Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   power of plastic
Tuesday, May 4 2010
Though I'd already hit it a few times half-heartedly with the scythe, at around noon today I made my first serious lawn mowing attempt of the season. I was using the 120 volt string trimmer, and I was all set for a long session of using it. I'd queued up my podcasts and was wearing industrial ear muffs over my headphones so I could hear clearly over the roar of the motor. But then I used up the last of my monofilament weed-smacking line and was forced to quit. I called Gretchen so she could get me some more on her way back from the prison (on top of getting the Subaru inspected; something that was now two months overdue). I should mention that the revelation that it is monofilament plastic that serves as a blade in a weed whacker came to her as something of a shock.
In the afternoon there was a brief but powerful cloudburst with thunder, lightning, powerful winds and thimble-sized drops of rain. In the past Sally the dog would have been terrified, but she's become so deaf that today's storm unsettled her only mildly.

Every now and then I find myself facing down a crazy new database (or, in today's case, a crazy new part of an already-familiar database). I have a number of tools to help me understand unfamiliar web applications from the database outward. One is a tool that can scan a database for every change that has happened since a checkpoint. Another allows me to search the schemas for keywords. But the most important tools have to do with cataloging and displaying the relations between tables (and also displaying the data with an awareness of these relations). I even have a tool that can guess relations between tables based entirely on their column names, although it tends to run into trouble with databases having weird naming conventions.
Of all my database tools, the one with the greatest value as eye candy is the DHTML mapper, which allows me to interactively rearrange a map in two dimensions, with the relations being redrawn on the fly. The Javascript handling this redrawing is over 700 lines long. Today I added some code to deal with the overcrowding of relation lines that happen at some primary keys on popular tables referenced by lots of foreign keys in other tables. You can see me playing with the latest version of the DHTML mapper here (the music is "The Night Shift Lullaby" by Magnolia Electric Company):

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