Posts tagged annoyances

 

Having unexpected blank screen when developing in PHP?

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It’s amazing how the small things can really throw your code for a loop.

Was working on some code today that needed some new features added to it, and as with most code that has new features added, some bugs naturally creep in. This one would just show a blank screen in that very unhelpful way that PHP does when it finds something wrong, but it’s not a fatal error and your error reporting isn’t set at super anal. So whatever could the issue be? Well while going through the code (and being a bit code tippy to boot), I eventually found the offending line.

echo “This is a “.$pageType;.” page.”;

Notice something a bit off? Yes that one silly semi colon was the root of all the problems. Not exactly a huge revelation, but hopefully this will save someone the massive amounts of aggravation that I experienced while searching for this issue.

Finally, after almost two months…

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…my server is back online.

Had my video card die on my server, and since I was frugal (read: cheap), and didn’t’ want to spend twenty bucks for a video card that would have the tough duty of displaying text, that meant replacing the entire motherboard. , And since the board that I had was at end of life when I bought it (but hey, the price was right!), it was time to get a whole new setup. Super.

So while looking around, you’d think just replacing it would be a matter of going online, finding a deal and a week later poof! You’re back online right? Ya right, it’s never that simple. The first part did happen though, in that a deal was found for a new processor (since I couldn’t use the old one anymore, they don’t make the boards) and motherboard. Even got fifty dollars off and free shipping, which living where I do is pretty handy. Figure I’d place the order, wait a week and bob’s your uncle right?

Well after two months of missing packages, orders not placed correctly, finding that the parts that I wanted were out of stock, finding that the next step up was seventy bucks more, and that they wanted to charge for shipping as well, you can see why there was a wee bit of a delay. Granted after a few choice words I did get the extra charges waived, since its’ not my fault their staff cant’ update inventory correctly, but it does reinforce my desire of buying items in person.

To spread some good news around though, once the parts finally arrived the install was amazingly simple and the OS worked like a champ. Ya Open Source! So a happy ending, albeit with a long delay.

Well my blog has made the big time…

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…as it got it’s first spam bot trying to post links to some craptastic site that is the latest flavour.

*sniff* I’m so proud.

Facebook chat; re-defining the lowest common denominator for chat clients

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Ever since I’ve rejoined facebook, I’ve found a very annoying feature that they have, one that seems to be chaotic when it comes to deciding if it wants to work or not, one that is even more annoying then the barrage of game updates that receive in your news feed.

I’m talking about facebook chat.

Now the first thing that anyone that bothers to read this is going to think is that you get what you pay for. And while for some things, that is true, it still doesn’t explain the level of suck that this piece of software achieves. First off, you never truly know if someone is actually online or not. Oh sure it says so on the chat client itself, and the left hand sidebar as well, but half the time, they never match up in which ones that they think are online. And if it if does indicate that someone you want to chat with is online, it’s not always true. Ever had it where you message someone and as soon as you hit enter it says they’ve gone offline, or even better a very descriptive “an error has occurred” message pops up? Always handy, especially when you’ve just finished a small novel. Fixing this issue alone would at least make facebook chat tolerable, or at least remove the large chasm of suck that divides it from MSN, yahoo, and skype, among other mainstream offerings.

Another annoyance that crops up often enough is that facebook will randomly decide it’s not going to deliver your messages, or let you receive any. A few times I’ve logged into facebook to have the bottom bar light up and that popping noise sound like a cartoonist machine gun go off to show the messages that were sent last night, but never were delivered. Add to this that the icon that says someone is typing will stay on for as long as you wait there when this behaviour is occurring and it makes for very aggravating experiences.

And just because two items isn’t enough, another fun feature is if you happen to refresh the page, guess what happens to your conversation? Why it’s wiped clean of course. Very convenient to try and remember what you were talking about. I realize that webpages are stateless technologies, but a way to have it so that you dont’ have to write down what you’re talking about should a refresh of the page need to be done to find out if facebook is no longer sending your messages would be a nice touch.

I realize that coding is not exactly the easiest profession in the world, but these features pretty much make facebook chat on the edge of unusable. With it being THE flagship for social networking, having a chat client that didn’t suck might just get folks to move from the chat clients that are the front runners in the industry (MSN, skype, google, etc) and let folks do everything at one site, hence more buy-in. And with over three hundred million in revenue in 2008, they can afford to hire folks that know how to code ajax based apps, instead of what looked like someone doing a school project that never learned the meaning of QA. Considering that facebook has redesigned their site at least twice in the last eighteen months or so, they might want to have a look at this section of it next time, if not right now.

And hopefully soon. I’m tired of having three different chat clients open all the time.

Viagra ads in themes now?

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One of the things that attracted me to using pre-developed blogging software instead of rolling my own was that it saved on the one resource that I never seem to have enough of; time. An addition to that is being able to just throw up a quickly designed theme that doesnt’ look like a geocities reject, which from someone that is not all that great at design is a nice touch.

That being said, the amount of themes that have ads in their footers that look like links ripped from my spam filter seem to be becoming almost as common. Look I get that doing free themes is a thankless job, but do we really need to have the footers pointing us to deals on how to get those famous blue pills and what not? If your going to put ads, aim it for folks that could use it, because I really doubt the pharma middlemen are hurting for business.

Either that or give me a cut from the click revenue that your’e earning. Either or. I’m not too picky.

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