• Solr and Paper Mario on the 3DS ·

    My new job at CirrusMio has been going great these past couple of months. I got to go to RubyConf 2012 in Denver, which was awesome. I had never been to RubyConf before, and it was great to go to a conference so relevant to what I do and enjoy. I especially enjoyed Refactoring from Good to Great and Jim Weirich’s keynote.

  • new job doing Ruby on Rails ·

    I recently changed jobs, going from a web developer position to programming. I had been at a consulting company where I did a lot of web design with a bit of WordPress and Drupal customization. Now I’m at a local Ruby on Rails company as a programmer, and I’m super happy to be back in Rails. I hadn’t used Rails regularly since an intern position I had years ago, back when Rails was on maybe at version 1. I forgot how awesome a language Ruby is, too; I hadn’t used Ruby since I finished my Master’s project last year. Now I get to use Capybara, CoffeeScript, Sunspot, SASS, Arel, and experience all the new stuff Rails 3 has to offer.

  • Sim fairies and witches ·

    I got the Supernatural expansion pack the other day off of Amazon, for The Sims 3. I had been hoping for such an expansion ever since Makin’ Magic for the first Sims was so awesome. Supernatural has been pretty good so far, enough to where I’d recommend getting it. I can’t say the same for, say, the Generations expansion.

  • setting up WordPress mail on CentOS ·

    Today at work I set up a WordPress install on CentOS Linux so that it could send email. It’s pretty useful and almost required to have this working, since if you forget your password, WordPress needs to send you an email to reset it. That’s how I discovered mail wasn’t set up correctly, actually: a user tried to reset their password and WordPress gave an error about “email could not be sent”, and no email was received. Fortunately it was pretty easy to fix.

  • simple slider menu with jQuery ·

    There are possibly a million tutorials out there about jQuery and menus, but there weren’t a million and one… until now! ;) I recently had cause to make a sliding drop-down menu for a project at work and thought I would write up how I did it. First off, check out the demo. The commented source code is below.

  • a Boolean query parser in Python ·

    Last summer I worked on a project where I needed a search engine that supported simple Boolean queries and key-value parameters. This was to be used on a Python site, so I wanted to write the query parser in Python too. At the time, Lepl seemed like a good choice. I figured out the grammar necessary to support the search query language I wanted, and all was good. I went to check out Lepl just now and I see it has been discontinued, which is a little disheartening. Regardless, I figured better late than never to post this since it still works and Lepl did the job.

  • fun with Backbone.js and solitaire ·

    I wanted to try Backbone.js, having never used a JavaScript MVC framework before, so I started a project a few days ago to create a web app version of the Grandfather’s Clock variant of solitaire. I figured it would be an easy game to implement, and since I pretty much have it all working, it turned out to be pretty easy after all. You can check out my code on Github, and here is what it looks like:

  • Facebook's groups are a pain to manage ·

    Back in the day, I created a group called Dachshund Lovers on Facebook. It was open just to people at my university, and it gathered a few members but wasn’t anything big. Then later, when I was able to open it up beyond my university, I made it a public group so anyone could join. Things were fine, people joined and I didn’t have to do anything about it. Just anyone who wanted in could join and there was no approval process.

  • slow cooker cooking ·

    I’ve picked up on my slow cooker cooking recently, trying out a couple new recipes and re-using some old recipes. I’m working entirely out of Fix-It And Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, a book I really recommend. Liz had it first and I decided to get it after looking through her copy, then I convinced my cousin to buy it as well. It’s been nice because of the variety of ingredients and recipes.

  • Google apps on iOS are annoyingly under-featured ·

    I’ve recently had some annoying experiences with Google’s apps on my iPad and iPhone. I was having a conversation on Google+ the other day with a friend of mine, and I wanted to share some photos in the conversation thread.  I had photos on my iPhone that I wanted to somehow get online and link to them in a reply on Google+.  I wanted to put them in a Google Picasa album, but Google doesn’t have a Picasa app for the iPad.  I’ve seen Picasa apps put out by third parties, but that always makes me nervous, giving some outside source access to my photos.  Why should I have to, anyway?  Google makes plenty of iOS apps, why not provide one for Picasa?  Picasa is something users can spend money on, too, which should be an incentive to make it convenient to use, regardless of your device.  I spend $20 a year to get extra storage space, but the best way to upload photos is still on my desktop computer.  This sucks because I don’t take the photos on my computer, hell I don’t even take photos on a camera anymore.  I take photos on my phone, and half the time I never sync the things to any other device.  I need to be able to share my photos on a dedicated photo-sharing site, uploading them directly from my phone.

  • Okami HD excitement and some iPhone tones ·

    I found out today that one of my favorite games ever, Okami, is coming to the PS3 this fall in an HD remake.  I’m so excited about this! I was actually just recently wanting to replay it on the Wii, but my parents have my Wii right now because my dad started playing Zelda Skyward Sword, and I didn’t want to take it away from him. I was just scrolling through my Facebook feed today when I saw mention from the Okami page, which I Liked a while back, about some kind of Okami HD. “What what WHAAAAAT??” I thought, and had to research more. I found a post on the PlayStation Blog, so it seems pretty official. 1080p, Move controls supported but not required, coming to North America and Japan at least, new trophies, $20 on PSN. The whole thing sounds awesome. Check out the trailer below.

  • fun with GTK# ·

    Recently I’ve resumed work on a GTK# project I started three years ago: SnazzyCalculator, hosted on Github. I originally started the project out of curiosity about GTK#, and it’s been fun to develop – I know no one needs another calculator tool. I do intend to develop it into what I’ve been calling a wordulator: type in something like “one plus one equals” and it’ll respond “two”. Feel free to laugh, Jon keeps teasing me about it certainly. :P Anyway, what’s been really fun since I’ve resumed development is getting the parser and equation solver to work. I found this awesome tutorial by Eric White on writing a recursive descent parser in C#, and that gave me the bulk of my parser code. I did discover two bugs in his code that I fixed; I’ll share my fixes with you.

  • custom WordPress Events Manager event tag archive page ·

    Using the Events Manager WordPress plugin at work, I noticed that the event tag archive pages showed only current and upcoming events with a given tag. I wanted them to show all events, including past events, with the tag. I made a custom loop to accomplish this, within the Genesis framework. Create a file called taxonomy-event-tags.php in your Genesis child theme:

  • work projects and music discovery ·

    I’ve been having a lot of fun at work recently using Spring 3 MVC, Twitter Bootstrap, jQuery UI, jQuery Mobile, and of course jQuery. Not all on the same project, but in a couple different projects I’ve been working on. Twitter Bootstrap has been really cool as a drop-in way of quickly making a pretty, clean layout. I love not having to style my tables manually, and the various spanX classes to have floating blocks a set percentage of the page wide are great. I’ll definitely be using Twitter Bootstrap in future projects; thanks for the suggestion, Joe.

  • yes I'm in the south, but my brother is not my spouse, Siri ·

    I got an iPhone 4S today after my AT&T contact expired yesterday. I’m excited to be on Verizon now and will hopefully experience fewer dropped calls. I was with AT&T for seven years, since they were Cingular back in the day, and I finally got tired of the crappy cell service. It was always the most frustrating around UK’s campus, when I would have to try multiple times to even get a call to dial out. It tended to say “call failed” immediately, not even ringing. I’m expecting to like Verizon’s service better, and I’m certainly liking the iPhone 4S over my ancient iPhone 3G. I was surprised to be able to trade in my old 3G for $65; there’s still a demand for them?

  • Easy Chart Categories WordPress plugin ·

    I had the idea earlier of displaying a pie chart of my blog’s categories, but didn’t see any WordPress plugins out there to do that. “Well, fine, I’ll write my own!” I thought — so I did. I submitted it for review to be listed on the WordPress plugins site but while it’s under review, you can download it from my Github page.

  • back from Jersey ·

    I’m back from my week and a half in Jersey, helping with requirements gathering for a new project at work. We were originally supposed to have to go back next week for a couple of days, but our project manager was able to push through all the functionality we needed to cover, and he’s satisfied we got what we needed. I’m glad, because I was not looking forward to more indirect flights and getting up at 6 every morning. Our flight home last night involved a layover in Atlanta, which is the silliest thing when traveling from NJ to KY, but there are just no direct flights from Philly to Lexington.

  • it's the little things that bug me in Dragon Age 2 ·

    I started playing a new game of Dragon Age 2 last night after about five months of not playing it. As I play through it again, I can’t help but get frustrated all over again with the laziness shown in the game. I thought the game was okay, but like many fans of Dragon Age Origins, DA2 didn’t feel like a proper sequel. There are so many little details that add up to make it seem like the developers were either incredibly rushed or thought the fans were idiots. Lots of things in the game give the feeling of rushing you along, instead of making you want to pay attention to detail and immerse yourself. The lack of item descriptions, for example, along with boring item names. You find dozens of Rings, Belts, and Long Swords, items with completely generic names like that, and items in DA2 have no description, unlike in Origins, so I tend to disregard them as soon as I get them. In Origins, even if I got a plain amulet or a wimpy mace, it had a bit of descriptive text that I wanted to read. “This mace is deceptively heavier than it looks”, something like that, so that even everyday items encouraged a second look before confining them to the junk heap.

  • New Jersey and +1 buttons ·

    I’m going to New Jersey for the first time for work, and I’ll be up there about two and a half weeks. I was asked last week if I’d come along to help with the requirements gathering process for a new project, and I agreed, though I may freeze my tail off. There’s a lot of flying involved because we’ll be coming back to Lexington over the weekends, and we’ll be flying out of Cincinnati instead of Lexington. I’m borrowing a huge suitcase from a coworker since my one medium-sized suitcase won’t cut it for a week-long stay–you can tell I don’t travel much. I doubt I’ll have much time for sight-seeing since we’re doing eight-hour work days, but we’ll probably get to try some good Jersey food: we’ll do lunches with the client and I’ll get dinner with my coworkers.

  • creating a custom theme based on the WebSphere Portal theme ·

    Recently at work I was tasked with creating a customized Portal theme based on the new theme, which uses Dojo 1.6 and thus supports IE9. I followed all of IBM’s steps for making a copy of the theme’s static files (the non-JSP stuff that you can access via WebDAV), but still my custom wouldn’t load for me. I didn’t modify anything in my copy from the original except the metadata to change the theme name. When I would select my copy as a page’s theme or the Portal default theme, I would just get a white page with a snippet of XML up top, sometimes including an error message. When I checked the Portal logs, I saw error messages pertaining to PageBuilder2–what? PageBuilder2 is the old Portal theme, and the new theme didn’t seem to mention PageBuilder2 anywhere. If you’re experiencing this, here’s what I did to fix it.