Geeks + Booze

If you’re a geek in the Fort Wayne area, join us on Monday, October 2, 2006, for the first booze-enabled Geek Dinner. The more we drink, the more we’ll incentive long-tail tag clouds™.

date:2006-08-28 07:01:11
category:aside, geek, my life

Pixel Creek, redux

A while back I blogged about my crappy, crappy experience with a local company Pixel Creek, who happens to be an authorized Apple Service Provider. I didn’t claim that my experience was universal or canonical, simply that the level of service provided was so low I could not imagine them having return business. Apparently I was wrong. Recently a couple of positive comments have showed up on that post, including this from “Terry”.

Success and Personal attention. That’s been my experience. If you would walk up stairs to the PixelCreek office you would see that portion of the business. If you use the next door, that is the other Adams Remco office, very professional. The people at PixelCreek in Ft Wayne and South Bend have been very good to work with, above and beyond. I understand they do most of their work in customer offices and on in their building, which may be the reason they have not updated that office.

Wow, “Terry” sounds like a satisfied customer. Of course, his comment was posted from the IP address Interestingly enough, the magic of ARIN reveals that IP address to be owned by… (wait for it) Pixel Creek! Maybe they resell IPs in their block, I thought. After all, “Terry” used a generic email address. So a quick run of nmap shows an HTTP server running and a quick bit of wget shows that, hey, it redirects to what looks like a webmail HTTP authentication. And look! The realm is

Now I’m sure that someone from Pixel Creek wouldn’t actually pretend to be a customer just to defend themselves. Of course, nothing in the comment actually says Terry is a customer; his comments could be equally valid regarding his co-workers. I don’t know and ultimately it doesn’t really matter. I’m just enjoying showing up right below their corporate site in Google search results.

date:2006-08-25 12:31:19
category:my life

Rich Editting with Django and FCKEditor

After seeing their tutorial at OSCON last month, I’ve been playing Django in my spare time. One of the things I wanted to implement was a rich editor for the administrative interface (which really is Django’s killer app). There’s information in the wiki regarding using the Dojo editor and TinyMCE, but neither of those really fit my needs. TinyMCE comes close, but charging for spell check… well, I get that it’s probably a more difficult feature to implement, but I want to be able to try it out before paying. FCKeditor, on the other hand, has all the features I want, as well as a killer server-side browser that lets users manage images and media files from within the editor.

So looking at FCKEditor, I find that it relies on a server-side “connector” to supply the browser with browsing information. Since I was playing with Django, it somehow seemed, well, wrong to use a CGI upload connector. So I hacked together a Django-based connector. You can find it over on Google Code.

date:2006-08-23 11:39:12

Goodbye, Linux Journal

So my subscription to Linux Journal has lapsed, and I’m not remotely disappointed. Which is a little sad, since LJ used to be one of my favorite technology periodicals. For quite a while LJ and Dr. Dobbs were the only two journals I’d pay to receive: and now there is one. So what brought about this change? The new editor, Nicholas Petreley. Well, new may not be the right word — he’s been there for over six months now. But his column, /etc/rant, has driven me (and others) away.

/etc/rant is, as the name implies, a place for Petreley to rant. And since he’s the editor, that’s his right. Here’s the thing: I don’t like rants. In particular, I don’t like absolutist positions that don’t allow for movement. I do like pluralism, and that usually fits right in with open source software. So while /etc/rant wore on my from the start, the February column, The Spirit of Open Source, is when I decided “yeah, I’m over it.” The Februrary column discussed a particularly silly flame war brought on when Linus Torvalds recommended KDE over Gnome stating (my words, paraphrased, possibly mis-remembered) that GNOME treated him like a child and didn’t let him twist all the dials he’d like. Even though I personally enjoy using Gnome and use it as my daily working environment, I can respect Linus’s opinion. After all, regardless of his contributions, Linus is just one man, and his choice of KDE doesn’t really matter to me.

But in that column Petreley took Miguel and GTK to task for using the LGPL claiming that it violates the spirit of open source. I have a few problems with this claim. The first (and one that really frustrated me the most) is the statement:

The whole point of the LGPL is to allow you to add something to GTK without having to compensate the GTK developers with either money or source code.

No, it doesn’t allow you to add to GTK and not release your changes. I guess we can argue over what “add something” means; to me it means having your code distributed with GTK. I suppose Petreley might be using “add something” instead of “link to”, but that would just be sloppy. However, even assuming that is the case, so what? If a developer was OK with releasing their code under an open, freedom-granting license from day 1, why not on day 2? Just because it might be used by someone? If they were really concerned about that situation, they wouldn’t have (shouldn’t have) released it in the first place.

Petreley also draws QT into his argument, accusing “open source zealots” of mistakenly lambasting it for it’s poor license when (in his view) it is more free since it is available under the GPL. I get what he’s saying. But I don’t agree that QT is better or gets a pass because of it’s license, or even that it’s superior to GTK in this respect. My feelings on licensing have swung from GPL to MIT in the past two years: I like my freedom libertarian style (sunny-side up, natch), so a license like the MIT license (or LGPL) fits my mentality better than the GPL these days.

So my subscription has lapsed, and I’m OK with that. It actually took me a bit to realize it had happened. I was in Border’s and noticed a new issue on the newstand. And I was about to reach for it and I remembered “oh yeah, I think editor’s sort of a flake…” and put it back down. So maybe I’ll check it out in the future, maybe another periodical will catch my interest. Regardless, thanks for everything Linux Journal; have a good life.

date:2006-08-04 18:57:40

Hometown Pride

My hometown, Bluffton, Indiana, is featured in today’s USA Today. Apparently Bluffton is one of the first communities to implement a National League of Cities program on diversity and inclusion.  They’ll be placing signs stating “Welcome.  We are building an inclusive community.“  I don’t dislike Bluffton in general, but have chosen not to live there for a reason.  But I definitely like it when I can feel proud about something going on there.

date:2006-08-04 17:12:36
category:aside, my life