Schwab password policies and two factor authentication: a comedy of errors


Like probably millions of people I have a Schwab brokerage account, and that account holds a good portion of my savings for retirement. I care very much about protecting my savings, and one would expect that Schwab would care a great deal about protecting a reputation for protecting me. This is why, during a recent tech support call and subsequent investigation, I have become appalled at what...

Modifying pg_backup to include a latest directory


I wanted to use this script to back up my database, but I needed a directory that would always have the latest version in it. I added/modified the following lines in the script: LATEST_BACKUP_DIR=$BACKUP_DIR"latest/" rm $LATEST_BACKUP_DIR"$DATABASE".sql.gz cp $FINAL_BACKUP_DIR"$DATABASE".sql.gz.in_progress $LATEST_BACKUP_DIR"$DATABASE".sql.gz mv $FINAL_BACKUP_DIR"$DATABASE".sql.gz.in_progress...

How to set up a Linode environment for the Pyramid Framework 1.5, Python 3, PostgreSQL 9.1 on Debian 7.5


I'm in the process of working on a new startup, and I finally decided to break down and do things right this time, which means leaving PHP and my custom written framework in the past. I'm not really a system administrator, so I figured when I set up my Linode there would be a guide out there to go by. To my surprise, even the Linode hosted config repository didn't have what I needed or it was out...

PostGIS Basics – Part 2 – Hello World


SELECT AddGeometryColumn('public', 'table','column', 4269, 'POINT', 2) This will add a new column to the table and add an entry to the metadata table (the 4269 specifies my reference system, more on that below). It will also add a column to “table” and several constraint checks on the new column. Next, you’ll need to know about spacial reference systems. You’ll notice that...

PostGIS Basics – Part 1 – Installation


My OS is CentOS, so I used yum to handle installs from the rpm database. The thing with CentOS is that it is purposefully one step behind the cutting edge, so the most recent version of certain applications are not available (PHP, Postgres, etc). To get around this limitation, you have to instruct CentOS to look elsewhere for updated RPMs. One location is the Postgresql repository: Another...

Transforming an address into Latitude and Longitude using PHP and curl


Step 2 – Construct the query Yahoo offers a REST interface to handle the conversion so we can use either a plain HTTP GET request, or if you want to do it inside of a script that is doing many other things you can use CURL, a set of very useful functions for querying and “scraping” web pages and applications. We must construct the url according to the api guidelines, which boils...

Really hairy problem with (seemingly) random CRLF and spaces inserted in emails


Troubleshooting I isolated the process into three components: the email builder (my code), the mailer application, and the sending application (in this case, smtp through postfix). I followed the below process to troubleshoot: Changed the mailer application to use the built in PHP mail() function, and I also tried sending using a completely different SMTP box. The problem was persistent no matter...

How to configure your web application to correctly deal with character set/encoding issues


Background I’ll just link to the best places i’ve found to read up on the background. Read these first if you want to understand whats going on: Excellent intro to character encodings Joel On Software, on Unicode The Details In order to get your website working harmoniously with one character set, you first have to pick one. I picked ISO-8859-1 (sometimes referred to as latin1)...


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