Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Announcement: php[tek] 2017 Conference Talks

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

I’m pleased to announce that in May, I will be giving two talks at the excellent php[tek] conference in Atlanta, GA. One will be a technical talk on computational algorithmic complexity. The other is a comparison of long-distance hiking and software development, which I developed over the course of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, and which I’m particularly looking forward to giving.

I missed last year’s php[tek] because I was on the Appalachian Trail at the time. This was the first tek I’ve missed since 2010, so I’m happy that I get to go this year partially to talk about why I wasn’t there last year!

For more information on my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, please feel free to see my hiking blog,

BowerBundle Released

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Last night, I released BowerBundle, a super-simple bundle for Symfony that enables running Bower update/install automatically after running Composer update/install. I’ve used this for several different Symfony apps, and now it’s available for your use as well.

You can download it via GitHub, or via jbafford/bower-bundle in Composer.

GPSTrack 2.0 released

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Today, the first major update to GPSTrack, my iOS GPS tracking application, made its way to the App Store, now with support for the iPad (WiFi + 3G).

I didn’t make too big a fuss about the 1.0 version, knowing it would have the sort of annoying bugs that every 1.0 release has, and while 2.0 still doesn’t have all the features I wanted — I severely underestimated how much time adding iPad support was going to take, and some of which I hope to blog about soon — I’m pretty happy with the improvements I’ve made so far, but now that 2.0’s released, I can actually get back to adding new functionality.

Twitterslurp open source release

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Last month, I wrote about Twitterslurp, the twitter searching tool I developed at The Bivings Group, which displays a constantly-updating stream of tweets, as well as a leaderboard and stats graphs.

Today, we are very happy to release it as open source. You can download Twitterslurp from its Google Code project page at

Since last month, I’ve made a lot of changes to improve the quality (and ease of configuration) of the Twitterslurp code. Twitterslurp’s error handling has been improved, and I added the ability to start and stop the tweet stream and show more than the most recent 20 tweets. Our graphics team also created a spiffy logo.

Yesterday and today, Twitterslurp has been driving a video wall of tweets at the Personal Democracy Forum conference in NYC. The conference, which just ended, had over 17,000 tweets in the last two days.

Previously, we ran test versions of Twitterslurp during mysqlconf and php|tek, and officially on behalf of the Dutch PHP Conference. Twitterslurp started as a project for a client to allow them to track tweets, and give members of their website rewards for tweeting with a particular hashtag.

We’ve also set up a copy of Twitterslurp tracking itself.

We’d love for you to check out Twitterslurp, and we’re open to any and all feedback.

Aggregate Map Tools, Part 1: GlobalMapTiles

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

My fourth open source release this week comes from work I’ve done for my employer, The Bivings Group. Today, we are releasing a set of code that assists with aggregating markers on a Google Map. Our clients wanted to be able to display markers on a map reflecting the locations of people who provided their location (city, state, zip, and in some cases, street address), but with tens of thousands of expected sign-ups, it’s not feasible to display all the points on the map at once.


Week of Open Source Releases: xarfs 0.2

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This week’s third piece of software is xarfs, a proof-of-concept MacFUSE-based filesystem that mounts xar archive files as a read-only filesystem.

I wrote xarfs because I wanted an easy way to be able to inspect Mac OS X Installer package files, which as of Mac OS X 10.5, began to be xar archives. In particular, I wanted to be able to lsbom the package manifest in order to see what files were being modified. (In retrospect, it probably would have been easier, though less satisfying, to have written a simple tool that extracts only the package manifest and lists its contents.)

Although xarfs provides easy access to view the contents of a xar archive, it has some pretty significant limitations. Besides having a rather clumsy user interface, and presenting only a read-only interface to xar files, it handles large files spectacularly poorly, decompressing them entirely into memory regardless of how much of the file is being accessed. (This is a limitation in the xar API.) It’s also written in Objective C using MacFUSE’s framework. This rather limits its portability; an implementation using the regular FUSE API would probably allow xarfs to work on Linux.

If anyone’s interested in this, it’s probably possible to resolve some of its deficiencies and make it a lot more useful. Let me know if you find it helpful.

xarfs is licensed under the three-clause BSD license. For more information, or to download, see the xarfs page.

Week of Open Source Releases: slow 1.0

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The second piece of software I’m releasing this week is a unix command line tool called slow. Slow is a tool that makes it easy to cause another process to run slowly.

Slow does this by taking advantage of two signals, SIGSTOP and SIGCONT, which respectively stop and re-start a unix process’ execution.

I’ve used this tool to prevent long-running cpu-bound processes from consuming an entire cpu to improve performance of other processes on the machine. I’ve also used it to slow part of a two-part data import process where temporary data files could be created much faster than they could be processed and removed, running the risk of low disk space conditions.

Slow is released under the GPL v3. For documentation, more information, and download links for slow and its source code, please see slow’s web page.

Week of Open Source Releases: Unlockupd 1.0.2

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

The first piece of software I’m releasing this week is an updated version of Unlockupd. Unlockupd is a Mac OS X daemon that works around a bug in lookupd, a system service which is required for proper operation of Mac OS X 10.0 – 10.4. If lookupd fails, the system quickly becomes unusable. Unlockupd periodically checks lookupd’s status and forces it to restart should it fail.

Fortunately, the bug has been fixed in Mac OS X 10.5, which does not have a lookupd service, but it was present in Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4.

Unlockupd was first released in 2004, and it really should have been released under an open source back then. Better late than never, though. At this point, it’s really more of an historical relic than a useful program, but hopefully someone will find some use with the code.

More information is available on Unlockupd’s web page, including download links for Unlockupd and its source code. Unlockupd is licensed under the GPL v3.

WordPress Comments Vote Plugin Released

Friday, January 9th, 2009

WordPress Comments Vote plugin released. More details on The Bivings Report, my employer’s blog.