That Symbol

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually finished a book. I’ve bought a couple this year but only a few had me pass the middle mark – some have become insignificant after a few chapters while others starts too bland I lost interest before leafing through the third chapter.

The books of Dan Brown, other than being famous for its movie adaptations, have an adventurous plot much like the game of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum. I think of it like a hike to a 2000 meter peak with deceiving paths – exhilarating, and the end becomes a dominating experience.

I’m just in the second chapter – I do hope to finish it soon despite the crazy schedule at work. I have to do this more often. The smell of a mint book is euphoric, an opium for the imaginative mind.

Flaming PHP with CodeIgniter

It’s been around 3 years since last I used PHP on a project. PHP5 was quite young back then that bulk of the frameworks I did was still on PHP4. Working on a new project requiring PHP5 and MySQL, I ventured to look for available frameworks for PHP5. (Frameworks are the “go to” design preference amongst developers for rapid development).

I found CodeIgniter to be a rich library of APIs and implements an MVC design very well. I always found web programming languages like PHP – even Perl – to be too procedural even at implementing web applications. Developing applications using the MVC framework makes designing and implementation easier – maintenance too. In Java, I’ve been a proponent of the Spring Framework. CodeIgniter is its counterpart in PHP.

So for those revisiting PHP and are more accustomed to implementing MVC design applications (I believe developers should pick this design over monolithic coding) should try CodeIgniter.

P.S. For secured applications, there are “plugins” available and I’m looking into Redux. Now if only there is a similar channel-security feature (https-to-http switching) in PHP then I’m set. 🙂


Shifting to 1Password…from eWallet

eWallet

eWallet

I had keeping myself from using 1Password over eWallet for the last 7 months.  I’ve got 1Password on a promotion last December and it was free.  I got 1Password for Desktop Mac on a MacTree (forgot the correct promo name) for free around that time too.  I’ve always liked eWallet but Illiumsoft’s downplay of the market on eWallet for Mac to be minuscule to that of the PC market leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  Foolish and stupid – for loyal customers like me.

I’ve been a regular user of eWallet since v3.0 on my Windows Mobile phones about 4-5 years ago.  I’d been happy with the user interface and usability of the password manager especially syncing it with a desktop companion on my Windows system.  I’ve shifted to a Mac platform less than three years ago.  Completely gone full Apple when I bought my iPhone classic and dumped my ETEN M600 Windows Mobile 2003 phone.  I was glad eWallet had an iPhone app later that year.  I’ve looked up the eWallet file I kept from my ETEN phone backup and loaded it to my iPhone. Voila! I got my eWallets back.

And that was just it.  I updated a wallet or two but never opened the eWallet app unless I’ve got an existing wallet that has never changed for over a year.  I had no way of syncing it to a desktop companion and have it backed up.  The eWallet I keep on my iPhone has become volatile that I wouldn’t depend on keeping my passwords on an app that I can’t look up to on more than one device. (Yes, the iPhone has backup utility.  But what if my iPhone breaks or gets stolen? How can I view my passwords now?)

I had been hoping that illiumsoft finishes their long-overdue promise to release eWallet for Mac but it seems like the release date gets pushed and pushed.  I’d understand their concerns as I am a developer myself but as a customer I see it as no full commitment.  Yes, the Mac market may be a fraction of the Windows PC market but can’t you count it with the number of potential users and sales you’d get from people they’d win over if they have a Mac desktop companion?  eWallet started with a small user-base and thrived from there.  Would it mean that maintaining a Mac version costs a lot more these days that they can’t put up time to have it released sooner? What’s with that?

1Password

1Password

It’s been nearly a year that I’ve waited for a desktop companion.  I’ve got 1Password for the iPhone and Mac that I can switch to.  I think it’s just but right that I’d switch now to have the convenience of syncing.  Here’s hoping that 1Password would improve usability of the user-interface – a minor user preference issue I can live with, not like the neutered syncing capability of eWallet with Macs.

Some Bad, Mostly Good

The Bad

The last 7 days I had an all time high with stress levels for 9 months! It’s been that long the word ‘stress’ comes close to anything that I do…the silly part – it’s not me who got stressed up the roof. I’ve only gotten close to irk and that’s it. I’ve finally got my ‘cool’ factor back! I can only hope and dream that someday work becomes fun, instead of stress. I’m on my way there.

The Good(s)

I finally bought myself a new tripod set that I’ve planned on getting for over a year! My SLIK aluminum tripod has to retire from carrying my 350D + lenses. I can finally rest easy from seeing the bent legs and the squeaking camera base. It can’t handle over 5 kilos of gear. The Manfrotto 190xprob + 486rc2 should be strong enough to handle my gears. Now that I have it, I should shoot more to prove its purpose. I didn’t buy this for nothing 🙂

I was also set to buy a new battery pack for my Macbook on my next pay but I decided to check with Digital Hub first if my bloated MB battery is covered with warranty last Saturday. This battery pack was a replacement of my then defective battery (a batch of batteries were eligible for replacement) last January 2008. I was supposed to have another year of warranty for this new battery pack but the swelling started months after January 2009. Normally, a battery pack is considered a consumable item that even an AppleCare (the 3 year extended warranty for Apple items) don’t cover them. The technicians at Digital Hub took a look at it and checked with Apple Singapore. I just got my fresh new battery pack a few hours ago after pickup. Apple agreed to replace it. Thanks Digital Hub!

Photo Portfolio

This week I’m starting to build my personal photo portfolio site on top of having flickr and multiply accounts for a couple of years. The need to have a site to show finished works has become a bit of a need. It’d save any potential and interested folks the time to sift throigh my personal site that is littered with experimental shoots and such.

For now I’m doing it in iWeb and hosted through MobileMe. It serves my purpose but I’m looking into using Jumsoft’s Aperture Web Themes. I like its look. It simplifies the purpose – just a portfolio.

I didn’t finish Jo Avila’s Advanced Photography for nothing. I intend to explore the world of photography as something where I can create art and earn from. It should be time that I lay the groundworks 😀

You can visit my photo website here.

Mail Server in Linux

apple-mail-icon

Apple's Mail Icon - hosts my gmail and MobileMe mails

I’m doing lectures for a local company in Makati on System and Network Administration. One of the main topics is managing a mail server (a POP/IMAP) using postfix and several packages. I’ve been doing system admin work for over 4 years and I’ve never thought of setting up a mail server system myself even just for lab trials/experiment. I find it impractical and no useful benefits if I ever successfully set up one. I’ve done DNS, DHCP and network tools setup in my home that is not so different from what enterprises use. For any technologist, it’s a cool achievement. But having a home email system isn’t as cool.

I’m just torn in a dilemma that I have to teach the guys practical management on a mail system but it is rather difficult to configure for my lab trials before presenting them with wise tips. It’s even more frustrating that these guys need to have the lecture fit in an environment using Red Hat 9. Red Hat 9 is a very old Linux distribution – over 5 years old! I’ve been scratching my head how to play around the system to make the mail server work for it. The old Red Hat systems doesn’t really have a good reputation of having the applications standard compliant that wouldn’t alienate long-time admins like me. So good luck for me then. My lecture will be this Saturday. Argh!

Product Photography With Jo and Cesar

Ooohs, and Aaahs…

That’s what I can say with the tips and tricks Cesar Caina taught us on my third session with Jo Avila’s Advanced Photography class. What I liked about the whole discussion was the DIY (do-it-yourself) tricks Cesar shared with us. Trying out Product Photography in my home can be much more fun without spending much since I’d only have to at least have one light and just play with it with reflections by both sides of an illustration board!

That Coffee Jar

That Coffee Jar

I’m so amazed with how creative photographers were during the film days. They make these far-off tricks a digital photographer couldn’t think of but works perfectly great for both eras – film and digital. I have to give hats off to them for living in that era. It makes me want to be a film photographer!

Philippines' Pride for a Beer

Philippines' Pride for a Beer

I didn’t realize there’s such magic in using paper plate and sticky rub!

We just shot our own model shoot last night but I have to defer posting photos until the next team finishes! Man, I really want those studio lights and softboxes!