Looking for another java servlet aggregator

I was using Flock for the last few years but moving to a shared servlet environment is making me reconsider using Flock. See this is the problem Flock has been worked on for the last 2 years and still has no ATOM support. It works well when its got a small amount of feeds but the fact you cant even change the duration of the feeds collected is troubling. After trying to install Flock on cubicgarden.com I got a reply from the excellent support from interadvantage.

I was excited to see that Flock runs on Tapestry, because I've never tried to get any Tapestry apps running on our servers. This is what I did:

1. I updated Apache's config to pass all /flock/* requests to Tomcat.
2. I then added security grants so any Webapp can read the net.sf.tapestry.* and flock.* system properties.
3. I then ran into a roadblock…

Flock is going to be problematic because of the ridiculous tendency of open source Java developers to assume their apps will only run on a dedicated Tomcat instance.

The problem is that it tries to write to /username/*. As you know, we put your home directory at /home/username. Further, the only way (I can see) to override this behavior is to set a system property, flock.home. Sure, I can set this, but it'll be set system-wide so if another user wants to run flock, you'll have to share a directory. That's obviously not acceptable. Why can't they just use a flock.properties file in the classpath? I've recommended this on their mailing list. Of course, I could set flock.home to /home/forrei/public_html/flock/WEB-INF/flock or something, thereby limiting the server to a single instance of Flock (yours). But that's not a good solution, so let's see whether the developers are willing to do anything for us on this one before we implement a kludge.

Yeah and I'm honestly he's right. So till some nasty little hack is decided on, I will keep on running it on my local server but I'm on the look out for something else to replace it. Any offers? or even any thoughts around this problem with flocks home directory? I actually remember having a simular problem a while ago when I was first setting up Flock. I didnt want it to stick all its data in the home directory in documents and settings, so I did the classpath trick to fix it. Luckly Blojsom is much better built and this blog is well on its way to moving to its new home under http://www.cubicgarden.com.

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Ajax? asynchronous JavaScript and XML better known as Remote Scripting

Well it looks like theres some push behind the AJAX naming now. I believe it stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and translates into this easy to understand list.

  • standards-based presentation using XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS);
  • dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
  • data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
  • asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
  • and JavaScript binding everything together.

I couldnt give a crap what its called but certainly the way to do rich interaction in the browser without using Flash or anything non standard. Its all interesting because about 3-5 years ago Standard CSS and XHTML was becoming accepted in the modern browsers, and a standard browser DOM or javascript was along way off. Now it seems were hitting the point of where you can use standard javascript across all modern browsers. Which is indeed a good step forward.

Sam Ruby considers Ajax harmful but seems to have more a problem with bad use of it. Paul vents his frustration with others on the naming of Ajax. Dare covers the whole Ajax issue once and for all

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Fixing my tablet again after a failed solaris install

My tabletPC installing sun solaris 10

I made the mistake of letting SUN install Solaris 10 on my laptop on Tuesday afternoon. The guy did say it would take about 15mins over the network because obviously my TabletPC has no CD Rom. I had to rush off before 6pm and to be fair I didnt turn up till 5pm, so I was always pushing it. And as you'd expect there was problems, solaris wouldnt detect my network card which is essential when your network booting over PXE! By about 5:30pm it was starting to install but the solaris server must have choose to transfer data at 10BaseT instead of 100BaseT. So it was going so slow that I had to switch off half way through the transfer and go. To be fair the Sun guy gave me a DVD of the Solaris 10 with wireless drivers and also instructions and contact details if I get stuck.
I didnt know my TabletPC was screwed till the day after when I switched it on and was given a cryptic message about the Master boot record. Yep, I thought – My tablet is screwed again!

A couple of good things did come out of this mistake. I now know my Sanyo 3G Camera phone supports EXIF metadata unlike a lot of the camera phones on the market which is pretty cool to know. And I also learned how to boot my TabletPC off a compact flash card. Roman swears you can boot the Tablet off a USB key chain but I tried and tried and gave up. But lets step back a second, how on earth do you create a bootable disc in Windows 2000 anyway? I remember in Windows NT and 98 you could click bootable when you format a drive, but theres no option in windows 2000.
In the end I reliased I could fake a PCMCIA CD Rom by using a Compact Flash card and PCMCIA card adapter. I then built a Custom bootable CF card using this nice HP application and this bundle of DOS tools. I then stuck the DOS version of Partition Magic 6 on the same CF card and was able to boot in to DOS by using selecting the PCMCIA CDROM and load up PMagic 6 for DOS. Where it fixed the MBR problem and set the Windows Partition to Active. Then I was sorted! The URL which helped me through all this was this tutorial – Tip: Boot from USB Key Addendum. But the key for TabletPC's is using the CF as the booter not a USB key.

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This blog is moving to interadvantage

More of a warning than a comment, I'm moving to real Java Servlet hosting by interadvantage this month. So expect a lot of down time and redirections from URL's your use to using. The first one to go will be cubicgarden.com which is currently being transfered from UK2.net to interadvantage.com. After that I should install the new Blojsom 2.4 with new features like pingback. The direct URL of http://adrenalin-online.demon.co.uk/blojsom/blog/cubicgarden/ will still exist up the point of when I'm happy with the clone on cubicgarden.com. After which I will use temporary redirects to cubicgarden.com. My pictures and cocoon will stay on my own server till I can be sure they work fine with the shared permissions at cubicgarden.com. I'm also thinking of running Flock on cubicgarden.com and maybe Zoe on my own server once cocoon is moved across.

So generally, try and use the domain http://adrenalin-online.demon.co.uk/ for accessing the blog and other applications like my pictures and wait for the green light to when cubicgarden.com is up and going.

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Cloned card

I found out a couple of days ago that my current account has been used by some theifing bastard(s)! Seems they wasted no time and took out 3 days of my maximum amount of cash you can take out in one day (grand total of 600 pounds) . I hardly use my card and am very careful of keeping a eye on it at resturants and cashpoints. Some people have commented that I maybe too paranoid about it in the past, well rightly so I would add now. It would seem I made the mistake of using a Natwest cashpoint in Leicester Square on ST Patricks day, which was used to collect sensitive banking information. How am I sure its the that cashpoint and no where else? Put it this way I'm 98 percent certain and the only other places I used my card that month was at my local train station to buy my travel card and a resturant where I had the card pretty much most of the time plus my friends cards are ok. Oh also add to the fact that the cash was taken out in Piccadilly which is a stone throw away from Leicester Square and I can be certain the machine was tampered with in a form which I never noticed. The werid thing is, Its not like I never got my card or cash back from the machine and I remember holding my hands over the pin code as I usually do so there was no way someone could see what I typed. Hey maybe I could be wrong about the cash machine but I'll tell you what – this has come just before the easter bank holidays and at a time when I'm feeling very ill. I would do unspeakable things to the person who did this to my account if I found them!

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The Scene? a new form of soap entertainment?

So its all about the scene. No were not talking about the dating scene which tickled a few slashdotters. And were not talking about the clubbing and music scene which I would usually consider as the scene. No its a site which was picked up by a few people a while but I kinda of skipped over till recently. So basicly its a Television show about the underground network scene of suppliers, rippers and coders who bring the latest films to the public networks of the internets. Yes that means you can easily and freely download each ep via torrent, gnutella, etc etc… Its not a new way of thinking but it seems the whole thing is being funded by Sony, which is quite interesting.

The.Scene.Episode.1.TV.XviD-SCENE was released December 2, 2004 This video was created by Sony (www.sony.com) towards the end of the Video there is a name that appears Rebecca Brandt if you google Rebecca Brandt you get http://www.sonyplaza.com/ny/reporters_5.html [sonyplaza.com] apperently she is some sort of reporter for Sony if you continue to look at the page you can see who else she works with Seth Hochman http://www.sonyplaza.com/ny/reporters_4.html [sonyplaza.com] Look at his picture. Its the guy from the video with a haircut.

From there it drops into the usual slashdot bashing but I'm not so quick to bash it. I have only seen the first ep which I watched on my ipaq on the way home but its not badly done and the product placement and advertising is not terriable, plus add the factor that you can easily skip it because the video is a plain xvid file not a DRM junky file. Which assures everything will be able to play it, which strikes me as good move on Jun Group's part. The advertising site has reported that it has recieved more attention that it could actual handle which has to be a advertiser's wet dream come true? Executives at show sponsor Freebord phoned Jun Group two hours after the premiere to report that their website was “being swamped with traffic.”

What makes the show most unique is the fact that it is being distributed solely through the P2P community. “File sharers have made it very clear that this is their preferred method of consuming content,” Mitchell said. “We are the first ones who have found a way to truly meet that demand.” He added that the file-sharing audience is a highly desirable demographic of affluent and largely male young adults. Businesses pay for placement based on the number of people who are inspired by the show to visit a sponsor, which is both quantifiable and verifiable. “Our sponsors will only be paying for the people who download the show or the people we drive to their websites,” he noted. “They won't have to rely on outdated ratings systems.” There's no reason to copy-protect the shows, Mitchell said, because the whole idea is for people to copy and share them so that advertisers reach the highest possible number of consumers.

And this is the thing, if you dont like the scene which is really a soap for file sharers, then dont watch it! But honestly, it still beats watching Eastenders and Hollyoaks for myself. I would almost start to say that this season of 24 up till recently (ep 13) has not been great and its been too generalising for my liking and I welcome something a little more technical and tech savy. The scene is light soap entertainment and its popularity has spawned a copy already and proves that even developers, filesharers, hackers, etc still want or maybe even need a little light entertainment now and then. The question is, do you want it from the mainstream or narrowstream? I know which one I perfer.

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Blogmatrix shifts focus and grows a 360 business model?

I was just browsing around and noticed Blogmatrix have redone there website. But thats only the start, yep Sparks! is out of beta and is now on version 2.0 for Mac and PC it would seem. Theres a new pricing and business model too… Now not only do you get this great client for RSS, recording and podcasts but you can upload and record your own podcasts and store them on blogmatrix's 150 meg per user storage server as long as you only do 4 unique uploads a day. Which is ideal for podcasting really. Theres also a option to upgrade space and the customise the client for businesses and large scale operations. This is a serious shift because now you can listen to a podcast and reply with your own right there and then. Blogmatrix are even planning on turning files into torrents for you which would save so much hassle! With all the talk about 360 degrees recently, I would say this is pretty close to a complete 360 degree product and service – and I welcome the change of focus and sharp business move. Only one thing seems to be missing in my mind, if you read a RSS entry the only was to reply is via comments. For consistency wouldnt it be good to have some simple XML-RPC client built into Sparks! which would pingback or trackback to the article, entry, post you were just reading? I would dump w.bloggar like a shot if it did.

Just thinking about Jaeger's position now, I would like to see it have all the features of Sparks! but without the creation and recording internet radio features. So just improve on whats currently in it and take some features like del.icio.us posting and podcast/attachment download queue from Sparks! It would be a real shame if Jager just got forgotten behind this great service and application of Sparks! By the way, Doc Searls has a interesting piece to say about Blogmatrix, while Ross Rader doesnt really say anything but is all the way behind Sparks!

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What’s in your bag?

What's in the bag?

Simple and fun thing to do. Take everything out of your bag place them on a table or floor and then take a picture and upload it to flickr. I got the idea from some blog but I forgot where sorry, Found it – Boingboing. But its important that you tag your photos using whatsinyourbag or whatsinmybag. Once your done its a good idea to make some notes for others to read and then watch as you get some really silly comments back… yes knock yourselves out guys…

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Services at the wireless point

project placesite browser screen

I was listening to a IT Conversations a while ago and some guy talked about services at the access point which made me think but I was doing the washing up so kinda of forgot about it. Then I saw Project placesite via http://www.cheesebikini.com. I honestly I couldnt find the IT conversations talk I was listening to but if I do I will update this entry. I'm also sure slashdot had a thread about this a while ago which I will need to find also.

It makes so much sense to do this, at the moment when you connect to a public access point you get some crap half baked tabled driven page from the company which runs it. The best one I have used is the Sony wireless network node in the Sony Centre in Potaplatz, Berlin. That node provide you with information about the area, how to book a viewing for the consumer flats and general Sony stuff. I guess the question is if people will actually stick around on such a screen if theres bandwidth? I certainly dont but then again I've not come across a access point sporting a range of services like the ones suggested by Placesite.

The ability to see who else is using the access point is a great idea, and leads on to great uses of mDNS. I mean iTunes with rendezvous at a open access point is fantastic when your after something a little different from the Starbucks lounge music. But going deeper into community and mesh networks, you could offer so many services at the access point. From Webdav for temp storing of digital camera pictures to radio streaming using icecast or something else. So to the question asked by placesite can we use these technologies to strengthen local community? I would say yes you can with carefully picked services and applications picked for there location and people connected. Placesite is a good step forward, and honestly I would actually fill in quite a bit of the optional information if asked on a open access point. I look forward to placesite in the UK soon…

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CeBIT Coverage from Charbax.com

Chineese companies talk about their Pmps, and make fun of my Archos

If you have not yet seen http://cebit.150.dk then i highly suggest you check it out plus the comments on Slashdot. A guy walks around Cebit with a camera on his head and stores the footage on his Archos multimedia jukebox. Awesome stuff, and just the kind of thing I thought the Panasonic SDAV series of Mpeg4 cameras would be perfect for along time ago.

Theres a couple of things I would suggest to the guy whos doing this or anyone who tries this next time. First thing, get in touch with legal torrents and ask them to help you out. Dont worry I've wrote them a email on behalf of the guy already. Second, upload your stuff to Archive.org if possible. I know it takes a while but it will much more accessable to people later, plus you can place a licence on it if you like. Third, provide RSS feeds with Bit Torrent enclosures for people who use Azureus and the TV Torrents plug-in. That would easily take some load off your site because not everyone will be hammering it for new stuff everyday.

Even though its very tempting to do this for Xtech 2005, I may not. Maybe just images and audio will be good enough. But not taking anything from Charbax, this was clever and great to watch on the way into work today.

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Going digital…

Not the usual thing I read but I was looking around for somewhere to host my latest mix and came across a news piece from 356 music magazine. Its kinda of old but Dj Sasha has gone Digital. He is quoted saying, A set of Technics turntables and a mixer is not enough for me now. It's time to move on! Then talked about his Maven controller whch works with some software on a laptop.

So thats the thing pictured above, there are also some more pictures here and here. Well I cant help but say I knew this was going to happen a long long time ago. And the idea of Dj's building custom controllers for themselves doesnt seem to mad a idea. Richie Hawtin has been using some custom MIDI controllers to Dj for quite some time now. Personally this is all good stuff, I just wish the software makers and dj culture websites would catch up. What do I exactly mean by the last comment? Well all the sites out there I came across seem to be stuck in that old forums type format which is ok but doesnt make for the best way to do everything, and thats only the start of things. The purpose of the internet is and next generation mixing/djing is that you can do all types of clever things with music. This is where software makers are partly to blame. How difficult would it be to offer there users somewhere to upload media created by there own software? And then how hard would it be to automaticly create playlists from the music played? At the moment its all hand written lists with no machine readable metadata.

This is simply crazy in a era when were moving to everything digital. more to come…

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RSS Software bugfixes and feature requests

Ok first lesson in blogging, get your facts sorted. I started writing this entry with a long list of bugfixes and feature requests for my common RSS readers. But then I went to the sites for PocketRSS and Blogmatrix Sparks! and realised that they both have upgraded there versions and I just was not keeping up to date. But on the PocketRSS front its not my fault because they dont have RSS feeds on the site. Oh dear oh dear! Anyhow, here's my list of features…

  • In PocketRSS, theres seems to be no way to import linked OPML files. For example my IanForresterfeeds link to my other OPML files. luckily Sparks! does which is great
  • In PocketRSS, there seems to be no way to automatically reload opml subscriptions without doing it yourself. It would be great for it to happen every X days or everytime you start PocketRSS.
  • In Sparks, is it only me or is help needed in Sparks! I still dont quite know the differences between “Add this OPML directory to Sparks!” and “Import every weblog in this OPML directory”?
  • In PocketRSS, there seems to be no way marking a whole RSS feed read. And on top of that theres no way to do this to multiple RSS feeds. At the moment you need to go into the RSS feed and mark each entry as read.
  • In Sparks, what is the difference between the blue sphere global things and the podcast and weblog sections? When I import a OPML file shouldnt it automaticly work out what a podcasting feed is and what a normal feed is? Jager already does this, why not sparks?
  • In Sparks, how on earth do you actually delete a ton of feeds in one go? I right click on the containing folder and the Remove category is always greyed out. And following on from that, hitting delete key should do the same as right clicking and selecting delete right? Wrong!
  • In Sparks, is there anyway to stop Sparks using IE as the default browser for displaying blogs? On top of that, is there way to force it to use a external browser like Jager does?
  • Generally about PocketRSS, why does searching under google for PocketRSS still take me the old site? And the old site still points to PocketRSS 1.42 rather than the nice new PocketRSS 2.x. A simple redirect should do the trick AtomicDB guys
  • With Sparks and Jager, why is the licence attached to a indivdual machine? I have jager installed on 4 machines I use every week. Couldnt the licence be attached to myself rather than the client?
  • With Sparks/jager and somewhat PocketRSS, as mentioned above I have Jager running on 4 different machines. There needs to be some kind of attention data between them soon, otherwise its going to be unmanageable. I read a feed on one of them and then switch to another client. I then have to manually tell the 2nd client I already read that entry or feed. This is nuts when your using 4 clients and then add in the fact I'm using 2 other RSS readers, PocketRSS and Sage. Yes this is CRAZY! Please can some one start using Attention.xml please! Theres a GAP IN THE MARKET here for someone to setup a nice webdav service which could sync attention.xml across multiple RSS clients. Blogmatrix this would be ideal for you guys!

Of course I'm not knocking any of these pieces of software, I actually bought PocketRSS a while ago and am considering buying Jager (Sparks! still doesnt fit with my style of rss reading).

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The affect of iTunes and Mdns on digital mixing

Now I have my tabletPC up and going again, and survived the move to the darkside (Apple Mac). I reinstalled virtualdj and atomixmp3. First thoughts is how poor atomixmp3 is now compared to virtualdj. Its very cheap and does the job but loop control and beatmatching is really not as tight and flexible as virtualdj. So what's new in virtualdj? well a feature I have not yet tested but have been talking about for ages! Yes you guess right a bpm timecode over the network. Yep at long last its possible to DJ on two or even more separate machines which are networked. Whoooohooo! I'll give it a try today for sure, I'm really hoping its using mdns (zeroconf and rendezvous) instead of some proptery rubbish to connect together the machines. The disadvantage of using mdns of course is that its not portable online which indeed would be useful for remote mixing, but how many people will make use of this feature? I know I certainly could see a great community building on cooperative mixing but dj's are not really into this mix sharing idea. Anyhow the other reason I'm hoping for mdns is so virtualdj can access a iTunes client. Now this may sound like a step too far but I've also been checking out the other mixing software out there. Traxtor DJ studio 2 already reads your itunes playlists so theres no need to make 2 lots of playlists (one of general listening and another mixing). I mean I still dont like iTunes for playing music and podcasts but nothing is even close for arranging and sorting out audio media. I've been sorting out my tunes on the way to work everyday and I dont want to sort out all my playlists, etc. Then have to do the same in virtualdj next week. Its crazy virtualdj hasnt followed traxtor by enabling access to iTunes already. I swear to you this is why open source software is doing such a good job. My next entry will be a set of suggestions for bugfixes and new features in two pieces of open source software. I bet atomix productions will never pick up on this blog entry and still will be using a internal playlist format into late summer.

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The joy of Cocoon, XML technologies and beyond

For quite sometime I've been talking and pushing the use of Open RESTful API's. Its so easy now, sign up get a API, Development, Session, etc key and your pretty much away. The only question then is what framework you choose to develop in?
I personally use Apache Cocoon because it allows me to do almost anything I like and its completely dependant on XML technologies like XSL. One of my aims back in 2002 was to use XSL as a tool for almost anything I needed to do again and again. Well it that aim is very real now. For example I was creating quite a few emails with slighly different information in each one. Well I thought about using copy, paste, find and replace. But no need I just wrote up some really simple xml files which contains parts of the infomation then a sitemap in cocoon using a little bit of simple logic to read the URL string and certain parts as a variable for the XSL. Before you know it (timed myself, it took only 45mins with instant message interuptions) I had what I wanted. The only thing which was missing was for the pipeline to send a email at the end. I still had to copy and paste the result into a email. So how would I solve such a problem?

Well from my understanding of Servlets, it shouldnt be too difficult to send messages/streams from Cocoon to a SMTP JAR which sits in the same servlet container? But I'm still a little unsure of how this is exactly done. The other thing I could do is to create a email file which Thunderbird would pick up and send or at least put in the outbox with little user interaction on my part.

Anyhow, one of the issues with cocoon for the longest time was getting content in to it. Yes you have many different neat ways like the Directory reader, Zip reader, standard xml reader, image reader, JSP reader, hey there was even a Database reader which would create a connect to any SQL database. But theres so much more needed in this area, for example a while ago I was looking for a way to analyse lots of CSS and in the end we had depend on a Perl lib which understands CSS and then had to be written to XML before it could be pulled into cocoon. Now theres nothing wrong with this method but you would think a CSS reader would be useful. Along with a EXIF reader which I swear would be so great. All the metadata is sooo useful!! However its all changed now thanks to webservices. I could upload all my pictures to Flickr and use there REST API to pull the metadata out and into Cocoon. And this is the thing, its pretty true of a lot of things now. Want to get the weather in Tokyo? Just grab it from somewhere else, I bet its also more effective than doing it yourself too. And I wonder where things are going with this? Will we get to a point where it will be more effective to get the date or even the time from a webservice?

So the input side is covered, the internal transformation is pretty much there now with XSL 2.0 and Cocoon. But what about the output? Cocoon can output or serialise to almost anything you can think about including SVG, PDF, OpenOffice, Zip, Text, XML, HTML, XLS, etc. But this is the thing which needs the most development at the moment. The user interface for services are still pretty poor. So what options do you have? Well my fav is still SVG but still there very few browsers which support this natively. Which will always be a problem. Then theres the whole Flash thing, which I still really really hate but have accepted a tiny bit in the absence of SVG for some things. There's also tons of Javascript + XHTML solutions being used now, which I'm actually thinking is not so bad now (A lot of these solutions are using standard DOM's which makes them work across all new and coming browsers). XML.com has a really good piece about client side processing using Sarissa which I have been messing with recently. XMLHttpRequest has made a huge difference to what can be done on the client side and has issued in things like google maps and google suggest.
Then of course if you want to get really rich theres a whole host of technologies just on the horizon including XUL, XAML, XForms, WebForms2, sXBL, etc. Being a opensource kinda of guy, i'm gunning for XUL with Xforms and sXBL with SVG for my own applications. Can't help be interested in XAML though…

Following on, I've been reading a couple of thoughts from others out there. http://www.Peej.co.uk dispells the meme that REST is not ready? Theres a great little quote from Mark Baker in the same entry.
The same tools that create Java servlets could be used to build REST-based Web services, Baker says. “They follow the HTTP specification, and by following it, they implicitly are following the constraints of the REST style,”
Bang on the money! I was explaining to David the other day over a drink why PHP is great but Servlets are just well different. You cant really compare them, it would be better to compare JSP with PHP but servelts are logically different and simple just like RESTful services. It fits perfectly with the next generation of web 2.0.

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Moving from personal server to real hosting

I have made the choice to move away from using my server to host cubicgarden.com. Last month I used over 10 gig of upload bandwidth just serving cubicgarden.com. This is not ideal while on my standard 512k down | 256k up ADSL broadband connection, which may be strange for some of you guys else where in the world with DSL connections. Also next month the cubicgarden.com domain name is up for renewal, and I'm not sticking with UK2's stupid framed redirect crap. It drives me and others nuts everytime I suggest going to cubicgarden.com, I also swear once I sort out the paragraph and blockquote validation issues – I will mighty ignoyed to know the frame is invaliding my site.

Anyhow with my rant over, I'm looking for a cheap hosting company which runs either Tomcat, Resin, Jboss or some other upto date Java Servlet container. Will transfer my domain name over from UK2 and are cheap and come with about 100+ meg of server space. I need to run Blojsom, Cocoon and Flock on the server and I do not need PHP, Perl, Frontpage extensions or CGI's. I may use some kind of database like MySQL in the future but its not needed right now.
So thats an open offer to hosting companys to get in contact with me, or if anyone knows hosting companys I should consider or could get a discount on let me know soon.

So far http://www.interadvantage.com seem to be the best value for money, and it would seem even there sales people are clued up going by the answer to one of my questions yesterday.

4. Would it be possible to disable PHP, Frontpage Extentsions, Perl, etc support? I also will unlikely need the databases, can these be disabled and enabled later?

FrontPage is only enabled on an as-needed basis. We run Apache as a front-end to Tomcat on port 80, so I don't think disabling PHP for one site will be much of an option unless you just put some PHP directives in the root directory's .htaccess so as to limit what PHP can do. Perl can't really be disabled. Are you wanting to disable PHP/Perl for security reasons? I've never seen any successful hacks at all on Tomcat-only sites. Nearly all hack attempts are brute-force password guesses or exploitation of specific security holes in popular open-source software (PHPBB has been hit hard during the last few months, but PHP-Nuke used to be a hacker favorite, so was the Coppermine Photo Gallery).

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