Archive for March, 2009

Online Dictionary with Random words

March 28th, 2009

I rewrote the online dictionary section of the website to make it a little prettier and easier to use. I came across a WordNet SQL file which allows for much better manipulation of the data. Originally, I had used the WordNet software to export everything and just scrape it into the database (back in ’98 or so). This SQL import file actually keeps the relations intact from WordNet’s prolog format.
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Solaris Backup Server using ZFS and rsync

March 26th, 2009

I’ve released my backup script under the GPL. Basically it uses rsync to copy the configured paths to a central backup system and snapshots the filesystem once all of the rsyncs are completed. The really nice thing about it is that it can run multiple rsyncs in parallel and has a very simple configuration. We use this to back up all 3 of our datacenters at the same time, which makes our backup jobs complete much faster.

You can find more information on the ZFS Backup Server page.

You can use the comments section here to discuss, ask questions, or report problems.

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Plotting GTFS Bus Routes and Stops on Google Maps

March 25th, 2009

I recently started playing with the public GTFS feeds (Google Transit). I’ve imported everything into MySQL and I’m working on some fairly cool applications for dealing with this data. Using some ExtJS components mixed with some Google Maps API pieces, you can create some pretty cool applications.
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ExtJS, Google APIs, GTFS , ,

Reading: Learning Ext JS – Regular Expressions

March 22nd, 2009

I figured I might as well create my first real (and fairly useless) blog entry.

I’m reading Learning Ext JS since I’m trying to… well… learn Ext JS. So far it’s been pretty basic stuff (I’m only on Chapter 3). Then I came across this paragraph:

If you’re like me, regular expressions can leave you in a stupefied gaze at your monitor, so I always try to find something that is close to what I need and then modify it, rather than start from scratch.

What a horrible thing to write and/or teach to anyone.

I understand regular expressions are difficult. I remember when Igor taught them to me and all I saw was a lot of /^\s*([^\t]+?).*$/ crap (yes, that is a valid regular expression).  But how could anyone suggest trying to hack at someone’s existing RE?  Each expression has a very specific purpose.  It’s probably harder trying to modify an existing one than it is to learn regular expressions.

You could write 200 lines of code to parse some text and have someone that knows REs come behind you and say, “yeah, you could do that in about 4 lines of code.”


Retiring a 6 year old layout and 10 year old code

March 22nd, 2009

After much debate over what the layout of the new site would be, what framework we would use, and whether or not Igor is going to start blogging, the new website is up and running.

I think I have most of the redirects handled and the controller seems to work well enough. There’s still a number of placeholder pages around (pretty much anything with Lorem Ipsum text), but I’ll fill those in as I go along. The new format makes it much easier to add and update content using the greatest Content Management System ever invented: vi.

Here goes nothing.