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July 2007

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The inquiry from one of my former bosses has resulted in an interview tomorrow afternoon. They are doing development with Java, which is not a big deal for me. We will see if I meet their criteria.


I am still working through the Rails tutorial. The tutorial in the second edition of the book is much larger than the one in the first edition. It also takes some different approaches in several areas. The different approaches are exactly where I was having problems with the first tutorial, so as far as I am concerned, they are for the better.

The new tutorial's approach to the database creation and update is a case in point. In the first tutorial, this was done with SQL scripts. This works fine, but causes the programmer much unnecessary work if they want to start over or go back a ways. On the other hand, the second tutorial uses Rails migrations, which makes rolling back dead simple.


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Monday, 30 July 2007

I am getting into the serious part of the Ruby for Rails tutorial. I am learning how to do AJAX with Rails. It seems to be pretty easy, but not at all straightforward. Of course, regular AJAX is not straightforward, so what did I really expect?

In the meantime, I have had another inquiry about my services from yet another former boss. I have responded and we shall see what that leads to.


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Friday, 27 July 2007

I got a CD yesterday from Ken Masden, who is the sponsor of the 4th of July Teardrop Fun at Carnation, WA gathering. He sent me his pictures and asked if I could put them up here so everyone could see them. I am in the process of doing that, and they should be available for viewing in a couple of hours.


Today I am going to get back to two people who are looking for some small software development work. Since I haven't done this kind of thing for 11 years, I am at a loss about what to charge. I will have to talk to someone who does this for a living, I guess.


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Thursday, 26 July 2007

There are enough differences between the first edition of "Agile Web Development with Rails" and the 2nd edition to warrant my starting the tutorial over from scratch. So I am back at the beginning and am happy about that. The 2nd edition introduces database table creation and updating using migration instead of using simple SQL scripts. This is a better way to do it, as you have a complete history of the database creation and you can roll back to an earlier version whenever you need to.

When I started through the tutorial yesterday morning, I put the 1st edition up on Book Mooch. Within hours, someone mooched the book, and I mailed it to them yesterday afternoon. Book Mooch really works well for popular items, and not at all for non-popular items.


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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

I have a lead on two software contracts. One of them is a translation of a Palm app into a Web application. The other involves rewriting some software I wrote 8 years ago when I worked at eMake. These are fairly small jobs, so they won't interfere with my search for a permanent position.


I finally got the 2nd edition of "Agile Web Development with Rails". I have put the 1st edition of the book up on my Book Mooch list, so someone else can take advantage of its wisdom.


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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

While I am waiting for the updated "Agile Web Development with Rails" book, I am still working through the tutorial in the first edition. This is tougher than it should be, as the tutorial is based on earlier versions of both Ruby and Rails. Still, it is very instructive.

One area where Rails automatic code generation is deficient is in doing many to many table relationships. You must set those kinds of relationships up manually, so it is necessary to know how to do that in Rails. Considering that most applications involve those kind of relationships, it is something that Rails should really address directly.


I received papers from AMS' 401k company, allowing me to rollover my 401k or to leave it where it is. I am trying to decide what to do with it. I don't really want to lump it in with the rest of my rolled-over accounts, as putting all your eggs in one basket is not such a good idea. It may be a good time to put this all in mutual funds or some other conservative plan. Currently, other than Social Security, I have IRA savings in 5 different accounts, but only one of them holds the majority of my savings.


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Monday, 23 July 2007

I picked up the new Harry Potter book on Saturday morning. Finished it on Sunday morning. Excellent book - good/bad people live, good/bad people die, and that's all I will say about the book. You'll have to read it yourself if you want to know what happens.


I went to Rathdrum Days on Saturday, mainly to see the auto show. I took some pictures and put them in my teardrop trailer slideshows.


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Friday, 20 July 2007

Update: So if the 19th IS the third Thursday, how come no one was at the meeting place?

Well, I feel like a fool. I got all the way over to where the North Idaho Mineral Club meeting was to be held, when I realized that it was not possible that the 19th of July is the third Thursday of the month. So I had a nice evening ride for no reason at all.

I came back home through Rathdrum and was reminded by all the activity that Rathdrum Days is this weekend. I think I will go over and check out all the activities, including their car show.


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Thursday, 19 July 2007

We've had a nice weather change. It's a lot cooler now, as a result of a storm that went through last night. The storm also killed the power here - at least twice. I know this because every time the power came back on, the CD player played the queued-up CD again. I had to reset all the clocks this morning, too.


I am going to check out the North Idaho Mineral Club tonight. They have their monthly meeting over in the Senior Center in Post Falls. Lapidary is an old hobby of mine that I haven't touched in over 30 years.


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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

I have been evaluating a Windows program that replaces DVD-Shrink. It is called DVD Fab Platinum and it sells for $49.95. This is one function that Linux is still trying to get right, so it may be worth the money.

DVD Fab Platinum is more capable than DVD-Shrink. It can copy a DVD as-is, copy only the movie and not the menus (and other extra junk), split a long movie onto two 4.7 GB DVDs, merge two movies onto one DVD and do a bit for bit copy of a movie. The program is very easy to use and even has built-in burning capabilities. I think this is a good one to buy and use until Linux gets xDVDShrink working correctly.


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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

I am once again working through the tutorial about Ruby on Rails in the book 'Agile Web Development with Rails'. I am taking it a bit slower than last time, and the information not only makes more sense, but it seems to be sticking in my thick skull.

One reason I am doing this is because of the job I may be offered. The other reason is that I have started the programming side of the sports program I have been diddling with for the last couple of years. It's about time.


Because of suggestions offered by the members of the North Idaho Linux Users Group on Saturday, I have the wireless on my notebook computer working under Ubuntu Linux 7.04. Thanks, guys.


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Monday, 16 July 2007

In order to take advantage of unemployment insurance, you need to look for a new position at a minimum of two companies each week. So on Friday, I went down to Agency Software and submitted my resume there. They were not currently looking for anyone, though. I then went down to Radsoft and walked in cold. I ended up interviewing with the owner, and he asked me back this week to see how well I work with others. So I guess that once again I will not take advantage of those unemployment dollars.


A while back I showed you a direct logo ripoff by Microsoft of the Ubuntu logo. Well, Microsoft is at it again. How does the world view Microsoft when they pull this kind of stuff? Are they an ethical, innovative company, or just someone who profits from someone else's work?


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Friday, 13 July 2007

I hate government, as you well know. I had to interface to some of them yesterday, when I went down to file for unemployment benefits. What should have taken about 20 minutes turned into over an hour of explanations. They decided that I hadn't been laid off, but had quit. How did they do that? They figured that the company offered me a job in a different state and I said no, so that meant I quit. Fortunately, common sense prevailed when I mentioned that the offer had been four months before I was terminated. So I get unemployment benefits. How magnanimous of them.


An eventful week for the superstitious. Imagine, 07/07/07, 07/11/07 and Friday the 13th, all within six days of one another.


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Thursday, 12 July 2007

I have set up my test computer as a web server. I had to remove the drive bay and hook a 40 GB hard drive up to the IDE cable directly. I then installed openSUSE 10.2, selecting the necessary server software. I ended up with everything installed that I needed except for Rails. I will try to install that today.


Coming back from Carnation, WA on Sunday, I went through Wenatchee, where one of the current crop of fires was burning. The fire was up in the hills, but you could see where some of the houses up there had been saved. I watched as planes and helicopters dumped water on the fire. This fire was mostly in brush country, so it wasn't as hot or as fierce as some. As a matter of fact, the smoke looked exactly like the smoke that comes off of grass stubble when they burn the fields here.


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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

I'm going to convert my Linux test machine into an openSUSE web server. I need that to do some development for the web-based sports program I have been working on for last couple of years. I know that openSUSE 10.2 with Apache and mySQL can be used with Ruby and Rails, so that is the development bed I will be working with.


I have installed Ubuntu 7.04 on my notebook computer. The only thing that doesn't work is the most critical part: the wireless connection. I will try to get that working and may have to have help on it on Saturday at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting.


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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

While I was at the 4th of July Teardrop Fun event, I drove in 3 (out of 4) tours. I drove a 1936 de Soto in the first two tours and a 1936 LaSalle in the last tour. It was a real hoot, as you get lots of looks by the general public and get to talk about the cars.

The weird thing is, on Sunday when I headed home, I was on highway 203 headed from Carnation to Duvall and a tour of Model A's came tooling down the road on their way towards Carnation. What are the odds?

Pictures from the gathering can be seen here.


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Monday, 9 July 2007

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July. I know I did. I spent from Tuesday until Sunday at the 4th of July Teardrop Fun at Carnation, WA. Got to drive a 1936 de Soto, a 1936 LaSalle and got to ooh and aah over a $1 million 1931 Duesenberg and a pristine 1936 Packard. I also fixed breakfast (Dutch oven biscuits and gravy) for about 40 people, which was also fun. I will post many pictures some time today.

Now that I'm home, I have a lot to do around the house. I have to clean up the trailer, the house, mow around the place and work on the Plymouth. Is this what retirement's about? If it is, I will try to find at least a part-time job.


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Tuesday, 3 July 2007

I hope that everyone has an enjoyable 4th of July.


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Monday, 2 July 2007

We had a doozy of a storm on Friday evening. The wind was blowing 60-65 mph (even back here where I live), then we had mixed rain and hail. It came down really hard, and one of my trees was uprooted and fell across the road (but I didn't find that out until Saturday morning).

Right at the beginning of the storm, the power went out (about 5pm). It didn't come back on until about 10 hours later. Since I had no power in the house, I went out and spent the night in my teardrop trailer. All in all, it was an interesting night.


My reporting here may be a bit on the light side this week. Also, there will be no update on the 4th of July.


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