The Leadership Pill

I read “The Leadership Pill” by Ken Blanchard and Marc Muchnick today. This book had been floating around the supervisor truck for a bit now and I have been meaning to read it but different projects kept getting in the way. So today I set aside an hour in my schedule and tore through it.
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The Problems With My MT 3.0 Upgrade

Well, initially there didn’t seem to be too much difference with MovableType 3.0D, but…. after I have gotten into it there is a bit of a headache getting it going in the right direction. My main problem was that the MT install and documentation said fairly clearly to refer to the documentation for installing and clearly no-one had spoken with the writers of this documentation about this. All it offered was the help that if any of these Perl modules are not installed on your server that you should speak with your hosting provider. Now this is of absouletly no help at all because I have my own server. So, its time to get to work.

First thing, I found after one of my friends posted a comment to the site I found that the page didn’t rebuild correctly, This turned out to be my error because I didn’t correctly upgrade one of my plugins. The suspect plug-in was Textile2, a handy plugin that does some cool things with text formatting. Not a contributing factor to this, but I also want to mention Smartypants, which is another text formatting plug-in that augments Textile’s functions that I use on this site.

After that was corrected, I set forth into fixxing some of the errors that I received during the mt-check function. I was told that I had the following missing files:

1. HTML::Entities :
This was not too difficult to solve. Again a few google searches and then a search on cpan for it , this followed by a few apt-cache** searches and I found it: “libwww-perl”, at least I hope that is is things got really confusing at some point and I lost track of what I was doing (sorry).
2. Image::Magick :
I had already installed this on my server because it is required by Gallery but MT insists that it is not installed. A bit odd, but I am leaving this as is for now.
3. Storable :
A quick search through the apt-cache** and bango! “libstorable-perl” and that was it for this one.
4. Crypt::DSA :
I couldn’t figgure this one out. It till remains a mystery, no help here.
5. MIME::Base64 :
This was the first thing that I chose to tackle, because it was causing the biggest problems. When a viewer would attempt to place a comment they would get this error. A simple couple of creative searches on Google. This gave me enough info to make an educated guess at what the apt-get* package name would be called. And after a few searches I found “libmime-base64-perl”. I also found a thread over at SixApart, the makers of MovableType and TypePad, that discussed this error and I put in my 2 cents.
6. XML::Atom :
THis proved to be more than difficult. I searched cpan after my brother’s suggestion. I found that this module required XML::LibXML and required Digest::SHA1 and also Datetime, finally I gave up and installed what I could of the dependencies that I could find, the only one that it wouldn’t accept was XML::LibXML and I still cannot figgure out why. Any way I found XML::LibXML on a site related to SixApart and put it into my perl directory. MT accepted this as good enought to pass it’s check. I think that I have all the appropriate dependencies installed.
7. And the rest were already there from my install of version 2.661

*apt-get is a UNIX application that will automatically downloads and installs the requested package and any dependent packages.
**apt-cache is a similar package to apt-get this is mainly used with the search option to find a specific package.

And here is the error message that I was getting because of the MIME::Base64 module being absent:

An error occurred: Can’t locate MIME/ in @INC (@INC contains: (the various paths to perl that I am not about to display on my web server…) /lib/MT/App/ line 487. Compilation failed in require at /path/to/my/mt/scripts/mt-comments.cgi line 21.

UPDATE: And this AM I made an entry into my LinkedArticles with the bookmarklets and revieved this error (it did build it though):

Use of uninitialized value in string eq at /path/to/my/mt/installed/cgi/files/lib/MT/Template/ line 762.

MovableType 3.0 Here I Come!

I have updated this site to the new MovableType 3.0 Developer Edition after some reassurance from Brad Choate’s recent blog posting about the legal requirements of the licensing.

If anyone has any problems please contact me at “james at” (no linked email address due to spam). I am not expecting any issues because this is not beta software, but you never know.

Update: wow! I cannot believe how fast the rebuids are now!

The Discretion of a Commanding Voice

After my recent horrendous posting error earlier this week, (I would like to say thanks again to the person that had the directness to bring this to my attention) I have been reviewing all of the posts on this site for content. I am pleased to see that there is nothing else that I would not say publicly.

Also I have revamped many of the pages and the site now validates as XHTML 1.0 Strict. This is a fairly large jump for me. I have until recently only been writing in XHML 1.0 Transitional. There are quite a few differences, mainly in the errors that the language will allow. But there are also several benefits such as taking IE out of quirks mode. This will make some of the CSS easier to maintain. It does create some headaches in the form of irritation, like the fact that the “Strict” doc type does not allow the use of the “target” attribute that I have been using to open a new window for some links (like the one in the header to the Gallery).

I think that this is a good thing, especially since I have found that the audience is significantly larger than the few people in my family that I thought comprised my this site’s viewing audience. This will keep the page load speed time down to an absolute minimum while keeping the display as close to the intended experience as possible. For those of you poor soles that are using IE I would like to beg you to use something else so that you can see this site (and the rest of the internet) the way that most developers intend you to view it. Personally I am a devout Safari user, but it does have several problems: It is only available for Mac OS X, it does crash at inopportune times. However other than that I would recommend any of the Mozilla browsers that I pointed out above (Firefox Mozilla). They are all standards compliant and render almost all CSS completely accurately.

I would also like to restate what the Description of this blog is:

This site does have some fairly cutting edge CSS techniques used in it’s design that are not supported in all browsers (read: IE). It is not my intent to support all browsers here, this is a personal site. Anyone reading this that is still using one of these browsers I urge you to upgrade sothat you may fully experience the web as it should be.

Read on and enjoy, and as always feel free to post your comments.

Secret Applications and Tricks of OS X

I have been doing some work with sledgehammers of do relatively small tasks. I mean to say using some of the powerhouse applications like Photoshop and Dreamweaver and BB-Edit to do relatively mundane and simple tasks. Since this seems to be a huge waste of time and energy I have been looking for (and accidentally found) some easy methods using the tools built into Mac OS X.

Never underestimate TextEdit. It is an amazing application that will edit almost any from of textual document not only “.rtf” and “.txt”. With the release of Panther (aka. 10.3), Mac added the useful feature to this app of the ability to view and edit “.doc” files. This is a very useful feature for those of us that refuse to convert to the sheep-like heard that is all Microsoft followers. Where did that come from?… anyway. This feature is not the best solution, but it is a good one. In previous versions of OS X you had ot use a unix plugin that would allow your to add this feature, now it’s just part of the base feature set.

Built in screen capture tools! These are just great. here is a list of the main shortcuts that I use, there may be more but there are the ones that i know about.

  • command + shift + 3 -> full screen shot
  • command + shift + 4 -> cross hairs that you can drag and select a portion of the screen
  • command + shift + 4 then press the spacebar -> gives you a camera tool that will capture the selected window when the window is green and you then depress the mouse.

Grab also has additional features that are not in this set. Such as the ability to change the cursor and take timed screenshots. Also to note Grab will take the screenshots in “.tiff” where the default screenshot utility will capture them in “.pdf”.

Preview is awesome at converting the screen shots that I take from “,pdf” and “.tiff” to “.jpg”. This saves me several minutes if I don’t already have Photoshop fired up and ready to go.

And now for the really neat app that inspired this post.

digital color meterDigital Color Meter is an awesome application that is buried in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder that will show you in RGB percents or RGB HEX values what color you mouse over. This can be an incredibly useful tool in both graphic design and web design.

For those that do not know how RGB HEX values work most web browsers do not understand RGB percentage values but these are very easy to use if you come from any artistic background because this is how the color wheel works. But until the browsers catch up we will have to use RGB HEX values. Now in this application you will need to select from the drop-down menu “RGB As Hex Value, 8-bit”. This will give you a set of RGB values. What you will need to do is take these values in the order they are listed and enter them into your CSS page in the following format.

property_name { setting: RGB;} 

Where “R” is the value of the red channel, “G” is the Green value and “B” is the blue channel.

Hope that this is useful information for anyone that may use it.

Auto Accidents and My Friends

I found out yesterday that my friend Chris has totaled his car last week. I can’t believe it! He is a really good driver and just seemed to have gotten himself into a situtation that he couldn’t drive himself out of. I haven’t gotten the whole story form him. But apparently he was getting off of the interstate in Tampa and he hit a large wet area in the roadway (on a dry night) and slid hitting the median which then launched him into the aur causing his car to roll.

He is not hurt, thankfully. Just out one very nice 2003 Honda CIVIC Si hatchback. He had just put some really sweet Tien coilovers on it and some style-ish and light 16″ rims. Anyway live and learn Chris. Maybe you will be as-good-of-a driver as I am. And besides now he can get a real car!

Also a supervisor at my work was rear-eneded while stopped in traffic 2 days ago. She is in some pain, but seemingly doing well. She was hit hard enough to total her Jeep Grand Cherokee. It pushed her Jeep into the Ford F-150 pickup infront of her and then that truck into the Cadillac in front of it. All the drivers deny hearing any skiding sounds.

Two friends with 2 totaled cars in a fairly short period of time. I hope the “things come in threes” thing doesn’t hold true here. Good thing is that everyone is ok.

Re-building and Errant Thoughts

I have recently re-built this site and a posting that I had entered from last week had been inadvertently built. This was a post that was not meant for general consumption only for private historical purposes and had been left in “Draft” status and not changed to “Publish”, at least I didn’t think I had.

Several things that I would like to point out:

  • I was not aware that this site was frequented by anyone that had any involvement with the circumstances that this post discussed.
  • This site is intended for private purposes only and some of the posts are rants and not intended to be considered as well thought out or even permanent opinions.

Thats it… read on and for those of you that do visit this I hope you enjoy this site, and please feel free to post your comments and ideas wherever you feel like.