Week of Insomnia

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Contrary to what you might think, I think insomnia's fantastic. It puts me in this limbo state where my mind feels like lead and I suck at almost everything. One thing I've found myself to be quite good at is catching up on Internet. There was plenty of crap, but I found a lot of good technical stuff.

For starters, I subscribed to a bunch of new blogs:

  • Rails Garden - he had a fun entry on Cobol On Cogs. I love the functional function keys.
  • Jay Fields' Thoughts - I forget where I initially heard about the Presenter pattern, but all the Ruby references to Presenter link to this guy. Once you've read and understood the purpose of Presenter, then ActivePresenter is an implementation with a very clean declarative syntax.
  • Rails Envy - I knew of them before as the funny Ruby on Rails commercials duo. I noticed they had a podcast, so I started listening to that when I go running.
  • Stack Overflow - I also started listening to Stack Overflow. It's not running music, but it's pretty darn entertaining.

I played with Google Analytics a bit, and noticed a fun bit in my Apache access logs: - - [17/Aug/2008:15:32:31 +0000] "GET
HTTP/1.1" 200 61318 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT
5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)"

I also had a blast playing with jQuery. The docs were clear and well organized. All the selectors were exactly what I wanted. It was easy to chain together what I wanted to do because of the methods return jQuery objects. The callbacks were also intuitive and easy to manipulate... even for a Javascript newbie.

Another library which I fell in love with at first site was HTTParty. It really brings me back to my Perl screen scrapping days. (Oh! WWW::Mechanize) It also linked me to the Programmable Web homepage. I didn't really read through what's available, but this is going to be a great place to prototype mashups.

Seeing all this good stuff made me look for an excuse to write something to solidify the basics in my head. The result is a half-assed mish-mash of Javascript and Ruby ala jQuery and Merb. I used Merb instead of Rails because I was too lazy to create a database. Surprisingly enough, Passenger supports Merb just fine. I looked at some of the other lighter Ruby web frameworks, and they were all pretty fun. I noted that the new Webgen installed Ramaze as a dependency. Check it out if you're feeling hyphy.

(Disclaimer: This is an inside joke that just won't die)

Speaking of Passenger, the new Railscast episode about Passenger along with nuby on rails' article about rstakeout might finally provide a solution to prevent me from having to restart my server in development whenever I edit a plugin or a file in the lib directory. It also clued me into a whole world of Ruby monitoring systems, the funniest named one being God.

I worked a bunch on migrating this blog over to use Webgen. I'd say that I'm about 60 or 70 percent of the way there. I spent most of the time just reading and enjoying how simple and clear the code was. I think I have a good enough grip on enough code that I'd like to write a few extensions so that I can continue to publish this blog without any changes to the previous articles I wrote.

I think there was even more stuff I wanted to keep in my head. Unforunately, a real downside of insomnia is having some, if not most, of the good stuff leak out.

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