The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, January 25, 2002

A preemptive callback

In a surprise move today, the head Condo Commando called me this morning. He excused himself for not getting back sooner by saying he was on sick leave, and that they weren't going to fine us. “Read the letter more carefully,” he said.

I scanned the letter. “ 'You will be subject …',” I said.

“That's a far cry from being fined,” he said. “So, do you have a dog?”

“No. I have a cat.”

“Pets aren't allowed here.”

“There are other people with cats,” I said. “Quite a few places.”

“Well, give me their names and addresses and I'll send them letters too.”

“I don't wish that! Besides, we have an indoor cat. It never goes outside. It's never been outside.”

“Well, the Vice President of the Board complained …” Aha! That's who turned us in! “… so I'll get back with him about it.” The call ended there.

I did not mention the other problem we're having. I figure since the head Condo Commando didn't mention it, he doesn't know and I suspect they may have gotten us confused with another unit, with a dog and unauthorized occupants.

A very rare request

I got an email today from someone looking for a tutorial or resources on writing a metasearch engine. I got the email because I've written three of them over the past six years or so.

I told the person that I know of no tutorials or references about writing metasearch engines since when I started, there were about two in existance that I knew of and that to me, it was pretty straightforward what you need to do in order to write a metasearch engine: you get query (using CGI most likely), reformat the queries for each engine you support and make the request like a browser would (which means you need to support HTTP and CGI from the client side) and then process the pages you get back (so you need to parse HTML) and display output like any CGI script can.


Okay, maybe not that easy as there are some nagging details you only find out about by doing an actual implementation (like certain IIS servers will send out two complete header sections, or that IIS doesn't follow the HTTP redirect specification at all, and what exactly are you supposed to do if you get a redirect on a POST?) but if you take it piece by piece it's not that overwhelming.

Or is it just me?

A lesson learned

Don't used shredded cheese when making a grilled cheese sandwich.

That is all.

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