Non-Perl


Recently I have been working on some iPhone applications. I have strong opinions on the process of developing in the XCode environment, using Interface Builder, the poor development Mac tools and the general coding pain I have been going through, but that is a post for another day. What I wanted to focus on here is a problem I just resolved with the UITableViewController class.

For those not familiar with Mac’s Cocoa programming, a standard way of displaying lists of information is to use the ubiquitous UITableViewController class. It is a controller class provides support for displaying data in a table. It seems pretty straight forward, but alas, it has its pitfalls.

The UITableViewController class allows you to add items and (optionally) sections to the table. For example if you wanted to add the names of your friends, you could add them one at a time. You would then have a 0 based index of your friends. And if you wanted to group them (let’s say into male and female) you would have a 0 based index of gender types, each with a 0 based list of friend names.

I have been using the Windows Media Center Edition (MCE) for several years and have had great success with it. My home built Home Theater PC (HTPC) was beefy and decked out (for the time). All in all it was nice. Then came our plasma HDTV which changed everything. I had to upgrade from 2 internal video capture cards to use 2 Comcast HD set top boxes. But to get HD out of it I had to use 1394, bubble gum and baling wire. It was as hacky as it got, but it worked — usually.

Several years later I finally broke down and purchased a Vista MCE. It’s a very nice Velocity Micro box and decked out with 2 internal cablecard tuners and a beefy video card. Again, it is very nice. Very nice, until I tried using my XBox 360 as a Media Extender.Long ago I purchased a Linksys media center extender so that I could watch news, movies and, of course, Law & Order while on the elliptical machine. The problem was that once we started recording HD I was screwed. The Linksys not only could not handle the bandwidth required for HD over its wireless network, but the machine itself couldn’t handle it even if it was wired directly with a cat 5 cable. Sad, very, very sad.

This is not really a Win32 Perl related blog entry, but a problem that my team recently experienced. I am adding this to our blog site with the hope that someone else experiencing the same problem may find it useful and (hopefully) save them some time troubleshooting.

Recently I ran into quite the system administrator emergency. Our Active Directory network started acting flaky. How odd it was that our servers were unable to talk with each other. Client machines were not able to boot onto the network. Attempts to access resources were confronted with ungodly long blocking wait times only to eventually fail.

Applications and services that normally execute flawlessly were suddenly cast into a bottomless pit of error massages such as:

There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request

and

The system detected a possible attempt to compromise security. Please ensure that you can contact the server that authenticated you.

Of course the big question was why were there no logon servers available and why was there an attempt to compromise security? Needless to say it took several hours until my team could locate the root cause of the problem. Of course finding the cause is one thing, fixing it and understanding how the problem occurred is another.

So this entry isn’t about Perl but it is about a distant cousin, PHP, and the WordPress blogging software (v2.1+) spell checking bug that results in the notorious message:

Could not execute AJAX call, server didn’t return valid a XML

First let me start by saying that WordPress is a tremendous piece of software. I only have good things to say about it. Now that that is out of the way…

In WordPress v2.1+ there is a WYSIWYG option for writing posts, pages and comments. It isn’t full featured, but it is easy to use and provides the basics. It even includes a spell checker (which I am using as I write this). It is this spell checker that is causing so many people problems. When many people try to use the spell checker they receive the error message cited above. WordPress.org has a thread on this: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/101689

Having run into the same problem I decided to spend a couple of hours tracking down the problem and I can say that I have fixed it (on my system at least). My platform is running Windows Server 2003 with IIS and WordPress v2.2. I have patched my system and spell checker is working like a champ.