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Site Config (config.yml) for Rails

Over at Railscasts, The Honourable Ryan Bates, Esquire1 has been churning out quality screencasts FOREVER. And while some of them become somewhat obsolete as Rails itself changes, they're still a better starting point than most of what's available on the web.

One that I happened to view recently concerned application configuration for your Rails app being stored in a .yml file. This brings site configuration in line with database, fixtures, etc. As usual, Ryan gives you exactly what you need to adapt things to your situation. So I did. This is my ApplicationConfiguration class.2 It basically gives you a global ::AppConfig object, which allows you to reverence any of your configuration settings from a single place. It supports nested configuration, and automatically selects the right environment (test, production, etc).

Dual-booting Raided Windows/Non-Raid Linux

If you're following along at home, I got my Gentoo install extracted and running on physical disk. Now I have a problem to solve: Dual booting with Windows. This is only a problem because my Windows install is on a RAID0 array using an Intel fakeraid controller. I found all kinds of info on dual-booting Windows/Linux while both are installed in the raid array, but nothing to help with my situation. So here we go.

Attempt #1 :: GRUB on the Linux drive

My first attempt was to setup GRUB on the Linux drive, and tell the BIOS to boot off that. I knew I should add an entry to grub.conf to reference the Windows drive and call chainloader+, but as I was typing it out I realized that I didn't have a way to reference it. My Spidey Sense´┐Ż was telling me I'd need an initrd with all the raid info in it, so GRUB would know how to talk to the entire RAID drive. That sounds like work. Moving on.

Moving from Virtualbox to Physical Disk

I decided to convert one of my Gentoo VirtualBox installs to physical disk (ie. convert Virtual -> Physical ). This sounded pretty straightforward, but after a bit of Googling, all I had found were a bunch of articlesi explaining how to take a physical partition and convert it to a .vdi. This was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do.

Finally, I found this wiki article, and it all came together.

Preparing the disks

I had a spare SATA drive laying around, so I powered off the machine and popped it in. Using my trusty Gentoo install CD, I partitioned the Linux disk. My Virtualbox install had a disk layout like this:

Windows Updates Failing

I was having some updates fail on my machine here at work (KB983583, KB2279264, KB2277947, and KB2251419 specifically), and couldn't seem to find any resolution. All the "FixIt"s from Microsoft crashed, and nothing in this article seemed to help either.

Findable plugin

Probably the strangest first blog post ever, but here goes. I'm migrating a product from Classic ASP to Rails. The bulk of its data is accessed via a TCP service, which accepts/responds with XML. Unfortunately, it's a custom protocol, so I'm forced to do all the packet building/transport myself. No big deal.

The top level resource is a list of accounts. These accounts don't change over the course of a session, so I'm caching them to avoid the round trip. This list of accounts is referenced in some way on every page, so fast access to a particular account is important. I started out by writing a custom find method, which took a hash of arguments. This works, but looks weird next to all the other ActiveRecord goodness in the app. Enter: Findable.