Despite my previous bad experiences with when it comes to DVDs, I decided to give their new DVD rental service a go. I signed up, clicked through a couple of very painless screens and added ten films to my list (which I’d like programtic access to if anyones bored :)). Firstly an oddities, they seem to class a 2 disc DVD as two separate items. Now while I could (maybe) see some point in doing this with entire seasons of TV shows that come in six DVD sets I’m not using up two of my six slots (per month) so I can ignore the extras disk. Read on →

The very slick people over at Basecamp have a very neat UI trick that highlights any changes to the site for a couple of seconds and then fades out. This allows simple tracking of any changes on page-reload. The full (non-technical) details can be found over at 37, the technique itself is called the Yellow Fade Technique. Now as you can see by looking at this site I’m more of a functional than aesthetic person but I wanted to integrate this functionality in to a couple of sites. Read on →

You know you’ve hit the big time when you get your own worm! The MySpool worm is turning badly configured MySQL installations (on Windows) into zombies in a huge bot net. Now I’m not even going to ask why so many people have MySQL installations listening to the network (Debian disables this by default so bonus points to them) but it is depressing. To stop it doing this just add “skip-networking” to the [mysqld] section of the config file. Read on →

Over at the hublog there are two entries that allow you to either graphically browse related tags or browse the network of users as defined by their inbox subscription lists. While neither of these are world changing they are fun to play with, putting in Java and Ruby or OpenBSD and FreeBSD for example shows some interesting interconnects.

It seems that my migration wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped, my local postfix install was bouncing half my mail addresses… Not quite what I was hoping for! If you’ve sent me anything over the weekend (Jan 21st to 23rd) then please send it again as I probably haven’t received it due to both the changes and my cock-up. On a happier note the O’Reilly Postfix book is pretty good, it’s helped me out today, and I’ll probably end up coming back to it when I actually put the real fix in rather than the hack I’m using now.

I’m not very good at keeping track of my Freshmeat Projects, I’m also insanely bad at replying to comments but thanks to Stig Brautaset I no longer need to worry about it. Freshmeat has an a pair of options, tucked away under your preference page (which you obviously have to be logged in to see), with the following descriptions “Send comments to my projects by email:” and “Send replies to my comments by email:“. Read on →

You may have noticed the abscense of my sites and received bounced emails yesterday, this is due to the machine that this site was being hosted on getting cracked via a vulnerability in a PHP application. That machine was a shared box that had a number of people looking after it, but with no central responsibility or formal plans in place. I’m now running on a Bytemark box, which I bought for this purpose about six months ago, and just never got around to finishing, which is going to be my new home. Read on →

While reading through Red Handed, a Ruby blog, I stumbled on to an entry about Akira Tanaka’s CVS repository. If you like Ruby then it’s well worth spending ten minutes having a look through his projects, while the code does what it’s supposed to some of his little tools are real niche fillers; and project-name is an ideal example. When run with a single argument project-name goes away and queries a number of different sites, it checks the availability of domain names that consist of the query string and a number of different .tlds, it polls SourceForge, Savannah, the Ruby Application Archive, Freshmeat (but only checking the string against existing projects short names, not the full names!) and does a google count of the term you’re searching on. Read on →

Any attempt at explaining why I wanted to do this will sound odd so for now I’ll just post the one liner… perl -MLWP::Simple -e 'get("") =~ /dhs-advisory-(\w+)\.gif/;print "Threat level is $1!\n";' This gets the current threat level for the US and prints it to standard out.

I’ve just discovered Tada Lists (via Jim Weirich’s blog and I’m very impressed, while I’ve seen the Rails video and read the hype it’s only when i use an application like this, written in 579 lines of Ruby code that it becomes clear how powerful Rails is. Tada Lists itself is a very neat site in both the technical and design stakes, it uses XMLHttpRequest (which seems to be very popular at the moment, thanks Google!) to interact dynamically with the host and cut out the submit, delay, refresh phases. Read on →