Tagged: internet

It’s Your Head Not Your Butt That Matters

I've been writing code all day, again. Luckily I enjoy writing software. There are moments when I and the computer don't get along. On those days I consider becoming a garbage man or maybe a bulldozer driver.

Just keep me off the bull dozer on the days I don't agree with my code.

Anyway I've observed some interesting situations over the years. When I worked at Sorenson Vision the guys that worked 8am-7pm made fun of the 'long haired hippie' types that we hired from Apple. They didn't start work until 10am. How ridiculous.

I was young and stupid then. I am old and stupid now, but I have realized that when you write software the most important thing you can do is to (cliche alert) have your head in the game. Unfortunately, for my poor wife she has observed this in action.

There are only a few moments when I am not writing code. For some reason I write the best code on Sunday mornings in the shower. The trick is keeping it in my head until Monday morning. I wri...

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Teachers Without Borders

During the day and lately most of the night I work as a Fellow for Teachers Without Borders at Utah State University. (funded by Cisco). What I actually do bores most people and causes my wife to roll her eyes and tune out anytime someone asks what I do. It's a long story and involves a lot of technical crap that few people like to hear.

For tonight I have a shorter explanation. You can see what I do. We are just polished up our latest release of the new Teachers Without Borders website.

Teachers Without Borders is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps build and mentor teacher leaders around the world. The point of what we are building is to provide a place where those individuals can come together and interact and build up one another. We are still in the early stages, so expect a great deal more from the project.

The code that powers our social network is written in Ruby on Rails and is open source and MIT licensed. You can get it here:

https://github.com/jbasdf...

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Scalr – Scalable Hosting Framework for Amazon Web Services

Amazon's web services business has sparked a number of business opportunities. Using EC2 and S3 is not especially easy for a beginner, but scalable web architectures aren't a place for the weak hearted geek.

Enter Scalr. This is an open source project meant to make building a scalable, fault tolerant system on Amazon's services easier.

If that is still too hard then take a look at scalr.net a service that for $50 a month will manage your scalr instance for you. (You still have to pay all the applicable Amazon charges.

All this comes to us from Intridea which also produces SocialSpring the platform behind Acts as Community.

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A Few More Thoughts On Morph Exchange

I am working on a quick Facebook application for a company called Flat World Knowledge. Basically I have 4 days to build the application - it has to be done by Tuesday. Because of the simplicity of deployment on Morph Exchange I decided to deploy the application on their platform. I don't have time to setup a full Rails deployment environment.

One problem. Facebook applications require access to the Facebook API. I used rfacebook because that is the library I have used in the past and could quickly get the application done. (Facebooker is another library worth looking at if you are building a Facebok Application). I deployed the application but it wouldn't start. I did some checking and finally found their deployment log. Turns out the Facebook gems are not installed. There is a way to package up your gems into your project. (This site will help as well.) With the popularity of Facebook applications growing and the need for scalability on demand I would think that having the Fa...

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PicLens on ThePlanCollection.com

David Wiley pointed me to PicLens a few days ago. It is fun way to view online images. Immediately I saw the potential use for viewing house plans. We already have data feeds in RSS and Atom setup all over the site so I figured it wouldn't be hard to integrate the service into ThePlanCollection.com. It wasn't, but there are still a few bugs. They are probably my fault, but I think there is a great opportunity to integrate this software into ecommerce sites like mine to provide customers a really cool method for quickly browsing product. It works especially well with house plans. (Follow the link. If you have PicLens installed you can press the little blue play button in the upper right of your browser. If not click on the 'View as Slideshow' link).

Here are a couple of things I would love to see them add/change. I noticed that in the flash slide show the player pulls in the 'description' field from the RSS but the Firefox Extension does not. We added a bunch of ...

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Morph Exchange Review

I recently wrote about Cloud Computing. Alain Benedict from Morph Exchange told me that I neglected to add his company to the list. I said I would check it out. He said he would hold me to it. Last night I spent a little quality with Morph and now have a few impressions to share.

First, adding your application to Morph is a bit confusing. It is setup as an 'application exchange' so instead of signing up for hosting you 'subscribe' to the Morph DevCenter. Once you do that you create a new 'Appspace'. Once you get past the oddity of how to get going the next part is very easy. You click one button to create the database. Then you click another to download a Capistrano file. By default it is named morph_deploy.rb but I renamed mine to just deploy so I don't have to tell Capistrano the name of the file every time I want to deploy. Add the deploy.rb to your project, edit it and set your subversion repository, do a cap deploy:morph, enter your username and passwor...

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Elastic Cloud Computing

One of the most difficult tasks when putting up a new site is picking the right host. Moving hosts later on is terribly difficult so choosing the correct hosting company is as important as selecting a business partner. I've collected about 30 hosting companies in my delicious bookmarks. Some are specific to a platform others are really cheap. I recorded them because they looked interesting.

The latest movement in web hosting is towards cloud hosting. This is the holy grail for the user and for the hosting company. Imagine a web host that scales as you grow. Everyone would love nothing more than a host that could handle getting slammed by Digg.

Amazon's ec2 service offers scalable services, but it is not a simple as your typical web hosting company. The Ruby gem ec2onrails will simplify the process of getting your Ruby on Rails application up an running. RightScale builds on ec2 to make it easy to deploy your application. They add a dashboard and make it easy to load balance and...

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Automatically Geotag Photos

I know that adding GPS to cameras will add cost to the unit but it seems like the perfect marriage. With the GPS data embedded inside the exif data you won't have to tag your vacation with 'Yellowstone National Park'. Instead, your photos can show up on a Google map or be set for auto tagging based on coordinates. Personally, I would pay some bucks for this feature. We have 60,000 digital photos. Managing that much data is a bit tricky. If we could search by location it would make my wife very happy.

Marion has been focusing on connecting information to physical spaces and recently wrote about geotagging specifically.

Here are a few devices that enable this functionality now: N2 di-GPS mini for Nikon cameras. Here's someone that has one and loves it.

Oregon State created some free software that runs on the Mac . It will take GPS data and sync it with your photos. Pretty cool.

Canon makes an add-on for their cameras that adds a usb port. You connect your GPS to that and...

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The Internet Currency

A long time ago people figured out that if you used coins for trading instead of chickens you could build up a complex economy. The coins usually consisted of something precious themselves. Not to long ago society moved towards a more abstract notion of currency and found it was easier to produce dollars out of paper.

Today the concept of money has become even more abstract and most of our efforts are recorded and rewarded as numbers on a balance sheet. Not to many of us carry or keep thousands of dollars on hand.

There is a new currency emerging. This currency is even more abstract than all those that have gone before it and in many ways is more volatile. However, it forms the basis of many open economic models.

In the internet economy popularity = money. If your website ranks high and you get plenty of traffic you can convert that into real dollars through ad revenue or sales of existing items. That model makes sense to most people. However, there are other instances where popularit...

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The Internet Currency

A long time ago people figured out that if you used coins for trading instead of chickens you could build up a complex economy. The coins usually consisted of something precious themselves. Not to long ago society moved towards a more abstract notion of currency and found it was easier to produce dollars out of paper.

Today the concept of money has become even more abstract and most of our efforts are recorded and rewarded as numbers on a balance sheet. Not to many of us carry or keep thousands of dollars on hand.

There is a new currency emerging. This currency is even more abstract than all those that have gone before it and in many ways is more volatile. However, it forms the basis of many open economic models.

In the internet economy popularity = money. If your website ranks high and you get plenty of traffic you can convert that into real dollars through ad revenue or sales of existing items. That model makes sense to most people. However, there are other instances where popularit...

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Turn WordPress Into Social Butterfly

I have been pitching this idea of a distributed social network to everyone that can stand to listen to me. I realize that the conversation around WordPress and the future of social networking is heating up, but as it does I think it is important to begin thinking about implementation. It is fun to philosophize, but at the end of the day users want some toys to play with.

Chris Messina lays out his vision and the particular functionality associated with it on his wiki. Automattic picked up Buddy Press, and the code is still available on Google Code. For historical reasons here's a thread on the WPMU forums about the activity around Buddy Press. There is another social plugin for WordPress called Xiando]4 that hasn't gotten a lot of attention. We are going to do our part and contribute as well.

As part of an effort to build a social network for Teachers Without Borders we came to a realization that it would be hypocritical to create a network filled with borders. Thus, we began t...

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Note to Facebook, Myspace and Other Social Silos: DIE

I wrote three Facebook apps and I have ideas for several more. The most successful was the House Plans application I did for ThePlanCollection.com, but in the Facebook world you can't count a couple thousand users as especially successful.

When Open Social started up I felt like I needed to go sign up for a MySpace account so that I would be ready for when the next big thing showed up. So far Open Social feels like that high school party the nerdy guy threw and two or three other nerdy guys showed up but come Monday morning it will be the joke of the high school. I turned off email alerts for MySpace because I grew tired of the offensive bot spam. I tried playing with Orkut because that was the first platform that supported Open Social. Orkut feels like the Twilight Zone. I tried Twitter for a while. It is a cool service, but I forget its there unless I am bored and the only thing handy is my phone and I want to post about my boredom. How's that for boring.

There are countless ...

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Kill Internet Explorer With CSS

We got a call today at The Plan Collection that was interesting. A guy was trying to print out one of our pages. Each time he tried his browser would crash. At first I thought, "that is just nuts. Html can't crash your browser." Then Jake tried it and it crashed Internet Explorer. Then I tried it and sure enough whenever you try to print a page on ThePlanCollection.com your browser will crash.

I decide to investigate and sure enough Google comes through. Specific tags in your html code will cause Internet Explorer to crash when you try to print.

That same website lists a couple of other nasty Internet Explorer bugs. So yes you have to be careful when you write your html code. I would have never guessed that.

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WordPress Multiuser Extensions

I didn't just want to setup a WordPress Multiuser site. I also wanted to be able to use multiple domains. Here's the plugin to make that happen. Setting up the multi site manager plugin might not be obvious. Here's some more information about the plugin.

That's everything you'll need.

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Utah WordPress Meetup

I spent this afternoon with some really cool and interesting individuals from around utah. Matt Mullenweg, the original developer of WordPress was in town and was willing to come and hang out, each lunch and chat for a couple of hours about anything. Matt is a very cool guy not only because he created the best blogging platform of all time, but also because he is just a plain nice guy.

It is to bad that Salt Lake is as far away as it is. These kinds of events are a great chance to meet other people with similar interests and to generate ideas. It is also important to break out of your own personal sphere every now and then so that you can see what the outside world looks like.

A couple of highlights:

  1. Matt said that he prefers a business model that works off the ubiquity of the software rather than a model that limits your ability when using the open source version so that it can charge for more functionality/license (think Mysql)
  2. Holding a Word Camp here in Utah wouldn't be diffic...

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Email Sucks

In a job interview a long time ago I was asked what I hate to do the most. At the time my response was, "write USB device drivers." I had to do that at Sorenson Vision and I hated it. When you write device drivers you can really mess up a system. You screw up a pointer (C code) and the computer will reboot over and over ad infinitum. Then you get to rebuild the machine. Oops. The other problem was that you always got blamed when the system didn't work whether it was your fault or not.

Random employee: "Hey look, the computer's on fire." QA: "We think it was caused by a bad device driver."

I hated those QA guys.

Today I hate email servers and Microsoft Exchange more than I hate USB drivers. I have been trying to migrate emails from an exchange server at Intermedia.net to gmail. I hate Intermedia's exchange servers. The past two days have been filled with click, wait 30 seconds, click wait, copy paste.

I hope their servers burn in hell.

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Internet Failure

By total chance I found this article about the internet failing in two continents. This hurts the economy of several Middle Eastern and African countries which sucks. Wasn't the point of the internet to create a distributed communications network that could withstand a nuclear war? What happened?

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Godaddy EPP Code

I keep trying to setup new websites because I like to pollute the internet. Ok not really, but I want to setup another domain on my bluehost account because I can have as many as I like and I figure that the world could use more of my blather. If you are transferring a domain name or need the EPP code from Godaddy.com for any reason it can be hard to find.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Login to Godaddy
  2. Go to the domain you want to transfer
  3. Look for this line:
          Authorization Code:
          Send by Email
        
  4. Click that and you will get the EPP code via email
  5. All done

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