Strong opinions, weakly held

Month: September 2005 (page 1 of 6)

Rails, MySQL, OS X, pain

This is purely a plea for aid, and nothing more. I have Ruby 1.8.2, Rails 0.13.1, and MySQL 4.14 running under Mac OS X 10.4. I have a simple Rails application that works fine, except that most of the time when I try to perform an operation that uses a database transaction, WEBrick hangs. The only way to stop it is to use kill -9 or restart MySQL. Usually the output in the log looks something like this when it hangs:

Question Columns (0.006397) SHOW FIELDS FROM questions
SQL (0.000621) BEGIN
User Load (0.007152) SELECT * FROM users WHERE users.id = 1 LIMIT 1

I can’t connect to the running process with breakpointer and use of the MySQL show processlist command shows that the database connection WEBrick is using is idle. Anyone Rails experts have any ideas here? Exhaustive searches of Google and attempts to seek help on the Rails IRC channel have proven fruitless this time around.

I should also note that the problems are intermittent. I can update or insert some rows in some tables some of the time, and other times things seem to work.

Update: Running the application under Locomotive works, so the problem must be something with the Ruby install on this computer. That’s one problem with any complex Web application these days — too many moving parts under the hood.

The value of experience

I’m working on a proof of concept Rails project. It’s a relatively simple application that will be a lot more complex down the road, and I need to decide whether it makes sense to write it (and perhaps subsequent applications that are related) in Ruby on Rails, or whether I should write them with the usual stack that I’m more familiar with: Java, Spring, Hibernate, Tomcat, etc.

While I really like the ease of getting things up and running with Rails, I’m reminded frequently of the value of experience. When something isn’t working right in a Rails application, I have no idea what I need to do to fix it. Five plus years of coding in Java means that I at least know where to start looking when things break. In Rails, I’m clueless, and the framework does a lot of stuff somewhat magically, so popping the hood is that much harder.

This isn’t to say that Java is better than Rails, but rather that lots of experience is better than none.

An officer addresses torture

Go read the letter from Captain Ian Fishback (82nd Airborne) to Senator John McCain urging the government to clarify its position with regard to how detainees in US custody should be treated. Here’s how it starts:

I am a graduate of West Point currently serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Infantry. I have served two combat tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, one each in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the “spirit” of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification.

You can also read Captain Fishback’s account (along with the accounts of two 82nd Airborne sergeants) in a Human Rights Watch report.

Rita aerial photos

NOAA has released aerial photos of the areas damaged by Hurricane Rita. I’ve been busy cutting out specific locations that are of interest to me, which you can see in my Hurricane Rita Flickr Set. Unfortuantely, they managed to to take pictures of my parents’ house or my sister’s house. It can be a bit tricky to find specific houses in the photos because they’re not oriented properly — the top of the photo is often not north.

Better Memeoranum

Ted Leung says says what he really wants instead of Memeorandum is a site that surveys sites he’s interested in rather than weblogs in general for interesting stories. Sounds like a perfect service for Bloglines to me.

I’m finding Memeorandum pretty useful as a way to get an idea of what everybody is talking about at any given time. It’s where I found the link to the Seattle Times story correcting the popular accounts of what happened at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. The site seems like a good place to find out what you should know about and what you probably shouldn’t be linking to.

First draft, indeed

I wouldn’t link to this story, but it seems to me that many people have taken the rumors of mayhem at th Superdome and Convention Center in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to be fact. It’s not their fault, either, because the rumors have been repeated thousands of times in print, on television, and on weblogs. The Seattle Times has what appear to be the facts. The ordeal that those people went through was horrific, but not as horrific as was reported.

Help KOGT start broadcasting

I don’t know if any readers can help with this, but the radio station I keep linking to in Orange, TX is looking for someone with extra streaming media capacity help them get back online so that they can start broadcasting information for evacuees. Here’s the specific request:

Things seem to be going really well today considering the past few days. Generators, gas, and ice supplies are looking up thanks to you. By fixing one problem we’re creating others. (Isn’t that Murphy’s Law?) When and if we begin to broadcast, we’re getting so many hits that it will bog down the streaming where no one will be able to hear online. If another provider that has streaming audio access would allow us to use their services, we could stream on a different channel giving everyone (hopefully) access.

If you can help out or know someone who can, send me email at [email protected]

Rita update

As you can see from the updates at the KOGT web site, my home town of Orange, Texas is in bad shape. Officials are saying that it will be at least two weeks before the power is back on and my family remains evacuated. My parents have heard that their house has two trees on it and my sister heard that her house has only minor wind damage. I don’t know about the rest of my family, but the damage seems universal. I also have some extended family members in Lousiana that were affected by the storm in Lake Charles, Welsh, and Jennings. I haven’t heard anything about how they’re doing.

Another media outlet

In running down the local media for Rita yesterday, I forgot about radio stations. Orange station KOGT has posted the first update from the town that I’ve seen:

Glad to be on the other side! I’ve never been afraid of weather until last night. The severe wind and rain started around 1am and didn’t let up until the eye came through at 4:15am. I am located in the Chasse Ridge addition and currently stuck here. We tried to drive around during the eye but found every exit blocked by stacks of trees. We tried driving back to the newest addition and had to turn around because of the water. I won’t say water was in every house, but the water on the street was high enough that we weren’t sure where the street was. Most of the home damage caused by trees but not as much home damage as we thought (at least with the homes we were able to check out). We are now on the south side of the hurricane and still gusty winds but not much rain, however this is when the storm surge begins and the south side of I-10 is the target. We’re going to attempt to cut and pull our way out of the neighborhood to see what else has happened. I will try to report back then, although it is a very slow process.

Local coverage of Rita

Here’s a quick list of media outlets that will be covering hurricane Rita:

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