znurt and planet larry expected downtime

O hai.

Both Znurt and Planet Larry are going to be going offline here … pretty soon for a day or so.  I’m moving hosts again, and should have things back up shortly.  I’m hoping I can get it all taken care of this weekend.

Update: I should add, it’s by the grace of good friends that are stepping in to help me take care of these sites that I can keep it afloat even now.  Thanks. :)

Ideally, I’d like to be able to host the stuff myself, but my only option at the moment, being the cash-strapped foob that I am, is to host stuff at home on my Comcast connection.  I don’t mind hosting projects with other people who are generous, but I’d prefer to take care of maintenance myself as I know that my stuff can be tricky to take care of, and I tend to have somewhat eccentric needs when it comes to hosting.  In short, I feel like a burden, and would feel better if I could manage things myself while still letting someone else donate some resources to a good cause.

If anyone in the Salt Lake area knows of someone who has some free space on their rack, I already have a 1U rackmount server (given to me by another awesome friend) that I could slide in and take care of myself.  I just need hosting taken care of.  I would offer to pay for it, but I can’t even afford any awesome deals at the moment, sadly.  If anyone’s interested in hosting a few non-profit community sites for me, lemme know.  Drop me an e-mail and I can send you specifics on how much traffic per month.

It’s a long shot, I know, but maybe someone will help out. :)

handbrake ebuild

My life has been uncharacteristically busy lately, which is a really new experience for me, because I usually have so much free time that I don’t know what to do with myself.  Anyway.  As a result of lack of time, it’s been interesting to see how I deal with the crunches when there’s stuff I want to work on.  So far though, my adaptation has been nothing more than watching tasks I want to do be ignored for weeks on end.

So, in an attempt to get one task of many moved forward, I’m just going to do a brain dump of my thoughts into a blog post and hope that someone can take it running from here.

To start with, I totally love the video encoding tool Handbrake.  It is an aboslute godsend, one that makes it possible for me to actually encode all my DVDs to MPEG4 using x264, and have me happy on every count.  (If I’ve talked about this already before … oh well.  I can’t remember these things anymore.)

There’s a lot of reasons for it’s awesomeness, but I’ll write those up in a later post.  The simplest summary is probably to say that it passed the Star Trek test with flying colors — which was always assumed to be an impossible task.  So, saying I’m happy is putting it mildly.  It’d be more accurate to say I feel like a schoolgirl on crack who is dancing on the rain.  Or something.

Anyway.  I’d like to roll an ebuild for it and get it into portage, if possible, but because of the build system, there’d be some things that need to change first.

The build system used in Handbrake downloads sources from their website and unpacks them during the building stage.  While that’s fine if you’re building it yourself, and if you wanted to roll your own ebuild (which, in fact, there are some already in our multimedia overlay), it wouldn’t be good from a QA stand for Gentoo.

So, what needs to be done (this is where I start whining about how busy I am, and how this is your job to fill in the gap) is the Makefile needs to be modified so it won’t download and unpack the remote sources.  It can still access them, but it needs to be up to the ebuild to do those in its own stages — like moving the tarballs into SRC_URI and using src_unpack to unpack them.

I haven’t looked closely at the build system, but I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult to patch.  If someone wanted to take it from there, I could run the last few legs and see about cleaning up the ebuild and possibly getting it included in the tree.

If anyone’s up for the challenge, follow this bug.  Thanks :D

planet larry migration

I wrote not too long ago that I was going to give up maintaining Planet Larry and look for a new owner.  I got a lot of offers from a lot of people who were willing to step up and help take care of the project for me — thanks guys!

Of all the submissions, one really stood out in my mind as someone who had some really great ideas for the site and was excited to take on the project — Daniel Robbins.  Daniel is the original founder of Gentoo, and currently maintains Funtoo.  He and I have worked together in the past, and despite the controversy his name may bring being attached to the project in the eyes of some, he has assured me that he will run things objectively.  I trust him, and believe there won’t be any issues.

We’re still working on the migration, which mostly means waiting for me to get some free time (crazy schedule), and part of that was announcing publicly that we have a new admin for the site.

Thanks, guys, for all your help in running the site.  It’s been good for me to work with so many users.  I always enjoy getting another perspective on how Gentoo projects are used in the wild, and this has helped a small bit to share that view.

lost on mvc basics: where to order data

I’m really struggling recently with understanding some basics of MVC.  I’m sold on the concept, but confused when it comes to asking hard questions like which kind of data manipulation goes into which box: model or controller.  Hopefully someone can help me out, because searching isn’t yielding much.  For background, I’m using PHP, CodeIgniter and PostgreSQL as my database.  That really shouldn’t matter much, but it helps to know what the Model is accessing (using SQL).

The basic question I have is, if you are running a complex query where you would have specific instructions on how to order the data, who does the ordering? the Model or the Controller?

If it’s the Model … then how do you pass in the order by variables into a function?  Do you have an argument that takes an ORDER BY variable that is inserted into your SQL statement?  Do you write specific functions in the Model that spit out the data in the possible orders that are available from the View?

If it’s the Controller … then how the heck do you order it?  Do you grab all the data, and then run ways to sort the arrays?  That seems extremely tedious.

I could go on ranting more, but I think I’ll leave my question as small as that for now.  Frankly, I’m stumped.

My situation I’m in right now is that I’m building reports which pull together data from multiple sources, and then need to organize them based on the most simplest ordering scheme which spans multiple columns.  That is, order by this first, then that, then the third column.  That’s all fine and good, but what about when the client wants to rearrange the data?  That’s where I get lost.

And I’m not looking for some out of the box solution like using JavaScript to rearrange data in the view dynamically.  I’m not interested in something like that.

Basically, my question is, if you are customizing data presented to the View, based on input from the client, where does the lifting go, and how do you get it in there?  Like I said, I’m lost.

new cell phone: droid x

I got a new phone this week, the Motorola Droid X, running Android … woo!  Boy, that sentence is gonna attract a lot of spammers. :T

It’s an awesome phone.  I like it.  Well, actually, I dunno about the phone part, I think I’ve called one person.  I’ve been playing with all the cool apps.  This is my first smartphone, so having access to all this stuff is really quite a novelty to me.  Right now, I’m a big fan of Foursquare. :)  I think it’s handy, since I can see what’s nearby quickly.

The Google Voice integration is nice … I can call out directly using the number they provide instead of my carrier’s, and I can use it to send free text messages.  Although, I’ll admit, as applications go, the native Android text messaging software is much better.

I don’t have Android 2.2 on here, which is supposed to be the new hawtness, I hear.  I like everything so far.  My only complain right now is that there’s no port of Oregon Trail. :(

Alright, I really don’t have much more to say about it.  I’m excited. :)

I’ll admit I wrote this post just to use that LOLcat. :)