Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Aptana for PHP and the Aptana Cloud

I just downloaded the Aptana IDE and then sebsequently installed the php plugin.


One thing I noticed is that for under 30 bucks, you can deploy a php/mysql app to the Aptana cloud! There is a free one month trial, I will check it out.

The cloud supports SVN, state and production servers out of the box, if it works that is a pretty nice turn key solution to for getting apps out there.

I think I get cloud computing now...

Monday, December 29, 2008

List of Countries, US States, Canadian and Mexican Provinces

Here is a zipped Excel file with data for a list of all Countries and their 3 letter codes (per the UN), All US State/Armed Forces and Canadian Provinces, and also a list of Mexican Postal provinces.

Zip File

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Here is a quick and dirty guide to using apache's mod_rewrite module


The Benefit of Having Many Choices

Well, once again I'm faced with a new year where I try to get myself motivated to build some web applications. I've been farting around with some tech decisions, and I've come up with the following for one of my projects.

I'm going to use the Abyss web server, PHP, and SQL Express 2008. It is cool to be able to not have to stick with one platform. I like Abyss because I can run it on any platform, and it is easy to use. I like PHP because so many people have done so many great things with it, and you can use PHP both in OOP mode or more like spaghetti classic ASP, which I actually was a master at. I think I'll stick with MS SQL Server for now. MySQL has come a long way, but it isn't quiet comparable to SQL Server yet IMHO. And lastly, on the client side, I'll make heavy use of jQuery. I might also use phalanger to boost the speed of my php if it will work with Abyss.

Pretty cool.


php.net? Well, kind of-


For more info to get what Phalanger can do in perspective, try here-


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unicode Character Reference

Unicode Value Name Symbol

\u0009 Tab
\u000B Vertical Tab
\u000C Form Feed
\u0020 Space
\u000A Line Feed
\u000D Carriage Return
\u0022 Double Quote
\u0027 Single Quote <'>
\u005C Backslash <\>


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

IE vs Firefox Font Rendering...What Gives?

I looked at an application today in both IE and Firefox. Well the fonts look like crap in Firefox, and seem to always look like crud in Firefox. So I finally googled why...turns out the problem is with Windows XP and not Firefox.

Here is the 5 second fix if you can wade through the ads-


Wish I would have googled this a long long time ago...

Note if you change the settings, the setting change is global and will affect more then just Firefox. You might possibly be able to download the power toy here-


Which might give you some additional options, but I haven't played with it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

XAMPP for Windows

Well, I decided to start playing with php and mySQL. I did a little bit of research, and it looks like if I want to stick with the windows side, the easiest way to go about things is to download and install XAMPP, which is a package provided by "Friends of Apache". XAMPP is an almost idiot proof installer that contains php 5.x, mySQL 5.x, openSSL, apache, and a few other items. XAMPP is available for winblows, macs, and linux. You can get yourself a copy to play with here.


So far things worked pretty much as advertised, except that I had to change the apache default port from 80 to something else because I'm running IIS (you can do that in the ini file, google it). I noticed that even though Apache is running on port 85 when it loads in the control panel it still says it is running on port 80 even though it isn't, minor glitch.

The second issue I had is with the winMySqlAdmin control I kept getting an access violation that would pop up every 15 seconds or so. The quick fix is here, though I'm sure there is another way you can setup mySQL so you don't have to run it as root.


So far XAMPP is great, and at least initially it looks pretty easy to install and configure.

An alternative to XAMPP would be to get the Abyss web server up and running, which supports pHp and even classic ASP with a shareware add in. I like Abyss because it is one of the few non-IIS windows web servers that supports ASP.Net. Flavors of Abyss come for Windows, Macs, and Linux.You can check Abyss out here-


And then there is always the option to take the non-mac/windows approach and go with Linux, which php and mySQL were really built for. So far I'm favoring the following two distros, but I don't have a data free box yet to install them on.


Next up, actually doing some php development. I need a good IDE, I hear eclipse has a php plugin that gives you intellisense.

[End of Tech Part of Post]

Who knows? Maybe I'll even play with the open source Flex SDK, JavaFX, and the .Net ports of Linux. I feel like I'm kind of stagnating, and I all of sudden I feel the need to explore what else is out there besides M$ products. Don't get me wrong, I don't see C#, ASP.Net, VS Studio, and Sql Server becoming anything but my primary development tool set anytime soon, but sometimes its good to cross pollinate. New ideas and new ways of doing things start to flow that way.

The only show stopper is that I think it is about time to start playing with MS Silverlight. I really want to wait till version 3 comes out, but I'm not sure I'll have time as we might start using v2 3rd party products here in the next few months at work. So all the above might get shoved aside for a bit while I come up to speed with Silverlight.

Anyway, I greatly admire what the open source community has done with php. I'm not so sure about mySQL, but it is free and large scale apps use it, so we shall see. The sweet spot for me on some personal projects that I want to develop might be using abyss to run php and MS SQL Express on an old XP Pro box. The advantage of having a lot of technologies to choose from.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tired of All Those Hidden Processes and Sypware?

http://4sysops.com/ blog alerted me to some new software called Process Lasso which can be downloaded here-


Process Lasso is awesome, it is a system tray program with a gui that allows you to set process cpu priorities, cpu affinitities, you can auto terminate processes, and has a host of a bunch of other features.

The program is free for academic and home use. Five out of five stars.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Basic ASP.Net: Viewstate Variable Pattern

Here is a simple example of how to store a variable in view state for easy access. The example is using a string but any object/type can be used.

private string GTR
object o = ViewState[ "GTR" ];
return ( o != null ? o.ToString() : "" );
"GTR" ] = value;

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fallen Sword: A Quick Review

So to continue on with my latest trip, browser based MMO’s, I’m doing a quick review of the Browser based MMO Fallen Sword. I’ve played only for a little over a week, but the game is highly addictive. I’m only level 17 so there is still a lot of game I would like to see.

For a casual RPG game, I would rate this game 5 out of 5 stars.
Here is a very quick recap of what I liked about the game.

What I like

  • The Game is easy, there is a somewhat clear path of quest to gain items
  • It is easy to level up
  • PvP is kept at +- 5 levels
  • The graphic artistry is very good
  • Like the items and the powers they provide
  • Guild system is awesome

What Could Be Improved

  • The map is kind of small, could be ajaxed
  • Don’t like the Guild Text alerts.
  • Group combat could be improved, obvious add in
  • If you belong to powerful guild and are a low level character, things are too easy in combat
  • Combat grind can be tedious
  • Skill/Spell tree could be expanded
  • Broken items are kind of a nag
  • Could offer a live chat for guild
  • There was kind of a gap where you had to grind through slowly at around level 8 and level 14 which might cause some players to drop (actually this gap is experienced a few latter on too, where you are to powerful for the monsters of your level but your are too low a level to do the next batch of quest).

What is Unique/Interesting

  • No classes
  • Can cast “skills” on other characters

For more info, go to fallensword.com

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Virtual Hook Up Story: A Trend That Will Get Bigger

Some chick in England hooks up with some dude in Second Life, meet him in RL, then dumps 'em. Then she gets mad two weeks later when she checks his avatar out and he is already hitting on someone else. She then deletes the software.


Ahh the tangled webs we humans weave! As virtual spaces like Second Life and its follow ons continue to evolve, I expect to see all sorts of things come out of them.

The good-
  • People finding each other virtually and then successfully starting long term/marriage relationships in real life (like me).
  • People making money selling virtual goods.
  • Numerous multinational friendships being made.
  • Companies using virtual spaces to help further globalize the work force.
  • Virtual outreaches to people who need help (including Christian outreaches, counceling, entertainment for isolated people).

The ugly

  • People abusing each other in real life after meeting virtual (including broken hearts, rape, murder, kidnapping, etc...)
  • Virtual prostitution with a blur between virtual and real.
  • Addiction...people have no sense. If they like something, they will give all they have to it. Their time, their jobs, their families, their savings.
  • Organized crime using virtual spaces for meeting, planing.
  • Blackmail
  • All sorts of gender bending weirdity, "furry sex", more creepy stuff that will inevitably spill over into real life.
  • The list goes on.

Welcome to the 21st Century people!