zen.org Communal Weblog

June 25, 2009

Cobol to Java — with only a click?

Filed under: — brendan @ 00:31 IST

This is awesome: in a fully automated way, convert a Cobol application to its iso-functional Java equivalent.

Hmm, garbage collect my savings account?

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September 19, 2008

Using Ubuntu? Install dnsmasq and go faaaaaaaaaaaaast.

Filed under: — brendan @ 11:13 IST

Want to make your browsing go really quickly? Unless your host is running bind/named itself, you can make it stop asking another computer (possibly over in your ISP) every time you try to visit a site or download your mail. Sometimes there’s a pregnant pause at it’s looking it up—again.

The dnsmasq program is really fantastic and keeps a local cache of the addresses you’re asking about. Your computer has its own local place to scribble down things you’ll probably ask for again soon.

Instructions for setting it up are also available on an Ubuntu blog, with the quickest steps in its first comment.

P.S. It’s not just Ubuntu, actually—you could put it on all sorts of systems, including Macs running OS X.

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March 11, 2008

Fixing our true Unicodeness

Filed under: — brendan @ 12:34 IST

We recently moved zen.org to a different server, and in the process my dump and reload of our MySQL database worked—mostly. However any posts with UTF-8 Unicode characters didn’t get displayed correctly.

After spending too much time trying to figure out how to make mysql and mysqldump help me, I realized I should look around for others who’ve had the same problem.

Voila, Jonkepon in Japan gave the fix for exactly the problem we had. The fix has to do with the collation of the entries in the database, not the actual dumping and importing of the content itself.

Since the newer WordPress already does their first step with SET TABLE, I just had to go in via phpMyAdmin. For each of post_content in wp_posts and comment_content in wp_comments, I changed the collation of each to binary (noting the type of LONGTEXT or TEXT) and saved it. Then I edited them again and set each to utf8_unicode_ci, and saved them.

Bingo! All is happy and good again. The other tables are all still latin1_swedish_ci (?!), but I’ll leave them alone until we bump into somewhere else that it’s a problem.

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September 7, 2007

An original joke? Depends on the version

Filed under: — brendan @ 10:39 IST

My brother sent me a funny joke recently, and I thought about throwing it up on the blog. But I figured I should first make sure it’s not one that’s done too much traveling around the Net. The basic idea is:

A husband and wife are traveling by car from Atlanta to New York. After almost twenty-four hours on the road, they decide to stop at a nice hotel and take a room. They only plan to sleep for four hours and then get back on the road. When they check out four hours later, the desk clerk hands them a bill for $350. The man explodes and demands to know why the charge is so high. He tells the clerk although it’s a nice hotel, the rooms certainly aren’t worth $350. When the clerk explains that $350 is the standard rate, the man insists on speaking to the manager.

The manager enters the conversation and explains that the hotel has an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference center which were available for the husband and wife to use.

He also explains that they could have taken in one of the shows which the hotel is famous for. “The best entertainers from New York, Hollywood and Las Vegas perform here,” explains the manager.

No matter what facility the manager mentions, the man replies, “But we didn’t use it!”

The manager is unmoved. Eventually the man gives up and agrees to pay. He writes a check and hands it to the manager. “But sir,” the managers says, “this check is only made out for $100.”

“That’s right,” replies the man. “I charged you $250 for sleeping with my wife.”

“What! I didn’t sleep with your wife!” exclaims the manager.

“Well,” the man replies, “she was here, and you could have.”

Holy cow, it’s apparently pretty popular. So frequently used, in fact, that there exist a wide variety of adjusted versions involving:

  • an unnamed husband and wife; Yonkel and Sara; Steve and Sarah; a Sardarji and his wife; a Uclutian and his wife; Sordarji and his wife; a biker and his wife;
  • driving from Key West to Boston; Miami to Boston; Atlanta to New York; Florida to Canada; somewhere to Tofino; London to Southampton; Edinburgh to London; Delhi to Mumbai; Yorkshire to Scotland; Johannesburg to Cape Town; Sydney to Cairns;
  • $350 US dollars; £350 British pounds; Rs. 5000/- Indian rupee; R750 South African rand;
  • husband charges for: sleeping with his wife; kissing his wife.

I could actually take the time to turn it into an Ireland joke, but it sure seems almost as pointless as the last hour I spent looking at all of those sites. 🙂

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August 10, 2007

Perseid Meteor Shower

Filed under: — Sven @ 13:44 IST

Try not to miss the Perseid meteor shower this weekend. I would not normally post such a thing, but it also happens to be a new moon. Unless it’s cloudy you will not get better viewing then this.

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June 14, 2007

The Ultimate Guide for Linux on a Sony TX1XP Laptop

Filed under: — brendan @ 12:31 IST

Installing Kubuntu Linux on a Sony TX1XP laptop is absolutely amazing.

After struggling with xorg.conf myself but never succeeding, I’ve now got a multihead display going with Thunderbird to my left on the laptop screen, and Firefox in front of me on the big monitor. AND, when I change to another one of my four virtual desktops—both screens change. I’ve now got twice the space.

So now one desktop’s got Thunderbird & Firefox, but if I move to another, voila, there’s the PDF of the ISO standard for the C programming language up on my laptop screen, and on the monitor are the editor and terminal window where I’m doing my work based on what’s in the standard.

How COOL. (insert horrible geeky laughter from TV here)

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June 7, 2007

Fun blog reading

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:16 IST

A new community weblog is starting up in Ireland: For Nine Pounds. (And in 2008 retired, only to rise out of the ashes in its new form of The Blog Pound.) The content in its first few days has been plentiful and entertaining. I’ve started to try doing the Live Bookmarks feature of Firefox to get RSS atom feeds of weblogs to help you spend more time reading and less time clicking.

Anyway, it’s pretty good so far. 🙂

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May 8, 2007

Casual Means Cool

Filed under: — Sven @ 13:52 IST

Still wearing a tie to work? Grist reports that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says dressing more casual to work will help slow down climate change by reducing the need for air conditioning.

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September 23, 2006

Almost time for Brainstock

Filed under: — elana @ 12:37 IST

RTE 2fm dj (and all around good guy) Rick O’Shea has set up a fundraiser for Brainwave, the Irish Epilepsy Foundation.  Brainstock will be on October 12 at Vicar St, one of the best places in Dublin to see anyone.  The lineup so far is:

Boss Volenti on the foot of their newly released debut album “Boss Volenti”.
Couse & the Impossible – Meteor Music Awards 2006 Nominee – Best Irish Male & Best Irish Album.
Emm Gryner fast becoming a regular on the Irish music scene after the Irish release of “A Summer of high hopes” at Oxygen 2006.
Jape Richie Egan striking it out on his own
Neosupervital one of the most genuinely interesting and intriguing acts in ages
Penfold DM after a string of sell-out shows in Whelans & the Sugar Club.
Pugwash the champions of the cause for melodic & enigmatic rock and the critically adored Steve & Joe Wall – many more special guests to be announced over the coming weeks. 

You can get tickets from Ticketmaster for 20 euros, that includes booking fee.  These are some great bands, and honestly, the cost of the ticket is a steal for what you’ll get.  And Brainwave says: All the funds raised on the night will support Brainwave’s 2007 Epilepsy Awareness/ Anti-stigma campaign which aims to eliminate some of the ill-informed prejudices surrounding epilepsy which still exist in today’s society. 

Why is Rick doing this?  He was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 16, and has recently become patron of Brainwave.  Recently, he blogged about a seizure he had, and in his words the “real reason for talking about it here is not to drag you through my dreary medical history but to give you some idea of how this whole process works for the next time you come across someone who either has epilepsy or is having a seizure.”

Fair play to ya Rick.  And if you want to go to Brainstock…GO!!! 

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May 11, 2006

Well tcl me impressed

Filed under: — brendan @ 17:55 IST

This has got to be one of the coolest domains ever: tcl.tk
(Tcl is an interactive programming language, and Tk is a graphical user interface toolkit in Tcl.)

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