Category: Personal

May 24th, 2006 — 11:07am

In another bit of shameless promotion…I’ve started another new blog concerning the upcoming (awesome) TV series on NBC – Heroes.

They thought they were like everyone else… until they woke with incredible powers. In Japan, a lowly office worker can teleport at will. In New York, a struggling artist can paint the future. In Los Angeles, a discontented beat cop can hear the thoughts of others. Elsewhere, a high school cheerleader discovers she is unbreakable and a single mom realizes she has a powerful alter ego. Heroes chronicles the lives of these people and the lives of others like them – whose destiny just might be saving humankind.

I’m going to try to keep up with the show each week and write up some posts surrounding it. It’s already been compared to Lost as far as a serialized drama with “twists and turns around every corner”.

5 comments » | Personal

From DivX to iPod in Two Easy Steps

March 28th, 2006 — 3:26pm

It took me a while to figure this one out, so I thought I’d share. Note, this is a Windows-only solution. I haven’t looked for converters for other OSes, but I know there are some nice ones out there:

I was looking for a way to take the divx videos in my collection and somehow treansfer them to my (shiny new) iPod video. You’d think it’d be an easy enough task, right? Well, I took a path that had many wrong turns and some ventures into bad places, but I finally came out okay. The main idea here was to take the video, convert it to a mp4 file that the iPod could play and retag it so that it shows up under the “TV Shows” list in the menu.

It’s not a one-click process, but it’s pretty close and it only involves two different pieces of software that are both free to use however:

  • Videora iPod Converter – This handy little piece of software can take a divx file and push it back out to you as an mp4 with a ton of different encoding settings. The interface is nice and friendly, and there’s even a “One-click Transcode” button once you have your settings down. It supports various languages for the interface, and you can even set up your own profiles to tweak your video output settings even more. It’s freeware, but I’d definitely donate to the cause – it’s one of the simplest/easiest converters to use
  • Win-AP – This handly piece of software does the magic of tagging the outputed mp4 file to work with the settings on the video iPod. Mainly what I was looking for (as I mentioned) was the ability to get my videos to show up under the “TV Shows” list on the iPod. Win-AP makes tagging the file simple, with fields for all sorts of information – Name, Artist, Album, Show, Episode Number, Season Number, etc. There’s no way to batch the tagging, but it’s still a handy little app.

It’s not too hard to figure out how it all works – once both are installed, you fire up Videora and point it at your divx video. After a while (depending on your system, maybe a long while), you’ll have a shiny new mp4 file sitting in your output directory. If you didn’t mind it not being tagged or anything, you could put that on your iPod right now. Me? I like to keep things organized, so I fire up Win-AP to get the tagging work done. It can create a backup file for the video it’s working with as well.

There’s tons of other ways to do this out there, but this was the first easy one I found…so enjoy!

Videora iPod Converter
Win-AP Show Tagger

14 comments » | Personal

March 14th, 2006 — 4:48pm

So, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day (Slice of SciFi) and they mentioned something about a new movie that’s just been put into production – ones based on a book I’d only recently read (well, it’s been maybe 6 months, but that’s recent, right?) by Steven Gould – Jumper. I adored the book, so, needles to say, I was ecstatic when I found out about the movie.

The (very basic) story of the book is:

A smart kid with a tough family life discovers that he has the ability to teleport. Empowered, he leaves home for NYC. While using his abilities to track the man he blames for the death of his mother years earlier, he draws the attention of both the NSA and a possibly nefarious guy his own age who has the same abilities and enters into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with both.

So, in an effort to share this great book and just general information about what I see to be a really cool little movie, I’ve created a site to keep those concerned up to date –

So far on the site, I’ve gathered up some of the production details of the movie and some quotes from Gould himself off of his blog. I emailed him about the site earlier and he was gracious enough to come over and post a few updates/comments to the posts already there…

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Coastr: the Social Guide to Beer

March 7th, 2006 — 11:00am

By the way, on a quick un-PHP related note, if you haven’t seen Coastr yet and are a beer fan, you should check it out. It’s actively in development, and it’s a pretty cool idea – social “beermarking”.

Coastr is an experiment in social networking for beer snobs (meant as a compliment, of course!). The basic idea is for you to create a list of your favorite beers, and to connect you with other people with similar tastes. And those connections will help you discover interesting new brews that you might have not known about before. “Social beermarking”, if you will.

I’ve been adding stuff like crazy and I mentioned it the other day over on for the simple, site-enhancing Ajax it incorporates. It’s built with Ruby on Rails, but there’s nothing there that couldn’t be done with PHP.

Coastr: the Social Guide to Beer

03.08.2006: Just a quick update…it seems that he’s added another new feature to the site – the “My Drinking Buddies” section on the “My Page” for each user. It connects users by the beers that they have in common (showing the people that you have the most in common with). Very cool :) Keep up the great work Brian!

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A Comment Unheard?

February 21st, 2006 — 10:47am

It’s interesting to me that the following, my comment to a post from Stefan Esser, was not approved/included in its comments:

So, are you angry because the entry was changed or because all the evidence points
to Chris S.? Because I can’t really tell.

Honestly, it really doesn’t reflect well on the Hardened-PHP project to have pety
issues like this brought up by one of its key members.

Are you upset about the content of the new item? If so, what part are they missing?
I go to the Hardened-PHP site and all I see are links to download the patch (as the
new version says) and some barely used forums. Where is the “dedication to promote
and teach secure PHP programming”?

Chris does well to have posts on his blog to help share security issues related to
both the bugs in PHP and just general common errors.

This post just seems a little inflammatory to me – of course that seems par for the
course for Stefan.

And yes, there were other comments posted after it, so it’s not a case of “just haven’t gotten to it yet”. Hmm…

9 comments » | Personal, PHP

The Few, The Proud, The….1000

January 10th, 2006 — 10:42am

Okay, so maybe 1000 isn’t that “few”, but it’s still cool to be amung the likes of Davey Shafik, Andi Gutmans, and several guys from my local PHP users group to be one of the first 1000 to have taken and passed the Zend Certification Exam.

I took mine at the php|tropics conference, and it was a bit hard to wrap my head around some of the questions when all I wanted to do was go hang out by the pool, but apparently I did something right.

So, here it is, displayed proudly for the whole web to see – and here’s to a great future for the certification. May its second 1000 come soon, and make even more of an impact on the PHP community!

2 comments » | Personal, PHP

Buy my Mac…please?

November 26th, 2005 — 12:33am

And, in another post from the “let’s abuse the blog” category today, anyone who’s interested in purchasing a like-new dual 1Ghz PowerMac should check out my auction here.

It’s one of the Dual 1.5Ghz G4 PowerMacs that came out a while back and I’m selling it as a combo with my 20″ Cinema display as well. I’ve used it from everything to a little bit of video editing, to web development, to just general use. It’s been a great machine, but I don’t use it as much as I used to, and it seems a shame to have such a machine just being used as a glorified web terminal these days.

So, feel free to bid away – I’m trying to bring in some cash before the honeymoon and other various wedding-related items come around…

2 comments » | Personal

Considering Contract Coding

November 12th, 2005 — 10:04am

Well, time to abuse the power of the blog for personal (hopeful) gain…

With the upcoming wedding and such, there’s a definite need for as much funding as possible, and I’m putting out a search for some contract coding/graphics work to anyone within the sound of this blog.

I’ve been doing the PHP thing for about five years now as well as working with all sorts of other fun technologies (databases, graphics manipulation, LDAP connections, XML/XSL, SOAP, interfacing with APIs, etc). There’s been a few that have approached me, but only one that’s really panned out, so I’m checking out everything I can.

So, if you’re looking for a coder to work up a project and want to drop me a line, send me an email – it’s the easiest way to find me.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled surfing…

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Well, it’s official…

November 5th, 2005 — 11:59am

I’m engaged! I asked my girlfriend to marry me last night, and, thankfully, she said “yes” :)

15 comments » | Personal

Dickshonary Proofing (Podictionary)

November 3rd, 2005 — 10:55am

And, from the random things I’ve done on the internet department, there’s a project over on one of my favorite podcasts (yeah, I know – what can I say – I like anthropological things), the Podictionary Podcast to proofread an older dictionary off of a scanned copy – the Blegburn Dickshonary,

Well, yours truely finished off the letter “C” yesterday – check out the credit at the bottom of this page.

It’s not hard work, really – and he’s still looking for volunteers to double-check the work. So, if you’re interested, drop him a line at and let him know you’d like to work on proofing a letter…

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