Archive for 2009

What Is That?

A touching short film about parents and parenting.

Bellow is the link to the blog from where I have been originally referred to this movie: http://personalgrowthmap.com/blog/

Getting back sqlite3 to Mac OS X

For some reason, I lost my SQLite version from my Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. I hardly suspect MonoFramework for the “damage” caused, as /usr/bin/sqlite3 has been replaced with a link to a non-existent file from MonoFramework Library.

A quick and dirty fix is to bring back the sqlite3 source and install it in the *nix fashion (configure, make, make install). For future reference, I am listing the full sequence of commands I’ve typed in Terminal:

curl http://www.sqlite.org/sqlite-3.6.14.tar.gz | tar zx
cd sqlite-3.6.14
autoconf
./configure --prefix=/usr/local
make
sudo make install
# check if SQLite is installed properly
sqlite3 --version
# 3.6.14
which sqlite3
# /usr/local/bin/sqlite3

Note the new path: prefix=/usr/local, so the CLI (command line interface) sqlite3 will be accessible via /usr/local/bin/sqlite3. As sqlite is part of the core Mac, I believe it is wise not to interfere with any of the original libraries (not only CLI).

Do you know a “cleaner”, Mac OS X like (.dmg) way to restore SQLite? Please comment.

Setting up Plone to show Dubai time

As a short introduction, Plone is an excellent content and document management system. I would not insist on its features and installation as it installs as a normal Mac OS X application. For this, you may find more visiting Plone.org website.

In exchange, I will present the issue I had with the timezone for Dubai and the workaround…

For some reason, the default Plone installation doesn’t pick the right time for Asia/Dubai.

So I googled back and forward but couldn’t find the correct answer.

In fact, those tips will work for something like Europe/Berlin (eg setting up TZ variable to Europe/Berlin), but setting up TZ environment variable to Asia/Dubai will give me something like GMT+10? Obviously wrong.

So, the workaround is to set up the TZ environment variable to something more general, like Etc/GMT+4. We don’t care about daylight saving issues, so it should work all year round.

Enough words, let me know show you some code. Let’s suppose that you downloaded version 3.2.2 from http://plone.org/products/plone for Mac OS X and used the Stand Alone installation, then, edit /Applications/Plone/zinstance/buildout.cfg file and locate the following lines under [instance] section:

# You may also control the environment variables for the instance.
environment-vars =
    PYTHON_EGG_CACHE ${buildout:directory}/var/.python-eggs

Now add the TZ environment variable to point to Etc/GMT+4:

# You may also control the environment variables for the instance.
environment-vars =
    PYTHON_EGG_CACHE ${buildout:directory}/var/.python-eggs
    TZ Etc/GMT+4

Save the file, then run from your Terminal:

cd /Applications/Plone/zinstance/
./bin/plonectl stop
./bin/buildout
./bin/plonectl start

Now, back in your favourite browser and launch http://localhost:8080/Plone.

You would see now, that Plone will report the correct time.

Keeping session data across subdomains in Rails 2.3.2

Upgrading to Rails 2.3.2 I came across with the error of not keeping the session data between subdomains. That meant I had to authenticate each time I would change the subdomain.

The fix is simple.

Prior to version 2.3.2, I have had something like this in environments/development.rb file:

ActionController::Base.session_options[:session_domain] = '.w2task.local'

In Rails 2.3.2, I had to change this line into:

config.action_controller.session = { 
  :domain => ".w2task.local" 
}

Of course, same principle applies to development.rb, where:

config.action_controller.session = { 
  :domain => ".w2task.com" 
}

I’ve lost some hours in researching this solution, so I hope this will help others in need. too. As usual, I will be more than happy to hear comments from you.

Happy coding!


Ruby on Rails application could not be started

This is the error message, on my local machine after I upgraded to rails 2.3.2. Well, it was not an instant error, but it appeared after a while, to be more exact after I rebooted my computer.

The error:

no such file to load -- application.rb (MissingSourceFile)

As the new rails renamed application.rb to application_controller.rb, I have immediately sensed the root of the problem, so I’ve tried to

./script/server

and it worked. That means it has something to do with the Phusion Passenger.

But what? I’ve updated all the gems, and passenger was updated too.

Well, yes, but not the apache module, and not the configuration…

This is to remember: Every time, after getting a new version of Phusion Passenger via sudo gem update, I have to:

sudo passenger-install-apache2-module

and go through the setup, than edit the httpd.conf file (in my case: /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf) and replace the old passenger configuration lines with these new ones:

LoadModule passenger_module /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/passenger-2.1.3/ext/apache2/mod_passenger.so
PassengerRoot /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/passenger-2.1.3
PassengerRuby /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/bin/ruby

Last step is, of course, to restart the apache server:

sudo apachectl restart

Now we are set to go.

I have post this article as a reminder to myself in case something similar would happen in future, and as well I hope to be useful to the readers of my blog whom might struggle with the same type of issues.

For any other tips and comments, it would be a pleasure to see you replying to this post.

Coding is fun!

The Gimp-Reflection Plugin Screencast

The gimp-reflection plugin extends the lower section of an image as a reflection of the original image with a single click, similar effects to what you see on Apple’s website, iWeb, etc.

This screencast shows you how to download, install and use the gimp-reflection plugin. Enjoy!

Example:

The original image:
photo-19

The result, after the one-click reflection filter is applied:
photo-19-gr

Easy, isn’t it?

W2task – screencast

This is my first attempt to create a screencast, related to my w2task.com project. Comments are welcome.

For a higher resolution version, please check W2task screencast on screencast.com.

Update. I have posted a flash version, too. Enjoy.

Banks, peanuts and donuts

[EN] Banks, peanuts and donuts – are not always a good match in my opinion. In Sharjah, I’ve recently seen such an ad for a well known bank.

If in English, selling peanuts has a meaning of selling worthless things, in Romanian, selling donuts means selling overpriced things or worse – selling lies – oops.

Knowing this, let’s see the ad, in pictures …

Other banks offering you this?

 

Other banks offering you this?

Other banks offering you this?

The sweetest thing. No problem, we’re offering … donuts (ooopss) … 

 

The sweetest thing

The sweetest thing

Nice, isn’t it? We are leaving into a cosmopolitan country and we need to take care of the way others are seeing us. One size doesn’t fit all. Be aware marketers!

 

 

[RO] Bănci, alune și gogoși – în opinia mea nu fac întotdeauna echipă bună. în Sharjah, Emiratele Arabe Unite, am văzut de curând un astfel de panou publicitar stradal al unei cunoscute bănci locale.

Dacă în engleză, expresia a vinde alune e folosită cu înțelesul de a vinde mărunțișuri, în română, a vinde gogoși echivalează cu a vinde … hai să fim direcți – a vinde minciuni – ups.

Având în minte acestea, să vedem reclama, în imagini…

Alte bănci vă oferă asta? (alune – a se citi mărunțișuri)

Other banks offering you this?

Other banks offering you this?

Nici o problemă, noi vă vindem … gogoși (ups) … 

 

The sweetest thing

The sweetest thing

Frumos, nu-i așa? Locuiesc într-o țară cosmopolită și tocmai din acest motiv trebuie să avem grijă la aparențe. O mărime nu se potrivește tuturor. Celor din lumea marketing-ului, aveți grijă!

w2task – Does anyone have any suggestions how to improve the workflow after the user signs up?

The user starts with the sign up screen. Pretty easy and straight forward:

But, after filling in all required info, the new user is thrown up into a screen like this:

I know, it is not friendly at all, that’s why I am waiting for some suggestions. Basically I am thinking to replace this screen with a message to explain that the user should create a business or to collect its id number and give it to a business administrator to be added to an existing business?

What to you think?

Original topic started on support section of w2task.com – http://is.gd/irUs

The Week in Review

A new week is starting in force. But before that, let’s go quickly through the week just passed. Yes, you’re right, I’ll focus on next paragraphs on the Wednesday’s event DemoCamp Dubai 4th edition, the first demo camp on which I have been not part of public, but of the presenters.

The event itself had part of great media coverage, and here I’ll have to mention Shuttlegazine, The National, Startup Arabia, Tech-wd.com.

Demos, as usual there were four:

  1. restate.ae – an iPhone application used to complement and give mobile access to a well known real estate portal which covers Dubai properties. It has been created by the guys behind SpinBits.
  2. StartUpArabia Database – a moderated wiki like database dedicated to Arab technology startups, entrepreneurs and financial organizations that anyone can edit and enrich. Most of all, Moh’d Marwan Meddah put his soul in creating StartUpArabia.com, proving that in a selfish world, it is not necessary to be selfish yourself to win.
  3. eMapia – eBay and Google Maps combined, a niche web application providing a way to getting in direct contact the buyer and the seller.
  4. w2task – a web based task and time management system. This has been presented by myself – a truly amazing experience. Not everything worked according to the plan. It took me a while to synchronize the pitch of my voice with the levels of the sound system, often sounding either too loud or too low. This, of course, had a domino effect in my presentation spirit, making me quite tensed.

However, although I am taking note of the above imperfections, I would mark the above event as an achievement, especially because of the great feedback which demonstrated that such type of applications can have a great future. As I’ve seen in the National due to recession, when big companies are cutting down on budgets and on projects, it can be a lifetime opportunity for startups to play from the same level with the well established companies.

In development terms, that means I would stabilize the base code of w2task, improve the workflow and make it more appealing for the first time user, when no data is present.

Let me conclude with the greeting posted on Twitter:

Good morning! It is time to start in force a great new week!