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Note to Self – March 20, 2008 (read more)

When a customer says that he has a smaller project than the one I just did, don't pay attention, and think about the quote, rather than simply estimating the time as less than the previous project.

Yesterday, I did a project for a friend (one who let me have better access than average to the real estate listings) and it took an hour and a half and was 107 lines of code.  He wanted to pay for that one, but I thought it was a fair exchange for getting the real estate listing access.

Today, I did a "smaller" project, that was 367 lines of code, and it took 3.5 hours. Hrm.

Parcel ID parser – March 17, 2008 (read more)

I don't know if it is only relevant to Allegheny County or if it is more universal, but a friend asked me to write a parcel id (parcel/block/lot) parser to help him out in his real estate searches.  It was kind of a fun project (3 hours) and it was neat to see how well it worked out in the end.

It takes stuff on the right, and turns it into the stuff on the left:

0318-C-00080-0000-00 <= 318 C 080
0387-S-00002-0000-00 <= 387-S-2  387-M-148
0160-K-00013-0000-00 <= 0160-K-00013-0000-00
0124-P-00095-000A-00 <= 0124-p-00095-000a-00
1213-F-00377-0000-00 <= 1213F00377
0180-B-00041-0000-00 <= 0180-B-00041-0000-00
0495-F-00201-0000-00 <= Lot & Block 495-F-201
0009-S-00305-0000-00 <= 9-S-305
0309-D-00100-0000-00 <= 0309D00100000000

Code follows below:

Perl Debugging – January 17, 2008 (read more)

Our photo album wouldn't publish on this last update, and it took quite a while to figure out what the problem was.

VPNC / Resolvconf / Set search string – January 14, 2008 (read more)

I found what I would call a bug in resolvconf today, though probably most people don't run a VPN server like I wanted to, so no one ever noticed before.

Fun with Spam – December 13, 2007 (read more)

I have been getting a bunch of spam through my contact form over the last couple of days, so I thought I would check out what they are trying to do.  The domain's contact information is protected by, so we can't know who they are, though I filled out a form showing them their customer is a spammer, we'll see if they actually do give me the contact information or not.

Using tcpd_wrappers with pure-ftpd – September 19, 2007 (read more)

pure-ftpd isn't designed to work with TCP wrappers, which is unfortunate, because then I can't simply add an ip address to /etc/hosts.deny to block the hackers when they guess passwords.  But, since the hackers have tried to login to my servers thirty thousand times this month, and occasionally get good usernames, and theoretically might guess a right password eventually, I needed to figure out a solution.

"You must dial a 1 for this call to go through" – August 21, 2007 (read more)

I have been having lots of fun (that's the bad kind of fun, not the good kind) configuring Asterisk for my new IT job.  It has been a pretty big pain getting it to work correctly with a couple different VOIP providers as well as the landlines.

I had a good day today, figuring both how to get Teliax to forward the calls to our landline (since I can't seem to register the connection with Teliax, via SIP or IAX), as well as I figured out the problem with outbound calls using the verizon line.  It turns out my theory was correct, that Asterisk was dialing too fast and not waiting for the dialtone, so Verizon wasn't getting the first digit (sometimes).  But, adding a half second wait before dialing did the trick.

Banned Comments? – July 09, 2007

For those of you who have gotten an "You entered an invalid URL" message when leaving a comment, no I didn't set out to ban you from commenting - it is that you didn't put an "http://" in front of your URL.  Due to some security bugs, the input checking code was tightened up a couple months ago, and part of that changed how the URLs were parsed.  After months of procrastinating, I finally got around to working on the problem - and it took all of five minutes to add a new type of filter that checks the URL prior to validation and prepends an "http://" to the beginning if you forget.

So, those of you who thought I didn't want to hear from you, comment away... 

LifeType update to 1.1.6 – February 13, 2007

One of the LifeType users reported a security problem in the RSS parser that allowed any file on your system to be read.  ick.

Oscar has fixed it and 1.1.6 will be released tomorrow.

Everyone on my server has been upgraded already and it probably isn't too critical for them, at least in the case of retrieving their mysql password, which was the reported problem, since mysql doesn't allow remote access, so it would have to be a customer of mine.  Though I suppose since any file could have been read, it is possible that some other file could have been opened.

Actually, I just checked the server logs, and no attempts were made to get any files that had a ".." in them, so everyone should be alright. 

Subversion Code: Using Vendor Branches to Keep Local Changes Synchronized – December 02, 2006 (read more)

I usually end up forgetting how to do this, so here are my instructions of how to keep Usermin, an administration tool I use for my Lime Daley customers, up-to-date with the developers' changes.
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