IOGEAR USB Bluetooth adaptor

Just got my IOGEAR USB Bluetooth adaptor today, plugged it into my keyboard USB port as close to my Apple Magic Mouse as possible and it work GREAT! Finally bluetooth works on my MacPro!



Django and MySQL

It can be a little challenging to get Django to talk to MySQL especially if you have a non-standard setup (like I seem to have, every time…)

To access MySQL from Django you need to install MySQL-python, and this is usually where the trouble begins. MySQL-python will run ‘mysql_config’ to determine what the default MySQL settings are, the one to pay attention to is the ‘–socket’ one. This is the socket that MySQL-python will use to access MySQL if the DATABASE/HOST setting in the Django file is left empty or set to ‘localhost’. MySQL-python appears to disregard any config setting in /etc/my.cnf, so if you set the ‘socket’ setting in /etc/my.cnf to something else (such as ‘/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock’) then Django will NOT be able to access the MySQL server.

There are two solutions to this. Either you set the ‘socket’ setting in the /etc/my.cnf file to match the setting reported by ‘mysql_config’. Or you set HOST in the Django file to the host name of the machine running MySQL.

One thing that I have noticed is that MySQL installations that are made through apt-get or yum have the socket default set to ‘/tmp/mysql.sock’ whereas MySQL installations that are made from the MySQL download have the socket default set to ‘/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock’.

Other issues you may run into is installing MySQL in a non-standard directory, for example ‘/usr/local/mysql’, while MySQL-python will probable install correctly, it may not be able to pull in the MySQL libraries when running under the Apache server.

What I generally do is let MySQL-python install however it wants, and set the HOST to the hostname of the machine where MySQL is running.

Apple Magic Mouse

Finally got sick of erratic mouse movement with my Apple Magic Mouse. I have a MacPro and the bluetooth reception on that machine is notorious in a bad way. A stretch of humid weather here only made that worse. The mouse movement was either epileptic or really slow (so felt like I was dragging a huge weight across the screen), and lets not go into dropped clicks.

So came across this post on Cult of Mac, which pointed me to this discussion on the Apple Support Forums, and decided to just buy an IOGEAR USB Bluetooth adaptor, which I will put into the USB port closest to the mouse which, I am hoping, will take care of the problem.

I think they called it Magic Mouse because you never knew what it was going to do next!

Eye Contact

I had the opportunity to get on a boat going to the Silver Banks which are located north of the Dominican Republic. There was a group cancellation and I jumped on (there is usually a two year waiting list for this trip.)

Humpback whales migrate from the North Atlantic down to the Silver Banks to raise their young for three months at the start of the year. So there is an opportunity to get in the water and swim with them.

This is a young calf (still 12 feet long) who came right up to me to check me out.

In Focus World War II in Photos Retrospective

In Focus, a photo blog put together by The Atlantic magazine is running a 20 part photo retrospective on World War II. I quote:

World War II is the story of the 20th Century. The war officially lasted from 1939 until 1945, but the causes of the conflict and its horrible aftermath reverberated for decades in either direction. While feats of bravery and technological breakthroughs still inspire awe today, the majority of the war was dominated by unimaginable misery and destruction. In the late 1930s, the world’s population was approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the nations of the Axis Powers and the Allies resulted in some 80 million deaths — killing off about 4 percent of the whole world. 

This series of entries will last from June 19 until October 30, 2011, running every Sunday morning for 20 weeks. In these photo essays, I hope to explore the events of the war, the people involved at the front and back home, and the effects the war had on everyday lives. The entries will follow a roughly chronological sequence, with some broader themes (such as “The Home Front”) interspersed throughout. These images will give us glimpses into the real-life experiences of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, moments that shaped the world as it is today. I hope to be able to do justice to this important story in this large-photo narrative format and invite you to join me for the next 20 Sundays.

The top page is here, and the first page is here. Frankly this is not to be missed.



Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM)

Been spending time working on the OMIM website. Basically a tiered system with an API (developed with Java, MySQL, myBatis and Lucene/Solr), and a front end (developed with Django and JQuery).

Lots of moving parts to the site, every night we download data from about 20 sources (about 3GB of data in total), parse it all and assemble the database and all the links to external resources. Basically a big ETL machine.

What is interesting to me is the breath of quality in the data and the lack of standardization. Actually the only standard that exists is the comma delimiter. The other interesting thing is that some sites really strive to keep their data up to date while others are much more, shall we say, relaxed about it.

OMIM also now has a Twitter account.

Mac OS X Lion

I have been playing with the Mac OS X Lion Beta, actually I installed it on my laptop and used it for  week, then backed down to Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Mac OS X Lion still needs work, I would get a crash a day with only one hour of use. July release it may be, but I would bet on the end of July.