Friendly Grouper

This Grouper seems to be a permanent attraction on a dive site in the Turks and Caicos, cruising in to greet the diver (and hopefully score some free food.)

I was surprised at how friendly it was, allowing itself to be petted by people. As a rule I don’t touch any living creature underwater, a lot of them have a layer of anti-bacterial mucus on their skins/scales and touching or brushing them tends to remove it exposing them to infections.

But in this case this guy was so friendly that I felt it was ok, In fact I tucked it in the crook of my arm and took it for a swim.

There is another picture here.


Office 2008

I took advantage of the current Microsoft promotion of Office 2008 for the Mac (50% off for the Special Edition, I picked up a copy on Amazon for $129). I had been using an ancient version of Office and held off on upgrading because it filled my (few) Office needs quite well. It was a difficult to choose between Apple iWork and Office, but I picked the latter because I just needed hassle-free compatibility (even though I like iWork a lot.)

The installation process was not hassle-free though, I ran into the annoying setup assistant looping bug and had to trash the initial install and do it again.

Updated Nov 24th, 2008 – Of course, I could have gotten 75% off if I waited a few more days and saved myself another $65.


I have always had a soft spot for GCC, I first started using it in 1993 and have been using it regularly since then, so I had fun reading this article about GCC 4.0 which presents a short history of GCC along with a breakdown of the features in the different 4.x releases.

Also interesting are some extra ‘hacks’ added to GCC for the linux kernel.

Fun Table Names

Turns out you can create fun tables names in MySQL:

mysql> create table ☃ (a int not null);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.16 sec)

mysql> drop table ☃ ;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.10 sec)

In the original post, Jay Pipes ran into an issue where he could do that on Drizzle and not on MySQL, but it turned out that he has not “set names UTF8” in the client.

I just put that in the my.cnf file as follows so I don’t have to think about it:

# Set the names to utf8 when a client connects
init_connect = ‘SET NAMES utf8’

I also set:

# Set the default character set to utf8
default_character_set = utf8

# Set the server character set
character_set_server = utf8

So basically I have utf8 from one end to the other, which is the way to go these days I think just to get any encoding issues out of the way.

Percona Lab

I recently came across this interesting project by Percona Lab to provide a version of MySQL with all the ‘cool’ patches applied to it.

It is not the latest, greatest version of MySQL 5.1 (currently 5.1.29) but I expect they will catch up with the GA release of 5.1 which I understand is just around the corner.

iPhone 2.2 Update

Over the weekend I updated my iPhone to 2.2, no issues at all, and some of the new features are nice, but I am looking for overall stability now.

Recently I had a number of malfunctions with it, it would get really slow at times, fail to answer calls, and take forever to tell me that I had missed a call and that I had voice mail. What I did was to restore the software and all seemed fine after that.

You know things are different when you need to re-install the operating system on your phone.

Is AppleTV finally Coming of Age?

For a hobby, AppleTV is getting surprisingly feature-rich, the latest update added some interesting features but for me is has gotten more stable than previous versions. I was getting all sorts of menu oddness before which have cleared up.

Given that it is very hackable (AppleTV Hacks, even I upgraded its hard drive (I used to do PC tech support for a hardware manufacturer a long time ago), it is surprisingly solid as a product and I use it every day to watch podcasts and movies.