Hacking around memory limitations in shared hosting.

Longtime readers are aware that I've been a customer of Dreamhost for quite a few years now, and by and large they've done all right by me.  They haven't complained (much) about all the stuff I have running there, and I try to keep my hosted databases in good condition.  However, the server they have my stuff on is starting to act wonky.  Periodic outages mostly, but when my Wallabag installation started throwing all sorts of errors and generally not working right, that got under my skin in a fairly big hurry.  I reinstalled.  I upgraded to the latest stable …

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Notes toward the Network 25 unhosted social network application.

Quite a few years (and a couple of re-orgs) ago on the Zero State mailing list we were kicking around the idea of building an unhosted social network to keep in touch, which is to say, a socnet that was implemented only as a single file, with all of the JavaScript and CSS embedded at the end.  Some of the ideas included using a distributed hash table so each instance could find the others, as many crazy but feasible ways as possible to bootstrap a new member of the network into the DHT, and using using the browser's built-in local …

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Setting up converse.js as a web-based chat client.

As not bleeding edge, nifty-keen-like-wow the XMPP protocol is, Jabber (the colloquial name for XMPP I'll be using them interchangably in this article) has been my go-to means of person-to-person chat (as well as communication protocol with other parts of me) for a couple of years now.  There are a bunch of different servers out there on multiple platforms, they all support pretty much the same set of features (some have the experimental features, some don't), and the protocol is federated, which is to say that every server can talk to every other server out there (unless you turn that …

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Upgrading Bolt CMS to v3.x.

Since PivotX went out of support I've been running the Bolt CMS for my website at Dreamhost (referral link).  A couple of weeks back you may have noticed some trouble my site was having, due to my running into significant difficulty encountered when upgrading from the v2.x release series to the v3.x release series.  Some stuff went sideways, and I had to restore from backup at least once before I managed to get the upgrade procedure straightened out with the help of some of the developers in the Bolt IRC channel on Freenode.  If it wasn't for help …

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A new way to write web applications.

It's almost taken for granted these days that your data lives Out There Somewhere on the Internet. If you set up a webmail account at a service like Gmail or Hushmail, your e-mail will ultimately be stored on a bunch of servers racked in a data center someplace you will probably never see. Users of social networks implicitly accept that whatever they post - updates, notes, images, videos, comments, what have you - will probably never touch any piece of hardware they own ever again. Everything stays in someone else's server farm whether or not you want it to, and while there …

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Turbotax web application security vulnerability.

A customer of the Turbo Tax web application discovered by accident that it is possible to look at tax information belonging to other customers who happen to share your last name by attempting to view past tax filings. By 'tax information' I mean everything, from Social Security Numbers to bank account numbers and routing codes.

Here's hoping they audited the code in that web app and fixed it before anyone else had a chance to discover the bug, and take advantage of it.

Primitive artificial intelligence indicted for unlawful practise of law!

No, I'm not kidding.

One Henry Ihejirika developed a web application called Ziinet, which was an expert system for bankruptcy law that provided a service to whomever could pay the $216us charge for 60 days of access. The idea was that you paid your fee to log into the web application and hammer in the information relevant to your bankruptcy proceedings. The application would analyse your situation, draw up affadavits (presumably drawing upon a database of pre-written statements and paragraphs - if you write enough papers of any kind, it only stands to reason that re-using parts of older papers is …

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