Archive | January, 2011

ManchLUG, 25-Jan-2011, Marc Nozell and Sheeva Plug, Kenta Koga with Boxee and Kinect

Seventeen people attended last night’s meeting, held at Wings Your Way on Elm Street in Manchester. A good time was had by all. There was no dearth of conversation, whether on-topic or dissing Perl.
Marc Nozell brought a Sheeva Plug to show us the tiny computer. Marc has owned it for a couple of years and uses it as his in-house file sharing server. The Sheeva came with an older Ubuntu installed, he has used a couple of different Debian installations. It’s an ARM-based processor, has 512 Kb Flash and 512 Kb RAM. It has an MMC slot that supports Compact Flash, and that’s typically where Marc keeps his OS. The box also has USB and Ethernet connections, so it can host external drives via a powered USB hub and have a network presence. Marc passed it around and there were a fair number of questions on installation and configuration and file system choices.
Kenta brought his Mac to show Boxee, an application based on XBMC (originally, XBox Media Center, but its evolved to be more hardware-generic). Kenta talked and demonstrated how Boxee could show his social media feeds, NetFlix, Hulu, YouTube and more. It’s a pretty slick application for the next generation of media centers. We talked about some of the hardware available, proprietary and not, and the evolution of the media space.
Kenta also brought a Microsoft Kinect and showed how he had hacked it to work on his Mac. We talked about some of the new immersive and interactive technologies out there.
Thanks to Kenta (and Chip Marshall) for organizing and announcing the meeting, to Wings Your Way for the fine facilities, and to Marc for his presentation, and to all for attending and participating!

Notes from NH Ruby/Rails, 17-Jan-2011: Brian Turnbull, OmniAuth, Nick Plante, Mirah

Seven members attended the New Hampshire Ruby / Rails group meeting held on 17-January-2011 at the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center (NH-ICC). We had two presentations: Brian Turnbull talked about OmniAuth and Nick Plante showed a project he’s doing with Mirah on the Android platform.
Brian Turnbull is an engineer working for ARRIS and injects Ruby into his build tools whenever he gets the chance. A recent project required authentication against multiple providers and he did some research on OmniAuth. Brian presented a slideshow explaining the basic concepts of authentication and how they’re implemented in OmniAuth. Apparently, OmniAuth was the authentication method of choice during the most recent RailsRumble, used by most of the contestants. Brian outlined the process needed for working with an existing provider and demonstrated it with clear and simple code. He followed that up by showing how to build your own custom provider and authentication strategy. Brian’s sample code can be found on his github account.
Nick Plante has been working on an Android rich client app as part of a web-based social application that’s soon to launch. Nick told us that working on Java for Android has reinforced his love of Ruby. There’s not yet a good port of Ruby to the Android platform, but he has been impressed with the Mirah language, a hybrid solution that compiles to bytecode and runs natively on the JVM. He has developed a Ruby generator called protoform to construct the skeletons of a Mirah app. He gave us a tour of the components and built a simple “Hello, World” app, deployed and ran it on his Android VM.
Thanks to Brian for organizing the meeting and for the OmniAuth presentation, to Nick for talking about his Mirah project and to the NH-ICC for providing the fine facilities.

Notes from SeaCoast WordPress Developers meeting, 11-Jan-2011

The premiere meeting of the Seacoast WordPress Developers group occurred on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at the Portsmouth Public Library from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Four people attended, a modest but promising showing. All four – Amanda, Jesse, Kevin and I – had experience with WordPress and relatively advanced computer experience, as befits a “Developers” group rather than a “Users” group. We did a round on introductions and discussed what we’d like from the group. There was a lot of meta-discussion: how to organize the group, when to meet, what features to offer attendees, etc. We talked about what we had done with WordPress and what we were looking to do. We shared some advice on resources and plugins we’d had success with.

Kevin shared some insights into the Drupal community and the Seacoast NH Drupal Group. Kevin talked about working with Drupal’s Aegir enterprise management system and the Content Creation Kit

I mentioned the Joomla’s recent 1.6 release and Barry North’s pointing out we have a lot of good options in CMSes out there, and we talked about some of the hybrid solutions: some of this and some of that.

Jesse’s been working with Expression Engine and is interested in the CMS capabilities of WordPress as an alternative. I pointed out that Expression Engine is built on the CodeIgniter framework which I’m currently working with.

We spoke about a lot of related groups and hope to share contacts and exchange publicity with the New Hampshire Ruby Rails Group, the Greater New Hampshire Linux User Group, SLUG, the Seacoast Linux User Group (meeting in Morse 301 on the second Monday at 7 Pm for the past 11 years). Amanda and Kevin recalled the GNHLUG meeting featuring Linus Torvalds, attended by over 200 people, on 31 Jan 1996 (accoding to GNHLUG’s list of past events), We mentioned other meetings, such as NHUPA: New Hampshire Usability Professionals Association (now NHUXPA) the eBrew last week at the Press Room, the New Hampshire High Tech Council and the NH PodCamp and Boston WordCamp

Amanda was the organizer of the meeting, and had the most experience with WordPress sites. She has developed and released a number of sites, modified plugins and worked with other developers to get the features she needed. Amanda was interested in learning more about WordPress’ CMS abilities. She’s interested in the Flutter add-on, the Magic Fields CMS Add-On, and extending WordPress with the WP 3.0’s Custom Fields. Amanda brought two books for show-n-tell: Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog by Thord Daniel Hedengren (Smashing) and Professional WordPress by Hal Stern, David Damstra and Brad Williams (Apress/Wrox)

This was a great start to a good group, and I’m looking forward to future meetings. Thanks to Amanda for organizing the meeting and the Portsmouth Public Library for the fine facilities. Stay tuned to the meetup group for announcements on future meetings.

LAMP – Linux, Apache, Microsoft?!?!!, PHP?

For a new client project, I’m configuring LAMP in a way I have not before. The “M” in LAMP, often referred to as Middleware or the trademark of a certain database, is Microsoft in this case, Microsoft SQL Server.

My development workstation is running Fedora 14 and I installed the following to get it working: unixODBC, FreeTDS and php-odbc. (The other components were already installed.) In order to get it working (the target server is up and running, that’s another rant/post), I followed the how-to at Taking care to do the intermediate tests with tsql and isql, and then configuring the PHP CodeIgniter framework to use odbc (with one tweak to the source), I was up and running!

The power of Open Source continues to amaze me.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.