Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Use FileMaker Web Publishing in Apache

I've been tasked with nice-ifying the configuration and setup of the systems at work. They store a huge amount (244 GiB) of protein analysis data in a FileMaker database and have PHP scripts accessing the data through the FileMaker XML HTTP API. The problem is that the PHP scripts are running on Apache (as is an SVN repo), but FileMaker wants to publish its API only through IIS. Having spent more than a minute wrestling with configuring IIS, I want it out of my life ASAP. But that can't be done unless scripts have a way of talking XML to FileMaker on port 80. All hope seemed lost.

Monday, June 18, 2012

When European "Austerity" Isn't

I've been skeptical of the rhetoric that there has been "brutal, crushing austerity" in Europe. When these claims are made, I have seldom heard any quantification of how brutal these "brutal" changes have been. So I looked it up.

Short version: there's been minimal to negative austerity since pre-meltdown 2008.

Longer version:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Solving mod_dav_svn loading faliure on Apache in Windows

Yesterday, I spent way too much time trying to get Subversion working under Apache in Windows 7. I really have a new appreciation for GNU/Linux package managers; what would have been sudo aptitude install libapache2-svn under Ubuntu turned into hours of staring at Syntax error on line 270 of C:/Program Files (x86)/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/conf/httpd.conf: Cannot load C:/Program Files (x86)/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/modules/mod_dav_svn.so into server: The specified procedure could not be found.

I tried copying all of the SVN libraries into bin within the server root, downloading different versions from the web, and "unblocking" the libraries (Windows blocks code downloaded from the internet. Nice idea; I only wish it would tell you about it). Finally, after hours of Googling, I found some post on some forum somewhere that mentioned using the libapr-1.dll from the Subversion distribution rather than Apache's would help. It did.

This would seem to undermine somewhat the idea of the "Apache Portable Runtime". But whatever; I have a working system. Now onto trying to get LDAP set up for SVN and Ubuntu. Wish me luck!

TL;DR: If Apache in Windows fails to start with mod_dav_svn.so loaded in your conf/httpd.conf and you get this error in your Event Viewer: Syntax error on line 270 of C:/Program Files (x86)/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/conf/httpd.conf: Cannot load C:/Program Files (x86)/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/modules/mod_dav_svn.so into server: The specified procedure could not be found., you can solve it by copying libapr-1.dll from Subversion/bin to Apache2.2/bin, replacing the version which ships with Apache.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Metaphor for Europe's Troubles

Based on my decades of experience in the sovereign debt markets, I have come up with a perfect metaphor for what is going on in the Eurozone. It is as if the Grace government promised 200,000 people one boat each, but now that the boats are due, it turns out that she doesn't have 200,000 boats anywhere, there are only 100,000. Grace tries telling half of the people not to try to use their boat; to pretend that it is sitting in a port somewhere, waiting for them. If some people use their boat half of the week, other people can use it for the other half of the week, so it is "like" having 200,000 boats. Uncle Jeremy has 1.5 million boats, but he isn't so thrilled about just handing over a bunch of his boats to Grace, who knew she promised more than she had. Jeremy says "I'll give you 50,000 of my boats, but only if you tell 50,000 people that they aren't getting a boat at all." Grace is furious, shouting "you're forcing boat austerity on me! I need to implement boat-growth policies!" Of course, "boat-growth policies" is a euphemism for "Jeremy gives me more boats."

Grace then proposes a consolidated "Euroboat" concept, in which all of Grace's, Jeremy's, Ira's, Talia's, and Pete's boats are lumped together and then given out to each of their citizens, regardless of how many boats each person (government) has. It just so happens that Jeremy has 1.5 million boats and has promised 750k of his citizens one boat each, but all of the other governments have promised more boats than they have, and have even promised more than the 750k spare boats that Jeremy has. Jeremy, understandably, doesn't want to give out all of the spare boats he has to people who promised more than they had, but when he tells the other people this, they get angry and call him mean names. Jeremy tries to explain that even if he was to give out all of the extra boats he has, and cut back on a bunch of the boats he already promised to his citizens, there would still not be enough boats for all the people who promised more boats than they knew they had.

Some people want their acquaintance Mario to print them a bunch of boats.

Friday, June 1, 2012

EA support is wonderful

I contacted EA support today to get my reward for participating in last weekend's Mass Effect 3 Bounty Weekend: Operation Shieldwall. I achieved the individual goal, but didn't get the priiiize, so I went to EA for help. Maybe 10 minutes later, it was done. Thank you to "Larry S" for helping me. Here is the log of my chat with him; I want to give credit where credit is due for his professionalism and speed.