Clean Up, Clean Up

Everything is more fun as a song. Especially cleaning up. During normal times, if you put something away Hailey will be right behind you moving whatever it was back out. However, by singing “Clean up, Clean up,” Hailey will sing along with you and help you put things away.

Sometimes she will start singing the song and putting things away with no guidance from us at all.


Today was Brianna’s last day working at First Magnus. She will spend tomorrow lounging around and hanging out. On Monday she will start her new job working with her friend Lyndi at a apartment complex down in South Austin.

I don’t think First Magnus realizes the who they let leave and what they will miss.

That Was Fun

Wednesday night, just before bed, I decided to update the web-server. The update failed with a file error. Apt-get normally doesn’t have file errors so I opened up the system logs and noticed some disturbing news. The log was filled with

hda: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hda: dma_intr: error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=69, sector=4
end_request: I/O error, dev 16:01 (hdc), sector 4

hard drive errors. D’oh!

Right about that time Fredd called to say my site was “jacked.” I copied all the files that I could read to my local machine, then Fredd entered a ticket to have the machine re-kicked.

The hard drive in the server was replaced and the machine reimaged while I slept the night away. I woke up with a fresh install of Debian Woody. Unfortunately, Debian Woody isn’t new enough for me and the hosting company doesn’t do the testing releases. So I had to upgrade
to Sarge and reconfigure the machine before I went to work.

Mail is the most important thing, it was configured first. All I had to do was install the mail packages and copy over my configuration files. I moved on to the web-server. This should have been easy too.

But, yes there is a but, that is why the web-site has been unavailable. First, I wanted to take this chance to upgrade to Apache 2 and move all the configuration files to one location. I had everything set up and ready to go. I needed to leave for work and only had to start the web-server before I left. Unfortunately, WordPress just keep displaying a blank page. No errors, no warnings, just a blank page.

I was out of time, so I decided to fix it later. I still couldn’t fix Apache 2 so I decided to go back to good ol’ Apache 1.3. This didn’t work either. The same packages that worked days before, no longer functioned.

Two days later I found a post that described the problem and gave a solution. Turns out Debian’s PHP package doesn’t enable the module for mysql by default. You have to edit




and change the line that says



restart apache, or apache2, using

/etc/init.d/apache restart


/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

and you are back in business.

Ruby and the Photoblog

It is no secret that I like to publish photographs. My favorite subject, of course, is Hailey. For many months I have been trying to force myself to sit down and write an photo gallery package. I do web-based programming every day at work, and by the time I get home I don’t feel like doing any more. It just isn’t fun, or it wasn’t fun. The other day I discovered, from an almost non-topical link, a new and fun web programming framework written in a relatively new, and completely object orientated, language called Ruby.

I can program in Perl, and was starting to learn PHP. There are many photo gallery packages written in PHP that could be customized for my needs but programming in PHP seemed like work again.

Enter Ruby, and the application framework called Ruby On Rails. Rails follows the MVC pattern and was like Struts which I was interested in for a brief period of time.

I was able to learn enough Ruby to write my first Ruby On Rails application in about 8 – 12 hours. This time included many breaks to get caught up on the latest news at the various sites I like to visit. One of the great things about Rails is its documentation. There are two movie files to introduce the new users to the rails mindset.

My first application is a photo gallery tool called Ansel, named in honor of my favorite photographer. It has categories, or galleries, and supports thumbnails, web-sized images, and clicking back and forth through the pages of the gallery.

I also wrote a thumbnail generation script which will make square thumbnails for each photograph in my collection. This too was written in Ruby and it took about 5 minutes. My last attempt at thumbnail generation script was abandoned after 30 or so minutes.