Amazon MP3 Store has holes

May 6, 2008

A coworker found out how secure Amazon’s MP3 store is.  Even big guys like Amazon make errors in their web site security.

So, I clicked purchase and the album immediately started downloading. It was at this point that I had the thought cross my mind: “Did I update my credit card info?”

Well, no, I didn’t. Before the album finished downloading, I was trying to change the method of payment. Turns out, for a digital purchase, you can’t do such a thing. So, I waited and wondered was was going to come of this…


Sleeping with an iPhone

February 1, 2008

You know those NyQuil commercials where the guy tells his wife “You will sleep like you did before you had kids.”  Well, that is so true.  Before I had kids I laid my head down, slept and then rose in the morning fresh.  I only needed about 5 hours sleep.  But, after I had kids and started worrying about them all night long, I could not do that.  I can still do it when I am away from home which is odd.

Now, after all this time with kids (I have 5 in case you don’t know) they hardly ever wake in the middle of the night.  But, my mind is conditioned to wake on the slightest noise.  We moved out into a quieter (aka more rural) part of the state 3 years ago.  Hardly any traffic on the road late at night.  I find myself waking at the slightest noise: the icemaker, a dog barking, our dog getting up and stretching, or that very rare car.

So, after a restless night, I got the kids up and ready for school at 6AM like usual.  But, I was determined to get some more sleep.  So, I stuck in my ear buds and turned on my iPhone’s iPod.  While it was not solid uninterrupted  sleep, it was better than what I had all night.  I need to find some soft music or soothing sounds that will run for several hours.  That may provide the best sleep.  That and some more comfortable earbuds for sleeping.  It is either that or take down our nice quiet Hunter ceiling fan and get the cheapest, loudest one I can find.  That always worked in our older houses.

MacBreak missing a demographic

November 3, 2007

I listen to the MacBreak Weekly podcast every week.  I have liked Leo Laporte ever since The ScreenSaver days.  He has several good regulars on the show and mixes in topical guests as well.  However, I think there is a demographic of Mac user that the show is missing.

There is a growing audience of new Mac users in the tech sector.  Just to the O’Reilly Open Source Conference and take a count.  Mac OS X and the switch to the Intel platform has brought about the most stable, easy to use *nix based desktops and laptops the world has ever seen.  I was a long time Windows user.  I made fun of Mac users.  I even ran Linux on a Dell laptop for a while.  Boy, that was fun.  Nothing like waking up and having to edit X configurations so you can work.  Apple just got it right.  I can run my AMP stack on my MacBook Pro with no problems.  And the Mac UI is wonderful.  I am becoming a fan boy.

So, on this weeks MBW, Leo and the panel were talking about Leopard.  The subject came up about the best new feature for home users, power users and mac software developers.  There was neither anyone on the show that fit into my demographic of Mac user nor did anyone mention us.  No mention of Apache 2.2 or PHP 5.2.  No mention of a much improved  No mention of a built in SSH Agent that works with your keychain.  If you work with Linux/BSD server, you use Terminal almost as much as any other application.

So, Leo, please include this growing Mac demographic into your discussions.  There has to be someone out there in our space that is as knowledgable as Andy Ihnatko and Scott Bourne are about their topics.  Merlin comes close when he is there, but I think he is still and old school Mac user that happens to have gotten into the geekier parts of Mac OS X.

Still, love the show.  Keep up the good work.

My editor of choice

October 10, 2007

So, I was listening to the Pro PHP Podcast on the way home from work today.  They were talking about Komodo a lot.  I figured I would give my favorite editor a plug.  Believe it or not, it’s jEdit.

I keep trying all the latest and greatest editors out there.  I fought with Eclipse and have tried the newer more PHP centric offerings built on Eclipse.  I recently tried out Komodo Edit for a week.  I had tried the Komodo IDE when it came out for Mac a while back.  But, I just keep coming back to jEdit.

What I like about it

The main thing that I like about jEdit over the other top contenders of the new generation is that it has a simple file browser.  It does not have the concept of “projects”.  Eclipse and Komodo both have these concepts.  But, when I really got to looking at the projects in Komodo, you basically set a point in your filesystem and tell it that everything in this dir is Project Foo.  So, really, you have to have your code organized on disk anyway.  It also bugged me (in Komodo Edit at least) that my project file had to live in the same dir with my project’s code.  That just seemed awkward.  Not everyone that shares my SVN is gonna want that and its gonna be sitting there in my svn status as an unknown file.

Another thing I like about jEdit is the rather large plugin repository.  Now, it’s an older project, so that is something that you would hope any established application would have.  But, if I am thinking about switching today, I have to give the nod to jEdit here.  The list is a bit Java-centric of course.  It’s a Java application after all.  But, there are some good ones in there like a PHP code structure browser.  I can’t live without that.  Makes finding functions or methods really easy in large libraries.

What I don’t like

Its Java so its not quite like working with a native application.  The dialogs are funny and the UI is just a bit off even with the Mac plugin that makes it more Mac looking.  Having said that, I don’t want a truly “Mac like” editor.  BBEdit and XCode are not my kind of editors.  I like tabbed interfaces vs. multi windowed UIs.

Its not an IDE, its an editor.  There is no debugging, at least, not easily.  There looks to be some ability to hook in debugging tools, but I have not gone through the trouble.  Of course, that could be said of many of the IDEs out there.  PHP has never had the ease of debugging that say Visual Basic had (still has?) back in 1998 when that was my full time job.  That was one thing about VB I loved.  The language was “eh”.  But the IDE was really nice.

Things I don’t care about that you might

jEdit does not have an SVN plugin that I can find.  I like my command line.  I know one coworker is addicted to the Eclipse real time SVN diff highlighting.  There is a CVS plugin, but I don’t know how good it is.  I am not aware of any PHP code completion, but it may be there.  I have an odd knack for remembering stuff like that and those little pop ups just annoy me.  Oh, and did I mention its Java?  That put me off for a long time.  But, it won me over. is hiring

August 11, 2006

From our jobs page:

As a dealnews web developer, you will help maintain our current stable of deal and price-tracking web sites, and build new features and new web sites as we continue to grow. You’ll be part of a small, fast-moving team of developers that are involved at every stage of product development, from concept to rollout.

We use Gentoo, Apache, PHP and MySQL.   While that does not need to be your expertise, it is a plus.  We have a little Perl and Python thrown in as well.  You will need to code on a non-Windows system as we run our development environment on our local machines.  Currently, we all use Macs.

A big plus, however, is disc golf.  We play weekly as an um, team building excercise. Yeah, team building.

OSCON 2006

August 1, 2006

Well, I am back from OSCON 2006. Portland is a really nice city. I hope they keep this conference there forever. I hosted a BoF on memcached. That was fun. There were a lot of people there. I did not expect that. They had something this year that was either new or I had not seen before. It was called OSCAMP. They fall below a BoF in terms of plans and organization. A neat idea. You just go in the room, post on the wall what you are interested in and what time you will be back to talk about it. Other folks show up and you kick it. No approval, no rules. I tried to set one up, but I got in there too late to get my topic noticed.

Rasmus Lerdorf gave a good talk about debugging PHP and making your life easy when using PHP. His title was different, but that was what I took from it. I was glad to see someone near the top of the PHP food chain say that speed matters to him. Having him work at Yahoo! helps too.

As usual, Robert “r0ml” Lefkowitz was great. His keynote compared Open Source to vegetables. He is a great speaker.

I did not have a epiphany at this conference. It’s still good to go. There will not always be something to blow you away every time you go to one of these things. It was good to just get away and hob nob with other open source developers.

NeoOffice for Intel

June 30, 2006

I am a long time user of OpenOffice on Windows and Linux. It does more than I need it to. I have installed it on several friends PCs and they have had no problem using it either. So, I knew that would be one of my big problems on the Mac. You can install OpenOffice for the Mac. It uses X11 though. That means its slow and not Mac like at all.

NeoOffice has been around for a while for PPC Macs, but tomorrow, a public alpha of the software will be available for Intel Macs. Last week, I decided to go ahead and pay the very low $10 to get a copy ahead of time.

It’s everything I hoped it would be. Its fast and gets the job done. It uses all the Mac keyboard shortcuts and uses the standard Mac menu. The long time Mac users may not like it as well as I do. The dialogs do not look and feel like a Mac. They are the standard widgets. As a long time user for, I have no problem using it. In fact, its good to be home again with my office suite.

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