Archive | Development RSS feed for this section

Massive DB Conversions in AWS MySQL RDS

22 Dec

aws logoWe recently had the need to perform a massive DB conversion to move all tables over from a mishmash of encodings to UTF-8. We had many large alters and character conversions to perform. The entire operation was about 24 hours of work, so we couldn’t afford to take the site down during the whole thing.

Continue reading


Jira + Mysql = Error importing data? Two simple solutions.

24 Sep

Many versions of MySQL will throw a fit if you try to insert four-byte UTF-8 characters. If your find yourself importing a ticketing system into JIRA and run into an error that looks like the one below, there is hope!

Continue reading

"cd: 1: can’t cd to ~"

2 Apr

Are you seeing messages like the following in your web server’s error logs?

cd: 1: can't cd to ~
cd: 1: can't cd to ~
cd: 1: can't cd to ~
cd: 1: can't cd to ~

Continue reading

When Can I Reuse This Calendar (dot com)

11 Nov

My wife dug up a 2008 calendar still in the shrinkwrap and it got me thinking… When can I reuse this calendar? Well, I had a spare hour and $6.99 to register a domain, so I whipped out this little site:

Now you can go digging through that chest of crap from the 1990s and pull out your favorite cute puppies calendar. In 2010, you can re-use calendars from 1999, 1993, 1982, 1971, 1965, 1954, 1943, and 1937.

Curtains for Theater Listings

21 Jul

no_popcornThis morning I received a call from a gent with a Boston accent. He indicated that he represents a firm that is displeased with some data I’m using on According to the caller, my theater listings page is using his client’s intellectual property and I’m not properly licensed to do so. The lawyer seemed nice enough. Perhaps I should have kept him on the phone longer so he could tick up some more billable hours…

Like some other things I’ve developed, theater listings was a simple service I wrote for myself to clean up an otherwise cluttered interface and make the data available in my favorite feed reader. Over the years, many people have written with questions and thanks regarding the page. Thank you to everyone who used the service. I hope you might find some of my other tools just as useful.

As of now, the theater listings page is closed. If you still want this information in your web browser, check out Google’s movie listings service. For you feed reader junkies, Yahoo Pipes is widely known as a useful service for turning any web page into an RSS feed.

I’ll investigate the possibility of re-sourcing the data, but don’t get your hopes up. Also, for those who are already firing up their email clients to ask me for the source code, hold your horses. I’ve been working up a post on ethical screen scraping and now I can finally share it without being hypocritical. I won’t share the source, but look forward to an interesting and useful guide to capturing and reusing data on the web, including some advice that should help prevent you from getting your own C&D.

People Use

19 Jul

rssAs with most of my web toys, started off as a tiny tool that served a very simple need I had. Assuming a handful of people might have the same need, I publish most of these utilities and some of them actually manage to become fairly popular.

FeedSifter is a simple service that allows you to filter an RSS or ATOM feed for various keywords. There are many other services out there that do this same thing, but this site is anonymous, uncluttered, and intuitive–exactly what I wanted at the time.

Looking at the traffic stats today, I’ve found that managed to become fairly popular while nobody was looking. Over the past 8 months, daily traffic has been steadily increasing and it is fast approaching 2,000 requests per hour. That’s a pleasant surprise and a good indication that I should put some effort into finishing those final few features I never got around to implementing years ago.