Box.net – 50GB Free Online Storage for iOS Users

Online storage is becoming quite a popular commodity. Between Dropbox.com, iCloud, minus.com, Ubuntu One, and box.net, there’s no shortage of options if you find yourself running out of storage space locally.

Recently, box.net started a promotion where they’re offering 50GB of free storage to iOS 5 users. There’s no catch. You don’t have to have “x” number of friends sign up. You don’t have to tweet anything. You don’t even have to write a blog entry (hmm…). All you have to do is download the box.net iOS app to your iOS 5 powered iPhone or iPad and log in from the app. The promotion began on October 12th, and runs for 50 days.

Seems like a pretty good deal, especially given that Dropbox only offers 2GB for free. So.. is it?

Getting the free space is as easy as it sounds. As soon as you log into your account (or create a new one) within the iOS app, you’ll see that your account has been allocated 50GB. From there, it’s a bit touch-and-go. There’s a lot of upselling attempts going on. Make no mistake about it, the promotion is a loss leader, and box.net wants to convert as many accounts as possible to paid accounts. I’ve been signed up for one week, and have gotten two “I’d like to talk to you about upgrade options” emails.

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Sublime Text 2

Early last year, I blogged about TextMate, which I referred to as my “new IDE of choice”. Embarrassing choice of words really, since TextMate is anything but an IDE. That was primarily what drew me to it. It is a text editor with some extra features, and much more lightweight than a typical IDE. I was happily using TextMate for day-to-day work up until a number of months back when I switched over to ColdFusion Builder 2.

I’ll say up front that I’ve never really been a huge fan of Eclipse in general, which is the framework on which ColdFusion Builder is based. I think it’s a great framework, but it can be quite the resource hog. Yet I started using ColdFusion Builder because my boss used it, and seemed to really be a fan. I figured he knew something I didn’t (which is often the case), and that I just needed to start using it and getting used to it. I was sure that after a few weeks, I’d be over the hump and happily coding away.

It’s been pretty close to a year now, and I still don’t feel comfortable with Builder. It still feels like I’m trying to like it. But it still sucks up quite a bit of RAM, CSS editing is a chore (we have a few _very_ large CSS files that Aptana chokes on), and the keyboard shortcut for commenting a block of code is:

CTRL+SHIFT+OPTION+Q+Z+BACKSPACE+UP+UP+DOWN+DOWN+LEFT+RIGHT+LEFT+RIGHT+A+B+A+B+START *
* not intended to be a factual statement

Additionally, some things that I had gotten used to with TextMate weren’t present in Builder. I was used to a closing bracket/curly brace/parentheses being auto-inserted, and me being able to type over that character. But in Builder I kept ending up with 2 closing elements. I eventually turned off the auto-close feature. Long story short… it just never really flowed for me. It never felt “right”.

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Thoughts on Google+

It’s been a couple of weeks now since Google+ burst onto the social networking scene with a mighty roar. Overall, I’m very impressed. There are a few wrinkles that need ironing, but for the most part, this seems to be a solid effort by the good folks at Google.

The Good

I think the biggest thing that Google+ has going for it right now is the concept of “circles”. In my social media landscape, I make an effort to keep a certain amount of segregation between services. Twitter is mainly used to stay in the loop in the programming world. LinkedIn is for networking, and Facebook is for friends, family, and posting items of a personal nature. I don’t like to cross the streams, but this leaves me having to maintain 3 separate accounts.

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Love Your Logs

Log files are an invaluable tool. They are snapshots in time of so many different components of your application and can be, or should be, key elements in debugging and evaluating the overall health of your app. And I’m here to admit that I haven’t relied on them nearly as much as I should have.

For the past few months (yes, months), I’ve had ongoing issues with my local development environment. I would rarely get through a day without having to restart Apache… usually more than once. What would happen is that I’d be working, reloading the site in a browser, and eventually my stylesheets wouldn’t load, or certain images on the page didn’t load. At that point, I knew I’d need to restart Apache. This “fix” worked, but was a band-aid as opposed to an actual cure.

My setup is OS X (10.6.8), Railo 3.2, Tomcat 6.0, and Apache 2.2. My boss was running the exact same setup, pulling from the same Git repository, but was not experiencing the same need to frequently restart Apache. I chalked it up to “something’s not right” (my wisdom knows no bounds), but was content to continue restarting Apache as needed.

Yesterday, my hand was forced.

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Google – It’s the Little Things

I love being pleasantly surprised when seeing that a company made that little extra effort in one of their products. In this case it was GMail, used through the browser (rather than an external email client).

I just needed to fire off a quick e-mail with a PDF attached. I started the e-mail off with, “Attached is…”, composed the remainder of the email, and hit “Send”. I was ready to go on about my business, but was unexpectedly prompted with the following:

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On ColdFusion Builder vs CFEclipse and the Sky Falling

Maybe you’ve heard…

Adobe recently published a whitepaper (PDF) comparing ColdFusion Builder and CFEclipse (see Adam Lehman’s post here). Some people were, um… less than enthusiastic about this.

With the full disclaimer that I do not work for Adobe, nor was I even aware of the effort to put this paper together (I didn’t know about it until after it was published… right around the time many others first saw it), I’d like to offer up a response. My response is directed more towards the overall reaction to the paper than to the paper itself. The opinions expressed are mine entirely. And they’re just that. Opinions. Mine. OK, glad we’re clear on that.

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“Close Firefox” Message… Calling in the Cavalry

I’ve been wrestling with an issue for most of the day, and what has now turned into a good portion of the night. While I like to think I write the occasional blog entry to try and help others, it occurs to me that there may be a time when it could work the other way around.

That time would be now.

At work, we have a process that we use to test our changes before committing to the central repository (using Git). Basically, after we’ve made our changes and have the code in what seems to be a “good working state”, we take the following steps:

  • Commit locally to Git
  • Run a build, which is an ANT script that does the following (among other things):

    • Runs a suite of MXUnit tests
    • Runs a suite of Selenium tests
  • If all test pass, push our changes to the central repository and move on.
  • If any tests fail, fix and repeat the process.

Today, during the point in the build process at which the Selenium tests run (which run in an instance of Firefox), I got the following notification:

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Uninstalled Mozy or Carbonite on OS X? Read This.

A few months back I had tried out both Mozy and Carbonite for OS X. I wanted some assurance that if a comet crashed into my house, my files would survive. Long story short, neither of them really fit the bill, so I ended up uninstalling both of them.

Today, I was having some issues getting CF8 to start up. Checking the logs, I saw the following:

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Both applications were uninstalled cleanly. I was pretty surprised to find that there were processes still running (frequently) for both of them.

Some googling revealed the solution to removing ‘em (run as sudo where needed):

launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.mozy.backup.plist
rm /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.mozy.backup.plist

launchctl unload /Library/LaunchAgents/com.carbonite.launchd.carbonitealerts.plist
launchctl unload /Library/LaunchAgents/com.carbonite.launchd.carbonitestatus.plist
rm /Library/LaunchAgents/com.carbonite.launchd.carbonitealerts.plist
rm /Library/LaunchAgents/com.carbonite.launchd.carbonitestatus.plist

Ah, much better. Seeing how poorly each of the uninstall processes actually worked makes me feel pretty good about no longer using either service.

To give due credit, https://www.georgestarcher.com/?p=177 detailed removing Mozy, and http://de-co-de.blogspot.com/2009/03/un-carbonite.html detailed removing Carbonite.

Thanks to both blogs for posting the information.

TextMate – My New IDE of Choice

A little less than a year ago I made the switch to OS X and treated myself to a Macbook Pro. Just recently, I started working with the TextMate IDE on a current contract.

My first impression was less than stellar. Visually, TextMate is pretty spartan. Applications on OS X are supposed to be pretty (see Coda). TextMate is most decidedly not pretty. But as I’m starting to learn, she’s got an amazing personality.

Sometimes it’s the little things that hook you in. For the longest time, I put off learning jQuery. Didn’t see the need. I’m pretty comfortable with JavaScript, and couldn’t justify investing the time to learn a new way to write what I already knew how to write. Then I learned about .toggle(). I was sold. I hopped into bed with jQuery and I’ve not looked back.

Today, I was introduced to TextMate’s equivalent of .toggle(). It may seem trivial, but it got me hooked, and hungry to learn more.

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Backing Up Hidden Files/Folders with Mozy

A few months back, I started using Mozy for off-site backups of my important files and folders. Back then, I stumbled across a way to back up hidden files and folders (such as the apache folder on OS X).

A friend noticed that I had this set up, and asked how to do it, as Mozy, by default, will only allow you to browse to public files and folders when choosing backup sets. I had completely forgotten how I did it, and spent a few minutes googling before finding the answer.

I’m doing a fresh install of OS X today, and as I’m setting up Mozy again, I just spent another few minutes trying to figure out how to back up hidden files and folders. So, in an effort to save me (and hopefully you) some time in the future… here’s how it’s done.

To show hidden files, run the following command from Terminal:

defaults write com.mozy.Config "BDSShowHiddenFilesKey" -bool YES

(taken from http://support.mozy.com/docs/en-user-home-mac/guide/tasks/mac_hidden_files.html)

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