Lessons Learned in the Last Year

Most years I allow my birthday to pass fairly uneventfully. I will usually end up having dinner with friends or family, but I’ve never really enjoyed anything that put me on the spot (i.e. a full blown party). While thinking on this I decided to diverge from the normal mandate of this blog a little bit and talk about a few things I’ve learned and come to terms with over the past twelve months. Hopefully you’ll find them enlightening as well.

Making Apache Smarter: Because Configuring VHosts Sucks

Hello again my friends. It’s been almost a month since my last post, so it’s time to post again, right? At some point I’m going to develop a healthy balance between work and this blog / my side projects. It hasn’t happened yet. But hey, it happens. As promised previously, this article is going to cover how to make your Apache configuration smarter using some simple regular expressions. This article is primarily aimed at Web Developers, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this configuration in a production environment – although if anyone has done any stress testing of this method I’d love to hear about it.

Making DNS Smarter on OS X

So, if you’re a web developer like me, configuration is one of the things that you dread. In spite of the fact that there are ample automation tools at our disposal, we typically end up doing a lot of things by hand. One of these things for Web Developers is adding Virtual Hosts on Apache, and adding entries into our /etc/hosts file so that the applications we’re working on can have cool hostnames that actually reference our local computer. Like, “” or one that I use “projectnamehere.farmmac.local”. None of these steps really take that long, but it would be nice if we made them unnecessary, right? Of course it would. So, this is start of what will hopefully become a series on here of tips, tricks, and hacks that are designed to make the lives of the people who write software easier. In this first article, I’m going to go over a method of configuring the built in DNS server on Mac OS X to have it behave intelligently.

FCC: US Broadband deployment not on track

On Friday, the FCC released its seventh annual report on the status of broadband deployment in the United States, and the news isn’t looking good for broadband Internet Service Providers. The FCC’s report estimated that “26.2 million Americans living in more than 9.2 million households are unserved by broadband today” (p 15). In addition, on page 90 they determined that the broadband adoption rate of broadband in the US is around 67 percent. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that there are countries with much higher adoption rates. The report itself cites that South Korea and Singapore have 90% adoption rates.

Hard Truths: Politicians don't care what you think

From time to time I become influenced by the idealistic notion that I live in a country where the elected politicians take emails from their constituants seriously. On these occasions when I find myself in that mood, and I find an issue particularly offensive, I’ll take the time to type out a nicely worded email on a particular topic and email it to them. The most recent issue to get me this riled up are the data caps that have recently been implemented by AT&T for their internet services. For those who aren’t aware, AT&T implemented a 150GB / month usage cap on DSL internet customers, and a 250GB / month cap on UVerse customers. These caps aren’t entirely new. Comcast has had a similar strategy, designed to discourage users from abusing their access to network bandwidth. Usually if you go over these limits, your connection gets throttled (a.k.a. slowed down) for the rest of the month. With AT&T’s scheme, you get auto-billed for your additional bandwidth. Additionally, while Netflix and Hulu will count against your monthly quota – AT&T’s own premium on demand video service will not. Convenient, right?