This deal is getting worse all the time

| Nov. 28, 2008

Pray that Amazon does not alter it further.

Others have pointed out plenty of Black Friday non-deals in stores and online already, but here’s one I found on Amazon where the supermarket shrink ray seems to be applying to external hard drives, as well.

What starts as a cheap 1TB hard drive here…

Reveals something less here…

Hey, where did 25% of my hard drive go?

Oh, and Black Friday is a stupid name.

Hey Cosmo, you suck!

| Nov. 27, 2008

Maybe it was Facebook. Maybe it was testing SMS code at my old job. One way or another my cellphone number ended up on a goddam Web 2.0 voice SMS social networking auto-dialer piece of shit website.

I had to call them back at 302-336-7401 and dial 3 to block all future messages. I hope they paid a lot of money for my number, since they just made a potential consumer into an enemy. You can block your own number, join your friends for a DDoS attack, or see an example of a copywriter who doesn’t “understand” the use of quotation marks at their lying shill of a website:

BBC calls cut on Phoo Action

| Nov. 19, 2008

As a huge fan of Gorillaz (and medium-ish fan of Tank Girl), I was disappointed that the first news I heard about Jamie Hewlett’s upcoming series Phoo Action was that the BBC was canceling it.

RIP brit-goofiness.

He even saved the boxes

| Nov. 19, 2008

I’d written before about the man who died and left his wife with a garage full of boxes of Mac junk he had collected over the years. I like collecting this old, hard-to-find memorabilia, and found myself the owner of three more boxes of old Mac parts my friends had dropped off, after helping the departed’s wife clear his junk out of their house (evidently she wasn’t as sentimental). I think it’s a cute hobby, getting hardware and software twenty years past its prime humming again, even trying to get it to work with modern computers, like waking up a cryogenically frozen time traveler to the distant and bewildering future after the year 2001.

But there’s a point where all this collecting becomes pathological, and I felt a little sad digging through the deceased’s box of various manuals and peripherals. Well, not the peripherals themselves; they were long gone — I was looking at just their boxes. A box of boxes. Each one neatly preserved, flattened in a display of efficiency and economy of space, oblivious to the sad fact that these things weren’t worth keeping in the first place. What would drive a person to save just the boxes? I thought, fighting back the awareness of the various LEGO boxes squirreled away in the nooks of my apartment.

It seemed to me an inability to separate priceless from worthless; should one ever need to know the uplink speed, the version number, or how to reset some archaic device’s password, that data would be neatly shelved away, on the off-chance that scrap of cardboard would one day become invaluable.

Rather than learn what information was important about each device, and in the process separate the signal from the noise, the pack rat simply files it all away: dictated, not read. I believe this is the behavior of a person who prefers to catalog their experiences, rather than allow the ephemera of life to pass through them, and in that way they’re really cataloging their life rather than experiencing it.

Getting these boxes made me take a long look at myself, and raised some difficult questions. Questions like why do I have five modems when I don’t have a phone line? How many SE/30s is enough? And more importantly: how do I get rid of this stuff? And which of these things should I keep?

CMS Madness

Work | Nov. 19, 2008

Unix gets a bad rap for having an abundance of many needless flavors when — since they all use the same OS — most of the time you’re getting a choice of vanilla, french vanilla, and fat-free vanilla.

But worse than that is the proliferation of more varieties of content management systems then there has any reason to be. Why should I feel limited to just Drupal or Joomla, when there’s tons of suck to go around? If you’re building a new website and would much rather learn some other programmer’s (or worse, a committee of programmers) byzantine system of content management, visit to view this utterly baffling plethora.

node_teaser is bass_ackwards

Work | Nov. 12, 2008

After getting all apoplectic at one commenter foolish enough to support Joomla, I hasten to add that Drupal is no walk in the park either. I’m having a little issue with node_teaser in particular. Rather than use strrpos to search for the last occurrence of a character in a string, Drupal instead reverses the entire string and searches for a backwards string using strpos.

foreach ($points as $point => $offset) {
// The teaser is already reversed, but the break point isn't.
$rpos = strpos($reversed, strrev($point));
if ($rpos !== FALSE) {
$min_rpos = min($rpos + $offset, $min_rpos);

I am dumbfounded. I’m also writing my own node_teaser now, one that ignores HTML tags when determining teaser length, so your teaser isn’t comprised mostly of invisible <a href=””> code that does nothing for the reader.

UPDATE: A better programmer than myself informed me that — counter-intuitive though it may be — it’s actually faster in PHP to reverse a string and search a reversed piece of text through it than to use strrpos to search from back to front. Personally, I don’t see how it’s more efficient to use two functions to search for a string instead of one, and to keep two blocks of text in memory instead of one, but I’m going to take his word for it.

If only their tech support was this fast

| Nov. 12, 2008

Six months ago, I got fed up with the onslaught of spam I was receiving from my web hosting account with Hollister Internet. I called and emailed them over a period of several months demanding they fix this problem which always seemed to be “just a few weeks” from being resolved. Yesterday I got an email from them saying my tech support issue was moved to billing, which was odd for two reasons:

  1. They didn’t fix my problem, nor did they seem capable
  2. I had a complimentary hosting account

Fast forward to this morning when I am awakened by a phone call from them asking that I pay my bill or cancel. As I had given up on Hollinet and moved to a paid host back in July, I declined to renew my contract. When your price point is zero and you can’t keep customers, there’s something wrong with your service.

Joomla vs. Drupal

Work | Nov. 12, 2008

It’s been my experience that content management systems are each their own special flavor of bad, in particular because they all seem to do a lot of things except the one thing you absolutely need them to do.

As a programmer, I find it a little backwards that I learned PHP and MySQL so I can create my own applications, but with a CMS I am not using those skills — instead I spend most of my time figuring out someone else’s idea of how to build applications and trying to see if what they wrote will work for me.

Awhile ago, CMS Report did a comparison of Joomla vs. Drupal, and as a survivor of building websites with Joomla, I was interested to hear whether there was anything good to say about it.

Drupal fails on such elements as Shopping Carts, Event Calendars, Document Management, and Themes. The majority of these items are functions or features which are considered lacking in the Drupal CMS. Regarding the other CMS, Joomla fails to deliver in such elements as user permission, content management, multi-site management, and standard’s compliance. Joomla fails in elements that are more architecture centric.

Let me go over that again: Joomla fails at content management. For a content management system, that’s pretty bad.


| Nov. 2, 2008

There was a bike parked in front of my car the morning I left for work.

It was tipped over when I stopped home for lunch.

When I returned home that night it lay stripped of everything but its frame, like an animal carcass.

This begs the question, is there that strong of a market for used bike tires?