Tag Archives: HOWTO

QEMU Linu/xMipsel emulation

This tutorial will assume that you have a running QEMU environment and that it works. These are old notes that I am simply capturing here as a reference, so things may have changed regarding links etc. Please exercise some caution with copying and pasting!

First step is to create a disk image to use with our new OS:

qemu-img create -f qcow hda.img 10G 

This will hold all the files related to our MIPSel machine.

Now go and grab the kernel image:

wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/dists/etch/main/installer-mipsel/current/images/qemu/netboot/vmlinux-2.6.18-6-qemu
wget http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/dists/etch/main/installer-mipsel/current/images/qemu/netboot/initrd.gz

Now you should be able to start the installation process with

qemu-system-mipsel -M mips -kernel vmlinux-2.6.18-6-qemu -initrd initrd.gz -hda hda.img -append "root=/dev/ram console=ttyS0" -nographic 

Once you have gone through the debian installer, you can boot your new system with

qemu-system-mips -M mips -kernel vmlinux-2.6.18-6-qemu -hda hda.img -append "root=/dev/hda1 console=ttyS0" -nographic 

Android AsyncTask

I have seen with many apps that the main thread is sometimes (ab)used by doing too many asynchronous tasks in it. This is very easily resolved by making use of the AsyncTask class in android.os.AsyncTask.

A simple example. Let us assume that you want to call a set of WordPress REST URL’s and get a bunch of JSON back to work with. This is actually really simple and non-blocking if you do it properly with AsyncTask.

The key here is that you need to subclass all of your calls with AsyncTask calls.The class will need to override at least one method

doInBackground(Params ...)

and in some cases, you will probably want to override



I think that the method names are sufficient description for what they do in this case.

With that in mind, let’s create our “Task” class:

package com.myapp.tasks;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

import com.myapp.PostLister;
import com.myapp.model.PostInfo;

import de.akquinet.android.androlog.Log;
import android.os.AsyncTask;

public class PostListTask extends AsyncTask<String, Integer, List<PostInfo>> {

	private static final String TAG = "PostListTask";

	protected List<PostInfo> doInBackground(String... params) {
		List<PostInfo> posts = new ArrayList<PostInfo>();
		for (String urlid : params) {
			PostLister postlist = new PostLister();
			PostInfo post = postlist.getURL(urlid);
		if (isCancelled()) {
			Log.e(TAG, "User cancelled listing " + params);
		Log.i(TAG, "Post list done..");
		return posts;

Once that is done, we need to fill in the missing classes

package com.myapp;

import org.json.JSONException;
import org.json.JSONObject;

import com.myapp.model.PostInfo;
import com.myapp.util.JSONParser;

public class PostLister {

	public static final String url="http://paulscott.co.za/blog/wp-json.php/posts/";
	public static final String urlid = "";
	public static final String TAG_CONTENT = "content";
	public static final String TAG_TITLE = "title";
	public static final String TAG_LINK = "link";
	public static final String TAG_ID = "ID";
	public static final String TAG_SLUG = "slug";
	public static final String TAG_DATE = "date";

	JSONParser jParser = new JSONParser();
	public PostInfo getURL(String urlid) {
		JSONObject json = jParser.getJSONFromUrlByGet(url+urlid);
		try {
			String str_content = json.getString(TAG_CONTENT);
			String str_title = json.getString(TAG_TITLE);
			String str_link = json.getString(TAG_LINK);
			String str_ID = json.getString(TAG_ID);
			String str_slug = json.getString(TAG_SLUG);
			String str_date = json.getString(TAG_DATE);
			PostInfo post = new PostInfo(str_content, str_title, str_link, str_ID, str_slug, str_date);
			return post;
		} catch (JSONException e) {
			// whatever...
		return null;

As you can see, we are only using a few fields from the JSON produced by the WP-JSON plugin, but you get the gist right?

Now for a model

package com.myapp.model;

public class PostInfo {
	private String content;
	private String title;
	private String link;
	private String id;
	private String slug;
	private String date;
	public PostInfo(String content, String title, String link, String id,
			String slug, String date) {
		this.content = content;
		this.title = title;
		this.link = link;
		this.id = id;
		this.slug = slug;
		this.date = date;

	public String getContent() {
		return content;

	public void setContent(String content) {
		this.content = content;

	public String getTitle() {
		return title;

	public void setTitle(String title) {
		this.title = title;

	public String getLink() {
		return link;

	public void setLink(String link) {
		this.link = link;

	public String getId() {
		return id;

	public void setId(String id) {
		this.id = id;

	public String getSlug() {
		return slug;

	public void setSlug(String slug) {
		this.slug = slug;

	public String getDate() {
		return date;

	public void setDate(String date) {
		this.date = date;

Pretty standard stuff.

Once we are ready to fire it off, we simply invoke the AsyncTask with

AsyncTask<String, Integer, List<PostInfo>> posts = new PostListTask().execute("492", "491");

Which you can pretty much do whatever you want with:

try {
        	List<PostInfo> res = posts.get();
        	for(PostInfo post : res) {
        	    String content = post.getContent();
        	    Log.d(TAG, content);
        } catch (InterruptedException e) {
        catch (ExecutionException e) {

Where the String array we send is a list of the posts that we want to retrieve.

Dead simple, fast and efficient! Yay!

Android Volley – HTTP async Swiss Army Knife

This serves as a post to help you get started with Android Volley. Volley is used for all sorts of HTTP requests, and supports a whole bang of cool features that will make your life way easier.

It is a relatively simple API to implement, and allows request queuing, which comes in very useful.

The code below is a simple example to make a request to this blog and get a JSON response back, parse it and display it in a simple TextView widget on the device.

package za.co.paulscott.volleytest;

import org.json.JSONObject;

import android.os.Bundle;
import android.support.v4.app.Fragment;
import android.support.v7.app.ActionBarActivity;
import android.util.Log;
import android.view.LayoutInflater;
import android.view.Menu;
import android.view.MenuItem;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.ViewGroup;
import android.widget.TextView;

import com.android.volley.Request;
import com.android.volley.RequestQueue;
import com.android.volley.Response;
import com.android.volley.VolleyError;
import com.android.volley.toolbox.JsonObjectRequest;
import com.android.volley.toolbox.Volley;

public class MainActivity extends ActionBarActivity {

    private TextView txtDisplay;
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

        if (savedInstanceState == null) {
                    .add(R.id.container, new PlaceholderFragment())
        txtDisplay = (TextView) findViewById(R.id.txtDisplay);

		RequestQueue queue = Volley.newRequestQueue(this);
		String url = "http://paulscott.co.za/blog/wp-json.php/posts/100";

		JsonObjectRequest jsObjRequest = new JsonObjectRequest(Request.Method.GET, url, null, new Response.Listener<JSONObject>() {

			public void onResponse(JSONObject response) {
				String txt = response.toString();
				Log.i("volleytest", txt);
		}, new Response.ErrorListener() {

			public void onErrorResponse(VolleyError error) {
				// TODO Auto-generated method stub



    public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
        // Inflate the menu; this adds items to the action bar if it is present.
        getMenuInflater().inflate(R.menu.main, menu);
        return true;

    public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
        // Handle action bar item clicks here. The action bar will
        // automatically handle clicks on the Home/Up button, so long
        // as you specify a parent activity in AndroidManifest.xml.
        int id = item.getItemId();
        if (id == R.id.action_settings) {
            return true;
        return super.onOptionsItemSelected(item);

     * A placeholder fragment containing a simple view.
    public static class PlaceholderFragment extends Fragment {

        public PlaceholderFragment() {

        public View onCreateView(LayoutInflater inflater, ViewGroup container,
                Bundle savedInstanceState) {
            View rootView = inflater.inflate(R.layout.fragment_main, container, false);
            return rootView;


Maven for Android

This is a quick howto on setting up and using Maven for your Android projects. Maven Android integration is not yet excellent, but is coming along nicely, and if you are familiar with Maven projects, will make managing your dependencies a lot easier!

I will be working with Ubuntu, but your set up will be similar. Just adapt paths etc for your setup as you need.

Ubuntu ships with Maven2, but we need Maven-3.0.5 at least in order to work with Android. I prefer to install maven manually because you don’t need to stress about pinning and other such nonsense from a binary distro. I also usually install stuff in /opt/ so that is where we will be working from.

The first thing that you need to do, is to grab the maven distribution file. I used 3.2.1, but anything later than 3.0.5 should work OK.

wget http://apache.saix.net/maven/maven-3/3.2.1/binaries/apache-maven-3.2.1-bin.tar.gz

Extract the archive and copy it to /opt/

sudo cp apache-maven-3.2.1 /opt/

Great! First steps completed! You are doing well so far!
I am assuming that you have a semi-recent JDK installed, in our case we need JDK 6+. Check for your JDK version with

java -version

If all comes back OK, we are ready to proceed.

Get the path to your JDK now with

locate bin/java | grep jdk

and make a note of it. Mine is at


Edit your bashrc file (located at /etc/bash.bashrc on Ubuntu) and add the following parameters (modify according to your paths) to the end of the file:

export ANDROID_HOME=/opt/android-sdk-linux
export M3_HOME=/opt/apache-maven-3.2.1
export M3=$M3_HOME/bin
export PATH=$M3:$PATH
export JAVA_HOME=/opt/java7/jdk1.7.0_45
export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH:/opt/java7/jdk1.7.0_45

Load up your new basrc file with

source /etc/bash.bashrc

and check that everything is OK.
You should now be able to test your brand new Maven3 installation with

mvn -version

If that seems OK, you are ready to install the Android m2e connector in Eclipse. Please note that this works best in Eclipse Juno or later (I use Kepler).

Open up Eclipse, and choose to install software from the Eclipse Marketplace. This is found in Help -> Eclipse Marketplace. Do a search for “android m2e” and install the Android configurator for M2E 0.4.3 connector. It will go ahead and resolve some dependencies for you and install.

You should now be able to generate a new Android project in Eclipse with New Project -> Maven -> new Maven project and in the archetype selection, look only in the Android catalogue or filter on “de.akquinet.android.archetypes” and choose the android quickstart project.

If this fails, you can also generate a new project on the command line and simply import it to Eclipse.

mvn archetype:generate \
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=android-quickstart \
  -DarchetypeGroupId=de.akquinet.android.archetypes \
  -DarchetypeVersion=1.0.11 \
  -DgroupId=com.your.company \

Once all of that is complete, dev carries on as usual. Remember that now dependencies are in your POM.xml document, so check that out first and ensure that you have some basics in there:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
	xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/maven-v4_0_0.xsd">




		<!-- Androlog is a logging and reporting library for Android -->




As you can see, I have included some other stuff, like ActionBarSherlock and JodaTime in case, as they are generally really useful, and it may save you some time just copying the dependency information!

Have fun!

Spring data Neo4j using Java based config

There are very few examples in the wild on using Spring’s Java config methods to configure and start a Neo4j Graph Database service to use in your application. This post will serve as a primer to get you started on your Neo4j application and hopefully save you some bootstrap time as well!

The first thing that we need to do is make sure that you have a running Neo4j server up and ready for action, as well as a new Spring project that you can start with.

In your project POM XML file, you need to add in a few dependencies to work with Neo4j. In this example, I have used Neo4j-1.9.5-community (Spring Data Neo4j for Neo4j-2.x was not available at the time of writing). I have used Spring Framework 3.2.3-RELEASE as the Spring version, and Sping-data-Neo4j-2.3.2-RELEASE.

		<!-- Spring and Transactions -->

		<!-- Logging with SLF4J & LogBack  // clipped... -->
                <!-- JavaConfig needs this library -->

		<!-- Test Artifacts // clipped -->

NOTE: I have clipped some of the less relevant bits for testing and standard Spring dependencies, but if you would like a full POM example, please just let me know!

The next big thing is that you now need to define your graphDatabaseService as a bean that you can then use via the @Autowired annotation in the rest of your code.

import org.neo4j.graphdb.GraphDatabaseService;
import org.neo4j.graphdb.factory.GraphDatabaseFactory;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Bean;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Configuration;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.Import;
import org.springframework.context.annotation.aspectj.EnableSpringConfigured;
import org.springframework.data.neo4j.aspects.config.Neo4jAspectConfiguration;
import org.springframework.data.neo4j.config.EnableNeo4jRepositories;
import org.springframework.data.neo4j.config.Neo4jConfiguration;
import org.springframework.transaction.annotation.EnableTransactionManagement;
import org.springframework.transaction.jta.JtaTransactionManager;

public class AppConfig extends Neo4jConfiguration {

	public GraphDatabaseService graphDatabaseService() {
                // if you want to use Neo4j as a REST service
		//return new SpringRestGraphDatabase("http://localhost:7474/db/data/");
                // Use Neo4j as Odin intended (as an embedded service)
		GraphDatabaseService service = new GraphDatabaseFactory().newEmbeddedDatabase("/tmp/graphdb");
		return service;

Great! You are just about done! Now create a simple entity with the @NodeEntity annotation and save some data to it! You now have a working graph application!

This is really easy once you know how, sometimes, though, getting to know how is hard!

If you enjoyed this post, or found it useful, please leave a comment and I will start a new series on Neo4j in Java/Spring!

How to get Apache Cassandra up and running in a few easy steps

Reposted from old site – original date: Friday 26 February 2010

This is an Ubuntu/Debian HOWTO, so if you use anything else, I recommend that you grab the Cassandra binary and go with that rather

First off, we need to add some sources to our apt sources. You can either do this by editing /etc/apt/sources.list or adding a software source via System -> Administration -> Software Sources

Add the following sources (or the latest sources from http://wiki.apache.org/cassandra/DebianPackaging )

deb http://www.apache.org/dist/incubator/cassandra/debian unstable main
deb-src http://www.apache.org/dist/incubator/cassandra/debian unstable main

Once that is done, go ahead and refresh your sources. The GUI manager will ask you to do this automatically, but on the terminal you will need to

sudo apt-get update

Once done, you are ready to install!

sudo aptitude install cassandra

will do it. It is about a 4MB download. NOTE: Your configuration files are in /etc/cassandra and start-up options (heap size, etc) can be configured in /etc/default/cassandra

Once you are installed we can run a quick test:

cassandra-cli --host localhost --port 9160

will start up the cassandra CLI interface for us to run a couple tests on. Typing help or ? will give you more help
You can see your cluster name with the following:

show cluster name

Now lets set a value:

set Keyspace1.Standard1['pscott']['first'] = 'Paul'
set Keyspace1.Standard1['pscott']['last'] = 'Scott'
set Keyspace1.Standard1['pscott']['age'] = '32'

After each addition you will get a notification that the value was inserted.

Now, lets get all the data back as our final test:

get Keyspace1.Standard1['pscott']

If all the results that you have just inserted come back to you, WIN! you have a working single node cassandra install!

Feel free to play around with more options, then go for a multinode install and start having some real fun!