Older blog entries for brondsem (starting at number 64)

Finding good open source software

Even for someone like me, who knows about open source software pretty well, it can be hard to find certain software. And I'm sure it would be harder for other people to find out about good open source software.

At my new job we've been working on a site to do just that: Fossfor.us. FOSS stands for Free Open Source Software, and we actually are making the site for people who don't know what FOSS is at all. There are loads of screenshots, video demos, feature lists, etc to help you know if software is what you want or not. And you can browse and search by function or by alternative (e.g. find me an alternative to AIM, or Microsoft Office).

We've got a lot of features (and some bugs) to still work on, but go check it out and download some awesome free software. You deserve it.

Feel free to post suggestions here, or use the "feedback" link on the bottom of Fossfor.us to send a note to our team.

Technorati tags: fossfossforusfreeopensoftwaresource

Syndicated 2009-03-05 22:26:10 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

30 Oct 2008 (updated 30 Oct 2008 at 21:08 UTC) »

Backup Day

This Friday is Halloween. And it's this year's backup day. At least, according to Maxell. Two years ago, they inaugurated Fall Backup Day to be the Friday before the United States' "fall back" daylight savings time change. So each year it is the Friday before the first Sunday in November. (Assuming no new legislation is passed to change DST dates)

Just yesterday I was thinking there should be a backup day, where everyone is reminded to burn some CDs/DVDs of their important files, or make sure they have an automated backup to a remote computer or external hard drive. Because it's so easy to keep putting it off and never doing it. One of my hard drives died several weeks ago, and even that painful reminder wasn't enough for me to get backups in place right away for all my other files.

So I searched for a backup day, but I didn't find much. A few random declarations of random days as backup day, and Maxell's declaration seemed to be the most prominent (even their day seems weak, nothing but a few news articles about it). But I, at least, will start celebrating it.

So during a lull in the trick-or-treaters this year, start burning a DVD. Or find some software to do automatic backups of your files to a remote location.

Technorati tags: backupbackup-day

Syndicated 2008-10-30 02:48:26 (Updated 2008-10-30 20:24:53) from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

15 Aug 2008 (updated 10 Oct 2008 at 21:06 UTC) »

Populate Form Fields Bookmarklet

Sometimes you need to fill in lots of form fields, but you aren't using Firefox with the Web Developer Toolbar and it's "Populate Form Fields" tool. So I wrote a javascript bookmarklet that does basically the same thing.

Drag this to your bookmarks toolbar: Populate Fields

Technorati tags: formsjavascript

Syndicated 2008-08-15 15:03:46 (Updated 2008-10-10 20:55:00) from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

Drop-down menu without javascript

Some time ago I was looking for a CSS-only (no javascript) cross-browser technique to make a drop-down expanding navigation menu. I found the GRC Menu that did this, but it had a lot of site-specific stuff in there. It was not something I could easily use as a starting point for my own sites.

So I hacked around with Steve's CSS and HTML and developed a minimal version. Here's the minimal version of GRC's script-free pure-css menu.

Technorati tags: cssjavascriptmenu

Syndicated 2008-05-19 19:17:57 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

That doesn't happen very often

On Saturday morning I woke up to people talking about string concatenation, and how many parameters some function needed.

Syndicated 2008-05-14 01:57:52 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

MS SQL matrix query

If you use Microsoft SQL and you want to do a query to turn some rows into columns, it can be tricky. I don't know what that type of query is called, I think some call it a matrix query or a cross-tab query or a pivot query. Here's how I've been able to write a pivot cross-tab matrix queries for Microsoft SQL Server including an extra variation for SQL Server 2005.

Technorati tags: microsoftmssqlsql

Syndicated 2008-02-07 04:09:24 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

MediaWiki software and rel=nofollow

In case any of my readers run a MediaWiki site, you should know: By default, MediaWiki is configured to use rel=nofollow on links. This means anyone who sets up a MediaWiki site, not just wikipedia and its siblings. Here's more info and how to reconfigure it. That makes me mad. They should have better defaults.

Syndicated 2008-01-09 04:10:16 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

Event notifications in linux

Envious of slick Mac notifications via Growl, I looked around for similar systems for linux. There doesn't seem to be anything quite as nice, but KDE has a knotify subsystem that is used by KDE apps and easily scriptable. And Galago has libnotify (or is it libgalago?) a gtk-based system for notifications.

I wanted to have an easy way to get notifications when a build or test suite is done running, so I wrote a few simple scripts to use knotify to do so. See Putting KNotify to work for some docs and screenshots of what it looks like. Here's the docs and code:

knotify-send

docs:
  Usage:
  knotify-send [TITLE] [BODY] - create a passive knotify popup

Example:
  knotify-send heya! "look at me"
code:
  #!/bin/bash

# Copyright Dave Brondsema
# licensed under Apache License 2.0

# inspired by galago-project.org's notify-send

if [ "$1" == "" ]; then
    echo "Usage:"
    full=$0
    base=${full##*/}
    echo "  $base [TITLE] [BODY] - create a passive knotify popup"
    echo
    echo "Example:"
    echo "  $base heya! \"look at me\""
    exit
fi


dcop knotify default notify eventname "$1" "$2" '' '' 16 0

knotify-done

docs:
  Usage:
  knotify-done [COMMAND] [ARGUMENTS...] - runs command with args, and then runs knotify when done

Examples:
  knotify-done svn up
  knotify-done ./configure && make && knotify-done make install
     (only notifies for 'make install')
code:
  #!/bin/bash

# Copyright Dave Brondsema
# licensed under Apache License 2.0

# inspired by http://sami.picobot.org/?p=19 and comments

if [ "$1" == "" ]; then
    echo "Usage:"
    full=$0
    base=${full##*/}
    echo "  $base [COMMAND] [ARGUMENTS...] - runs command with args, and then runs knotify when done"
    echo
    echo "Examples:"
    echo "  $base svn up"
    echo "  $base ./configure && make && $base make install"
    echo "     (only notifies for 'make install')"
    exit
fi


$@
title="Completed with exit code $?"
body=$@
dcop knotify default notify eventname "$title" "$body" '' '' 16 0

Technorati tags: bashgrowlknotifynotifications

Syndicated 2007-09-14 02:17:03 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

Programmer's Day

Programmer's Day is today, the 256th day of the year. Sorry I couldn't give you guys more advance notice so you could do nice things for me :) ... but I just found out today.

Syndicated 2007-09-13 15:21:16 from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

24 Jul 2007 (updated 24 Jul 2007 at 19:05 UTC) »

BarCampGrandRapid2 recap

BarCampGrandRapids2 was a lot of fun. I didn't get to engage quite as much as I'd've liked since I was one of the organizers, but it still went really fun and was good to meet lots of people and hang out with friends. I particularly enjoyed Calvin's and Kyle's presentation on YUI CSS and Design Eye for the IT Guy (lots of good resource links there). Hopefully I'll post some notes about my presentation on Facebook/Myspace (I said "spacebook" a few times when I was tired.. not during the presentation) and the need for open systems and protocols for social networks. Finally, I want to list off a few new people that I met. I don't know why, but I feel like doing it.

  • Anthony Oliver (xamox) - Google Summer of Code participant, hacking Drupal; also had some interest in RDF & FOAF
  • Bill Warters - from Wayne State and applying some very recent technology (yahoo pipes, grazr, simile timeline) to help faculty
  • Zach Dennis - Ruby dev, currently
  • Sean McMillan (reaper\umich/edu) - interested in a tool that could post to multiple blogs/social networks
  • Matt Michielsen - interested in lots of things, seemed to grok what I was saying about Konfidi, PGP, DKIM, SPF, etc
  • Greg Clark - bright underclassman working with Jeremy Frens on a RoR project
Technorati tags: barcampgrandrapids2facebookmyspaceyui-css

Syndicated 2007-07-24 01:01:47 (Updated 2007-07-24 18:55:46) from Dave Brondsema's Blog - Programming

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