In case you didn't know, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 doesn't understand a closed `` XHTML tag; if you try and do something valid like ``, MSIE will simply display a blank white page. Hooray! Thankfully, I found a mention of the problem at
And I say this *before* tonight's shootout between the Bruins and the St. Louis Blues begins, lest it seem like sour grapes if things don't go the Bruins' way.
![Tag Cloud generated by Code Igniter](http://achase.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/tagcloud.png)
I've been tinkering with the [Code Igniter](http://codeigniter.com) framwork, and so far I'm pretty infatuated; it seems like pMachine spent a great deal of time on both architecture and user experience - users in this case meaning programmers. I assembled the above portfolio tag cloud view (and supporting models and controllers) with only a few hours of coding, and it only took that long because I was flipping through the [documentation](http://www.codeigniter.com/user_guide/index.html) as I went. I spent more time entering data than I did coding.
It may also be that I'm returning to PHP from Java; it's very refreshing to be able to just *code* instead of wading through all of the objects and interfaces that Java forces you to use. As a language PHP may feel a little bit more cobbled together, but Java sometimes feels inhumane in the lengths it goes to to be "Objecty".
I love Python, because it lets me add 15 fields to a MySQL database in about 5 minutes, which is a lot less time than it would have taken to add them manually via the command-line client or PhpMyAdmin:
for i in range(1,6):
print "ALTER TABLE `items` ADD `img%d_title` VARCHAR(255);" % i;
print "ALTER TABLE `items` ADD `img%d_url` VARCHAR(255);" % i;
print "ALTER TABLE `items` ADD `img%d_caption` TEXT;" % i;
Save as `altertable.py` and run it from the shell:
`python altertable.py | mysql -u andy -pmyPassw0rd -h localhost mydatabase`
Not that it would have taken much longer to write in PHP, Perl, or even Java, but it's so *clean* in Python.
I've turned off comments for the time being, until I can find a decent [captcha](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captcha) plugin that doesn't take an entire morning/evening to install. Deleting spam from the comment moderation queue is only fractionally less annoying than deleting it from a live site. Apologies to the 3 or 4 human beings who have ever actually commented on something here.
I never upgraded to iTunes 6 when it came out back in January of this year, mostly because I generally don't watch video on my PowerBook; the upgrades to the iTunes Store weren't particularly compelling, and the furor over the "MiniStore" didn't exactly leave me feeling warm and fuzzy.
iTunes 7 apparently breaks network sharing with iTunes 5, as I discovered while trying to browse a coworker's library, so today I bit the bullet and upgraded from iTunes 5 to iTunes 7.
First big annoyance: The big MiniStore pane asking me if I want to enable the MiniStore, with no visible way to say "No thanks, go away." Searches for ways to disable the MiniStore proved inconclusive, and led me to believe that there was supposed to be a button to hide the pane. (This apparently existed in iTunes 6, but now the 'hide ministore' option is buried under the View menu in iTunes 7.) Before I learned about the menu item, though, I thought to myself, "Maybe if I turn the MiniStore on, they'll provide me with the "Turn it off and go away" button, so I went ahead and enabled the MiniStore.
Turns out there's no "Disable the MiniStore" option anywhere in iTunes, at least not that I can see or read about online. You can *hide* the MiniStore, but I have an idea that hiding doesn't equal disabling; I expect Apple would happily continue collecting data about my listening habits even if I didn't have the MiniStore visible.
The solution is to disable the Music Store altogether with the "Parental Controls" preference pane, but the whole business leaves a bad taste in my mouth; the "To change setting X, you get at it through the dialog box for feature Y" user experience is right out of the Microsoft playbook, and it's clear that iTunes is now there to get me to buy stuff from the Music Store, not to help me manage my music library.
Will I keep using it? As reliant as I am on my playcounts, ratings, and smart playlists, I probably will - but now I'm a slave to it in the same way office workers are slaves to Microsoft Word. I really don't like software that's deliberately designed to be confusing / difficult / try to get me to opt in to marketing drek... the whole experience reminds of the Real Player install process, where every step requires that you uncheck about 15 boxes if you don't want them to send you spam, associate all media filetypes with RealPlayer, etc cetera. Does anyone make an alternative that comes anywhere close?