From The Archives

Grey Thursday??

Guess I missed the boat by a couple of days, flying too high in the blogosphere or something.

In response to Grey Tuesday, I’m posting Danger Mouse’s American Edit.

It’ll be up until a) my bandwidth exceeds 1GB/day, b) I get a C&D; from EMI, c) the server craps out. I don’t really expect any of those to happen. So feel free to pass the link around.

From The Archives


[20:00] ohryan ca: bye
[20:00] ShoppingBuddy: Thanks for stopping by. Have I helped you with your holiday shopping?

[20:00] ohryan ca: no
[20:00] ShoppingBuddy: OK. Sorry I’ve not been helpful. Would you like to see some gift ideas from Gap?

[20:00] ohryan ca: no
[20:00] ShoppingBuddy: OK. Well have a happy holiday in any case.

[20:00] ohryan ca: thanks
[20:00] ShoppingBuddy: My pleasure, anytime.

From The Archives

Active Shitter Pages

As I probably mentioned, about 3 months ago I landed a kick ass job at a well established local web firm [names concealed to protect the innocent]. Before starting that job I had very minimal experience with ASP – in school, it left a bad taste in my mouth but i couldn’t remember any specifics. I wrote it off as one of those pathetic microsoft things. In spite of my aversion to and inexperience with ASP, I still managed to land a job with a company who – up until then – had relied heavily on ASP. I had no choice but to dive headfirst into uncharted waters. All tolled, in the past few month’s I’ve become about 50% as comfortable with ASP as I am with PHP – and I’m decided that all future projects will be written in PHP.

Aside from any possible performance issues, benefits open source software, etc, I’ve come across a few really practical (arguably nitpicky) reasons not to use that M$ tripe:

1. Syntax:
ASP syntax is horrendous! Here a a few common things i do on day to day basis. First I’ll give you the ASP, then the PHP:

Open a database connection and run a query:

' Open connection to database
db = "d:\path\to\file.mdb"
Set dbConn = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
dbConn.Open "DBQ=" & db & ";Driver={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};uid=;pw=;"

' Do Query and get object
sql = "SELECT * FROM table"
Set rs = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rs.Open sql, dbConn, 1, 3

// open connection to database
mssql_connect ( servername, username, password );

// Do query and get object
$sql = "SELECT * FROM table";
$rs = mssql_fetch_object($sql);

Why does ASP require 6 long, hard to remember, lines for something PHP does with 4 much shorter lines? The PHP could be reduced to 3 lines, but if the ASP was reduced to any fewer lines it would lose readability. The structure of the ASP code is much more mishmash. What I mean, is from a purely visual standpoint, the ASP just has too much going on – it’s ugly.

If Statement:

If something = 1 Then
'Do Something
ElseIf somethingElse = 1 Then
'Do something else
'Do something different
End If

if($something == 1){
//do something
}elseif($something_else == 1){
//do something else
//do something different

Granted the ASP is actually a lot more legible in this example (for an english speaker), but the added legibility adds extra keystrokes. Ok, so maybe it’s only 4 characters, but why is “ElseIf” one word, when “End If” is two. WTF?!

Print A variable:


echo $foo;

2. Multipart Form Data
ASP does not support ‘multipart/form-data’! (thanks google) said it best:

“It is a Shocking Revelation that although Microsoft browsers have supported this format from the moment that Microsoft got interested in the Web, the standard form components they supply for Web serving do not.”

That’s right, if you want to handle form uploads, you have to write your own code. Or find something you can use for free.

3. Reference
There is no good central reference for ASP, but there sure are a tonne of bad references. Whenever i do a google search for something ASP related I get a hundreds of shady pop-up-infested “reference” pages. I wouldn’t be suprised if I got similar results with PHP, but PHP has so I don’t ever have to resort to googling.

The best reference I’ve found is the W3 Schools’ site. But it only contains basic information, I’m quickly outgrowing it.

My final complaint is moot, but i thought it was worth mentioning. You can install ASP on Windows ME, but not Windows XP Home.

W T F ?!

Apps From The Archives Review

Soar to new heighs with the Flock

Flock is a new open source browser project based on Firefox. Flock has the noble goal of trying to “smooth out some of the more hairy parts of living and working online” – with a browser. A bit of a longshot in my opinion. If you’re interested, you can download the developer preview here, you might also want to take a look at “13 things you can do with flock,” this entry in one of the developers’ blog, and listen to episode 5 of the web 2.0 show podcast.

I’ve use the browser about ½ a dozen times since downloading it last week.

The browser is essentially, firefox with a new skin and three gimmicks, namely: integrated “social bookmarking”, integrated RSS aggregator and integrated blogging client [ the options menu also contains a “photo sharing” tab, which doesn’t appear to do anything yet]. Online/social bookmark storage is a really good idea. The ability for me to bookmark stuff at home and then have access to it at work, is really awesome. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forgotten a bookmark that I KNOW I have bookmarked at home. The social bookmarking paradigm is fully integrated into the browser. Pages aren’t bookmarked, they’re “stared.” Stared pages can be associated with user-defined tags, so on and so forth. At this point, the browser only supports, but they promise to include other social bookmarking services in future releases.

The RSS reader is also quite slick. The only other browser I’ve seen this in is Opera 9 and Flock’s RSS reader is a lot cleaner than Opera’s. Integrated RSS aggregation is a great idea, I’m not sure we’ll see more browsers with this feature in the near future. It’s worth noting that RSS feeds for pages you’ve “stared” are automatically updated and cached hourly – I’m not sure if Opera does this.

The blog client looks pretty standard. It only supports WordPress, TypePad and Blogger currently. So I haven’t actually tried it out.

So that’s the positive spin on Flock.

Stay tuned for part 2, what I actually think about Flock.

From The Archives Podcasts Review

Podcasts: what’s on my iPod

I’m pretty sure I’ve made at least a couple of posts about podcasting. I can’t be bothered to read my past entries to see exactly what I said, but I’m pretty certain it was somewhat negative. My main problem with ‘podcasting’ was (and still is) the term itself…Even though I’ve made a couple attempts at podcasting myself, truth be told I didn’t really get it. That is, until I got an iPod.

My wife bought me a black 2GB iPod Nano a couple of weeks ago as an early birthday present. Once I got comfortable with the iPod interface in general and iTunes itself (not a pretty app to run on windows) I started subscribing to a couple of podCasts. A few I’d listened to before and a couple of new ones – I’ll get to that in a minute. After loading up a few hot new podCast, I was immediately impressed, it gave my iPod a completely new use. The way the iPod seamlessly syncs with iTunes makes it an extension of my computer and the internet. If you have an iPod and you’re not listening to podCasts you’re missing out on half the functionality. If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer and you find yourself getting tired of listening to music (maybe you’re just old), check out a podcast.

Anyways, I thought I’d list a podcasts I’m currently subscribed to:
CBC Radio 3
100% Independent Canadian Music
A weekly podcast, with 19 episodes to date. Plays a mix of indie music, similar to what you might hear on DNTO, everything from emo to hiphop. I’ve listened to 3 episodes so far. One of them was pretty good, but i might just be saying that because they played moneen. The other 2 weren’t really great. It’s the sort of mix I might like to listen to a road trip, or late at night. It does makes use of mp3 chapters, which is interesting from a technical standpoint.

Diggnation is a weekly tech/web culture show based on the top social bookmarking news stories. Hosted by former The Screen Savers hosts Kevin Rose & Alex Albrecht.
Always entertaining, usually informative. As these two guys have actual broadcast experience, it’s one of the best. Also has a corresponding ‘vidCast.’

Hi My Name Is Mark
defeat, crushed dreams, and high karate. The life and times of Mark Hoppus…
former bass player for blink 182. Only 2 episodes. So far it’s better than I’d expected. For fear of legal repercussions most podcasts either stay away from music altogether, or limit themselves to “podsafe” music. Because Mark Hopus is actually *IN* the music industry he’s able to get permission play anything he likes, additional he interviews almost every artist he plays. The music is obviously lite, pop punky/emo. Mark also makes great use of the mp3 chapters feature.

Security Now!
Steve Gibson, the man who coined the term spyware and created the first anti-spyware program…discusses the hot topics in security today with Leo Laporte. Published weekly late Thursday night.
I’ve listened to all 7 episodes. The topics discussed in classic Leo Laporte style fairly rudimentary. I could see this show being educational/useful to a lot of customers i used to talk to when i did tech support. Initial I thought I’d give it a chance, the subject matter is a little more technical that the normal Leo fare. It’s going down hill. If the dumbing down-ness continues next week, I will probably unsubscribe.

Gadget, Tech & Geek on the go. Listen in for news, reviews, and interviews with today’s shakers and movers in the techworld.
Essentially tech news with a Canadian spin. I was about ready to unsubscribe – the content isn’t too interesting – but it looks like he’s got some good interviews coming up. So I’ll give those a listen.

The Dawn and Drew Show
Gadget, Tech & Geek on the go. Listen in for news, reviews, and interviews with today’s shakers and movers in the techworld.
This show is podcast daily (as far as i understand it’s their fulltime job at the moment, they’re syndicated on satellite radio). That’s probably one of the only reasons I listen to it. I first heard about this show on another podcast. Dawn and Drew get a lot of props, but the show isn’t anything special. The show really isn’t about anything, they basically talk about their life and their fans and joke about sex. It’s serves as my mildly amusing morning radio show on the bus.

The Web 2.0 Show
Welcome to the Web 2.0 Show podcast with your hosts Josh and Chris! Join us as we discuss Web 2.0 technologies, business and ideas with industry leaders.
Pretty straight forward. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘web 2.0’ check the wikipedia article. They’ve only put out 3 episodes to date. The first had horrible audio quality, I couldn’t listen. The second was only midly educational. The 3rd is still sitting on my iPod. I’m pretty excited about web 2.0 so I’ll give this podCast another chance.

Saved the best for last…
This Week In Tech
Your first podcast of the week is the last word in tech. Join Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak, and other tech luminaries in a roundtable discussion of the latest trends in high tech. Winner of People’s Choice Podcast and Best Technology Podcast in the 2005 People’s Choice Podcast Awards. Released every Sunday at midnight Pacific.
This is *THE* tech podcast. It’s a behemoth. They don’t know for certain, but I don’t think anyone would be suprised if they found upwards of a million downloads per episode. The original name of the show was “Revenge of The Screen Savers” and that’s essentially what it is. In addition to the reccuring hosts, the discussion often includes former TSS guests and personalities. Despite Leo Laportes presence, this show manages to be an exteremly informative discussion of tech topics. Reoccuring topics tend to be: google, digital rights, IPTV/IPMedia, bittorrent as well as other generally geeky topics. They’ve recently moved the show to a “live” venue (first the apple store in cupurintino, then a bar in toronto, now rotating california resturants) with a live audiance and a video shoot – a first in podcasting. The majority of hosts are media veterans making this a very well produced affair. Episodes typically run 60 – 90 minutes.