Erik Swedlund

“Lurid new desk”

Recent Updates

PHP and cron
The development bug bit me again a few days ago when I ran across this awesome post, RSS to Twitter Using PHP from Paul Stamatiou. As if a bug bite weren't bad enough, it also caused my head to bang against the wall a lot. His cool little script can be automated, he suggests, with a cron job. Ack! For the life of me, I could NOT get a PHP file to execute via cron (or on the command line at all). Then I googled the problem (why not days earlier?) and found Running PHP Scripts with Cron at HTMLCenter. It didn't work exactly---my host has PHP5 installed as CGI, and their solution for this situation is just what I was trying (and failing) already. On the other hand, their workaround solution for PHP installed as an Apache module worked just fine for me. Success! Some more development work for me, and hopefully a keen little tool soon.
erik 8/15/2008 11:54:00 PM

shiny new toy
Lots of activity over at, a new blog where I'm testing out all the nifty badges and live content you can get nowadays.
xposted to HipSmart
erik 9/20/2006 01:38:00 PM

neat trick to amuse myself
There are just too many web 2.0 tabs open in my firefox! I'm drowning in a sea of gradients.
I remember seeing someone's suggestion on digg that you could use Google's personalized homepage as a Google Desktop-like proxy with Firefox on a Mac, by loading the bookmark in your sidebar, and arranging all the modules on your IG into the left column. I tried that out for a day or two, but wasn't thrilled (though it certainly seemed like a great idea). The problems were that I had too many modules, and couldn't lower the font size in the sidebar; lots of scrolling.
Now I've had a flash of my own: load meebo in the sidebar! That sucker can be skinnied right up, and I can have my buddy list always visible. Every once in a while I need to resize to grab a chat box that's popped up too wide, but the meebo virtual desktop is very flexible.
I followed someone else's suggestion a few weeks ago to set meebo as my active desktop on my Windows machine at work, but that also failed to impress. It was always hidden behind my pile of maximized windows, and there's something flaky about the active desktop connection that caused meebo to log out on an annoying regular basis.
erik 9/08/2006 02:23:00 PM

new site
Climbing back on the horse, I have designed a new website as a test bed/refresher course in web design. The Cubs Anti-Magic Number tracks how many Chicago Cubs losses until they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Give it a swing.
erik 8/15/2006 05:12:00 PM

checking in
Since it's been forever since I've updated this site, everything here is woefully out of date. Say hello to the old me!
The latest dish: I'm going back to school, pursuing a Masters degree in computer science. At the moment, I'm auditing an intro to programming class (Java); real school starts in the fall.
Hopefully, this will mean actual projects of interest, instead of the hacked-up ephemera currently on this site. More updates to come (within the next two years, if the pattern holds).
erik 4/17/2006 09:25:00 PM

alternate, bizarre keyboard shortcuts
Here's one for you owners of older Mac keyboards (I have the original keyboard that came with my B&W G3 tower--it has a power button on it, but not an eject key, no volume control keys, and no "end" key (the "home" key that I do have doesn't really work, either)): I read somwhere and promptly forgot that Option-F12 works as the eject key. By a stroke of random button mashing, I have discovered that Help-F12 also triggers the eject function. It's almost more useful, too, since the two keys are directly next to each other across the alpha/numeric divide.
Oh, jeez, I have duped myself! After a bit more random button-mashing/testing, I have realized that F12 alone is the eject key. I can press almost anything along with F12 to eject. Heck.
I'm just going to sit here and toggle the caps lock for a while. Don't mind ME.
erik 12/13/2004 11:45:00 PM

using a 3rd party wireless card in your non-airport ready mac
Despite the fact that Fry's Electonics doesn't have the same rebates as their online store (, I went ahead and spent $50 on this 54Mbps Wireless Desktop PCI Adapter from Buffalo Technology, though I had hoped to find one for $20. After searching through many online forums about people installing wireless PCI cards in their older Macs to find out what worked, I was tired of waiting and just decided to buy it when I was at the store this weekend. My Blue & White G3 tower (Yosemite, 350Mhz) was extremely happy to recognize the new card on startup and put the Airport icon into my menu bar. A quick few settings in the Network pane of the System Preferences and the Internet Connect utility, and I was on the wireless network. Sweet!
Since I reinstalled the OS last week (long story) everything has been working swimmingly, except for the Griffin Powermate when I attempted to install it last night. I'll get a little more use out of my old Mac yet.
erik 11/09/2004 12:48:00 PM

iPod and a Honda Element
Found this story over at iPodlounge: Wireless headset adapter for iPod coming next year. Bluetooth would be way too slow for syncing the iPod to your computer, but a wireless headset is a great idea. Same benefits of a wireless headset for your cellphone, plus it would help out in my new car where the aux audio jack for the stereo is way over on the passenger side, and there's nowhere to set the iPod on the driver side (it's a weird dash), so leaning over to skip a track is dangerous. Except, now that I think about it, even with Bluetooth to send the audio over to the passenger side, I still have to find somewhere to set the iPod where I can control it safely--the only advantage would be getting rid of a long cord that goes across the car. I think using the navipod remote might be a way to go, but then there's the issue of where to set the remote and will the little stand for the iPod fit on the dash shelf?
Also: iPodlounge posts links to stories at bad websites (like the link to this story, with innummerable pop-ups and a generally shady feeling to the writing), and the quality of the comments is seriously lacking. You know how it gets annoying reading Slashdot comments after a while? This is worse.
erik 3/31/2004 04:39:00 PM

3650 and a 12-inch???
This article at Wired News, "Brits Going at It Tooth and Nail," describes a slightly naughtier connotation of Bluetooth sharing than C.K.'s Share2Blue2th.
erik 3/22/2004 04:13:00 PM

yosemite and a T68i
WARNING! AT&T wants to pull a switcharoo on you! You may have read about the AT&T "upgrade" over at C.K.'s 3650 and a 12-inch, or at one of the larger media outlets that picked up on the story. The gist: AT&T will give you a free phone to replace your current one, and you should get better network coverage; however, the new phone may lack some features of your current phone, such as Bluetooth. What! That's right, depsite better reception and possibly some things like a better screen, polyphonic ring tones, or the ability to purchase a camera attachment (for extra $$$), people like me would be losing an investment in Bluetooth hardware (even more so if you bought a Bluetooth earpiece) and a substantial investment in Bluetooth software, time, and connective functionality.
OK, so that's just a choice for the consumer: switch to the better reception, or hold on to the Bluetooth. Except! Last night I received in the snail mail a card from AT&T Wireless and Sony Ericsson informing me that my "upgrade" was already on its way! A new T226 will arrive via UPS in two to four weeks, along with a handy "return kit to dispose of your old T68." Holy crud!
They know I have the T68i, and they didn't even ask if I want the T226. From checking the "T68i/T226 comparison" page at the website they mention in the mailer, I can see that the T226 doesn't have Bluetooth. AT&T is trying to pull a switcharoo on me!
An experiment I would like to try would be seeing if I can use the new phone as a phone, and the T68i as a simple Bluetooth remote for my Mac. I do get horrible network coverage with the T68i, to the point where it doesn't work inside, or at my apartment (that includes both inside my apartment or EVEN anywhere within a block of my apartment). I don't have a Bluetooth earpiece to worry about, just nifty connectivity via the Salling Clicker and built-in Bluetooth functionality on the Mac. Is AT&T going to complain if I don't "dispose" of my T68i in their return kit?
I say "an experiment I would like to try" because I just figured out that it's not going to work: without the SIM card in the T68i, it won't start up. Or . . . do I remember having an extra, non-activated SIM card around? Maybe the T68i would start up without cell phone functionality but retaining Bluetooth. Hrmmm.
For the average schmo, though--they're going to wonder why their wireless hands-free earpiece stops working with the new phone. WATCH OUT FOR THE SWITCHAROO!
erik 3/16/2004 11:54:00 AM