dmuth's blog

www.cheopard.com

Cheetah Lying on Back
A typical cheetah.

What is a cheopard?

It's a cross/hybrid of a leopard and a cheetah. It combines the good qualities of both species.

Generally speaking, a cheopard must be at least 28% cheetah.

So what are the good qualities of leopards?

Leopards are smart. They drag their prey up into trees and feast on it over several days. They are also strong--they can carry more than their body weight.

Leopards have also been known to steal kills from other predators (including cheetahs). That's pretty cool.

So what are the good qualities of cheetahs?

I don't know. I'll get back to you on that.

Why did you register cheopard.com?

Because it was a nice short domain name that was available.

How did I get to this page?

You probably met me at a furry convention and I gave you this link.

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Western PA Furry Weekend 2010 Report

I drove out to Pittsburgh this past weekend for the Western PA Furry Weekend, a small gathering of furs from the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Despite being in existence for 10 years, I never attended before, and since I missed a few cons last spring, I decided to change things up a little and visit this one. I'm glad I did!

Group photo 6 fursuit heads Fursuiter in a giant hamster ball

I spent most of Friday evening helping out Firefox at registration. It was quite a change to work reg at a con where 116 attendees in total is less than the number of folks waiting in the on-site registration line at Anthrocon. In other words, it was rather relaxing and a pleasant change of pace.

Dinner! Kasi goes for the last piece of cake Finnish and Kojac

Saturday afternoon was the picnic at Fireman's park. I got to spend several hours hanging out and socializing with friends, taking lots of pictures. I ended up bumping into Dobie and chatting about photography. He showed me how to use a flash in outdoor photography to "fill in" shadows cast by the sun, as well as how to tweak my camera settings to properly meter pictures. Here's a picture taken without flash fill and the same picture taken with flash fill. The second picture looks much closer to how the scene looked in person.

Finnish Fox plays with static electricity Fursuiters on the swings Cooking dinner

After dinner, the charity auction was held, and I ended up winning the pile of feline-related things:

I won something in the charity raffle

One innovative thing that I saw WPAFW do was to put their all of their programming, plus their sponsor art onto a 2 GB USB stick and include it with their sponsorships. That was a pretty neat idea, and with 1.99 GB left on the USB stick, I now have something that I can use in the future.

Fursuiters Fursuiter with Dorsai ear tags Chalk drawings

Healthwise, my feet held up fine most of the weekend. They started to hurt after being on my feet for about 6 hours straight on Saturday, at which point I sat down for about 10 minutes, then was able to walk around some more. In other words: better than they've been in months!

Naturally, I took lots of pictures. The full archive can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmuth/sets/72157625097235542/

Overall, I had a rather good time this weekend. I'm going to try and make WPAFW next year. You should, too!

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Dinner this evening

Desteredra and myself ended up catching a ride with Delphanaeous and Thea down to Delaware earlier this evening to have dinner at a Red Lobster in honor of Del's birthday.

Moon Mochi, Mortonfox, and Kitt3ns were also there, along with a few other folks who I didn't get contact info for.

I took a few pictures (the whole set is here):

Del and Thea Moon Mochi

Dinner Dinner

It was nice to get out of the apartment for a bit and go to reasonably sized furry social activity since Anthrocon. Helped my overall mood somewhat.

I think it's also the first time I did any sort of social activity in Delaware. Sticking out tongue

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jQuery in Firebug: How and why?

There are a number of folks out there who use the Firebug extension for FireFox so they can debug webpages. Firebug also includes a Javascript console so you can execute arbitrary Javascript code against the current page.

If you're a fan of the jQuery library, there's a way you can use that in Firebug (first documented here):

var j = document.createElement("script");
j.onload = jsCallback;
j.src = "http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.pack.js";
document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(j);

See the line j.onload = jsCallback;? That fires a function called "jsCallback()" after jQuery is successfully loaded.

"Why a fancy callback?"

As I learned the hard way, if I were to just put Javascript code following the jQuery code, it might get executed before jQuery is successfully loaded, leading to errors. While I could just re-run the code (as jQuery would already be loaded), I was looking for a better solution to the problem, and this is what I came up with.

"So what can I do this callback?"

I'm glad you asked. One way using jQuery in Firebug comes in quite handy is if you want to dissect another web page. For example, let's say you want to run a Google search, and extract the URLs in the search results. Here's how to do it:

/**
* This is executed after jQuery is successfully loaded.
*/
function jsCallback() {
    
    var e = jQuery("a.l");

    var output = "";
    e.each(function() {
        output += jQuery(this).attr("href") + "\n";
    });

    alert(output);

}

var j = document.createElement("script");
j.onload = jsCallback;
j.src = "http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.pack.js";
document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(j);

"I could write $.get() calls to load Google's search results!"

Good luck with that. FireFox won't let you do that due to the same-origin policy.

"Well, how about if I get Google's search results in JSONP format?"

Um, good luck with that, too. You won't get very far without an HTTP referrer header, I'm afraid.

"So if I want to do this on an ad-hoc basis, I have to dissect the Google search results page?"

Yep, exactly.

Got any other tricks you find really useful to do with jQuery in Firebug? Let me know in the comments! 
 

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Dial 1-800-GET-ZERG!


He just wants hugs.

We, the Zerg Swarm, believe that our special process, known as "infestation", can improve your life in numerous ways! Being a part of a group like the Zerg Swarm means that you're never lonely, and there will always be someone there for you. Your body will become more powerful than you have ever dreamed before; with our patented improvement system, you will be able to lift more, run faster, and eat nearly anything! Many sentient life-forms consider the Zerg look to be attractive:

"Wow, that's gorgeous", says Tserisa, a dragon who later opted for infestation. "Kinda handsome", says a clockwork gryphon.

Usually, when a being opts for "infestation", it is a permanent process. But we are prepared to offer, for a short time only, a free 30-day trial infestation! We will send a personal representative to guide you through the metamorphosis, and in adjusting to your new abilities. If at any time you are unsatisfied with the trial, the representative will either correct it or reverse the change.

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Awesome Memorial Day weekend

I had a pretty awesome Memorial Day weekend last weekend. I went up to my parents' place for the first time since Christmas. They're fine, the cat is stupid fine, and the rest of my family is fine.

I've been wearing my knee braces whenever I walk around, just like my doctor told me to, and they've gotten much much better. I have an MRI scheduled for this coming Wednesday, so we can see what precisely is going on inside the knee. Still, I can walk for considerable distances and feel well enough to do my normal thing at Anthrocon at this point.

(PROTIP: Want to get the smell out of neoprene knee braces? Soak in 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup hot water for an hour. That kills the fungus.)

Speaking of Anthrocon, I spent yesterday working with registration laptops, giving funny looks to MSIE 8, and testing all of our badge printers. Everything still works, and I feel more confident about onsite registration this year (not that last year didn't go fine) because my code has remained largely unchanged since last year, and I made more documentation for troubleshooting purposes, should anything go wrong.

While visiting my parents, I took a trip to the old neighborhood where I grew up, walked around, and took many pictures. Once again, the UV filter on my camera did its job.

Shepherd Hills Golf Course

Driver Place Greens Drive Greens Drive

And here's the whole set, browseable in Flash:

Enjoy!

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What happened to claws-and-paws.com?

Nothing in particular, but seeing that I have worked in the software industry for about 11 years now, I figured it was time to get a more professional sounding domain name. It was getting increasingly more difficult to tell co-workers and colleagues that my website was at www.claws-and-paws.com and keep a straight face. A domain name of dmuth.org sounds more professional, and doesn't tie the site to any one topic. (Unlike claws-and-paws.com, which has a furry slant)

I'm still keeping the furry stuff, convention photos, etc. here. In fact, going to any URL on www.claws-and-paws.com will cause the browser to be redirected to the exact same page on this site. For those of you who still have email addresses @claws-and-paws.com (yeah, both of you Sticking out tongue ), that won't change any time in the near future either.

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Portal and Steam for the Mac

Folks might have heard that Steam is finally available for the Mac and that, for a limited time, Portal is available as a free download. Naturally, I made the most of it, and downloaded Portal on Friday evening, beating it just last night. Smiling

Downloading Portal was interesting, I had no idea that the game was on the order of 3 Gigs in size. It was a great way to test out my current Internet connection, which performed pretty well, as this graph shows:

Portal Network Usage

As for playing the game itself, someone asked me how Steam and Portal were on the Mac, out of concern that there might just be some emulation going on. This does not seem to be the case, judging by my CPU usage (gameplay began right after the download):

Portal CPU Usage on my Mac Mini

I'd say that my Mac Mini held its own just fine. Smiling

I'll probably be on Steam on occasion. If anyone wants to friend me there, feel free. My Steam ID is DmuthAtHome.

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Some updates to the PA-Furry website

There has been some increased activity on Pennsylvania Furries website recently, so I decided it justified finally biting the bullet and upgrading the site from Drupal 4.7 to Drupal 6.16. That upgrade was fun and... interesting. But now that I have a much more recent version of Drupal installed, I've been able to add some features such as these:

- Event Calendar. Want to know when upcoming furmeets, gathers, etc. are? We now have a calendar that anyone may post events to.

- Buddy lists. Yes, they are what you think they are. Users can now have an actual "friends" list on this site. Go to any user's page and click the link towards the bottom to become their buddy. (Here's an example)

- Private messages. Just what the name implies. Users on the site can now send each other private messages. When you're logged into the site, just click the "Messages" link to get started.

- Searching. I reindexed the entire site (and set up crontabs to keep that happening) so now the search engine works again, and posts (and users) on this site are fully searchable.

- Tagging posts. All posts can now be tagged. Even posts made by others. Go ahead. Give it a try. There is also a tag cloud that lists the most popular tags on the site.

- User profiles that don't suck. All user profiles now have links to a number of social networks, along with support for forum signatures, private messaging, and buddy lists.

And the URL for the Pennsylvania Furries website?

http://pa-furry.claws-and-paws.com/

Check it out, and let me know what you all think!

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Anthrocon 2010 Commercial

So the user Jalterixnar on the Anthrocon forums was nice enough to create a commercial for Anthrocon 2010 and post it on YouTube:

That is amazingly cool, and the tool used to create it was at http://www.youtube.com/searchstories. I've been playing with it on my own, and it's quite neat, as it allows different kinds of searches to be performed, as well as choosing different music.

I'm unclear whether this was just a "toy" that Google created, or whether they plan on using it to revolutionize the advertising industry, but it certainly is a great step in that direction.

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