Rails on OSX tip: MySQL access

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After wasting lots of time trying to get a database connecting to Rails on my MacPro at work I finally found the magic combination for MySQL.

  • Install MySQL.
  • Install the MySQL GUI Tools set.
  • Using the MySQL Administrator from the GUI Tools add a new user.
  • When adding permissions for the use set the hostname to be "(computername).local", e.g. "mymac.local".

It is that last part that had me pulling my hair out - using just "%" didn't work for me, it had to be "(computername).local". Silly thing.

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!

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