Archives » June, 2006

June 27, 2006


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Getting Around PHP Upload Limits

I ran into a problem on my sister site this morning, that had to do with file uploads. I’m using PHP to allow people to upload photos to the site, and there’s a form with an <input type="file"> text field that they use to pick the picture to be uploaded. I’ve never had a problem with this form, but someone this morning tried to upload a picture and got all kinds of nasty PHP errors. What could be the problem?

Well I found a setting buried deep in PHP, post_max_size, a directive that tells PHP what the largest amount of POST data it should accept is. Normally this is set to a default of 8 Megabytes, but my host had changed it to 2MB. (But oddly enough they left the more precise directive, upload_max_filesize, at the default of 8MB.)

All I had to do to override their setting was add a line to my .htaccess file:
php_value post_max_size 8M

That put the setting back to 8MB, and the photo was able to be uploaded with no problem. Now I won’t have any more problems until digital cameras start producing files over 8MB. Or until someone decides to upload a RAW image!

June 26, 2006


Dave Winer’s Bloggercon conference took place over the weekend in San Francisco. It’s actually not a conference, it’s an “unconference”, where the audience becomes the panel and there are floating microphones and it turns into one big conversation taking place between the 150 people in the room. All the sessions were recorded and are available in MP3 from this page. I’ve been listening to the first three or four sessions today; it’s great stuff to pump into your head while you’re doing mindless HTML production work like I have been with this fire project.

June 24, 2006

Creepy The Pooh

The Gallery1988 in LA is running a pretty trippy art show for the next couple of weeks. “The Schoolhouse Series” began with a series of drawings by preschoolers of Winnie The Pooh and friends. These drawings were then given to artists to interpret as they saw fit. The results are mostly pretty out there, and they can all be found on this page.

100 Awesome Music Videos

Pitchfork Media has put up their list of 100 Awesome Music Videos. It’s a pretty hit-and-miss list, with some great classics (it starts with A-Ha’s “Take on Me”) and some great unknowns (who ever heard of Cee-Lo?). But where it gets things right, it really gets it right. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody”, “Once in a Lifetime”. And the kicker to this particular list is that each one has a link to the full video, so you don’t just have to dredge up memories of what the video looked like; you get to actually kick back and relive it. That’s what really pushes the list into the “awesome” territory.

Now of course everyone has their own favorite pet videos that were left off the list. In the comments of the PopWatch article, where I found the link to the list, folks went off with their own ideas on what should have made the list, and that makes for a pretty awesome list of its own. And one guy even built his own post, his Awesome Top 16, with the full videos included just like the original list. And it’s on this list, not Pitchfork’s 100, where you find one of the most awesome of awesome, Tom Petty’s LSD-inspired Alice in Wonderland trip, “Don’t Come Around Here No More”.

Go check them all out.

June 23, 2006


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A Night at the Drive-In

Reposted from Around Carson


Some of you local people probably already know this, but a lot of newcomers may not. There is still one drive-in movie theater left in Northern Nevada, the El Rancho in Sparks. One of only about 400 such theaters left nationwide (and only two in Nevada, the other being in Vegas) the El Rancho has been the subject of several Reno Gazette-Journal articles over the years (like here, here and here). Built in 1951, it hasn’t changed much since that time. The projection equipment was replaced in the 1960s(!) and the speakers on poles were done away with in favor of FM transmitters. But the experience of crowding together in your car and feeling the cool night air as you watch a movie hasn’t changed at all.

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On Tuesday this week went took a trip up to Reno to see a movie. We know from experience that Sam has problems sitting patiently through a two-hour movie, so going to a regular theater was out. But here at the drive-in, he’d have the whole car and all his toys to play with if he got bored. It was the perfect set up. And at only $4 per adult, it turned out to be about half the price of heading to one of the Century theaters downtown or at the mall. And we were able to buy our candy at Wal*Mart, which saved us even more.

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The theater grounds themselves are old, and they look like it. A low little snack bar and the A-frame projection booth are kind of huddled together in the center, and they both look like they’ve been forgotten for decades. Cracked pavement, ratty fences, and multi-color trash barrels everywhere just add to the effect, and the whole thing adds up to make you think that you’re just lucky they’re even keeping the theater open. They’re certainly not putting any money into improving it, but at least it’s not decaying like most abandoned drive-ins. The screens are clean and in good shape, and once it gets dark really all you care about is the picture up there anyway.

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All together it was a fun night, although by the time the second feature started it was almost midnight. With Sam half asleep on the dashboard and an hour’s drive home in front of us, we decided to bail instead of sticking around. On our way out we passed by the old-style marquee, with the crooked plastic letters spelling out the names of the four features, and we wondered how much longer this drive-in would be around. Century Theaters, who owns it, has said they have no plans to close it as long as it stays profitable and the land value doesn’t skyrocket. Given it’s location, in a run-down part of Sparks, boxed in by mobile homes and adjoining a neighborhood park, I don’t think it’s in danger of that happening. And as long as they keep running it with a bare minimum of staffing and maintenance, I can see it being profitable for years to come. So I don’t think the El Rancho will be going anywhere soon, and it should keep throwing movies onto those corrugated screen for a long time.

I’ve put up more pictures from the drive-in here.

June 20, 2006

Here, Teddy

From Raw Feed (via Engadget, via Dave Winer), here’s the amazing decapitated teddy bear USB thumb drive!

More pictures here. Kind of looks like somebody made this at home with a carving knife.

WOW i so fancy johny deep!

Sometimes some of the most interesting things happening on my site are happening in the comments of older entries. Like this entry from December of 2003, where I recounted the long and arduous process of rediscovering an 80s song that I could still hum but didn’t know the artist or the title. Well, two and a half years after I wrote the post, I got this comment from the lead singer of the band who did the song, saying the story brought a smile to his face. It turns out he’s gotten out of the music business and now owns a company that duplicates CDs. What are the odds of him ever coming and finding my site, much less commenting on it?

And then there’s the phenomenon that my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory page has become. In December of 2004 I put up screenshots from the new Tim Burton remake of the Willy Wonka story. The trailer had just come out, and I was fascinated by the visuals from the film. And the comments on this entry started out reasonably enough:

While it’s sure to be interesting to see another interpretation of this book, I still say remaking the original is blasphemy.

I’m acutally pleased that they are doing another Wonka film.

But soon things started to skew a little younger…

WOW i so fancy johny deep!

Maybe you’d wanna see it because Johnny depp is in it? He isn’t all hat good looking!! so just lay off! I love you all!!!!!!!!

And then, somewhere along the way, the dam burst and all hell broke loose.

Hey everyone!!! I just have to say that I am in love with JordanFry!!! Hes so awesome!!!! (he plays Mike in the movie) Don’t yall just think he is soooooo hot!?!?!?!?!? I would love to meet him some day. It’s so cool how we have the same name and we’re the same age!!!!

omg i loved this movie!! i think that jordan fry is like so effin hott and i am 13 thats kind of sad but yeah i love him!! i want to buy this movie now lol and no i am not a loser or a rapist

omg violet is sooooooooo hot and it turns me on when she turns into a blueberry

I don’t know when or how it happened, but my site had turned into a MySpace page. The kids had taken over! And the thing is, it’s still continuing. I must have some rockin Google placement or something, because the comments just keep coming. Here’s the newest one, just posted this morning. It’s such a transcendant experience, I had to post it in its entirety.

the new charlie and the chocolate factory RULES!! Just because Jordan Fry is on it. He is sooooooooooooooooooooooo Major Hott!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have 8 posters every time I wake up I see Jordan’s face. My friend and I did MASH it’s a game. And I’m married to Jordan I live in a mansion we have 2 kids we drive a limo and I’m Jordan’s make-up artist. Jordan if you read this please email me back I listen to your song on the soundtrack all the time and I have watched the movie 189 times and most of the time I fastforward it to the t.v. room. I have the same shoes as you in the are really smart in the tv room. I love it when you say Die,Die,Die! sigh. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooooooooooooooo.Bye Jordan love you soooooooooooooooooo much!!! Michelle

Go and read the whole thread. Just be prepared: your brain will leak out of your ears.

June 19, 2006

Firefox Gets It Right

Over the weekend I finally got around to listening to Inside the Net #24, where Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur interview “The Two Mikes from Firefox,” Mike Shaver and Mike Beltzner. The talk mostly centered around the fact that they’re hard at work on Firefox 2.0, the newest version of everyone’s favorite web browser, and the final release should be here by September. Of course they have to go through the whole cycle of Beta releases, and release candidates, and they’re not quite there yet. But there is a Alpha 3 milestone release that you can grab and install just to play around with. I did it today, and installed it on the beta copy of Windows Vista I’ve got in the corner of my office. In fact, that’s what I’m using to write this post (I’m also using the beta of Outlook 2007 for e-mail here. I guess you can call this the “bleeding edge” machine).

Firefox 2.0, or “Bon Echo” as they’re calling it while it’s under development, isn’t as much of an advance as you’d think given the “2.0” name. Pretty much it’s the same browser, with the same features. The only real obvious difference is that each tab has its own close button, rather than one global button on the right-hand side. Aside from that it looks identical to Firefox 1.5.

But there is one thing that makes Firefox 2.0 a must-have for everyone and everybody out there in the world today. Because finally, after a decade and a half of the web, and of browser makers ignoring this one simple need, Firefox has done the right thing. They have put a spell checker into <textarea>s. So now, when you’re writing a blog post, or a comment, or working on your web mail, or doing anything else where you have to use a text field on a web page, there is a spell checker right there. And it’s not a plug-in, it’s not an extension, it’s not an AJAX module that has to be loaded on the page; it is built into the browser and turned on by default. Finally somebody got it right.

I know that this will be a huge help, just in my own household. My wife always is calling me over when she’s writing on her blog, to help her spell a word. She used to use Blogger, and they don’t have a spell check. Now she uses WordPress, and that doesn’t have a spell check either. I’ve looked for WP plug-ins that would add spell checking capabilities, and I’ve looked at AJAX spell checkers that were kind of clumsy to use, and I’ve known that there were Firefox extensions out there that would check your spelling, but nothing ever seemed to be right. They all had ugly interfaces, and incomplete dictionaries, and they weren’t easy to use or they were flaky and wouldn’t always work. And all along, I just kept saying to myself, “this should be built into the browser.” And now it is. And now it is!!!!

I don’t know why this is so exciting, but sometimes when developers are trying to add in all these cool new features and stunning graphics and cutting-edge functionality, they keep overlooking the simple things. Spell check definitely is a simple thing, even though it can be hard to do it right, and everyone has overlooked it for far too long. It’s good to see Firefox paying attention.

Now, if only Vista could have a built-in system-wide spell check, that would be the next step. But I guess Microsoft hasn’t learned how to look at the simple things yet.

And one word that isn’t in the default Firefox dictionary? Firefox.