Toothaches, etc.

24 05 2008

health minuteAs you know, I’ve been whining about nonstop toothaches for a while. They’re due to my highly sensitive teeth and likely the fact that large chunks were taken out due to extensive decay under my filling. I didn’t get to root canal level yet, but my tooth has been injured and it’s freaking out under the crown. The porous areas of the dentin get all excited and wacky when a stimulus (we’re not talking about Bush’s tax relief checks and BY THE WAY WHERE IS MY $$$ HEY GOVERNMENTOS ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME) reaches them. Well, they do stop every now and then. Thing is, I’m learning how to control them. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’m finding that the clogging gel the dentist put on the tooth area is helping a little and that also reducing irritants as much as possible is a good idea. The most devious culprit so far is meat fibers. I find that these will set my tooth off horribly. Flossing them out reduces the pain almost instantly, but this depends on my having the floss on hand at a moment’s notice. Keeping my teeth clean has never been a strong suit of mine, hence why this tooth needed to be crowned in the first place, but doing a little bit of tooth caretaking seems to be one of the upshots of having hugely sensitive teeth.


Weather alert…

21 05 2008

Breaking News GraphicWe had a case of some “severe” weather today in some areas. Hail dumped on my MARTA train around Buckhead station and I saw the poor passengers ducking for cover as the ice pellets came down. They had no choice; the train was going to pull away, so they just did it. I got lucky. Nary a few drops on my head. Some people did get a tornado in Cherokee County from what I’ve heard.


The storm did injure one victim in my complex: the little floral sprout in the faucet I call “fighting flower.” Still, it’s gone through storms before and I know it will pull through. I think it’s fair to say that I’m entranced by it. This morning and evening, I tried to capture my impression of this tiny detail I pass by each day. You can see what happened in the following before and after pics.

My little city

21 05 2008

I enjoy playing with SketchUp. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet. It’s a lot of fun, although I see few practical applications for my Elf. This is the city I made. Sucky, but I’m still learning how this all works. Google has lots of amazing applications under the hood and I’m just beginning to get a taste of their brilliance.

my city

Building Facebook apps? Good luck…

18 05 2008

They’re annoying, they’re mystical, and they inspire a false sense of self-confidence like no other. They’re Facebook apps. You look at them and go, yeah, I could do that. Or, you get so overwhelmed you don’t even want to try. I decided to keep my expectations low (a smart strategy I’m finding) and see if I can do sappshotomething very basic and no-frills. The happy medium between changing the world and doing nothing.

I got a self-hosted Facebook app working, shown at left, and it is totally functional even though I am/was using PHP4 on my server space and Facebook generally requires PHP5. It’s a sample app that Facebook provides, but it was a big step for me. Here, I’m going to outline the process that I went through to get started building Facebook apps.

GoDaddy server space is a little unique in the way it’s set up and the way that Facebook apps interact with it. I’m still in the process of reconfiguring my space, and I’m also encountering a technical problem accessing phpMyAdmin (WYSIWYG MySQL database manager, as opposed to command-line) so development is limited to non-database projects at this point. The techie ticket is out and hopefully they’ll fix it soon…

developer pageBefore you do anything, join Facebook and get the Developer app on your profile. Make a new application and fill out the minimum of forms. This will get you an application key and a secret, which you’ll need to do anything. This is also where you can get sample code and link your external program to Facebook once you’ve got something to test. The apps usually won’t work outside Facebook. You can also set up a test profile (follow the guidelines) and find information on the Developers Wiki. Here’s a page that goes into more detail.

So if you want to get started doing the bare minimum things that I am doing, here is an outline of what I did:

  • Make sure you have a Web host set up. GoDaddy is the most ubiquitous. The server should be PHP-compatible. On GoDaddy, make sure you have a Linux server and NOT a Windows server.
  • Make sure you have MySQL database capability on your Web host (or on your computer if you’re developing on your own space) although this is not necessarily needed for all programs, such as the first example that I ran. You will need it to do more advanced things, however, that require file I/O.
  • Find out what version of PHP you are running and upgrade if necessary. PHP5 is preferable. PHP4 can be worked with, but requires an extension. I built my first app in PHP4 but am upgrading to PHP5 now for simplicity’s sake.
  • If you have GoDaddy, make sure you’re aware of what upgrade level you’re on. I just switched from v. 1.0 to 2.0. In the latter case, I plan to run some tests and then edit my .htaccess file to ensure that PHP5 is the default, rather than PHP4. GoDaddy can run both versions concurrently, and this has caused problems for some Facebook developers.
  • Obtain good FTP software, which is a fairly obvious point. I’m using Classic FTP on Mac OSX Leopard. It’s quirky and doesn’t always preserve tree structures when I try to move directories, so I often have to move files over one at a time. This is a messy process and produced errors for me when I installed the PHP4 extension, which has complex directory structure. Yet another reason to upgrade to PHP5…
  • Create a directory on your server that is devoted to Facebook projects.
  • Download the client library and footprints [test app, requires database] example. You should have three folders: client, footprints, php4client
  • If you’re using PHP4, download the PHP4 simplexml extension
  • Copy the PHP4 extension folder you’ve downloaded (titled simplexml44-0_4_4) and paste it so it is nested INSIDE the folder-directory called “php4client.” Do not change the name of the extension folder.ftp shot
  • Use FTP to transfer the client, footprints and php4client folders to your facebook folder on your server and verify that the folder trees are accurately copied. I encountered weird situations where folders that were supposed to be on the same level ended up nested within one another.
  • Create a new folder for the test app at the same level as client, footprints, php4client
  • Generate a file called “index.php” from the sample code on this page. You’ll have to click the link at the bottom. Add your API key and secret into the code.

  • On the line that says to require once facebook.php, check the path for accuracy. In the case of how I did it, I had to set it to say require_once ‘../php4client/facebook.php’; so the system would know which facebook.php to look for (the old-school version) and also to know how to navigate the directory tree structure. If I’d had PHP5, the “php4client” would have been “client” instead in the path.
  • Save the index.php file you’ve been working on and use FTP to upload into the test app directory that you have created.
  • Go the the FB developers page and EDIT SETTINGS for the app.
  • Set the “callback URL” to the directory where index.php is located. (The system will automatically look for index.php) — use the whole URL, including your domain.
  • Set the canvas URL to the URL of your app. This is the directory name, be it “scrabulous” or whatever. Just type one word in the space, it’s pretty obvious what you’ll need to do. Your app URL will then become
  • Visit the URL that you’ve created and see if it works. It should. If not, check your files, tree structure, code, PHP version, file names and server settings. It took me a long time to get this working.

Hopefully that helps demystify the process a little, or adds more questions than answers. But this worked for me and hopefully it will work for you.

The next lesson, once I get things figured out, will detail how to create databases and build a simple database-based app. Or else I’ll go over basic coding techniques and modifications to the above app. We’ll see how the tech works out.

Nothing Else Matters

17 05 2008

I cross-posted the video from Vimeo to Flickr and now I’m sending it back to WordPress, since wordpressdotcom hates Flash embeds. This was a great show last week at the Masquerade, and my first time going there. The band is playing string metal. Here, the encore features a Metallica cover. Too bad I was sick and running a bit of a fever, as they had no air conditioning. I felt sort of like I was going to pass out, and my brainz were on fire. Oh well, it was a good time.

Nothing Else Matters, originally uploaded by N-Sai.

Who doesn’t love puppies?

17 05 2008

Yet another automated post. Blogging can be very, very easy… these puppies live at Tyson’s neighbor’s house.

PUPPIES!!!, originally uploaded by N-Sai.

Holy Smokes!

11 05 2008

Express postsA spider just dropped on me from the ceiling! Eek! A Brown Recluse? I hope not. But this is why I needed to create an “Express Posts” category. And this is the kind of stuff that could go on Twitter, too.

Testing 1, 2, 3

11 05 2008

Breaking News GraphicThis is just a test of the 57channels emergency alert system. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Disregard that annoying tone. It’s not important. There are alleged storms and even alleged tornadoes sprouting up around the state, so stick here and we’ll keep you posted. Nothing here, though, just some scattered thunderstorms and lightning last night.

Jealous of Iron Man’s full metal jacket?

11 05 2008

This weekend, in addition to seeing string-metal band Apocalyptica, I gave in to the hype and went to see “Iron Man.” You could say it was a pretty metallic weekend. Movie Review Found HereIt was a good romp. The plot had more holes than the bullet-ridden surfaces surely resulting from all the gun blasts, but it was overall pretty good without being too bloody. It does seem to have two sides, however. At times, it’s like a serious analysis drama about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at other times, it’s like a goofy guitar-riff-ridden jaunt through comic book schlock. Overall, it’s well-produced and slick. The end-credit animations are so gorgeous, I might rent this film again just to watch them. I’m happy to report that the conspicuously futuristic computers (which, thanks to the Great Laws of Movies, must always have an alert that pops up with big letters saying “SECURITY BREACHED” in order to meet compliance standards) are from both Dell and Apple. Multiplatform FTW. Where things occasionally go wrong is when things catch fire. Some of the special effects are the modern equivalent of the guy in the Giant Foam Rubber Alien Suit having his zipper showing.

Oh, and about the storyline. Yes, there is one, and thanks to the comic-book origins of this flick, it’s a good one. Too bad the plot jumps around a bit. The filmmakers pretty much finessed their way through the exposition of this one. I’m beginning to wonder how much worse it would be if the filmmakers were writing the story themselves. They do just a good enough job setting things up in the beginning that you can nod your head and go, “OK, I get what they’re trying to do.” I didn’t really follow the plot, but rather just went along with the flow. If you keep that mindset and don’t expect a lot of coherency or consistency, you will be touched and entertained and probably fall under this wonderful film’s spell.

What’s my scale for this film? Four security breach alerts out of five.

Testing automated posts

6 05 2008
The mere act of folding your arms increases perseverance and activates an unconscious desire to succeed.

Study: Folding your arms can help your brain

This is a test post – automated by me. Robots are taking over, let me assure you.

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