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Instant Gratification   

Tue, 28 Nov 2006


Vi-Search … it has just dethroned google as my default search engine.

Update: and since people keep asking me, here’s a neat vi cheat sheet. Not as good as some of the other ones I’ve seen, but I’ll have to find that link and add it later.

Update 2: Ok, google is better than search, and there’s a nifty greasemonkey script that adds vi-keys to google. ‘nuff said.

14:37 CST | category / entries / links
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Sat, 25 Nov 2006

Advancements in UI

At work there was a discussion about scroll-bars as they related to web-pages. Some people were very much on the side of “don’t mess with the scroll-bars”, while others were more open to styling the scroll bars depending on the needs of the application / web-page. I was on the side of: “It’s a scroll bar, don’t mess with it” until I saw the following:


…there are 101 things that you can get wrong if you try to implement a new scroll-bar from scratch, but the above shows that the scroll-bar is far from a solved-problem.

You can see other “innovations” in scroll-bars with video/audio editing software. Attack of the 80’s. :^)

Video tracks represent the timeline of your videos, just as if you layed real photo film on horizontally on a table. The individual images you see on the track are a sample of what is located at that particular time on the timeline.


11:49 CST | category / entries / links
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Mon, 20 Nov 2006

CBS 11 News on Yahoo! Video

Watch depressing local news on Yahoo!, of all places. But seriously, marvel at local news reports on the internet.

17:40 CST | category / entries / links
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Thu, 16 Nov 2006

Pretty sweet guitar playing


Part of the Yahoo! TalentShow… one day I hope to play as nicely as he does. One day soon, I will also be slapping some of my own video’s up here, probably after I’ve practiced a bit more for the ~recital~ we’re having for guitar lessons on the 16th of December (exactly 1 month away, yikes!).

12:13 CST | category / entries / links
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Tue, 14 Nov 2006

PHP Session Handling

This guy does a great job of explaining thread-safety to people who really need to know what it means.

The problem arises, as is outlined in the cited articles above, when multiple requests can be made at the same time. The built-in PHP session handler handles maintaining exclusive access to the session data, so most simple, low-load (meaning one one web server) websites don’t experience a problem. And even if you use your own session handler that doesn’t implement any locking, the progress that the users makes through your site, downloading a page, viewing it, moving on to the next one, is so slow that contention for the session data is rarely, if ever, an issue. But then Ajax enters the picture.


I am reminded muchly of when I worked at and I implemented the same. We weren’t using AJAX back then, but AJAX or no, you still need to provide some level of transactional security. I’m impressed with the level of thought that has gone into this guy’s document, and how he’s got everything segmented into individual variables by the end of it. I will disagree somewhat that per-variable locking is the right way to go because of transactional integrity (ie: if you have two variables, $SESSION['credits'] and $SESSION['debits'] and each of them is lock-safe, but not transactional-safe, then you end up in trouble).

The model that we ended up using was the single-thread model, above the picture saying “The process execution is interleaved, but access to the session data is serialized”. This is somewhat necessary for important data, but less important for things like access counters or maybe the rating of a particular song (independent / non-$$$ data), where per-variable locking could be a big performance win. Here’s another little bit of an idea… imagine $SESSION['batch']['toRate'] = array(1234=>"4stars", 999=>"3stars");, which gets processed at the end during session destruction / cleanup or at regular intervals during the user’s session. This being opposed to the standard practice of writing all the data to /logs/batch.txt and later processing that.

All in all a highly recommended read.

22:14 CST | category / entries / links
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Wed, 08 Nov 2006

Make sure you’ve eaten breakfast…

Then get the hook “Shakira, Shakira” stuck in your head. For those playing along at home, this video is making most fun of Whenever, Wherever, an earlier shakira video (which will soon work on Mac + non-IE / PC computers). Also check out Weird Al’s White & Nerdy as well as the fans-only version of it, which is pretty funny. Dancing legos. (more dancing legos?)

08:37 CST | category / entries / links
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