Ramblings Of a Madman

Yeah, like i would know a good description…

Posts for Tag: cries for help

Idea - HTML WYSIWYG editor with Flickr upload support

The biggest problem with this, is that WP's interface to create posts is, again, awesome. You can find plugins for pretty much anything, especially to do tasks that are otherwise plain boring, like uploading pictures to your flickr account and instantly have them available in your post for inclusion. I've been trying to find something like that for those nice HTML editors out there (like tinyMCE and CKEditor), but so far have had no luck.

Anyone out there knows if something like that exists yet and where can i find it?

HTML WYSIWYG editor with Flickr upload support?

Lately i've been tinkering around with the idea of recreating my blog in a more handcrafted way (ruby on rails) as opposed to the current implementation using Wordpress. Don't get me wrong Wordpress is awesome. It has many years and millions of websites as a testament of it's awesomeness behind it. But i guess my hacker's vein popups up every now and then to whisper the reasons why i should have something custom made :) The biggest problem with this, is that WP's interface to create posts is, again, awesome. You can find plugins for pretty much anything, especially to do tasks that are otherwise plain boring, like uploading pictures to your flickr account and instantly have them available in your post for inclusion. I've been trying to find something like that for those nice HTML editors out there (like tinyMCE and CKEditor), but so far have had no luck. Anyone out there knows if something like that exists yet and where can i find it?

Venting, or how humans no longer respect each other

Is it me or people are respecting each other less and less every day? You see it all the time: someone trying to get in line in front of you - at the supermarket, people yelling at their kids in the middle of the street (and the kids yelling back at their parents), you name it. I'm not even trying to take me out of it; how many times have i felt compelled - while driving my car - to accelerate a bit more not to let another driver get into a roundabout in front of me, or something like that? But i digress into specifics. Heck, this post was started because i was trying to sleep and my neighbors' kids are having a party at midnight on a Wednesday, when people usually work the next day. And even though my Buddhist part tries its best to compensate it's always hard.

I often wonder what will happen to us, people, if we continue down this path of disrespectfulness towards each other. What kind of future can we expect, when we treat each other with such poor manners? Shouldn't we think about these things more often and try to improve ourselves?

Dropbox plus Mercurial -driven development. Anyone tried that?

One of the biggest pains of any developer is maintaing the source code. Especially if you - like me - have a gazillion pet projects that need to be updated whenever you come up with "cool idea #20000" for one of them.

Version control systems like Mercurial are awesome, but they are only part of the equation; there's still the time consuming process of deploying the changes to "production". So i wonder if it would be a good idea to have a Mercurial repository sitting on a dropbox account and develop directly there. This way any changes to the source code would be instantly reflected on production.

I am aware that this is unthinkable for serious projects (the kind you get paid to do), but it can probably work for fun pet projects.

Do you have any experience with something like that? Share your thoughts, if you have any :)

Adventures at the Indian embassy (or how Portuguese services suck)

Where should i start? Ah, yes, the motivation: In about a month i am supposed to go to India in a business trip and - as such - i will require a visa.

I went to the embassy on Wednesday morning only to find out that visa applications are not handled on Wednesdays. Just my luck! It was clearly my fault, since i did not properly check the opening times on their - extremely hard to find - website. Did i mention you spend one hour in traffic just to get there? Suffice to say i was pissed, though mostly at myself. I did try to call them, but the automated response only directed people to their website. Why they bother having a phone is beyond me.

The next day i went back again (1 more hour in traffic) and finally got a ticket. The system works like this: You wait in the streets until a security guard calls you. Then he checks to see if your papers are all in order, and finally gives you a numbered ticket and sends you into the actual waiting/service room where you... wait some more. I arrived at the gate at around 11 am. I got ticket number 35. The embassy opens at 9.30 and they only had served around 19 tickets. I did my math and promptly went back home, at the risk of spending the entire day waiting. Again - probably my fault - but one should take some time to see the number of people that uses our services and get the appropriate amount of workers to be able to deal with them in a timely fashion. Two workers for 50 people, when the average time per person is 20 minutes, will not work.

Third day: Decided that i should be one of the first people to get there and get a ticket. Left home around 8 am. Arrived at the embassy at 9:15. Got ticket number 4. Not bad. Funny fact about lines in portugal: they don't exist. I arrived at the embassy gate and there were around 10 people there already (the embassy opens at 9.30, though they only started actually working at 10). I asked politely "is there a line?" and was greeted with the response "not really, you know how it is with us portuguese, we just remember who came first". This is exactly the kind of crap that pisses me off: lack of order and organization. But then again, looking at my living room right now, i shouldn't really complain :)

So, i got my number and went ahead into the waiting room. Now, the website states that - for business visas - one is required the following:

- Invitation letter from the Indian partner,

OR

- Invitation letter from the Portuguese company explaining the details of the visit.

Note the emphasized "OR".

After waiting for roughly 30 minutes, the lady tells me that i'm missing a letter from my company (i only had the one from the Indian company). I tried to explain that the website said i only needed that one but there was nothing that could be done. She told me how long it would take, explained that it had to be analyzed by two different entities and told me how much it would cost. Since - up until then - i saw everyone paying in cash i decided it would be a good idea to ask if they accepted cards. No cards. Really? What century is this? And you could put out a sign explaining that so that i would know about it - oh call me crazy - before i waited in line or - i don't know - you could put it IN YOUR WEBSITE?

So here's my summary of improvements, if anyone closely related to the Indian embassy in Portugal reads this and cares enough to help people not waste their time and money getting a freaking visa:

Update your website! Seriously, read that again: Update your website. It's the 21st century and pretty much everyone uses the web to know information about this kind of things; Put up a sign that you do not take cards as a method of payment. I do understand why you make the entrance process so explicitly phased, but people need to know what to count on when they get in there. I don't want to stand in line for 1 hour (a very typical case, trust me) only to find out i cannot pay with my card. Also, see point number 1! Get more people working there. Clearly the waiting times should tell you that you are understaffed.

There, ended up being constructive. I feel much better now :)

UPDATE: As a good friend of mine very well pointed out, i should help other people find their website :)

How does one change his domain name without losing hits?

I recently decided to drop one of the domain names that points to my blog. After (finally) getting the proper domain (pedroassuncao.com), i figured there was no sense anymore in keeping the old one (diffract.me).

Now here's the problem: A lot of google links that bring a huge percentage of my traffic are pointing to the old one. That explains why - from last week to this one - i got a 90% traffic decrease in visits and page views. I definitely should have done something to prevent or at least minimize this "problem", but i didn't.

So my question is: What could i have done? Anyone out there has had this problem before? If so, what did you do to mitigate it?

UPDATE: Thanks for all the comments, that was really helpful. One in particular (by Ryan) explains a nice solution really in detail.

Schiphol-Amsterdam - Airport security at its best

There i was at gate D83 (or should i say 53?), waiting for my flight back to Portugal when something suddenly starts beeping. I turn to look and see a man washing the floor who had just stepped through an unused set of security gates that is laying around there (see picture).

If i'm not mistaken, these (probably older) gates used to have security checks done here, instead of at the main central place where this happens nowadays. I saw these a couple of times before, though i always assumed them to be deactivated. So when the cleaning man passed through it i couldn't help but thinking the potential for experiments. I mean, anyone can potentially play around with it and "try out" which items go through undetected and which will be safely concealed. Call me paranoid, but i think it's already bad that the general public is allowed to be near these things unsupervised, much less the damn things being turned on.

A new kind of bandages?

[caption id="attachment_1007" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="A normal bandage"][/caption]

I hate bandages. I really do. Everyone knows the best way for a wound to heal is to leave it exposed to oxygen and, hence, a bandage is the worst thing you can do to it.

A couple of days ago i took a big crash while going downhill on my bike (for gore lovers, check out the picture of my arm) and ended up with my right shoulder and elbow completely scratched. The elbow is a no brainer in the summer; since i use a t-shirt all day, it can just go around with Betadine on it and heal normally. The problem is the shoulder. Since i don't usually like to use tank tops in my everyday life, it would be hard for my clothes not to get soaked in a mixture of blood and Bepanthene/Betadine.

Now, here's an idea: why not create a bandage that is open everywhere, except in its boundaries - so that the wound can normally "breathe" and at the same time not be in contact with the clothes?

[caption id="attachment_1008" align="alignright" width="400" caption="The bandage i needed"][/caption]

I kind had to pull a Mcggyver (check the last entry) and improvise one this morning. It works marvelously. I think i should start selling these things :)

The quest for a simple music player on mac OSX

I have to say this: looking for a simple music player for OSX is like searching for a needle in the middle of lots of big sticks; it should be easy, except the needle is under the carpet.

Nevertheless, between trying out iTunes, Songbird, and a few other options, i have always felt like there should be something, you know, simple and memory efficient. Don't get me wrong, i love the interface on iTunes. And i do love what the guys at songbird are trying to accomplish. But the fact remains: I want a music player for OSX that does not freeze whenever i task-switch back to it. This happens on a 4GB ram macbook pro with both iTunes and Songbird!

So, a lot of google queries later, i came across Cog. It's a very minimalistic music player that does one thing: it plays music. No multiple playlists, no plugins, no fuzz, it plays music. Period.

Time will tell if i'll stick to it or miss something, but so far so good.

If anyone knows a better one, please let me know :)