Blogs

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?

Silicon Valley housing costs are insane, verified by real data

Housing costs in Silicon Valley are insane. Both rental and purchased housing has always have been outrageous, compared to the rest of the country, but the last two years has seen an absolutely insane rise in property values and rental rates. I haven't looked for data on this, but obviously those at the lower end of the pay scale are being priced out of the market.

Fixing broken images when Drupal adds _0 to uploaded file names; filename and filepath differs

druplicon.large_.pngOccasionally on Drupal sites (perhaps only Drupal 6), uploading a file to a file field, or the file uploads area on a node, results in the "filepath" indicating a different name than the "filename". That is, in the data model for a Node, you can attach files in the "uploads" or in a CCK field (in Drupal 7 this is slightly different) and each attached file is an object (or array) containing attributes named "filename" and "filepath".

Eliminating duplicates in Views 3 Drupal 6 when the "distinct" and "group by" features don't work

Yes, Drupal 6 is water under the stream except for those of us still maintaining Drupal 6 websites. On one of my sites I'm trying to bring the module status into 2014, because they'd last been updated in 2012 and Views hadn't even been upgraded to Views 3. It was pretty straightforward to generate a Drush Make file to generate updated code for the site. A couple of the Views didn't get properly upgraded to Views 3, and in most cases minor tweaks were all that was needed. But one View had a major flaw - it generated lots of duplicated content.

First world problems in the hotel lobby, do they mean we're unprepared for real problems?

This typical scene in a hotel lobby gives me little hope for humanity if we really have to face a significant problem:

MAN1: ... I explained to you, the price shown by the hotels.com app for a room at this very hotel is $50 a night, why do you say the price ...

CLERK: Sir, as I explained to you earlier, I don't know how the hotels.com app determines those prices. All I can tell you is what the booking computer tells me, and those rates are set by the hotel chain management. If you want a room let me know, or else I'll give it to one of these people waiting.

Apple claims environmentally moral high ground with new recycling program

Environmentally conscious owners of Apple's fine products should rejoice with today's announcement by Apple of an improved product recycling program. Apple will give out Apple Gift Card's when you turn in old Apple devices, from any era, and will recycle it in nearby recycling centers. The exact value appears to vary on the device, and such as whether the device works or not.

What's the best recommended format or directory structure for an Express project in Node.js?

The Express framework for Node.js offers great support for developing applications.  It has a good routing system, support for multiple templating engines, and an interesting system called "middleware" for plugging support modules into certain URL's of your website.  Say you want certain paths to require user credentials, and other paths to be open for anybody to use?  You simply insert user authentication middleware into the desired routes.

Stopping server overload, cleaning up the site front page, disabling comments, and general goodness

The last few days the server hosting this site was overloaded, and I finally took a look at the access log, saw a continuous stream of requests that shouldn't be occurring, and realized the "links" row of teasers on the front page needed to go away. The default links row includes one reading "Log in to post comments" but this blog doesn't allow anybody else to register for an account, and in any case comments are handled by Disqus rather than Drupal's commenting system. The link didn't need to be there at all, and the more I looked at the links row the more useless it looked.

Do 3rd party commenting systems (Disqus et al) support my community, or theirs?

It used to be that Web 2.0 was the cool new thing, and a core feature was that the audience could leave comments on websites. It's common nowadays for websites to support comments, and comment areas have become (in some cases) a war zone full of partisan bickering. It was ground-breaking the 10ish or so years ago that websites began to support 3rd party comments. Really.

Simple jQuery carousel, no plugins, rich content, interesting style

I'm working on upgrading the home page for a client site, and one thing they want is image-based carousels. There are plenty of websites doing this, where they might have an automatically flipping carousel, or might have a set of thumbnails and hovering the mouse of a thumbnail causes more information to show up. I'm experimenting with different ideas, and one I came up with is to have a set of thumbnails, each associated with rich information, then show a Hero sized image along with the rich information when one of the thumbnails is selected.

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