tracy — Sun, 02/21/2010 - 14:48
Maintaining session information has long been the bane of the web developer. Many web platforms put that information into a MySQL table, something that can work decently well for small to medium sites. The problem is that as the site's popularity grows, so do the number of database entries and hits. Sites that aren't as good about purging the sessions table of stale entries are going to see increasingly slower lookup times at a time when the number of hits are increasing.
tracy — Sat, 02/13/2010 - 17:14
The 2010 TED Prize winner is Jamie Oliver, a British chef and an advocate for better food education, particularly in schools. While his entire talk is quite interesting, two points are of particular interest: why school breakfasts and lunches are not as healthy as the could be and how little much of the population knows about cooking.
First, he notes that the people on the front lines in the school districts across the country should not be the target of the public's ire. For the most part, the cooks, servers and even food service managers are working within constraints which make it impossible for them to serve high-quality, nutritious food to our children. Instead of them being in charge of what is served and how it is prepared, the power often lies with bean counters and, although unmentioned in the speech, farm policy. The decisions are based more often on cost rather than nutrition and taste.
What does this mean? First, to keep costs down, much of what schools serve is determined by the free food available from the federal government. Which foods are available generally is governed by food politics and distribution system realities rather than food quality and nutrition. Additionally, the labor needed to prepare and serve the meals to our children can be quite expensive. Thus, schools outsource a fair amount of this labor in the form of processed foods from food manufacturers. Since the food is then designed to be easily manufactured and to last on shelves, rather than for its nutritional value, the children don't get the best quality food. Without financial support from the community, these two factors lead to fewer fresh fruits and vegetables being available to our children..
Another interesting tidbit is the number of generations we have gone where people do not learn how to cook as they grow up. One of the people he spotlighted is a mother of young children and she is part of the third generation of her family who did not learn these essential life skills at home. I've been thinking about this very topic for the last few months. While I didn't know exactly how far in the past it went, I knew that there were a number of young women in my grandparents generation who got married and started their own households without knowing how to cook. I'm guessing this trend is part of what fueled the popularity of cookbooks like "The Joy of Cooking" and the back to basics movement. Although I'm not sure why we went away from home cooked meals, my guess is that it was a confluence of events involving better canning techniques, development of refrigeration and freezing, the increasing women's educational and professional opportunities during the early 1900s, and the entrance of large numbers of women into the workforce during World War II.
Somehow, we need to find a way to get nutritious meals into our bodies and fully understanding these issues will help us get there. As a country, we need to find a way to emphasize food quality over cost for our school children and we need to teach our population how to cook. Taking these two steps would go a long way towards alleviating the obesity problem.
tracy — Sun, 01/24/2010 - 16:11
I am changing jobs this February. One of the main differences is that it will mean less work with Drupal, but I am really looking forward to working with the Perl Catalyst framework. In hopes of getting a head start on learning this new system, I bought a book from Amazon and created a custom AMI on Amazon.
tracy — Sat, 11/14/2009 - 15:45
I can't remember exactly how long I've been using Mollom to control spam on my website, but I'm guessing it was pretty soon after they released the product. For those who don't know, Mollom was found in 2008 by two friends who met while they were university students.
tracy — Thu, 10/08/2009 - 17:45
I spent yesterday attending a great one-day developers conference run by Joel Spolsky. This was a real treat for me, since instead of giving up a weekend day to the cause, I able to go during the work week. Besides the excuse to get away from a computer for a few hours, I'm also quite a fan of stackoverflow.com and the stackoverflow podcast.
The day started as these things often do for me, a woman helping to run registration was excited to see another woman attending the event. What really made me smile though is that she got into a competition with the guy next to her over who could find my last name first. She won through the clever use of a binary search algorithm.
Overall, I really enjoyed the relatively wide range of talks. The talks by Ned Batchelder and John Resig were of the most interest as I'm more of a dynamic language person and I do a lot of web work. The ASP.Net MVC was interesting in that I really like the separation of code MVC supports/enforces but the presentation was, perhaps, a bit too long and detailed for the audience. The iPhone presentation had a few great nuggets of information, but I'm don't really fancy myself an iPhone programmer (for now) and so my attention waned a bit there. In my opinion, the two best presentations were done by Miguel and Joel. I can't quite put my finger on why I liked Miguel's so much. He was really funny and a bit more casual, more like listening to a story than watching a conference presentation. The fact that things didn't always go right just added to the atmosphere and good fun.
While I enjoyed the conference overall, there were a few things I didn't like. First, the venue isn't top on my list. The chairs were really uncomfortable, especially for the long hours of sitting and were probably placed a bit too close together for developers. Also, there wasn't a lot of space to break out and talk if you weren't interested in a particular presentation. Beyond the venue, there was one thing that really annoyed the heck out of me. During the waning minutes of the break, the music would get cranked up and the lights would get turned off. My assumption is this was done to discourage conversation while still giving a warning period, but the music was way too loud, abruptly ending conversations with a good minute or so left, and ended up giving me a headache in the end.
The last item is a bit of a complicated subject. I feel Joel might have gone a little overboard in the video and in his keynote. While I'm an adult and have been known to use a double entendre or two or three, I definitely felt a male bias in the content. On one hand, this makes total sense as most of the audience was male and most of the jokes were pretty funny. In fact, I don't think my issue is with the jokes that he made, it's just the number of times he made them. It's a bit like family guy where they stay with the really bad/disgusting/uncomfortable joke for a few seconds too long just to make the audience a tad uncomfortable or to emphasize it. I definitely didn't feel unwelcome, but, perhaps, a bit misunderstood.
All that said, I hope that there is one again next year and kudos to Joel for organizing such an event.
tracy — Sat, 06/06/2009 - 12:51
William Hamin, a harness maker at Milton, and Mrs. Simon Relyea of the same place, eloped the past week. Hamin left a wife and three children, while Mrs. Relyea, who has been twice married, left a son and husband. Both were caught at Fishkill.
1891 New Paltz Times
tracy — Sat, 06/06/2009 - 12:48
Miss Anna Grace Popelvas of Poughkeepsie and Fred Miller of New Paltz were married in New Paltz on Sunday by Justice Wm. H. Atkins.
tracy — Sat, 06/06/2009 - 12:44
Mildred Estelle Abramson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Abramson of Pencil Hill, New Paltz, became the bride of Frederick Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Miller of South Ohioville Road, New Paltz at a double ring ceremony on Saturday, June 25, 1955 at 4:00 p.m. in the New Paltz Methodist Church. Reverend Willett Porter officiated.
tracy — Sat, 06/06/2009 - 12:34
In Highland, March 31, by O. P. Carpenter, Esq.
John J Miller, aged 18 years, and Rachel Elizabeth Davis, aged 15 years, both of Lloyd.
When they appeared before his Honor, Justice Carpenter, demurred, but Miss Davis said she was bound to be married, and if he didn't do the job, some one else would. After the ceremony, they departed, happy as two children would be over a lot of molasses candy. Miss D. was dressed in a neat calico dress, while her affianced had some how outgrown his wearing apparel.