Archive for the 'Web' Category

The update of Webpen went really well. I was quite surprised when it worked the first time I tried it. Just goes to show how the universe likes to screw with you. I’m not finished with it, though, by any means. I need to do a bit of an overhaul on the database, too, so that’s kind of put me in slump on it. Soon, though. Soon I will have the bastard figured out and work will resume.

The most awesome thing this week, though, was getting back into Camping. It’s amazingly easy to get started and really makes you learn Ruby more thoroughly. I have a feeling those small wheels are going to come in handy really soon. If nothing else, it’s another bullet point to add onto a resumé.

No, that sounds wrong. i don’t learn things just to stick them on a piece of paper to sell myself more. I learn things so I can use them. I learned Ruby on Rails so I could make web applications like I thought we needed; I learned CSS ’cause font tags and table-based layouts are tedious and extra work. So, now I’m learning Camping ’cause not everything needs the power and heft of Rails behind it.

Some of you know I’ve been looking for a job for the past while. The rest of you do now.

So last night I decided I needed to try and get Webpen updated to the new look I’ve been working on for it. Yeah, did I mention I haven’t really even touched Webpen in about a year? Been a little busy with the whole move-and-have-a-baby thing, then the raise-the-baby thing.

Anyway, I failed at it. My code looks so horribly ugly compared to how I know Rails code is supposed to look. It’s just…pathetic. Yeah, feel sorry for me. Come on, do it.

Today I think I may buy the updated version of the Rails PDF and start learning again. I really need to get this updated, both for the users and for the potential employers looking at it. Wish me luck.

A Big Switch

August 31

So, if you’re reading this in a feed reader, I should pat myself on my back ’cause that means my .htaccess trickery worked, which it seems to from my little bits of poking around. Anyway, if you’re reading me in a feed reader, come on over and check out the new site.

Yeah, I’ve switched over from using Textpattern to using Wordpress. It’s a lot less beta-feeling than TXP and seems more powerful. That’s kind of an odd statement since Wordpress is supposed to only be for blogging, not a CMS, which is kind of what TXP is considered.

Most of that power comes from Wordpress being doled out in files. I don’t have to spend hours reloading a browser window to tweak how my comments display or how the page templates are set up, like in TXP. And since it’s more out-and-out PHP, you can just drop in some new code and it works.

Anyway, hope you guys like the new design and let me know if you see any problems. Everything should work, but I’m still adding stuff to the Work section. So, if you see any posts from there out here, just let ‘em pass. Thanks!

I’m actually still working on the site. I’ve put it up for review a few places and I’ve gotten some great advice. So, look for improvements in the next few days.

A Cookie Console

September 16

You break my heart into a thousand pieces and you say it’s because I deserve better? Sorry, that’s playing on the stereo right now. Gotta love From Autumn to Ashes.

Anyway, I finally have something awesome to blog about. Many of you will already know this, but it’s so freakin’ handy-dandy if you have to deal with cookies in your development. If you’re not on a Mac, sorry, skip this post.

OK, first, you need to be using Safari. There’s no better browser out there for OS X 10.4 Tiger, anyway, so I know you’re using it already. No, keep reading, don’t run down to the comments to tell me how awesome Firefox/Opera/IE 5.2/Camino/Shiira/OmniWeb/iCab is. I know they’re useful and all, but they all run like cold molasses on my machine, so shush.

Now, you need to have PithHelmet installed. Load up your page that stores the cookie (or the page that’ll send the data into the cookie) and open up Console (it’s in your Utilities folder if you still use the Finder to launch things. By the way, if you do, check this out). Now, in Safari go into the Pithhelmet menu (either the pith helmet in your menubar or in Safari -> Pithhelmet) and go to the Advanced menu and choose “Log cookies to console”.

Go to your cookie-recorder and get your cookies recorded (you know what I mean), then jump over to the Console and filter the result by the domain name of the site (localhost or www.eyeheartzombies.com for example). Hey! Lookie there! You can see your cookies, their names, what they hold, when they expire. All that good stuff you hate to debug!

I’m sure I’ll start using this more and more when I’m dealing with cookies and sessions (you can see session data, too, but that’s usually easier to check). What do you think? Anyone have any similar methods for checking cookies and other state data?

So I’ve been thinking about community lately. It’s a hard thing to pin down and even hard to find one that you want to be a member of. And once you do, you have to deal with all the insanely shifting dynamics in the the community, decide whether or not to stick it out or leave, and then control how much the community takes from you and how much you give to it. It’s enough to make anyone want to be a recluse.

I’m not just talking about Internet communities, either. You have the same struggles and benefits in your local church, bowling club, or poker group. I have to admit that I’ve never really found a group I love being involved in. Well, that’s not completely fair, I’ve found a few but they haven’t lasted long.

When I was a kid, I had two groups: church and school. I didn’t get along with many people at school since I didn’t play sports, wasn’t rich, and didn’t live in the same city as most of the other people. Church was the main area of my life as a kid, mostly ’cause my best friend went there and that was the main time I got to see him. So it wasn’t about church, it was about a single friend and a few other kids that we talked to/hung out with. As I got older, there were times that I cared about the church experience and everything; went to church camps and Hallowe’en carnivals (but we can’t call them that, oh no, they’re Autumn Festivals or some nonsense.) but those were usually tainted by the same problems as school, sports and money won the popularity and community.

As I grew up and realized I didn’t agree with the religion, church became more of a chore required by my parents so the community aspect of it really dropped off. I saw all of the problems in a church where people get superiority/inferiority complexes, delusions of grandeur, and all the bickering that comes from people thinking they know the one true way to God and the hatred they throw around at those who don’t follow their way, all while professing the love of God. This isn’t a religious post, but I just wanted to explain part of why I fell out of the community.

I was a skateboarder for a few years of my life. That was another community I was involved in. I guess I can’t really say I fell out of that one because of any outside influence. I just ended up moving somewhere that I didn’t have an easy way to skate or the energy to keep up with it. I still want to start skating again from time to time. Yeah, this paragraph was pointless!

Anyway, I’ve been in a few different musical communities, too. Punk, hardcore, even raves for awhile. All of the crazy politics come in and rip them apart from the inside. You have the queer-bashers, the straightedge kids that think it’s punk to beat someone up for smoking, the football players in the mosh pit that like to tackle people. Heaven forbid you run into anyone who doesn’t like the band you do and just loves some band you don’t. You’ll never hear the end of it, how awesome the band is and how off the wall their last concert was. I love the feeling of community in the punk/hardcore world when people get over these petty differences. But try and surf through a punk/hardcore messageboard without getting hit by about 30 of ‘em.

Raves are a whole other group of people. Some really nice people there, but it’s almost impossible to find someone who isn’t stoned and can actually understand anything you say. Plus the trouble of putting up with all the “producers” and “DJs” throwing their CDs and flyers in your face. Again, I dropped out of this on my own, but you can see why. Another pointless paragraph.

But let’s talk about online stuff. There are only a few messageboards I read through regularly. I read SomethingLeet daily. Have for years. It’s a great collection of stupid, ordinary, and helpful posts and people, mostly focusing on geeky subjects. Why has it been so good for so long? Maybe because it’s still in control of the people who started it. There have been problems, of course, but for the most part it’s nice and stable.

Flickr and Audioscrobbler are both great communities that have popped up in the last few years. They seem to be pretty stable, too, most likely because you don’t see much front-page doings from the administration. Makes them more professional, I suppose.

As opposed to MySpace and DeviantART. MySpace has all the problems that come from being so loosely grouped and writen by a code-monkey without a banana. I have plenty of personal gripe with MySpace so I won’t go into here, but for what I can see, it gets everything wrong that LiveJournal and Blogger get right. Sorry for not linking to those two, but I think they have more than enough recognition.

So what’s wrong with DeviantART? Nothing that can’t be fixed. The code is kind of slow, but it beats what it was a few years ago. There’s a lot of pointless, talentless crap that gets submitted, but you can’t help that with such a free and open community. That’s not the problem.

The problems are with the administration and the some of the members. The forums are some of the most long-winded posts I have ever read. People who take themselves way too seriously and can’t take the criticism they ask for. Another reason to dislike any community and part of what really turns me off of dA. The administration problems I was talking about have just recently happened.

One of the co-founders, Jark, was recently ousted from his position in the community with no previous dialog or warning. This kind of upheaval can do nothing but destruction to a community. On a high note, though, there are plenty i the community fighting for Jark’s reinstatement and other changes in the dA dynamic. I hope they come about, making dA stronger than it ever has been before.

I don’t think I’ll be a part of it, though. I just don’t feel like I belong in dA. Maybe I’m not emo/goth enough and I know I don’t draw enough crappy anime/manga to be there. Regardless, I hope everything works out.

So do I have any community that I’m active and happy in? Not really. I spent a lot of time on the Textpattern forums, but some of the more recent members are annoying to me and with all of the insane additions/update to the software I don’t feel like I can offer good enough help any longer. Maybe once 1.0 Final comes out I’ll get back into it.

Elaine and I both consider ourselves part of Sahaja Yoga, but we’re not active in it at this point. We want to start a local group around here, but we haven’t been able to yet. We’re waiting to hear back from the only yogi in Arkansas.

Yeah, sorry for all the rambling, but these are just some of my ideas that have been running through my had a couple of days. Any ideas?