Happy Holidays

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year.

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Every once in a while, the corporate servitude of Congress comes into sharp focus. SOPA, currently under consideration, is one example of the worst kind of blatant corporate-sponsored legislation. Please read about it on the American Censorship website.

It is reprehensible that politicians would readily make such sweeping concessions to the content industry without regard to the potential for this legislation to inhibit freedom of speech and fair use rights. It should be unthinkable to those who have sworn to protect the constitution to undermine the judicial due process guarantees of that very document, instead handing the means ...

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Oh Captain! My Captain!

Today, one of my heroes, Steve Jobs, has passed. It's with a heavy heart that I reflect on the event. On this occasion, I'll allow Walt Whitman's poem to speak for me.


O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won, 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 
   But O heart! heart! heart! 
      O the bleeding drops of red, 
         Where on the deck my Captain ...

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Merry Christmas!

2010 has flown by. It's been a tough year in some ways and a great one in many ways. Merry Christmas! Here's to a peaceful, happy 2011.


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iPhone 4

iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 has been in the news a lot lately, with reports of its antenna-related issues. I can't add much to the debate, but, for what it's worth, I've had an iPhone 4 since day one, and I've had no problems at all. It's a marvelous device.

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Parsing the iTunes Library using a SAX parser (in Java)

The Question

A reader nicknamed "Aviator" asked for help parsing the iTunes Library XML file using a SAX parser. He did most of the work implementing the parser, so I'll simply build on his sample code, which you can see in the comments here.

The Answer

SAX Parsers

First, let's step back and describe a SAX parser. The SAX parser is an approach to parsing an XML document that uses "handlers", or simple callback methods, to mark when the parser encounters specific parsing events, such as the start or end of an XML tag. SAX parsers are considered ...

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Publishing a Music Feed from iTunes

When I was creating this site, one of my goals was to expose things that reflect my personality. One way to do so was to include items that reveal, to an appropriate degree, the course of my daily activities. To that end, I've included links to my Flickr photos, Twitter tweets, and to what I refer to as my iTunes music feed. This article will explain how I implemented that last item: getting my play history from iTunes to this website.

The evolution of an idea

Software development is an evolutionary discipline. Only rarely does the first approach completely ...

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iPhone Dev Camp and BT (and Twitter)

iPhone Dev Camp 3

I attended the iPhone Dev Camp event in Sunnyvale this weekend. Now, I'm not really much of an iPhone developer beyond dabbling, but I am excited about the platform and the community that is developing around it. Honestly, though, the fact that BT was both performing and speaking was the proverbial icing on the cake, and made attendance irresistible.

The event was a lot of fun, and I left with some interesting insights into the developer community and the ecosystem of services that are springing up to support the growing number iPhone applications. The event ...

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Thoughts on Iterative Software Development

The iterative software development model

The development of any software project involves many phases. Even simple projects experience maturation as they progress through their useful lifetime. Complex projects do so to an even greater degree. These phases often include several of the following (not necessarily in this order):

  • conceptualization
  • sketching
  • product planning
  • rough partial implementation of the product
  • user testing
  • cursing
  • starting over
  • (iterate a few times)
  • nailing down the goals
  • development in earnest
  • testing
  • bug fixing
  • shipping
  • marketing
  • if you're lucky, adoption by users
  • finding the inevitable bugs when users use your product in ways you didn't ...

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Safari 3 CSS Declarations in an AJAX Response

A few days ago at work I ran into a behavior of Safari version 3.x that I had not previously noticed. Perhaps this is because I have long been aboard the Safari 4 beta train, where the CSS would update normally. Essentially, Safari 3 doesn't load CSS declarations that occur in the body of an AJAX response. They just get ignored. I need different styles applied to various elements on the page that get loaded with the AJAX response.

It turns out Safari 3 is pretty inflexible with regards to this particular web standard, and doesn't like ...

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Whoa, there

...Or how to fix a runaway computer program

Yesterday the fan on my computer had been blowing pretty loudly all morning and the machine was getting quite warm. I came back from lunch and it was still going crazy, though my computer had been fairly inactive for the lunch hour. I decided to see what the commotion was all about.


top is a program that lists the processes--running programs--on your computer that are using the most computer resources, as judged by various criteria, such as memory or processing time. You can run top using the Terminal program on MacOS ...

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Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. It's a day which has always held a sort of special significance to me. I admit, though, that I did not always understand its correct meaning.

When I was younger I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Memorial Day because it coincided with the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer break. It meant freedom. Of a sort. And backyard BBQs. Let's not forget those.

Nowadays, I still look forward to Memorial Day for some of the same reasons. But I think my understanding and appreciation of ...

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Donec nec ipsum vitae ...

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Hi! My name is Travis. A while ago, I decided to get my ultimate vanity domain. Since then I've been slowly working on this site, and I feel it's finally ready (enough) to release to the world.

Check it out. Kick the tires. And let me know what you think. :)


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