April 26, 2003

Muhphy's Law

The one day that I'm totally free in NY, and the weather really sucks.

So we'll just sit around Derek's place and watch movies.

Screw you, Murphy. Thanks for the sun and warm temperatures on the days that I'm flying and stuck in buildings and/or trains.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:49 AM

April 24, 2003

Angelo's of Mulberry Street

After arriving at JFK, taking a taxi to the hotel and checking in, I just tried to stay awake for a while. Then Adam called and said "we're going to dinner at a great place in Little Italy..."

We all met downstairs and hopped a ride to our food (and many glasses of wine). Angelo's was busy. The bottom line: best Italian food ever! If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it. It's amazing.

After that, we wandered over to a cafe for dessert. Damned good stuff. Can't remember the name of the place.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:50 PM

Wing it!

Oops. With the 80's music playing on the iPod, I finally motivated myself to write my talk for the conference. I still have 2.5 hour of flying to go, so it's not like I'm waiting until the last minute.

The talk seems to be of the right length. But I'm worried about the topic. I know I'm supposed to talk about MySQL & PHP, but what about them am I supposed to say?

I don't remember, exactly. And I don't have a conference program handy. And it's not like there's WiFi in-flight (in a few years maybe?). So I'm guessing. Hopefully I'm close. :-)

Right now, I have the standard preamble, followed by a review of MySQL 3.23, 4.0, 4.1, and 5.0 features and development. I then move on to some performance tips. Then I get into a bit on PHP/MySQL advice (mostly about persistent connections since they're a persistent source of "discussion" among some folks). I finish up with some talk about mysqli, the new MySQL API that has been exposed in PHP for use with MySQL 4.1's binary protocol (prepared statements and all that goodness).

I hope there will be questions during the talk (there are always seem to be) that can help guide things a bit.

I love my iPod. And I really love having power at the seat. Other airlines could learn a lot form American. (I just got the battery warning and plugged in.)

(A few minutes later.) Hmm. It's getting bumpy. Hard to type. We're over the plains now and the atmosphere is a bit more unstable here. The pilot is taking us down to a lower altitude. Hopefully that'll help. Looks like part of Idaho maybe.

(Many minutes later.) Well, we're flying over Lake Michigan now. No turbulence at all, but that's to be expected. Water has a funny way of calming the atmosphere. It's a very clear day. Ya know, I'm only a about 30 minutes of flying time from my home town of Toledo, Ohio.

(A while later.) It looks like there's great soaring over Pennsylvania today. Lots of cumulus clouds popping up. I even spotted some nice clouds streets. Their altitude is difficult to judge, but it seems to be at least 5,000 AGL. From the looks of it, one could have launched at 2:30pm and expected to stay up for several hours without much trouble. Amusingly, a 757 pilot probably looks down there and sees turbulence. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

(Later yet.) Well, we're 80 miles from the airport, landing in about 20 minutes (gate 43. My body really doesn't believe that it's already 4:30pm. Hopefully dinner a good night's sleep will help that. I guess it need to put the notebook to sleep now and re-pack things. At least the battery is fully charged again!

Funny note. The flight attendants can't tell time. They just announced it was 2 minutes until 4. Then 2 minutes until 5. And then someone gave 'em a working watch and he discovered that it is roughly 4:35pm.

Heh. That's all for now. I'm hoping to post all this crap using the WiFi from the conference in a few hours. We'll see. If not, there's always dial-up (shudder!).

Posted by jzawodn at 12:31 PM

Spring in New York

Like Jim I'm hoping to spend some time outside while in NY for PHPCon. With the conference hotel so close to Central Park, I'll likely spend some time there with my camera.

I, too, am annoyed by Saturday's weather forecast. Derek, Kasia, and I were gonna maybe do something outside. But Mother Nature may have teamed up with Murphy to thwart that plan.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:29 PM

MySQL Column Types and Optimization

I read but never got a chance to respond to Scott's question/tip:

Now Feedster makes pretty extensive use of MySQL and as I am reviewing my table structure, something I'm noticing is that I'm using way too large fields all over the place. Now if I read this MySQL man page correctly, I can use a TINYINT to store between -127 and 127. Like a lot of people I suspect, I was just using an INT. That's 4 bytes instead of 1. Not a big savings but if you have this kind of wastage on a number of fields, it adds up.

He goes on to suggest that folks figure out their max values needed for each column and make the right choice. I agree completely. As he suspects, this is something I mention in myMySQL Optimization talk(s) but I tend not to give it a lot of attention. That's often because there are a lot of other (bigger) mistakes that people seem to make.

Anyway, using the most logical column type is smart for two reasons. First, it helps performance. Smaller columns use less space, so more of the data can be cached in memory. It also means fewer disk seeks and that translates to faster disk reads (and writes). Secondly, by using a TINYINT instead of INTEGER, MySQL will limit the size of values you can stick in there. So you're getting a bit more error checking that you don't need to code. I don't think you should rely on it being there, but it's nice to know that it is. Don't write sloppy code.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:28 PM

E-Mail is Proprietary?

According to Russell it is:

Every day I'm getting more and more frustrated with email. It's so closed, proprietary, unsearchable, filling with Spam, yet so vital to every day life. It's nice that we're getting close in a lot of ways to replacing it

I'm not sure what he meant by that. Anyone want to enlighten me?

It's gonna be a long time before we replace e-mail. More likely, we'll re-work SMTP to make e-mail more accountable (to combat SPAM, mostly) and to add features that don't exist today. But one to one and one to many store and forward messaging isn't going away.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:26 PM

Airline Stupidity

A flight attendant just got on the PA to ask us to lower our shades "for better viewing of the in-flight movie."

Fuck that.

I'm not watching the crappy in-flight movie. I'm on an early west to east cost flight and depending on my iPod and the abundance of daylight (I got a window seat by choice) to help adjust my sleep schedule. I'd rather not be falling asleep tomorrow morning during the talk I'm giving. If this was a red-eye flight, that'd be one thing. But for most of us, it's either 10:30am or 1:30pm right now.

If the other person in my row asks me to close it, I will. But she looks perfectly content to me.

Why don't they also ask everyone to return their seats to the upright position for the comfort of those using laptops to try and get work done during this 5 hour flight?

Because this isn't a flying office. And it's also not a flying movie theater.

On the other hand, if this is my only complaint so far, things are going well.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:25 PM


If I was Ann Harrison, I'd be pissed too.

Firebird is an Open Source Database, just like PostgreSQL or MySQL. I'd hate to see the Mozilla folks confuse things so much that they have to start calling it FirebirdSQL.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:23 PM

So far, so good

As I write this, we're cruising at 37,000 feet above Utah, just east of the Rocky Mountains. The the flight left on time, I have a window seat with laptop power (not that I need yet, but it'll come in handy), the seat next to me is empty, and it has been a smooth ride so far.

(Of course, as I wrote that the seat belts sign came on. But it didn't last long.)

The Bay Area was covered by some status clouds at roughly 4,000 feet (guess) when we took off. As we flew over the central valley, the clouds vanished. The didn't reappear until we passed Lake Tahoe, on the California/Nevada border. And we flew right over the lake. Quite a beautiful site with the all the snow capped mountains around. Someday I'll have to do some soaring around the Lake Tahoe area.

The whole "more room in coach" on American Airlines proves to be especially helpful when you want to use a laptop without fussing when the person in front of you reclines his seat. And, hey, their breakfast wasn't bad either. French toast and melon. I guess that's my second breakfast of the day. The oatmeal and banana at 4:45am was my first. Yeah, I got up early because I didn't feel like packing last night. I'll just be sure to find something good for dinner after I settle in at the hotel and try to find some of the PHP freaks.

Oh well, time to catch up on a bit of my blog reading. Unfortunately, I can really only catch up on those feeds that provide full content via RSS. My aggregator (SharpReader currently) can download the RSS but doesn't know to fetch the full entry pages too. No big deal. I'll just bust out the iPod and start working on tomorrow's presentation.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:05 PM

Finally on Wireless

So it's time to procss my backlog of postings...
Posted by jzawodn at 12:04 PM

April 23, 2003

WiFi at the Airport

I'm posting this from SJC Terminal A (American Airlines). I love having access. It turns out that T-Mobile isn't usable here for some reason. Guess who will be asking for a refund. But the local Waypoint service works great. Not bad for $6.95/day. Of course, I'll only get 1 hour of use, but I wanted to give it a try. Maybe I'll get to the airport even earlier next time, knowing that this is here.

I'm really impressed by the low latency to my DSL line at home and the other machines I've tried. It looks like a good connection via Level3.

C:\>ping dsl.zawodny.com

Pinging dsl.zawodny.com [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=30ms TTL=240
Reply from bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=240
Reply from bytes=32 time=30ms TTL=240
Reply from bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=240

Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 20ms, Maximum =  30ms, Average =  25ms

Not bad at all! :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 07:59 AM

April 22, 2003

I'm Strange

It's hardly a news flash, but I do some odd things. I can never leave on a trip without cleaning my living room and doing my laundry. It took me a few years to figure out why, because it's not apparent until the return home.

I love the feeling of walking into [what appears to be] a clean apartment, one where there's no dirty laundry around. Of course, all I need to do is walk into the bathroom to reset my expectations, but still. I like it.

So why did this come up just now?

I'm off to PHPCon East 2003 in the AM. It's a direct flight from SJC to JFK on AA flight 202. I'll try out the T-Mobile Hot Spot in the American terminal at SJC and try to blog something in my sleep-deprived state. (It's an early flight and I'm not what you'd call a "morning person." Not by a long shot.).

There's supposed to be WiFi at the conference, so I'll see if I can't keep up with stuff a little better than I did at the MySQL Conference. Oh, my talk is on Thursday morning. Yeah, morning on the east coast. That's like really early morning on the west coast. This will be amusing.

On Friday I'm gonna visit Y! HotJobs to talk about MySQL, PHP, and stuff. Then I head to Derek's place of employment so we can head to his place for the night. On Saturday, Kasia is slated to join us. We're gonna do something. Not sure quite what. On Sunday evening I head home.

There. Now you know.

Oh, and I had a lot of fun uploading New York maps to my GPS. More on that later. I'm curious to see how well it works there.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:04 PM

Phil Greenspun has a weblog!

It's right here. Excellent. I've been a big fan of him for a long time. He's the reason I started doing the whole "web + database = application" thing several years back. I picked up a copy of his excellent Database Backed Web Sites book and it flipped the light on in my brain. Everything just clicked.

Phil is very smart, funny, and has a great writing style. I highly recommend his books and (probably) his weblog.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:28 PM

Yahoo Bloggers?

It occurs to me that there's no single list of Yahoo bloggers out there. Perhaps we should start one?

It might encourage a few more to get out there too... Or it just might result in more bitching. Hmm. There's one way to find out. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 09:45 PM

T-Mobile's HotSpot Service

I'm thinking of signing up for T-Mobile HotSpot service to try it out. Since I'll be traveling, this will give me (hopefully) good Internet access at San Jose airport (I'm flying American, which is listed) and a few other random places.

Anyone have much experience with the service?

One thing worries me. At JFK they only appear to service the "admirals club" and not the general terminals. How lame is that? Anyone know if you can sniff the service outside the club(s)?

But hey, there's always the bookstores and coffee shops they service...

Posted by jzawodn at 12:16 PM

April 21, 2003

My Head Hurts

Literally. It does.

What a day. Things didn't go exactly as planned. And I have a ton of stuff to do before heading to PHPCon--including my talk.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:50 PM

E-Mail Tension Syndrome

From NewsScan comes this odd report:

People's anxieties and fears over e-mail etiquette have given rise to a new term: pre- and post-mail tension (PPMT). A major problem is that as many as half of all e-mail users fail to properly understand all the nuances of personal messages, and blame the resulting confusion for arguments and even relationship break-ups. "E-mail is a great way to make contact with people and maybe develop a romance. The problem of PPMT we have revealed by these statistics is caused not by e-mail itself, but how people let their anticipation and expectation get the better of them," says Helen Petrie, professor of human computer interaction at London's City University. A survey by Yahoo! Mail showed that people can become obsessed with "inbox expectations" -- constantly checking their e-mail inbox to see if a message has been answered. Sixty-four percent of respondents in that survey reported problems concentrating at work if they were waiting for a reply to a specific e-mail, reinforcing the impression that e-mail is contributing to workplace "cyber-slacking."

Read more about it in This ZDNet story.

I'll never be amazed by the the strange ways in which people react to technology.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:53 AM

April 20, 2003

The secret to making Mac OS X updates install...

After fighting with the OS X 10.2.5 upgrade for a few days, I've discovered the secret to making this stuff work and am ready to share it with the world.

Step 1: Fight with the software.

Step 2: Get really pissed off.

Step 3: Write a nasty rant about it for your blog.

Step 4: Try one final time before posting the rant.

That's it. It'll work on the last try. Every time. Now if only Apple could build a blogging tool into Mac OS X, this process might go a bit more quickly.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:07 PM

Cleaning LCD Screens?

What you use to clean off your LCD screen(s)? I have a few notebooks of varying age and some external LCD monitors. Being the slob I am, I haven't cleaned them in a long, long time. Now I'm trying to figure out the best way to clean them without leaving streaks and without damaging them.

So, on this Easter Sunday, I ask... what do you use? Water? Windex? CRT wipes? Other?

(I bet you didn't know that Windex had a web site. I didn't either until I Googled for it.)

Posted by jzawodn at 03:58 PM