvin April 11, 2008 - 5:57am

Continuous integration is a key to a quality build process for any multi-developer software development project. I can't say it much better than the way Martin Fowler describes it, so I'll just include a portion of his summary here:

Continuous Integration is a software development practice where members of a team integrate their work frequently, usually each person integrates at least daily - leading to multiple integrations per day.

Java Windows exe - a tool for creating Windows executable files alvin March 18, 2005 - 2:04pm

Here's a link to a tool named JSmooth that lets you create Windows executable files from standard Java JAR files. It looks like this can make the installation process on the Windows platform much more friendly.


Sat, Jan 8, 2005 (Just released my first two JBuilder OpenTool projects) alvin January 8, 2005 - 2:53pm

I've finally finished creating my first two JBuilder OpenTool projects. They are very simple, but time is scarce, so the development process was drawn out. Here are quick links to the two tools: