Programming Languages

Chu chu code

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I can’t believe how easy it is to set up Ruby on Rails on the Mac with Locomotive. I went from two downloads to my first application in less than 1/2 hour. Great stuff.

I’m in the process of making vast changes here abouts. The first change is I’m moving my Tinfoil Project domain to a new development server that is upgraded to all the latest, breaking edge PHP, MySQL, Ruby on Rails, and so on. Tinfoil is being re-focused from photos to high-tech, and the new server will provide examples of code how-tos and tutorials I hope to work on this next year.

I’m looking at a virtual private server at A2 Hosting or OCS Solutions at this time, but wouldn’t mind hearing about other hosts–with a few caveats.

I’m looking for a service that goes month to month, since my income is uncertain from month to month. I need enough RAM to run my examples, and enough bandwidth not to have to pay overage. I wouldn’t mind a control panel, and some assistance (paid or otherwise) if things go wonky. I’d also like a system that has some of what I want already installed, so I don’t have to start from scratch. These are things I want. What don’t want is a service that’s heavily connected with weblogging.

You all may jump on the Cluetrain, but I’m finding I’d be just as happy, thank you, in not having a close, intimate connection with vendors. I want to be able to deal at a professional level with companies, and not have Sarah or Sam ‘offended’ by what I write in my weblog.

I want a clear means of communication detailed at the company site; I don’t want representatives in my comments whenever I mention their product. I don’t want to have to use my weblog as a form of extortion to get a company’s attention; or as a backdoor way of doing business.

I don’t care if they see me for who I really am, as long as they see me as ‘customer’ and act accordingly. I don’t want input into the company workings other than “what you’re selling me is working, here’s my money”.

I don’t want to be ‘bad’ or ‘good’ for being critical. I don’t want legions of supporters converging in my space, protecting that nice woman, hip young man, or crusty, but with a heart of gold, legend in his own mind . I don’t want what I say to show up on the I don’t care if what I write shows up on Google — I just want it to work.

I want a service; I’m willing to pay. This is not the beginning of a personal relationship. I don’t want it treated that way. The only train I want to be on around here, is Locomotive.


It’s cool to be evil

I think Dave’s got the right of it: kicking Google, like kicking Wikipedia, is the new cool. Oh, I have my doubts about both; but then, I’ve always had my doubts about both. Even when the lemmings flocked on the side of do no evil.

I do want to point out, though that my Practical RDF book is in Google’s book search. As is Unix Power ToolsEssential Blogging, and Developing ASP Components, 2nd Edition. That’s a lot of online content when you consider this is in addition to the millions of words, code how-tos and examples, and photos I’ve published online: here in my weblog, at several online magazines, and up on Flickr.

Luckily there aren’t more people cheap like Steve Rubel, or I wouldn’t be able to afford to continue posting to this weblog, publishing my photos online, creating and giving away code, as well as answering questions and helping folks when I can.

I wonder, then, who it is that is supposed to change? Google for publishing the bits from the books? Or Ruebel for not spending a dime on content that helps make people like him famous?

Programming Languages

Mystery solved

A month or so ago, I wrote that I couldn’t access my weblog because when I tried, nothing showed. My host had upgraded to PHP 4.4.1 and it broke something in the application, but what we couldn’t tell. My host said they could find nothing in the logs to explain the problem. In the meantime, they backed out 4.4.1 on my machine, and haven’t upgraded it back.

Yesterday, I heard from a weblogger who is using the semantic web plugins I created for WordPress: all of a sudden, he couldn’t access his administration pages. However, in his case he was able to find the problem in his error log:

PHP Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in
…/wp-content/plugins/delSetup.php on line 31

I didn’t see this error message in my error logs, but his email gave me a key to the problem. The line number indicated pointed to the following lines in the plugin:

reset( $del_menu_items );
while( $arr = current( $del_menu_items ))
while( $submenu[’metadata.php’][$index] ) $index++;
$submenu[’metadata.php’][$index++] = array(__($arr[’title’]), 5, $arr[’script’]);

The culprit is the code traversing the submenu and testing to see if it exists. Seeing this tiggered my memory about one of the first bugs issued for PHP 4.4.1 that had to do with next and current array functions, and other array problems introduced with the security fix. These have since been fixed in the CVS source, but not issued as a new release.

The code used in the plugin is a copy of code that others have used to add administrative menu extensions to WordPress. Further checking showed that WordPress now has functions to manage menu additions starting in WordPress 1.51 and 1.52. Examining the function code, there shouldn’t be any problems with PHP 4.4.1, so I’m changing my plugins to use the new functions.

Note, though, to other WordPress users: if you’re using a plug-in that’s extended the administrative menus, check with the creator to see if they’re using the old hack or the new admin menu functions. If they’re using the old hack, disable the extension until new plugins are released. If you don’t and your ISP upgrades to 4.4.1, you’ll be dead in the water.