The Eggdrop

The other day I was catching up on my backlog of xkcd web commics and I ran by this little gem that brought back memorys of cub scouts.  Every year at day camp the pack would compeat in the egg drop contest, where we would create a contraption and then drop it from a cherry picker and see if the egg inside of it was still whole.  Usually our gadget would work so well that the next year they would ban whatever we used, for example one year we had a parashoot… the next year no parashoots etc.  Hopefully this will bring as much of a smile to your face as it did to mine

Google Chrome not a beta anymore

Google is world famous for it’s ever beta status of it’s progress.  There is one tool that has had a brief stint as a beta and is now a fully live tool, Google Chrome.  I downloaded google chrome and installed it.  There are still some hiccups here and there but it is looking pretty good.  Where chrome shines is it’s Javascript processing, it’s built from scratch processing engine V8 is a speed demon.

Do I think chrome is perfect, no!  It is still missing key things like ad block and other addons that Firefox has, though addons are apparently on the way.  I think that the future is bright for chrome!

Mootools

I have recently fallen in love with a Javascript toolkit for development.  One of the greatest problems with Javascript is it’s inconsisistancy across browsers.  What works on one browser fails on another.  This is quite frusterating especially when developing web 2.0 “Ajax” applications.  The solution to this problem is to use a javascript tool kit… there are plenty of different ones out there, and the one I ended up going with is the Mootoolkit.  It seems to be one of the more powerful options with many 3d effects ajax loading and just a simple way to address objects in the DOM.

Developing an ajax page for displaying various html items I ran in to a small problem… any of the webkit browsers (Google Chrome, Apple Safari etc) fail when loading html… they all give an evil red box with “”This page contains the following errors: ”   After a little research I found the issue is with moo tools, apparently it is loading the html files as xml.  As a good little paranoid browser the webkit craps itself and stops display.  I was able to find a fix to make the display work (here).  With any luck they will have this fixed by the next release.

Google Reader

I have fallen in love with the Google Reader for those of you who have not drank the RSS coolaid it is awesome.  RSS enables you to subscribe to “news feeds” on your favorite websites.  When these sites update they make a update to their RSS file, your news reader sees that update and then shows it in the reader screen, much like an email.  This enables you to follow many more websites in a quick fashion as you only have to visit when there is a update.

Google reader also allows you to share news items with your friends and even the world (my share is here).

Stupid Linux tricks

In helping a friend with configuring a computer for his work, I was reminded of a recent Slashdot article (“Stupid Unix Tricks“.  Apparently at his work place (he works in the computer repair group) they need a backup server to store customer’s files.  Some one decided that they should use netbsd on it.  While netbsd is a great and solid system, he is haveing a heck of a time setting things up and is the most software based guy in his group.

He was asking about Ubuntu Server, while a good system… I pointed him to Debian (as it is a bit more stable) and gave him tips about using programs like GNU Screen that will help make his life a little bit easier.

The other great info for the ISU campus is we have access to some great mirrors hosted at the U of Minnesota

for Debian debian-mirror.cs.umn.edu

and for Ubuntu mirror.cs.umn.edu

Iowa State and UMN are bolth part of the Great Plains Network and have some darn big pipes connecting us together (netview shows us with at 10GB pipe more here)  Which reminds me the ISU netview server http://netview.its.iastate.edu/ is another great resource to tell you when a service is up or down with out calling the Solution center