Wednesday, 29 March 2006

On styling... not design.

I moonlight developing websites (as if I don't get enough of that at work) for, well, whoever will pay me.

But I have a really hard time with clients that don't understand good style, or matching established style.

For example, when you build a website for a client that has an established marketing presence, should the website look like that presence or set new ground? I believe the former trumps the latter, unless you're willing to create confusion with your customers.

Now, take an existing website with a style that works, nothing is wrong with it. Do you try to match elements in the current style or go in another direction with ad hoc, garish elements reminecsent of 1995?

If you answer the latter, well, in my humble opinion, you're wrong. Although, I did see something on /. about ugly websites do just fine.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:29 PM in kaffehaus

Sunday, 26 March 2006

What view?

Robert X. Cringely posits a few reader theories on the recent delay of Vista.

Now to this week’s announced shipping delay for Windows Vista, which for the previous 20 or so shipping delays was called by its codename Longhorn. I don’t know what’s up with this, but I can’t say I am surprised. Vista is a huge piece of work and Microsoft wants it to be polished to a fine shine before it ships, fails miserably, and has to be extensively patched. This is the company’s last chance at denial, so I don’t begrudge them at all.

Why IP Multicast Doesn't Work the Way People Keep Telling Me It Does. Also, Stupid Windows Vista Rumors

Posted by caffeinated at 5:42 PM in kaffehaus

Thursday, 23 March 2006

blojsom moves into new heights

David C. has announced the 3.0 branch of blojsom with Spring and Hibernate support.

blojsom is a highly regarded Java-based blogging system, one adopted by Apple for Tiger's Weblog Server. The new features introduced in blojsom 3.0 hold promise to put blojsom in the forefront of the “Java enterprise.”

I have wanted to play with the technologies for sometime. Now, with both in blojsom, it is a perfect way to get into their guts with a system I'm already very familiar with.

Kudos to David C. are well deserved.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:07 PM in kaffehaus

Saturday, 18 March 2006

New emoticons, a test

Testing the enhanced-emoticons plugin for blojsom.

~o) :angry:  :D  :confused:  :cool:  :cry:  :\  :drool:  :eek:  :evil:  :(  :lol:  :mad:  :nod:  :puke:  :paranoid:  :o  :retard:  :rolleyes:  :wink:  :-)  :smirk:  :P  ;)

Posted by caffeinated at 10:13 PM in experimental madness

Friday, 17 March 2006


I completed the rebuild of my iMac G5 at work. The drive is partitioned. One HFS+, one HFSX. CVS checkouts work like a charm now.

Just what does a geek name his drives? After sci-fi starship drives, of course. Go ahead, groan. I know you wish you thought of it.

Yeah, yeah, the “drives” do the same thing, get you some place fast. And “WARP” is older than “FTL” (from a linear aspect). But I was never a Star Trek fan, and I haven't missed an episode of BSG. Thus, BSG gets“ top-billing.”

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Posted by caffeinated at 5:00 PM in the mac bloc

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Let’s all get lit and fight.

Speaking of getting lit, I got some absinthe, the new “real” stuff. From France. By the guy who decoded the original recipe.

It’s green. It has a green fairy. Supposedly menacing. It might be the perfect drink for St. Patty’s Day.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:03 AM in kaffehaus

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Backing up the Home and other notes

Recent process changes at work have put me in a pickle. Well, not one that can’t be beat with some research.

A large part of my day-to-day work moved to CVS. This is a good thing, I pushed for it. But the Mac OS file system is case-insenitive by default—and before I get a bunch of noise about HFSX, rest assured I researched this format and it’s a no-go as Photoshop, hell, Adobe, has not “certified applications” on HFSX—but I still have to reformat my HDD, so...

...I’ve opted to go with two partitions, one standard HFS+ and another HFSX. OS and applications on HFS+, CVS and development on HFSX. Good trade off I think.

In preparing for this move, I found that MS Entourage was hoarding drive space...about 7GBs of space in the database. I’m compacting that now to see how much I can get back. I need a lot of it back, as my home directory will not back up to a single DVD! Ugh, everything about MS seems to be bloated.

Some notes:

  • Compacting the Entourage database needs 2x the disk space as the database’s starting size (7GBs needs 14GBs)
  • A 7GB database takes +/- 2 hours to compact (on a 2GHz iMac)

Possibly more to follow.


Well, I learned a few things about backing up a home directory in Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.x). Top of the list, recursive references to the Desktop will bomb a "Burn Folder" and items in your ~/Library will do so too.

On the former, delete the Desktop reference after dragging your home folder to the burn folder mounted on the Desktop.

On the latter, run the following command to see what files are not really owned by “you”:

% find ~/Library -not -user yourusername -not -type l -ls

Note the directories and files listed, determine just how expendable those files might be, then make a Library folder in the Finder’s Burn Folder and drag the contents of your ~/Library (not the Library folder itself) sans the previously flagged directories, and cross your fingers! :)

Take special care when manipulating “burn folders”: Items dragged to the burn folder appear as aliases, double-clicking on them will take you to the original directory. Deleting a file on this click path, deletes the original file, not some aliased version of the file.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:21 AM in the mac bloc

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Late to the party, where's the kool-aid?

Trackback v. Pingback

I just read Ian Hickson’s “whitepaper” on pingbacks vs. trackbacks. Very enlightening. This new interest in a three year old idea stems from blojsom’s renewed support of the spec. blojsom’s author and project lead promises to bring pingback support in blojsom in line with trackback support very quickly.

Having caught up with what a pingback is, and learning about the many assumptions made by trackback (and the equally egegious assumptions that violate the specifications of HTTP and X/HTML), I’m ready to drink the pingback kool-aid.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:20 AM in kaffehaus

My socks!

"We got the capabilities that will knock your socks off," said project scientist Richard Zurek.

The Reconnaissance Orbiter joins NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey and the European Space Agency's Mars Express, which already fly around the planet. On the surface, the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity continue rolling across the planet.

Unlike previous Mars missions, the Reconnaissance Orbiter is the most powerful spacecraft ever to arrive at Mars and is expected to send back more data about the Red Planet than ever before.

This neat stuff. I’m continually amazed at what NASA does. James Gosling, yeah, that James Gosling, puts this mission and the Mars exploration efforts in perspective:

"In terms of talent density, IQ points per square meter, [JPL is] just an amazing place. Plus, they are doing things that most people would think of as science fiction. Most people read science fiction stories about driving dune buggies on Mars. These guys actually build them. They actually know how to fly between the planets. I’ve spoken to some of the guys that do interplanetary navigation, and that is really spooky stuff. You actually have to pay attention to relativity, the fact that time is not a constant—the faster you go, the slower things are. They function in a world where relativity actually matters. They are way outside of Newtonian mechanics."

I can only imagine what it must be like to have accomplished this orbit, and two prior precision landings, around/on another planet from 35 million miles away! The rovers are 2 years plus past the mission requirements and exploring so much more than ever anticipated by the original team.

Kudos to all involved!

Posted by caffeinated at 10:03 AM in 0xDECAF

Friday, 10 March 2006

Make your own 3D pictures

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Since the Mars rover landings, I have been playing with this tutorial off and on.

My employer is undertaking a massive capital project. Here’s a homemade 3D pic of the construction from my office window.

You need red-cyan glasses to effectively view this picture. You can get them from various places online, or steal a pair from your 3 year old’s copy of Shrek 3-D.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:49 PM in Bohemian Breakfast

Not much for MMORPG, but EVE...

…is visually stunning.

Back in my days as an teenager, RPGs were a blast (I think I already stated my affection for PnP RPGs to this day). But good, even pulp sci-fi, grabbed my attention. I could go on a google dive for some of the cheap sci-fi books and artists I used to admire, but it could be futile. One favorite book series—hard-cover magazine format, usually anthologies with glossy paper and always bad binding—comes to mind as I browse the wallpapers, screenshots, and concept art of EVE.

Ben Franklin wrote, "Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." It is this reason I try to stay away from MMORPGs.

Posted by caffeinated at 4:58 PM in kaffehaus

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Awake. Again.

Many caffeinated days have passed quietly on ACD.

The main thing keeping me away was an upgrade to the photo album plugin (“SimplePhotoAlbumPlugin” ) I was using.

It seems a new version had several bugs which should have been simple to hash out, yet I spent more time ferreting those bugs out than I care to admit--all the while it was broken in "production!" In the time spent working on the bugs, I refactored the whole plugin (not sure for the better, but the branching is cleaner, if not only clearer), and the plugin now supports photo albums spec’d as a comma-separated list in the meta-data (meta-photo-album-list). This new feature is something that would allow a user to load a bunch of photos to an album (defined as a directory on the host filesystem) and incrementally reveal them by updating the meta-data.

The plugin is still not public, but will be soon. It will be made available on the blojsom wiki. With some appropriate documentation of course.

Tilt-shifting meme now displays the picture as I originally intended.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:32 PM in experimental madness

Saturday, 4 March 2006

Tilt-shifting meme

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I'm crazy for this new form of photo manipulation, faux tilt-shift; the mind's eye has you believing that you are looking at a model.

Here's a tutorial.

I combed through my photo library for good photos to try this on. This pre-megapixel digital image of Atlanta (looking due west, taken from the Jackson Street Bridge overlooking Freedom Parkway) was the best I could rustle up. I'm looking for others and taking new ones.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:28 AM in kaffehaus

Thursday, 2 March 2006

Multiple Choice question...

When honestly, even bluntly, criticized do think a large, bureaucratic organization like Sony Online Entertainment, would: a) sue, b) sue, c) sue, d) none of the above?

The answer is: none of the above.

The cited response—you did read the News portion right?—is the sort of response more large, bureaucratic (hell, even autocratic), corporate entities should take to criticism. The ability to laugh at oneself shows a human side that can win people over and less likely to criticize in the future; not always, but I think more often than not.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:16 PM in kaffehaus