Older blog entries for Killerbees (starting at number 211)

1 Sep 2010 (updated 1 Sep 2010 at 18:07 UTC) »

note to self, how to change the definer of a mysql stored procedure

This is a useful one if, like us, you find that the account used to create the procedure doesn't have the privileges required to execute it, or perhaps you've revoked the original definers grant. (DoH!)

ALTER PROCEDURE procedure_name SQL SECURITY DEFINER;javascript:void(0)

Syndicated 2010-09-01 16:25:00 (Updated 2010-09-01 17:46:04) from Danny Angus

Facebook, you make me want to cry!

It seems that the way in which facebook chooses an image to show alongside a posted link differs for links posted in different ways.

Oh how fucking hilarious. Not.

On our product page if you "attach" the link, or share it using facebook sharer (http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php) it picks the big product image as the first image in the list for you to choose from. This is a Good Thing, and exactly what we want to achieve.

However if you click the like button, its picking up a random image from sets of smaller images elsewhere on the page.

e.g. Share this dress' page through the sharer, or by "attaching" and you see this image:

but if you use the like button it shows us this image,

which is for this dress.

Arrgghh that's annoying. Get a damn grip facebook, at the very least you could try to be consistent. Read about the principle of least surprise.

Syndicated 2010-09-01 15:48:00 (Updated 2010-09-01 15:58:08) from Danny Angus

31 Aug 2010 (updated 31 Aug 2010 at 14:10 UTC) »

Oh Dear poor facebook!

Facebook appears to be unavailable for many users, our office included.

This looks like a DNS issue, looking up www.facebook.com reveals no answer, but facebook.com does resolve.

So I added this to my hosts file[1], its one of the addresses for facebook.com, and it all came rumbling back.
(update, I've updated the line to include the login hostname) www.facebook.com login.facebook.com

Facebook.. if you're listening, fix your DNS, and you owe me!

[1] Windows users, use notepad, you'll find that file here:
Just copy'n'paste the line at the end

Syndicated 2010-08-31 12:59:00 (Updated 2010-08-31 13:35:52) from Danny Angus

note to self, how to use your favourite editor for the crontab without changing it permanently

I like to use nano to edit the crontab, but I don't want to change the default editor.
(Some people are very un-funny about that kind of thing!)

This is the one-liner to use nano, and I seldom remember it.

env EDITOR=nano crontab -e

Syndicated 2010-08-31 12:04:00 (Updated 2010-08-31 12:04:40) from Danny Angus

25 Aug 2010 (updated 25 Aug 2010 at 16:10 UTC) »

note to self, how to make a mysql instance read-only

Another piece of DBA hoodoo that I seldom need!

SELECT @@global.read_only;
SET GLOBAL read_only=1;
SELECT @@global.read_only;

Syndicated 2010-08-25 14:19:00 (Updated 2010-08-25 15:57:06) from Danny Angus

25 Aug 2010 (updated 25 Aug 2010 at 15:12 UTC) »

note to self, how to skip a mysql replication error

Another one that I have to google every time.
Not being a DBA I don't do this very often, but now and again I find myself in the Hot Seat.


Syndicated 2010-08-25 14:11:00 (Updated 2010-08-25 14:22:33) from Danny Angus

18 Aug 2010 (updated 25 Aug 2010 at 15:12 UTC) »

note to self, how to convert pfx to pem without passphrase

I do this so infrequently that I always have to google it.
Now I can search my own blog!
openssl pkcs12 -in mycert.pfx -out certificate.cer -nodes

Syndicated 2010-08-18 14:21:00 (Updated 2010-08-25 14:20:28) from Danny Angus

I've been Scammed! (not really... but he tried his best)

Be safe.. the following describes an attempt to scam me into giving someone remote access to my PC, I was in a playful mood so I strung him along, don't you do that same thing unless you *know* what you're doing. And above all never let anyone remotely access your pc unless you're 100% sure that you ant them to.

I just got a call from a company calling themselves "virtual pc doctor".
He said that I was being called because I was a microsoft registered user.

The guy got me to log into my pc.

Then we clicked the start button and he got me to tell him if it said "computer" or "my computer".

Then we looked at the event viewer, he told me that the errors and warnings were some kind of dire "online infections" that can't be detected by anti-virus.

Woo, scary techno-shit, I thought (not!)

Then he asked me to open www.logmein123.com.

I didn't. I googled it instead.

He told me that a technician would log in, and cure these infections and install a "gateway" which would prevent further infections.

At this point I challenged him about the "online infections" and told him that I didn't think "dhcp client cannot obtain address" was very serious at all.

He said that if I thought that then that was my choice, but my computer could be irreperable damaged.

"oh!" I said, "how?"

"by corrupting the harddrive and the operating system" said he,

"OH!" I said, "Thats, bad. But what kind of software is capable of damanging the hardware? I can just re-install windows can't I?"

"No, because this is new, in the past few weeks, thats why we are giving you the call"

So I asked him where his company was located, and when he said the UK I asked him for registration details.

He Rang Off.

I reported the scam to trading standards.

If he calls you, hang up and report it yourself. Be safe!

Syndicated 2010-08-06 16:48:00 (Updated 2010-08-06 17:04:20) from Danny Angus

FIFA win the Queen Victoria memorial reactionary fuddy-duddy-ism award

In the spirit of the World Cup I'm going to veer off into football for this award, possibly for the only time ever.

I'm not a football fan, I prefer to follow "another code" (rugby union for those who don't speak in riddles) and I've been amazed and appalled at the number of times in this world cup, that the ref has appeared to have his hands tied and his eyes poked out by the victorian attitude to refereeing as expressed by FIFA.

International Rugby has sucessfuly benefited from video replays and from penalty-tries, and indeed from a clock that counts the seconds of play, cleverly pausing for injury or other "time out". None of these things interrupt the flow of the game. None of them compromise his authority.

The introduction of goal line "technology" however, would. That would delegate the decison to a machine.

In both codes the ref's decision is absolute and final, as it should be, and he has the option to exercise his opinion and experience at every stage of the game.

But by FIFA denying ref's access to the *option* to consult a video ref (or tv match official) or the *option* to award a goal for goal line offences we are saying that we do not trust their judgement. If FIFA do not trust the judgement of their referees what does that say for the game? Not to mention the appaling messages the handing of these incidents sends to our kids.

Decisions forced on ref's in this world cup undermine sportsmanship, and for that reason, FIFA, you get the Queen Victoria memorial award for reactionary fuddy-duddy-ism.

Syndicated 2010-07-05 20:20:00 (Updated 2010-07-05 20:23:17) from Danny Angus

There's more to running a railroad than just laying down tracks, you know (nine reasons that diaspora will struggle)

I have to say that although I don't have anything against Diaspora, there's a strong sense of dot-com naievety in the web site and the press reports that I've read. As someone once said in some movie I once saw sometime;

There's more to running a railroad than just laying down tracks, you know.*
Those of you who were around during the unfettered madness in the last stages of the dot-com boom should know better than simply to believe the hype here, and let me explain why.

Diaspora have nothing, they have some pledges of funding and apparently a bit of code that may or may not work.
Nothing bankable there, and no business model that I can see which will give any real investor even the promise of a return.
We've seen friends reunited fail to capitalise on the very similar oppportunity their idea created and the enthusiasm with which it was greeted, and that is because they chose to charge for parts of the service.
Anyone wanting to get into this space is going to have to burn through a lot of cash before they get a big enough audience to make money from by any indirect means, if they ever do.

If they've been pulling allnighters and sleeping under the desks their development methodology is unsustainable. I would consider myself to have failed in a big way if I had to ask someone to sleep under their desk, geeks need their beauty sleep if they're going to do a good job for you.
They're going to crash and burn if the don't fix that one. I know that some of the most sucessful dot coms have evolved from student's developing something on a shoe string, but they have largely been gamechangers.

Diaspora isn't a game changer. It is an evolutionary development of social networking.

They have a HUGE competitor in facebook. And potentially another in Google's OpenSocial. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde "To challenge one gorilla may be regarded as a misfortune. To challenge two looks like carelessness."

Privacy and security are not sexy, they won't sell this to normal consumers (c.f. industry insiders like ourselves) people like facebook, and don't really know or care about the the privacy issues.
You only have to read the comments on facebook's status update posts to realise that very many of their users have a very sketchy understanding (and thats me being flattering) of what the web is, never mind how it works.

Distributed is sexy, but only to sad geeks like you and me! The emphasis in "social network" is on social not network.
In practice this is going to manifest itself in questions like who will opeate a diaspora server? and how will I choose my diaspora provider?
Either that or there will only ever be one operator of diaspora, and the distributed thing will be obsolete from the start like so many internet technologies who's technical capabilities are sidelined by business and operational issues: The way we misuse "trust certificates" (I don't trust verisign, who the f**k are they?), they way that we don't use multi-hop SMTP because of spam, the way that theJ2EE servlet specification was never really adopted for anything other than http, the way that teleco's won't let us use our mobiles (cellphones) as modems, but they will sell us dongles.

They don't appear to own the domain name diaspora.com. A small thing, but perhaps a glimpse at a lack of joined up thinking?

And the big one ... Someone has to persuade all of the people who are happy using other social networks that they need to be bothered using diaspora.
Now I know that we've seen people move from bebo and myspace to facebook, but that seems to have been driven by two factors, one is the fact that facebook's offering is different, its a slighly different service, the other is the demographic, facebook targets (or seems to) an older demographic, producing the perception that myspace and bebo are for kids...
When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.
...and that as facebook is more "grown up" it becomes cool to move your social network activity to facebook.
Where is the comparable hook that will attract people to diaspora? Privacy? give me a break!

The technology exists to create diaspora, but is there enough time?
It takes a lot more than a list of techical ideas to make a robust system. If all you needed was enthusiasm and an understanding of the technology most of us would be billionaires, and we know it!
Each one of their to-do's has to be implemented, that implementation will be beset with technical challenges.
Integrating them into a coherent single service adds a whole extra degree of complexity. This kind of development needs to be properly managed by people who understand the risks and know the trick of avoiding them.
Those people exist, I like to think I'm one of them, but the point is that their intervention will move the goal posts, and dilute the "purity" of the mission.

So, IMHO Diaspora may well be what the thinking geek would have liked facebook to be, but it is never going to replace it. Sorry, but there you go.

* (if you know what movie it is let me know!).

Syndicated 2010-05-15 09:08:00 (Updated 2010-05-15 09:25:26) from Danny Angus

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