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WebDragon (1204)

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Macintosh owner/user since 1987
Perl hacker since 2000
Linux (Redhat/Fedora) user since 2001

Journal of WebDragon (1204)

Monday March 22, 2004
04:36 PM

unicode mods

Today while browsing Use Perl, the following quote showed up at the bottom:

: Why Bible quotes exclusively?  What
: happened to the Eastern religions?
I'm still working on the Unicode mods.
            --Larry Wall

Thank you, Larry. I haven't laughed this hard in a while. I needed that :-D

Tuesday March 09, 2004
03:33 AM

*sigh* outdated software still for sale

so we find this SQL Query parser for php to turn a search input box into formed MYSQL queries and lo! it's only $18. boss looks, buys. all well and good

we get the e-mail, and I go to download.

permission denied, no where to input a password.

I send off a few e-mails to the support address in the e-mail, and no response, so I e-mail the name in the whois database, and put in a call to as well.

the e-mail comes back that he's gonna contact the developers. ok so far..

developers say no, we're gonna refund your money.

Now, personally, IMHO if you still have something available for purchase thru a software clearing house that accepts credit cards, despite having upgraded the package and released significant updates (at least I'd like to think so, since it seems the price has jumped from $18 to $225, which there is no chance in hell of the boss paying at this point in time)

It would just be a really nice gesture to allow me to purchase the OLD software, with the understanding that it comes with ZERO support and that if I want support, I should buy the new package. I can deal with that. Since my only other alternative is to spend the next two to three days coding up a parser by hand from scratch, knowing jack diddly about PHP.

If you discontinue sales of a package, you REALLY should tell the people you're re-selling it through that product number nnnnn is no longer available for sale.

Am I wrong for thinking that I'm entitled to the old package with the understanding that I get zero support for any bugs or security issues, and that I'm responsible for them?

This at least gives me a *starting* point, since I have NO clue where to start.

it's really a simple database. mostly SET and ENUM queries, with one comma-separated list TEXT field for additonal keywords. I just need to be able to differentiate and parse the multi-word keys .. things along the lines of 'mountain bike' 'cigar store indian' 'juju beads' etc etc. from other single keywords.

Right now all the queries are coming from an index listing of ALL keywords in the db, rather than an input box, but still I need to parse, for security reasons if nothing else.

starting from scratch will make me prematurely grey.

I don't suppose anyone out there has a source for an Open Source alternative to the $225 I'd otherwise be facing ?

Wednesday February 25, 2004
04:08 PM

Pop Up Ads can 'kill your brand'

Pop Up Ads can kill your brand

Is it just me, or does everyone else reading this think that them finally getting around to realizing this is SO long overdue ..

Now if we could only convince the companies hiring the spammers of the same ...

I would NEVER EVER EVER (x 10^Inf) buy from these people. It's intrusive and annoying, and there's not a snowball's chance in hell that they will get my business or my money.

What a waste of the Internet's vast resources.

Tuesday February 03, 2004
11:19 AM


I don't think it's so much that Microsoft and the PC manufacturers are doing so much more of a good job than Apple, or that Apple's doing such a bad job of it (considering Apple's overall profitability over the past 5 years, and how often they beat the analysts predictions)

Let's bear in mind just how cut-throat the PC business is. For years the clone-makers and clone-resellers (I refer of course to the phrase IBM-Clone) cut their own gross profit margins in order to make sales, so much and so many that their margins dwindled away to nothing.

Now you either need hefty service contracts, tons of add ons, or sheer volume to make up the difference. So, it suddenly becomes pretty obvious to me WHY there's so many windows-running systems out there. The sales people HAVE to sell so many just to make up their nut and keep their companies profitable... and in many cases STILL have to cut their own throat to make the deal stick.

Apple had a different problem 7-8 years ago, and thankfully Jobs's return stopped their slow spiral into obscurity (Since I love these things, and have disliked the whole clone-scenario since I noticed back in the day before I bought my first PC OR my first Mac, how much more MS-DOS sucked compared to TRS-DOS [I kid you not. I HATED MS-DOS. Owned a TRS-80 Model III before I got my first Mac 512K used off a friend] That was a decision I hated making, since it meant I wouldn't be getting the next model TRS-80.. fortunately for me Apple came along in the nick of time. :)

Having been in Macintosh sales for about 10 of the ensuing 17 years since then, I *saw* the margins getting away from me and every other vendor out there. 18 points of gross profit used to be the rule.. ($sale = $cost / .82;) (gross profit calculation is different from percent markup, for you who are not aware of the difference. 20 points of gross profit is the same as 25% markup, i.e. $cost / .8 = $cost * 1.25).

Thus, in order to keep the pipeline filled, one must churn the waters ever faster and faster, since there's less and less 'water' (read: liquidity) coming from each base sale. One is veritably forced into selling the hell out of add-on peripherals and service contracts in order to make your company any profit. (I mean, we DO want to still have jobs (and/or companies) a few years down the road too)

I think Apple's doing a *fine* job of keeping the prices low enough (while selling ever more incredible systems) to balance between starving the company for liquidity, and staying profitable enough to continue doing the R&D that they _HAVE_ to do in order to continue innovating to any degree whatsoever.

Granted I still have to find a full-time job, (or enough contract work), and a car is my next priority to replace, but after that, it's definitely gonna be a new Mac.. the raw power since I bought my last (a PPC 7600/132) and the price point for what you get hardware-wise is just too attractive. [notwithstanding the other benefits, which I'll get into later] ...unless some kind soul wants to donate a G5 tower to a worthy cause... :)

Thursday January 29, 2004
09:19 AM

my how time flies

How the heck did it get to be January 29th so darn fast? eek.

08:52 AM

Ahh Fedora Core, how dost thou annoy me...

So, I upgrade my Red Hat 9 install to Fedora Core 1, only to discover several instances of modules that have had their version numbers bumped to higher than that of CPAN, and whose implementations internally differ widely from their CPAN counterparts.

Additionally Test::Harness 1.40 refuses to pass all tests, and a quick e-mail dashed off to Andy Lester about it returnes his reply:

"Yeah, basically the default Perl install from Fedora has some goofed up header files. :-("

And interestingly it's Perl 5.8.1. What I'm *really* curious about is why on NONE of the repositories I've found so far for yum, is there one single instance of perl 5.8.2 or 5.8.3 available.

I'm *seriously* considering whether or not I want to try grabbing the perl *src.rpm for Fedora, and hacking the .spec, and jacking in the 5.8.3 tar.gz, and seeing what happens.

I've never built Perl from source before so the experiment alone will probably teach me more about my system than I'm really ready to know. heh.

I'm really curious about the fact that there's no updated rpms, considering the bugs fixed and the rapid release of so many new updates to the initial Perl 5.8.0 -- that would hint to ME at least that some serious bugs warranted fixing ASAFP .. so why don't *I* have them yet, via the rpms ? *argggggggghhhh*

And then you have the issue of there being so many additional modules *separated* from the initial Perl install that have to be grabbed via apt/yum/up2date, or just selected at install time. I really don't grok the logic behind why some of them are separated out and not part of the default install.

I mention the absence of 5.8.3 in updates to some of the #fedora people on and all I got were blank looks along the lines of "why do you need _that_?" or "is there something critical in that that you _need_?"

How about BUGFIXES? Security updates? Stimpy you eeediot!!

I mean, particularly if we're all going to be so gung-ho about using UTF-8 as the *DEFAULT* in /etc/sysconfig/i18n, you would THINK that someone would feel that the UTF-8 handling bugs that were fixed would warrant a further release.

Thursday December 18, 2003
09:56 PM

Sigh of relief....

All together now... wheeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Finally finished up the basic hacking and get-it-up-and-running (even if it's not pretty yet) of a database admin back-end for a clients website makeover that's been driving me nuts for the past month.

It works, squished all the majorly obvious bugs, have full taint-checking done, as well as a good deal of sanity-checking (so they can't accidentally screw themselves), and the nifty javascript I hacked together not knowing what I was doing at all, works beautifully without having to pre-load 900+ images. yay!

More to the point, now that this is finally out of the way, I can spend some time on two other paying website/programming projects I have on my plate, while the client has his employees fill the database with data... Since it's not until that's done that I have to put the front-end on it. :-)

Busy is good, yes, particularly in the current economy, but yeeesh that *thing* has been the worst monkey on my back in the longest time. At least the front end <knock wood> won't be nearly so difficult.

Friday December 12, 2003
04:34 PM

Updated Time::Elapse released

This is the second time I've updated this thing thanks to forgetting the password to my gpg signature, which I've up til now THOUGHT I was using the same one each time. I've picked a new one and after extensive re-testing I've managed to determine that A> I am now sure I remember it accurately, and B> including some rebooting, having many days pass, and other various system updates (including one to gnupg itself) have not invalidated said password somehow.

So, I finally put the new dist together only to stumble over the fact that blibdirs gets created by the new ExtUtils::MakeMaker, added a MANIFEST.SKIP (and deal with its peculiarities) and then later stumble over the fact that META.yml gets generated very late in the game such that I have to re-generate SIGNATURE all over again and re-re-re-package the dist.

1.24_02 should be the last re-release for a little while.

In the meantime, I'm going to go bang my head on the wall for a while and try to remember why exactly I _don't_ remember this being so difficult before... :)

Saturday September 27, 2003
07:59 AM

5.8.1? cool!

Congratulations to the devel team, and Jarkko (i-hope-i-spelled-that-right) for a fine piece of work. Very much looking forward to it, as soon as someone manages to put together the proper rpms for a Red Hat 9 system.

I *am* tempted to compile it myself though; perhaps after a look at the .spec file from the *.src.rpm to see what switches they are passing to ./configure.

I haven't been having any problems with 5.8.0 (yet) thank God, but it's nice to know that lots and lots of bugs got squished.

The only thing I'm not looking forward to is re-updating any of the add-on modules I've gotten from CPAN. Fortunately I've got my modulereport script to help with that []. Very proud of this pup as it's actually quite a bit more robust than the 'r' command, and has helped me to catch a number of bugs in the CPAN database itself. :-) Now if I could just get it to work completely cross-platform, (or at least to MacOS (X|Classic), Linux, and Win32...) as right now it only works under Linux due to some persistence features I've added and mutated from the original MacPerl implementation.

Tuesday August 19, 2003
01:21 PM

I love it.

This just made my day. Choice quote:

We're getting sick of saying this, but Sobig-F is a Windows-only menace. Mac, Linux, OS/2 and Unix users are immune.

* WebDragon checks to see if anyone is looking, and furtively hugs his Macintosh and Linux boxes

* WebDragon falls off the floor laughing :D