Chibimagic's Weblog

Archive for February 2009

I think I use computers a lot differently than most people. I prefer the desktop-laptop setup, where I have a nicely-specced always-on desktop at home and a light laptop for when I’m not home. I leave AIM, Twitter, email, RSS, and iTunes constantly running on my desktop, and it’s the master copy of all my info. After some annoying RSS syncing issues this week, I realized I didn’t like my options for checking my updates on the go. Syncing never works quite right, VNC takes a lot of bandwidth, and SSH just isn’t cuddly enough. So, I decided to roll my own.

This is a screenshot of a web app I wrote to check what’s going on on my desktop from my iPhone. I pull the data from AIM, Apple Mail, Twitterrific, NetNewsWire, and iTunes with AppleScript running on my computer, and deposit it into a set of plain text files. I parse the files with PHP and style it with a bunch of CSS. The whole thing is hidden on my server with htdigest.

You can see a static sample of it, populated with dummy data. This is primarily a way of getting a quick digest of my information from my iPhone when I’m not home, not meant as a full featured interface for these streams. It’s my version of cloud computing, and took 3.5 days to do. One day on the AppleScripts, one day on the PHP, one day on the CSS, and half a day making little tweaks here and there. Updating everything takes about 10 seconds, with AppleScript being the primary bottleneck. Sections can also be updated individually. So: highly customized solution to a very individualized problem. It makes me happy.

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Argh. I just spent an hour trying to get .htaccess files working under Apache 2 + Mac OS X. Did I edit the right httpd.conf file? Is my .htaccess file named correctly? Is apache actually restarting when I tell it to? And then there was one of those duh moments, followed by an argh moment.

Of course, the file to edit under Mac OS X Leopard and its default Apache 2 is /etc/apache2/httpd.conf (/etc/httpd/httpd.conf under older versions of Mac OS X with Apache 1.3). And the section to change is:


<Directory />
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
</Directory>

To enable .htaccess, change AllowOverride None to AllowOverride All. But under Mac OS X, there’s a section that comes immediately afterwards: <Directory "/Library/WebServer/Documents">, and you have to change the AllowOverride None there too. Argh.

I’m listening to a podcast and they’re talking about how the video game industry crashed in 1984 and it sounds scarily similar to the App Store: developers saw it as a gold mine and thought they could just throw together any crappy thing and people would buy it. The industry crashed because there were just too many crappy games. Plus there’s no try before you buy.

But I guess there were still survivors from the crash, like Nintendo. Apple and Nintendo have often been compared with their innovative approach, so if anyone survives the mobile app market it would be Apple. Plus there are very few companies that have based their entire business plan on developing mobile applications.

I dreamed I was visiting a friend, and he already had a friend over. We went to get dinner together, but he wasn’t really hungry so we ended up going to a bar. He ordered the special, which was some kind of sangria-type drink with bits of fruit chunks, served in a martini glass, and a giant several-pound apple as its crowning glory. For some reason, I drank mine, even though my body has pretty much no tolerance for alcohol. As soon as I finished it I started to regret it, as I was headachey and could no longer see straight. I managed to stumble out of the bar as we were leaving, and kind of wandered off. My friend turned out to be “sort of on a date” with the other girl, and the second he blinked and turned around, I disappeared. I wandered through the streets, no real idea of where I was going. I was too far from home to make it back on foot, but I felt like I should make an effort anyway. I passed by an Emo Hut, which is kind of like a Poetry Hut with people hanging around outside with guitars and generally trying to look depressed. I think a few men approached me trying to take advantage of me, but I managed to stumble away from them. After several… hours? I saw another friend at a major intersection waiting to cross the street. Ecstatic at finally having found someone who could help me, I stumbled over to him and hugged him tightly. At that moment, my calculus teacher from high school walked through a door. He saw us, mumbled “shit” to himself, and turned around and drove away. We followed him, and he met up with two of my last exes and the friend I was visiting at the beginning of the dream. Apparently he had reported me missing and it had become major internet news.

My friend from the intersection took me home, and the floorboards were full of thieves trying to rob us. I hid in the attic until they went away, and then I became a meek schoolteacher with a 7 year old daughter who about to start a new school year. At the end of my first day, I was lying in bed with my husband (boyfriend?) sleeping beside me, and my best friend came over. We lay around in bed beside my husband/boyfriend for a while talking about the upcoming school year. I think at various points during the conversation I fell in love with my friend and we plotted leaving my husband to run away together and become the Best Lesbian Couple ever. But then an ex showed up to school the next day on a motorcycle and my daughter had to lead the Children’s March ceremony.

I don’t think the dream really ended in any way. Or at least, I can’t remember it.

There’s just one thing
That’s getting in the way
When we go up to bed
You’re just no good
It’s such a shame
I look into your eyes
I want to get to know you
And then you make this noise
And it’s apparent it’s all over

It’s not fair
And I think you’re really mean
I think you’re really mean
I think you’re really mean
Oh you’re supposed to care
But you never make me scream
You never make me scream

Heh, I wish I’d found this song about 2 months ago. It would have been my anthem.