Week 0

So, as many of you know, I’ve started a new job. Goodbye public access cable (for now), hello web development. I’m going to be doing extensive Drupal/PHP work. I’m not the biggest fan of PHP, but it gets the job done, and it’ll challenge me to write better code.

So far, I’ve got my new MacBook Pro setup, including Parallels running Debian, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and soon, Ubuntu and RedHat (maybe Fedora).

I’ve had my first meeting with the CEO, CTO and director of my office. Good Folks, and I think I’ll enjoy the people aspect of this company. I will really miss my old coworkers, though šŸ™

There’s a good list of customers, though some are predicting a crash in the marketplace. We’ll see how that plays out.

There is a big need better front-end communication. That’s my boss’ job. He’s a user experience guy, so he should be able to make things a little smoother on that end. The culture is still forming, and by all means, the new office will have its own culture to a degree. Next week, we’re off to the Cali office for training and face-to-face with the rest of the company. WooHoo!


the garden of nerdy delight

<This is an old draft I just finished. Oy!>
We just received a brand new Foundry FastIron Gigabit switch at work. It’s to be used in our new network-based editing configuration. I’m testing it out to see if it will handle 8 simultaneous video captures. Here’s the boot message from this bad boy:

FGS Boot Code Version 02.4.00
Enter ‘b’ to stop at boot …
BOOT INFO: load monitor from primary, size = 84371
BOOT INFO: load image from primary…….
BOOT INFO: bootparam at 00049268, mp_flash_size = 001dc352
BOOT INFO: code decompression completed
BOOT INFO: branch to 00400100
Starting Main Task …
Parsing Config Data …

FSecure SSH is included in this product

SW: Version 02.4.00cT7e1 Copyright (c) 1996-2006 Foundry Networks, Inc.
Compiled on Sep 06 2006 at 16:40:46 labeled as FGS02400c
(1950546 bytes) from Primary fgs02400c.bin
BootROM: Version 02.4.00T7e5 (FEv2)
HW: Stackable FGS624P
Serial #: CH42060189
P-ASIC 0: type D804, rev 01
400 MHz Power PC processor 8245 (version 129/1014) 66 MHz bus
512 KB boot flash memory
8192 KB code flash memory
The system uptime is 2 seconds
The system : started=cold start

FGS624P Switch>
Power supply 1 detected and up.
PowerPC, eh? Pretty slick. It must be one of those embedded jobbies from FreeScale. With 128 MB of RAM, this is a pretty serious switch.


‘C’ is for Cookie…

Ā‘CĀ’ is for Cookie

Who doesn’t love credit card rewards points? By spending money, you receive "money" back. We’re being rewarded for our rampant consumerism and being encouraged to increase the madness. Ah, the smell of commerce. Anyway, I noticed that our CC has a program by which you can get bonus reward points for each dollar spent. Now, to receive these bonus points, you cannot merely spend your money at the places with which our Fine Institution® has made agreements. Oh no. You have to start your shopping session in their "special" mall.

So, I got to wondering how this was done. And so, a geek challenge was born. I suspected that they set cookies to achieve this tracking. So, I first set my browser to prompt me whenever a website wants to set a cookie. I then cleared all my cookies (you may not want to do this unless you’re really curious. You’ll find yourself setting preferences at each web site you frequent if you clear your cookies). With that done, I left the window that views cookies open, so I could inspect them as they are set.

10 page views and about 50 cookies later, I finally saw the cookie that tells the vendor to notify our Fine Institution® that the purchase was made after visiting their special mall.

This raises a serious problem. Let’s say I’m a paranoid user, and I don’t like cookies being set. In fact, I disable cookies for all sites. I don’t even want to see them. No cookies, no way for the vendor to see that I started off in the special mall. Hmmm. That’s not good. I want my points. So, does our Fine Institution have anything to address this issue? I didn’t see anything on their site, so I’m assuming they do not. I’ll call their customer service when I have a chance and am feeling particularly self-loathing.

Also, what happens if I have a link to said vendor that is specific to myself or my organization? Do I not qualify for the bonus points?

In reality, it’s pretty rare that someone completely disables cookies. It would be very difficult to survive on the modern web without them. I mean, in the few page views within the site of our Fine Institution®, I must have accepted at least 20 different cookies from no less than 5 different IP addresses.

Gone are the days of the stateless web. Yes, HTTP is still a stateless protocol, but the experience sure isn’t anymore.


if i had a dime…

So, I was at a wedding about a month ago, and got some schmutz all over my laptop bag. I finally got around to giving the bag a good wash this evening. As I was emptying my bag, I noticed that I was holding in my hand….

my green iPod mini

I’m pretty happy that I found it, but I’m confused that I didn’t find it earlier. I must’ve looked in this bag at least a dozen times, specifically for my iPod. Well, I’m not complaining.


in memoriam green iPod mini

Green iPod mini

After several months of searching high and low, I’ve given up. I’m beginning to accept the fact that my green iPod mini is lost. I’ve looked everywhere, and have racked my brain trying to remember where I last saw it or used it. The odd thing is that I still have the docking cable. I always took the cable with me if I was going to be away from home for more than a normal day.

I think the thing I’m saddest about is the sentimental value of greenie. A2C gave me greenie when we were dating. I remember it was just before we got engaged. She had just returned from a trip overseas. We were hanging out in her room, and were catching up and talking about things. I told her I loved her, and she replied as she always does with, “You do?”. Only this time, she continued, “Oh good, then I have something for you!”. She jumped up and began digging through her closet. In a few moments, she produced a new iPod mini and a protective case. I was floored, as it was a pretty extravagant gift (to me, anyway).

If I were to pick an iPod myself, it would have been green. It was so nice to have something I’d use all the time to remind me of A2C (not that I needed reminding or anything). I got lots of good years out of that iPod, and I must say, I think the minis are still my favorites. I’ve not tried out the nano (older or newer), and quite frankly, I’m not all that interested. Half due to the fact that I read more than listen on my daily commute these days, and half because I’m not so enamored of all things iPod as I once was. That being said, I’m slowly becoming more and more interested in the iPhone. Must… resist… temptation… shiny…


Jitter-Free, my butt…

So wiredgeek tried some inkos tea and liked it. So, he called the company and said, “hey, I’m organizing a tech conference, could you provide some free drinks?”

They sent 8 cases of the stuff. Now it claims to be “jitter-free”, suggesting that the caffeine content is low enough that it does not induce the near nausea experience that other energy drinks do. After all, it’s white tea. White tea is all the rage these days.

I stand here as a testament that inkos tea is indeed NOT “jitter-free”. Several other fellow geeks at the conference and I concurred that, in fact, after about a half-can of the stuff we were wired up and ready to bounce off the walls.

Of course, my solution to this was to finish the first can and move directly to a second. I drank the first can around noon or so, and the second can wore off around 4AM. Oy, vey.

This could all be explained by my very low tolerance for caffeine, but I suspect it has less to do with it than one might think.

Drupal Camp NYC 3 wrapup

Whew, Drupal Camp was like taking a drink from a waterhose. I met all kinds of folks from all levels of expertise. There were even Rails people there (gasp!). Anyway, I caught the tail-end of the performance discussion, attended an advanced theming session, and debated the downsides of server-side browser sniffing.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I’m pretty psyched about developing some new features for my own Drupal-based sites. In fact, I’m in the midst of redesigning therac25.net in Drupal. So, wiredgeek and I came up with a little rhyme that really succinctly states how I feel about Drupal:

Rose are red,
Drupal is blue.
PHP sucks,
but what can you do?

Session 2

1:21PM – Beginning modules. Finally some meat. I have been interested in developing my own modules for a while, but never knew where to get started. Here we go:

  • use api.drupal.org
  • hooks – create a dir for the module
  • create module_name.info file
  • create module_name.module file (no closing php tag, start with it, but don’t end with it)
  • if you’re creating something that makes new tables, you need a .install file. When you install and enable a module the first time, Drupal runs the hooks in the install file. The hook name is the name of the module file
  • in the uninstall file, free any variables you create
  • hook_nodeapi – operations on nodes that your module does NOT manage (on pre-existing node types) you can change weight to change execution order
  • hook_form_alter – cool