Smoke Signals

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What's up Apple's sleeve?

Looks like Apple may be making a videoPod. I have speculated on this for a while. I think Apple is on its way to providing HD video to your desktop or HDTV. This would put them at the forefront for an iTunes-like service for HD video. If they do this successfully they will be the #1 place for HD downloads much like they are currently for mp3's. Go Apple!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Why Rails sucks!

Here's the story: My Co-worker who is an all-around good guy and is kind of our "lead programmer" if we have such a thing here was mentioning something about our IT guy installing Rails and Ruby on our server. Our IT guy is a damn smart and well-known Rails Programmer. He is no spring chicken and has a masters in compsci, has written some well-know Rails apps and is a Unix admin guru. He set up our servers for goodness sake.

So our "lead programmer" starts bashing RubyOnRails saying "there's no support or community", "PHP guys are trying it out and they don't like it", "it doesn't have many libraries like PHP" and on and on. I bit my tongue and let him talk. He closed the conversation with "I guess we can install it and play around with it". It was so hard not to go off on him. It would have been an argument not worth arguing. If Schubert can't convince him, I sure in the hell can't.

He even went as far as saying "I am keeping and open-mind but I don't see what is so good about rails. PHP has more community and more libraries I can't see why I would use Rails". I figure if he doesn't get it now, he never will. Which is why I am seeking outside Rails programming work. If you need someone here is my resume.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Are you a pothead alligator?

If so, this guy might be able to help you out. Once he gets out of jail that is. One more thing, lay off the pot. An alligator like yourself shouldn't be using drugs!

Hah, Intelligent Falling Theory

Gotta love the Onion. This is classic. I think they might have to start teaching Astrology in Astronomy class too.

Religion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Fyling Spaghetti Monsterism is a religion that "prophet" Bobby Henderson started as a protest to the whole teaching of creationism or intelligent design in schools. In particular the Kansas State Board of Education's descision to allow the subject to be taught in schools.

I have blogged about this before. I find the topic interesting. I have since changed my views on the subject partially because of the arguments presented in some of the comments readers have left. I do feel we should be taught theories on why we are here and how we got here. I do not think a science class is the appropriate place to do such a thing. It is not scientific. It does not follow scientific principals. It is a subject which should be left to another classroom setting. Is Alchemy going to be added to chemistry classes?

If you disagree, please tell me why. I would like to hear good arguments that support teaching "intelligent design" in science classes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I am interested to see how this plays out. I am not really sure if Apple can keep people from doing this. I have read about the "Trusted Computing" technology but hackers always find a way. I would try it but it looks like a lot of work to half-way run OSX on my Windows machine. Although I am interested in what it can run and what the performance is. I have a Mac Mini anyway. Plus Apple's hardware is also a reason why I like Apple.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Google Sidebar spyware?

I heard about Google's new sidebar this morning and I immediately thought "Spyware".
it observes what kind of content the user is interested in and serves it up

I love GoOgle. They are a great company. Watching what I do on the internet to "taylor" content to me isn't a smart move. I am curious to see what their stock does once news agencies start picking this story up and calling this sidebar Spyware. I understand it is an opt-in application. Thing is, most people don't know what it does exactly and they are banking on that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Will Repilee soon be able to "feel"?

Last month I blogged about the female android that can respond to touch and looks pretty realistic. I just came accross this article which talks about a researcher that has created a skin that senses pressure and temperature.
Japanese researchers have developed a flexible artificial skin that could give robots a humanlike sense of touch.

I bet those dudes who created Repilee (the female robot) are franticly trying to get some of this stuff. Lonely men around the world will soon be... Well I don't want to think about that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A working 80MPG custom Prius Hybrid

It looks like someone has beat the car manufacturers in creating a near 100mpg hybrid. It is interesting that someone with $3,000 and some spare time can do what car manufacturers have said they are "trying" to do. The drawback to this car is that you have to plug it in.

Why don't they make solar panel that goes on the top of the car? During summer I am sure it would provide plenty of electricity to recharge the initial batteries. I am sure there is enough technology out there to make it easy to own and use one of these cars even if it has to be plugged in. Car manu's aren't going to let that happen until we run out of the Earth's oil reserves.

So they think Firefox is losing the battle

It is pretty funny how a place like Forbes is willing to diss Firefox so soon in the game. They must be majority shareholders of M$.
Firefox, which recently seemed like the mouse that roared, may be singing another tune.

Don't start playing taps until the soldier is dead!

Strangers on my flight - Sinatra

This is just too hillarious not to blog about. The guy actually sounds like Frank... A bit.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Very Useful Firefox Extension

I came accross this Firefox extension on the Ruby On Rails mailing list. It is a sidebar extension that lets you browse documentation. It has CSS 2.1, HTML, Rails 0.13.1 and Ruby Core API. I love this thing! It is very handy to have around. I use in in conjunction with the edit css feature that comes with the Web Developer Toolbar and Aardvark Extension. Some must-have's if you do CSS and XHTML-driven sites.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gamer dies of exhaustion

Damn, I thought my days of playing Medal of Honor on a team and playing till wee hours in the morn was bad. This guy just didn't know when to hang up the mouse and go to bed.
Lee recently quit his job in the southeastern city of Taegu to spend more time playing games

I can imagine that conversation "I am giving my two weeks notice, I need more time to play games". Friggin hillarious!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

About Me

Hello, I am Scott Burton a web developer in sunny Bakersfield California. I have a plethora of web application development skills as well as site design skills. Some of you may know me as spurton on the #rubyonrails irc channel where I hang out a lot lately.

My Geek Philosophy

I believe in using the best tool available and to never get married to a technology. Due to that mantra I have had a lot of experience in different programming languages and frameworks. I stumbled upon Ruby On Rails and haven't looked back. I started doing web development in 1997 and have been active in development communities from: Frontier (Usertalk), Python and Zope, and RoR. I bring creativity, experience and crude humor to any project.

Geek Experience - My present pet project. The first app I wrote in Ruby On Rails. I am the sole developer of the project. I did the design and programming and lighttpd pushups on TextDrive. It is a Folksonomy-driven Content Management System. 1yr - This is where I work, it is a great place, great people and it pays the bills. I do web design, programming and sometimes some print work. Even though I have to do php programming, I still love it here. 2yrs - This is another ongoing project which I wrote in Zope and ported over to in C#. I am the sole developer and designer on this project as well. It is an E-commerce plugin for any type of website.

Kern County Superintendent of Schools 1yr - I was a project specialist on the Menu of Services site. I helped develop the system in Frontier/Manila which is a framework written in UserTalk an object-oriented scripting language. The Menu of Services was a service admin and listing site for school districts in California. - Although no longer online, this was my business I ran for 2 years. It was a Manila CMS hosting business. I closed it due to framework issues. - A free Zope-hosting service I ran for 2 years. Zope programmer with a Linux box, cheap co-location and Zope advocacy. I ran the site to let people play with Zope on their own site. I had to shut it down once co-location prices got too high. At its closing I had over two thousand sites.

Geek Teachings

In addition to programming, designing and learning frameworks I also teach. I have taught at New Horizons and San Joaquin Valley College. I love to teach as much as I love to learn.

OSCON - I did a Zope presentation at OSCON in 2001. It was an introduction to Zope based on a Network Mapping and Management web application I helped create.

Geek Speak

Languages I know or are acquaintances of: UserTalk, Python, C#, Ruby and PHP. I am also well-versed in creating valid XHTML and CSS sites.

Geek Examples: Design, program, XHTML, CSS

Monday, August 08, 2005

So that's how Apple is going to do it

I was wondering how Apple was going to keep people from running OSX on home-brewed computers since they are switching to X86. I wouldn't mind building my own mac. It wouldn't be the same though. Remember Attack of the Clones? We had a couple of the Power Computing clones at my old work. They were ok. That was the same place where one of the employees used to argue with me on a regular basis saying "Apple is about to go under, you won't see them around in about a year" That was before Stevo came and rescued the company. The dude was still a tool for insisting on it. New Horizons had some other clones that were treated like red-headed step childs when I used to work there. Giving the Microsoft Chronies I worked with more reason to diss the Mac.

I am glad Apple is doing something to protect their hardware. Afterall they are a hardware company. OS and software sales are a fraction of their market. There is a lot of Debate about the whole "Trusted Computing" concept and how it could be a bad thing. I do think Apple is taking a step that will make this technology more commonplace. I also see an opportunity for a chip manu to make an X86 CPU without this limitation and making a killing. However it turns out, it looks like Apple is doing it and it is here to stay.

Creationism in schools it isn't so easy

What if creationism was allowed to be taught in schools as a differing opinion of evolution? Wouldn't other religious groups come screaming "Why don't they teach (insert how we got here belief) too?" It would open the floodgates of religous groups who believe all sorts of strange things. Why wouldn't we teach those beliefs too? Remember these guys?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Intelligent design corrupts education?

Reading over a comment on my last post I cam accross This web post where PZ Meyers suggests that
George W. Bush has endorsed Intelligent Design creationism's plan to corrupt education.
Corrupt education? #1 since when was education not corrupt. #2 How in the hell can presenting a belief "corrupt education"? And then there's this one "Scientists have established the fact of evolution". Problem is what scientist consider to be fact has always changed based on technology and discoveries. A scientific fact is really a well-tested hypothesis.

It makes more sense to me that this person would WANT this to happen. If scientific theory about evolution is more sound that Creationism it would present the obvious if taught in schools.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Intelligent Design?

So Bush is saying kids should be taught about "Intelligent Design". Well I could be a wise-ass about him saying anything regarding "Intelligence" heh but I will leave that to the obvious. I think it is a good move. Let people see the differences of opinion and they can form their own beliefs. That is a good thing!

Chappelle's show canceled

I hope this is just a publicity stunt. I love that show damnit! I am bummed if it is never coming back on the air. That was some classic shit! Sad day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All I can say is...

Holy Shit!!

Palmeiro on Winstrol?

Wow, the steroid crackdown in baseball is really ramping up. I am surprised these guys didn't have the sense to stop taking it since they knew this was going on. It isn't like steroid use in this sport along with many others hasn't been prevalent since the 70's when our Governor helped make steroids a household name. Have you seen his competing years pictures. He used to take Test, Decca and D-bol like it was candy back then. Why do you think he isn't that huge anymore?

I don't know what people expected to happen when something like that is around and can enhance your skills and pay-level who isn't going to do that? Like women who get breast implants to make more money. There are health risks in that, hell there are health risks in everything you do. I can see that athletes are seen more as role-models but I think more kids now understand their favorite sports star is probably on steroids than they did 10 years ago.

Firefox popup stopping

I wondered how those spam ad bastards were able to do popups on me even though I use Firefox. Well, now I know why and I know how to fix it. Turns out the jerks figured out how to use flash to do the popup. Hopefully this will fix that annoying problem. Die you spam ad bastards!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Here we come to save the day!

The new Apple Mighty Mouse looks nice and has some impressive Features. I think I might have to buy me one of these bad-boys for my new Mac Mini. It will go great with my new keyboard I got too. Now... the only thing left is a Cinema Display. Ahh toys.. at least I will make money playing with them.

Monday, August 01, 2005


I recently built a list in YAML for Ruby in a Ruby on Rails project. Reading the docs I noticed if you do item: - this - that it creates an array of those values. That is sweet. Since loading a YAML file into rails automatically creates a hash of the values, it makes some cool list comprehension possible.