Passively Cool – The Surface Pro 6 Review

One of the computers I was interested in at the beginning of this yearwas the Surface Pro 6 from Microsoft. I had owned a Surface Pro 3 in the past and was very happy with it. But, as mentioned in a previous article, I had noticed something like a moiré pattern on the screen when white background was displayed. It wasn’t as pronounced on the Surface Pro as it was on a lower resolution HP notebook, but it was there, and I was afraid it would bother me.

I managed to get my hands on a Surface Pro 6 base model with a Signature Type Cover in Alcantara and used it as my main computer for about a week instead of my MacBook Pro.

Guess what: it didn’t bother me, and I could have saved a lot of money compared to the MacBook Pro. But that’s only part of the story.

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Of Affordable Phones, Software Updates and Yearly Upgrades

With the release of the Google Pixel 3a I once again started thinking about what I want in a smartphone. As a reminder, the last time I was pondering the purchase of one I was musing of tall phones, curved displays and notches. I am not in the market for a new phone right now as my iPhone 8 is more than capable of fulfilling my needs. But, with the recent launch of the Pixel 3a I wished that this device had already existed a year ago because it is basically the perfect phone for me. And I also wish Google would get back into the market of less expensive phones with the latest and greatest hardware as was the case with the Nexus line.

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AdoptOpenJDK 8 NullPointerException sun.awt.FontConfiguration.getVersion(FontConfiguration.java:1264)

I recently had to deal with this little bugger as we moved from the OpenJDK 8 package supplied by the Linux distro of choice to AdoptOpenJDK 8. It is important to know that we completely uninstalled OpenJDK, including all its transient dependencies.

(And in due time we’ll uninstall Java 8 and replace that grandpa as well)

As a result, parts of our application didn’t work any longer, resulting in this nice and shiny Java stacktrace.

2019-05-03 08:22:07,345 ERROR [qtp1896708863-35] [PlotChartController] [/][/][/]- error while creating chart image
java.lang.NullPointerException
        at sun.awt.FontConfiguration.getVersion(FontConfiguration.java:1264)
        at sun.awt.FontConfiguration.readFontConfigFile(FontConfiguration.java:219)
        at sun.awt.FontConfiguration.init(FontConfiguration.java:107)
        at sun.awt.X11FontManager.createFontConfiguration(X11FontManager.java:774)
        at sun.font.SunFontManager$2.run(SunFontManager.java:431)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at sun.font.SunFontManager.<init>(SunFontManager.java:376)
        at sun.awt.FcFontManager.<init>(FcFontManager.java:35)
        at sun.awt.X11FontManager.<init>(X11FontManager.java:57)
        at sun.reflect.NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance0(Native Method)
        at sun.reflect.NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.java:62)
        at sun.reflect.DelegatingConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(DelegatingConstructorAccessorImpl.java:45)
        at java.lang.reflect.Constructor.newInstance(Constructor.java:423)
        at java.lang.Class.newInstance(Class.java:442)
        at sun.font.FontManagerFactory$1.run(FontManagerFactory.java:83)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at sun.font.FontManagerFactory.getInstance(FontManagerFactory.java:74)
        at java.awt.Font.getFont2D(Font.java:491)
        at java.awt.Font.defaultLineMetrics(Font.java:2176)
        at java.awt.Font.getLineMetrics(Font.java:2246)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.estimateMaximumTickLabelWidth(DateAxis.java:1453)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.selectHorizontalAutoTickUnit(DateAxis.java:1365)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.selectAutoTickUnit(DateAxis.java:1340)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.refreshTicksHorizontal(DateAxis.java:1616)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.refreshTicks(DateAxis.java:1556)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.ValueAxis.reserveSpace(ValueAxis.java:807)
        at org.jfree.chart.plot.CombinedDomainXYPlot.calculateAxisSpace(CombinedDomainXYPlot.java:364)
        at org.jfree.chart.plot.CombinedDomainXYPlot.draw(CombinedDomainXYPlot.java:442)
        at org.jfree.chart.JFreeChart.draw(JFreeChart.java:1235)
        at org.jfree.chart.JFreeChart.createBufferedImage(JFreeChart.java:1409)
        at org.jfree.chart.JFreeChart.createBufferedImage(JFreeChart.java:1389)
        at org.jfree.chart.ChartUtilities.writeChartAsPNG(ChartUtilities.java:183)

I obviously removed some (a lot) parts to make it more readable and to hide corporate IP 😉 But this is the relevant part.

I found this bug report on Github and for once, plowing through the comments, it helped me. As is mentioned there, the culprit is the missing “fontconfig” package. So, I added another Ansible task to our playbook to provision the server et voila, the problem is gone.

- name: Install fontconfig package
  package:
    name: fontconfig
    state: present
    tags:
      - java

As mentioned earlier, we had wiped all that was relevant to OpenJDK off the system and by doing so, also uninstalled the “fontconfig” package. Otherwise this error wouldn’t have surfaced. But that’s the benefit of starting with a clean slate. This way you know if something is missing and don’t get surprised by errors all of a sudden while, at the same time, it is working on another machine.