I've decided to retire this blog — I don't really see myself updating it any time soon, and haven't for over two years anyway. I intend to leave the content on-line for the forseeable future, but have converted it to a static site. As a result, dynamic things like search and comments aren't really going to work.

You can find me on Twitter or on Google+ if you like. Alternatively, I'm usually on IRC as LawnGnome on Freenode.

Thanks for reading!

Archive for September, 2007

DB 1.7.13 Released

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

I’ve just released version 1.7.13 of PEAR’s DB package. This includes a couple of minor fixes for the MySQL, MySQLi and SQLite drivers, none of which I’d class as particularly urgent. Grab it at your leisure from a PEAR server near you.

Important note: It’s been this way for a couple of years now, but I’d again like to reiterate that DB is deprecated in favour of MDB2, which is pretty DB-like if you load the Extended module. If you haven’t already made plans to migrate your programs depending on DB to MDB2, now might be a good time to start.

Particularly in light of this post to PEAR-DEV, which I predict is going to create considerably more e-mail for me to sort through. Short version: I’m considering setting an end-of-life date for DB at 8/8/8, the same as PHP4′s end-of-security-fix-life date. If you want to address the open questions in that post, feel free to reply to PEAR-DEV or my e-mail directly. My e-mail address is on the sidebar both on my blog home page and my about page.

Perthifornication: The Edge of Coherent Thought

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I wonder how many of the series being pitched in my university’s Television Scriptwriting unit this semester are edgy, sexy shows about the life of a struggling writer in a big city? Three episodes in, Californication does seem like writer porn of the highest order. It’s the life every young writer dreams of — babes, smooth talking, throwing up on paintings that deserve it, more babes…

Well, the guys, anyway.

(OK, some of the girls, too.)

In unrelated news, post-production for science fiction shorts less fun than previously expected. Damned bluescreens.

Dirty, Dirty Backtraces

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

I doubt anyone in recorded history has had to put an NSFW warning on a link to a backtrace and .xsession-errors dump in a bug report, but I’m going to have to here.

The lesson is: don’t paste logs containing references to media files you might not want to admit to having.

With thanks to Davey for the tip. One thing still disturbs me about this: how the hell is A Shark’s Tale sandwiched between Little Miss Innocent and, well, a video it’s probably better I don’t copy the title for? The thought process boggles my mind…

Leaves and Twigs and Beans, Oh My!

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

I’ve mentioned my final Computer Science project a couple of times now on the blog without actually describing what it is. Now seems like a good time to do so, having just spent a solid afternoon and evening on it. The summary (which remains one of only two pieces of actual paperwork written for the project thus far — thank $DEITY this isn’t a group project with meeting minutes and the like) reads as follows:

To develop a networked simulation of a garden system that allows users to maintain the garden by interacting with individual plants, which are simulated using the principles of L-systems.

Put more simply, the idea is to build a client/server system that provides something like a SimGarden over the Internet. Fortunately, much of the theoretical work needed for this has long been done, and most of it is in The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants, so that has largely left me to worry about the parts of the project that don’t involve quantifying plant physiology and behaviour, like rendering L-systems in a manner that can render a simple plant (without leaves) at more than 0.4 frames per second on my iBook.

I’m still working on that little problem, but the fact it’s rendering at all is progress — it means the 3D turtle is working (yes, it’s just like Logo, except in Python and with an extra dimension to confuse people), the L-system parser can at least deal with simple L-systems, and all in all, I’m feeling rather content with life, given that five weeks ago I didn’t even have a project (the project I had planned fell through due to the supervisor leaving the university) and four weeks ago I had no idea what OpenGL code even looked like. Of course, said contentedness is likely to evaporate any moment now, given the amount of work that’s still ahead.

I sign off tonight in the traditional fashion: screenshots.

Hello world! This is actually a highly serious test of the 3D turtle code. Honest. Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a really ugly plant at 0.4 FPS.

Hi, My Name is ‘); DROP TABLE GuestBook; –

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

One of the units I’m doing this semester is Internet and Java Programming, albeit not by choice — it’s a required unit for the Computer Science major here. Whether that actually makes sense is a debate for another blog post, but today’s lecture and workshop featured some gems. In particular, I wanted to share these three slides:

Slide the first Slide the second Slide the third

Now, I’m no Java expert, but that looks like a big fat SQL injection vulnerability to me. If so, it’s good to know we’re teaching our graduates of the (near) future secure coding practices. For the record, the sole mention of prepared queries in the course appears to have been a throwaway line in last week’s JDBC lecture which didn’t mention why you might want to use them. Oh, and the textbook uses very similar examples too, and fails to mention any potential problems even in the chapter on security.

It’s days like this I wonder why I tossed in a good job to finish my degree this year. 0.59 semesters to go.

(Slides © 2007 Edith Cowan University; fair dealing usage asserted under the criticism and review provisions of Australian copyright law.)