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Showing posts from 2007

Beaches, Aussies and Christmas

It's been a little quiet here, as things were a little busy towards the end of November, and now I am away on a short trip to Australia visiting my family, relaxing and sun-bathing on fantastic beaches of Queensland, while sipping overpriced Jameson whiskey :) Australian Christmas is in full effect, with enormous pines towering over hot beaches fully decorated in typical X-Mas crap, while in the former hippie town Byron Bay pines are dressed with shiny peace signs. Australians just had an election, where labor party (a weak parallel of US Democratic party) have won -- a welcome change of government after 11 years of Liberals and John Howard (smart, but creepy suck-up to George Bush). The new power has immediately ratified Kyoto protocol in their first week "at the wheel". It's refreshing to see reusable green bags at the supermarkets here, just as they are becoming a norm in San Francisco. A weird fact discovered today -- capitalism does not mean the demand is s…

Domain Registration Mayhem

I don't think it's a secret that the domain registration business is kinda whack. Just look at all the domain parking companies out there which take "shady business" to the whole new meaning. What I don't understand is the rationale behind some of the rules that govern domain business. For instance...How does NetworkSolutions Inc gets away with charging $34.99 a year?Seriously... WTF? I am hosting my domains with 1&1 Hosting, which charges $6.99 a year. This seems like a reasonable price, but here's the main reason the guys like NetworkSolutions are still in business:You can not transfer your domain 2-3 weeks prior, and two months after the date of your domain renewal.This dead simple, but annoying rule guarantees that everyone who WANTs to transfer their domain, but is trying to wait till last minute and/or forgets till last minute, CAN NOT move their domain to a more competitive provider. Please give me one good explanation on how this rule protects…

More music is on its way...

Telene and I have been taking advantage of the crappy weather and doing recording sessions of the tracks for the new album. In addition, this morning the lovely Amber Johnston dropped by our studio and recorded a take or two.. The result - two new awesome songs, with a very different feel. Can't wait to get the album out, but realizing that patience is a virtue.There are at this moment eight tracks in a near completion stage, for the total of about 45 minutes brand spanking new PolyGroovers. Sorry, but we don't want to put the tracks up until the whole album is complete, although this one - Spin Cycle for Delicates and Romantics has been available for download for some time now... instrumental only, this is a good massage for the bone behind the ears :)

Oh no, I am Back!

Yay, blog move is finally complete, and here we are -- with a shiny new dedicated blog domain name, and a Blogger/Google-based account. Blogger has gone a long way since I moved to WordPress from my original blogger account.My main reason for this renewed love is the flexibility with CSS/HTML template, domain name support and ability to add javascript to your blog is also pretty sweet. In general, it just feels like they trust you more with your own blog here at Blogger. WordPress ends up being ruled by a pretty draconian law, and breeds rather annoyingly hawkish forum users.Without too much product-bashing, I'm just happy to be done with the move, which unfortunately had to be manual. Keep an eye out for a set of new posts about drop down menues and REST.

Upgrading to Mac OS-X 10.5 "Leopard"

Last night I upgraded to Leopard. I was a little frightened, because you know, things don't always go as planned. Especially if you consider that I use my MacBook Pro for music production, in addition to software development in two languages (java and ruby).So how did it go?I opted for an "Upgrade" option because the thought of re-installing 200Gb of Native Instruments plug-ins and sample libraries was not very appealing as you might imagine. NI web site suggested not to upgrade until they verify all applications by December, but I decided to bite the bullet and go for it anyway. Someone's gotta do it :)So far - I must admit, I haven't seen a single hitch. Upgrade took about an hour (even though Installer at first reported it will take 4!!), and things seem to be running smoothly. Here's a list of applications I have verified to work on my system: Eclipse IDE, Aptana IDE, IntelliJ IDEA (7.0.1 and 6.0.5), TextMate Fetch, PostgreSQL, Resin 3 ruby 1.8.6 (m…

Ruby on Rails Hosting: From HostingRails to RailsMachine in a shake of a tail

Rails hosting is a hot subject, and with everyone asking everyone else about their experience, I thought its only fair to share my own experience, even though it is relatively limited. Introduction I started with a shared "professional" hosting plan from HostingRails. It was around $30/month, and included non-root SSH access to a shared server, and additional 150Mb of RAM for total of 200Mb (although that's actually quite misleading, see below). I stayed on this plan for about 3-4 months, and then decided to switch to a virtual hosting plan from RailsMachine - their single server plan, for about $100/month (that includes dedicated 384Mb of RAM and a root access to my virtual server). This post describes the reasons behind switching, and compares pros and cons of each hosting plan. Our needs included the following setup: One application running in two instances (one production, and one test) Two-mongrel instances per application (so total of 4 mongrels) Capistrano base…

On Ruby on Rails with PostgreSQL, and Acts as Paranoid

Back a few years ago I was researching differences between PostgreSQL and MySQL databases, and chose PostgreSQL because at the time it supported foreign key constraints and many other fantastic SQL extensions that make developer's life a lot easier. Today I am sure MySQL is just as functional as PostgreSQL, and it does appear to be a more popular choice as the Rails DB than MySQL. I still prefer PostgreSQL, it just feels more natural to me coming out of Oracle background, so I am probably biased (who isn't?) Anyway, in the last year and a half or so, I've been writing Rails apps that use PG-based databases and found a few random tricks I'd love to share here. Opinions differ here, but just like accountants like the ancient double entry accounting system, I personally prefer a double validation system - where Rails validates my objects before/after updates, but the database double checks this using proper constraints. Rail's validation system is very robust and ext…

Ruby on Rails: Reducing clutter in actions by placing common code in filters

This is a tiny but useful tip, that saved many lines of repeated code in my controllers, hence why not share it :) Do Not Repeat Thyself?If you've looked at the controller code that's generated by scaffolding, you'll find something like this: def show @user = User.find(params[:id]) end def new @user = User.new end def destroy User.find(params[:id]).destroy end Sure, in this case all we are doing repeatedly is instantiating the user by a potentially available parameter value. What if instead we placed these common fetches in a controller filter, which would simply set an instance variable for us? Hell, we could even handle exceptions (such as invalid ID) in only one place this way! What not to like.When dealing with a more complicated route that has been defined, this instantiation may become quite a bit more elaborate, and the case for a filter is even more justified. Consider the case of building a collaboration system where you have projects…

Mac OS-X tips: How to run SSHD on an alternative port

This tip falls into one of those "I had to spend more than 10 minutes looking for an answer" category, so it's a worthwhile subject for a quick blog post. Why Run SSH? Running SSH on Mac OS-X allows you to login to your machine remotely, and also copy file securely via SCP command to and from your Mac OS-X host. But I am behind my own $50 router/firewall. Can I still connect to my computer from outiside?Yes. Most off the shelf routers and firewalls will allow you to do two things that are needed for this: Assign a permanent IP address to your Mac on a local network (see your router documentation for more details) Create a port forwarding rule on your router. Eg - any request to port 22 on your external IP (provided by your router) can be routed to the specific IP address of your Mac. Exact specifics on this configuration are once again available in your router documentation. Most off the shelf routers support this, including basic Netgear and D-Link. So let'…

New laptop and it's a showoff: G5 vs Intel

As I left my most recent permanent job for a private gig, I had to get myself my own new laptop. Of course the machine had to be a Mac, but which one? A laptop? Desktop? I decided on laptop since it's so much more portable and I do contracting. But then - 17" or 15" and what specs, and should I shell out for a brand new model, or get the older one cheaper? To cut the long story short I went for the top of the line, most recently upgraded model of 17" MacBook Pro, with 2.4Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 7200RPM 160Gb drive, 2Gb of RAM and a hi-resolution 1920x1200 screen. This machine on Apple store costs $3800 (with tax and apple care), but I managed to save more than a third by buying it from a dude on Craigslist. My first impression - wow! The screen is so incredible, there are so many pixels that a window dragged when onto my older SyncMaster 23" screen looks twice as large! That's because 23" screen has only 1600x1200 resolution, but the lapt…

Half moon, Black moon, 14.5%-something moon "Pah Tee"...

My blog has been silent for a while now for no better reason than me being on a much anticipated and needed vacation. Telene and I managed to sneak out for a whole month of April, and spend a few days in Tokyo doing typical touristy things, before venturing off to our final destination - Thailand. We haven't really had too much planned out, but one thing we knew is that we wanted rest - beach, sun, water, lots of sleep and massage. As our vacation is nearing the end (and I am writing this from Thailand), I can assure that all of those things we have thus far successfully achieved. And much more. Most of our trip we ended up spending on the island of Ko Phangan - where the famous monthly full moon party happens on the beach. We are missing the full moon party, but this is not a big deal because every other phase of the moon is celebrated here with just as much fervor and scale, if perhaps by a smaller crowd. Which is actually a good thing, considering that full moon party get…

The KORE arrives

In a quest to bring my soft synths up to date, I took up Native Instruments offer to upgrade my entire NI Complete collection to their latest and greatest, for free - after I buy the KORE - their midi/audio hardware interface and controller. The KORE arrived today, and I played with it a little using my old synths, but I couldn't take full advantage of the KORE without using their preset library (which apparently contains 10,000+ sounds). I couldn't use the presets just yet, because they are all for the upgraded versions of the instruments, which I don't have until the DVDs arrive with KOMPLETE 4 I can't do much with this beautiful piece of gear. Stay tuned for a proper review. Can't wait till it's all here and working.

We been representin'!

So recently I had a really fun experience working at the Blurb (the company I work for) booth at MacWorld, where the booth was bombarded with non-stop attention. We felt sorry for the booths next to us, some of which had a hard time luring people in, while for us the problem was that of survival - how to you survive five+ hours of talking about your product, with tiny water and bathroom breaks in between, and many eager visitors waiting for your attention. Of course it is awesome to see your company and product be so timely and successful, and so many people excited about the possibilities it offers. As a software engineer you don't often get to talk to the users, witness their pain or glory, you just get to hear about it from a distrgruntled customer service rep who gets all the blame, or a from a marketing person who gets all the glory. So this was certainly refreshing and energizing experience. At some point in the day I was approached by someone with a request to take a q…

Oh Firefox, why aren't thou working?

Oh Firefox, why aren't thou working?
Once in a while, you stop responding.
My keyboard types, my fingers stomping...
But you're ignoring our bonding.

We've had so many joyful years
Together - sharing laughter, tears
Despise for impotent Explorer
The fear, the weakness and the horror.

And now look at what you've done
You've turned yourself into a pun
A joke on browsers and alike
I can't go on with this last strike.

And so I am leaving for another
Her name's Safari, and she'd rather
Be there, when I need her most.
I am sorry. Our love is lost.