failing like never before


Enlightened Love

I've mentioned a few times in my previous posts, how much I liked Enlightenment 17, the desktop shell. Although E17 is technically still in alpha, it is surprisingly stable. Suffice to say, E17's alpha is about as stable as the final release candidate of Windows Vista. E17 has been in development for an ungodly amount of time, making the development phase for Debian seem lightning fast. But as I said, even now, E17 is still quite useable.

I had some problems with E17 a while back when I was running Ubuntu. I was using a third-party repository and one of the packages was unstable and ended up wreaking havoc with my Enlightenment installation. I eventually ended up removing all of the Enlightenment libraries and packages from my computer, and since I was too lazy to grab a stable snapshot from the Enlightenment servers and rebuild everything from source, I was left without Enlightenment for quite some time. I built E17 from source a year or so ago, back when I tried out Vector Linux, but it took a bloody long time, especially since I had to resolve all the dependencies manually.

Just a few weeks ago, I installed Debian (Lenny), having decided it was time for me get started on a more serious Linux distro. I'll write about my experiences with Debian at a later time. I decided to install E17 again, but this time, I decided to be a little more research first. In the Enlightenment user manual, there is a section on installation. The manual also provides some links to scripts that automate the installation process, which was really nice for me, because one of the reasons I like Debian is because I hate having to build everything from source and resolve dependencies. I tried using the "Easy 17" shell script to install E17, and it worked great. Easy 17 not only automates installation, but if you call the script with a "-u" argument, it will update your installation. You still have to resolve dependencies yourself, but that is to be expected.


Control + s in Xterm

If you happen to be a noob like me, and are used to using a fancy graphical IDE like eclipse, NetBeans, or (God forbid) Visual Studio, then you're probably used to hitting <control>+<s> to save something (I think emacs uses "control + s" for saving too). If this is the case, then you've no doubt hit "control+s" by reflex when you wanted to save something in vim or vi. If you're using GNOME's Terminal or KDE's Konsole this shouldn't be a problem, although nothing will actually be saved.

But in xterm, "control + s" makes it so that you can no longer see terminal output. Basically, whatever you type is still processed by the shell, but you just don't see anything (I can't figure why anyone would actually want to do this). So for the uneducated, it looks like xterm has locked up and you've lost all your precious code. Fear not my friend! You can exit out of this funky mode by hitting "control + q."

In summation, if you ever hit "control + s" while using xterm, and everything appears to lock up, hit "control + q" to return to normal.


SSH Saved My Life

SSH saved my life, its true. Allow me to elaborate.

I don't have a laptop, just an old Pentium 4 desktop. So when I came home from school for spring break I couldn't bring my computer home with me. (Imagine trying to carry a bloody huge computer through airport security.) So I did the next best thing, I left my computer on and connected to the internet in my dorm room so that when I got home I could use PUTTY, which I installed on my mom's clunky old Celeron, to SSH into my desktop back at school. If I wanted to, I could use X11 port forwarding to get a GUI. It was, to say the least, pretty spiffy. All my music and movies were just a few key hits away, and my code was easily accessible. But it wasn't just data, I had access to other things like my lovely Enlightenment desktop manager, Netbeans, and even Tux Racer.

Mind you, this isn't the first time I've used SSH. I've been SSHing into my desktop ever since I started college, but I've never loved it so much until now.

(OK, so to be truthful, SSH didn't really save my life, but I'm still happy.)

Thank you, developers of SSH and PUTTY, I love you all!


Way Back When

Way back in the days, almost a year ago, this site was running my custom CMS. It didn't look too bad, but it wasn't very configurable and lacked all the bells and whistles that make a mature blogging platform like WordPress so much cooler.

Here's a quick list of the functions that my custom application offered:

  • Image gallery: Upload a picture that was less then 1mb in size and my application would save it and create a thumbnail, there was also a simple gallery interface
  • Live search: A fairly simple feature to implement under Rails. For those of you that still haven't heard of web 2.0, "live search" is where the user types into a search box, and results are returned instantly, without having to actually hit enter and go to another page (try the live search in my left sidebar!)
  • Anyone can join!: My application allowed anyone to keep a blog on my site. Your blog would be hosted at<blog name>/, because I didn't know how to create subdomains automatically.
  • Comments: A vistor to the site could add comments without having to register, and they could add cool little emoticons by using TinyMCE. The only problem was that I didn't use CAPTCHA, Akismet or any kind of comment moderation, so I had massive spam issues.
  • Easy to use: One of the upsides of having very little features, my application was extremely easy to use. In that respect, it was vaguely like the ipod, except the ipod isn't free.

And thats about it in terms of feature sets, for my old blog application. I believe pictures are in order...

custom application, main page custom application, image gallery custom application, post and comment

But before I moved to WordPress, I was using Typo. See here for reasons why I decided to move to WordPress. And just because I feel like it, here's a really low quality screenshot of my old Typo blog, using the iWTAP theme.


Migrated to WordPress

A little more then a week ago, Typo 5.0 was released. Shortly after that, version 5.0.1 was released to fix a bug, and the next day after the 5.0.1 release Typo version 5 was pulled from the mirrors because of a critical bug that would result in the application purging the blog's database. I upgraded to 5.0 almost as soon as it first came out but downgraded back to 4.1.1 as soon as I heard about the new bug.

But even with version 4.1.1 I experienced numerous problems with Typo. In December of 2007, 21.1% of all the HTTP error codes returned by my server, were 500 (Internal Server) errors. In one month alone, the Typo application on my domain experienced 208 internal server errors. I've experienced many of these before. Occasionally, after writing a new post up in the admin section, I would click the “submit” button only to get a 500 error. Or I might be on the home page and click on a category link, again, only to get a 500 error. Most of the times, these errors would disappear once I hit the back button in my browser and tried clicking on the link a second time. But these were aggravating errors and shouldn't have been popping up in a stable application release.


Lightbox in Typo

A quick little explanation and demo on how to get lightbox running in Typo 4.1.1.Typo 4.1.1 uses an older version of lightbox. If you prefer to use the newer version of lightbox, then go here and download lightbox 2.0. Then, in your Typo application's public directory and overwrite the old lightbox javascript, styles, and images.

You'll also have to make sure that the theme you're using for your blog, has the necessary javascript and stylesheets included. To do this, open


and ensure that the following lines of code are in your header.

<%= javascript_include_tag "typo" %>
<%= javascript_include_tag "lightbox" %>
<%= stylesheet_link_tag "/stylesheets/lightbox.css" %>

I would also like to add, that one of the javascript files needed by lightbox is massive 23kb. So if you want to keep your web page as light as possible, you may want to consider not using lightbox effects.

To use lightbox in your blog, just add the following code into the article you are posting:

<typo:lightbox src="image_link" thumbsrc="thumbnail_link" />

Here's a few examples of what lightbox can do.

"The Solid Gold Sound of the UCLA Marching Band!"


Visual Studio Error Resolved

That stupid little error I mentioned earlier appears to have resolved itself.

weeee.. Visual Studio 2005.

I feel like spewing forth whole paragrahs of teenage angst right now... but that would contradcit my "vision statement" for this site.


Visual Studio 2005

I'm not a big fan of .net, so I wasn't too happy when I found out I'd be programming web services and sites in visual basic and ASP for my job during the summer. But even though I'm not much of a Windows fan, I still really like the Visual Studio 2005 IDE. Its got pretty syntax highlighting, and the little helpful hints and drop-down lists are really quite nice. Everything is very configurable and fairly easy to use. That being said, sometimes I experience some very strange things with the Visual Studio IDE. Like today.

I was doing some pretty simple ASP type stuff, more HTML and CSS really, when I decided to swtich to the "Design" view so I could get a quick glimpse of what my page was looking like (I know, I could always just hit Control+Shift+w and view the page in the browser and get a better view, but I was being stupid). But when I hit the "Design" button, the IDE popped up with this little error: "Can not switch to Design view because of errors in the page. Please correct all errors labeled 'Can not switch:' in the Error List and try again." It wasn't too big of a deal, and it wasn't the first time I had gotten this. So I checked the error list, and there was only one error: "Cannot switch views. This end tag has no matching start tag." The error was being thrown around the "" end tag in this line:

<a href="index.aspx">Chipset Info</a>

You can take a look at this screenshot to see the error in all its glory.

Now this was really quite strange. There was nothing wrong (or so I thought) with that line, and nothing above it was causing it to screw up. I figured that Visual Studio was just being stupid and maybe had some latency issues with updating the errors list. I hit control+shift+w and viewed the page in a browser instead and forgot about the little "error." Throughout the day I closed and opened Visual Studio a couple times and restarted my computer once. After the reboot, I came back to this same page and the error message was still showing. I tried moving the code around a bit, but the error kept coming up. So far, I haven't been able to make the error message go away.

I could rant about Windows and how their code sucks horribly, but for the most part, Visual Studio 2005 was working great for me. Yes, it is a really annoying bug that I've gotten, but I still think Visual Studio 2005 is a good IDE. There's a plugin for VS called "Ruby in Steel" that allows a developer to code Ruby in the Visual Studio IDE. If weren't for the fact that I run Linux at home almost all the time, I would be using VS at home, and not just at work.

"Course, theres still a part of me that says, "resist the urge! Microsoft is the devil!!!" But I'm working on not being such a narrow-minded OS fanboy these days.