Andrew Channels Dexter Pinion

Wherein I write some stuff that you may like to read. Or not, its up to you really.

January 29, 2004

More Apple Goodies

I just installed NCFTP, my FTP client of choice, with a nice graphical installer thanks to the GNU Mac OS X public archive. There is a whole treasure trove of GNU utilities there for your delectation and consumption.
[Courtesy of the smashing people at Forwarding Address: OS X]

<Update> I since notice that there is a binary installer for Mac OS X (and a variety of other platforms) available directly from But there are still some great packages available from the archive so check it out anyway. </Update>

Posted by Andy Todd at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2004

Enabling cgi in Mac OS X Personal Web Sharing

I wanted to try out pwyky, so I downloaded the script to my sparkly new iBook. I simply placed it in its own directory under my Sites folder and pointed Safari at it. But would it run? Would it heck. All I got in my browser was "You don't have permission to access ~andy47/wiki/index.cgi on this server" For the technical, it is an Apache 403 error. So I checked the permissions - on everything - several times and couldn't spot a problem. I thought that the problem lay in my Apache configuration, and that I needed to turn on CGI support in in directories other than /cgi-bin/.

After a few hours poking around, scratching my head and reading a large number of web pages I have figured it out.

To enable cgi scripts to run in your personal web site, which is the Sites folder in your home directory, you have to edit your personal httpd.conf file. Simply sign in as an administrator, cd to /etc/httpd/users and edit the file called <your username>.conf (in my case it is andy47.conf). Change the second line from;

Options Indexes Multiviews
Options Indexes Multiviews +ExecCGI

Easy. Then restart Apache. The easiest way to do this is open the "System Preferences ..." from the Apple menu, select the "Sharing" section and then stop and restart the "Personal Web Sharing" option. Or just reboot, but we never do that in Macintosh land ;-)

Posted by Andy Todd at 09:40 PM | Comments (2)

January 23, 2004

Installing MySQL on Mac OS X

Did I mention that my new Mac had arrived? It has, and I am suitably impressed. After installing Mac Python my next step was to install MySQL.

So I installed Fink, fired up apt and installed the requisite packages. Then I twiddled my thumbs because I couldn't find any instructions on starting the database.


A quick Google later and I found this page which, amongst other things, told me that to start up MySQL I needed to fire up a terminal window and type

sudo /sw/bin/mysqld_safe &

Now all I need to do is get that to execute at startup and I'll be away.

Next up, I was planning a shootout between CocoaMySQL and MySQL Control Center. Sadly the second product isn't yet available on OS X so CocoaMySQL here I come.

Posted by Andy Todd at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2004

Relational v Object-Relational

A very nice post from Tom Kyte on the pros and cons of storing your data in relational or object-relational form.

The killer point here is that an object model is application (or actor) focussed whereas a data model is independent. The point being that you will have different requirements from different types of users and storing your data independently of those viewpoints empowers them all. If you stick to a single view of the world you will diminish your ability to service the other actors in your system.

I shall be mentioning this to the object bigots at work, just to gauge their reaction.

This is a sort of follow on from this post by VS Babu, which in turn follows up on a comment I made on an earlier post.

Posted by Andy Todd at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

More Apple Fanboy-ism

My new Macintosh (does anyone still call them that?) should arrive this week. So I've been following Simon Willison and Ted Leung as they beat me to the switch.

Well, its time for a couple of links that they haven't mentioned (yet). First AskTog's review of Panther, containing a few hints and tips as well as suggestions for improving everyone's favourite operating system. Then, from that page, AskTog: Make Your Mac a Monster Machine.

It may be from Apple, but I'll still be using Vim and Python. You'll have to drag the command line from my cold, dead hands.

Posted by Andy Todd at 01:27 PM | Comments (3)

January 07, 2004

Oracle and PHP

According to this article at OTN Oracle are planning on shipping PHP with Oracle Application Server 10g. As someone who has developed applications using PL/SQL server pages (over five years ago now) I'm glad to see that the people from Redwood Shores have embraced fully fledged web technologies rather than trying to bend a database access language into a web presentation layer. I've already got PHP talking to Oracle on my laptop (via Apache) but having it available in the application server opens up lots of possibilities in Oracle centric sites - especially those running Oracle Applications.

Posted by Andy Todd at 06:01 PM | Comments (4)

Oracle discovers the blogosphere

A mail just popped into my inbox, and in it the nice people at Oracle inform me that they have discovered blogs and blog technology. They have put up this page which points to a number of RSS feeds and blogs written by Oracle people. Top stuff.

Posted by Andy Todd at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2004

VIM Productivity Tools

I've just implemented this VIM tip in my .vimrc. Its a couple of instructions to auto-close parenthesis. So, for instance, when I type "(" it automatically appends a ")" after the cursor. I quite like this feature in Eclipse so it's nice to see it in my IDE of choice as well.

As noted at the bottom of the tip page there are a number of plugins available which purport to do the same thing but this is the simplest thing that does what I require, so I'm sticking with it.

[Courtesy of the rather nifty VIM tips RSS feed]

Posted by Andy Todd at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)