My Blog

My Random Ramblings

Getting Personal: My Life With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

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I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Hypermobility, also known as “type 3”.

Let me be perfectly honest, its scary as shit to me.

I look as normal as everyone else on the outside, I attempt to keep up with everyone else. I am however in pain pretty much every day.

Please, do something for me. Think about your body right now. What hurts? Really think about it. Go over your entire body, starting with your toes. Do your toes hurt? Continue all of the way up your body. Please, stop reading. Do it now.


Why Are We Still Using XML?

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As you my or may not know, my day job is working for an online advertising company. The specific project I work on involves consuming XML formatted search feeds. We currently parse around 8,000 of these XML feeds per SECOND.

We spent months investigating the fastest way to parse XML. We eventually decided on a C library which walks the XML like a tree, it doesn’t load the XML DOM into memory like most conventional XML parsers do.

That all being said, XML is slowly dying across the internet. Most APIs are focusing on JSON interfaces instead of XML but for some reason our industry is just not willing to make the switch.



Headless Continuous Integration With RSpec + Capybara + CruiseControl.rb

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I have recently setup a headless continuous integration test server that runs in a headless environment. It runs both my rspec tests and all of my capybara request tests. If I receive a failure in a request test, it will store a screenshot and the HTML code of the page.

There is a few key components to getting this setup correctly, I thought I would share insight on what I needed to do in order to get it working.

My setup consists of:

  • A rails app with capybara and rspec tests.
  • A headless server which has Xvfb, CruiseControl.rb and Firefox 3.6.x installed.

Octopress Up and Running!

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We have just switched to Octopress which an awesome piece of blogging software for “Hackers”. There is no web interface, but for those of us who are developers by day, we thrive in VIM (or similar editors).

Simply edit some flat text files, and then run rake generate command and poof, you have a blog. Upload it yourself or use their SCP rake script rake deploy and you have a blog on the web. It really is that simple.

Okay okay, I may be exagerating a little, the average web user will not be able to use this software.

Let me know in the comments if you have any … well … comments!.


MumbleBoxes Live!

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I’ve been working on a new site the last week or so. Its called MumbleBoxes Mumble Hosting.

Mumble is awesome voice server software, specifically designed for gaming. It also supports every OS (Windows, Mac and Linux).

The site has a number of really awesome features that I am proud of.

  1. It auto provisions servers instantly. Users get a server as soon as their payment clears.
  2. Automatic payment notifications from PayPal, so the system needs no intervention from me.
  3. Management of your server, including password changes, superuser password resets, starting and stopping, and reseting the server config.

If you are looking for a voice server for gaming, please check out MumbleBoxes Mumble Hosting.


Acer Revo HTPC Running XBMC

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Benefits to MySQL Backend Setup

I have two XBMC machines, each sharing the same library. This is possible due to the recent changes in XBMC which allow you to use a MySQL backend for your library. This allows me to do some really cool things like stop a show and start where I left off in another room, or another day. It also keeps track of what shows you have watched and which you haven’t, synced between all of your HTPC’s.