Archive for Tech

ng-admin + JAX-RS: 400 Bad Request on DELETE

I’m tried of building admin UIs and I’m trying out ng-admin. It’s pretty straightforward to setup given the guides and demos.

List, create, updates were fine until I got to the DELETE method. The server was throwing 400 Bad Requests and upon Chrome network inspection I discover that ng-admin was sending a JSON body in the request. I don’t really care who is “following the standard” as long they work together (think browsers and jquery), so I’m fine to fix either side to either the client not send the body, or the server accepting the non-empty body.

ng-admin uses Restangular under the hood to make REST requests. Restangular did have this FAQ about DELETEs with body(s).

A little refactoring and presto! DELETE now works.

app.config(['RestangularProvider', function(RestangularProvider) {
  RestangularProvider.setRequestInterceptor(function(elem, operation) {
    return (operation === "remove") ? undefined : elem;


multiple definition of `R_running_as_main_program`

I inherited a C++ application that was using rcpp to embed R. After R was upgraded to 3.2, the make was failing miserably with the error:

file1.o:(.bss+0x0): multiple definition of `R_running_as_main_program'
file2.o:(.bss+0x0): first defined here

This was found to be caused by

To overcome this, edit /usr/share/R/include/Rinterface.h and search for this line:

int R_running_as_main_program;

Add the “extern” keyword at the start and save it:

extern int R_running_as_main_program;

After that there should be no problem building the program.


Lenovo T440p keyboard

I was just issued a Lenovo ThinkPad T440p, not that I get to choose the model. Immediately I got down to customizing the quirks (to me).

1. Fn/Ctrl key swap
Ctrl-C Ctrl-V Ctrl-Z Ctrl-W all don’t work. Because in the Ctrl’s position is a Fn. This link explains why (so we could find the Fn key for ThinkLight in the dark), but I didn’t really need the ThinkLight so I swapped it anyway.

Go to BIOS > Keyboard/Mouse > Fn/Ctrl Swap > Enabled.

2. F1-F12 lock
F1-F12 could only be accessed with the Fn key. so F2 to rename became Fn-F2, and F5 to refresh became Fn-F5.

Press Fn-Esc to lock the Function keys.

3. Trackpad Scroll
I use a MBA at home so the two-finger scroll was reversed.

To keep myself sane, go to Control Panel > Mouse > Change Mouse Settings > ThinkPad > Advanced > Scroll > Two-Finger Scrolling > Check Switch Direction.

4. Lenovo Message Center Plus
The big red icon on the taskbar was an eyesore to me.

Right click on the taskbar > Toolbars > Uncheck Lenovo Solution Center.


Glassfish timezone different from OS (Ubuntu)

We added a new Ubuntu server to deploy one of our new feature to isolate it from the core modules. The new module did not work, and we narrowed it to System.currentTimeMillis() returning a time in the future.

NTP was active; we ran the linux “date” command and it was showing the correct date. When we checked Glassfish’s JVM report, it showed that the user.timezone was different, and the timezone difference coincides with the time differences we observed. The straightforward answer: set -Duser.timezone in the JVM options and we are good to go.

But wait, why our original servers didn’t have this issue? We checked the original server, and there was no such JVM option setting. After some tracing it turns out that /etc/timezone of the new server was incorrect, and that influenced the timezone Glassfish used. Finally we matched the two server settings and reverted the user.timezone JVM option.


mysql ibdata keeps growing

Didn’t manage to collect complete information for this post, so I’ll just write whatever I have.

It all began when our development database server ran out of disk space and crashed. We mounted a temporary virtual hard disk and moved the database there, and all was well for a while. With df and du we narrowed our culprit to mysql’s ibdata, which was growing so fast that we will run out of disk space again soon enough. Public information tells us ibdata is supposed to always grow, but we do not expect our dev ibdata to grow at this rate. After multiple searches this blog finally closes us in.


With the command, the innodb history list length was a very large number (>1mil) and keeps going up. A check with our test and production databases show that the length goes at most to a few hundred and drops back down — a significant difference. Restarting the database doesn’t help.


This showed us we had 16 XA transactions, that were started 2 days ago, but never committed or rolled back. They are not locked, so their trx_mysql_thread_id is 0. We immediately linked the causes together. Stuck XA transactions -> history list growing.


According to mysql docs, this command can rollback the XA transactions. The user comment was especially helpful on how to reproduce the xid, reproduced verbatim here:

To rollback the transaction, first get its xid:

mysql> xa recover;

| formatID | gtrid_length | bqual_length | data                                                       |
|   131075 |           30 |           28 | 1-a00640d:c09d:4ac454ef:b284c0a00640d:c09d:4ac454ef:b284c2 |
1 row in set (2.13 sec)

The xid is present in this output, but you have to perform a little string manipulation to get it. The format of a xid is: gtrid,bqual,formatID. The column 'data' contains a concatenation of 'gtrid' and 'bqual'. The columns 'gtrid_length' and 'bqual_length' specify how many bytes each of these values uses; use them to split apart 'data'. In this example, the result is:

mysql> xa rollback '1-a00640d:c09d:4ac454ef:b284c0','a00640d:c09d:4ac454ef:b284c2',131075;

ERROR 1402 (XA100): XA_RBROLLBACK: Transaction branch was rolled back

The tricky part here was that, my data had binary characters, which I couldn’t directly copy and paste in the MySQL Workbench. I couldn’t bear to write a program to read the value and write it back either, so I was poking around for solutions on that. From the same mysql doc page,

gtrid and bqual must be string literals, each up to 64 bytes (not characters) long. gtrid and bqual can be specified in several ways. You can use a quoted string ('ab'), hex string (0x6162, X'ab'), or bit value (b'nnnn').

Good, I could write the xid in hex. So I right-clicked the data column, and “Open Value in Viewer”. In the binary tab I copied down the hex values and reconstructed the xid as described by the helpful comment.

XA ROLLBACK X'7e3ae860eb21de21b84d392cb03bf8363b41482b9b1207f6e6823355012e91858c',X'526801e7500b06fd05a2f5882d20be19982a46aed4b6c26dc63887',4264851;

Viola, one by one the transactions were gone. Once the last one was rolled back, the history list started to decrease and behave in a similar pattern as our other databases, and the ibdata stopped growing at the crazy rate. The one last part I haven’t figured out is: how do I copy the hex values from MySQL Workbench, or how do I show the XA RECOVER data column in hex?