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Category: tech


That’s a terrible blog post title, I know. Nevertheless, I just burned 90 minutes trying to figure out why a simple Spring MultiActionController setup left me with an error: “No request handling method with name ‘list’ in class.” Google was little help, so I resorted to Bing.

Eventually, I found a buried forum response with my exact problem, I had referenced the wrong package’s type! If you’re running in to this, make sure you do this:

import org.springframework.web.servlet.ModelAndView;

and not this:

import org.springframework.web.portlet.ModelAndView;

This will teach me to be more mindful of what Eclipse decides to add for me automatically.

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message sectionOffset sent to freed object

Pardon the relatively technical post, but I want to document this problem somewhere in hopes that it saves someone the frustration it caused me.

I’ve been experimenting with iPhone development lately. For the most part, it’s been a fun learning process despite the quirks that Xcode, IB, and Obj-C throw at an MS developer. Objective-C is, at worst, a 20-year-old hack that follows few conventions established by most other OO languagues.

My most recent lesson has been adapting my project to use Core Data for persistence. Early on, I kept receiving the error “message sectionOffset sent to freed object” when trying to load a connected table.

I found the solution nowhere online, and the exception is not at all helpful. For me, the problem was that I was trying to access the FetchedResultsController before performFetch had been called. Adding performFetch to my viewDidLoad fixed the issue, and I was on my way. My iPhone app is on its way.


Apple Makes Good

I’m generally no fan of Apple. Their marketing is so frequently filled with lies. The Mac v. PC ads are impossibly smarmy. And the Apple Stores: the retail employees are either so uninformed or so blinded by corporate idolatry it makes me ill. (Don’t get me started on the so-called “genius” bar.)

Mac OS has its moments, but for every cool feature (Exposé, Spaces), there is as much awfulness (menu bar, Finder, window management, keyboard shortcuts). If you really think it’s any better than Vista, it’s probably time to put the Kool-Aid down. And the dev environment, Xcode? What a usability nightmare.

But I’ve certainly been a fan of their hardware ever since my 3rd-gen iPod. Their computers, phones, and media players are certainly the best looking around, and they always seem very solid. With that in mind, curious about iPhone development, and needing a laptop for grad school, I made the plunge and bought my first Mac – a refurbished MacBook Pro (MBP). This was in September.

Three weeks later, conveniently past the return period, Apple announced a new line of MBPs that were much cooler than mine. On top of that, mine started making a really high-pitched noise at medium brightness in Vista. Two separate repairs by the “geniuses” did nothing to fix the problem, and the laptop was beginning to show signs of having been taken apart and reassembled by non-experts.

Here I was seemingly stuck with an “obsolete” machine that made my ears ring and didn’t nearly shine like it had only six weeks ago.

So I was elated yesterday when I called Apple to pursue a third repair or possible exchange. After only a few minutes on the phone with customer service and a few more minutes on hold, they gave me an exception to the return policy – I’ll be getting a full refund for the “old” one. I was really impressed by this; kudos to Apple on a great “make good.” My new MBP is already on the way.

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The Windows Media Center Saga

Before I begin, let me clarify that I really enjoy Vista and Windows Media Center (WMC). Don’t let my recent purchases fool you, I haven’t become a Mac, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to. WMC combined with an Xbox 360 or other Media Center Extender (MCE) provides an awesome television viewing experience, especially in HD. With the issues ironed out, it’s been working fantastically for a couple of months now.

However, my experience with it hasn’t been without its problems. The problems themselves wouldn’t have been so bad if they had been well documented online, but they weren’t. This post exists so that hopefully someone else with the same problems can save themselves some of the swearing I’ve been reduced to.

My Setup

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • ASUS P5K Motherboard
  • Core 2 Quad – 2.4 Ghz
  • 4GB RAM (I only realize 3.25 under 32-bit Vista)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200 rpm, 1TB Hard Drive
  • SiliconDust’s awesome HDHomeRun network TV tuner

Problem 1: Total Computer Freeze

I had used WMC on my old PC (and extended via the 360) without issue, so when I build the new box, I was pretty excited about seeing it all in HD. You can imagine my disappointment when I fired up the MCE on the 360 to try it out, seeing the great picture only to get an error message telling that WMC couldn’t connect. When I went to the PC to investigate, it was totally locked up. Not like a program had crashed… not like a blue screen… not rebooted… just totally frozen. Nothing to do but turn it off and back on.

This seemed to happen every time I used the extender. Sometimes it would happen immediately after the MCE started, usually it would happen 30 seconds or so in to watching something (live or recorded). Occasionally it would happen after 30 minutes or more of fine performance – this was the most frustrating, as it would seem that some tweaking I had tried had fixed the problem.

Solution: It turns out that this freezing has something to do with the onboard network card of my P5K motherboard, either the hardware itself or the drivers. Strangely, simply adding another network card did not fix the problem. I had to to remove the drivers completely and disable the card in the BIOS settings. After doing that and installing a new network card, this problem has gone away.

Problem 2: “application has launched UI unexpectedly”

I felt great when the total lockup was solved, but that didn’t last long. Soon enough I began to get the “application has launched UI unexpectedly” error from the 360 when trying to launch the MCE. I would reboot, and occasionally that would fix the problem. I also followed the steps in this Microsoft knowledge base article; that seemed to fix the problem too, until a week later when it happened again. Reapplied the steps, problem solved… until a week later when I was trying to demo my sweet setup to a friend… boom. This time reapplying the steps several times did nothing, and I was ready to beat my head against the wall when I saw the annoying “low battery warning” from my mouse driver pop up.

Solution: Duh – that was the unexpected UI! I checked the Startup folder for all users and sure enough, the mouse driver shortcut was there. When someone starts a MCE session, it runs as a separate user on the computer, logged on in the background. So that user was effectively getting the low battery warning with no way to handle them. I moved all the shortcuts from the “all users” startup folder and put them in my own startup folder, and I haven’t seen this happen since.

I hope this helps someone. If so, let me know!



I’m moving TCOB to Dreamhost after experimenting with GoDaddy for several months. GoDaddy was fine, but it didn’t allow for as much technical experimentation. Furthermore, several of their processes seemed convoluted. I’m looking forward to trying out Subversion on Dreamhost as well. I’ll post again to this blog when everything seems moved.

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