Monthly Archives: May 2003

Jedi Gets Lawyer

The latest on the Star Wars Kid says that there are lawyers involved now, and they’re not happy with whoever originally put the video on the web. (It doesn’t look like they’re mad at the people who propagated it.) What really sucks is Ghyslain might not accept the money (man, monthly archive permalinks suck) presumably because they think (after lawyer fees) they may get more out of whoever they’re taking action against. A disappointing ending to what has been a pretty fairytale-like story so far. Andy just informed me that they will accept the gifts, which I think is a great thing. Obviously something about the movie or the situation inspired a lot of people to donate, many probably because they related to the situation. Hopefully things will turn out alright after all.

AOL vs. Microsoft

In his charmingly caustic way Hixie compares how AOL and Microsoft fared in the recent settlement. I am very disappointed, as AOL using Mozilla would have made things interesting. Around here Mozilla has been steadily climbing in the stats. What about the rest of the world? Check out the Google Zeitgeist. After an amazing climb, they show IE 6 tanking for the first time ever, while IE 5 jumps up to actually above IE 5.5. That’s a little disturbing. Also for the first time I’ve noticed they say “Netscape 5.0+ (including Mozilla)” is represented, but for the life of me I can’t find the purple line. Do you see the purple line?

WordPress Picking Up Pace

Today has certainly been an exciting day so far. First of all, Donncha has joined the WordPress team, bringing the number of developers officially to three. There have been several other inquiries and I think it’s exciting and the development will move along pretty fast.

I’m trying my hardest at least. I got a couple of things out of the way this morning: first the displays of comments, pingbacks, and trackbacks are all combined and present chronologically interspersed amoung each other. They really are all comments, and now they display as such. This also eliminates some link clutter, Josh will be especially happy since according to him “The trackback link is the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life.”

Next I went through most all of the code and converted all the mysql_* functions to use the ezSQL class, which I found through Simon (who is running an excellent CSS series right now, by the way). ezSQL has become a huge timesaver and cleaned up a lot of code in different projects I do, including where it sped up things quite a bit as well.

As that was happening I refactored all of the template code, taking out some things that weren’t necessary anymore and just in general cleaning things up. After I finished all this I was disappointed to see that there wasn’t a noticable speedup, but that’s actually in line with the profiling I did a couple of weeks ago that showed the bulk of the processing happening in some of the character conversion code. If someone else can focus on features for a few days I’d really love to dig into that code and see if we can’t get a substantial speedup from optimizing it. Of course a lot of this will be less significant once we get Smarty caching in place, but having a very streamlined and efficient application before caching never hurt anybody.

For now though it’s time for a break, and lunch with Kathy and Elaine is just what I’ve been looking forward to.

Brand New PHP

The latest version of PHP looks fabalous, and contains a number of necessary fixes on top of the normal feature enhancements. Besides Python, I can’t think of another language that progresses as nicely as PHP. It looks like Apache 2 support is finally golden as well. This should be an interesting upgrade.

Well That’s Odd

For some reason on my laptop explorer.exe has taken it upon itself to eat as much memory as possible. When I started typing this it was at 268MB, now it’s at 302MB and climbing. I wonder what will happen if I just let it keep going? This should be interesting. Update: It dropped back down to about 8MB, which is normal. I wonder what an earth that could have been. When am I going to stop using Windows permanently? I seem to flirt with other operating systems, but I can never commit.

Locked Out

My key works but it seems the door is jammed somehow, so I’m currently locked out of my house, which is as they say a bummer. My battery runs low, but thank goodness for WiFi. I just need to wait a little while longer for someone to wake up (or answer the phone or doorbell) and I’ll be snuggled up in a warm bed. But right now I am very tired, very uncomfortable, and very annoyed.

Working backwards, earlier tonight was great. Put WordPress out, which felt great. After a little client work I hooked up with Josh, Sarah, and Ramie, whose blog we just set up so the domain might not resolve yet. (Power update: I just ran the extension cord on the side of the house to the porch, so it looks like I can finish this.) I ended up not getting out of the house until about 11:30, and after I picked everyone up we decided to go House of Pies (of course) because Ramie and Sarah were hungry, despite Sarah having already eaten twice already that night. (Having big hair must really work up an appetite.) Food was great, but after I stepped away for a phone call from Mike concerning WordPress (he had a funny PHP setup) they managed to pull the salt trick on me. This deserves a tangent.

My friend Rachel is deadly afraid of two things: mayonnaise and ketchup. So when I was eating with her, Josh, and Rene several nights ago at House of Pies (of course) I thought it would be funny to mix the two together and dip one of my cottage fries in it. When I held it up she responded with a fight or flight response and started waving two toothpicks at me in defense. It put it down and proceeded to eat my cottage fries (with just ketchup) but somehow I got persuaded into trying the ketchup/mayonnaise concoction. It was gross, and I’m told the reaction on my face was pretty amusing. (Actually I think that’s why most of this stuff happens, because I’m told that I tend to respond “animatedly.”) I went to the bathroom to wash my mouth out a little. Tangent time again.

I don’t know when, but at some point, most likely after I started hanging out with Josh a lot, I started putting a lot of sugar in water at restaurants. It’s cheap, which is nice, but it’s actually gotten to the point where I prefer it to soft drinks sometimes. I don’t always do it though, for two reasons: one, I use a lot of sugar, not as much as Josh does, but still enough that it freaks some people out; two, if the restaurant has the sugar in packets, it’s unusable because of said amounts of sugar required to make it good. (My Dad just left for work, and in coming out of the house ungummed the door for me. The morning has become rather pleasant though so I think I’ll stay out here and finish this up.)

This brings be back from the bathroom, and when I sat down I took a big gulp of my water, sticking my straw all the way to the bottom where the sugar was to help get the taste out of my mouth. I put a lot of sugar in my water, so the white at the bottom of the glass didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was the salt.

Anyway tonight I fell for it again, but it was just a minor gulp from the middle of the glass so not nearly as potent as the last time. I had chocolate cream pie to get the salt taste out, so overall it wasn’t that bad, but I thought it was pretty funny that I fell for it again. (My Dad just looped back home, donuts in hand. How nice is that!) Dinner was a lot of fun, and it was neat catching up with Ramie who I haven’t seen since winter when she left again for New Haven (she attends Yale). We discovered there is no spoon.

Ramie had never seen the Red Button so that was the natural next step, and Ramie pushed it. I don’t think she has yet felt the full repercussions of the experience, but she will. During the meeting with the Button Guy we were told there was another hidden treasure we hadn’t discovered yet, namely a motion detector that set off a horn when you walk under the bridge. So we did all we could to set off any motion detectors in proximity but to no avail.

Somehow that turned into wrestling though, and two questionable characters accosted me by the bayou and even though they never got me close to it, I think everyone had fun trying. Josh had his turn too. I think at some point during the night (maybe a Josh tackle) I managed to scrape my knee; I don’t remember the last time I scraped my knee, which means I need to get outdoors more.

We ended up in a internet café type place in Sarah’s Dad’s apartment building (which was quite swank). There was some IM mischief, I set up Ramie’s blog, but most of the night was spent showing Sarah all the hilarious memes she missed because of her dial-up connection at her house. She got to know the Chubby Jedi, Angrybot, dancing and rapping plushies, and a few others I can’t remember.

The hour was late, and so we parted ways and went to get some rest.

Which brings me back to this porch, this door, which I think I’m going to go in now. It better not have jammed again…

WordPress Now Available

Extra, extra, read all about it.

I am very happy to announce that the first release of WordPress is now available for download. A full change log is available, but here is a brief overview of the new features.

  • Texturize — So good it’ll make your quotes curl.
  • WordPress Links — A link manager with everything you’d expect, from support to a handy bookmarklet. Manage as many blogrolls as you like, and have complete control over their display.
  • XHTML 1.1 — WordPress is complaint with XHTML standards up to 1.1, though by default it sends a 1.0 document type to avoid compatibility issues.
  • Highly Intelligent Line Breaks — Occasionally called “nl2br on steroids,” this brand new function adds line breaks except where there is already a block level tag or another line break.
  • New Administration Interface — We’ve made it as simple as possible, and no more. Everything has been restructured from the ground up in a fully compliant XHTML/CSS interface.
  • Manual Excerpts — This allows you to handcraft summaries of your posts to appear in your RSS feed and other places.
  • New Default Templates — Again we’ve streamlined theses with the latest in simple, easy-to-understand standard XHTML and CSS. And not a CSS hack in sight.
  • Plus numerous behind the scenes code cleanups, making this release faster and more stable than ever.

WordPress is available completely free of charge under the GPL license. Enjoy!

Go get it, and then go tell everybody about it. Many thanks! And now, it’s time for a party.


Adaptation was a really excellent movie, with more twists and turns than I could keep track of. I think there is so much I still don’t get though. For now though, it’s time (finally) for some sleep.

Kin Than Kind

Hamlet was great, it was the opening night though so it ran long. Three and a half hours to be exact. Now if I was sane I would get some much needed sleep now, but Rachel is leaving town tomorrow so I’m going to hang with her and Josh for a bit. I hear he might have Adaptation.

Slow Burn

I feel like Neo in the first Matrix when he looks around everywhere and sees code, because code is all I’ve seen for hours, far too many hours. I’ve basically been working non-stop on getting WordPress out the door. In a bit I’m heading out for a meeting but after that it’s right back to work. This evening should be a nice chance to relax though, as I’m seeing Hamlet at the Alley Theatre. I’ve never seen Hamlet on stage before, so I’m curious to see how they do it.

Whoa. WordPress.

Well, it looks like WordPress is going to become the official branch of b2, once we put out a release of course. Which should be soon, very soon. Time to start burning the midday oil. (I switched my sleeping hours.)

In other news i’m looking forward to seeing Michel’s new site, which he has some pretty cool thing planned for. He’s also doing more photography now, so maybe some cool b2 photolog features will come out of it. 🙂

On Unison

Ever since I first got a laptop I’ve struggled with trying to keep some semblance of uniformity between it and my desktop. My first and most significant obstacle was with email. Email parallax was killing me and so I made the leap to IMAP, and I haven’t looked back since. Before I decided to use IMAP though, I kept looking for a tool that would synchronize between my two Outlook files; I had become so spoilt by PalmOS synchronization that this seemed like a common sense feature. Apparently not though.

Anyway the 60GB hard drive on the new laptop opened the possibility of having my entire music collection with me at all times on the laptop. I remember surfing by a new tool that worked on both Windows and *nix and was essentially a two-way rsync. A little Googling led me to the Unison File Synchronizer. Bing.

I grabbed the Windows executable and fired it up on my laptop, thinking I would be able to point to the network share with the music on it. I had already transferred a couple of genres over so this would be a nice way to get the ones I hadn’t. Also the idea of synchronization because I might clean up a bunch of ID3 tags on my desktop or rip a new CD on my laptop when I’m out; my former (copy and paste) method of synchronizing these changes was messy and often missed things. Anyway it brought up a dialog that let me choose the directory on my local drive I wanted to synchronize, but it looked like before I choose a remote drive I had to start the Unison server on that computer. What followed was a long and complicated episode to boring and detailed to go into here, so if you just want Unison to work, here’s what I had to do.

  • Put the executable in the directory you want to sync. Yes, I know there is a path argument, it never worked right for me. So for me I have Unison.exe in d:\Music on my laptop and i:\Music on the desktop.
  • Start the server from the command line, I used: unison.win32-gtkui.exe -socket 1234.
  • Start up the client. I created a new profile using “socket” as the connection method, the local IP of the machine as the host ( and left the rest blank.
  • Run it, and hope for the best.

I should tell you that it never successfully synced my Jazz directory, which is about 17GB. It would get further and further along, and then crash. I should warn you that it’s very resource intensive as well. In the beginning it’s tough on the server machine, and later it’s very hard on the client. Both times before it crashed on my Jazz directory it was using about 400MB of memory and slowed the computer down to a crawl. I was able to work around the crash because it had actually already transferred most of the files over to the laptop, it just had them in a strangely named dot directory, so I simply moved all the files out of that, deleted the now-empty temporary directory, and ran it again. This time it tried to do a lot less at one time, and syncronized the remaining files and few file properties as well. I think it’s a testament to the quality of the program that its crash was relatively easy to recover from.

Since the initial bumpy setup, it’s been working well for me. I tested it out by updating some things on the desktop and the laptop, and it caught all the changes just fine. When it’s not sure what to do it just asks you and you can tell it how various conflicts can be resolved. I’m happy with this tool, but I’d be quite hesitant to recommend it to somebody without much computer experience. The documentation is relatively poor, and the interface and behaviour of the application are anything but intuitive. Now when I run it to catch up on minor changes it is CPU intensive for a little while, but nothing compared to the earlier runs. All in all, I think this is a nifty tool, but it isn’t quite at a level of development where I would recommend it to the masses.