Sunday, December 25, 2005

Another Christmas

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. Another startup company has come and gone as well. By now I know better than ever about the importance of non-technical aspects of a startup company. It seems too often we make the technical pieces come together but nobody comes to the party because the marketing just doesn't happen. I have finally learned this year that; if you build it, they don't always come, at least not without marketing and sales.

I can build the greatest software the world has ever seen, but without marketing it is the greatest software the world will never see. So, as a reminder to myself, for your next startup company -- get the marketing and sales plan setup properly and early on.

For now I'll continue consulting. If you know of a company that needs a well-experienced software engineer, drop me a line. My skills are wide-ranging, however I focus lately on:

  • Web and Internet development

  • LAMP - (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl)

  • FLOSS - Free/Libre and Open Source Software

  • Web 2.0 - (AJAX, Javascript)

  • Engineering, Analysis and Integration

Resume, references and full contact info is available upon request.

I hope you are having a good holiday and best wishes for the new year...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Preserved Mural Unearthed in Guatemala

The University of New Hampshire and Harvard's Peabody Museum have finally discovered and proven what the Book of Mormon has testified of for almost 200 years. Namely that there was an ancient civilization in Central America around the time of Jesus Christ's ministry on earth. What the world terms "Mayan" civilization were actually Jewish descendants of a man named Lehi who left Jerusalem around 600BC.

Preserved Mural Unearthed in Guatemala:
"This verifies what we had long suspected -- that Mayan civilization had crystallized by the time" the San Bartolo site arose, said University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Robert J. Sharer, author of "The Ancient Maya." "The institution of divine kingship is in place -- the imagery is consistent with later times. It's a terrific find."

For more information see "The Book of Mormon".

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Public Domain Movie Torrents with PDA versions

Public Domain Movie Torrents with PDA versions: "Classic Movies and B-Movies Movies For FREE!"

Steve Hovey at has free classic and B-movie torrents! As of this writing there are 531 movies available for download using bittorrent. There are versions available for iPod and PDA as well.

Ok, if you haven't seen Metropolis or Nosferatu yet, you need to get on over there and check those out. You are in for a treat! Also available is Night of the Living Dead, a great cult-classic.

Steve has done a lot of work getting these movies together and seeding them online. All he is asking is a bit of help seeding the movies. However, if you really like what he is doing, as I do, visit his site and support his advertisers. He isn't allowed to ask for support by visiting his sponsor sites but I can :-D. Also, if you find a movie you like, please keep the torrent online and seeding, at least for the movies you download.

Nice job Steve!

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Podcast Hijacked, Held for Ransom

Apparently Erik Marcus had his podcast feed hijacked but I don't quite understand how it happened. I suppose, the way it was described, it could happen only if one wasn't paying attention to their referrals, logs, or stat-tracking data. Otherwise you would easily see that 1000 hits on your feed, and your actual podcasts themselves, were all from the same IP address/referrer.

Podcast Hijacked, Held for Ransom: "Rather, it merely involves finding a target Podcast and creating a unique URL for it on a Web site that the hijacker can control. The hijacker then points his URL to the RSS feed of the target Podcast.

Next, the hijacker does whatever it takes to ensure that, as new Podcast engines come to market, the page each engine creates for the target Podcast points to the hijacker's URL instead of to the Podcast creator's official URL."

I think the mod_clicktrack module for Apache will be able to help this by allowing podcasters to complete visibility into exactly who (what ip addresses) are downloading their feeds. It makes me wonder if we should put in a feature to automatically watch for this kind of trend and notify the feed owner by email when too many requests are coming from the same IP address.

Let me know what you think. Would this be a useful feature?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

mod_clicktrack: Podcast Feed Tracker for Apache

Ok, first release is ready. It will track your feeds based on a file matching pattern (*.mp3|*.ogg|*.wma), etc. I have successfully done some limited load testing, pounding through 200 hits at once, but it still needs testing I'm sure. However, it is extremely simple. If this is all feedburner is doing it is no big deal. I'm not sure it will compete with feedburner but Todd wanted this alternative, so here it is:

Need to do four things to use it:

1) install the module - This is simply a matter of copying the shared library
file into the, typically, /usr/lib/apache/modules
direction and then reloading apache 'apache2ctl -k restart'.

2) drop a .htaccess text file into the directory with your mp3 files
containing the following substituting your own database login info:

ModuleTrackPattern "*.mp3|*.ogg"
ModuleDSNString "username:passw0rd@localhost/clicktrack:3306"

3) run the following sql on your MySQL database:

`id` int(11) NOT NULL auto_increment,
`uri` varchar(255) NOT NULL default '',
`date` timestamp NULL default CURRENT_TIMESTAMP,
`ip` varchar(15) NOT NULL default '',
`data` varchar(255) NOT NULL default '',
KEY `ua` (`ip`),
KEY `uri` (`uri`)

4) Write some PHP or other scripting code to retrieve the data. For example:

$sql = "SELECT COUNT(*) FROM log WHERE uri LIKE '%.mp3'";
$rs = $db->Execute($sql);
print("Total MP3s Served: ". $rs->fields[0]);

I will be starting have started yet another sourceforge project to house the code and package downloads. In addition I plan to write an install script to help with the setup and configuration.

It is setup as an Eclipse, 'managed GNU C make' project. You can certainly write your own makefile or use apxs2 to install it.

Get the package here containing source and binaries optimized for Pentium 4 and dynamically linked to mysqlclient library. at sourceforge.