WiiAsk… and they Answer?
March 25, 2009, 5:16 pm
Filed under: 1

Nintendo listening to its customer? That’s new! (reputation quand tu nous tiens)

Still, they are far from using something like GetSatisfaction or UserVoice

…but this update is sure the only one so far to get me that *exited*. Bah the reality is:  Support for games on SD was desperately needed to the point to ask for a Wii 2.0 already (OK only as long its friendly with wii games and wii-wares and wii-virtual-console and those other Rock Band 2 things I bought and will buy). I’m telling you, the thing only has 512mb onboard. That is, with my scientific calcul, only 13 games like the magnifique World of goo.

Anyways this good news is only to learn about an old bad one. No SDHC.  There is these day when the Wii sure feels like the console of the last deceny. As soon as you start looking under the hood or that you hook up the graphic to your big TV its “back to the future” time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Wii more that any other shooting and sporting console. But Nintendo could push all this splendid innovation so much higher. Many investors are or were betting on this. Users are still fantasizing about all the possibilities, like :

  • Support for two Wii Balance Board would allow for snowboard, skate, or butt competition with your friend.
  • The games in Wii fit are so enjoyable but so short lived, even my dad has gone though them in an hour.
  • The Wiimote itself could live a second life as a pointer for the living room PC
  • The Wifi is just starting to be used, imagine Wii sport but online!

Video game consoles : love that you know will die. (and you invest in it)

UPDATE : If the  guys over HomeBrew Channel can do SDHC (amazing!) I’m sure Nintendo should be able to.

UPDATE : So they did, I’ve just copied a game to a 8GB SDHC card and played the game from it.

You don’t get to make the news every day
December 12, 2008, 2:33 am
Filed under: 1

Here’s what’s publicly available about my new job. Yes-yes, I’ve got into the glamorous world of advertising though the software development door. Give me two or three months and I’ll be an elite creative just like him

99F is a must see, and completly mandatory for anyone in the same industry.

Staying into glamous, I can now say, just like Lisa: I’m m-apple person! . What iPod-danse-move could I do while holding my porn-ish new mac book. Just watch me! (pic not included, please use the imagination feature that came with your brain)

My tracks to Rails on Windows
November 26, 2008, 8:37 pm
Filed under: 1

You can’t always control your environment. I had to live with windows. And a 10-years-old system that deserve to be called legacy. Here’s how it went to add Rails into the mix

Setup to integrate with

Context matters. The full environment is Windows server 2003 running IIS 6 which is making available some C++ executable through plain CGI. These exe “controllers” are talking to and through MS SQL server 2000-2005.  Yes that’s a web application in C++. So adding Rails to the mix is really bringing happiness into this.

Getting requests to Rails

IIS 6 doesn’t have any built-in way to redirect request to our friend mongrel. There’s an ISAPI filter that helps with this : ISAPI Rewrite 3. It mimicks Apache’s mod_proxy and mod_rewrite. It works well, is easy to setup and its stable, just like advertised as the recommended solution for windows in pragprog’s Deploying Rails application. It was very useful to boot our integration as first but it’s a 99$ commercial application and that was a deal breaker in the long run since the app needed to be deployed on many servers. That and the fact that it was impossible to reach anyone at that company willing to make a bigger deal that their set-in-advance volume discount.

OSS to the rescrue, Apache is available under Windows. So the real mod_proxy won. It ended up with a pretty standard configuration plus these line for the redirection

ProxyPass /legacy_path
ProxyPassReverse /legacy_path
ProxyPass /rails
ProxyPassReverse /rails

This effectively proxy and reverse proxy all request made for anything under /legacy_path to IIS, which is now listening on the 8080 port. All request made to /rails to our mongrel listening on the 3000 port. Luckily the legacy app was already scoped down under a single URL prefix. For the Rails app adding

ActionController::AbstractRequest.relative_url_root = '/rails''

after the Rails::Initializer.run block (inside environment.rb) was sufficient.

Database access

MS SQL server, not the typical first-class citizen in Rails world. The default connection to it was through ODBC. Not the fastest but with integration like this, the path of least resistance is the one to take. So here you go with two gems

gem install activerecord-odbc-adapter
gem install odbc-rails

and a database.yml config (username & password should be removed for windows-based auth)

  adapter: "odbc"
  dsn: "my_dsn_name"
  username: "username"
  password: "password"

Deployment and other integration tidbits

No fancy Capistrano for us, locked-in-windows-user. I needed to deploy the same app on multiple servers often without an internet connection. Freezing Rails did easily solved a good share of it but not all. The other native gems could not be vendored. I finally gathered the needed gems files and the one-click ruby installer. Here’s the shell food that turns them alive along with their dependencies.

install ruby silently
ruby186-26.exe" /S

Install mongrel
gem install gem_plugin-0.2.3.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install cgi_multipart_eof_fix-2.5.0.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install mongrel-1.1.5-x86-mswin32-60.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc

Install mongrel service gems
gem install win32-api-1.2.0-x86-mswin32-60.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install windows-api-0.2.4.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install windows-pr-0.9.2.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install win32-service-0.5.2-mswin32.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install mongrel_service-0.3.4-i386-mswin32.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc

Install ODBC support
gem install activesupport-2.1.0.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install activerecord-2.1.0.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install activerecord-odbc-adapter-2.0.gem --no-ri --no-rdoc
gem install odbc-rails-1.5.gem --ignore-dependencies --no-ri --no-rdoc

Install mongrel as a service
mongrel_rails service::install -N "service_name" /
    -p 3000 -e production -c "C:\path\to\rails\app"

set it to auto-start
sc config "service_name" start= auto

Having the database password in a non-clear text manner was requested for more or less rational security reason. This blog post showed me a nice solution. Not what I would call army-level-security but it fulfilled the request. It might also be useful to know that you can <% require some_file%> inside the yummy-yaml as well

I’m sure I’ve missed some details but the big picture is there. Wish it’ll be useful in some way to someone. If it’s the case please “comment-down” (as in the price is right) to bring more humanity here.

An end for a start
November 13, 2008, 9:08 pm
Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Is it a happy ending? or a twisted one ? It might even be an end-in-itself since it sure has value.

I’ve lost my job today. So did 32 of my colleague as my big unnamed US corporation is closing its Montréal site. Big news big change. But change that I was foreseeing researching in a half-active manner as I been looking, wishing, discussing, negotiating and unfortunately refusing new jobs for a while now.

So time to speed this up and jump on new opportunities. Even this very company is proving many without wishing for it.  And I’m not referring to past-closing stuff like this.

(Hope the built-in copyright is enough)

With an OK severance package and even in the long run access to le chomage I could start a new project, a new startup, a new world. Or maybe go the freelance way. Or back to school. For now it will only be a new blog.

My unsecure-self is still feeling some need for stability I guess because my lower level needs are threatened. So I feel that the new job is the way to go right now. This is where the “first post” factor kicks in. This future job has some criteria so should this blog (they say). Here’s their current tag intersection for you ruby parsers

%w{ ruby rails javascript montréal agile https://i1.wp.com/onemansblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Guest_Star_Small.jpguber-wildcardhttps://i1.wp.com/onemansblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Guest_Star_Small.jpg}

I know that the https://i1.wp.com/onemansblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Guest_Star_Small.jpguber-wildcardhttps://i1.wp.com/onemansblog.com/wp-content/uploads/Guest_Star_Small.jpg will be necessary for this blog. Imposing my self boundaries on first post sounds too rational for now.

So stay tune for less personal fluff and more technical stuff.