Monday, August 2, 2010

MAMP - Mac Development Webserver in a box

I was looking into getting a developer account to prototype my development on the web.  There are many relatively cheap packages out there but my idea setup costs $60 USD (which I'm trying to save).  I have used WAMP - essentially a web-server-in-a-box solution that sets you up with a PHP-MYSQL server that you can install your latest PHP-web development project and can be browsed locally with any browser you have installed on a windows machine.  MAMP is the Mac equivalent.

I was quite impressed with the easy installation.  With a simple drag and drop to my application folder I had a webserver ready to go on PHP5.3 and MYSQL5.  I immediately installed a Modx 1.0.4 instance and it was running with in 5 minutes. 

I had a little trouble with installing a Modx gallery module.  It turned out I required a slight php.ini edit to turn off 'magic quotes' which I might add was even easier than editing my work development server's php.ini since the config file was easily found in the MAMP's application config folder.

MAMP comes with a configuration interface that allows you to change where the resource files are accessed and the 'big switch' that shuts down or starts up your MAMP server instance.  MAMP has two release versions - one free and one 'professional' version which allows users to setup simultaneous multiple MAMP instances.  For most of my development needs, however, I can deal with one server.  Both versions also come with a local web interface that give you easy access to the phpinfo page (that reports the status of your php server) and a phpmyadmin instance to monitor and edit your MAMP server mysql installation.  For more information and the downloads go to

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Personal device enhancements -

I have recently become a Blackberry user and am quite liking the added connections to the internet on my person.  I was quite happy with my cell phone\iTouch combo but like the fact the essentials, Facebook, messengers, and phone are all one device in my pocket (though I'm told I should get a holster).

It's been a quite satisfying 2 weeks with the new personal device and yesterday I decided to add a custom ringtone to my Blackberry.  I was not quite sure how this was done but I suspected that emailing myself the audio file probably had something to do with it.  After a bit of reading and much playing around with the settings I figured how to set the profiles and attach a ringtone to an event or a number.  All that was left was to figure how to send my phone the custom audio files.

After a little bit of searching I found .  An app site that you can upload an audio file and with a few options set to your post processing preferences the site displays a URL that you have to browse with your personal device's browser to download the generated file.  The app offers some basic post processing to add some finishing touches to your ring tone.  The best thing about the site (other than being free) is that the send to your cell option doesn't have you add your cell number where they can put you on a phone list texting scam.

The Wire - Requiem

I finally got around to finishing The Wire.  Season 5 is it - the end.  I have been avoiding it like the plague because no one likes seeing things pass and I have been privy to some of the plot thanks to Wikipedia.  The last season had debut in 2008 so many of you are probably thinking "old news".  In any case I did enjoy the season and liked how Season 5 actually had a fitting denouement.

Season 5 continued with the Major Crimes Unit of Baltimore investigation of a drug gang headed by the cold and vicious street thug, Marlowe Stanfield.  With all leads gone cold in the middle of a city wide deficit the unit is disbanded and reassigned leaving the Stanfield crew free reign to over throw the established drug trade.

In the meanwhile obsessed with not losing on the work he has put into the investigation, Jimmy McNulty decides to do the unthinkable.  He tampers with evidence while investigating a homeless who had apparently died of natural causes to make it seem like the homeless man was killed.  He then proceeds to string together a bunch of old and new homeless deaths to make the whole city think that a serial killer is killing homeless men.  After much posturing in a troubled mayor office on how to turn a news worthy event into a positive spin on Mayor Carcetti's run for governor, Jimmy is given "carte blanche" to allocate an emergency fund to find his fictitious serial killer.

Jimmy instead allocates most of resources into completing the investigation on Marlowe Stanfield's crew and doles out the rest to investigations that baldy needed funding to close.  Though he is somewhat successful into ending Marlowe's current reign on the streets the effort does not put Marlowe him self behind bars and only manages to temporarily cripple the drug trade in Baltimore.  Furthermore, he and Lestor Freamon are quietly released from ever doing any more police work due to the conspiracy they propagated.

I found the end very believable and did a good job resolving the fates of our favorite characters on both sides of the law through out the series.  I even was quite satisfied on how they end off Jimmy McNulty's character in the series and was quite touched with the retirement "wake" they hold for Jimmy and Lester.

As for the series it self,  I still contend that The Wire is one of the best police series I have ever watched.  It is definitely a no holds barred look at how even in the modern American city the old problems of greed and apathy is core to the problems of the western society.  As depressing a realization as this maybe brought with each of The Wire's five seasons they still do make a point of saying that change is not impossible but requires tireless work that rarely goes rewarded for an individual but eventually does for a society.