Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year!

I know this is an extremely short post, but it is 22:30 and I am wicked tired. Bed has a lasso around me ans is drawing me in quicly.

Good night everyone, and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 11, 2006

What a gem

As some coders out there know, when it comes to coding, sometimes a project requires you to pick up another language. I have been actively playing with Perl for a little while now and have been working on a couple of scripts for work. Recently though, my Web Development job (outside of my day job) has had a realization regarding a project that we have in the works (sorry, cannot divulge any details). We are trying to figure out some of the details, and one of them is, what language would be best for the project. Well, in talking with my colleague ( who happens to own the company ), we are presently looking at Ruby as the language to code in.

I started looking at Ruby last week and must say....Wow....that is quite the interesting language. It is completely Object Oriented and written almost like you would speak (kind-of). My wife works at Barnes & Noble, so I utilized her deeper holiday special discount to pick up the "pickaxe" book at an incredible price.

I know that most people in the geek community have pretty much heard of Ruby, but in case you have had any incling of curiosity surrounding the language, here is the online version of the "pickaxe" book. This book would be the equivelant of the 'camel' book for Perl.

Here are some other good links that I have found (Ruby related), that I would like to share as well:

1 --> This is a small intro as well as a an interactive Ruby shell session to allow you to experiment. its pretty nice really.

2. --> This site has a bunch of quizes to which you will have to produce a solution. Nice way to practice your skills.

3. --> A good Ruby language quick reference guide.

4. --> Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby. Another online "book-like" reference to ruby. There are some cartoons to make the learning a little more fun, but similarly good information.

5. --> The Ruby on Rails website. Rails is a framework for creating web based apps and interfaces.

6. --> The Ruby reference manual.

I know that there are some developers/coders who are strictly loyal to their languages, and I fully understand that, but I also believe in learning all that I can, including other languages. So please, no flames or flame wars over this please as I just want to share what I have found.

I hope that you have found this interesting and informative. Please feel free to comment with your additions to the Ruby knowledge links.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tis the season

Well, it is that time of year again. Time for egg nog, holiday parties, gift wrapping, shopping for gifts, and yes......... the advent calendar. This year's "Perl Advent Calendar" is available here for your viewing.

What's nice is that each day has a perl tid bit inside of it for your coding enjoyment. What's also nice is that you cannot skip ahead as the future dates are not allocated until their time comes.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

In Defense of (Perl) Programming

Nobody can deny the fact that the Internet is absolutely flooded with information. If you want to know about it, you can more than likely find a link to it on the net. Being an aspiring Perl coder, I am always on the lookout for interesting articles on Perl coding.

Today I ran across the article called "Defensive Perl Programming" and found it to be quite good from the perspective of a beginner (so to speak). I know that there are some real Perl hackers out there and each believes in a particular style of coding, as does each of us. In fact, Randal Schwartz ( Merlyn ), wrote a book titled "Perl Best Practices", that I believe to be quite the bible of what to do and what not to do when coding.

It is with the assistance of resources like these, that one can learn to be a better coder and JAPH.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Yet Another Novell Update

My last update on the Novell sell out was back on November 11th, where I elaborated on the facts of the situation and added my own commentary and thoughts. I have seen quite a number of posts on my local LUG mailing list surrounding Novell and Micro$oft and today was one that was completely blog-worthy.

Bruce Perens has written a letter from the Open Source community to Novell, in a calculated, well thought out response to Novell's "deal" with the Evil Giant that is Micro$oft. If you are as insanely upset with this deal as the rest of us, then please, read the letter and sign it because it is also a petition to Novell to say that none of us are pleased with what they have done.

Even if you don't sign it, the letter is definitely worth a read as it points out some interesting points. One of the most intersting is that even though companies like Micro$oft and SCO feel it necessary to sue Linux companies to get what they want (whether that be $$$ or control of what they cannot control (in Micro$oft's case)), patents exist, and there are so many patents related to the software industry that if those who own them constantly enforced them, the industry would come to a screeching halt. People like the aforementioned corporations are just using their patents as a strong arm technique.

I would say to any other companies, "Stand Your Ground!?.

MPAA Nonesense

OK, the last time I checked, so long as I purchased a movie legally, I was able to play it in my own home.... on my own television.... without anyone trying to level their own conglomerate beliefs and restrictions into MY HOUSE!

Yes, if you are wondering, the MPAA has taken steps to now try and limit HOW you can view the movies you buy. Here is an article I found on Slashdot ( /.) that describes the MPAA's latest idea.....If you have a TV that is over 29" AND, if you have "at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon" then you must pay some silly $50 registration fee to register as a "home theatre", thus, bending to the MPAA's silly, confused ways.

Personally, in my honest opinion, the MPAA can stick it up their A$$!!! What I do in my own home and how I view my movies is my business. If I want to have a few friends over to watch a movie, SO WHAT!!! Who gives a rat's ass?!?!! So long as I don't charge admission ( and who the heck would), I don't see how you can say that I am running a "theatre". This definition in order to level a fee is absolutely confounded and ridiculous. I highly doubt this will be able to be enforced, its an invasion into my privacy and my home.

Oh, and to go along with this new "registration", should you get caught, they want a minimum "$500,000" fine per movie shown". HA!!! I paid my $$ to buy the movie, and that is all you will get out of me. KISS MY LILY WHITE ASS! There is no flippin' way that anyone is going to bend to this strong-arming. This is NOT a communist nation and you cannot just impose any will you want upon us.

I mean come on, isn't the almost $10 average movie ticket price enough? Heck, its the reason I refuse to go to the movie theatre anymore. Stop paying actors those ridiculous salaries and bring them back to reality and you might have more money in the bank and may be able to lower ticket prices. Hell, get an original idea for a movie instead of remaking everything that has been made, and maybe more people will see them. Yes, I am sure that piracy is cutting into your golden pocket liners, but tacking that cost back onto the average home viewer is NOT THE ANSWER!! If you want to fight piracy, go ahead, but leave those of us who buy the movies for our collections, ALONE!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The art of convincing the (perspective) client

One of the things I enjoy most is doing web development. I enjoy designing websites and I love getting engrossed in the back end development as well.

Most of my experience as a web developer has been working for a friend's company as his senior web developer. All the clients that needed sites designed had already been convinced to go with us and were ready for development. Up until now, I have never been involved in the process of pitching to a client to convince them to purchase your services to design and build their website.

Well, I went last night and pitched to my first client, outside of my friends business (he is all for it as I work for him on a contract basis). The site I would like to design is for a restaurant that a bunch of people I know, frequent, and is popular in the local community. When I talked to the owner about whether he would be interested in a website to display his menu and draw in new business, he was very weary. He didn't know much about the Internet and hadn't really experienced it before.

Yes, this has/had me worried. I didn't know if I could even get him interested in this venture. Well, I did have him agree to let me do a 1-2 page mock up to see what I could do for him. To me, that is a step in the right direction considering how difficult it may be to get this sale.

I talked to my friend (yes, the one I work for) and he actually gave me very useful insight on how I can convince him to purchase the site.

You see, with someone like this, someone that isn't really computer or for that fact, Internet, savvy, you may need to do a little work with the hard copy world as well as soft copy. It is suggested to me that I do the mock up and the do color print outs of the site to hand to him. I will also explain to the client that granted, they do a fair amount of business and have a lot of very loyal customers, but wouldn't it be nice to draw in more of a crowd/business by putting his menu and directions online for everyone else to see.

So, I am going to be working on the mock up of the site and then, going to pitch it to him in a sit-down meeting. Hopefully, with any luck, I can convince him to go with this project.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Much ado about Novell

You can consider this post an update on my previous posting regarding the deal between Micro$oft and Novell.

Within a couple of days it was released that the deal between M$ and Novell included a payment to Novell of $385 million. So, yes folks, the sell-out is complete, they have accepted money. I got curious to see if this would effect the Linux community with more than just the loss of a really good distribution ( imo) of Linux. What I ended up finding is that Novell, unbeknownst to me, had acquired Ximian a short time ago. As some of you well know, a couple of years ago, Ximian acquired the Mono Project, which is an open source port of the Micro$oft .net development architecture.
So, in one foul swoop, Micro$oft has managed to not only take from us an awesome distribution, but they have also managed to get its evil claws into a project that I am sure really urked them. I mean come on, someone except Micro$oft put .net on Linux, that must have been blasphemous to ol'Steve, but now he must be happy as a lark.

Granted, I am sure I could rant for days and days about this, and others could as well, but I think we need to sit back and see what happens and hope that M$ does not put any evil influence into Novell's release of its product for that would definitely taint everything. If they don't....awesome. If they do.....well...its been fun Suse (Novell), but we will have to take our leave of you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And the sellout is..............NOVELL

I would say that the recent announcement by Novell of their new found partnership with Micro$oft has left me speechless, but that would be totally correct. In fact, I am more than a little up in arms over the deal. Micro$oft has made no attempt to hide their overwhelming dislike for Linux and all that it stands for, and even after seeing all of that over the years, Novell (Suse Linux) has gone and partnered with them.
All this is part of a deal so that Micro$oft wouldn't sue Novell for patent infringement over code they claim is in the Suse distribution. Kind of deja vou if you ask me with SCO's filings and lawsuits over quite similar claims. But the difference is, those that were sued by SCO stood up to them and WON!!

It makes me wonder what Novell is so incredibly scared of. Are the claims by Micro$oft valid? Does the questionable code actually exist in the distribution? I guess we won't find out any time soon considering they are now in bed with the big bad giant of the software world. I just hope that considering this loss to the Linux community, no other distributions are weak enough to fold to this pressure.

That's right, I called this a loss. Up to right now I have been really taken with Suse as a distribution. The fact that a lot the functionality that I was looking for ( ie: cd/dvd burning, cd/dvd image creation/ripping to name a couple) simply worked right out of the box has a lot to say about a distribution. Granted, not everything worked the way it was supposed to. I have been trying to learn Apache 2.0 better so that I can get the httpd.conf file setup correctly to support cgi scripting as it seems that the file I have by default differs greatly from the file that is default on other "working" systems, like Fedora. Also the directories where things, like Apache, are installed are different from the default in the software's documentation ( unlike that of distro's like Fedora which stuck to the vendor's defaults).

Those things aside, Suse is a generally good desktop OS, but now, with the advent of Micro$oft being involved with them, I give the distro two years. Two years and it will be almost non-existent, that is if Micro$oft has its way. I don't think they would make a deal like this unless there was a lot in it for them. Ballmer is to much of a Linux hater to make a deal that was beneficial to the Linux community.

If you look at the Novell website, you will see the title "Bridging the Divide" right on the front page. That is an extremely weak bridge, possibly made of doozer material. Personally, I will not be venturing across and I don't advise anyone else to either.

Meanwhile, over at the evil giant's website, there is NOT ONE MENTION of the fact that this deal ever happened. Of all the information on their main page, the deal with Novell isn't even hinted at. So, while Novell feels the need to announce the deal to the world, Micro$oft chooses the null approach. Makes you wonder how important it really is to them.

To Mr. Ballmer and his organization I say, "Enjoy Suse, its yours now". To the rest of the Linux community and to advocates like myself I say, "Let's sew up this would and go on. Its only a scratch and a scratch never killed a movement".

At this point, I am in the process of downloading the DVD of Fedora Core 6. As for my Suse 10.1 DVD and SLED 10 discs, well, I was looking for some good cup holders.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Conversion Complete!............DOH!!!

I noticed a couple of weeks ago, while updating my blog(s), that the new Blogger 2.0 BETA was available for use. To use it, you would need to convert your profile and blogs over to the new version. The system does warn you that the conversion can take a while depending on the size of your blog(s), but considering my blogs were started earlier this year and I don't have a ton of entries to date, I figured the conversion would be rather quick.

I was right, in fact I was blogging with the new system withing a few minutes. The system looks pretty much the same, but there are additions and changes that Google/Blogger have made to the system, like the addition of tags for your postings.

I have been using the new version for about a week or so now and just today I decided to click on my profile and see if that is displayed any differently. Upone doing so I see the following: "Age: 250". I took a real double take because I knew this couldn't be right. So, I logged in and went to my profile setup only to find my date of birth, during the conversion, had been changed to 1756. ( wooo hooo, I wasn't aware that I had gone through the quickening, but i'll take it). See the screen shot below for my blogger2.0 determined age.

So, to all those would-be upgraders out there, when your upgrade is complete, go in and check your profile and make sure you didn't suddenly gain years before you are supposed to.

Monday, October 16, 2006


About a month ago I was reading the August issue of Linux Format ( UK version) (I am pretty sure that is the correct month) and in browsing the reviews of some new-on-the-scene software I noticed a program called Incollector. In reading the article, it was described as software for organizing bits of data. To me, that mean all the little tidbits that I had scribbled onto sticky notes or ripped off pieces of paper and had scattered everywhere.

So, after reading the article I decided to download the software and try it out. At first glance, it seemed interesting and it did not take long for me to get the idea of how to use it as it was and still is, quite user friendly. The version that I had first installed was version 0.1. I know, still early in its release, but I was willing to give it a shot if it did what it promised, and helped me organize my little bits.

After encountering a problem with the program (namely that whatever entries I made were gone after closing out and restarting the program), I decided to write to the developer. I was blown away to have an answer within a day. The developer had not only informed me that he knew of the issue(s) that I experienced, but also attached to the email the latest, current development version, promising that I would have a better experience.

He was right. in fact, I have been using the software ever since. Every time I find a bit of data ( ie: URL, a command for doing something, a bit of code), I open up Incollector and throw it in. I have pretty much started relying on it for my organization (granted, it is only one of several tools I use).

I know, I sound like an ad or a commercial for the product. Please know that a I am an end user of this product, just like you. The reason I am blogging about this is to not only share my experience with this software and spread the word of it, but to also thank the Developer (Marcin Krzywonos, "Thank You, Marcin!") who has been extremely kind in helping me whenever I have an issue with the program. His promptness and willingness to help me deserves this credit!,

Don't take my word for it, download it and see if you like it too. You never know, it may just turn out to be a regular part of you arsenal of tools.

For those who like screen shots, here are a few for you.

Here is the main window for Incollector.

Here is the window for adding a source code entry.

Here is the window for adding a serial number entry.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

And children will be....well.......children!!!

I make no point to hide the fact that I am a HUGE fan of Google. No flaming please, I believe in "to each his own". My wife really likes Yahoo News and I don't knock her for that, they have a nice page going there. I am just hooked on my Google News and cannot change that.

But, that is not what this is about. Back when I obtained my invitation to open a Gmail account the hype was just starting to build and Microsoft and Yahoo saw Google as a rather sever threat to their way of life. Why do I say this? Because, as everyone is aware, Micro$oft and Yahoo blocked ALL Gmail invites sent to users on their respective email services. Thus, where my point about being "childish" comes from!

Now, Google has beat them all to the punch and purchased In my opinion, this is only going to increasingly benefit the site and allow it to grow, especially since Google has convince the likes of Sony and Warner to open up their music video's to members, for Free (as in water(I say this as I don't drink beer)). Anywho, it was announced on slashdot today that Yahoo Messenger is now blocking the URL.

Come on people, can't we all just get along? Face the facts that Google got to it before you could and that's that! Live with is. I severely dislike Microsoft because of their Evil, misleading ways and their crappy software. It makes me just as much dislike Yahoo to see these childish games being played as a virtual temper tantrum because they didn't get their way.

GROW UP YAHOO!!! And that goes for all the other's that would follow in the same path! Just......grow....UP!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Update: And accessibility for all...........

Well, I have been doing some pretty heavy reading and learning about accessibility as it pertains to web design and I must say.... Oh my! I consider myself to be a pretty anal person with regards to my details and such and I do think I have quite the eye for detail, but I must say that I missed more than I thought with regards to my designs.

In going over the basic checklist that I found for accessibility, I was missing things like the "title" for images and links, as well as specifying the specific dimensions of an image used on a page. Even with the stuff that I missed (that I have now fixed on my own site), there are some things that you have to do to meet certain levels of the rules that for me, just seem slightly over the edge. I know that this is a relatively new thing, so new that the HTML standard doesn't have provisions for some of it, but I am sure that will the next iteration of HTML that things will hopefully improve.

One example of what I am referring to as over the edge is with regards to graphics/pics. You are not allowed to have two or more pics adjacent to one another without them being separated somehow. This separation can be in the form of a "|" separator or [ ] to enclose each pic in. To me, this just doesn't fit the aesthetic of my site.

Another example, again relating to graphics/pics, has to do with the description of it. You are required with each pics/graphic used to provide an 'alt' tag, which contains a short description of what the graphic is to convey. If the graphic conveys more than just a quick sentence of information then you must use the "longdesc" tag in your img tag. This "longdes" tag contains the URL of a text file on your host that contains the full description of the information that is to be conveyed by the graphic. To go a little further, if you use the "longdesc" tag, then you must also provide an anchor as a "D" or "d" next to the graphic that links to that same text description file. This definitely adds an element to your site that to me, just didn't look right.

So, as you can see from these two examples, there are some issues within HTML that will need to be addressed by the committee that sets the standard to allow for use of the accessibility standard that will not be as intrusive on your site. Thankfully, the w3c is heavily involved in this effort and even have a site dedicated to accessibility. We shall see in the next iteration of HTML if they can provide the needed provisions. Until then, I guess I won't meet all 3 levels of accessibility qualification.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

And accessibility for all.....

I guess it was only a matter of time before the issue of accessibility came around and bit us, and hard. I am one who fully agrees that everyone has the right to everything, even those with disabilities. It just shocked me today when I read the article about the lawsuit brought forth against Target by The National Federation of the Blind. The article states that a judge has ruled that "any place of business that provides services, such as the opportunity to buy products on a website, is now, a place of accommodation and therefore falls under the ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act)".
This lawsuit is about someone who is vision impared not being able to use Target's website to buy anything because they are not compliant with Section 508, the accessibility standard. For web developers like myself, this means that I have more to learn, especially with regards to making all the websites I produce, accessible.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Talk about a downgrade

Well, it seems that the International Astronomical Union has seen fit to strip Pluto ( previously the 9th planet in our solar system) of it status as a planet. I am kind of dumbfounded. Since pluto was discovered in the 1930's it has been recognized as a planet. Heck, the phrase I used to use to remember the planets was: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles. I guess now, there are no more pickles to be serverd. :-( Its actually quite sad. My kids, when they start going to school will be learning about the 8 planets plus that other thing out there.

I remember the saying, "Who died and made you boss" from when I was a kid. So, who died and made these people the "authority" on what is a planet and what isn't. I don't see them out at Pluto testing it for an atmosphere. I just hope that they will change there mind so that my kids will learn the 9 planets, not the 8.

Just my .02.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Kevin Mitnick layed up by Flu

It seems that Kevin Mitnick, who earned his fame through is hacking exploits of years past, has been layed up with the flu while in Bogata, Columbia.

Here are hope's that he gets better soon. There is nothing worse that being sick in a high altitude area. I can only imagine the headache.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What a difference a difference makes...

Yeah, I know. "What the heck is he talking about with that title?" I have been pro-actively learning PHP as I am working on a couple of pet projects, and I am also still very much loving and learning Perl ( which in my opinion is tops as far as languages go).
In working on a recent project (see May 13th post) I was trying to do something using PHP and in the midst of my figuring it out, I realized how easy it would have been in Perl. So, last night I dug out my "Web Development using Perl" book and decided that integrating Perl for as many of the everyday or even special items that get processed on my website almost behooved me. PHP is a nice language, but it still just does not compare to Perl for many things. ( Sorry, I know I am being vague and not giving details of the difference, but I am still tired and don't have an example on hand)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In the throws of learning ::.

Wow, hard to believe I haven't posted in a couple of months. He he, oops. Well, not tons to report right now other than I have cracked down on myself and am learning PHP. It is a nice addition to my Web Development toolbox.
There is NO better way to learn than hands-on. That said, I wanted to describe the project that I am working on. Where I work we do A LOT with x509.v3 SSL keys. If anyone has ever had any experience with these, you know what I am refering to. Well, when you double click on an SSL key that has a "cer" or "der" extension, a window opens up that displays the information about the certificate. In the "Details" tab of that window, you will find a number of different variables that contain all of the information about that certificate.
Well, one of those values is the "Serial Number", which is unique to every SSL key. When viewing the serial number, you will notice that it is in hexadecimal format (ie: 3F D2 67 something to that effect, but longer). In the log that is produced by our SSL client software though, the serial number for the public SSL key is displayed as a decimal number ( ie: 1403823095 notice, no letters, just numbers).
As you can see, you cannot just compare the two unless you know how to convert them or have something to convert them for you to their alternate format(s). This is where the Internet comes into play. Gotta love the veritable wealth of infomation that resides online these days. I did a search for decimal to hex conversion and came up with this, a site that tells you the algorithm for converting both directions.
So, basically, I am working on a web page that will convert the numbers both directions. Obviously this is something that will be able to convert ANY hex to dec or dec to hex as it is universal. So, stay tuned and once I finish it I will post a link to the page.

Happy Mother's Day weekend everyone!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Disturbing trend in the job market

Most everyone that I know, especially in the technical fields, tend to scan over job posting boards such as and One of the boards that I like to look at is The nice thing about craigslist is that it is area-centric, that is it has pages that are specially for the areas around selected cities and countries.
Well, I constantly browse craigslist for jobs in the boston area ( since I live in New England, close to Boston) and have noticed lately that FAR too many companies are taking some pretty low, drastic measures in an attempt to get a project or projects completed and pay as little as they can or nothing at all. What I am talking about is postings for "Interns" or "Internships".
By definition, an intern is "an advanced student or graduate usually in a professional field (as medicine or teaching) gaining supervised practical experience (as in a hospital or classroom)". This term is basically intended for anyone who is coming out of college or some other kind of professional training and needs to gain some on-the-job experience so that they can carry their career further. Typically interships are unpaid or paid very little ( usually an hourly wage ) but that is the price you pay for gaining the experience on the job.
Now, the beef that I have is with all of the companies that are all of a sudden putting up these job postings with the words "intern" or "internship" in them. The postings are for jobs that are unpaid usually or are paid with experience and goods/services from the employer. This would not be so bad if some of these people putting up these jobs weren't looking for someone with "so many years of experience" and a LONG list of needed skills. Anyone who has spent the time to gain the skills that these people are looking for does not need an internship that isn't going to pay them what they are worth, they need $$$$$. No offense, in this day and age, the wallet might be a little tight still but that is no reason to expect that people are going to screw themselves over and work for free.
I saw a rant by someone on there a couple of weeks ago and the person was noticeably upset and for good reason. I have this feeling that this is the next evolution in the job market kind of like after the last bubble burst and you couldn't find a job that would pay anything because everyone wanted you to know 35 programming languages and were only going to pay you $1000 per language per year. To me, that was rediculous and uncalled for but who am I?
I just hope that others out there are seeing the same trend that I do and will write about it and bring it further out into the open in hopes that all of these companies that think "let's hire someone and call them an intern, that way we don't have to pay them", that they cannot get good help for nothing. We all have families to support just like they do.
Just my .02.

Welcome! Come in and have a Fruit Roll-up.....

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog! To be honest, it is my 2nd blog. I also have "Multifarious Rambling's". What is the difference between the two? Why the need for two seperate blogs you say? Well, "Multifarious Rambling's" is the log I use to write about my everyday, non-tech stuff, such as family matters, home stuff, and other miscellaneous topics. This blog is pretty much my techy type blog.
Anywho, without further ado, please read on. ;-)
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