WellRailed’s “Getting started with Ruby on Rails”

Tim Haines writes:

Tomek, Nahum, and I are organising a Rails session for newbies this month. We aim to make it the best Rails session yet. We’ve organised some books to give away, a discount for O’Rielly, and will be putting on Pizza (and hopefully beer if we find a sponser. 😉 The session will be about building a basic blog app, but the overriding theme will be to get the uninitiated but curious, and the beginners along, and give them a taste of the good stuff. We aim to nuture their curiousity into a love of Rails – which will benefit the entire Wgtn software development scene.

What: Getting started with Ruby on Rails – a community based approach
When: 6:30pm, Tuesday, 31st October 2006
Where: CreativeHQ, 25a Marion Street, Te Aro, Wellington (behind Resene Paint)
Presented by: Nahum Wild
Intended audience: Anyone interested in Ruby on Rails.
Prerequisites: Interest in Ruby on Rails. Knowledge of programming in any language will be useful during the live demo.
Refreshments: Hell pizza
Cost: Free. It’s a community event. It is our turn to give back.

The format will be as follows:

  • Arrive between 6:30 and 7pm.
  • Start at 7pm: Welcome and introduction
  • Quick overview of Ruby on Rails and its main underlying design pattern: Model-View-Controller
  • An end to end demonstration of how to build a simple blog application in Rails.
  • Q&A time.

Interested? Only 12 places left… Find out more about this event! I’m looking forward to this one…

O’Reilly? YA RLY!

<script type="text/javascript" language="Javascript">
	i = /^[O]{1}( {1}RLY)\?{1}$/mi ;
	j = /^Y(A) {1}RLY[\!.]?$/mi ;
	q = prompt('O'Reilly? Ya Reilly!');
	if (i.test(q)) {
		alert (q.toUpperCase().replace(i,'YA $1'));
	} else if(j.test(q)) {
		alert (q.toUpperCase().replace(j,'NO W$1I!'));

O'Reilly? YA RLY!

Being On Hold and the Art of Debugging DNS Discrepancies

So as you know, I recently switched hosts. I host a small site for a short animated film which is still in post production.

When I switched host, I needed to update that site’s record of who is handling the domain name. Friday night, I logged into the domain registrar and found the page which lets me update the nameservers. I am told this is called updating the zone file.

When I do this, it is supposed to propagate the changes through the all of the DNS servers around the world within the space of 24 hours. That’s how it works. Problem solved.

Not with this domain name. Monday morning rolled around, and still the domain name was pointing at the old host’s servers.

This is weird, because whois.net and samspade.org are reporting the dns records correctly.

So I get in contact with the registrar who handles the domain name. The lady on the other end of my web-based IM session told me it’s probably Telecom’s fault, as this kind of thing isn’t surprising, and on request provides me with phone numbers to Telecom.

After 15 minutes on hold (because of the power cuts in Auckland recently) I get through to a guy in Complex Technical Support (yes, that’s what the department is called at Telecom/Xtra), and I explain to him my problem, and stubbornly refuses to believe that their systems are as bad as I have been informed — I asked that he flush their dns cache for me, but he refused. After frustrating attempts to get him to see what I was seeing, I took his name down and department in case I needed to stick it to him.

So I talk to my System Administrator here at Natcoll, and he introduces me to a tool called dig which will let me see what different DNS servers are saying about domain names. After checking a few low level DNS servers, such as Paradise and Xtra, we checked the A-level DNS servers — and the first B level DNS server I checked was mis-reporting too! No wonder we’re having these problems.

So, after trying to raise an IM session with the registrar, I tracked down their phone number and called them for real. I got a helpful soul who said aha, no, what I was told by the other staff member is incorrect. Turns out that they are not a .com registrar themselves, but have to go through a US company to register .com domains on behalf of their customers, and it would seem that the propagation of the zone file changes I requested had failed, and they would need to request them to happen by telephone.

So all’s well that ends well. I’ve called Complex Tech Support back and asked that a message be left for the employee I spoke with, telling him that he was right, and I was fed bad information from my registrar and I wanted to apologise.

Hopefully the site will be up tomorrow morning! I guess we’ll see, eh?

WCAG2 will be squashed by the developer community

Joe Clark, respected Web Accessibility guru, author of Building Accessible Websites, is criticising the draft version of the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which has been under development for over 5 years now.

Clark doesn’t just criticise the content of the new guidelines, but the manner in which they have been delivered to the world and how valuable stakeholders haven’t been listened to or even consulted.

What does this mean? A lot of the work of WCAG1 — the things that actually work — seems to be being undone and losing a lot of it’s punch. And instead, most of what WCAG2 is proposing Joe claims to be unachievable — and he’d know.

I could start explaining, but you’re better off reading what Joe Clark had to say his A List Apart article.

The WAI committee didn’t give much time for interested parties to provide comments — only until 31st May 2006. You better read this now and provide your feedback to the group while you still can.

UPDATE: Corrected some mistakes — thanks Joe Clark for dropping by and correcting me 😉