My Last Project

(I mean my previous project. I’m not retiring yet.) Here’s a video about the 787, which is where some of my software engineering work is flying. Cool, right?  

Non-technical first-level managers

I just finished a DO-178B avionics software project as a senior software engineer. It was somewhat a third career, going back to my first career. From this perspective as a former software engineering manager and former business manager with an MBA, I saw many ways to improve our team’s process, methods, productivity, and overall performance […]

Symfony Great Except Documentation

When I developed my first commercial website about a decade ago there were no decent website development frameworks like Symfony so I created my own.  It even had a simple ORM known simply as the Entity class.  It made the rest of the development effort faster and more scalable. My decision was informed by a […]

Development Process

In recent post I mentioned an engineering process.  When most developers hear the word process they instinctively brace themselves for the overbearing, bureaucratic, time-wasting requirements that usually follow.  This is not that kind of process. Every development team uses a process whether it is documented or not. A good process makes work more predictable and […]

Cross browser FireUnit for JavaScript unit testing

I’m been delving more deeply into the world of front-end development recently, and after trying out a few different JavaScript unit testing tools I selected FireUnit.  I installed the Firefox extensions Firebug and FireUnit – you need both for unit testing with FireUnit. However, sometimes Firebug doesn’t work for me and I want to use […]

Blue button images for iPhone apps

The iPhone SDK makes it easy to add a bright blue button on the navigation bar.  It is the color that means press this when you’re done doing what you’re doing. However, if you want to add a button with the same meaning somewhere else, its a lot of work.  There is a blue button […]

strtotime warning from WordPress/PHP

If you try to install WordPress with the PHP and MySQL procedures I recently posted you’ll get the following warning all over your WordPress pages. Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: It is not safe to rely on the system’s timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used […]

Installing MySQL and PHPMyAdmin on a Mac

Part of making OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) a great LAMP development platform is installing MySQL. Here’s how to install that along with the most popular web interface for managing MySQL, PHPMyAdmin. 1. Download the Mac OS X 10.5 (x86_64) package format from  The downloaded file should be named mysql-5.1.xx-osx10.5-x86_64.dmg with “xx” replaced with […]

How to use PHP on Snow Leopard

Here’s how to get a PHP site running on your Mac with minimal effort.  First, lets put a PHP file in the right directory so we’ll have something to see when we get it working.  Put the following code in Sites/phpinfo.php <?php phpinfo(); ?> It is an effective method to develop backwards, so lets start […]

Upgrade your hard drive first

Added a page for my mac.  I will be recording what I install and why on that page.  One additional tip from studying computer architecture.  When you’re deciding where to spend money increasing your computer’s performance, start with the slowest things first, namely the hard drive. A standard MacBook Pro 17 already comes packed with […]