Category Archives: General

Stripe Java API and ColdFusion


I have been working on a pet project for a week or so and I thought it would be nice to add the ability to process payments. I remembered a post I read a while back about using Stripe to process credit card payments so I thought I would give them a shot.

Actually getting them going was not that hard. There are quite a few projects out there wrapping the Stripe API, however most of them are pretty big and I am just looking for something simple. They have a Java API available so I thought I would give that a shot. There is not much information about using the Java API in ColdFusion, so it was a little trial an error.

First, I needed to get two jar files and add them to my classpath; the latest stripe api and also the Google gson jar file (links to both may be found on Stripe’s web site.

The fun part was getting it to work which was easy enough by looking at the API documentation and examining the stripe-java test code on GitHub. Here is what I quickly came up with. Not all functionality is working of course, but at least there is a test charge going through and successfully completing.

I hope to have something more complete working later this week.

Modifying the jQuery dump plugin to not open in a new window


I have been using the jQuery version of the javascript dump for a while now and it is invaluable especially when debugging JSON objects.  The one down side to the plugin is it tries to display the dump contents in a new window, but I prefer to just get the html contents and stuff it into a div.

As it turns out it was pretty easy to modify the plugin to work how I wanted. To make the collapse/expand feature work I had to make the functions global but it is cool as long as you don’t have any functions on the page with the same name.

Here is an example page:

The dump results:

If you would like check out the dump plugin, here is my modified jqDump.js file.

Subdomains shut down


I have shut down the servers running my subdomains and I do not anticipate bringing them back up. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Forums back up


For the two or three of you out there who recently tried reaching my forum, it is now back up and running. Enjoy!

Railo installer issues on Arch Linux


The Railo installer does a great job across multiple operating systems but it is not completely infallible (although it does come awfully close). The installer will complete, but there are two extra steps you will need to take to get things up and running smoothly on Arch Linux.

First, fire up your favorite editor and open up /opt/railo/tomcat/conf/server.xml and scroll down until you find the HTTP connector block. You will see something along the lines of “@@tomcatport@@” listed where the port should be. Replace this value with whichever port you want Tomcat listening on.

Next we need to move the railo_ctl file from /opt/railo/ to /etc/rc.d/, this is the folder that Arch Linux uses for its daemon services instead of /etc/init.d/ like Debian and RHEL systems use. Once the file is in there, chmod 0755 /etc/rc.d/railo_ctl to set the permissions on the file.

Finally, if you want Railo to startup automatically on boot there is one final modification to make. With your favorite editor open up /etc/rc.conf and add railo_ctl to the DAEMONS line and it will now start when you boot your machine.  You should now be ready to start Railo up, just sudo /etc/rc.d/railo_ctl start and you should be in business.

Off-topic but awesome


I am a casual gamer for those of you out there who may not know me.  The other day I retweeted a list of games for Linux, my OS of choice, and in that list there were links to open-source Quake 3 Arena clones.  I have played Quake for years and I played Doom before that.  Between work and the family I do not have a lot of time to play games but sometimes, in between coding, it is therapeutic to go and blow some stuff up.  The only problem with the open-sourced implementations of this is if you do not own the original game you will not have the WADs for the maps.  While there are ways around this, I have gotten legit in my old age so this didn’t really appeal to me.

Then out of the blue, I remembered my friend Sean told me to check out Quake Live a while back.  Some of you may be familiar with this but for those who are not, Quake Live is an implementation of Quake 3: Arena in a web browser.  There is a plugin to install, but the game is free to play and is supported by ads.  They offer a subscription where you can play ad free, but I don’t mind  waiting to play.

As a web developer I tend to feel pretty spiffy when I do something cool with just a web browser, but Quake Live just nails it.  Running in full-screen mode it is easy to forget the game is running in a web browser.   It has all the options you would expect: key bindings, player models, network play.  The first time you play it you will have to install the plugin and then wait a few minutes while it downloads the game data (presumably the map packs, etc).  The one thing I did notice, and this might be a Linux thing, all the opponent character models appear to be the same for me when I am playing.  However, when you are spamming rockets they all look the same.

This is definitely a blast from the past (no pun intended) and my new form of anger management.  I still like to hop on WoW every now and then, but when you just need a few minutes of  “relaxation” this is great.

Check it out: http://www.quakelive.com

MythTV installed


This weekend I spent quite a bit of time replacing my ailing Windows Media Center PC with MythTV (using the Mythbuntu installation).  I am sure it would have been easy enough to start with a clean distribution and install all the needed parts, however, Mythbuntu already has everything rolled in so it was a no-brainer.  Overall I would have to say it was a pleasant experience.  I did lose about a terrabyte of previously recorded TV since it was stored in Microsofts video format, but sometimes you just have to deal with the collateral damage.

Installation of MythTV is fairly straight forward, but it was a huge change from setting up WMC where it would just automatically detect the tuners and just work.  Setting up capture cards in MythTV is not much harder than it is in Windows.  The one extra step you have to take is setting the default input for the capture card which in my case was setting the tuner to the default input.  Another big difference was setting the channel guide listings.  In WMC you just enter your zip code, select your cable provider and it just worked, with MythTV that is not exactly the case, in the States at any rate.  The listing provider here will give you a 7 day free trial and after that it is $5 a month or $20 a year.  When you compare that cost to the cost of a Windows license just to run your home theatre I know which I would rather pay.

After getting the base system configured is where the real fun begins.  I have a 1TB drive installed in the HTPC machine where I keep all of my recorded media that needed to be setup.  In Windows, this is a matter of setting the storage to the drive, in Linux the process is a little more convoluted.  First I reformatted my drive to an ext3 filesystem and then mounted that to my Linux file system at /var/lib/mythtv (the default location where MythTV stores all its data) and created an entry for it in fstab so it would automatically be mounted at boot. Then I recreated the directory structure on my mounted partition.  I also have a 500GB external drives I mounted and set in fstab to use for videos and created a symlink to it from the mythtv data directory. All things considered, these are just basic tasks you need to perform in linux on a day to day basis, but when you are used to working on the desktop these are things you may or may not be comfortable with so you might not be in your comfort zone.

Once everything was up and running it was just a matter of playing around with it.  I have used WMC for about 5 years or so, so I was interested to see how I would like it and I was not disappointed.  It did take a little getting used to (if you don’t have everything configured just right it has a habit of crashing MythTV front end and you need to restart it), but once you have everything working smoothly it really is a dream.  There are a lot of options for setting up your scheduled recordings that I have not really played with in depth, but it is definitely functional and WMC could really take some notes on how to accomplish this better.

However, where this really shines is in the video management.  My kids love to destroy DVDs.  No matter how many times I tell them how to handle them, always put them in their case, etc, etc, invariably then end up on the floor or playing frisby with them.  So to save my investment I started using Handbrake to make a backup of my purchased DVDs and then safely put the discs away so they would not get ruined.  When the kids wanted to watch a movie they could go to Movies in Media Center or connect to Media Center through the XBox 360 to watch their movies.  I was pleasantly surprised that with UPnP, the Xbox 360 will easily pick up MythTV and allow streaming the videos.

Mythweb manager

Mythweb makes managing your shows painless

Another huge feature that MythTV has over WMC is the Mythweb plugin.  One of the greatest features in my opinion are the TV functions, the ability  to view TV guide listings from any computer on your home network.  If you want to record a show just find it in the guide, click on the program then schedule your recording.  You can also manage  your recording schedules and view upcoming programs that are scheduled to record.  This is a feature Windows Media Center should have added ages ago.  I cannot tell you how many times we have run into the living room to check the channel guide or just to make sure a show was recording.  Now we can check from any room with a computer.

Not only can you manage your shows through the Mythweb interface, you can also watch your recorded shows through the web browser as well either as an ASX stream or you can do a direct download if you are not at the house to watch it.

The same applies to your stored videos as well, you can easily watch any of your movies stored on any web browser.  If your browser does not support that file type, you can easily copy the url into an application (such as VLC media player) that can play a video from a web stream.

Overall I would have to say I am happy with the transition from Windows Media Center to MythTV.  I will not say there were not obstacles that had to be overcome and there are still plenty of tweaks that I need to make to have everything running smoothly.  Since I am no longer running Media Center, the buttons on the remote do not always function as they did before, however, after using WMC for years I am sure that there will be a little bit of a learning curve.  On the bright side, you can easily edit the configuration of the remote control through an XML file so it is just a matter of spending time to really RTFM and get things working.

MythTV vs Windows MediaCenter


I have been using Windows Media Center as my HTPC of choice for years now.  Recently Media Center has started crashing several times a day so I thought it might be time to mix things up a bit.  I have looked at a few other solutions, some running Windows and others running on Linux.  I could easily reload my HTPC machine with Windows, but ideally I would like to move on to something open-sourced and preferably on Linux; all my other machines run on various Linux distros. The main reason why I have not switched before is because I have about 2 TB of recorded video in Microsoft format that I did not want to lose, but now that I am having problems with the machine the collateral damage is not really an issue.

Currently I am looking at installing Mythbuntu to handle the HTPC role.  Basically I am just looking to see if anyone has made this switch and has any helpful hints on making the transition.  The biggest thing for me is the Media Center remote which looks like it will work well with MythTV.  I plan on transitioning over the weekend and I would love to hear about your experiences.

Back by popular demand


My demo site has been down for quite some time.  Many of the code samples I have zipped up and tucked away so people could download them have become quite stale.  Many do not work at all any more without some minor modifications.  The world goes on it would seem.

To get things off on the right foot, I have gotten the demo site back online.  For those who do not know the url point your web browser to http://demos.kisdigital.com.

I recently had some questions pertaining to my simple CF chat application so I made it a priority to get it up and running first.  I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt it is working for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Exploder 8.  I tested it on these browsers this afternoon.

The demo site itself is looking pretty rough.  I plan to get a framework up and running for it this weekend some time.

2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 27 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 40 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 123kb.

The busiest day of the year was December 2nd with 344 views. The most popular post that day was AnyEdit, a great plugin for Eclipse based IDE’s.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were coldfusionbloggers.org, dzone.com, Google Reader, google.com, and feeds.adobe.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jquery scroll to bottom, jquery scroll bottom, jquery scroll down, jqgrid addrowdata, and jquery scroll to bottom of div.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

AnyEdit, a great plugin for Eclipse based IDE’s December 2010
3 comments

2

Using jQuery to scroll to the bottom of a DIV November 2009
9 comments

3

jqGrid: The hard way February 2010
1 comment

4

Using jQuery to scroll to the bottom of a div, revised March 2010
3 comments

5

Colorbox and jQuery form plugin for attractive interfaces November 2009
7 comments

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