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Posts Tagged ‘Software’

Bad Planning…

August 15th, 2005 No comments

Damn, I useless at planning!

I remembered over the weekend that I’m supposed to go see the Dog Racing, on a work’s social night, on Tuesday but that I also had a hair cut arranged on Tuesday night as well! Guess I’ll just have to go hairy for a few more days!

Then, I realised that late last week I had booked “Foo Fighters” tickets on Saturday 17th December, which is the day after my office Christmas party! That’ll be fun!

I really should sort out some way of getting a shared calendar going that syncs between Sunbird at work, Sunbird at home, KCalendar, Outlook, my iPAQ and my mobile phone. That way I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to screw everything up!

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Woohoo! Welcome to XHTML land!

July 30th, 2005 No comments

I’ve finally managed to finish my updates to this site, and now everything is in XHTML (please don’t try and validate it just yet, I’ve got some data issues to work out first!)

Firstly, a lot of things are now driven by CSS, so the site should look fairly similar now in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Konqueror (at least those are the browsers that I have tested the site with!)

I’ve also made more use of categories, and (using the link on the nav bar on the left hand side of the site), you can look at the last ten posts in each category, as well as subscribe to an RSS feed for that category.

I have also added comment and trackback feeds for each post, so you can subscribe to those as well.

Finally, I’ve made more use of friendly URLs, and there are several bug fixes on the site.

In the future, I’m planning on introducing some “automatic” features (like Technorati pinging), and ATOM feeds.

If you have any problems, then please contact me and I will see if I can sort them out.

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Damn Spammers!

July 29th, 2005 No comments

I’m starting to get annoyed.

In the past, I have been the victim of comment and trackback spammers, so I starting vetting all comments and trackback submissions (which is why if you leave a comment, it may not appear for several days).

Anyway, this worked quite well, because spammers seemed to send them in bulk (i.e. 50 submissions at a time – lets assume 50 for ease), and then realise that they were not getting posted, and give up (and I would subsequently delete them).

But lately, there is a less competent person at work (it seems like they are all coming through with non-latin character sets, so may be from Asia/China?), who doesn’t post in blocks of 50, they do it one at a time about once a day. They are still getting stopped because of my harsh filtering, but it’s getting annoying.

It’s annoying because I go in and check everyday, and have to delete one or two comments, and not write a blanket query to delete all 50. I am now thinking about finally implementing my own bayesian filtering, with white lists and black lists (the white lists would make it easier for Richard to post without me having to approve him!), plus I’m thinking about adding the ability to close comment or trackback submissions after a certain amount of time.

It’s a good job I’m currently rewriting the back-end code of the site!

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OOP

July 23rd, 2005 No comments

I’m beginning to truely understand now the real power of Object Oriented Programming. I’ve known about objects and reuse and all that stuff for ages, but I don’t think that you can truely grasp it until you end up doing what I’ve just done.

I have just added 2 new pages to the next version of this website (one of which was an RSS feed), with about 5 minutes work on each page. Everything just worked. Brilliant.

What makes it even more enjoyable, is the fact that I designed and created everything myself. God, I’m good!

P.S. Next version of website is coming soon – similar look and feel, more features, fewer bugs and XHTML.

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A Brilliant Idea

July 8th, 2005 1 comment

I’ve just had a brilliant idea.

I’m kind of fed up of having to identify when a new version is available for some of the Open Source software that I use (e.g. SciTe, PuTTY, etc). I know that some tools have their own updating system (e.g. Firefox, Thunderbird, to name a few), but other’s don’t and it is often those pieces of software that get some of the more serious bugs.

What “the world” could do with, is a universal update awareness system.

Imagine this, I have SciTe and PuTTY installed. I download a small application, and subscribe to a “feed” for each piece of software. When the feed is updated, the software checks the installed version of the software (not sure how to fully accomplish this one), and does a simple version check (if installed_version_number < new_version_number then update_needed = true). The software can then alert the user (in anyway it sees fit) that an update is available. Furthermore, in the interests of paranoia (!), the application would be required to not download and install the application without user intervention.

My description of the word “feed” may be a little misleading: I’m not talking RSS/Atom here, as I think that although it’s got the right basics, it probably would not be best suited to this application. The feed would probably describe an “Application Name”, a “Version Number”, a “Download Location”, a “Description Of Changes”, and a “Update Importance Level”, and probably anything else that would suit the situation.

This would of course mean that software developers would need to provide support for this system (through a feed on a website, and a definition file deployed along with the application), but seeing the way that the open source community (and some closed source – see http://blogs.msdn.com as an example) have embraced things like RSS, I think that they will show some form of interest!

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UML Description

July 1st, 2005 No comments

I’ve been using Umbrello on KDE for sometime, and unfortunately it’s pretty unstable (especially when generating code), however, I don’t think that this is an unsolveable problem, so hopefully the product will mature with time (I wish though, that the developers would spend more time on this issue rather than adding new features).

What I did discover the other day though (and although I’ve read this several times, it never really sank it how it is!) is that it has a very good description of UML, and how to use it, as part of it’s help system. If you’re new to UML, or just aren’t sure on how it all works (which is how I sometimes feel), then I would advise reading the manual – it really does seem to explain it in a way that a programmer would understand.

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SSH Clients and Tabbed Windows

June 12th, 2005 5 comments

I was thinking the other day about “tabbed” programs – like Firefox, etc. – and how they make my life sooooo much easier.

As an example, I need to look at at least 4 web pages to do my work – if I were to use Internet Explorer, that 4 more windows I need open and taking up precious room on my taskbar (counting quickly in my head, I usually have about 12 windows open at any one time).

The one thing that I really need though is a tabbed SSH client for Windows (and a good one at that). At the moment I used PuTTY – it’s brilliant and I cannot fault it, but it doesn’t do tabs, and it would be so much better if it did. I’ve noticed that it’s in the task list for it to be done, but they are a bit edgy about it.

I did a quick search on that crazy new “internet” thing, and I found out that Apple developers are embracing it well, it’s just Windows developers that don’t want to make the leap (whimps).

Anyone have a any ideas for a Windows based, free (as in beer, but if it is free as in speech too that would be perfect), tabbed SSH client that is stable and useable? Email me, or drop me a comment.

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XML Music Library

June 7th, 2005 1 comment

I’ve been thinking recently about an standard XML music library format (I’m probably thinking about reinventing the wheel here – some one shout if this kind of things exists already, which is probably does). I reckon it would be pretty easy to create one which would defeat a lot of the problems that I have discovered with other systems.

My main advantage would be tagging, and referencing. First I should explain that I am going to base the library around a “Song” (N.B. – This does not mean a file). I can then give the song a name, a main artist, year of release, etc. I can then employ tagging to tag a series of genres to the song (letting me classify it into a series of genres, not just one), tag a song into a series of albums (think compilation CDs and “greatest hits” albums), tag extra artists to the song (think “featuring xyz”).

I can then use referencing to do the clever bits. Imagine I make a hash of the song name and artist (the actual hash function wouldn’t matter – you could [again] tag the song with multiple hashes, each one specifying the algorithm name), and store that as a “reference”. I could then link a song to another song simply by specifying the original song reference, therefore I could take in to account things like live versions, cover versions, mixes, album versions, new versions by the same artist, etc.

And seeing as it is XML, you could take it anywhere – cross platform, simple file format (so can be editted by hand if needs be), can be interpretted (either SAX or DOM) by a lot of applications, easy to backup, and can be interpretted into/exported out from a database.

Agreed the file could get quite large, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs.

Anyone got any objections?

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PHP Classes

June 7th, 2005 No comments

I’ve been investigating PHP classes (the version 4 kind) over the past couple of days, and I’ve now started to rewrite this website so that I use them in a more effective way.

In the past, the site was made up of a mish-mash of functions, and a variety of functions to output data in different formats (read: HTML and RSS). By turning it into classes, I can make it a much more intelligent process, and can separate (not entirely, but more than before) the application logic and display logic.

As an overview, I can tell you some of the basic details.

I have created 2 simple hierarchies of classes:

The first is the “databaseObject” hierarchy – this creates a generic base class for anything stored in the database, and then a class for each record type (i.e. database table). Further to this, I have created “holding” classes – essentially array manipulation classes.

The second hierarchy is the “formatter” hierarchy. I’ve created a base class with functions to output each class type. I then inherit this class for each output format that I want (e.g. HTML, xHTML, RSS, and others). Each one of these classes overrides the base methods (only those needed) from the base class, and formats the output according to how the format requires. This does mean though, that I need to generate the base output in the “master” PHP file (i.e. the file being executed and viewed) such as the base HTML page – but this is kind of desired anyway.

Hopefully, in the future I should be able to add facilities better, and also add output formats quite simply (without having to completely rewrite chunks of my site).

I’ll try and generate some form of UML diagram to make it a bit clearer, and post it here.

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Biblical Programming

May 11th, 2005 No comments

At work, we have an error log that holds all of the errors that our programs produce, and we can also put messages into it so that we can debug our programs.

Today, whilst looking through, someone has obviously taken a near-biblical slant on debugging:Hello anybody there?
In the begining
Let there be night!
And man looked apon the darkness
And the darkness was good!
pre syschar900
post syschar900
So end’s the first book
Each one of those lines has been hand typed, in that order, and so must mean something to somebody!

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