Archive: September 2008

accidental misspelling?

"accidentally accidently neither of them gets marked as misspelled for me. I feel like one of them must be wrong." But no! The Columbia Guide to Standard American English: accidentally, accidently.


The "dew point" is the temperature where water vapor condenses into dew; it changes based on the amount of water in the air. When the dew point drops below the air temperature, you get dew.

When the dew point drops below freezing, it is called the "frost point"; when the air temperature drops below freezing and the dew/frost point drops below the air temperature, you get frost.

more about frost. I've been waiting for the first frost here but I don't think it has come yet.


Robbie is saving a piece of railroad rail because "you can chunk it up into pieces about this long [2 ft] and it's useful for banging other pieces of metal on"--an improvised anvil. To cut up something like a rail, you would use an acetylene torch. (I had to ask, so I figured I'd write it down).

organic apples

apparently in apple farming one organic alternative to chemical pesticides is clay. I am guessing that would mean that they make a light slurry of clay and water and spray it on the apples.

css "image replacement"

image replacement by covering the text with the image (used today, for future reference).

launchd and cron

cron is deprecated under Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5; it is replaced by launchd. You can schedule tasks with launchd by making a .plist, putting the plist in ~/Library/LaunchAgents/, and running something like launchd load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/my-task.plist. Cron is still present on the system, though. If you still want to use cron, just set up your crontab as usual with crontab -e and cron will automagically be turned on (launchd will load com.vix.cron, which tells it to check the crontab). a couple more details on launchd and cron, see also crontab.

scp, finally

scp examples with Darth Vader. yarr, I see less sftp in my future.


wtf is PDO? -- a PHP extension that gives you a class with a standard set of methods for working with data in databases. Why? You can use that standard set of methods. And apparently PDO MySQL operations are faster than native PHP MySQL operations, at least in some cases. The catch? Comes with PHP 5.1. You might have to compile PHP with the pdo_mysql driver (exhibit a, exhibit b).

Eclipse install notes

Today I installed Eclipse. Like my ubuntu-eee install notes, the following is not a how-to. I'm documenting my experiences so that knowlegeable users can compare (and correct me), and so that I have a reference for future Eclipsy activities.

Update: 2008-09-10 Eclipse has not really worked out for me at all. Checking stuff out of SVN and setting up projects worked fine, but when I went to write code, the code-completion features did not work at all--in fact, they crashed Eclipse entirely. I turned them off... and Eclipse still crashed. So maybe the following should serve as a "what not to do"...

  1. First of all I knew I needed to use PDT (PHP Development Tools for Eclipse). So I installed the Eclipse 3.3/PDT 1.0.3 bundle--Eclipse + PDT all pre-packaged. While this was labeled "stable", it turned out to be seriously crashy. So I went all cybermen and deleted it.
  2. The second time around, I installed plain Eclipse (Ganymede), and used Eclipse's internal "update manager" to install...

    Eclipse's update manager is under the help menu as "Software Updates..." (at least on the Mac). The first two plugins I downloaded as .zips and added within the Update Manager via Add Site... > Local... > path/to/unzipped/plugin. Subclipse I installed by adding the update site directly: Add Site... > (the other two were less clear about their Eclipse update manager URLs). yay, PHP and SVN support.

  3. I work with Drupal, which uses the .module and .install extensions for some php files, and I had tell Eclipse to treat files with those extensions as PHP. how to force php syntax highlighting in Eclipse--you get more than just syntax highlighting with this.
  4. When I first checked out my project from svn using subclipse, Eclipse didn't set it up as a PHP project, meaning that no code features were available. This FAQ was helpful: How do I manually assign a project Nature or BuildCommand? Project "nature" I guess has some sort of "project type" implications that make various project features and behaviors available, and "build commands" are "parse-y things that report php warnings and errors". As the link above specifies, I went into the .project file in my project's base directory and added the right "nature" and "build commands"; I got the correct values by creating a fresh php project and looking at its .project file.

It remains to be seen whether I actually like working in Eclipse, but I've resolved to give it a good try.