Collecting the Internet So You Don't Have To

We work on the Internet. As such, we are constantly consuming information. Believe me, there is a lot of it out there. Sometimes we even forget things unless we write them down. Our blog covers everything from web standards to the muppets, php to comic books, music and everything else that we find interesting. Leave us a note when you drop by.

Leonard Cohen "Old Ideas"

Event
Wil Alambre
Wil Alambre Senior Programmer
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:152
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Wil Alambre Whiteboard Ninja

Leonard Cohen offically released a new album today, named "Old Ideas", a collection of ten new songs full of gravelly voiced poetry goodness. I've been a big fan of Cohen since I first picked up "The Future" and have been looking forward to new material from him :D

Including All Cake Templates in Coda Search

Technology
Dwayne Kristjanson
Dwayne Kristjanson Senior Programmer
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:154
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Dwayne Kristjanson Indifference Engine

I'm currently using Coda 1.7.4, but I've had a persistant problem across several versions of Coda where the ".ctp" templates in my CakePHP projects would be ignored in the Coda search results. I had things working most of the time by setting up a Custom Syntax Mode in Coda to display ".ctp" files with PHP highlighting. That got things working for most of the search types Coda supports, but when using "find in folder" some of the templates were still ignored.

Eventually I was able to figure out out a way to consistently trigger the issue after noticing that the icon Coda used for the file it was ignoring was not the same as the ones for the files it included. The ignored file had the same icon as an executable bash script, and sure enough when I checked the file permissions the file was marked as executable. After a few tests, I was able to determine that the rule was as follows:

  •  If any of the executable flags are set,
  •  and the file extension is not known,
  •  and the search type is "find in folder",
  •  Then the file will not be searched.

That made sense, since it wouldn't do to search through binary files. There's no reason for the template files to be executable, anyway, so the right thing to do  was to change the permissions on the file. But that wouldn't help me make mass changes across multiple files if I didn't know that the file permissions were messed up.

Files ending in ".php", however, are searched even when they are executable, so not all executable files are ignored. How could I set things up so ".ctp" files would work the same way? I tried using a completely made up extension, and it behaved the same way as ".ctp". Setting Coda as the default application to open ".ctp" files and setting a Custom Syntax Mode for ".ctp" files in Coda had no effect. I was a bit lost as to what constituted an "unknown" file extension. Especially since some of my coworkers did not have this problem.

I emailed Panic, the makers of Coda, and they were able to confirm that this was a problem some people had. It was not, however, due to anything in Coda itself. Instead the problem was due to the Spotify service in OS X not indexing certain files. Knowing that, I noticed that Finder reported the file "kind" as "Executable Unix File". So I did some research into how to change that. A quick Google search led me to an article about changing a file's "kind". So I tried the following:

  • Right clicked on the Coda app in Finder and selected "Show Package Contents"
  • Inside the package is a "Contents" folder, and inside that is a file named "Info.plist", which I opened in a text editor.
  • I found the section in that file where PHP file extensions are associated with Coda, and added two new entries to the <array> element <string>ctp</string> and <string>CTP</string>.

After saving those changes, exectuable ".ctp" files could be searched in the same manner as executable ".php" files. Hopefully this will be helpful to other people who are having the same problem.

What's That Big Green Lizard on Princess Street?

Business
Julian Moffatt
Julian Moffatt CEO / Partner
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:1
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Julian Moffatt Purveyor of Good Times

big green lizard on princess street

If you travel on Princess Street, in Winnipeg, you might have seen a giant six foot green lizard as you head into downtown and wondered "what is that big green lizard?" It is none other than the logo of Visual Lizard. We are one of Winnipeg's longest running web and application programming companies. Our new home on Princess Street is a fabulous 2400 square foot condo that we just finished off at the end of 2011 with the help our friends at Syverson|Monteyene.

Visual Lizard logo in six foot aluminum and vinyl

Our friends over at SRS Signs did an awesome job in translating our little lizard into a six foot tall aluminum and vinyl sign. They also did the front door signs and our hours of operation on the front of the building.

So next time you are wandering down Princess street, if the lights are on, drop in and say 'hi'. We're always happy to meet new people, discuss ideas, projects, concepts, web sites, programming, and general tech-nerd stuff.

See you soon!

Hooray, Pizza Day

General
Dwayne Kristjanson
Dwayne Kristjanson Senior Programmer
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:154
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Dwayne Kristjanson Indifference Engine

Today for lunch, we made pizza. Everything turned out mostly OK.

 

Dough Recipe

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast

Mix together sugar, water, and salt (which I forgot) and sprinkle yeast on top and let it bloom. Dump or sift the flour into the largest bowl you have access to (or straight onto your counter if you don't mind making a mess) and make a hole in the center of the flour. Slowly add the water/yeast mixture into this well, mixing thoroughly. When the dough starts to come together, knead by hand until it's smooth.

Cover the dough with a little olive oil, to keep it from sticking to everything, and leave it to rise in a warm place for 15 minutes to half an hour. You should pre-heat your oven to 500 F, so I used the counter next to the oven.

(For those of you who don't get Jonathan Coulton references ... my kneading theme music.)

Pizza Fixin's

Wil helpfully provided bell peppers and onions. I wanted a Margherita pizza, so I had fresh basil and slices of mozzerella.

Sauce

  • small (213ml) can of general-purpose tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper

MIx it all together, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. Then take it off the heat and let it cool down a bit before putting it on your pizza.

 

Prior to adding spices.

Prep Work

We had enough dough for 5 small pizzas. It probably could have been 6. Or two medium sized. Or one really large.

Cooking

Bake at 500 F for 15 to 20 minutes. Or, as we discovered, for 40 minutes if you've put too many pans in the oven at once preventing hot air from getting to the top of the oven where it can properly brown your pizza. Switching the pans to different levels sped things up ... but the crusts ended up a bit tougher than I'd like.

Not the best pizza I've made, but they still turned out pretty delicious. It took far too long to make this a regular thing, but cooking at work can be pretty fun. 

Spontaneous Office Pizzas

General
Wil Alambre
Wil Alambre Senior Programmer
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:152
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Wil Alambre Whiteboard Ninja

For lunch, Dwayne had brought ingredients to make a small homemade pizza in our office kitchen. Since he is a generous cook and some of the rest of us had other fixings available, we all chipped in and it became a spontaneous office lunch!

We decided to share this unplanned kitchen cooperation over Twitter. Then decided to share it here on our blog through Twitter's embeddable tweet functionality, a new feature that allows web-savvy folk to include tweets and all associated functionality right into their content…

Twitter's embeddable tweets make for an interesting new way to bring social media onto websites. They provide multiple ways to support it, specifically an oEmbed endpoint, and some clean HTML for web visitors without javascript enabled. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that any extra content in the tweet (like the above images) is HTML code that is injected by Twitter's JS, so it might be picked up by social sharing sites when sharing your content (such as Facebook when looking for thumbnails).

As for the pizzas, they come out delicious… so much so that we didn't pause to take a picture of the final results. Right out of the oven, onto plates, and into our bellies. Mmm. If you are interested, you can read Dwayne's follow-up post for his pizza recipe! :)

The Advantage Of Cloud-Based Stores

Business
Wil Alambre
Wil Alambre Senior Programmer
Visual Lizard
work
1 (204) 957-5520 ext:152
toll-free
1 (888) 237-9559
url
http://www.visuallizard.com
Wil Alambre Whiteboard Ninja

Visual Lizard has been working on Apple machines since 2007-ish when we all upgraded from standard-issue Dell desktops to seventeen inch Macbook Pros. Every since then, Apple has released a number of Mac OS X versions, and each time I have upgraded my machine rather than formatting and starting clean. Though this has the advantage of not needing to reinstall apps and track down registration numbers, after half a dozen updates and the same number of years, my machine has inherited quite a bit of cruft.

Over this season's holidays, I decided to reformat and reinstall OS X Lion. The first time I have started fresh in years. I like to believe everything is booting up and shutting down faster because of it, but I have not bothered with any measurments so that may, admittedly, be just my rose-coloured perception. The most noticeable improvement was reinstalling my applications.

Services like the Mac App Store and Steam have made setting up a Mac incredibly easy compared to the old days. I did not have to track down CDs or registration numbers or manuals. I was able to log into a cloud-based store, find all my existing purchases waiting for me in a list, and reinstalled them with just a couple clicks. What used to be an arduous and long process has become a straight-forward series of over-the-internet restores... though it can still take a while depending on your internet connection and the filesizes involved.

Reading Daring Fireball, I saw a quote by game designer Will Wright that was amusingly relevant...

It’s kind of remarkable. I’ve set up a couple of PCs and a few TVs over the last couple of years. Buying a new television and setting it up is far more complicated now than buying a computer and setting it up.

My recommendation to my coworkers and my own plans for the future is to, when given the choice, make app purchases from reputable cloud-based stores from now own. There are some issues with doing so, notably the Mac App Store's lack of demo versions and Apple taking a major cut from a developers profits, but it will only take you one time setting up a machine from scratch to see the advantage.