Mac OS X: Plotting with GNU Octave (libfreetype)

For our courses in linear algebra, we are using the GNU Octave software for numerical computation. Since I am using a MacBook Air for university, I had to install Octave on Mac OS X. I simply followed the steps described here and successfully installed gnuplot and the Octave software package. But when I tried to plot something with Octave, I received the following error message:

Read the rest of this entry »

MySQL: Return random row

For, we launched a contest where we award a restaurant voucher to a random person that wrote a review of a restaurant on our site. For this, we will be using the following query:

SELECT DISTINCT comment_author,comment_author_email
FROM wp_comments

What this query does is, that it selects all distinct rows, orders them randomly and shows the first entry of this selection.

Note that this query is relatively slow and should not be used in a program. When you use EXPLAIN on this query, MySQL will explain to you that it will create a temporary table and run a sort. Then only one entry is returned. But when you just use it once to determine a winner, this will work just fine!

Review Freitag Dragnet

This is a bit of an unusual review since I am reviewing… a bag! I could not find any other review of the bag mentioned here on the internet, so here it goes…

Update: For more images, recommendations and a report after one year of usage, see my follow-up.

Since my old laptop bag I used for work and school was a bit beaten up, I looked for a new bag for daily usage. I then came across the Freitag website. Freitag fabricates bags made from used truck tarps, safety belts and bicycle inner tubes. A friend of mine already had a Freitag bag and I decided to order a bag for myself. Now I only had to decide which one it was going to be.
My requirements where simple:

  • Rugged, rain-proof
  • Big enough for schoolbooks and papers
  • A 15″ laptop fits inside

Read the rest of this entry »