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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Last week, I did loose a lot of time in what should have been a quick ColdFusion hack. My colleagues and I were just trying to set up a web service-based solution for a simple problem: they had a JavaScript page that needed a bit of data for which I already had the code in ColdFusion. So I created a new directory in an existing application, whipped up the required code in ‘index.cfm‘ to return a bit of JSON and tested the result from my browser… only to get an “Error 500 - Application index.cfm could not be found“.

Weird, heh? The required file was there, so why could CF11 not find it? Adding an ‘Application.cfm‘ did not help, neither did repackaging the code in a CFC. On CF8, on the other hand, everything worked as expected. So what was going on?

It took some time, but I did find the explanation: CF11 reserves the directory name ‘api’ for special treatment, so you can’t use it like any other directory name – and of course that was the name I had chosen! Adam Tuttle described the situation nicely in 2015:

Funny you should mention that the issue is inside an /api folder. I’m trying to track down the same problem, except I’m directly accessing an index.cfm (sort of — onRequest intercepts the request and redirects to CFCs as appropriate — it’s a Taffy API) and I’ve found that renaming the folder from /api to … literally anything else… works fine. It’s almost as if something in CF has special meaning at /api, like the special /rest mapping does.

Indeed, renaming my directory solved the problem – too bad it took me so long to find the cause. On to the next problem!

PS. Adam Tuttle has more to say on the subject, but his post on the subject has disappeared: the URL ‘http://fusiongrokker.com/post/coldfusion-11-sometimes-chokes-on-api‘ no longer points to the relevant text, but is redirected to another blog also belonging to Adam Tuttle. There, unfortunately, the post is NOT available. I won’t call this a case of linkrot, but it’s not good either. Luckily, the Wayback Machine has a copy of the page, including a few comments…

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Social media are everywhere these days, to the point where they suddenly seem to be more important than any other communication medium. Families and friends use them to stay in touch while on holiday, companies use them for informal meetings and discussions, news media distribute their headlines with them, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (and probably elsewhere in the world too) use them to try and set the stage for policy changes.

Privacy questions remain, however. Especially now that the concept of real and virtual walls around nations is rearing its (ugly) head again. So here’s an interesting suggestion from Maciej Cegłowski, in a post titled “Social Media Needs A Travel Mode“:

All I care about when I’m on vacation is posting devastating beach photos that will make my friends jealous. So why do I need to carry the complete list of people I went to high school with, or an archive of messages I exchanged with a chance acquaintance ten years ago?

[…]

We need a ‘trip mode’ for social media sites that reduces our contact list and history to a minimal subset of what the site normally offers. Not only would such a feature protect people forced to give their passwords at the border, but it would mitigate the many additional threats to privacy they face when they use their social media accounts away from home.

Reinforced real borders the world all over form a strong contrast with an Internet that has (almost) no frontiers. So I do wonder if we’ll ever see such a thing – perhaps Diaspora could propose a solution?

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I strongly agree with the open letter sent to Gopro by user Jeffrey B.George – although “open” is a strong word for a text that apparently was only posted to Facebook. But anyway: back to the matter at hand.

I too was confronted with the need to create an account on the Gopro website and to login to that account in order to use the latest version of the Gopro software just to see my video’s on the iPad! That is quite an offensive move by Gopro, essentially blocking the use of their main product for any user out of reach of the Internet. I suppose I must consider myself lucky to having bought a relatively cheap Session and not a Hero5? That way, I won’t have wasted as many Euros? No, sorry, like Jeffrey says: “an action camera shouldn’t need an internet login“. Nor should the use of an app to control said camera.

If Gopro doesn’t change its stance on this matter , I won’t be able to recommend the brand to my friends. Is that what they want?

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The first mention of Snopes on this blog goes back to the year 2000, and I’m happy to announce that there is a good overview of what Snopes is (and how it came about) on the Webb Awards website. In summary, Snopes is a “fact checker”, where you will almost certainly find your favourite urban legend, its ‘truthiness’ and its history. Snopes started checking ‘hoaxes’ and ‘urban legends’ in 1994, shortly after the birth of the Web. These days, the presidential election is more than enough to keep the Snopes team hard at work; suffice it to say that many extravagant claims turn out to be fabrications, with or without Photoshop. There are many ‘fake news’ sites on the Web, but ‘real’ news media sometimes forget to verify their stories as well, and that just means more work for Snopes and its ilk.

Sarcasm by XKCD

Sarcasm by XKCD

How the Truth Set Snopes Free – Racing Against the Web’s Rumor Mill” also explains:

And therein lies one of the biggest lessons that Snopes has to teach: Urban legends are most interesting for what they say about those who spread and believe them—our hopes (as in the grateful millionaire tale) as well as our fears about the secret ways the world really works.

Here’s the current biography of David Mikkelson, Snopes’ founder:

David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

The interpretation of that sentence is left as an exercise in humour detection to the reader ;-) Or you could try the “Random” function of the website to be surprised again and again with how stories are morphed from fact to falsehood, myth or hoax.

For details on what Mark Twain said, check out https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mark_Twain

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I managed to install Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow on the Samsung Galaxy J5. I was happy to see that Samsung makes this possible. After all, not all smartphones are honoured with substantial OS upgrades – even Samsung fails to deliver those for many of its models. Marshmallow, by the way, is a substantial release with many useful new features – check out Ars Technica’s ‘Android 6.0 Marshmallow, thoroughly reviewed for a serious overview.

One of those new features is of particular interest to users of smartphones with limited internal memory, like the Galaxy J5 which has only 8GB. Android 6 makes it possible to install apps on a supplementary memory card, since the memory card can be formatted in such a way as to be recognised as internal memory. Currently I have to uninstall and install apps in function of what I want to do during the days to come, like when going on holiday. Having more memory at my disposal would be a lot more comfortable, and I hoped Marshmallow would offer me that.

But unfortunately the Galaxy J5 does not support “adoptable storage” out of the box, and none of the hacks mentioned on the internet were able to change that situation. In the end, all I could do was transfer a few apps to the SD card, just like it was possible in a few older Android versions. Here’s how to do that:

  • In the Settings, choose “Applications”, then “Application Manager”;
  • Click on an app to see its “Application Info”;
  • Click on the “Storage” section.

For those applications that can be transferred to the SD card, there will be a an indication of which storage is currently in use, in combination with a button that says “Change”. When you click on that button, you should be able to choose either “Internal storage” (that’s your phone’s internal memory) or “SD card”. The change takes some time, depending on the size of the app.

Screenshots

After transfer to the SD card, use the ES File Explorer to verify the apps list.

Unfortunately, none of the really big apps can be transferred, and neither can you uninstall or transfer the standard apps that Samsung finds essential (but that I have never used in all the years that I am using Samsung devices). I guess my next phone will not only have more internal memory (and an SD card slot!), but will also be running an Android that is much closer to AOSP Android, the basic Android version without the bells and whistles of Google and Samsung and Huawei and others.

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A Boon For Bloggers!

In his first post on http://dave.blog, Dave writes:

The new .blog domain is administered by Automattic, the people who created and run wordpress.com. Even so, it’s cool that it can be used with sites created with any blogging software. This is truly in the spirit of the web, open source, and the Internet itself.

Nice! I am thinking about http://nukleos.blog…

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There is a form of virtual reality in every fiction book and story. Some book and stories require a map, so that readers can better understand the geographical positioning of whatever it is that happens in the story. Tolkien prepared his own maps to illustrate parts of the world inhabited by Hobbits, Orks and Wizards. George RR. Martin did the same for his “A Game of Thrones” (AGOT) books.

agot-map.png

A UK dude called ‘theMountainGoat‘ is a big fan of AGOT, and among other things he has created an interactive map of the known parts of Westeros and Essos. You’ll find the “Speculative World Map” at this address: http://quartermaester.info/ . The map includes annotations about how the map was constructed and why it sometimes conflicts with the original maps in the books. You’ll find supplementary information about the this map – and about ‘theMountainGoat‘ – on his personal website called “serMountainGoat’s website“.

That’s all well and dandy, but what if you want to write a fantasy story and you need a fictional map, fast? Additionally, let’s assume that you can’t draw maps. No worries, the Internet has you covered: BoingBoing can point you to the required software and instructions on how to create your own maps. A lack of geographic inspiration should not stop you from writing the next Lord of The Thrones trilogy!

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