SEC Schedule App for iPhone

August 21, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

sp-20090821-misc-112136.png If you are a fan of the SEC and own an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you'll want the free "SEC Football Pocket Schedule" from SilverTree Technology. (They also have a Big 12 one if you're into that.)

Interestingly, once I move off that page on their site, I can't see any other links back to it. Whatever the case, the App itself works as a great add for the company. I never would have seen their site if I hadn't started with the app. The app itself is pretty simple, but it's really well designed, loads fast and is intuitive. So, not only is it a free ad for them, it lets potential clients know that they do good work.


The ATF's Phone Number

August 21, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

Around the 4th of July, I was kicking around Phantom Firework's site (fireworks.com) and came across their page on Homemade and Illegal fireworks. At the bottom, is the phone number for the ATF Hot Line for reporting illegal explosives. Serious business, but the number strikes me as funny: 1-888-ATF-BOMB


Switching to Git and I'm now officially an Open Source Developer

August 21, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

git-logo.gif In the software development world, where I spend a decent amount of my time, there exists a very helpful type of tool designed for what's called Revision or Version Control. Among other things, this type of software provides ways for multiple people to work safely on the same set of files without overwriting each other's work and they provide a way to "roll back" to previous versions of files if you find a bug. When you are dealing with tens or hundreds of thousand (or more) of lines of code, it's very reassuring to know that if you break something you can easily jump back to one of the earlier revisions where everything was working while you hunt down whatever went wrong. For the past few years, the Version Control System I've been using is one called Subversion. While it's much better than it's predecessor (CVS), Subversion is still a bit clunky and some of the day-in/day-out tasks require enough thinking that it easy to loose the flow of what you are working on when you have to deal with it. The safety of having the system behind you makes it worthwhile but it's enough of a headache that I started looking for an alternative and after some testing have decided to switch to a different system called Git.


As part of the process, I need to remove literally hundreds of directories from my projects that were created by Subversion as part of the way it manages files. While possible to go though everything and delete them individually, it's much easier and safer to write a little program to do it automatically. In fact, I've written this same basic thing at least three or four times before when I needed to do some clean up of older Subversion repositories. In the Perl programming language it only takes 5-10 minutes to create and test a basic one-off script to do this. Instead of doing that again, I'm using this as an opportunity to create my first Open Source project.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Other people who are going though the same thing might not want to have to build the script themselves. So, this might be of some use to someone else out there if they happen to find it.
  2. I can use it as a chance to try a site/service called GitHub.

GitHub is one of those really excellent parts of the internet. Their primary service is to host Git repositories (which are what Version Control Systems use to do their magic). If you have something that you want to develop just for yourself they have various price points for private storage depending on what you need. What makes them really shine, though, is that if you are developing a piece of Free Open Source Software, they let you use their system at no cost.

Not only does GitHub encourage developers to produce code and software the rest of the world can use for free, but it also let's people like me who are in the very early parts of the learning curve have a safe environment to get their feet wet with Git. Once I've gained enough confidence with their system to be sure I won't completely break things, I'll have the confidence to move my mission critical work into my own Git system.


If you are interested to see what the site looks like, the GitHub home page for the script is here. If you would like to see what the Perl code itself looks like, you can see that here.


Online Photo Editor

August 20, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

I haven't given it a spin, but this looks interesting: picknik.com. An online photo editor that can tie into other sources like flickr for images. While I don't have a lot of interest in using something like this myself, it might make a nice tool for someone less heavily into photography. If it's simple enough, it might also be a nice transition for someone who's not that computer savvy as well. That could make for a smoother transition for those folks that are still hanging onto their file point and shoot cameras.


Good little (open source) clip art site

August 19, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

While looking for an open source clip art light-bulb the first site google returned was openclipart.org. However, it looks like they are in the middle of moving stuff around so most of the images aren't showing up for me. After a little more digging, I found clker.com which is showing me the images. I'm just dropping a note here so I can find it easily later.


Business Idea - Web based replacement for Power Point

August 19, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

light-bulb-1-150x150.png I've been in my fair share of meetings where a Power Point presentation was the key focus. Even if print outs are provided, you'll often here attendees asking if the presenter can e-mail them a copy of the Power Point file. Sometimes the info in the presentation is enough to stand on its own, but often it falls flat when taken away from the talking points of the presenter. This got me thinking about another approach to the display portion of a presentation that could be called "WebPoints" or something like that.

The basic idea would be something like this:

  • Instead of using a desktop application like Power Point, a browser would be used to create the presentation via a web application that provides the same basic layout tools.
  • In addition to the core presentation, talking points and notes can be added to each page as well.
  • When the presentation is being given, the talking points would be turned off, but when attendees come back to the web app, they would have the option to see the notes as well as the main presentation pages.
  • There could even be discussion board type functionality built in so that there would be an ongoing discussion for each individual page or the presentation as a whole.

Other features could include:

  • The ability to export either the presentation, or the presentation and its notes to a PDF or other file. Among other things, this would ensure that the presentation could be given even if it was on a computer without access to the web site.
  • For conference calls, the web site could sync what page is being shown to multiple locations. This way the presenter could control the display for everyone instead of trying to constantly try to ensure everyone is looking at the same page or having to install something like WebEx to provide the functionality.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are already services like this out there, but if there aren't, it is something worth exploring. The overall setup of a system like this wouldn't require a tremendous amount of development. The biggest obstacle would be in creating a nice interface for creating the pages in the web app. Of course, it could just take images as uploads. Or, better yet, just ingest an existing Power Point and convert it directly.


Using mysqldump on Mac OS X Leopard

August 14, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

Originally found this here after lots of searching. Making my own link to make sure I can find it again. To use mysqldump on a Mac running OS X 10.5 (Leopard), run the following from the command line: sudo ln -s /usr/local/mysql-5.0.67-osx10.5-x86/bin/mysqldump /usr/bin/mysqldump (I think I had to manually install MySQL from the supplemental CDs that came with the Mac. I'm assuming this version of mysqldump was installed at the same time.)


Improvement idea for Wordpress iPhone App

July 23, 2009

Note: This post was migrated from my old blog software. It hasn't been cleaned up yet (and might not ever be). Don't be surprised if the formatting, links, images, etc... are messed up.

The Wordpess iPhone app is a pretty solid little piece of software. (I'm writing this very post with it.) There are a few key upgrades that would make it even more useful. 1) the ability to define the maximum photo size when uploading from in the app. 2) The ability to override the keyboard auto-rotation and select either a full time horizontal or vertical layout. 3) Spellcheck. According to the app's "about page" it is an open source app. Guess I'll take a look and see if I can put in the changes myself.


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