Archive for the ‘personal’ Category.

San Francisco Zoo – South Gate closed!

So I haven’t been to the zoo in a while. I take my family, and we park at the South Gate. I always used to go in there, but now it’s not an entrance, it’s just an exit.

And the old main entrance on Sloat is closed too. The new main entrance is a three minute walk from the street through their new paid parking lot which costs $8.

So we’re sure not paying for parking, so we figure, we’ll park at the South Gate, walk all the way around (about a 15 minute walk) but then when we leave we’ll be right by the car.

Great plan, except the South Gate isn’t an exit now either. It’s nothing.

Even though the maps still say “South Gate (exit only)”!

And it’s the type of exit gate with a revolving gate that only turns one way, and it’s simply not possible to go the wrong way. In other words, it can be left unmanned as an exit.

But instead there’s a padlock on it so we can’t get out.

So we have to walk all the way back across the zoo with an 18-month old child who was assured we were going home.

And then I get to push the stroller back to the car (15 minute walk!) and drive back around to get wife and child who stayed to watch the horsies (the carousel).

So thanks, SF Zoo, for lying on your maps and closing all exits except the one in the paid parking lot, just to try to get another $8 out of me.

Installing PDFlib Lite on Linux

I had some trouble, maybe if someone else has the same trouble I can help.

1. I downloaded the source code at the pdflib site

2. I unpacked it and ran the configure and make commands and such. So far so good.

3. I realized that unlike the full version, this doesn’t come with the php extension bindings.

4. Tried to use pear install pdflib like the instructions said, but that failed, so I tried pecl, but it claimed my gcc didn’t work:

# pear install pdflib
No releases available for package “” – package pecl/pdflib can be installed with “pecl install pdflib”
Cannot initialize ‘pdflib’, invalid or missing package file
Package “pdflib” is not valid
install failed
# pecl install pdflib
downloading pdflib-2.1.5.tgz …
Starting to download pdflib-2.1.5.tgz (55,579 bytes)
………….done: 55,579 bytes
10 source files, building
running: phpize
Configuring for:
PHP Api Version: 20041225
Zend Module Api No: 20060613
Zend Extension Api No: 220060519
1. path to pdflib installation? :

1-1, ‘all’, ‘abort’, or Enter to continue: 1
path to pdflib installation? [] : /usr/local
1. path to pdflib installation? : /usr/local

1-1, ‘all’, ‘abort’, or Enter to continue:
building in /var/tmp/pear-build-root/pdflib-2.1.5
running: /root/tmp/pear/pdflib/configure –with-pdflib=/usr/local
checking for egrep… grep -E
checking for a sed that does not truncate output… /bin/sed
checking for gcc… gcc
checking for C compiler default output file name… a.out
checking whether the C compiler works… configure: error: cannot run C compiled programs.
If you meant to cross compile, use `–host’.
See `config.log’ for more details.
ERROR: `/root/tmp/pear/pdflib/configure –with-pdflib=/usr/local’ failed

So that failed. I don’t know why, because my gcc does work. Anyway, the solution was to start the pecl process, then open another terminal window and copy the /root/tmp/pear/pdflib/ files to another directory.

Then manually run configure –with-pdflib=/usr/local there.

(I also ran into trouble because I wasn’t giving /usr/local as the directory. I was giving /usr/local/lib which was where was. Trouble was, it needed pdflib.h which was in /usr/local/include. So giving /usr/local it knows to look both places. The error code I was getting was: configure: error: pdflib.h not found! Check the path passed to –with-pdflib=. PATH should be the install prefix directory.)

Then run make, then make test, then make install, and you’re done! You should now have in your php extension directory, which is extension_dir in your php.ini file.

Hope that helps anyone googling for a solution based on error codes they’ve gotten.

I can’t be a pirate for Halloween!!

So I have a costume party to go to, and I was going to put on my robe and wizard hat, except that costumes having to do with supernatural or religious elements are discouraged. I’m religious but I don’t have a problem with fiction, but some people do and I don’t disrespect that.

I couldn’t come up with anything else that I both liked and thought practical. Constraints were that it couldn’t be too hot (small house, lots of people), and couldn’t be too bulky (I’ll have a lot of baby wrangling to do).

So I ruled out my Matrix coat (which really only looks good while carrying a sword, hard to do indoors) and my Renaissance cloak (look, I don’t dress like this year round, so don’t get judgmental because I own these items from previous years!).

That left my Dr. McNinja costume from 2 years ago. I hadn’t wanted to do it again because I didn’t want to have to cover my face the whole time.

But I have a better Ninja mask now. My previous one didn’t fit and wasn’t made well, a cheap Halloween kid’s mask actually, and I ended up using velcro stuck to my forehead and cheeks to actually keep in in place, so my hair didn’t show and my face was kept hidden. It meant it was sorta delicate and needed readjustment a few times, especially because it was actually in two pieces, a hood and then a face mask, almost just a veil.

Anyway, I got a better once since then, which fits, and is all one piece, so I will be able to pull it down quickly and eat something and it’ll snap back into place, without compromising my secret identity.

So that’s what I’ll be for the party, anyway. There’ll be a lot of kids so I won’t carry my real sword, but I’ll have a bokken.

But while my wife was trying to help me pick a costume, she found a Renaissancy type shirt and said with a little work I could have a pirate costume. “But… I can’t be a pirate… pirates are my mortal enemies” I told her, completely straight, with just a touch of whiny. She proceeded to fall face first on the bed and try to suffocate herself. “But the Internet told me so…” I continued to whinge, and she only pressed her face down harder.

Sometimes it’s hard to be a ninja.