My Rockbox Experience

Through a circuitous route, I ended up installing both an updated Sansa firmware on my Clip+ last week, and then a few hours later the Rockbox firmware. I had a vague hope against hope that either would correct the one thing I don’t much like about the player – the fact that the fast-forward and […]


Open Source Fun

I’ve started playing around with Rockbox for my Sansa Cip+, about which I’ll post separately. However, I wanted to point out something I found interesting, funny and kind of pathetic. I downloaded the source and could build the firmware itself but the testable UI Simulator does not build on the Snow Leopard version of OS […]

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Software Engineering Radio Interview with Kent Beck

I often randomly stumble across podcasts and try a few episodes out. I just did that with Software Engineering Radio, mainly to hear this interview with Kent Beck. He is the person behind JUnit. In my job I try to to test driven development wherever possible (given that I work on a system with many […]

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Google Chrome on OS X Now Has Greasemonkey Built-in!

One of the big bummers for me of using Google Chrome on OS X was the lack of Greasemonkey script support. There were some various hackish ways to make it work for Windows versions but I couldn’t find a reasonable way on OS X. Tonight I realized part of why that is. The support is […]

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Popularity Contest: WordPress Plugin Hall of Shame

Yesterday I had my first ever bad experience with a WordPress plugin auto-upgrade and it was really really bad. I did the auto-upgrade of the Popularity Contest plugin, first upgrade in a very long time. These upgrades have become so routine that I don’t much think twice about executing them any more. I clicked the […]

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Firebug Lite for IE

Last night I had to do some work on the CREATE South website, fixing problems making it render funny on Internet Explorer. The first thing I did when I sat down to start was to google on what Firebug like things there are for IE. To my shock and pleasant surprise, you can get a […]

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Tables vs. CSS, Round 732

Over three years ago, I wrote a rant about the difficulties of using pure CSS for layout. That post got some Google traction and still slowly collects comments. Today via Signal vs Noise I saw another person saying much the same thing years on, that yes doing layout in pure CSS is more pure and […]


Microblogs Need GUIDs

I’m listening to the 8/2/2008 episode of the Gillmor Gang where Steve is talking with Dustin Sailings of Twitterspy. As they are talking about Twitter and and such, a realization hit me. Because I know nothing about how any of these microblogs are implemented this might be naive and redundant but let me throw […]

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Statistically Indistinguishable from Perfect

Here’s a summary of why the Amazon S3 service went down last week. The title of this post comes from a statement at the end of their goals for their own service level. I really like that turn of a phrase. The takeaway lessons from this are 1) engineering services at this scale is always […]

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Firebug Works with Firefox 3!

For those of you like me who have upgraded to the Firefox 3 betas but were taking a big hit because of the loss of Firebug functionality, there is hope! Although it appears that Firebug 1.0.5 doesn’t automatically upgrade to 1.1, but 1.1 does in fact work with Firefox 3. I found this out by […]

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Tag, You’re It

Over on AmigoFish, this week I implemented tagging. Last night I got autocompletion working. This is not just autocompletion, but the ability to type in a list of values, separated by commas or spaces, and to get the autocompletion on just the last tag in the list. It took a little trickery but I’m really […]

Pretty Print RSS Feeds in Mozilla Again

A while back, I railed about how Mozilla intercepts RSS feeds. Now some guy has created a web service that will inject some stuff into the RSS to make Mozilla treat it like XML again. I’ve tested this out and it works great. One thing to watch out for is that when you do this, […]

The Big Rewrite

A few years ago, Derek Sivers announced a plan to rewrite CD Baby’s web interface in Ruby on Rails, and he had a blog for his progress. That blog went dark a while ago, and recently he announced his plan to abandon that project. His insights are interesting, and I in general would agree with […]

Need Fortran Help

I have a lazy web request. Can anyone point me to an example Makefile for the Lahey LF95 compiler? I’m helping someone out with a Fortran project but I know nothing about it. I can’t figure out what bits to flip to have GNU make build the objects and link them together and for the […]


A tool I’ve found useful at both work and home is the Mozilla plugin Firebug. At work, since it gives you a JavaScript debugging environment that is far superior to the built in we use it to figure out how things are working. Being able to examine variables and call functions from the console command […]

RIP, “Digital Bill” Douthett

I didn’t see Digital Bill of the Wizards of Technology this year at PME and sadly I never will again because he died on Wednesday. I found out from this cartoon which is an odd way to learn but Bill to the core. I didn’t know him well, but I did know him enough that […]

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PJ in Rails Day

EGC friend PJ Cabrera is competing in Rails Day 2006. Good luck PJ! The prizes are nice, including a MacBook Pro, but I wasn’t going to do it. The funny thing is that pretty much everyone in the contest, if they did 24 hours of paying work for a customer, could buy themselves a MacBook […]



I’m thinking seriously about going to RailsConf in Chicago (announcement here). I’m getting more into Rails all the time, and really enjoying it. It’s predominantly what I use for my fun-time programming nowadays. I’d like to be there with a lot of the game-stepper-uppers and hear about the intermediate to advanced topics, and meet some […]

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Ruby on Rails Scaffolding Hint

For those of you who ever have to do Rails work with an older database that was not created according to RoR naming specs and to which other things have been coded such that you can’t just rename everything, here’s something I found out the hard way. I created my model and used set_table_name to […]


What Happened to Crawler Etiquette?

Looking at the server logs for this weblog a few minutes ago, I noticed the Everest crawler from Vulcan (which namechecks owner Paul Allen on that page) downloading pages. I also notice that they were distressingly frequent, fetching pages 30K and larger every few seconds. I filled out their feedback form, letting them know that […]

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