Archive for April 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Published on April 29, 2010

This recipe comes from Quaker Oats (from the lid on their oatmeal containers, specifically). I’ve transcribed it here so I can remember it without having to keep an oatmeal lid lying around somewhere. Note that the cookie recipe on their website is slightly different from this one. These are incredibly delicious cookies!

  • 1/2 pound of margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup raisins

Beat together the margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in oats, and raisins; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.

Major Monkey Album Update

Published on April 17, 2010

I have just rolled out a brand new version of my Monkey Album software, which powers the photo albums here at this site. There are a number of great improvements in this release:

  • Photo Album Collections are a new way to browse my photos. Related photo albums are now grouped, allowing visitors to easily view albums with similar content. Note that not all photo albums are a part of a collection, so the raw album listing is still the default view.
  • Individual photo albums can now be navigated with the keyboard. The right arrow key will take you to the next photo, while the left arrow key will take you back to the previous photo.
  • Photo album thumbnails are no longer paged. Each photo album now appears on a single page.
  • The comment form has been turned off for now, as has the comments RSS feed. This was a feature not being used, so I’ve disabled it. It may or may not return in the future.

The styles for Monkey Album have changed, so be sure to force a refresh in your browser (Ctrl + F5) if things look broken to you. If you spot a legitimate problem, or if you have a general comment or suggestion, please let me know by leaving a comment here.

Hover Inspection in Firebug

Published on April 16, 2010

One of the recent updates to Firebug broke a “feature” I used all the time: the ability to select a link with the element inspector, then edit that link’s :hover pseudo-class style rules. Well, it turns out that technically, that “feature” was a bug (though I might argue against that fact). In newer versions of Firebug, you have to:

  1. Click the element inspector
  2. Click the link you’re interested in editing
  3. Select the :hover pseudo-class menu item in the Style tab’s drop-down menu
  4. Edit the rule as you like

This new option allows you to “lock” the element in the :hover state, the usefulness of which I can understand. At the same time, it would be great to have an option (perhaps a hidden preference) to bring back the old behavior.

Plugging CSS History Leaks in Firefox

Published on April 14, 2010

Yesterday’s nightly Firefox build fixed bug 147777, in which the :visited CSS property allows web sites to detect which sites you have visited (essentially a privacy hole). Sid Stamm wrote a very interesting article on the problem, along with how the Firefox team decided to fix the issue. I recall being amazed at the simplicity of this privacy attack: no JavaScript was needed for a site to figure out where you had been. Several history sniffing websites are available if you’re interested in seeing the hole in action.

Email Fixed

Published on April 10, 2010

Just a quick note to let everyone know that contact via email should be back up and running here at the site. Comments are also a good way to get in contact with me (plus they benefit everyone).

How Adobe Can Shift Apple

Published on April 10, 2010

There has been quite a bit of news recently on the escalating war of words between Adobe and Apple. For the uninformed, Apple has essentially said “no Flash, ever” for either the iPhone or iPad, and Adobe has been pretty upset (rightfully so, in my opinion). Adobe employees have publicly denounced Apple, and Apple has fired back. It’s all been a sort of “playground dispute” so far.

Let me first say that I don’t love either company; they both have pretty serious failings in my eyes. But, in the end, I despise Adobe much less than I do Apple, so I’d love to see Adobe come out on top if at all possible. It occurred to me just the other day how Adobe could “get back” at Apple for this latest Flash debacle.

Simply put: Adobe should drop all OS X support for all of their future products. “If your OS won’t support our products, our products won’t support your OS.” Just think about it: all of the artsy folks in the world who use Adobe products use them on Apple branded computers. Cutting them off might seriously impact Apple’s new OS sales (and, admittedly, would probably hurt Adobe’s bottom line, at least in the short term). But this seems like serious leverage to me. Granted, Apple’s main revenue stream these days comes via the iPhone, but OS sales are still a vital piece of their puzzle. Putting the squeeze on a big vein like that might make Apple change its mind.

As this bickering continues, I can only hope that Android continues to grab market share. Could the iPhone vs. Android war turn into the Apple vs. IBM war from the 1980s? I can only hope so…

Website Email Headaches

Published on April 7, 2010

I’ve recently had a perfect storm of email woes here at this site. Last month, my email servers changed at DreamHost (for reasons I still don’t fully understand), breaking all of my approved SSL certificates (not to mention my SMTP settings). Around the same time, I updated to Thunderbird 3.0 from 2.x. The new interface is bizarre, and I’ve only had problems from day one of the upgrade. As such, I am now actively working towards moving all of Born Geek’s email (including this website) to GMail.

Unfortunately, someone is apparently squatting on my domain over at Google Apps. I attempted to reset the account password there, but no secondary email address is on record, making things much more difficult for me. I have started a manual password reset process (via proving to Google that I do indeed own the domain), and hope to have things up and running by this weekend.

Long story short, any direct emails sent to me through the contact form at this website may not be answered for a while. Please bear with me during this painful process.

Goose Creek State Park

Published on April 4, 2010

I took a trip to Goose Creek State Park yesterday, on the eastern coast of North Carolina. The park is simply fantastic. A 3/4-mile boardwalk leads out over a hardwood swamp, with lots of beautiful sights. Each hiking trail has a unique look and feel, and several lead to scenic overlooks. If you’re ever out near the coast, I highly recommend a visit.

As always, I took along my camera. The resulting photo album is the largest one I’ve posted in a long time. Enjoy!

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