First ‘opened’ Facebook notes…

As I mentioned yesterday, Facebook.com opened up to allow anyone to join that wanted to. When I got home, I sat down with Debs to create her an account and walk her through setting everything up and adding friends.

To start, it was VERY easy. All she had to do is enter in her email address, and then enter in which network she wanted to join (of course, in her case, it was Richmond, VA). This menu had a really cool AJAX script that would auto complete for you as well. Then, she could set up her cell phone to link it to her account as well.

Immed., she could see all of my friends and their profiles that had their profile also marked as being in the Richmond network. She could also click through ALL of my friends, and add them that were OUTSIDE her network. This means, so, we just added all of my friends to her account to get her up to speed.

When searching, she can’t look any further than Richmond. The really only way for her to add someone outside of the Richmond network is to add them through someone elses friend list. So, for example, she could ONLY add VCU people that I had added, and no more.

When looking through my Mini-Feed this morning, I found it interesting that groups were still forming to ‘keep facebook closed’. I really dont know if these people didnt know that facebook was actually open for a while to WORK groups. That, and many people see this opening as a way for facebook to go downhill.

I really dont think so, and I made those comments yesterday. After signing in under Debs account, the security is really locked down, unlike myspace. Also, there is much tighter control over the look and feel of Facebook, which doesnt seem to be changing anytime soon either. In many cases, Facebook is the web 2.0 version now of what MySpace could be/have been.

I would post screenshots of the new user signup, but its really not worth it since it looks IDENTICAL to the rest of facebook.

Listening To: ‘Hey You’ by Pink Floyd

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Now everyone can join facebook!

Well, after some time now, Facebook has now opened up to everyone, as long as you are invited from someone already on facebook. This is great, espc. for people like Debs.

She graduated long before Facebook was around (most of us did of course). She also didnt really go back to school, just right into work. So since facebook has become more and more popular, she has been using my account to keep in touch with people and check out whats going on. I always wished there was SOME way to add her, so people could directly link to her, as well as send her invites, etc.

I sent her an invite today, and hope to help her set it up tonight. Then, we will go on a friend adding spree catching her up to speed. Ill write more about the process once we go through it, and what its like being a new public facebook user.

The one thing I like the most about this new addition? Its still very private. Not everyone can sign up yet. Little kids cant go and put an insane ammount of images and code into their profiles. Groups and Events are REALLY nice.

Listening To: ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by The Smashing Pumpkins

I need to cut my ears off!

So, Elliot in the Morning played the new Paul Stanley song ‘Live To Win’ (click here to go to it in the iTunes Store)this morning, and man, Im glad I didnt buy it! And yall KNOW im a pretty big KISS fan.
Paul sounds great for how old he is. And the band behind him actually is pretty awesome too. But the song itself, trash! The song reminds me so much of Bon Jovi’s ‘Its My Life’, which sucks. Will I knew about this album for a while, I really hope its not all like this.

But I did get to thinking – what if this is what KISS could sound like now? I think the real reason KISS cant survive is that they cant be that orig. anymore, and really all of their songs are really crappy as well. But if they could actually ROCK, like they used too, they could have really made a difference, but oh well…

In other news, again had a ‘old fart that shouldnt be driving’ event. I was leaving the Gym, and this black older Grand Prix I needed to pass decided to be an ass and not let me get over, so I punched the gas and moved.  Of course then he decided while we were stopped to get out of his car, come to mine, bang on the window, and ask me ‘where did you learn to drive’.

I promptly responded ‘school’, and drove off. You silly old guy. Im sorry you got so upset from your road rage.

This is a test with writely

So, a little while ago, Google took over ‘Writely’, an online Word Processing App. Just the other day, google accounts were enabled, so then I can log into writely just as I do gmail and gcal (actually, it logged in for me when I went to the site). It works GREAT in Camino, which Im using right now.

Some of the really nice features is the ability to have group collaboration, as well as being able to share your documents however you want. You can also upload a wide range of file formats, as well as then download a range of formats too, including PDF files.

But one of the most interesting features, which I am trying now, is being able to post to a blog FROM writely, and included support for Blogger (of course) as well as WordPress and I think LiveJournal (and a few others). And if you are hosting you own Blog and using one of the popular blogging tools, that works too.

I really dont have much use for this otherwise, except just another cool toy from Google to play with. Over time, espc. if integrated with other Google Apps, will make this a GREAT program to use.

Update: well, while it did submit the story, it does look like I had to log in to actually PUBLISH the entry. Thats ok though, this would be great ESPC. if I had premade (like MS Word Doc files) that I wanted to use as posts. Oh well, it was worth a try!

Listening To: ‘Dont Stop The Rock’ by The Chemical Brothers

Centralized Address Book, and integrating with Windows and my iPod

Since my move from hosting crazy-train.net (and therefore, my primary email address) I switched to fully using my Google Account (jmlumpkin) for just about EVERYTHING. This includes chatting, calendar (I really couldn’t live without it), and gmail, of course.

Before the move, the one thing that I was trying to use Outlook 2003 for was contact management. But, of course, Outlook is a little large for just doing that, and therefore, I was stuck looking for an option to hold all of my contacts. While I could just pour them all into Gmail, that still wasnt my central area of messaging, and I wanted to have something that Debs could work on to. I could continue to use Outlook, but I would LOVE to have some way of sharing these contacts with Debs.

Then, I found this. A php site that runs on a MySQL database, where I can manage contacts, groups, mailing lists, as well as keep a few notes. The install was pretty simple, just set up my database, edited the config file, and installed the DB Schema. 15 minutes later, I had central area for Debs and I to record all of our contacts. I wish we had this durring the wedding 🙂

But I got to thinking afterwards, wouldnt it be cool to have a little Windows program that would interface with this? It would be just like Windows Address Book, but pull from the Database that was being used for TAB. I could program this one afternoon after work, hand it to Debs, and be done. But, that doesnt solve much.

So then I tried looking into how Windows Address Book handles its files. It saves, by default, a username.wab file in the Application Support folder of the user. The bad news, these files look binary. On the mac it is much different, all of your AddressBook entries are saved in .plist (XML) files.

Searching around online, there were very few topics about how to read and edit these files, other than adding stuff like a wab32.dll and the wab.exe file to your project. But still then, no real instructions on how to actually DO anything past that. I do plan to dig a little deeper on this subject though, since it would be one of the best routes to take. Basically one would write a ‘syncing’ program that would fetch all new entries from the MySQL server, dump them into your WAB, and then check any new entries in your WAB and move them up to the server.

Another route, of course, is to go back to Outlook 2003, and use some type of .NET/Office plugin (Microsoft offers such a thing actually). Pour my contacts into Outlook, and I am good to go. This route may actually be a little better than the previous, because I already pull my Calendars down from gCal into Outlook. Then, when at home, I can use Outlook to manage notifications and the like.

The added benifit of course with syncing to WAB or Outlook is that iTunes has managed somehow to connect to it, and can then sync those contacts and my calendar to my iPod.

While I have really stoped development on my iTunes addition, I may pick up this Calendar program now to just get it done. After learning the Office API from MS, this should take no time at all (just have to generate the right SQL to get what I need from the DB). I will post updates over time from what I learn.

Listening To: ‘For Martha’ by The Smashing Pumpkins

Flush the DNS Cache in Mac OS X

UPDATE –  This article was written a while back, before Mac OS 10.5 ‘Leopard’ came out. One of the few things I did know about Leopard from my previous beta testing was that ‘lookupd’ was heading the way of the Apple Newton, and finally getting an update it needed.

This article has now been updated for those using 10.5 and above. I dont know about you, but for some reason, the internet has been REALLY slow the past few days, and a few times, it really has made me think it all may be DNS related. Well, things are picking up now, but I have still been having issues with some DNS Queries, espc. getting a SERVFAIL error a lot. This sometimes can be due to a incorrect DNS entry, or also issues with your local lookup or DNS cache.

So, for safe keeping, I wanted to write something down, and also really hope that it could help a few other people.The Mac OS has a feature called ‘lookupd’ that has its ups and downs. While it handles your DNS, it also handles a LOT more on your system to. For example, if you wake a laptop up from sleep sometimes, and your network has changed, lookupd is the little bastard that usually makes your laptop just not wake up. I have also had this when the network I am on requires some type of authentication, where the ONLY way to get back into my laptop is to reboot and hopefully get out of the range of the wireless signal!

Well, if your having DNS issues, clearing your cache may be good.

To do this on the Mac, all you have to do is type:

Mac OS 10.4 and below -> sudo lookupd -flushcache

Mac OS 10.5 and above -> dscacheutil -flushcache

And you are done! 

Listening To: ‘In Your Room’ by Depeche Mode

Wii!

Yes!

Some real news about the Wii!

$250 and on Nov. 19th.

I think this is the first console EVER I plan to buy ASAP. While im not really a gamer, a set-top box like this is PERFECT. You can surf the web, display media like Photos and movies, etc. And also, just for about $5 bucks, you can download old NES games, so Debs can play ALL THE SUPER MARIO BROS 3 she WANTS! And of course it can play all my GameCube media, which is awesome!

Of course, the Wii itself as a gaming platform is amazing too. While it may not be the powerhouse one would dream of, the way you play the games is what gets me. Being able to ‘go through the motions’ of fishing to fish in the games, to swing the controler to hit a baseball, now that is just COOL.

Listening To: ‘Lost In Hollywood’ by System of a Down