Disassembling the MacBook Pro

I had quite a scare today when my new MacBook Pro wouldn’t boot. It would turn on, the screen would go white, and after about 20 seconds it flashed a question mark in a box on the screen. I thought it might have been related to a very minor drink spill incident (which resulted in my purchase of an iCurve stand) but it worked after the spill so I was a bit perplexed. I was not looking forward to going to the Apple store and parting with the laptop and getting charged a bundle so I opted for a little DIY troubleshooting.
Continue reading

Posted in Desktop, OSX, Systems Administration | 4 Comments

Tracking your SEO pagerank

I’ve started using Sitening’s free SEO SERP tracker to track the position of GreatSchools.net for terms we want to rank for in Google. If you rely on search traffic and want to keep track of how you’re ranking for certain keywords I highly recommend checking it out, they’ve done a great job!

Posted in Search Engine Optimization | Comments Off on Tracking your SEO pagerank

Using image tags (for style elements) in HTML is bad design

Update 4/11/06: I’ve received some criticism on this post from people who assumed I was saying you should never use image tags in HTML. My bad for the misleading title, I’ve added to the title in parens to be more concise! For those that didn’t read the whole post, in the last paragraph I say that it’s fine to use HTML image tags for content, I just think it’s bad design to use image tags for style elements. Anyhow, thanks for all the feedback (postive and negative) and here’s the original post:

CSS offers us a lot of power to style and decorate our pages with images, however, replacing text with an image is one gap not well addressed by CSS such that you often see sites doing:

<a href=”/”><img alt=”Home” src=”home.gif”/></a>

which is obviously bad for 2 reasons:
Continue reading

Posted in Accessibility, CSS, Design, Search Engine Optimization | 9 Comments

New Segway Dali LE (Light Edition)

I’ve always been intrigued by the original Segway but until recently they were out of my price range. That all changed with the new Segway Dali LE (Light Edition). Here I am enjoying the commute on my new Segway Dali LE which sports the following features: Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Travel | 3 Comments

Crawler side effects of using XHTML entity references

We’re slowly moving towards making GreatSchools XHTML compliant (we have a long way to go though)! To start we’ve begun using proper XHTML entity references for URL’s with &amp; as a separator instead of plain old & in a few places.
Continue reading

Posted in Design, Search Engine Optimization | Comments Off on Crawler side effects of using XHTML entity references

Java’s SEO blunder: jsessionid

Update: Bryce pointed out a servlet filter you can implement to disable JSESSIONID’s… very nice!

When we started moving GreatSchools from Perl to Java + SpringMVC + Hibernate one of the first things we had to figure out was how to disable jsessionid‘s from getting appended to URL’s when using c:url in a JSP page. Jsessionid is terrible for search engine optimization because crawlers that don’t have cookies enabled will get URL’s from your pages with a jsessionid parameter appended. This makes it virtually impossible for a crawler to match the URL from an inbound link to your site with a page it has already crawled. What’s worse is that you risk having your page rank hurt with Google because it thinks you’re serving duplicate content, ouch!
Continue reading

Posted in Java, Search Engine Optimization, Web | 9 Comments

Search engine market share changing is an understatement

The market share change between Google and Yahoo has been breathtaking this past year! The article Google gains search share, widens lead on Yahoo (over at Yahoo news) indicates Google’s market share was 36.3% a year ago and now it’s up to 42.3% while Yahoo was 31.1% and is now down to 27.6%.

Continue reading

Posted in Search Engine Optimization | 1 Comment

Will a language scale? Wrong question!

This tongue in cheek post by Dion about Ruby not scaling made me chuckle but also got me thinking!

The whole question of whether a modern language scales or not is really the wrong question to ask. Almost any language will scale horizontally. Here’s one anecdote as an example: when we were going through the language selection process at GreatSchools several years back we rewrote some key pages in PHP, Java, and Perl (mod_perl) to try them out. Not surprisingly Continue reading

Posted in Java, Ruby, Software Engineering, Web | 5 Comments

Ruby on Rails Mac OS X Intel Binary

Update 8/13/06: Upgraded to Rails 1.1.6
Update 5/10/06: Upgraded to Rails 1.1.2 and built Ruby with the ri docs per Duncan McGregor’s comment
Update 4/7/06: Upgraded to Rails 1.1.1
Update 3/28/06: Now that Rails 1.1 has arrived I’ve upgraded this package to include it.

Here are the Installation Instructions and here is the all-inclusive ~9MB file to download: RubyOnRailsMacIntel-1.1.6.tar.bz2. If you would prefer to build from source here is my updated version of Geoffrey’s do it all ru-ra-lim.sh script that now works on Mac Intel too.

Continue reading

Posted in Desktop, OSX, Ruby, Software Engineering | 26 Comments

Issue and solution for upgrading Lighttpd from 1.4.8 to 1.4.11

After upgrading Lighttpd to 1.4.11 from 1.4.8 it was no longer working with my Ruby on Rails project saying it couldn’t find public/dispatch.fcgi. Well, it turns out they made this security fix which breaks relative paths typically used in lighttpd.conf: Continue reading

Posted in Ruby, Systems Administration, Web | 7 Comments