Archive for March, 2005

Happy Belated Easter Everybody

March 29, 05 by kenrich

I guess I should write something here in my blog. I hope that everyone had a good Easter weekend! I took my daughters on an easter egg hunt at the local park. There must’ve been about 5,000 eggs out there, but it only took about 30 seconds for the kids to scoop them all up. My two girls got a good amount of eggs without being greedy like many of the parents there.

Work has been crazy busy here. I’ve been slaving away trying to get some of the tougher bugs fixed. It is slow going right now because we are in the process of transitioning to new web projects. I’ve been helping to setup the new Visual Studio projects and configuring web sites (to develop locally.)

The weather is great in San Diego. You can’t beat this part of the country in the springtime. I wish I could spend more time outside to enjoy it. Oh well.

Movie Review: “Robots”

March 14, 05 by kenrich

I would definitely recommend the movie Robots to anyone who likes animated movies. This is a great movie for children to go see. While it is best suited to children between the ages 5 and 8, my two little ones thoroughly enjoyed it.

The quality of the computer animation is supurb, but I would expect nothing less from the people who brought us “Ice Age”. The story is excellent too. It follows the adventures of a young robot from a poor family as he follows his dreams to become an inventor and work with the most famous inventor of his time, “Big Weld”.

He becomes a hero to the masses first by helping repair his fellow robots and then freeing them from the tyranny of corporate greed. The evil robot Ratchet usurps control of the largest (and only) producer of replacement parts. He then forces poor robots to “upgrade” or become “out moded” and thus, scrap junk.

I waited for some additional animation after the end of the credits for the first time after missing it three or four times before. Despite the “to be continued…” message after the introductory animation short (that precedes the movie), there was NOTHING at the end of the credits. Bummer, guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD.

Another Version of ASP Nuke is Launched

March 14, 05 by kenrich

A new release of ASP Nuke has just launched today. A few people were complaining about some bugs in the code so I went in and did some extensive testing and debugging. Usually, I like to add a lot of new features before releasing a new version, but this one really warranted a complete overhaul.

It’s hard to say what type of role this (my only) open source project will play in the future. Classic “Active Server Pages” is being phased out by Microsoft in favor of .NET. My focus is tilting more towards Linux and open source since I would rather benefit that community than the commercial Microsoft product.

One thing is for sure… development on ASP Nuke is bound to slow down considerably since I have a lot of work to do on PHP development. Now that this release is published, I can put all my efforts into finishing the porting of our Intranet code into PHP (and also related – my ASP-to-PHP conversion tool.)

E-Bay Launches Classified Ad Service

March 09, 05 by kenrich

I saw in the news that E-bay has been buying up popular classified ad sites in other countries. Their goal is to create a Craig’s List site for cities outside of the United States.

Even though this will be a site providing free listings (and thus, no revenue,) I guess E-bay thought it would be in their best interest to dominate the online auction, sell, trade, wanted market. Experts say they are avoiding the United States based on the fact that Craig’s List has that area of the market cornered.

I believe they are going to jump into the US market after perfecting their product on the global market. Actually, E-bay has a 25% share of Craig’s List which they purchased recently. They are probably eyeing a merger sometime soon. Craig’s List is a free listing service for all classified ads except for career listings.

To check out the new E-bay classified ad site go to kijiji.com. There’s not too much to see on this site. In fact, all of the cities use a foreign language.

PHP Annoyances

March 09, 05 by kenrich

Lately I have been fighting with a PHP conversion of my web sites. There’s a lot of work left to do until I get the site up and running the way that I’d like. For now, let me take this opportunity to discuss some of the things that really irk me about PHP.

  • Case-sensitive variables
  • Case-sensitive form and query variables
  • either array_key_exists or mysql_fetch_assoc doesn’t work properly, because my null fields are nowhere to be found.
  • Warning messages when referencing a hash array element that doesn’t exist
  • No application-scoped variable (you have to use the shared memory module as a work-around)
  • Include paths for the “require” and “include” statements. (shouldn’t the web site root automatically be appended to the search path?)
  • No function to take the difference of two dates in a unit such as days, hours or minutes. (yeah, I’m too lazy to convert from seconds)

This is just a few of the problems I have encountered so far. I’m sure there will be more. On the plus side, I have been really impressed with the large amount of functions that are available. It really helps when developing complex applications. And of course the cross-platform (runs on Windows or UNIX) is a definite added bonus.

Tracking Spam IP Addresses

March 09, 05 by kenrich

I’ve been using the GeoBytes IP Address Locator service to track the source of spam that our servers receive. Just today I noticed they have disabled the free lookup service on their site. Now, you get a login page which comes up. I guess too many people were abusing this service or else they just decided they needed to make money.

Not to fear, however, I have found an equally good alternative. The “American Registry of Internet Numbers” lookup page provides me with an excellent IP address lookup that will tell me exactly where the address is registered or point me to the registry that can tell me the information.

This can be used to locate addresses in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I typically ban spammers who use IP addresses out of these countries. At the top of my list of spam abuse is Korea, China and Spain. The more spam they send, the easier it is for me to ban their entire country. Some spam comes out of the United States too, but it is a lot less than other foreign countries.

ASP to PHP Script Conversion

March 01, 05 by kenrich

I’ve been plugging away getting my Intranet code ported to PHP. Currently, I have most of the COM objects and script libraries completed. Also, I have mastered some of the inconsistencies between the way PHP and ASP work.

For example, I was suprised to learn that PHP doesn’t have “application-scoped” variables that persist across the entire site (for all users.) I was able to find an informative article through Google that explained how to accomplish this using the shared memory module that is available for PHP.

So I think I finally have all of the major hurdles cleared. It should just be a simple matter of converting all of the scripts. I’ve made some improvements to my “ASP-To-PHP” conversion tool which will speed up the work. I’ve still got a long way to go to make this tool very powerful. My business partner believes this would be some software we could sell for a profit. If there’s one thing we could use right now, it would be profits!