Failed to Connect: Some notes on WebSharing

The Problem

This weekend, I discovered my localhost wasn’t working when I wanted to do a bit of local website development. I got a pretty unfriendly ‘Failed to Connect’ message when trying to hit http://localhost/, or the IP my mac was telling me my Sites/ were at in System Preferences. Bummer. I tried pinging my server from Terminal, which gave false-positives that the server was running (I should have used $ ping localhost:80, which properly showed the host was down). $ apachectl configtest returned that my syntax was OK. sudo apachectl start told me the server was already running. Everything looked right, it just wasn’t showing up in the browser.

Searching around the internet, I found that lots of other people had different problems with WebSharing (trying to use .htaccess files, permissions errors preventing pages from showing, and enabling php), but no one was experiencing quite the same thing as me.

The Solution

This ended up being really easy. Chandler McWilliams, via email, suggested I check my apache error logs. They should live in /var/logs/apache2/error_log. My machine lacked even an apache2/ directory. So I made one: $ sudo mkdir apache2, and all of a sudden, it was populated with a new error_log (among other things), and my localhost was working again.

Solutions to other problems:

If you want to enable .htaccess files on your Mac Apache setup:
in /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf:
AllowOverride All
in /private/etc/apache2/users/yourname.conf:
AllowOverride AuthConfig
For extended instructions, check out this blogpost on enabling .htaccess files.

To enable php5 on your Mac, you’ll need to load the module in /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf:
Uncomment LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/
Tyler also made a note of this.

If you get a 500 error on stuff on your Mac server, try changing the permissions from the command line. chmod -R 744 problemdirectory/ should do it.

EDIT: I changed the paths to the locations where you need to get things set up. They seem to be in a different location under 10.5.

I wish I could read faster

loneliness of the long distance runner

There are lots of good books out there. I want to read them all and experience the stories within them. I also want to get through more technical books faster and with better comprehension. Because of this, I made a website that doesn’t help with either of those things. It just expresses the feeling of being happily overwhelmed by the amount of good stuff that’s out there. It’s called I wish I could read faster.

I photographed a lot of books I had left at my parents house in preparation for the most recent addition to timespentalone. I wish I could read faster currently catalogues those 36 books and echoes the obvious sentiment of wishing to read more. I see some more photography and photoshop sessions ahead in order to bring to piece to a higher level of completion.

Books fall from the sky continuously, producing more content than could ever be read in the amount of time given to each book. Over time, stacks pile up and fade into the background. You can throw the books around by dragging them with your mouse.

piles of books

I wish I could read faster uses the AS3 port of the Box2D physics engine to handle collisions.

I would like to add the ability for people to contribute books they either wish they could read or enjoyed reading. Right now, I’m not sure a file-upload tool would be used by anyone but me. If you would like to add books to the site, let me know, and I’ll probably build a submission form for everyone to use.

McRozinHodgin Dice Mirror

live dice webcam

Tonight, I decided to take another step in the short evolution of Robert’s fun dice-table images. Mario Klingemann raised the bar with his Aviary filter that transforms images into dice-images. In addition to all that awesomeness, you can now play with a real-time dice mirror in your web browser. Enjoy.

Interact: dice mirror
Source (.zip): dice mirror source

Flash is pretty weird when it comes to accessing your webcam. Even after you click “Allow,” your webcam might not turn on. Open the settings panel (right click -> Settings…), then click on the little orb/webcam icon, then select your real webcam from the dropdown. For some reason the iSight on my mac shows up as three different cameras, but it’s actually only accessible as the “USB Video Class Video.”

Anthropomorphic Agents

dot avoiding a dot
See avoiding and more dots on Flickr.

I often project emotions onto inanimate forms, aspirations onto moving objects. What is the natural home for an interestingly spun wood shaving? Where are those blobs of goo headed, and what do they think of each other? Tonight, I’ve done it with a quick code sketch. The behaviors are purely overlaid on top of the still images after they’ve been taken. Some dots are rejected by others, sometimes they’re bustling to work, or a connection is made across the room. These are simple stories for simple images, and I don’t pretend that they are clearly evinced without narrator intervention.

Continue reading Anthropomorphic Agents