June 13, 2003

Lame Programmers and Credit Card Numbers

Some programmers are so lame that they haven't figured out how to strip spaces and dashes from input. Really. Check Steve's No Dashes or Spaces Hall of Shame for some nice examples.

My question for you is this: Would you let a programmer who can't handle sanitizing input anywhere near your e-commerce system? I sure as hell wouldn't.

In other news, George Bush fell off a Segway. He's nothing if not funny. To bad he's in charge of the country.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:29 PM

No more IE for OS X

Not like it's any great loss, since Mac IE was one of the worst browsers on OS X, but News.com tells us that Microsoft has given up on producing a Mac browser--in favor of telling users that Safari is better.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:52 PM


There's some discussion in Phil Windley's weblog about advertisements in RSS. This is something that comes up now and then at work, so it's good to see that someone's giving it a fair shake.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:05 PM

Illegal Software Benchmarks

Tim Bray has a great post that sums up my feelings quite nicely when it comes to publishing benchmarks of vendor-supplied products (XML parsers, databases, web servers, etc.)

Microsoft and Oracle (to name a few) have been using a pretty lame excuse on this for a long time. It's good to see that the courts are sensible enough to see through it.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:02 PM

June 12, 2003

Man in Motion

Well, I've been slowly working up the motivation to try running on a regular basis. Kasia pointed me at some articles about running that are intended to help get a newbie like me started.

That last one sounds totally doable if you follow the plan and take it one step at a time (sorry for the pun).

What's my motivation for this? It has less to do with the fact that my 29th birthday has just passed and more to do with the fact that I feel like I need to do something.

Really. The whole "I'm getting old" thing just never bothers me. It occasionally surprises me, but it doesn't bother me like it does some people. I think getting older is kind of fun. Life's a journey, right?

Anyway, let's face it, this country is making us fat and I'm no exception. Sure, I bike when the weather is nice. And I really enjoy it. I've always enjoyed biking. It's even more fun now that I have a GPS on board.

I know that if I could get into it, running would be good for me and help me to drop some pounds. And it might make me seem less lazy. Kasia tells me that she's managed to hook several friends on it. She says the first few months are quite hard, but if you can hold out that long it gets to be very enjoyable.

That's a key piece for me. I know from experience that exercise for the sake of exercise doesn't work for me. It never has and never will. Period. I just get bored. I need to enjoy what I'm doing or else I won't keep doing it week after week, month after month.

Why running? I don't know, really. It's simple and I like simple things. Maybe because I've never really tried it before? Others seem to have had success with it. I know that Dan used to run a lot, and he's no fatass. Mark (who lives like 2 miles from Dan) seems to like it too. (Though I will have to look at the Hacker's Diet that he points out in Generation XL.)

And, in case you couldn't guess, blogging this is part of my attempt at self-motivation. Hey, the thought that someone might ask me how much I'm running a few months from now might just be enough to make it happen.

You never know. :-)

Anyway, I start tomorrow morning--Friday. Let's see how quickly I collapse.

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where the title for this entry came from--without Google helping.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:28 PM

June 11, 2003

Note To Self

Don't argue with a self-proclaimed database expert about MySQL. It's just not worth it. I thought it'd be entertaining but it's more draining than anything else.

Heck, now that I think about it, try to avoid technology arguments completely. Life's to short for all the associated penis waving and bullshit that comes with it. If you don't like my technology and I don't like yours, fine.


I need a beer.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:52 PM

Flying with John

I took some time off from the book today to go flying with my friend John. He got his power license last year (I think) and we'd been talking about a combined power and glider day sometime. So the plan was to meet up at Palo Alto (he's a member of the West Valley Flying Club or WVFC), get a plane, fly down to Hollister Airport along the Diablo Range, take some glider rides, and then fly back.

But things never go according to plan.

Read the rest of the story in my flying blog.

Posted by jzawodn at 06:29 PM

June 10, 2003

Heineken Temperature

Through extensive trial and error, I've discovered that the optimal temperature for Heineken is not achieved in the refrigerator. The taste seems to improve quit a bit after it's had a chance to get roughly half way to room temperature. I don't have a thermometer handy, but I'm going to guess that it's roughly 48-52 degrees Fahrenheit. The fridge gets it close to 38 degrees or so (last time I checked) and it's about 65 in my apartment.

It's really too bad that I can't find JW Dundee's Honey Brown in the Bay Area. And it seems that Killian's Irish Red is hard to come by too. Those were my college favorites.

If you feel like bashing my choice of beer, don't waste your time. I really don't care what you think. Now, if you'd like to suggest something I ought to try, I'm all ears.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:22 PM

RSS Behind the Firewall

I knew this day would come, but I've been trying to avoid it. For roughly a year now, I've been happily reading various news source by using RSS aggregators of various form and function. Some were desktop apps and others were server-side. Some for Windows, some for Linux, and some for OS X.

In recent months, there's been growing talk about RSS at work. And I don't mean things like the Finance, Ask, or Buzz RSS stuff. There's been talk of using it internally. We have a growing number of internal weblogs (or people looking to experiment with them) and some in-house tools that now generate RSS.

This is great.

But it's going to suck too.

The honeymoon is over. Now I need to have two aggregators: one at home and one at work.

I'm used to doing this for e-mail, but that doesn't mean I like it. I suppose I could start taking my laptop to work every day, but then I'd have to take my laptop to work everyday.

I've been thinking about this for a while and haven't come up with any good solution. I suppose that someone could work on synchronizing aggregators. Then I could sync up my home and work aggregators somehow. Maybe that'll happen?

I wonder if is going to become a more common problem as RSS picks up steam in various companies.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:47 PM

June 09, 2003

Blog Search Growing

Well, it seems that Scott's Feedster is no longer alone. Dave Sifry's Technorati is now offering full-text search and he's already integrated it into the Technorati API. Read the full announcement on his blog.

For what it's worth, I use both services. They're great. I'm a paid subscriber of Technorati and I'm going be helping Scott out with a bit of stuff on Feedster sometime soon.

Keep up the great work guys...

Posted by jzawodn at 02:00 PM

MoveableType API Hackery

Around 3am this morning, I got to wondering what it'd take to write a command-line script that, given a post id number, would cause MT to regenerate it. The reason I need this (at least as a stepping stone) is that in my quest to remove blog pop-ups I neglected to notice that MT doesn't rebuild the entry page upon receiving a TrackBack ping--only when a comment is posted. This was pointed out by several folks in the comments. Someone even pointed to a patch that fixes this.

Instead, I wanted a way to do this without relying on a patch that may or not still work after the next MT upgrade. So I did a bit of poking around and read some of the MT perl module documentation. What I found made me very happy.

  1. MT is very well documented, from a programmer's point of view
  2. MT is very well designed, from a programmer's point of view
  3. Doing simple things in MT really is simple

With that in mind, I created a few test scripts before settling upon what I wanted. I devised a script called rebuild_recent.pl. Given a number (N) on the command-line, it rebuilds the N most recent entries. Have a look. It's really quite simple. Just drop it in your MT directory and it'll work.

Now I mentioned that this is a stepping stone. Since I recently moved from Berkeley DB to MySQL for the back-end, I'm going to rig up a cron job that scans for recent TrackBack pings and rebuilds affected entries. If I run it every 2-10 minutes, that should be sufficient.

Kudos to Ben and Mena for a great product that's also hacker friendly.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:47 AM

BusinessWeek on the SAP/MySQL Deal

BusinessWeek has published a good overview of the ramifications of the recently announced SAP/MySQL deal and MySQL's recent funding boost from Benchmark Capital. Marten Mickos, the CEO of MySQL AB, is discussed frequently as well.

To date, though, MySQL has been viewed mainly as a cheap database for running Web sites and as relatively unsophisticated compared to the whiz-bang wares of the database Big Three, Oracle (ORCL), IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT). Further, MySQL was never seen as an apple-cart tipper on the order of Linux. But Mickos and his minions served notice to the database sector on May 27 when MySQL announced an alliance with German software giant SAP (SAP). Then on June 3, MySQL announced a $19.5 million venture-capital financing round including marquee Silicon Valley VC firm Benchmark Capital.

I especially like this bit:

And the new financing should give MySQL the cash to upgrade its database with new features to take on Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM -- at least in less sophisticated installations. If the story of Linux's rise from humble hobbyist project to powerful corporate system is prologue, then this spring could mark the start of MySQL's inexorable ascent.

Since that's pretty much what I've been telling reporters for months now, I tend to agree.

In this Fortune article, I'm quoted as:

Yahoo's Zawodny makes a different analogy: "MySQL is to Oracle as Linux is to Windows. It will slowly but steadily creep up the food chain, just like Linux has."

So it seems that the message is getting out. Excellent.

Anyway, the BusinessWeek article is a good read if you can get past the sea of flashing ads on the page.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:12 AM

Getting into the groove


After a very messed up sleep schedule (I just at lunch--at midnight), I managed to get into a productive groove. The chapter I've been not working on for the last 3-4 days is finally becoming reality.

It'll be interesting to see if I got to bed tonight or just wait until after the 10am root canal check-up appointment I have.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:11 AM

June 08, 2003

Samba 3.0.0 beta 1

Check it out. Samba 3.0.0 beta 1 has been announced.

Some of the new features.

  • Active Directory support
  • Unicode support
  • New authentication system
  • A "net" command, like on Windows
  • Improved error handling


Posted by jzawodn at 02:18 PM