No happiness using C-Store as a MySQL storage engine

As the second day of MySQL Camp II comes to an end, all my hacking on a new MySQL pluggable storage engine using C-Store meets a dead-end.

Chad Miller and I worked together to try and make this happen, but the C-Store C++ is just not written to be usable as a library within a larger application codebase. The C-Store 0.2 reference implementation’s C++ doesn’t come with even command-line programs to execute queries. It comes with a pretty comprehensive collection of automated unit tests, which is fantastic, but that’s the only executable it currently builds.

The bigger concern is whether the code is thread-safe, and the fact that the C-Store code requires C++ exceptions, I’m doubtful. If it isn’t thread-safe, it’ll make the C-Store reference implementation a non-starter for any serious work, which is unfortunate.

If I get more ambitious, maybe I’ll take a stab at a fresh implementation in fully thread-safe C, as a library to be embedded in other applications. I’m just sad right now because I was hoping to have this working to show off to the other campers, today.

Perhaps I’ll work on using Tcl as a User-Defined Function (UDF) inside MySQL–which I’m betting nobody would ever take seriously–just for laughs. I imagine making something like this possible:


SELECT TCL('expr {2 + 2}');

Whether there are actually interesting non-trivial uses of this remains to be seen, but at least it’ll allow folks to start playing with it, once it’s ready.

Tags: , ,

Twitter, haiku-style

Twitter‘s limitation of 140 characters is no stranger to folks who use the service. In response to William Hartz, I wrote this:

twitter haiku style
hundred-fourty characters
wisdom in small bites.

He found it interesting enough to repost it in his own blog, too.

Tags: , ,

The latest in Internet stalkerware

Nick Gonzales over at TechCrunch points out that Spock publically launched yesterday. The notion of aggregating information about people by crawling the open web isn’t new–, as well as other companies, have been doing it successfully for a while now.

Given the recent attention associated with the launch, Spock got hit with a bunch of traffic today. According to their about page, “Spock is the online leader in personal search, helping users find and discover people.” However, given the number of error pages that were being returned throughout the day, Spock is the online leader in “Uh Oh. Looks like we’re having problems right now” errors. (“Web 2.0: It’s like Web 1.0, without the uptime.”) It’s always amazing to see how people build these services, always deferring the scalability issues “until later” and when “later” comes, they’re wholly unprepared and get trounced.

After all that, I do have to say that one aspect of Spock’s result page for my name really made me smile:

Spock really knows that Dossy likes blondes ...

Spock actually knows that I like blondes! Now that’s an intelligent search index. Of course, this same feature knows who likes analingus, so maybe it’s not such a great idea, after all. :-)

Tags: , , ,

What part of “carry in, carry out” do people not understand?

Friday night, my family and my long-time friend Ian went for an overnight camping trip in Harriman State Park, at the Bald Rocks shelter off the red trail on Black Rock Mountain.

Topographic map of Harriman State Park, Black Rock Mountain, Bald Rocks (
(Topographic map of Harriman State Park, Black Rock Mountain, Bald Rocks via

It’s roughly a one-mile hike from the parking area and takes you up and down some fun terrain. The wild blueberries are all over the place and the kids had great fun picking and eating a few on our hike out.

One thing that really saddens me is the amount of litter at the shelter, especially the broken glass beer bottles! Of course alcohol isn’t permitted on the trails but some irresponsible people think it’s fun to party in the woods, but at least they could show some appreciation by abiding by the “carry in, carry out” rule.

We did our best to clean up the area with some hand-crafted tall grass brooms we made to sweep out the shelter and tried to gather all the larger pieces of broken glass we could, but let this be a plea to all of you out there: please try to leave the campsite cleaner than when you got there. If we each do a little bit, everyone benefits a great deal.

Trust me, I understand and appreciate why these places are such fantastic areas to party and have fun but it won’t be for long if we don’t take care of them.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Want Turkish food in Jersey? Check out Toros in Clifton

Toros Restaurant's sign

Always on the lookout to try new cuisines, we received an advertisement for Toros in the mail. Turkish–something not often found around here. So, we took the kids out for dinner tonight to check them out.

The first thing you notice is the (mandatory?) valet parking. Their parking area is small so it makes sense that they would prefer to manage it with valet parking.

I had called ahead to reserve our table and when we arrived we were seated promptly. The decor is nice–it has a lot of character, but not overly kitschy.

Turkish cuisine is typical Mediterranean: Turkish, Greek, Middle-Eastern, etc. are all very similar. You’ll find plenty of familiar dishes, but a bunch that are uniquely Turkish. We were in for quite a treat!

Our happy family, eating at Toros Restaurant in Clifton, NJ

We ordered two appetizers: the Midye Dolma (stuffled mussels, cold dish) and the Arnavut Cigeri (fried veal liver, hot dish). I wasn’t terribly impressed by the mussels, but the fried veal liver–it was fantastic.

We ordered three entrees: one was lamb cubes over eggplant sauce, one was Levrek (broiled striped bass), and the last was Manti (tiny beef dumplings in yogurt sauce). All three dishes were incredibly good–some of the most well-prepared dishes I’ve had.

The desserts were excellent too.  After carefully looking over the dessert tray, the girls decided they wanted three of them: Kadayif (shredded wheat with walnuts and pistachios dripping with syrup), Keskul (white almond pudding) and Sutlac (oven-baked rice pudding).  My wife decided to get a cup of Turkish coffee to try and yes, its reputation for being “like mud” is accurate.  I’m not a coffee drinker, but the sediment in the Turkish coffee reminded me of very, very dark chocolate–very rich and bitter.  Combined with the syrupy sweetness of the Kadayif, it was incredibly delicious, albeit a bit gritty.

The prices at Toros are extremely reasonable–$4-6 for an appetizer, $10-15 for an entree and the portion sizes are very generous, $3-4 for a dessert–a lot less than I would have expected for a place with such good food and classy atmosphere.

If you’re looking to try a different cuisine and you’d like to try Turkish, I highly recommend Toros Restaurant in Clifton, NJ.

Toros Turkish & Mediterranean Cuisine
489 Hazel St
Clifton, NJ 07011

(973) 772-8032

Tags: , , , , ,

From now on, I’m calling dead treeware “the Printernet”

In today’s R. Stevens’s Diesel Sweeties, Lil’ Sis uses the term “Printernet” to refer to dead treeware. I can’t believe I didn’t start doing this earlier. It is, of course, the perfect term.

Diesel Sweeties (print) 2007-05-15

Click through to see the entire comic that this excerpt was taken from.

Tags: , , ,

It’s all about what you DON’T say, that counts

Pete Caputa recalls a recent experience at a networking event, where he interacted with someone he feels just shut him out, prematurely.

Pete, I think he was pretty clear in telling you what he didn’t like: you weren’t listening to him. He didn’t come out and say, “I don’t want to talk to you because you won’t listen to me,” because that might seem rude, but instead he said, “I don’t like your approach,” which is to talk and not listen. He gave you a chance to try a different approach.

In the beginning of the interaction, you spoke a whole lot of words without saying very much. Then you asked for his card. Then, you hit him with the “statement formed as a question” which is the most annoying cheap salesman tactic ever. He spotted it and clearly told you to stop, saying: “When I come to these things, it’s mostly just to meet people and socialize.” When you didn’t seem to get the message and asked him to be specific, he did just that: “You asked, “You’re not interested in growing your business?” Who says no to that?” He just told you how lame your statement-as-question was. Again, he gave you an opportunity to listen and try a different approach.

What’s wrong with the statement-as-a-question form?  It’s like asking someone, “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” That’s not a question you can answer. It’s not even a question: the answer doesn’t actually tell the asker anything new about the person of whom it was asked. That’s classic cheap sales manipulation tactic 101. Force the mark (er, prospective customer) to say what you want them to say, so they’ll be more pliable and will continue to give positive responses. He’s been around the block one too many a time to fall for that schoolboy stuff.

As he said, he’s there to meet people and socialize. He likes to get to know people. You opened with “hi, who I am doesn’t matter, but I want to sell you something” whether it be more clients, new leads, whatever. He’s learned that when people use that approach, he probably doesn’t derive enough benefit from them. So, he already passed you by–not looking at you, taking a defensive posture, etc.

If you were him, and someone came up to you and did as you did, who would you feel was being the jerk? The person who persists with the same approach, refusing to listen, or the person who’s being approached?

In the end, you ask: Are you open to different approaches? If not, how does it hinder your success?  I turn that question around and ask: Are you open to trying different approaches? If not, how does it hinder your success?

Tags: , ,

(Brain)dump or get off the pot

In the last few days, I’ve had so many little ideas running through my head that I’ve wanted to just tell someone, but I just couldn’t think of who to tell. I do know that if I don’t get them out, they’ll keep distracting me, so I’m just going to throw them out there …


Why does it seem that the more popular “tech bloggers” are generally non-technical writers (journalists, etc.) instead of hardcore geeks? It feels eerily like the “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” phenomenon.

This isn’t just me whining about why I’m not an A-list blogger. I know I don’t write enough, about anything interesting in particular. I just wish there were more hardcore geek A-list bloggers, that’s all. I want some good stuff to read, not just back-slapping press releases disguised as thoughtful blog entries with screenshots.


Linux’s support for the Broadcom 43xx chipset wireless NIC–which is what my Linksys WMP54GS PCI card has–is still disappointing. Of course, the fact that the bcm43xx module is being developed through reverse engineering, because the specifications aren’t open, means it’s going to be a slow and painful process and the progress they’ve already made is incredible, but still … is Broadcom really benefitting by not letting the Linux folks implement a real driver?

I just went out and bought a Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander WRE54G because I just don’t get enough wi-fi signal in my back yard. It’s over 90 feet away from the nearest antenna and that’s through four interior walls and the exterior aluminum siding. Of course, the range extender works using Wireless Distribution System (WDS) which neither Linux’s ndiswrapper driver approach for the WMP54GS, nor the bcm43xx native driver, support yet. Honestly, I’m quite disappointed with the WRE54G: for the $80 I paid for it, it’s pretty darn useless. For $100, I could have gotten a Linksys WRTSL54GS and run OpenWrt Linux on it. Matter of fact, I’m going to do just that.


Sitemeter just launched their new user interface. I’m not thrilled about the color scheme (too much green), and I really don’t like the new “visits and page views” graphs. Stacked bar graphs really don’t let you visualize the data as well as the two separate 3-D area graphs that they previously used. I might be okay getting used to the stacked bars, but the yellow and orange colors are just eye-irritating to me. I guess I shouldn’t complain too loud, since I’m not paying for the service. As long as the referrer report continues to be near-realtime, I’ll continue to use Sitemeter over Google Analytics. The only thing that might make me want to pay for Sitemeter is if they made the “recent visitors by referrals” report data available as an RSS feed that updated in near-realtime. Oh, that’d be heaven.

Sitemeter (old 3-D area graphs)Sitemeter (new stacked bar graphs)


I’m still using Google Reader, even though I can’t use it to search my feeds. I still use Bloglines for that, but I’ve completely stopped reading my feeds there. Even Google Reader Mobile works great on my Palm Treo 650.

I do have another problem with Google Reader: in one of my subscriptions to a Technorati search feed, it keeps treating an entry as new, thinking it’s updated almost every 4 hours. Looking at the actual Technorati feed XML, I haven’t seen the entry there, so I’m guessing this is a Google Reader problem. If anyone at Google wants to investigate this, let me know and I’ll gladly provide specifics.


Only recently did I upgrade to VMware Workstation 5.5 from 4.5, and I’m amazed at what a speed improvement it brought. I just noticed that VMware Workstation 6.0 is already available! I’ll have to set aside the $189 to buy a copy.


I know that one of the biggest asks from newbies of AOLserver is “can I get a one-click install to quickly get up and running?” This is referred to as a “batteries included” distribution. For the Apache/MySQL/PHP/Perl stack, the XAMPP project offers this. I’d really like to see someone start a similar effort for AOLserver/MySQL/Tcl. To get such an effort started, I’m trying to put together a VMware appliance image running Debian 4.0 (etch) with everything already installed and fully configured. Since the VMware Player is free, all one would need to do to give AOLserver a try is to download it and the appliance image. Creating a one-click installer like XAMPP could spring forth from that effort.


The Tcl’2007 Conference this year will be in September in New Orleans, US. The OpenACS and .LRN Spring 2007 Conference was in April in Vienna, Austria. The ]project-open[ 2007 Developer Conference will be in September/October near Barcelona, Spain.

Where’s the AOLserver Conference? There isn’t one. Yet.

I’m planning and scheming to try and organize one for May 2008, in the New Jersey, US, area. Of course I’d love volunteers to help organize it, but I’m willing to try and do it myself if I have to. It is something which is long overdue and I think it’s been one of the barriers to AOLserver’s growth.


Okay, I’d better post this before I decide to just delete it all and not post anything. Now you have an idea of the kind of things that get stuck in my head, at least.

My first ascension, on Crimboween!

New Events:

10/31/06 08:02:22 PM – Welcome back to the Kingdom of Loathing. Noob.

My first ascension ever and I managed to do it on Crimboween! Awesome like woah.

Update: Correction, it wasn’t Crimboween, it was Halloween XI. This coming Porktober 8, it’ll be Crimboween. Lets see if I can ascend then, too! Heh.

There’ll be nobody home

Goodbye, old office. It was nice knowin’ ya. Take good care of yourself.

Dossy's old office in White Plains, NY, #4, now completely empty