Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Red Cog LLC opens doors

David Czarnecki has taken blojsom to the next level in FLOSS and is now offering professional blojsom support and development through Red Cog LLC.

blojsom is a blog engine written in Java and highly extensible through its plugin interface and by the very nature of the mature Java API and body of open and commercial libraries. blojsom was picked by Apple to power its Weblog Server in Tiger and will be part of the expanded Collaboration Services in Leopard.

blojsom 2.x relies on a simple, yet robust, file system "database," while the new blojsom 3.x builds on the more scalable and enterprise-ready model with true database backend. blojsom 3.x further builds on its Java foundation with Hibernate and Spring integration for greater extensibility.

Kudos to David and blojsom's rise. I'm a long time follower, user, deployer, and administrator of blojsom (and simple developer of a plugin or two) and could not be happier about the announcement! 

Posted by caffeinated at 10:55 PM in kaffehaus

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Jam packed day

We started the day with breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Mmmmm...pancakes.

Then it was off to Whole Foods for cornichons. We closed one of three scheduled craigslist transactions in the parking lot; craigslist rocks, yet wish I could give those that bailed a negative rating or something. Starbucks was next door for resupply and pick-me up.

Home to unload the car. Then to the basement to hang drywall. One wall + a little completed; I'll be finishing a little each day, then it's time for tape and mud and sanding and trim and paint. It's so daunting thinking about it. 

Then a power outage. UPS beeps. Network shutdowns in the dark are no fun.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:32 PM in 0xDECAF

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Happy Birthday!

I missed a day of 100 pots of coffee. Damn.

Reason: I was enthralled, watching MST3K The Essentials, a rental by my wife last night. My wife rented me MST3K! I love my wife.

On that note, Happy Birthday! Wife. I love you.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:14 AM in Bohemian Breakfast

Thursday, 24 August 2006

You're Pitiful

Your homemade Star Trek uniform \
Really ain't impressin' me

You're Pitiful, Wierd Al

Posted by caffeinated at 11:00 PM in 0xDECAF

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Splogs must die

Back in the day of the web bubble, c. 2000, affiliate linking was trying to find its legs, but the web still possessed an innocence. I worked for in a 6 person company out of a cheap office mall in GA. The company rebranded Netscape, sold "Internet service" through some wierd co-location deal, and provided an "online mall" that was just a pile of 88x32 badges. The mall was more of a courtesy to the subscribers than a true affiliate had a lot of "Wow, look what's on the web! Go here and buy some wine!" feel about it.

Today, we have splogs giving legitimate affiliate networks a bad name. It makes me skeptical about even providing the links I have to books I might be reading in my posts using the affiliate systems available to web content writers/coders/developers.

Wired currently (article too new, not online yet) has a well written piece on the growth of sploggers and sportals. The funniest thing is how these people "cringe" at being labeled a splogger. Already they have a softer, PC name for themselves: search engine marketers. <cough />bullshit<cough />

I'm all about free markets and capitalism, and if the market labels and recognizes a group of businessmen and businesswomen operating at the fringe, attempting to manipulate data for profit, then no amount of polish is going to make me feel better about what they do. Call it like you see it, fuck the PC police. They are sploggers building sportals to manipulate data for profit.

I wish the best to all those fighting sploggers on many fronts. Those fighters make the web a better place for all of us, if only a little at a time.


Posted by caffeinated at 9:44 PM in 0xDECAF

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Old school

I scanned the cover of my—has to be mint condition—first edition WFRP rulebook.  Enjoy.

Working on my second pot of coffee today. Thinking about the slug for my gaming category too much, me thinks. d20 wasn't right since the category is leans heavy on WFRP which relies on the d10 for, well, everything. blojsom let me change that without changing the underlying filesystem. Yea. I might too avoid a cease-and-desist letter from WotC. Double Yea.

Found some good resources for WFRP at Strike to Stun. Mostly wanted some first edition conversion tools, found that and more.

Finally, unrelated to gaming, I'm reconsidering my move to the TinyMCE by moxiecode. Editing meta-data for posts is not possible with the editor out-of-the-box. I'll have too see if there is a non-optimized HTML code setting, i.e., don't strip my line-endings, they delineate meta-data strings in blojsom's file-backed entries.


meta-photo-album-thumbnail=wfrp1Thumb.jpg meta-photo-album=wfrp1Cover.jpg
Posted by caffeinated at 10:24 PM in d10

Monday, 21 August 2006

100 pots of coffee

This blog strikes me sometimes as "I had a tuna sandwich for lunch."

So I'm going to run with that...not really; but the goings on in my day to day start off with a pot of coffee. I just opened a new 100 filter pack for my drip machine at home.

Let's see if I can enter something in this blog, each day, for each filter, until 100 days have passed. Be it noise, code, gaming, or other, I can't think of a day that I don't brew a pot. My wife might not allow it.

Until the next pot (or cup, which ever might be sooner)... 

Posted by caffeinated at 10:59 AM in kaffehaus

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

WFRP core rulebook in hand

I now have my WFRP rulebook in hand.

Overall note: the packaging is excellent; the streamlining of the rule set is immediately apparent, and welcome; the careers got a workover, also welcome; expanded magic rules (the first edition was very limited); the grim world of perilous adventure is carefully thought out.

I'm looking forward to running a campaign or set of adventures with some friends and co-workers. Yes, this makes me a true geek. 

Posted by caffeinated at 3:22 PM in d10

BBEdit love

I don't expect that many readers know the joy of working in BBEdit.

When I'm not using vim, I'm using BBEdit, because it doesn't suck. John Gruber of (don't use the "www", it makes John mad) used to work at Bare Bones Software. The corporate propaganda of his day had the results of a survey (c. 1998) about the tools web designers used. That survey stated something along the lines that "50-some percent of web designers were BBEdit users. Not 50 percent of Mac-using web designers, but 50 percent of all web designers." An impressive stat, if it is taken at its face (considering that Gruber conceeds that he can produce the actual survey).

Anyhow, I built Subversion on my Mac. By accident today, I noticed, not for any knowledge of a feature that I was aware of, but BBEdit has support for Subversion, right in the menu! Schweet. (Yes, I know it supports CVS too.)

Posted by caffeinated at 2:24 PM in 0xDECAF

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Code WTF

My coworkers and I have been seeing an intermittent bug in some new functionality on our customer facing web app. The new functionality basically provided a customer choice for some value added products.

The bug would surface when the web application evaluated for errors (server-side) and made a JavaScript test (client-side) on return for specific customer information then set focus on a radio button.

Up until the new features were added the error quietly failed and caused no problems. But the new functionality provided new radio buttons for customer choice and the JavaScript began exhibiting a hidden, difficult-to-debug, trait: No matter what choice the customer selected, either the radio buttons would reset to none, or would reset to the first choice made by the customer, even if the customer had changed his choice.

When we pointed the Web Developer Tools for Firefox at the problem we could see that name of the feature's radio buttons were being inexplicably set to something not shown in the HTML source.

It took my following the code through the branching and while loops to see the problem. Do you see it too (spoiler follows)?

... form element loop ... 

var currRadio = ""; 

if( currRadio != ) {
  if( !checked ) {
    if( = "residentState" ) {
    } else {

Moral: JavaScript is not a strongly typed language; "objects" have a runtime state moving from boolean to string to number and back again (sounds like another popular scripting language, hmmm...). Be careful of assignment, as assignment will return true, and that evaluates as boolean.

Anybody think this is worth submitting to The Daily WTF?

Posted by caffeinated at 12:38 PM in kaffehaus

Chugging the kool-aid, readying Subversion

Subversion is now installed on my toy rig in the basement. Straight forward via yum.

I built Subversion 1.3.2 from source on my PowerBook. Straight forward, standard autoconf build:

$ ./configure
$ make
<!-- optional $ make check here; I did this, took an hour on a G4 1.6GHz -->
# make install

Options for SSL support, etc. are all documented in configure --help. I choose to ignore the warnings about not having Berkeley DB installed on my Mac. Seems there is a lot of praise for the Subversion FSFS backend, so I'm not going to install BDB to avoid the warning; BDB comes installed on Fedora however, so to use it or not is a switch on the configure script.

Looking forward to playing with the Subversion support in NetBeans on a few small projects I have tabled for too long. 

Posted by caffeinated at 10:33 AM in kaffehaus

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Restarting Apache on reboot

My VPS host box has had a few reboots in the last several months.

That aside, I have had to tweak my init scripts each time. Specifically, my httpd and tomcat scripts.

My httpd script is a hacked version of what is installed with most typical Fedora releases. I generally build Apache with each release to stay current (yeah, stop yer screaming, I play nice on my VPS).

The last reboot went almost unnoticed, until I tried to log in to this blog. My secure virtual host was not answering. I went poking around. My init script did not set the runtime parameter SSL, so the virtual host did not come up. Seems that the init script could support such a thing if I wanted to either of the following:

  1. Hard code "-D SSL" in the call to daemon
  2. Set the OPTIONS variable appropriately

I chose the latter. The OPTIONS variable is set in /etc/sysconfig/httpd, that is if that file is available. The files existence is tested in the httpd init script. This is a fairly common Fedora method of configuring services.

It then became a matter of:

# touch /etc/sysconfig/httpd
# vi !$

All as root of course. You may want to consider looking at your Apache configuration to see if you support SSL, and then possibly consider blocking those SSL directives to load only as needed (see the IfDefine and IfModule directives). 

Posted by caffeinated at 10:00 PM in nerdery

NetBeans and Subversion

Yesterday, I vented a little about a lack of integrated Subversion support in NetBeans.

My anger stemmed from the stale state of the "website" dedicated to the integration. However stale that web page is, there is indeed more current information out there. Specifically, on the project mailing list (copied to nbusers, of which I'm a member!).

I owe a minor apology to NetBeans developers that have been hard at work on Subversion integration. First for not at least hitting Spotlight in my nbusers archive, and second for not paying a little more attention to the web page itself and looking around a bit (but I'm only going to apologize for my lazy behavior, and I still hold the project leaders for not making the status of the project clear on the home page).

That all said, I'm downloading NetBean 5.5 to see what I can see of the NetBeans support for Subversion. I'm a very excited geek. 

Posted by caffeinated at 8:43 PM in kaffehaus

Monday, 7 August 2006

XML-RPC is hard, et cetera

A few of things have me as angry as Lewis Black on a Monday morning without coffee and a newspaper.

Apparently, Microsoft intends on pushing the stick through the instrument panel, sending IE into an unrecoverable market share tail spin. Personally, I welcome the crash and burn of IE; the flip side is of course the winner gets the higher profile for crackers. Yet, I one better than Microsoft shill Paul Thurrott to tell it like it is. Very disappointing really. A Firefox/Safari user first, IE user by necessity, I looked forward to IE 7 helping me make things easier at my job. Maybe IE's marginalization will be a blessing in reality.

Second, downloaded Flock to give it a spin. WTF people, is XML-RPC really that hard? The build still has a broken implementation of the MetaWeblogAPI, the details are here... I think what sets me off about this is that the problem has been known for nearly 10 months, the MetaWeblogAPI is very well documented, and Dashboard widgets (Mac OS X user context required) have been doing it for more than a year!

Lastly, NetBeans is going to feel the pain of not having a full support for Subversion version control, integrated or in a full-fledge-not-beta module form, in short order. The advancements of Subversion in various areas should make its integration a breeze by comparison to CVS (but then again I would never be up to such a task, so I should just STFU, but then this wouldn't be a blog).

Alas, NetBeans has nothing but beta modules and a stale webpage on Subversion integration development status1—the Flash demo is promising though. I think Subversion support would go a long way for NetBeans adoption; I would hate to see NetBeans head into a tail spin...

meta-footnote-1=Retracted. See NetBeans and Subversion for an update.
Posted by caffeinated at 9:28 PM in kaffehaus

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Currently reading...

I'm just beginning Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America by Russell Shorto.

A great read and I'm only 50 pages in. Great historical non-fiction; kudos to Shorto and the research of Dr. Charles Gehring at the New York State Library! The three pages about the (in)famous purchase of Manhattan by Peter Minuit (Pieter Minnewit), then governor of the fledgling Dutch colony, is alone worth picking this up. It's not as exploitative, or comically absurd, as one may have been lead to believe in American History 101. Without spoiling it for you, just repeat to yourself...context, context, context.

It's great reading about how rough living in the 17th century was.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:51 AM in 0xDECAF

Friday, 4 August 2006

Local economy flush and initial impressions

A coworker and I walked into Days of Knights this evening and walked out with slightly more than 200 dollars of WFRP and other assorted game material.

I'm impressed with array of gaming at the Days of Knights. I was very impressed with the array of older games from my youth, many still shrinked wrapped! All reasonably priced.

Paranoia is back out; looks as funny now as it did in the late 80s. I think they kept the original artist(s). Kudos! :D

But we were there for WFRP. Fully stocked, but in a limited manner, about a single copy of everything in circulation. I purchased the Game Master and Character packs and passed on the core rule book until next week, allowing my coworker, a WFRP newcomer, the purchase.

Notes on the GM pack

Having on hand the original rule book, and deferring you to this excellent review of WFRP 2nd ed. by Richard Cowen on for the gory details, I immediately noted the old and the new. The old source material on common Old World buildings from the original rule book have been moved to this supplement. Clearly the reason is to drive revenue channels. No fault or blame to GW for this; profits drive continued expansion.

I want a firmer board stock for the GM panels, the stock seems light weight compared to screens of my youth. Cheaper stock, higher profit margins. :) The art is fantastic though.

Immediately, I noted the simpler critical hit charts in the 2nd ed. The rich detail of these charts in the 1st ed. is missing somewhat. Boo, but more is left to the GM and players imagination.

Notes on the Character Pack

Now, I wish I had the core rulebook. There is a simplification of the character sheet immediately noticable. This simplification is detailed in the aforementioned review, no need to repeat it. A character supplement is provided as in the first release; I have not had a moment to hash through the details for comparasion. Maybe another day.

All around, this looks like a good supplement. Nothing that stands out as new and improved, or lacking from the original, considering the context that new rules demand new presentation. I've scanned the two sheets, old and new, for comparison.

Those are my initial impressions. Hopefully, if you're interested in this new release of WFRP as I am you will find my thoughts helpful. I included links to Barnes and Noble and Amazon for the books mentioned.

meta-photo-album=/wfrp meta-photo-album-thumbnail=wfrpThumb.gif
Posted by caffeinated at 11:18 PM in d10

Spend local

Tired of waiting for a mail order vendor to restock WFRP and ship my full order, I'm going to Days of Knights.

Game on.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:20 PM in d10

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Subversion kool-aid tastes good

Don't tell my friends, but I've tasted the Subversion kool-aid, and it tastes good.

I'm migrating some of my source to Subversion over the next couple of days to really get a feel for using this "CVS++" VCS.

Comments from the peanut gallery welcome.
Posted by caffeinated at 8:30 AM in experimental madness

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

The Fusion

I got a Gillette Fusion for Christmas 2005. I'll admit it now, I couldn't be happier with it.

I first shied away from the Fusion after my bad experience with the Schick Quattro, sticking to my Gillette Mach 3 until its razor mount failed. "If four blades suck, how can five be any better?" Since I don't buy my new razors, but my wife does, I broke out the Fusion.

Couldn't be happier. Quick, smooth shaves, and the "+1" really is great on those sideburns. Kudos to Gillette. One design item over the Quattro makes it better: it allows the shaved beard to pass through the spacing between blades and rinse away easily. The Quattro, for reasons only Schick engineers can explain, does not; the blades clog and I'm left wondering, "what are those four wires that run over the top of the blades for?"

Seems others agree too, the Fusion is not just Gillette escalating the arms race in a razor war. It works as advertised. Dan Cederholm of SimpleBits fame discussed this very topic in February

Posted by caffeinated at 9:41 AM in Bohemian Breakfast