Created a Web-based HTML Editor

I have just this morning written a very basic web-based HTML editor that I will use to manage some of the articles posted to this site, particularly in the GNU/Linux section.

I sometimes find it frustrating to have to SSH in to modify some of the content on the site, so I’ve made it a little easier on myself. Some of the articles under the GNU/Linux section should now be updated more frequently!

Mindnet.Ca Now Running Ubuntu Linux

After a long run of having the Mindnet.Ca server running off a Knoppix Live CD, I figured it was time to pull everything together and put www.mindnet.ca, the Mindnet CVS, and The Bag Of Holding (TBOH) all on a properly installed and configured server. After careful consideration with regards to security, performance, and especially stability, I’ve decided to have the server run on Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu is a Debian GNU/Linux based distribution that has a more consistant release cycle. Ubuntu is a fairly fresh (new) distribution, so it’s development model still needs to mature, however the project looks promising.

At Work, on The Road, at Home… Practical, Non-intrusive Solutions to Data Syncing

Data syncing has been a recurring problem for me for as long as I can remember. Reading and modifying documents at work, and then trying to access these documents at home can be a pain in the ass unless you get into the regular habit of copying these documents to your USB key, or to your laptop. When you are ready to work on these documents at home, you have copy these documents off your device, do your work, then save them documents back to the device so that you will have an updated copy when you go back to work. Continue reading At Work, on The Road, at Home… Practical, Non-intrusive Solutions to Data Syncing

“The Bag of Holding” Gaming Group

The Bag of Holding (TBOH) is a Dungeons & Dragons (D20) gaming group that I am honored to be apart of. TBOH has it’s own (very active) website that has grown in content rapidly, and hosts crazy amounts of information on group members, current campaigns, characters and plot-lines.

Mindnet.ca currently hosts the TBOH wiki, and I am the primary maintainer of the Wiki website.

Javascript as an encryption medium?

I had a thought this morning about what would happen if a web application was installed on a server that did not support SSL (HTTPS). If that web application needed to do some secure transactions, like accept passwords etc, what would be an alternative way of transferring that data securely to the web-server without having the data be visible in plain-text on the wire. I figured that it certainly is possible to do some trivial encryption or obfuscation with javascript. But then the thought occured to me, is there a way to implement public-key encryption in javascript, in order to send data to a web-server securely?

Methods for integrating feedback and discussion functionality into a website

I’ve been recently thinking about ways to integrate user feedback
functionality into mindnet.ca. I’ve considered (still am considering)
writing my own news / discussion system, but I think I should step back
and consider what I am actually trying to achieve. Continue reading Methods for integrating feedback and discussion functionality into a website

Diet SQL?

In response to my Feb 8, 2004 (PHP Application Backup/Restore) question about my need for a portable database.. well I found one. SQLite is the name. Apparently, SQLite has been in the works since May of 2000, but has only been getting a lot of user attention in the last year or so. The whole idea is that an you can create an SQL database that has no configuration options associated with it. You create and manage the database with an SQLite client, or within your programming language of choice. Your language would utilize an appropriate library for connecting to and reading/writing data to the database. The SQLite database would not have the full functionality of other RDMS’s such as Postgres or MySQL, and infact only supports a single table per database file. Security is controlled via standard Unix filesystem permissions, so there is no need to maintain a separate table of authorized users. This is exactly what I was looking for back in Feb’04! I have already created an SQLite database by porting over some flat-file data into appropriate fields in a table. This development looks very promising. Learn more about SQLite at www.sqlite.org.

Montreal vs Toronto?

I recently had an interesting discussion about the difference between living in a city like Toronto, verses living in a city like Montreal. I was speaking to a woman who had been living in Montreal for over twenty-five years, and had come to Toronto in order to find work. She had three kids, was a single parent, and basically had the impression that Toronto was where she could make a living to support her kids.

However, after living in Toronto for four years, having to work three jobs, she has decided that she would rather be back in Montreal. Why? Well it seems her impression is that Toronto is “more about money” than Montreal is. On the other hand, Montreal, in her opinion, runs at a slower pace, has a lower cost of living, and generally is a much friendlier place to live. I like the sound of that, so I’m going to do a bit of personal research on Montreal to find out what other people think the differences between these two cities really are.

D&D, Where Have You Been?

I think I’m in love with Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve been playing it for maybe four months now, and I can honestly say that I enjoy it as much as playing a favorite video game. Now, there are things that can ruin a D&D session, such as picky, whiney, or annoying people. But I think I am very fond of the *idea* of D&D, where it is not restricted by the bounds of computer programming, and you can essentially do anything you want in the world your DM has created (with her permission of course).

Too Much Work Work

So I haven’t really been able to code anything lately as we’ve been quite busy at work for the past few weeks. Right now some of the big issues we’ve had with clients are e-mail issues. We’re still dealing with the remnants of the MyDoom virus (and it’s derivatives) causing problems with Exchange servers. I’m so glad I’m in the Linux camp, because Exchange is just not something I want to deal with regularly. I mean, come on, what kind of mail server has SMTP as an “option”?

Separation of Code and Data

I’ve been reading about the Smarty Templating Engine that so many PHP programmers are using, and it has been getting good reviews. Apparently the templating engine is supposed to help PHP programmers concentrate on back-end programming by providing standard UI’s for different types of dynamic data. This sounds cool, cause I hate programming idiot oriented user interfaces. If anyone has had some experience using Smarty, please give me some examples of the work you’ve done with it.

PHPCommunity.Org

For the last two weeks I’ve been getting involved in the PHP Community Website [www.phpcommunity.org]. This was a project started by Chris Shiflett to bring expert PHP programmers and novices together in order to share and expand on ideas. I’ve befriended Chris during this time, and he has put me in touch with the NY PHP User Group founder Hans Zaunere, along with a few others with whom I am looking forward to discuss PHPCommunity.Org, along with other interesting PHP related tidbits cropping up.

PHP Application Backup/Restore

Does anyone use php/mysql in way that is easy to backup/restore? Right now if I wanted to back up a php based website or web app, I’d have to tar the app directory, and the directory where the database is located. If I wanted to install the app on another system, I would have to create a mysql account on the new database server and give it access to read/write to the restored database. I find this inconvenient, and was wondering if anyone had a setup where all they had to do was tar up a single directory tree to transport an app (db privileges and everything). If you have any ideas on how to do this please let me know!

J. Bobby Lopez – Personal Blog

This is my personal blog. It includes articles I’ve personally written, along with interesting articles I have come across or have commented on at various points in time on the web.  The articles I’ve personally written are mostly about technology and software, but often about other things as well.  I am always eager to hear different perspectives on the topics I am interested in, so please feel free to comment and share your own opinions!  If you do register for an account on this site, please also send me a separate note by e-mail, since I do get a lot of spam. Thanks!

Mounting EXT2FS under Windows

I found a cool utility that allows you to mount Ext2 filesystems under Win2k – it’s called Ext2FSD. It’s Open Source, and it works pretty well. I was able to play MP3’s nicely off the mounted partition while playing X-Tension (got tired of the in-game music).

I also found a nice Palm app called CryptoPad. Those of you who were smart enough to realize that information on your Palm is insecure because it’s all plain-text (pdb’s don’t count, they’re easily exportable), probably got a hold of SecureMemo from Certicom. Certicom was giving the app away for free, however they stopped development on it, and don’t support it or provide it on their web-site anymore. CryptoPad is better, since it’s Open Source, and it uses blowfish encryption (strong, clean, yum).

Insights on Technology, Science, Philosophy, and Society. Exploring Patterns, Logic, Reason, Empathy, and The Golden Rule. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen R. Covey