David Herron is a blogger, software engineer, electric vehicle enthusiast, and energy healer.

Installing xhprof and XHGui on a Dreamhost Ubuntu 12.04 VPS to diagnose Drupal 6 performance

One of my websites has been running very slow for years - every so often I try to figure out why it's slow, and recently it had been suggested to install xhprof to gather some data. The website is a Drupal 6 site that gets 1000+ visits a day, and is an active forum website with lots of people chatting away about electric vehicles. The server is a VPS rented from Dreamhost. The latest iteration of Dreamhost VPS's uses SSD disks, and a customized version of Ubuntu 12.04.

Fixing Drush when it says a "higher level bootstrap" is required, even though you're inside a Drupal website's working directory

I'm trying to get ready for a Drupal 8 port, and one of the steps is to get Drush set up. Nowadays that means setting up Composer and running some magic commands with Composer that supposedly sets up Drush. The problem then came when I cd'd into the root of my Drupal 6 site, and tried to run "drush pm-list --core" to generate a list of installed modules to prepare a readiness spreadsheet. The error message that came up gave me a big WTF feeling:

Don't rip your hair out when Vows tells you "Errored callback not fired" - try this one weird trick instead

When your vows.js based tests for a Node.js application says "Errored » callback not fired" -- well, it can be very confusing. In my case the code clearly handled all paths ensuring the Vows callback would be called. No matter how many tweaks I performed to try and catch some possible error in test or code, I couldn't figure out what caused this problem. But after some yahoogling, the answer was not only difficult to find, but surprisingly simple.

Oath Keepers, unlicensed security services amid the civil rights protests of Ferguson MO

Since August 2014 the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson MO has been in the news, not because it's a nice town (which it is) but because a Ferguson Police Officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. Purportedly the shooting was because the teenager had just committed a "strong arm robbery" by stealing a package of cheap cigars from a convenience store.

Blast from the past - There WERE chemical weapons in Iraq, from the 1980's, built under US cooperation

Remember why it was so important for "us" to go into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussain's sovereign government? I'm not talking about the real reason - access to Iraq's oil fields - but the reason we were told. Remember warnings of mushroom clouds, and Saddam's chemical and biological weapons research programs? The programs for which zero evidence was found once Western forces entered the country and toppled the government?

Distributing, publicly or privately, Node.js modules without using npm repository

The default assumption for distributing a Node.js module is to publish it in the public npm registry. It's a simple declaration in the package.json, and then you tell your customers to simply type "npm install". The public npm registry takes care of the details, and you can even use versioning to make sure your customers use tested module versions. But what if you don't want to publish modules in the public npm registry?

How do you choose between Node.js or other web application technologies?

There are plenty of new server side web application development technologies being developed. With the blizzard of choices before us, how do you choose between one or another? Will the newly hot web app technology really take off, or will it fizzle in a few years? For example, Node.js is getting a lot of excitement, but what about Go, or what about the mature platforms like PHP/Symfony or CakePHP?

Here's some ideas of how to choose a platform or technology.

Into the Evil of the Daleks - S08E02 and OldWho #038

We just watched Into the Dalek, and we have to acknowledge something - the story line references way back into Old Who, to a set of Patrick Troughton (Doctor #2) episodes collectively titled The Evil of the Daleks. In both cases we had a humanizing of Daleks, and Doctor#12's certainty there can be no humanizing of Daleks may stem from the experiences shown in The Evil of the Daleks.

Take a deep breath, don't hold it, we're going into the Dalek (Dr Who S08 E01 E02 review)

Doctor Who is finally back on our screens, and I'm going to squeeze my episode reviews together. It's a bang-up opening for Peter Capaldi as Doctor #12 (or is it #14), so it sure looks like this new guy will do well with the role. As for the content - the main theme so far is "identity". Who am I? Why do I choose this face to show the world? That sort of thing. And then there's the question of "who the heck is Missy"? Heaven? Surely that's a setup for the end of the season, so we'll have to be patient about that.

You can joyfully parse and manipulate URL's in browser-based JavaScript

URL's are not strings, but are a data structure that's represented as a string. How do you easily and reliably manipulate a URL string programmatically? Do you use regular expressions or other kinds of string manipulations? Given all the ways to encode data in a URL, how do you ensure it remains syntactically correct while doing string manipulation? Manipulating URL's with regular expressions is rather difficult because of the format and nature of a URL.

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