Older blog entries for johnnyb (starting at number 190)

Thought some of you might be interested in my tutorial on how to create a reusable iphone widget with Interface Builder.

I have a chapter in the newly released book, Sacred Cows in Science. The book contains chapters by 17 authors and covers a variety of alternative ideas in science from biology to physics to sociology. My chapter is on whether genetic mutations are accidental or regulated (or both). Anyway, check out the book!

I posted my criticism of the green movement here .

Just released a new Javascript/Twitter/Google Maps integration tool. Also has a Rails plugin, which gives you more control, but is perfectly usable with HTML- only. See the Twitter, Google Maps, and Rails goodness here.


I broke down and bought iShowU because of great reviews. However, due to what the author claims is a Quicktime Bug, the application quit after I had spent OVER AN HOUR recording video. The whole point of getting iShowU was to do painless training sessions when I had time (like in the evening) and then distribute them. But instead of saving time, I just wasted MY WHOLE FREAKIN NIGHT!

It's not that the file is gone - I have all 114MB. However, according to the author of the software, it is UNUSABLE. AHH!

I'm about to smack my head against several walls. I had finally gotten to what I thought was a manageable amount of work, and then I get whacked by this application, and now I'm way behind, yet again, and lost my whole evening (I had spent over an hour preparing for the screencast, and had stopped half way through my first take to do it better, too).

That's $20 and a whole evening I will never see again.

Do not ever do business with InternetSecure. Ever.

I've been trying to get a stupid site linked up with them for weeks. ABSOLUTELY INFURIATING!

I've linked up sites with Authorize.net, YourPay/LinkPoint, and a number of other gateways, using a number of languages, and so on and so forth. InternetSecure advertises itself as being a drop-in replacement for Authorize.net. All I can say is that is COMPLETE B.S.!

It is _not_ a drop-in replacement for Authorize.net. For example, I was using ActiveMerchant in Ruby-on-Rails. Well, ActiveMerchant makes use of the 'encap' parameter for authorize.net. But guess what, InternetSecure ignores it! Also, the code I was using simply transmitted card information. This is fine for every gateway I've ever used. But guess what - InternetSecure doesn't support that! Again, it is NOT IN ANY WAY a drop-in replacement for authorize.net.

Then they have developers jump through hoops to get certified on their system. Just a horrendous group to do business with.

Again, despite what they tell you, it is NOT a drop-in replacement for authorize.net.

Do not EVER use Network Solutions

Okay, I've finally had it. I am vowing never to use Network Solutions again. I've put up with their crap for years because they made it easy to delegate management of their domains, but now I am freaking irate because of their hideous incompetence.

Apparently, when you transfer a domain to networksolutions.com they feel free to host their own web page on your domain for you. That's right, I just transferred two of our customer's domains to them, and what shows up today? A network solutions logo with one of their idiotic domain parking pages. I went in and set the DNS to point to the right place using THEIR OWN management tool. I then did a dig directly on the DNS server assigned to me. Guess what? NO CHANGE. Four hours later, still no change -- their DNS servers are still reporting their own informercial site as being our website.

This, along with their DNS admin tool being trash (doesn't even support TXT records -- how do you do SPF records and the like without TXT records?), has finally convinced me to find someone else for a registrar -- Network Solutions is terrible.

Setting wmode to transparent on Yahoo! Maps

Unfortunately, if you need to overlay something on top of Yahoo! maps, it won't let you, because you can't change the wmode of the flash to "transparent". IN order to fix this, you have to do a small hack of the Yahoo! Maps API. If you want to set the wmode of Yahoo! Maps to transparent, insert the following code before you create a map, but after you load the Yahoo API:

  FlashTag.prototype.toStringOrig = FlashTag.prototype.toString
  FlashTag.prototype.toString = function() {
    return this.toStringOrig();

This modifies the flash tag creation to set the wmode immediately before rendering the tag.

Lots of new projects for Ruby on Rails and/or just Ruby:

As I mentioned earlier, I launched ActiveShipping which can be used either with Rails or by itself.

If you ever wanted an easy way to write forms for which portions appear/disappear based on the results of a drop-down box, I have a Rails plugin called Applicability:


If you ever wanted an easy way to do client-side tabbed panels, I now introduct RailsTabbedPanel:


Neither of these require you to manage Javascript yourself -- it handles all of the Javascript generation for you in a clean manner. You can even have multiple tabbed panels and multiple applicability containers together, and nested.

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