I've paid my dues in Linux environments. But after a few months of not using a Linux box regularly little things slip from the top of your mind.
That's why I'm writing this miniature post. As a gentle reminder for all my colleagues and friends who are not perhaps currently living in la-l-, oh excuse me, Linux-land
I found myself needing to move some files across a fairly intricate network path today. Maybe I'll blame that distraction as the reason why I had to double-check my commands to tarball the darn directories!
As I said above, I've spent my time in the dark underbelly of the terminal. Which served to make it even more perplexing when the directory I was compressing went from over 200 megabytes to 38k. I'm sorry tar utility. You're good but that's just not possible. So off I go to look at what's missing.
Lo and behold, there are link files in some of the subdirectories instead of folders... you know, with files. What the -h%#!
Fortunately my subconscious called out (let's call him Linus, just for today), "links?! that reminds me of that term we learned in that place that smelled like white board cleaner and electrical fires. What was it, oh, symbolic links!". Right, so basically my tar command was copying what was in the folders more literally than I had hoped. Whatever occurred in my subconscious after I claim no credit for. I do know my arrow key went up once and I added an 'h' to the other tar parameters.
For the love of -h <3 Symbolic links were now followed, subfolder contents were compressed and I can await the file transfer in peace with a well deserved cup of joe.
Thanks, letter H.
post-script ~ postulate: I have been reading with my five year old a lot. May be time to up the ante from early readers...
The latest Beyond the Browser on The Western Star went live today.
I'm still getting used to the formatting for newspaper publishing so I thought I would re-post the beginning section here as it was originally presented.
Online advertising is powerful.
Also lucrative, especially for the ad servers. The biggest player in the online advertising space is Google. Google’s revenues for last year topped thirty three billion dollars. Ninety seven percent of that revenue came from online advertising.
Here’s a crash course in how Google AdWords works:
- Setup an account
- Create a new ad campaign
- Choose one ore more keywords that your advertising will show up for
- Craft your ad, alternative wording is also an option
- Set your maximum budget per day
- Activate your campaign
There are of course a few screens to get through to manage all of that. The online documentation is good though and there are hundreds of businesses that specialize in helping you run AdWords campaigns.
The other thing I am getting used to is editorial changes. I'm not certain why the last section of my article was truncated. I suspect it was due to content or timing. As it related to the recent election, which has of course ended, it may not be considered topical anymore.
The thing is, the truncated portion of my article was inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter pertaining to AdWords use by certain political parties. I think some discussion on the matter is deserved so I'm posting the deleted section here now so we can continue our chat.
Without further fanfare, here is the missing section:
Before I wrap up this column, I’d like to point out an innovative use of AdWords I had never seen before.
A keen eyed reader was browsing the Internet reading information on the upcoming elections. They mentioned on Twitter the result they saw when they typed the keywords nl liberals. Fortunately they were also quick enough to take a screenshot of the result because the ad that was displayed has since been disabled.
The URL for the screen is: http://t.co/3k3T0RA8. Don’t worry about the strange format of the link. That’s a customized short link Twitter uses to help users share links without using up too many characters in the 140 character limit per post.
There are several interesting things about this ad.
- First, it was not a product related ad, it was a political ad that pointed to http://newenergynl.ca.
- Second, the ad was tied to at least the keywords nl liberals and muskrat falls, there were likely other keywords.
- Third, the disparity between the headline, “NDP”, and the website the ad redirected to, newenergynl.ca (a PC site), should have lowered the accuracy score given by Google. Google checks the content of the target website against your ad wording to ensure there is some relationship.
I am not sure how I feel about the wording of the ad but I do find this use of AdWords innovative. Technology, at its best, is a disruptive game changer that can supercharge your marketing efforts.
One thing is certain, political campaigning in Newfoundland & Labrador has just been changed forever.
Speed is everything online and I'm not talking about slow loading video or laggy audio.
I'm talking customer service/awareness and responsiveness.
PR-wise, Netflix has been taking some hard hits over the last few weeks. First, the pricing changes separating streaming video and mail order DVD subscriptions into two fees. Then, the Internet is raging over the fact that you can only stream Netflix on one per device per household at a time.
This article from PCWorld articulates the issue with single streams very well. If you have multiple people in your home and multiple streaming capable device, why shouldn't you be able to watch Netflix on both devices at the same time.
Buried somewhere in their agreement Netflix has mentioned multiple streams are only allowed if you take the multiple DVD at a time rental option. Of course, now that has been recreated as a separate option the old wording doesn't even make sense.
StoptheCap.com had an article yesterday saying they received notice from Netflix that multiple streams should not be a problem and is in fact, just a technical glitch. They go on to say that at least some of their users are still reporting the issue.
My main issue with all of this is not the inconsistent stories or the technical problems. My problem is with the lack of communication from Netflix themselves!
Where are they? Why aren't they blasting the "technical glitch" story all over their blog and main website? This is not a new problem and people are fuming; over 5000 negative comments on the Netflix site already. Who knows how many emails and phone calls are being traded. Meanwhile, all of the media I see from Netflix is firmly stuck in broadcast mode blithely spewing happy little ads about their new content and ignoring the PR storm blazing all around them.
Speed counts. When there is an issue, respond to it and fast. Don't leave it for others to speculate on while you figure out the best PR spin tactic to use. Tell us what's going on before we move to one of the rapidly appearing competitors.
Oh, and Netflix; while you formulate a response to my questions, have someone update your Facebook pages too. There's not a whisper of any of this on the Canadian page. Plenty of other complaints mind you.
For you, the reader, keep in mind that even if you stick with the cheapest $7.99/month streaming only plan, you are still paying for that bandwidth from your ISP. Watch your limits and decide if that 5 year old B movie is worth it.
Ok, seriously. First there was the scare I had when I updated to FF 5 and FireBug was gone again.
Now, Google Toolbar (GTB) won't be supported on FF5+?! FireFox may not be a sinking ship but the rats are scattering like it is.
I suppose it makes sense for Google to distance themselves from Firefox. Their own browser, Chrome, has been gaining a lot of traction. Why should they actively encourage users to utilize another browser?
At least the Google search box is still safely ensconced in the top right of Firefox. There, and of course if you type search terms directly into the address bar. But you knew that right?
Google search is practically ubiquitous already. I don't think Google is worried about losing search share by taking away support for this toolbar. I think what you will see is continued updates to Chrome's built in functionality to poise it as the go to browser for developers and non-developers alike.
Check out the list of built in Google Toolbar-like functions in Chrome.
FYI - the Google Toolbar is not officially supported for FireFox 5 but that doesn't mean you can't use it still. As near as I can tell there isn't anything broken yet. The announcement is more likely a heads up. You can go ahead and download the toolbar here, and then the compatibility reporter add-on here in order to enable it.
There is also an unofficial Google Toolbar add-on called Google Toolbar Lite. I have yet to try it.
Any other alternatives out there? Can FireFox keep up with all these changes? Every time something drops off without warning, there's another group of users waiting to jump ship.
Despite the recent announcement that John J. Barton is leaving the FireBug team,the little bug that could is still owning the DOM.
I've been on a short hiatus from web development. Spending a lot of time upgrading some .Net applications and super charging aging MS SQL entities.
This was a blessing really. While the latest FireFox upgrade schedule is a vast improvement in terms of stability and features, it also meant the FireBug addon kept breaking!
Issues like this are what make developers switch in my opinion.
Google Chrome has decent built in debugging tools but not enough to make me change over from FireFox as my main development browser. You know what it's like when you get used to a tool that works. Changing without major improvements is just time you could be spending developing awesome apps.
Back to the point. Despite Barton's departure, I was really happy to find a new release of FireBug when I found myself needing to tweak some CSS this week. FireBug 1.8 is compatible with:
- Firefox 5.0
- Firefox 6.0
- Firefox 7.0 (Aurora)
- Firefox 8.0 (Nightly)
Also, belaying my initial fears, the rest of the FireBug team seems committed to maintaining the code base with the additional help of the FireFox developer tools team. We can only hope that they can keep up with the aggressive new release schedule FireFox announced. Time will tell which browser will reign for development but for now at least I'm staying foxy.
If you are on FireFox and you haven't tried FireBug, it will change your life, or at the least your dev style.
Are you already a FireBug fan? Will you stick with FireFox for dev? Or do you have an alternative that can finally break my dependence on this cycle of catch-up and release?
This isn't a whiny apologetic post about why I'm too busy with work, home life, or my furby collection (I don't have one fyi) to blog.
I have been busy but I've also been trying out Tumblr, the neato micro-blogging platform.
When I first saw Tumblr, I thought why? I have a blog already. it's just something else to update and monitor, right?
Well, there are lots of things I'd like to share that are perhaps not best expressed in a blog post. Either I don't have to time to put it into a nice formal post, or I just don't think it fits with what I'm trying to do here.
Of course, if it's too little to blog, then tweet it, yeah? I do have Twitter, and I use it plenty but posting pictures, quotes, and other interesting tidbits there lack the impact that a Tumblr stream has when viewed in full.
When I find a new Tumblr user, I can quickly skim through their stream and get an idea of what they are into and whether I care. That can take a bit more time with a Twitter stream and biography.
I use Tumblr primarily as quick posting tool, a picture, or quote. As time goes on I use Twitter more interactively, less broadcast only. Twitter is great for mini-conversations and for tracking items of specific interest using hashtags like #econobrook.
Besides, I've been ignoring Facebook for a very long time. Now Tumblr and my blog are both wired to post to my FB account.
I'm seeing a pattern emerge where all these different media streams work together without overwhelming me in a constant need to check and update all of them all the time. I can use whichever outlet I find appropriate at the time and know that the message will find it's way out to all my online friends.
- On the go? Tweet
- See a cool pic online? Tumble
- Have a comprehensive thought about something? Blog
A feature I like with Tumblr is their use of tags. For example, I've started a little picture story using my Scott Pilgrim desk buddy. So, while you will see Scott sprinkled through my Tumblr stream, if you want to see the Scott Pilgrim VS the Office story in full you can hit: http://tumbling.jonreid.ca/tagged/scottpilgrim.
I tried adding my Tumblr feed to my sidebar like I have with my Twitter stream but I found it cluttered things too much. Instead, I gave it a page of it's own. Yes, it's a flash widget. I'll convert to JQuery at some point but right now I'm trying out WidgetBox. Easy to hook up with my Tumblr RSS feed and it didn't take an all night coding session.
What do you think? Is Tumblr a waste of time? Is Twitter? Or are there other tools you prefer?
Use SQL to send emails with query results? Great for reporting purposes and useful with dynamic queries.
I won't go into all the little details, you can Google them as easily as I can. Well, ok, I'll make it easy, they are here.
The one issue I've had with sp_send_dbmail is the character limits for the @Query parameter. I can hear you saying, why are you passing in a query with more than 4000 characters? Well Dorothy, sometimes I need that many JOINs to make it work. But seriously, consider the poor person who comes behind you.
I'm an avid commenter in queries as well as code. Once I found myself removing all the line breaks, extra spaces, and fully qualified column names just to make my dynamic query fit into 4000 characters, I had to step back and re-think my approach.
Instead of passing in a normal select statement I decided to declare a new varchar variable and construct an EXEC statement. Ran a quick test and it worked!
Goodbye 4000 char limit. I can create sub-processes for any dynamic SQL I need.
Declare @SQL = 'Select top 1 * from myTable'
exec msdb..sp_send_dbmail @profile_name='sa', @recipients=Nfirstname.lastname@example.org', @subject='TEST', @Query=@SQL
Updated to use Stored Procedure
Declare @SQL = 'EXEC mySproc ' + @myParam
exec msdb..sp_send_dbmail @profile_name='sa', @recipients=@recips, @subject=@Subj, @Query=@SQL, @execute_query_database = 'myDB',@Body = 'Hey I'm adding a header to the email!'
I added a couple of extra parameters to sp_send_dbmail just for fun. The most import one is @execute_query_database, you need that to run EXEC commands.
Any questions, drop me a comment or @jonreid on Twitter.
I've had this problem for ages but it hasn't been a big enough issue for me to spend time on.
Every time I connected my Galaxy to my laptop device driver installation failed and the initializing screen would continuously refresh until I hit the home key or unplugged the USB.
I got around this issue by moving files to and from my phone using the external SD card. Painful!
Looking for a quick solution, I was very close to factory resetting my phone but I was concerned about messing up the carrier configuration.
After a quick backup of my music and pictures to the external SD card one last time, I unmounted and formatted the internal SD. Immediate response when I plugged the phone back into my laptop!
Steps to format internal SD.
SD card and phone storage
Scroll down to Internal SD card
Unmount SD card
Format SD card
PS. I'm running 32 bit Windows 7. I understand there are some issues related to 64 bit but there is an updated driver for that.
Just saw this stat from Did You Know 3.0 on YouTube:
"It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century"
With this content and billions of other pages on the Internet individuals have more information available than they could ever hope to process. Financial tickers, how to guides, webinars, and tutorials on any conceivable subject, it's not hard to see how Google went from a noun to a verb in such a short time. Then add the social media phenomenon to the mix - Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plurk, Ning, LinkedIn, Bebo, DeviantArt,.... ok this isn't a contest, I'll stop. Big list here.
What Do You Do With It?
In short, there is no shortage of information available. The question becomes, "What do we do with it"?
- You're hungry, Google for restaurant picks.
- Want to pick a movie, IMDB.com for reviews.
- Want an opinion, toss out a TwitPoll.
- Have a report to write?
- You get the idea.
How much information do you need to actually make a decision? Is it easier now with 50,000 articles, 2000 Facebook friends, and 2 Wikipedia articles giving you expert insight? Is it faster?
Don't misunderstand me. I love the great array of choices I have when I want to know something. It's even fun to kick back and get a good overview of a subject from someone like Ethan Bloch at WSYK .
New sources are invented every minute! Plus mobile devices like the iPhone give us ubiquitous access. But what's the next step?
IMHO ("in my humble opinion" for newbies), filters are the inevitable and very much needed next breakthrough. Aggregate and rate the data for me Internet, please! Put all these sources together and tell me what actually makes the most sense. NOT what's the most popular, but what's the most relevant and hopefully TRUE.
A fun step in the right direction: TweetNews: "this service boosts Yahoo’s freshest news search results (which typically don’t have much relevance since they are ordered by timestamp and that’s it) based on how similar they are to the emerging topics found on Twitter for the same query". Thanks Vik Singh
A development I foresee is a news reader that searches for all my favorite topics, weighs in some factors determined by my habits or predefined rules, and gives me the most relevant data. The best version wouldn't need a lot of setup by me, instead it would save my most popular search topics. Even better it would have a work/productivity mode and a browse mode for fun topics.
Any fabulous innovators or startups want to chime in? Show me the product that addresses this and I'm first in line, cash in hand.
Warning: Don't wait too long, some of my closest friends "code quick"
There's a new hook in the Twitter phisher's tackle kit. A DM (direct message) with a booby trapped link.
Twitter has an official phishing warning posted on their status page. The linked page asks for your Twitter credentials but it's actually twitter.access-logins.com!
This is actually a classic phishing technique, link manipulation, as described on Wikipedia.
This is certainly a shorter method than creating a realistic looking or working application to gather Twitter credentials. If you want someone's credentials, just ask.
Have you gotten this DM or something similar? Let me know and I'll add it to the growing list of Twitter phishing techniques.