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Jamie Wilkinson

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Protect .svn directories using htaccess

// block access to .svn dirs
// should be done server-wide if you can (another snippet)

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteRule ^(.*/)?\.svn/ - [F,L]
  ErrorDocument 403 "Access Forbidden"

Protect .svn directories server-wide (Apache)

// protect ".svn" and "CVS" dirs (could add more)
// for server-wide protection; goes in httpd.conf
// there's a separate snippet for .htaccess-based code

<DirectoryMatch "^/.*/(\.svn|CVS)/">
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all 

Scrape torrents on btjunkie

// download all .torrent links on the btjunkie frontpage
// more fun with mechanize @

agent =
links ='.tor_details tr a')
hrefs = { |m| m['href'] }.select { |u| u =~ /\.torrent$/ } # just links ending in .torrent
FileUtils.mkdir_p('btjunkie-torrents') # keep it neat
hrefs.each { |torrent|
  filename = "btjunkie-torrents/#{torrent[0].split('/')[-2]}"
  puts "Saving #{torrent} as #{filename}"

Scrape MySpace friend thumbnails

// fetch all img's from a myspace profile's .friendSpace div
// more @

agent =
links ='.friendSpace img') # found w/ firebug
FileUtils.mkdir_p 'myspace-images' # make the images dir
links.each_with_index { |link, index| 
  url = link['src']
  puts "Saving thumbnail #{url}"
  agent.get(url).save_as("myspace-images/top_friend#{index}_#{File.basename url}")

Scrape YouTube thumbnails

// fun with mechanize
// more @

agent =
url = "" # all time
page = agent.get(url)
# parse again w/ Hpcricot for some XML convenience
doc = Hpricot.parse(page.body)
# pp (doc/:entry) # like "search"; cool division overload
images = (doc/'media:thumbnail') # use strings instead of symbols for namespaces
FileUtils.mkdir_p 'youtube-images' # make the images dir
urls = { |i| i[:url] }
urls.each_with_index do |file,index|
  puts "Saving image #{file}"
  agent.get(file).save_as("youtube-images/vid#{index}_#{File.basename file}")

jQuery namespaced event binding/unbinding

// from a comment by Steven Bristol on

I just wanted to share a really killer event handling tidbit:

Generally you do something like:


Everyone knows this can be rewritten as:

jQuery(’.class’).bind(‘click’, function(){//whatever});

But sometimes you need to unbind something:

jQuery(’.class’).unbind(‘click’, function(){//});

The problem with this is that it will unbind all the click events, not just yours. So if multiple bits of javascript have a click event handler for ’.class’, unbinding removes them all. (This is because there is no way to identify an anonymous function.)

But jQuery is so good that there is a way to handle this: Namespacing your events:

jQuery(’.class’).bind(‘click.namespace’, function(){//}); 

or for reinitializing an element added via ajax:

jQuery(’.class’)unbind(‘click.namespace’).bind(‘click.namespace’, function(){//});

jQuery and Rails' respond_to

// Just throw this at the bottom of your application.js and you’re good to go: all jQuery ajax requests will trigger the wants.js block of your respond_to declaration, exactly like you’d expect. Enjoy.
// via:

jQuery.ajaxSetup({beforeSend’: function(xhr) {xhr.setRequestHeader(“Accept”,text/javascript”)} })

simple Ruby RSS reader

// fetch & parse RSS into an object

require 'rss/2.0'
require 'open-uri'

class RssReader

  def parseFeed (url, length)
    feed_url = url
    output = "";
    open(feed_url) do |http|
      response =
      result = RSS::Parser.parse(response, false)
      output = "\"feedTitle\">#{}
" end return output end end

acts_as_state_machine model

// ActiveRecord plugin for managing state changes

class Something < ActiveRecord::Base

  # Validations
  validate :validate_state_change

  # State Machine States
  acts_as_state_machine :initial => :new
  state :new
  state :enabled,   :after => :after_enabled
  state :disabled,  :after => :after_disabled

  # State Machine Events
  event :enabled do
    transitions :from => :new,      :to => :enabled
    transitions :from => :disabled, :to => :enabled
  event :disabled do
    transitions :from => :new,      :to => :disabled
    transitions :from => :enabled,  :to => :disabled

  # Instance Methods
  def validate_state_change
    return if new_record?
    old = self.class.find(id)
    old_state = old.state
    new_state = self.state
    self.state = old_state
    if old_state != new_state
        if self.method("#{new_state}!").call != true
          errors.add(:state, "cannot transition from #{old_state} to #{new_state}")
      rescue NameError
      self.state = new_state

Javascript Bookmarklets

// various bookmarklets for cloning

javascript:var d=document,f='',l=d.location,e=encodeURIComponent,p='.php?src=bm&v=4&i=1190041327&u='+e(l.href)+'&t='+e(d.title);1;try{if(!/^(.*\.)?facebook\.[^.]*$/.test(;share_internal_bookmarklet(p)}catch(z){a=function(){if(!'r'+p,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,resizable=0,width=626,height=436'))l.href=f+p};if(/Firefox/.test(navigator.userAgent))setTimeout(a,0);else{a()}}void(0)


MailMan listserve signup template

Simple template for adding a MailMan mailing list subscribe form to a page. Found on a mailing list somewhere a long time ago and cleaned up dramatically.

Note: I almost always just include the email and digest options, but I've included the whole spiel for completeness.

<h2>Join the XYZ listh2>


Your E-mail address: "text" name="email" size="30" value="">
Your Name (optional): "text" name="fullname" size="30" value="">

You may enter a privacy password below. This provides only mild security, but should
prevent others from messing with your subscription. Do not use a valuable password as it
will occasionally be emailed back to you in cleartext.

If you choose not to enter a password, one will be automatically generated for you, and it will
be sent to you once you've confirmed your subscription. You can always request a mail-back
of your password when you edit your personal options.

Password choice: "password" name="pw" size="15">
Confirm Password: "password" name="pw-conf" size="15">

Would you like to receive list mail batched in a daily digest? (You may choose NoMail after you join.)
"radio" name="digest" value="0" checked> No "radio" name="digest" value="1"> Yes

"submit" name="email-button" value="Subscribe">

Convert MySQL tables to InnoDB

// Slower than MyISAM, but row locking is clutch if you're doing a lot of writes amirite?

for t in $(mysql --batch --column-names=false -e "show tables" mydbname |grep -v "exclude_this");
mysql -e "alter table $t type=InnoDB" mydbname;


Delete duplicate rows from a table

// Whoops, didja forgot to add a unique index to that column? No problem

SELECT * FROM old_table WHERE 1 GROUP BY [COLUMN TO remove duplicates BY];
DROP TABLE old_table;
RENAME TABLE new_table TO old_table;

Capistrano task to load production data

# load production data, still needs some polish
# based on code from
# cap 2.0 compatible
# exec is being weird, had to end w/ a syscall :\ any ideas?

desc "Load production data into development database"
task :load_production_data, :roles => :db, :only => { :primary => true } do
  require 'yaml'
  ['config/database.yml'].each do |file|

    database = YAML::load_file(file)

    filename = "dump.#{ '%Y-%m-%d_%H:%M:%S'}.sql.gz"
    # on_rollback { delete "/tmp/#{filename}" }

    # run "mysqldump -u #{database['production']['username']} --password=#{database['production']['password']} #{database['production']['database']} > /tmp/#{filename}" do |channel, stream, data|
    run "mysqldump -h #{database['production']['host']} -u #{database['production']['username']} --password=#{database['production']['password']} #{database['production']['database']} | gzip > /tmp/#{filename}" do |channel, stream, data|
      puts data
    get "/tmp/#{filename}", filename
    # exec "/tmp/#{filename}"
    password = database['development']['password'].nil? ? '' : "--password=#{database['development']['password']}"  # FIXME pass shows up in process list, do not use in shared hosting!!! Use a .my.cnf instead
    # FIXME exec and run w/ localhost as host not working :\
    # exec "mysql -u #{database['development']['username']} #{password} #{database['development']['database']} < #{filename}; rm -f #{filename}"
    `gunzip -c #{filename} | mysql -u #{database['development']['username']} #{password} #{database['development']['database']} && rm -f gunzip #{filename}`

Get remote file size, following redirects (PHP)

function get_remote_file_size($url, $readable = true){
   $parsed = parse_url($url);
   $host = $parsed["host"];
   $fp = @fsockopen($host, 80, $errno, $errstr, 20);
   if(!$fp) return false;
   else {
       @fputs($fp, "HEAD $url HTTP/1.1\r\n");
       @fputs($fp, "HOST: $host\r\n");
       @fputs($fp, "Connection: close\r\n\r\n");
       $headers = "";
       while(!@feof($fp))$headers .= @fgets ($fp, 128);
   @fclose ($fp);
   $return = false;
   $arr_headers = explode("\n", $headers);
   foreach($arr_headers as $header) {
                        // follow redirect
                        $s = 'Location: ';
                        if(substr(strtolower ($header), 0, strlen($s)) == strtolower($s)) {
                                $url = trim(substr($header, strlen($s)));
                                return get_remote_file_size($url, $readable);
                        // parse for content length
       $s = "Content-Length: ";
       if(substr(strtolower ($header), 0, strlen($s)) == strtolower($s)) {
           $return = trim(substr($header, strlen($s)));
   if($return && $readable) {
                        $size = round($return / 1024, 2);
                        $sz = "KB"; // Size In KB
                        if ($size > 1024) {
                                $size = round($size / 1024, 2);
                                $sz = "MB"; // Size in MB
                        $return = "$size $sz";
   return $return;

Never render the full layout in a Rails view when called via AJAX

Essential for degradable javascript, when one never knows if a view or partial is being called via XmlHttpRequest or not. Throw the below code in your ApplicationController (application.rb)

More info in this blog post

def render(*args)
        args.first[:layout] = false if request.xhr? and args.first[:layout].nil?

Standard CSS helpers

Some really common layout classes I use in almost every CSS file.

/********* helpers *********/
.floatRight { float: right; }
.floatLeft  { float: left; }
.right  { text-align: right; }
.left   { text-align: left; }
.center { text-align: center; }
.clear, .clearer { clear: both; }
.block  { display: block; }

AppleScript to test if application is running

By name:
tell application "System Events" to (name of processes) contains "iTunes"

By creator type, in case it might have a version # appended:
tell application "System Events" to (creator type of processes) contains "InDn"

Grab creator type dynamically like so:
tell application "Finder" to creator type of (selection as alias)


Cache a local copy of Google Analytics' urchin.js

Speed up your website by caching Google's urchin.js locally, and then refreshing it @nightly with this here script. Some background:

# urchin.js local caching by Jamie Wilkinson 

# config

# work
wget -O $URCHIN.tmp
if [ -s $URCHIN.tmp ]; then
        rm $URCHIN
        mv $URCHIN.tmp $URCHIN
        chmod 644 $URCHIN

exit 0;

Handling filenames with spaces in a bash for or while loop

// The `find` here gets every directory in my home dir, one level deep, but some of them have spaces... the default 'for i in $(find ...)' behavior treats each individual word boundary as a separate variable, but piping to `read` breaks them on newlines
// Note: OS X `find` does not support "-depth 1" (its -depth opt is for depth-first searching vs. breadth-first), just use an 'ls' with an 'if [ -d $filename]' to test for directories

find ~ -type d -depth 1 | while read filename; do
# ls ~ | while read filename; do
        echo $filename
        # other stuff
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