Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2008

Code Quality, Architecture, Archaeology, and Free Software

I read a pair of articles today courtesy of my daily ACM tech notes newsletter (join ACM now if you aren't already a member--it's an amazing resource on a bunch of different levels). Even though they were listed separately I saw them as related in an interesting way, and it got me thinking about a variety of things that have been formulating in my head for a while so the time seemed right to try and share some of these thoughts in a semi-coherent fashion.As is probably no surprise to people who know me or have had any interaction with me in the past year or so, I've been thinking a lot about the importance of free software (which is a preferable term over "open source") on a much bigger scale. I've always been a big fan of free software but for various reasons and through various influences, free software for me has become less of a fascination and more of a firmly held belief. Software is everywhere, it has (or can have) a profound impact on every…

Kill the Fax Machine Already

Hopefully now that Bruce Schneier is making a stink about it people will listen. I have no idea why the fax machine still exists in the age of email, but I still get people telling me that I can't scan in a signed document and email it to them, I have to fax it. Makes less than zero sense.
Let's look at the myriad ways in which fax machines suck:

Totally and completely insecure, particularly if it's a real fax machine on the receiving end as opposed to an electronic fax queue (and if it's an electronic fax queue why the hell use the fax machine?). If it's a real fax machine anyone with physical access to the machine--which are usually placed in unsecured common areas--can grab anything they want off the fax machine. And on the sending side, if you go to a UPS Store or something along those lines to fax something, whatever you faxed is most likely in that fax machine's memory for any employee to re-print.

Slow and annoying. I won't bore you with the…

Writing Query Results to a File in MySQL

Blogging this mostly for my own reference, but I had to write query results to a file in MySQL today and hadn't ever had to do that before. Luckily it's darn simple. The following will write out a CSV with field data enclosed with quotation marks (which is important if the data itself may contain a comma).
SELECT whatever FROM whereever
INTO OUTFILE '/path/to/file.csv'
You can then open that up in your favorite spreadsheet program quite easily.

That's awesome. I have never seen that before. Just one question - I assume the path there is relative to the machine housing the MySQL server, not the ColdFusion server (unless they are the same machine of course)?
Posted by Ben Nadel @ 6/3/08 6:38 AM

@Ben--yes, the path there is a server path, and I assume it would be relative to the MySQL executable, or to be safe it's probably best to give it a full path (which…