Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

VanRensselaer Lodge No. 87 Officer Installation


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At our last meeting in May VanRensselaer Lodge No. 87 installed our new officers for the current year. A good friend of mine, David Neidrauer was installed as Worshipful Master. It was great seeing this occur. David is the first of a young group of Masons taking leadership roles in our lodge.

Experimental Dance Photos


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I've been taking photos of dancing for some time now. While at a wedding a few weeks ago I snapped a photo of the couple dancing and had a slow shutter speed. This resulted in a wonderful image, with some motion blur, but other parts of the photo being sharp. At a recent dance night I sought to duplicate the effect. It takes some patience, and getting just the right shutter speed. I haven't mastered the skill yet, but here are a few attempts at it.

Here's the photo from the wedding that got me started on this:

A Rock Garden Afternoon


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We went to Goshen to spend time with Sylva's Dad and Step-Mom for her birthday. (Happy Birthday Libby!)

Libby keeps an amazing rock garden. It really has to be seen to be appreciated. I headed out with our EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens and took some flower photos. All of these are hand-held with my 1D Mark II.

A Catskill Mountain Ride to see Pops


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Last Saturday Sylva and I took our first good long ride of the season. (I know. I know... what took us so looong? We've been busy.) This was a ride with a purpose. Sylva grand father, Pops, had bypass surgery recently, and we were headed to pay him a get well visit.

We headed south on the NY Thruway, then took Rt-23 into the northern part of the Catskill Mountains, headed toward Windham. From there we took Rt-296 south to Hunter, then Rt-214 south to Phoenicia. From Windham to Phoenicia it's all winding wonderful mountain roads. No real tight turns and curves, but then NY really doesn't have a lot of those.

Grand Lodge of Wisconsin F&AM Annual Session


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Earlier this month I had the honor and privilege of being the Personal Representative of the Most Worshipful Neal I. Bidnick, Grand Master of Mason in the State of New York, to the annual session of the Grand Lodge of Wisonsin Free and Accepted Masons.

This was my first opportunity attending a Grand Session outside of my home jurisdiction of New York. I truly enjoyed the session. The Grand Master of Wisconsin, Most Worshipful Rodney Paulsen conducted the session with great joy and dignity. It was truly a pleasure.

Masters Lodge Number 5 Installation of Officers


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On May 14, 2007 Masters Lodge Number 5 Free & Accepted Masons held its election and installation of officers for the ensuing year. My congratulation to all of the new officers, and in particular to R.·. W.·. Robert Walenta on his election as Master of the Lodge. Here's to a great year.

ApacheCon US 2007: Using Groovy with Struts 2


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I received an email from ApacheCon today. They have accepted my Using Groovy with Struts 2 training session.

Using Groovy with Struts 2: A hands on half day training session. Learn how to use Groovy with Struts 2. Topics covered will include: Integrating Groovy into the Struts 2 Maven archetype; implementing actions, and service beans in Groovy; using Spring to wire Groovy service beans and action classes; using dynamic Groovy actions that do not require a server restart; writing Data Access Objects in Groovy and using Spring based transaction support with Java Persistence API (JPA).

I don't have scheduling information yet, but I believe it will either be on November 12 or 13. Stay tuned for more information.

New Lenses


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It's that time of year. It seems that in the spring I add lenses to my collection. In '05 it was a 50mm f/1.8, in '06 it was a 100mm f/2.8 Macro and a 17-40 f/4L. This year I added the Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS, and the EF 70-200 f/4L IS. These are both incredible lenses. I haunted the local brew pub, and hounded the cats for a few pics.

What would you want in a Struts 2 cookbook?


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I'm seriously considering writing a dead tree Struts 2 cookbook. What types of recipes would you like to see? Beyond what is already in my cookbook I've been thinking of the following:

  • Integration with other tools:
    • Spring & Spring MVC
    • Hibernate, iBatis, JPA
    • JSF (integration and migration)
    • Guice
    • SiteMesh
    • Others?
  • Architecture
    • Using "modules" to break up a large project
    • Using layers
    • Using Spring as architectural glue

Creating a Login Interceptor in Struts 2


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Controlling access to web resources with a a login process is a common use-case. Implementing this using an interceptor in Struts 2 is very straight forward.

The parts of the solution:

  • An interceptor class,
  • An interceptor definition in our struts.xml file,
  • An interceptor stack that uses our interceptor in our struts.xml file,
  • A global result in our struts.xml file,
  • A JSP page to accept the username and password,
  • A service bean to process our user's login attempt,
  • A way to wire our service bean to our interceptor.