Archive for November, 2005


November 30, 2005 4 comments

I’m really excited about Firefox 1.5’s new SVG feature … kinda.

Check out Can you put the moon into orbit? if you have Firefox 1.5 (and I believe Opera). It’s an interactive SVG/javascript simulation of gravity and the moon’s orbit. The file is only 11k. The beauty of this is that there are no plug-ins to worry about, no unreadable binary SWF files, and no more being locked into Flash’s frame-based paradigm. This makes developing rich web content easier than ever.

The sad fact of the matter is that Microsoft probably isn’t going to be putting SVG support in IE7. Unless we web developers can convince everyone to dump IE, we’re stuck with band-aids for the foreseeable future.

Yes, I wish everyone would switch to Firefox over IE, but no, it’s not because I dislike Microsoft. It’s because I have to develop websites for it and developing sites for IE is a royal pain.

Categories: Web/Tech


November 29, 2005 1 comment

At my day job, we have many legacy applications that run in terminals. We have one machine running Redhat Linux that serves these applications. We’re currently migrating all our systems to Ubuntu from Redhat and wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible.

We decided to try out the Xen virtualization technology. Using standard Linux utilities, we were able to copy the disk image of this machine to another machine running Xen, and set it up as a virtual machine running side-by-side with the Ubuntu OS that was already running there.

Just a bit ago, a couple of our guys were trying to figure out why a cron job seemed to be running 2 times each night. Well, duh, we have two versions of that machine running at the same time – cron jobs and all!

We haven’t migrated yet, but when it happens, we’ll be able to make a new disk image, copy it over to the new virtual machine, shut the original machine down, boot the new one up, and be back to working order in less than 30 minutes. We can then take our time upgrading the actual hardware to Ubuntu and migrating all our applications.

Xen is very cool.

Categories: Web/Tech

Software Support

November 28, 2005 1 comment

Often support is listed as a barrier to using open-source software.

Last night I was playing with a new Blender release candidate. I was attempting to grow hair on the female head model I’ve been working on. Unfortunately it crashed. Fortunately the crash was very predictable, so I uploaded my file to the bug reporting site and explained the crash. This all happened last night at about 10:30. This morning I checked it at about 5:30am and my bug report had already been closed with a note on how to work around it and a report that this bug had been fixed after the release candidate had been built. The lead developer had even rendered my file to make sure that it worked in the updated version.

While not all open-source projects have support of that quality, neither do all commercial software vendors. The moral of the story is that open-source support can be as good as commercial support. Each project or company must be evaluated independently and a decision made based on your (and other people’s) experiences with the support received.

Also, it is beneficial to you, other users of the software, and the software developers, if when you find bugs in software you take the time to submit detailed information on how to reproduce the bug. It will make the software better in the long run. Don’t just leave it for someone else to report.

Categories: Uncategorized

Identity Crisis

November 21, 2005 Leave a comment

My computer geek score is greater than 91% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Ken is having an identy crisis in Nerdity (Or Lack Thereof).

I was too after I only got a 71 on the nerd test. It turns out that these tests are usefully in figuring out what you are. The same site has a computer geek test which I just took. I guess I’m more of a Geek than a Nerd.

Categories: Brain Fart

Firefox 1.5

November 17, 2005 2 comments

After my recent switch to Epiphany for browsing, I’ve just switched back to Firefox. My chief reason for switching to Epiphany was speed. I use an 866Mhz Pentium 3 at work and Epiphany ran circles around Firefox. However, Firefox 1.5RC2 compares favorably with Epiphany, and is in some cases better (e.g. back and forward buttons).

Firefox 1.5 supports SVG. While this won’t have a big impact right away, I’m looking forward to the day when I can do all kinds of vector graphics on the web without resorting to Flash. Hopefully either IE will go away, or will eventually support SVG.

Categories: Web/Tech

Reversing Strings

November 17, 2005 5 comments

Link: C   Problem at

Phil Crissman had an interesting coding problem in regard to reversing strings. I haven’t done this sort of things since school since most languages have built-in reverse functions, but it is still fun to play with.

The most interesting solution to this problem I remember involved using bitwise exclusive or operators to avoid using a variable for swapping characters. It’s not necessarily the most efficient, but very interesting. All you coders out there, what’s your most interesting solution to the problem?

char *reverse( char *string )
    char *begin = string;
    char *end = string + (strlen(string) - 1);

    for( ; begin < end; begin++, end-- ){
        *end ^= *begin;
        *begin ^= *end;
        *end ^= *begin;

    return string;
Categories: Web/Tech


November 16, 2005 Leave a comment

I am nerdier than 71% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!Link: SUPREME NERD = ME ?

Oh No! Jason‘s got me beat! I think it is because of his Physics background.

Categories: Brain Fart

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