Music for Programming

This one's for the developers out there, and maybe the designers too. What music do you like to listen to when you're programming or making things? The primary characteristic of music that is good for programming seems to be a lack of words. Any kind of vocals in a track distracts me very quickly (although this might have to do with my childhood as a choir singer). I prefer something that puts me into a steady mental state, and kind of stays out of the way. So, I find myself mostly listening to dance music, or more specifically, IDM (a useful but annoying term).

Drupal Camp Austin 2010, Day 1: A Review

This past weekend, I attended Drupal Camp Austin, a two-day conference at the AT&T Center that hosted a lot of really great presentations on various Drupal and general web topics. It was my first conference, and a good experience. I've always been a little anti-conferences, but this weekend may have changed that stance. Here is some of what I most enjoyed from the first day, and some links to resources that I found out about from the conference.

iPhone: Subclass ASIHTTPRequest for Your App's Login System

ASIHTTPRequest is a wonderful Objective-C library for simplifying web request programming in your iOS (and OS X) apps. It's my go-to library for web server communication in iPhone apps. But, it's taken me awhile to get my own system for using it within apps that communicate with a server that needs authentication. In this article, I'll show you how to create your own subclass of ASIHTTPRequest to further simplify constructing requests to your API, including logging in and out.

Drupal: Create Placeholder and Separator Menu Items via Your Theme

The desired menu, with placeholder menu items Sometimes you just want to break up your Drupal menus into sub-menus, but with headers that aren't links themselves. For example, say you want a menu like the one pictured here, and you'd like to implement it as one menu tree within Drupal. "Looking & Telling" and "Making" need to be menu items, but they aren't actually links to pages; they're just there to group menu items in a nice way. There is the Special Menu Items module to do it, but it does currently have some bugs, and there is actually a simple, theme-based way to achieve the same thing. Here's how.

Handling Time Zone Conversions in Rails

A couple of days ago, an HourPatch customer emailed me with a bug he'd found. When he created a time entry on a Saturday night, that entry would "jump" a week ahead on the schedule. I was able to fix it pretty quickly, and it turned out the problem related to time zone conversions, so I thought I'd share a little of what I learned when fixing that bug.