Ebony Jewelwing

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

iridescent black and green damselfly

Calopteryx maculata
Blackwood Mills, Somerset County, New Jersey, 2007-06-17

Orange-patched Smoky Moth

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Small black and orange moth

Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth Lycomorpha pholus
Orange-patched Smoky Moth Pyromorpha dimidiata
Sourland Mountain Preserve, Somerset County, New Jersey, 2007-06-17

Common Whitetail

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

White tailed dragonfly

Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia
Sourland Mountain Preserve, 2007-06-17

Eyed Click Beetle

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Black and white beetle with large "eyes"

Alaus oculatus, Negri-Nepote-Leni Preserve, Somerset County, New Jersey, 2007-06-17

Temporary Service Outage; More to Come

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

This site and the other sites hosted on the same Mac Mini (The Cafes,www.xom.nu) were down for about half an hour early this morning.They’re fixed now. The problem was interesting. I was hacking the httpd.conf file to add a new virtual host and I was convinced I’d made a serious error, and I racked my brains trying to spot it. I backed out my changes and the problem still wasn’t fixed. I reverted to backups and the problem wasn’t fixed.

The eventual clue that led me to realize what was happening was that sometimes I’d get weird usage messages from httpd and apachectl. This site is served by Apache 2.0. However Mac OS X ships with Apache 1.3, and that had snuck into my path. I had managed to launch the bundled Apache 1.3 on top of or instead of Apache 2.0, so it was reading different config files completely. For some reason, I couldn’t shut it down. The dual versions were confusing both binaries. I had to restart, but then Apache 2.0 launched and all was goodness.

To avoid this problem in the future, I’m going to rename /usr/sbin/httpd to something less likely to surprise me.

The upside is that once I get this all fixed, I should have some very cool new features I’ve been promising for years, and may finally get working later this weekend. Watch this space.

Seeking an Agile Database Definition Language

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

The database schemas for my current project are getting hashed out, mostly in Visio. This is pretty but not very automatable. I’d like to see if we can follow a more agile, iterative approach to database development. In particular, I’d like to be able to check the database definition into source code control and build the whole thing, including database tables and sample databases for testing out of Ant. Requirements include:

  1. Supports (at a minimum) MySQL and Derby
  2. Can be read by Java and Python
  3. Allows for inserting of data for unit testing; i.e. not just table definitions

It also wouldn’t hurt if it could reverse engineer existing SQL databases.

I’m tempted to write my own, probably using XML, but surely someone has already done this? I haven’t found a lot though. What I’ve got so far are these, none of which really meet the requirements: