Archive for February, 2007

Family going for a walk..

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

On my way to work last summer (same place as now, IBM Toronto Lab), I had to maneuver an unfamiliar obstacle in the parking lot. It looks like the family was out for a morning stroll.


Desensitized to Spam

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

It’s gotten to the point, were I don’t even care about spam anymore. On my contact page, I just put my email as is — sure, I could try and hide it with something like papayiya_REMOVE_THIS@gmail_DOT_com. But really, is there any point? The spam bots have built in regular expressions that would strip away caps, underscores, etc.. GMail is generally pretty good anyway, of the 100+ spam messages I get a day, only one or two make it through the filter. Thank God for Akismet or my blog would be finished..

Globe and Mail: Even gold gets tarnished when everyone wants cash

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Yesterday was a bad day in the markets; North American exchanges fell the most since September 17 2001 — the first trading day after September 11. It all started with a comment by the Chinese government that they were going to crack down on speculators in China, causing a tidal wave of selling across world markets. There was one big difference though between yesterday and September 17th. Yesterday, even when people were pulling money out of markets to ‘safe havens’ Gold fell also. For those who don’t know, when bad things happen in the world, investors/traders have a ‘flight to quality’. They’ll pull money out of capital markets and put them in resources, metals, treasuries, currency etc.. The interesting thing is that didn’t happen yesterday. I read an article in today’s Globe that highlighted this issue, it’s an good read.

Link to article

YUI: Blog, Library, Patterns, Theater

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I’m blown away at how “right” Yahoo is doing it. All too often I see corporation doing Open Source, but releasing some early, un-commented, buggy piece of crap to the public, while keeping the corporate version under wraps. Yahoo released their next version of the YUI Library the other day, this says it all:

YUI was released internally at Yahoo! about six months before it was released for public use under a BSD license in February 2006. Although the internal and external versions of the library were identical, the way we built and distributed them was different and we managed those differences with separate versioning tracks. Today we’re merging the internal and external project versioning and reaffirming that the YUI you can download here is exactly the same YUI Library used all across Yahoo!. Hence, we’re retiring the old public version series (which had reached 0.12.2) and we’re unifying the versioning of this release at v2.2.0.

Aside from the YUI Library and Patterns, theirs great video tutorials from industry folks (YUI Theater), including a total of 10 videos by Douglas Crockford covering all aspects of JavaScript.

YUI Blog
YUI Library
YUI Design Patterns
YUI Theater

Using PEAR on a shared host

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I’ve had a couple people ask this question and I thought I’d post a quick answer. I had this problem also, back when I made StockBoulevard (now I manage my own server, Ubuntu Linux). I used PEAR to develop my application on my laptop, but when the time came to go live, my hosting provider didn’t have PEAR installed. What you need to remember, is that PEAR is just PHP scripts, there’s no compiled DLLs, etc. So all you need to do, is download the PEAR source files from and FTP them to your webserver. Just put everything in a directory called PEAR in your root and explicitly point your include:


// require_once("MDB2.php");



Toronto Auto Show 2007

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

I was at the Auto Show today in Toronto, it was great. I took lots of photos, you can see them all here.



More photos here

Globe & Mail: Welcome to a new economic cycle

Monday, February 12th, 2007

The Canadian economy is something to marvel at, we’ve become so divided, dependant on so many resources in so many different areas, that making a forecast for the overall state of the economy is insanely difficult. Take Alberta for example, a great part of Canada, becoming the new economic driver, we’re an experienced Tim Hortons cashier can make upwards of $17/hour. Inflation in those parts is borderline out of control, but don’t worry says the Government, the inflation is contained and won’t affect the rest of Canada – fine, I’ll take that as is.

I read an interesting article in this weekend Globe about the pain Windsor is going through:

Windsor, despite the sentiments of its people, is probably Canada’s worst-case scenario, where all the negative forces working their way through the Canadian economy have come together at once. Rather than being the harbinger of bad times to come, however, the automotive-and-gambling city in Southern Ontario is more likely experiencing the nadir of the country’s slump.

This has become the reality of the Canadian economy, specific regions will continue to prosper based on the resources in their area, but as we move to a more knowledge based society, manufacturing based communities will inevitably suffer. As the article says, things will most likely continue to get worse for Windsor, with Chrysler likely to layoff more workers and the manufacturing sector continuing to slump. Then again.. like many times before, this could just be the cyclical nature of economies in general, and before we know it, Windsor will be buzzing again.

Yahoo Pipes – amazing, intense, awsome…

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I can’t figure out what’s better – the actual application (Pipes) or the UI component widgetry developed to make it happen. The concept is simple, then again the best ideas are.

Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.

And that’s exactly what it is, you take feeds (RSS, Atom, etc..) and using an crazy UI, create new ones with rules and filters.
So what could you do?

This is the first official product to come out of Yahoo!’s Brickhouse and I’m sure not the last.

Hacking together a map on demand – Google Maps Pivot

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

The other day I wanted to plot multiple points on a map and have them pivot around a center. Above that, I wanted the distance from a specified center. I quickly looked around, couldn’t find one, so I hacked one together using the Google Maps API. An hour later, I had a simple app I’m calling Pivot (cause that’s what it does). The only thing that took a while was realizing the Maps API had an approximate distance calculator built in – it works well for short distances.

The Google Group for Maps is great, lots of information and the API docs are detailed.

Below is a screen shot. If you need it, give it a shot.

Google Maps Pivot