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Web scraping in Ruby: why I had to use scrAPI instead of WWW::Mechanize and Hpricot

Thursday evening: so, I had written myself a nice little script using Aaron Patterson's WWW::Mechanize and why's Hpricot to extract some data from a popular web-based airport directory. Read More »

A domain for the Omega Research Foundation

Popko, my dad, has founded the Omega Research Foundation in 1984 (when I was two years old). The Foundation was to serve as a a vehicle for his research into cyclical changes within ecological and social systems. Read More »

eps2eps to the rescue when epstopdf complains of no bounding box

PDFLaTeX doesn't like encapsulated postscript images. If you want to use .eps files with pdflatex, you can convert these files to PDF using Sebastian Rahtz' epstopdf, and then remove all .eps file extensions from the image locations in your .tex source files. Then, the latex command will look for .eps file and the pdflatex command will look for .pdf, .jpg and .png files. Read More »

Making flash cards on-line

I'm learning Spanish from a Dutch method called Eso sí. Approaching chapter 10, I noticed that I would benefit from first learning the words introduced in each chapter before starting on the chapter's text and exercises. From doing some exercises on Spanish learning websites (especially www.studyspanish.com), I noticed that flash cards can be a great help. Read More »

Scaling bitmap graphics versus scaling vector graphics

Due to some organizational changes, past December, I had to remove the S.A. suffix from the Sicirec logo: Read More »

Apache’s ForceType directive overrides AddCharset directives

Yesterday, after uploading a refreshed www.sicirec.org, some character encoding issues popped up because I had converted the website's content from ISO-8859-1 (Latin 1) to UTF-8. (I wanted to be able to type and paste special characters from PuTTY into VIM without worrying about the particular encoding of each file.) Read More »

Replacing the trunk of a Subversion repository with a feature branch

For the Sicirec website, I use Subversion to track all changes. When working on big changes which take more than a day to implement, I follow the Feature Branches branching pattern. This pattern means that the trunk remains relatively stable and usable for everyday updates while I can climb in a feature branch whenever I want to work on the big new feature(s). Read More »

Nested hashes derail Rails’ url_for helpers

While working on the Sicirec PostgreSQL database front-end today, I had to pass a lot of nested parameters to a link_to helper in Rails. Software being what it is, this didn't work. Read More »

Automatic resizing of an HTML <textarea> element

Today, while improving the Rails GUI for the Sicirec database, I was struck once again by how annoyingly small <textarea>s can be when having the user type lots of text. Read More »

Using an outgoing SSH tunnel from behind a NAT for incoming VNC

Laurelin is working as an Au Pair for a Greek family in—where else than Greece. Her hostess has arranged for an Internet connection through Vivodi Telecom to allow Laurelin to maintain some form of contact with her friends and family at home. Read More »