Category Archives: Current Projects

JavaScript Step by Step Second Edition – In My Hands Now!

It’s always exciting to receive a box on my doorstep with the first copy of a book.  Rather than wait for the publisher to send the promotional copies I usually spring for a copy of the book from Amazon or B&N.  This time it’s the second edition of JavaScript Step by Step that arrived just yesterday.

And today the first errata arrived for the second edition.  It appears that somewhere between the first pass and the final pass of quality assurance, a sentence got moved.  Then in the final printed edition, the sentence got chopped, leaving half a sentence in the wrong place.  Sheer madness.

On page 204, there’s a Note (called a readeraid in the Microsoft Press/O’Reilly template).  In that note, the last sentence, or partial sentence, reads, “DOM Level 0 is also known”.  In reality, that sentence goes in the following paragraph and should read “DOM Level 0 is also known as the legacy DOM.”

It’s arguably a throw-away sentence and the book still makes sense without that sentence too.

If you spot additional errata for the second edition I encourage you to head over to the book’s web site, and file it.  Those errata come directly to me and get investigated promptly.

I hope JavaScript Step by Step, Second Edition is enjoyed as much as the first edition.  It was a fun book to revise and improve.

JavaScript Step by Step and Beginning Perl Web Development: Still Selling Well




I received some notes from my agent over the past few weeks.  Two of my books, JavaScript Step by Step (Microsoft Press), and Beginning Perl Web Development (Apress) are selling well.  The JavaScript book has outsold any of my other books.  Some of the other books that I wrote and co-wrote were done under Work-for-Hire so we don’t get to see the same sales reports on those.

The Perl book was is what prompted me to write today.  I wrote the book back in 2005 and was asked yesterday if the content is still relevant; in other words, has the software been updated thus rendering the book obsolete?  The answer is no.  Beginning Perl Web Development is definitely still relevant.  I’ll go through some of the sections of the book.

Part 1 looks at CGI development and database connections with Perl.  These are still relevant and in wide use.  Part 2 covers LWP and Net:: tools, including retrieving content with LWP::UserAgent.  This is still relevant, I use these modules to scrape web pages with Perl even today!  Part 3 looks at XML and RSS with Perl including consuming RSS feeds and creating them as well.  Part 4 is devoted to mod_perl and Part 5 looks at templating with Perl using the Template Toolkit and Mason.

I was happy to hear about both books recently and even happier that they’re still relevant and provide value to their readers.

Purchase JavaScript Step by Step and Beginning Perl Web Development at Amazon or your preferred book retailer.

IOS5 Can’t Login – error 0

Upgrading to IOS 5 on one of my ipod test devices.  Rather than restoring from backup I set it up as a new device.  On set up, I was asked to sign in with an existing apple account.  I did so but received an error to the effect of Operation Cannot Be Completed, error 0.  Still really haven’t found the root cause of the issue but the workaround was to go “Back” a step, and select the “Skip this Step” option and the previous screen on the iPod.  I was able to complete the set up and then go in through Settings to enter an Apple ID through the Store.


Has it been that long?

Has it really been that long since I wrote a post?  I’ve been busy migrating to a new server recently and one of the items on the ‘todo’ list was to update the blog software.  In doing so I discovered that I apparently haven’t written anything in the blog since 2008.  Makes me wonder why I have a blog anyway.

By way of updates, I’ve been doing various writing and web projects lately.  On the writing side I’ve been doing some contract work for Microsoft and on the web side I’ve been donating time and programming to some local organizations that don’t otherwise have a web person or can’t afford one.  I also put up a site for JavaScript Step by Step.  Hopefully there’s a revision of JavaScript Step by Step in the cards for 2010 which will take into account Internet Explorer 8 and the forthcoming IE9, along with jQuery and other improvements as one would expect with a revision.

No Luck with Comet Swan

Observing from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA this evening I was unable to locate Comet Swan. The seeing was good early in the evening (7:30pm localtime) towards the west/northwest but became somewhat hazy by 10:00pm.

Google Chrome Browser

If you’re reading this, then it means that Google’s Chrome Browser is capable of posting into my blog. Actually, there’s no real surprise there, I’ve been using Google Chrome for a while and haven’t been able to get it to break yet.

So far I like the look and feel, not to mention that it definitely feels quicker than Firefox, especially Firefox 3. Chrome just makes it feel like I’m using an application, rather than a web browser with a web page or application inside.

In many ways, Google Chrome feels like what a browser should be in 2008/2009: The same features pioneered by Firefox and taken for granted today like tabs and pop-up blocking but with a faster and lighter interface taking into account a more technical audience who doesn’t need all of the visual aids that anchor other browsers.

I use a custom portal solution so I don’t think I’ll get much use out of the homepage/frequently-visited sites feature when opening but I can see how that would be a time saver. I’m hoping that the silly user-agent detection things on web sites won’t break when visiting.

That reminds me, the User-Agent being reported from my Windows XP machine when using Google Chrome is:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13
(KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13

Here’s a screenshot of Chrome in action, with a couple tabs open, one to this post being written and the other to the web hosting company ICG Media.

Google Chrome Screenshot

I’m also hoping for extensions which means a good dev kit and documented API. Specifically, an adblocker and something like Firebug are necessary.

I look forward to working with Chrome, both as a user and developer.

Google Chrome: Web Inspector

Less than 60 seconds after I posted that initial blog posting about Google Chrome, hoping for a Firebug-like extension, I found the “Inspect Element” action on the right-click menu in Google Chrome. Oops.

The Inspect Element option essentially *is* Firebug, built right into the browser! No need to download an extension, see the screenshot here.

Google Chrome Inspector
There are several other developer tools all found on the “Page” menu, shown here.

Google Chrome Page Menu
Included are View Source, Debug JavaScript, JavaScript Console, and Task Manager. The Task Manager is nice because it shows how much cpu and memory are consumed by Chrome and by each individual page within the tabs! The Task Manager (shortcut key: Shift-Esc) shown here illustrates that I have three pages open, this blog post for, the Google home page, and CNN. Notice that CNN loaded the silly Shockwave Flash plugin which itself consumes 16MB ram and 25% cpu!

Chrome Task Manager

Debconf8 Day 1

Thanks to the great work of the Debconf8 Video Team I was able to watch nearly all of the opening day of Debconf8 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Among the talks was the Managing the Complexity of the Open Source Infrastructure which I found helpful, along with the SPI BOF, which talked about the need for people to become members in the SPI.

I’m looking forward to the full week of presentations and events at Debconf8 and hope to see you on one of the IRC rooms setup for the conference.