MySQL + Rails on Cygwin tip

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Here's a really quick tip for anyone using Rails on Cygwin. If you want to connect to a MySQL database the understood practice is to compile MySQL and go through the hassle of getting it all working within Cygwin itself. After what I've gone through with it all, the best way of getting this combination to work is to:

  • Install MySQL under Windows itself rather than Cygwin.
  • Make sure that the MySQL binaries are in your system path under Windows and, if installing via SSH, restart the Cygwin SSH service so that your login will be able to see the new path.
  • When installing the MySQL gem (gem install mysql) select the mswin32 option rather than the pure Ruby option.
  • Now, when you define your database connections just give the machine's IP address instead of saying "localhost" and it'll work great!

After wasting several days getting it all to work the "proper" way, the above is a much cleaner solution.

Redmine - excellent RoR-based project management tool

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I've just been converted to a tool called Redmine, a combination of the ubiquitous Trac and something like ActiveCollab. Able to work directly with Subversion code repositories, Redmine gives you support for multiple projects, per-project tasks, content management (blog, news, document management, wiki), both a calendar and GANTT chart to view progress, a very comprehensive user management system that can even authenticate against LDAP (i.e. Active Directory, NetWare, et al), and as always is an open-source application so you can improve/extend the code as you see fit. I'm trying it out at work but it looks like something I'm going to start using for all of my project management. Awesome stuff!

IE bug - background images, floating blocks

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There's a bug in all versions of Internet Explorer, including the latest IE7, whereby if you have a floating block in a block inside another block which has a background image (possibly also background colors), text will disappear. I was hitting this at work where we had two columns created using floating blocks, inside two separate blocks that each had a background image, and just above the columns was a heading - the text within the columns showed up but the heading always disappeared after the images finished loading. While there are some detailed explanations of why this bug happens, nothing quite explained my scenario or had a fix for it. Well, after poking around with it for a while I came up with a nifty fix: I put the heading inside a DIV that was set to 100% and floating to the left, which worked wonderfully!

Dumping Outlook again

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Well, enough of that, I'm dumping Outlook off my Mac again until I can work out a better way of doing it. I spent another half day putzing around with it as it decided to explode on me. I went back to an older backup of the Crossover "bottle" but it still didn't work. Created a new bottle with Office XP, it wouldn't work as I hadn't ran the setup program yet?!? Then I created another new bottle with Office 2000, which is supposed to be more highly supported than the newer releases - even it didn't work, complained about there not being any network connectivity. Argh.

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