Site Re-Design and Launch Complete!

Well after months and months of work I finally launched a brand new Bushwick Dream site this afternoon.  Its been a long time coming since the site first started and I’m glad its finally over with so that I can go back into maintenance mode, but damn was it a fun run to make the new features work and iron out all the bugs.  For anybody interested you can visit the new and improved site here.

Ewww

So I’m sitting in Burger King waiting for them to start serving lunch and aimlessly surfing the internet when I see a man and woman come out of the same bathroom with conspiratorial smiles on their faces and walk right past an impromptu meeting of BK employees.  Sadly it took me a good 5 seconds to realize just what they had been up to, then a few seconds later the disgust caught up with me.  I’ve seen the inside of those bathrooms several times and I can’t imagine attempting to bang one out in there.  What the hell is wrong with people, are their private sex lives so damn boring that now they have to go out into public and screw in places where they really shouldn’t in order to get a cheap thrill?  Maybe instead of going into IT I should have gotten some kind of degree in the psy-whatever field and did counseling for these screwed up individuals who feel the need to shag in public bathrooms.

A calendar in less than 50 lines of php

It ain’t pretty by a long stretch, but the fact that it can fit into less than 50 lines of code and could be easily converted to a function for use in existing projects makes me a very happy camper, hopefully it will make it into the TheBushwickDream in the near future.

iPhone Tracking? No Thanks!

So unless you ignore technology completely you are probably at least remotely aware that news broke recently that any 3g capable Apple device is now tracking you. As a bit of a paranoid person (that might or might not be an understatement) I can safely say that things like this cropping up are unsettling at the very least yet oddly enough some folks are actively embracing the “feature” and willingly posting the contents of the logging file to the internet. Honestly I’m not exactly full of secrets that I need to hide but I sure as hell don’t feel the need to revile the entire online world with a detailed map of where I go from the front of the office to have a smoke to the bathroom when I feel like fouling it up, yet these tool bags seem to think that involuntary tracking is totally rad.

On the side of actual technical things its obviously not a genius idea to leave a file with this kind of data unencrypted and basically ripe for the plucking like Apple has done and I can’t help but wonder if its actually made that way for a reason. It would be quite interesting to dig into the guts of a new iPhone and see if anything but the logging software actually accesses the file or if there are known viruses out in the wild which go after the synced file after its been transfered to the computer that the phone is managed with; even if you come up negative in both respects I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a virus in the future sought out the files and made use of them for some nefarious ends.

Deficit Target: Sports in the Crosshairs

So there is a story out of Florida that has been making the rounds on some actual news stations recently; it appears that at least in Duval county (there are probably others considering this option) there is a budget shortfall that is forcing the county board of education to consider cuts to the sports program to make up the difference. Naturally there some people up in arms over it, claiming that sports are a valuable resource for students and going as far as to say that even contemplating cutting the sports program would be “disrespectful to the citizens of Duval County”.

Where in the hell do these people come up with the nonsense idea that sports programs give that much to the students; it only gives any direct benefit to the players on the teams by making them visible to college recruiters. Sure there is probably a little scratch money made from concession sales and tickets, but I seriously doubt that it comes anywhere near even one tenth of the 97 Million that the county spends on the sports program.

Another angle used when trying to play the woe-is-them card is that there are some 15 thousand student “athletes” in the county who would find themselves without a team to play on if the sports program were completely done away with. I hate to be the jerk on this one but first and foremost they are students and thusly their primary concern should in fact be studying, learning and demonstrating what they have learned not watching their weight for wrestling weigh-in or warming up for their daily football practice.

Earlier this month the AP released an article indicating that by Department of Education standards for reaching proficiency in mathematics and writing were not being met by some 82% of the schools in America. Think about that for a second, if we were to apply that percentage to the number of schools based on the 2000 Census (130,000 elementary and secondary schools) data that would work out to 106,600 schools that didn’t teach their students how to read, write and do basic math. How the hell people aren’t absolutely furious about this is beyond me, if I were a parent I would demand better of the educators that were paid with my tax dollars but it seems the ignorant unwashed masses are more concerned about Little Johnny getting to play on the varsity football team than him knowing that 2 + 2 in fact is 4 and not 5. Its no wonder our society as a whole is in the shitter when we ignore whats really important and reinforce dimwitted penis-measuring contests like school sports.

Damn Spammers

So it seems if I make any kind of post with a reasonably popular search term in the body some fuck-head spammer finds my site and puts up some bullshit comment that then generates a notification email which makes my phone buzz. Thoroughly annoyed at being disturbed I then have to login to the site and moderate said comment, because fucking spammers have no damn lives. If you are reading this and happen to be a spammer do me a favor and quit breathing.

Bored Code: Primes in Perl

Yet another boring day at the office, so I decided to dust off my Perl book and try to relearn some basic chops in the language and maybe find a good use for it.  Unfortunately that was not the case and in the process of getting myself familiar with it I ported some old code I wrote for artificially creating a load on my servers by crunching prime numbers.  Its a pretty ghetto piece of code and I’m not sure about its limitations so if it causes your machine to catch fire or start making noises like a dying goat I’m not responsible, actual bad code after the break.

Read moreBored Code: Primes in Perl

Imgur.com as a CDN?

First let me lay out the issue, then I will explain the title.  I help manage a small niche site for a community in NYC which I happen to host out of a NearlyFreeSpeech.net account that also is home to a few other projects of mine.  So far the numbers show that the site uses the lion’s share of resources available to the account, roughly 20$ every 4 to 6 months to keep the hosting going and I suspect costs will only go up.  Faced with figuring out how to head off rising costs before they become an issue I picked the site apart to figure out what was costing the most money and what areas could increase costs in the future.

After a quit poke about the site and looking at the breakdown of the hosting price I found that the two main consumers of money were the MySQL processes and the disk storage.  Without showing a bunch of math it would cost $19.68 roughly for the rest of the year provided no more images were uploaded to the site.  The current total size of the site is 169 MB, which works out to 1.69$ per month just to store the content irregardless of it being accessed.  Each MySQL process runs $0.02 per day, so thats $7.30 per year on top of the cost of storage, working out to a grand total of $26.98 for storage and a single database to run the site; and all of that ignores the cost of bandwidth (NFS.net uses a micro-transaction system for bandwidth charges) and whatever else I might be forgetting.

Now I know anybody out there with serious hosting experience is laughing their ass off that I’m doing a breakdown of such a simple site and what is arguably a very inexpensive hosting setup when compared to major sites, but when the site doesn’t generate any money at all every penny is important.  First I looked into Content Delivery Networks used by major websites; it didn’t take me long to realize that such a venture was going to be absurdly expensive for such a small project.

With  the big CDN providers out of the picture I started kicking around ideas of a more DIY nature, such as building my own CDN apparatus that I could host out of my home.  Naturally this had risks of downtime due to power outages, etc so that ruled out a home brew setup.  I started thinking about other places that played the hosting game and how they got it done when it dawned on me, to host images places like Reddit use imgur.com to host their images.  Over to their site I went and lo and behold they have an API and pro accounts which don’t limit you to a certain number of hosted images.  This was the pay-dirt I was looking for, and now I have a lead on a way to cap the one dynamic cost of the site for a reasonable price that won’t break the bank.

Awesome things from 2010

The end of the year is almost here, and over the course of it I’ve come across some things that are either enjoyable, indispensable or just plain awesome which I figured I would share with the world even if nobody really is reading.

YouTube Options (Chrome Plugin)

This extension is simply amazing, not only does it hide the stupidity of comments but it works well at stripping out annoying ads that precede almost every movie it seems lately.  Add to it the fact that it can give you a download option for videos and disable auto-play and you have probably one of the slickest and simplest mods for Chrome yet.

ASUS EeePC

I picked one of these up last month because I was tired of lugging around my cumbersome i7 based ASUS laptop when I wanted to relax in the living room or put some time in on a project at work.  The battery lasts for roughly 2 and a half hours on a full charge and it despite the small size its fairly comfortable to type on.

Hamster Video Converter

By far the simplest video converter I have used yet, and the best part is that its FREE!  It converts things fast and offers pretty much any output format you could possibly want, even MP3 output for YouTube videos that you really don’t need the video from.

Portable Apps

This site is the hub for all things USB and portable, both of which make me a very happy Panda indeed.  I carry a stick full of the apps with me pretty much everywhere these days and its been a blessing on numerous occasions when I needed a web browser that wasn’t jacked up with toolbars and stupid features like IE tends to be.

Introspection is a Bitch!

It especially becomes a bitch when you stop and look at your life only to realize that you are becoming something you hated for so long.  My brother informed me that his son is afraid of me and doesn’t even like coming to my house when my brother stops by to visit every now and then.  What it all boils down to is that I’m a selfish asshole it seems; my brother didn’t say that but I know that is what it amounts to when you get right down to it.

I get off work and instead of calling and talking to my brother and nephew I get on the computer, maybe play a little bit of WoW.  The weekend rolls around and I spend more time on the computer, or otherwise laying about the house doing things that aren’t cohesive to getting to know my nephew or hanging out with my brother.  Growing up I think I saw my uncle just about as much and needless to say now I don’t exactly hold him in the highest regard.

Now that I stop and think about it I never did have role models that I actually wanted to be like, most of them were people I didn’t want to end up like; for example my father who wasn’t really much in the way of a father.  I thought to myself that I would rather die without having ever had children or a wife rather than even remotely risk becoming the deadbeat, slack-ass piece of shit that he was, and for the most part I have succeeded in that effort, but I never did put much thought into avoiding becoming the secondary characters in my life growing and it looks like now I am paying the price for that oversight.  Now I am faced with the issue of deciding to either put forth the effort to attempt to repair a broken relationship with my nephew and thus my brother or simply say to hell with it and give up before I even begin and simply avoid contact with the nephew completely so that hes not forced to put up with someone he obviously isn’t comfortable around.

Bitnami