Adding server operations, DBA to my bag of tricks
Adding server operations, DBA to my bag of tricks
Cleaning up my contacts with batch edits in the Google Contacts Data API
The Blizzard of Oz snow day gave me a chance to get my taxes done yesterday, and today I used the time to scratch a long-standing itch to clean up my contacts, which have been a bit of a mess since I merged two sources into one.
When I got my first android phone, a G1, I used the Google Contacts Data API to write hipg.py for migrating my sidekick/hiptop contacts to gmail contacts. Then I grew disappointed with the G1 and went back to the sidekick. And then Microsoft bought Danger and lost everybody's sidekick contacts for a week or so. They restored some of the data, but all my street addresses were gone. I had back-ups, of course; I know better than to completely trust any cloud provider. But I hadn't written code to restore from my back-ups. So I lived without street addresses in my phone for a while.
Then I got another android phone, a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant. I migrated the sidekick contacts again, and then, to get the street addresses, I imported the contacts from the G1 days. Google's merge tools cleaned things up to a tolerable level, but they left 2 issues:
A new year brings a new low in media and culture
The new year brings a reminder that we have turned our culture over to Viacomm, AOL/TW, Disney, Clear Channel, and News Corp, with disastrous results:
Do you know what entered the public domain in the US on Jan 1 2011? Nothing.In a 1999 piece, How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet, Douglas Adams said:
— Rodney Ramsey, citing Duke Law on Public Domain Day 2011
... during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.Since I was born in the late '60s, that seemed perfectly reasonable to me, as he went on to explain:
I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this.
you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:Indeed, I have spent the bulk of my career leading development of open web standards and writing a little open source software; that is: on a shift to participatory media and free culture. But I spend plenty of leisure time on movies, handing ammunition to the old guard with every ticket.
Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.
- everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
- anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
- anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
... if extraterrestrial intelligence is common, why haven’t we met any bright aliens yet? This conundrum became known as Fermi’s Paradox.I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Lessig's Free Culture as I commute. The tl;dr version, from his OSCON 2002 talk, is:
I suggest a different, even darker solution to the Paradox. Basically, I think the aliens don’t blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don’t need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today.
If you haven't at least watched the slides+audio of that talk, stop reading this now and do it. Then let's hope that Jan 1 2011 is the low point in this media aberration.
- Creativity and innovation always builds on the past.
- The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it.
- Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past.
- Ours is less and less a free society.
when I go to a movie, I donate money in the amount I spent to the EFF.Almost a decade later, I see they're still hard at work, fighting the absurdity Lessig notes in chapter 12: Harms:
The four students who were threatened by the RIAA (Jesse Jordan of chapter 3 was just one) were threatened with a $98 billion lawsuit for building search engines that permitted songs to be copied. Yet WorldCom - which defrauded investors of $11 billion, resulting in a loss to investors in market capitalization of over $200 billion - received a fine of a mere $750 million. And under legislation being pushed in Congress right now, a doctor who negligently removes the wrong leg in an operation would be liable for no more than $250,000 in damages for pain and suffering. Can common sense recognize the absurdity in a world where the maximum fine for downloading two songs off the Internet is more than the fine for a doctor's negligently butchering a patient?
"Lord of War" and the land of the ...Lord of War (2005) came to the top of my Netflix queue this week; it has been on my various to-do lists since February 2008 when my brother-in-law recommended it to me during my trip to New York. It's not the feel-good-movie-of-the-year, but it's got some meaty food for thought:
The film was officially endorsed by the human rights group Amnesty International for highlighting the arms trafficking by the international arms industry.
Lord of War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nicolas Cage once again plays the amoral main character and for most of the movie, we see through his rationalizations and we can see what's coming to him. We're right there with his wife when she says that while she failed at a lot of things, she'll never go so low as he has.
Lord of War  [R] - 7.8.10 Kids in Mind
- DISCUSSION TOPICS
- - Weapons trading, civil wars, guerilla warfare, cold wars, the end of the Cold War, redistribution of wealth, the CIA, peace, Africa, AIDS, politics, Pacifism, chaos and anarchy, greed, immigration, the Russian mafia, conflict diamonds, massacres, prostitution, war, bureaucracy, arms embargoes, drug abuse and addiction.
- - Greed and power corrupt. Violence is in our nature.
A brief postscript notes that, while private arms dealers do conduct a lot of business, the five largest arms exporters – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China – are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.If that's not bad enough, there's more to see. Inside Job, called An extraordinary documentary about influence and government by Lawrence Lessig, is now playing in KC.
Lord of War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Another meeting just snuck up on me while coding in my cube
My new job is much more on the maker's schedule than the manager's schedule. Work at W3C basically consisted of preparing for and participating in several meetings a day with people all over the planet. Now I'm mostly coding away in my cube, and the little reminder icon at the top of my screen is not enough to break me out of it. (I'm trained to be interrupted by the buzz of my mobile phone, but sync between the enterprise calendar and android unreliable. Sigh.) Having people physically grab me means I don't miss the meeting, but it doesn't give me a chance to properly context switch.
I don't use a laptop (mostly by choice) so access to the Web depends on either pre-filling a paper cache (printing stuff out) or using the pc/projector in the meeting room. The latter is often more disruptive to the meeting than it's worth.
Fortunately, somebody else had printed the web page that I had prepared for today's meeting. And the group leader uses a laptop, so we had two copies.
Part of my preparation for the meeting was to question whether we needed it at all, having recently read Tantek's thoughts on meetings. I thought the technical issues were pretty straightforward and we should just let the developer get on with it and deal with problems as they came up. But it turns out that some of my understanding of the requirements was wrong, and even in the parts that were right, brainstorming led to solutions that were better than the approach I expected development to take.
Meeting discipline is important. My approach to the risks was finely honed over a decade of remote work, but now that we can get together in the same room without getting on airplanes, I'm learning it all over again.
A VoIP puzzle
Our home phone service is provided by a VoIP provider, ViaTalk. I have a VoIP client, sipdroid, on my smart phone. When the phone rings and caller-id shows a call I want to take, I'd like to take it on my smart phone. Is this too much to ask?
chorded keyboard for android, anyone?
Putting the HTML5 genie back in the bottle in the name of web security?
There's a lot of wisdom in what Crockford continues to say about HTML5 and web security:
The HTML5 proposal does not attempt to correct the XSS problem and actually makes it worse... The fundamental mistake in HTML5 was one of prioritization. It should have tackled the browser's most important problem first. Once the platform was secured, then shiny new features could be carefully added.It makes a lot of sense in theory, but I doubted the practicality of it in a Dec 2008 item:
HTML5 has a lot of momentum and appears to be doomed to succeed.
I think the wiser course is to get it right first. We have learned the hard way that once an error gets into a web standard, it is really hard to get it out.
Ditch cable TV? Yes. Build an HD DVR out of old PC parts? Maybe not.
This item was supposed to be entitled Ditching cable for netflix/wii, broadcast HDTV, and a DIY PVR. After watching the digital media marketplace and technology for years, I convinced my family it was time to go for it this summer. We're close, but due to one critical breakdown in my research, we're not quite there.
FrontendTo watch TV at acceptable speeds, you'll want at least an 800 MHz G4 or better.
And now a word from my technical reviewer:
If you've read this far, my 11 year old son, who reviewed this article for me, says you deserve a mini game:
Jump Little Guy! Jump and Be Free!
Now back to our saga...
To playback HDTV content, plan on a powerful CPU. "How powerful?" depends on a number of factors ...
The Simple Answer: Once you are in the 3.2 Ghz P4-class of CPU you should have no issues with viewing HDTV.
Looxcie wearable continuous camcorder: the future is falling on my head
I've been telling people about this idea for years: a camera that you just wear all the time--part of your glasses, say--and then when you see something cool--like the three deer that crossed the road as I was driving my boys to school this morning, you just hit a button to say "keep that!" or "send it to mom" or "post it to youtube".
Well, the future is here. I didn't even have to go looking for it. It just fell on my head (well, in my inbox) a few minutes after I was searching for some gizmo or other.
Dear Amazon.com Customer,
Customers who showed an interest in hands-free Bluetooth devices might like to know about the new Looxcie camcorder system available now.
I just drained the piggy-bank on a Samsung Vibrant Android Phone, so I won't be an early adopter on this one. But I hope to stay tuned for reviews and I look forward to the day when they're available on craigslist or ebay.
Looxcie Hands-Free Camcorder
- Wearable camcorder continuously videos everything you see
- Instant Clip button lets you retroactively save 30-second clips
- Review and edit video using your compatible smartphone
- Share video instantly via Facebook, YouTube, or email
- Automatically stores up to five hours of footage
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
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If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!