Tech

moosecamp and northernvoice

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This past Friday/Saturday I was at Moose Camp and Northern Voice. Moose Camp turned out to be really fun. I guess that's what's so good about the "unconference" idea... the talks will be totally targetted towards the audience, as it's the audience who's doing the talks. Northern Voice was good too a couple of the sessions really pumped me up and gave me some new ideas, though I had to leave a bit early. Don't have too much else to say about it, except I'll hopefully be able to attend again next year, and whichever of those moose campers decided it would be funny to give me the flu... you'd better watch your back!

multisite wordpress. drupal style

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Last night I spent a few hours hacking together a working multisite Wordpress patch. I modeled the setup after the Drupal multisite setup. It currently only works with the server name, not sub directories. So you can have multiple blogs such as:

  • blog1.example.com
  • blog2.example.com

But not (yet):

  • example.com/blog1
  • example.com/blog2

It looked like a couple other people had done a bit of work on a multisite setup which is where I started. But the first looked like it hadn't been maintained in years, and I was going for a different setup from what the second offered. There's also Wordpress MU, but I wanted multiple blogs, with their own database, which didn't seem to be what Wordpress MU offers.

This setup gives you:

  • Seperate database for each blog
  • A single wordpress codebase serving multiple blogs
  • Plugins and themes available to all blogs
  • Plugins and themes that are site specific

Each site you have will be located in wordpress/wp-sites/example.com.

Okay. So let's get started:

  • Download wordpress-2.1 and uncompress the source
  • Download the patch - wp-multisite-patch.txt
  • Apply the patch (run this command in the parent directory for wordpress):
    • patch -p0 < wp-multisitepatch.txt
  • Create the wp-sites folder: mkdir wordpress/wp-sites/myblog.com
  • Add and configure a wp-config.php file in you my.blog/ directory
  • Start setting up your new site.

I've put more details about this patch on this page.

Vancouver wi-fi and terrorism

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I almost /never/ read the newspaper, but the other day, while sitting in the lunch room at work a story on the front page of the Vancouver Sun caught the corner of my eye. Proposed Vancouver system puts city at risk of attack, according to police. A hilarious article at best... now for some select quotes:

"Anyone with a laptop and wireless access could commit a terrorist act"

"They could get in and open a dam and flood a town."

"It's like 9/11," Jonasson told The Vancouver Sun. "We just never thought they'd do it."

Uh-oh, breaking out the 9/11 card. I think we need to make an update to Godwin's Law to take into account 9/11.

"Pedophiles and identity thieves are known to use wireless access to download illegal child pornography"

Oh man! Pedophiles use wireless!!??

"If you have an open wireless system across the city, as a bad guy I could sit on a bus with a laptop and do global crime"

See, normally a "bad guy" would just sit in his home to do a global crime on the Internet. Now he can do it while commuting too!? Oh, the horror!!

"... city-wide wireless Internet system puts the city at risk of terrorist attack during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games."

Do you know what else puts the city at risk of a terrorist attack during the 2010 Winter Olympics? Hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.

I'm not in much of a position to argue one way or the other for "free" city wide wi-fi. Though I would personally like to see it happen. But honestly, this article from the Sun reminds me why I no longer read the newspaper. Even Slashdot isn't this bad most of the time.

2007 IT Predictions

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Happy new year everyone! And with that, here are some of my brief tech predictions for 2007:

  1. iPod with wireless - The ability to share music with other ipod users. iTunes can do this already, and the Zune has this built in. Only a matter of time before Apple does it with their iPod.
  2. Google to allow more data portability - Google will start giving their users more control over their data instead of hogging all to themselves.
  3. Calendaring - New ajaxy web based calendar programs will popup that allow for more interoperability between other calendar apps.
  4. hd-dvd/blueray - both will flounder. Why would I want to re-purchase all of my DVDs for a negligible boost in quality? Not to mention a new DVD player.
  5. Vista - this one's easy. good luck vista, but I'll stick with Ubuntu (and maybe OS X). I think most will be sticking with XP.
  6. Mac Virus - There will be a Mac virus released into the wild. Quite possibly taking advantage of the mechanism used to gain root access.
  7. Wireless - This is one of my big hopes... free (or at least reasonably priced) wifi everywhere. Or at least in far more places than it is now.
  8. Biometrics - I hope this doesn't happen... but biometrics will start appearing in more places, such as your ATM, airports, etc.

Boil water advisories

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Every year we get at least a couple boil water advisories, it's often confusing whether it pertains to our specific area or not. Usually you've already had a few cups or at least washed your hands in the water prior to hearing about the advisory, if you even hear about it. For someone that often doesn't watch the news and rarely listens to the radio, I usually don't hear about the advisories until Ariane tells me about it.

So here's my question... why isn't there a BC or even Canada wide emergency email notification system. You'd just sign up with your email address, define which areas you're concerned about and wait for email when there's things like boil water advisories, or possibly even major road closures in your immediate vicinity. Except for the geographical information part of the system, any self-respecting web developer should be able to put together a system like this in less that 30 minutes... so why doesn't this exist?

P.S. I did manage to find one site that does this in BC. Not sure if there are others. Now to go buy some clean water, since supposedly we're currently under a boil water advisory.