Comments Pro/Con about Mambo?

I’ve been hunting around for a high end content management system (CMS) for a couple sites I’m working with. I personally use MovableType for my CMS, but that’s really geared toward blog operations, rather than full site management, though it certainly can be used that way (witness my Business site, which is totally MT driven).
I came across Mambo while doing my research, and I have to say I’m mighty impressed with what I’m seeing. What I’d like to hear is feedback pro or con on the system. Has anyone used it, talked with folks who have used it, or had any experiences pro or con with it?
Thanks in advance 🙂

Donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund

This morning I finally did my first donation to the International Red Cross’s Disaster Relief Fund for operations in not only South Asia, but also in Sudan and Indonesia. I thought for a bit where I could best place my donation where it wouldn’t be used for political counting or lining someone elses pockets (even Amazon gets a slice of money sent through them, and any other forum that is collecting money can say “Such and such a political organization raised $xxx for relief…”.
I wanted to avoid all that, and go directly to the people doing the work. I strongly recommend everyone to do the same. We live in the worlds richest country; we have the luxury of choosing to give some of our wealth away. Why not do some good with it, and donate to those who can put that money to work, helping those hurting the most.
Donate to the American Red Cross.

Evolution 2.0 and Kyocera / Palm syncing

A little while ago, in the wake of a rather cyclic day, my Kyocera 7135 phone decided to toss it’s cookies and lose all information stored on it. Not long ago, I wouldn’t consider this more than an annoyance, losing my games and some other tidbits. But since I’ve gotten addicted to having all my contacts and schedule at hand, this was a major hassle.
I had been syncing my phone to Evolution for the last couple months, keeping the contacts and calendar current on both my desktop and my phone. This has worked remarkably well (alas, it’s over a serial connection, so a tad slow, but really we’re only talking 2-3 minutes to do a complete sync), and this week it proved my lifesaver.
What I -was- worried about, though, was syncing back to a ‘blank’ palm device. I hadn’t actually restored a full backup from Evolution (which, to be fair, actually uses the Gnome Pilot for the syncing), so I was somewhat leery of just dropping the Kyocera into the cradle and hitting Sync.
The double-whammy was that between my last sync and now, I had also upgraded from Evolution 1.4.mumble to Evolution 2.0.3. All in all, this was a fantastically easy upgrade, with no data loss, and only minor bumps (such as losing my .signature associations with my Accounts) along the way. However, I hadn’t tried re-syncing the phone since I had upgraded.
I first backed up my addressbook (using the handy ‘evolution-addressbook-export’ utility, which dumps the addressbook into CSV or vCard format), as well as copying out my iCalendar formatted calendar file (now stored in ~/.evolution/local/system/calendar.ics) to somewhere safe.
Then, muttering a prayer to various deities, I cradled the phone and hit ‘sync’. (I had already checked my gpilot configuration to make sure it was still in place. It was). Lo and behold, a window popped up asking if I’d like to re-install my ‘User ID 1000, Dave Belfer-Shevett’ configuration into this seemingly empty Palm device? Why yes, please!
3 minutes later, the familiar “beedabooooooooo” sound, and voila! All my contacts, calendar entries, and software had been restored back onto the phone. Some of my phone settings were reset (probably not backed up initially), but all in all, everything went back to normal.
For such a dramatic upgrade in software (1.4.x to 2.0.3), as well as a cold-resync, I’m super-impressed with the results. Kudos to the Debian team for providing a seamless upgrade method, the Ximian team at Novell for continuing to build a fantastic project, and the Gnome Evolution folks for continuing to support the community and particularly providing support.

Kids view on Classic Games

This is just too good not to share. Folks who read Slashdot have probably already seen this, but there’s a series of articles on 1up about a couple kids being sat down in front of some of our old cherished and beloved games and saying what they think of them. Some of my favorite quotes:
When playing the color vector ‘Star Wars’ game:

Rachel: This looks like a game out of Willy Wonka or something.
Bobby: It’s like, “I’m Willy Wonka. I’ve created a new Star Wars.”

When playing the old Atari ‘Adventure’ game:

Bobby: Stupid duck. I hate the duck. The duck is evil.
Parker: Go left, go left. Grab the arrow. That’s the only way you can kill the duck. You have to run that into the duck!

Talking about ‘Defender’:

EGM: Before this came out in compilations, we used to put quarters in arcade machines.
Parker: You wasted quarters on this?
EGM: Yeah.
Parker: That’s so sad.

I don’t feel too bad. I’ve already gotten Zach addicted to things like Pacman, Loderunner, and Tetris 8)

Today’s Yay-Boo rundown.

YAY! Snow snow snow! Lovely storm, beautiful weather.
BOO! Still not quite feeling strong enough to go skiing after being sick off and on all week.
YAY! Assembled and tested the snowblower a week before the snowfall.
BOO! A blown tire on the snowblower halfway through todays cleaning.
YAY! Getting a wireless keyboard for the cell phone and PDA.
BOO! Wireless driver under Palm OS (W-link. AVOID!) makes PalmOS based phone unstable.
YAY! Going out Sunday and getting a bunch of needed items / upgrades for some projects at home.
BOO! Realizing the wireless driver has made my phone unuseable, and I can’t receive or send calls. Not good when out in a major snowfall and the Missus is worried.
YAY! Total battery death on the phone overnight has done a hard reset on it, and it is now handling calls correctly.
BOO! It was a full reset, all data / installs apps are lost.
YAY! I have a backup!
BOO! An upgrade of my desktop client has removed my old settings, I’ll need to reconfigure.
YAY! I have a backup! (that’s worth saying it twice)
All in all, a cyclical couple days.

Spamming into the new year.

It should come as a surprise to no one, yet I find myself saddened by this latest development in the spam-wars.
One of the groups I enjoy working with does technical logistics and Roadie work for SF, Gaming, and Masquerade conventions up and down the east coast. We have a Wiki that we use to store some basic information that’s handy to have shareable, easily updated, and publically editable. Anyone can edit it and post content, and if folks don’t like a change, it can be re-edited, or reverted back to a previous version. Great!
Alas, this morning I woke to find that the wiki’s home page had been changed to ranks and ranks of links to mail-order drug sites. Sound familiar? You betcha. It’s spam, just in wiki-land.
Reverting the change back to a previous version was trivial, and there was no data loss, but I still feel like something I truly believe in (the concept of free-form information exchange) has been corrupted.

Review: Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates

Update 12/23/04 It appears that the Puzzle Pirates game system is not affiliated with Yahoo! at all. The system is a product of Three Rings Design, Inc.

I’ve always been a fan of Yahoo! Games. They’ve kept to the spirit of the net, and most (not all, but most) of their games are still Java based, and therefore run just about anywhere.

I noticed a new project they had put out called Puzzle Pirates, and decided to give it a go. It’s sort of a cross between Everquest, Popcap games, and Legos.

Continue reading “Review: Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates”

An ‘Ah HAH!’ moment

I don’t talk much about what I do. Basically, I’m an application programmer. I write user-level apps that help folks do a specific task – that task generally being something non-geeky. (as opposed to system programmers who write things for other programs to use, or the like).

Today I was hung up on an annoying SQL problem where a task to update a ‘state’ table with all the registration, badging, checkedin information, etc – was acting wonky. It would look like it would work, then later it would show the wrong data.

It turns out a second instantiation of the call would -alter- the results set up by the first. So, one run would do the right thing. A second run on a different event would alter the data from the first run. The issue was I wasn’t constraining the update enough to limit the scope of the changes, so it was running roughshod over previously existing data.

The corrected query:

153     sql = "UPDATE reg_state,reg_history SET " +
154             "reg_state.state_badged = 1 WHERE " +
155             "state_registered=1 AND state_rid=hist_rid AND hist_actcode='BADGED' AND " +
156             "hist_cid=" + cid + " AND " +
157             "hist_rid=" + rid ;

This problem has been banging around in my head for 2 days now, I’m ecstatic that I finally nailed it down. Now I can go to lunch.

This brief snapshot into Dave’s Brain has been brought to you by…

Geek Clothing!

See, now this is what I’m talkin about. High tech geeky clothing designed for, well, geeks! Embedded audio systems, communication gear in the collar, on-the-sleeve music controls. Tasty.
I’ve always wanted clothing that let me carry hardware around that didn’t make me look completely borg-like.
If only we could do an optical heads up display that was basically invisible. The closest I’ve seen is Don Papp’s work on embedding an optical system into a pair of sunglasses. It’s mighty hard to see the system from the outside. Now THATS sexy.

Florida may decide to repeal Seperation of Church and State

Somehow, I feel this is just inkling of things to come as the Radical Right is emboldened by recent endorsements of the Right Way of Life in our nations capital…
According to this article in the Palm Beach Post, a senator may introduce a change to the state constitution to remove the seperation of church and state clause.

TALLAHASSEE — Christian conservatives frustrated by court rulings that have found a school voucher program unconstitutional may have hit upon a possible solution: changing the constitution.
Sen. Daniel Webster, a former House speaker and now the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is exploring the possibility of a citizens initiative to repeal the 136-year-old wording that separates church and state in Florida.

I’m particularly amused by the response from the ACLU:

“So if the constitution stands in the way of their radical agenda, don’t change the radical agenda — change the constitution,” said Howard Simon, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
Webster should include in his ballot initiative language to abolish the public school system, Simon said, “because that’s what its real effect would be. Maybe a little bit of honesty is what’s needed.”

Yet another block in the foundation of Jesusland.
Thanks to Aroraborealis for this link.

Ursula LeGuin apologizes for the Earthsea movie.

The worst of the worst happened. The Sci-Fi channels’ production of Earthsea was a screaming disaster, and Ms LeGuin could do nothing about it.
From the interview:

My principal feeling about it is one of sadness, loss. An opportunity thrown away, at great expense. I’m sorry for the actors. They all tried hard. I’m sorry for the people who think they’ve seen Earthsea, but saw a stale, senseless rehash of bits of other fantasy films instead. I’m very sorry for my readers who tuned in thinking they were going to see a film version of my books. To you readers, I apologise. I love movies, and I did want to see an Earthsea movie, so I fell for it. I’m sorry! We’ll do better next time.

Who needs Law, we have GOD!

A judge in Alabama has had the 10 commandments embroidered on his robe :

McKathan told The Associated Press that he believes the Ten Commandments represent the truth “and you can’t divorce the law from the truth.”
“The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong,” McKathan said.

Good thing the judges in our great judicial system are basing their decisions on the rule of law in our country, eh?
An interesting sidebar is commentary from former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore:

“The recognition of the God who gave us the Ten Commandments is fundamental to an understanding of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I applaud Judge McKathan. It is time for our judiciary to recognize the moral basis of our law,” Moore said.

Ubercon Reg is open!

This is a blatant plug, suck it up and deal.
One of the conventions I work with, Ubercon, just opened pre-reg for Ubercon V, March 11-13th, 2005 in the Meadowlands, NJ. These guys run a great convention. If you’re into tabletop, lan, larp, or console gaming, cmon in!