Voltaire introducing me to some new words, ideas.

I’ve been reading selections of Voltaire’s work. Namely, a group of short essays, jots (dare we say blogposts) called ‘Selections’. It’s been good for me, I feel like my mind is getting a little more active. My plan to read more is paying off.

I’m stumbling across all sorts of wonderful words, and rabbit trails to new things to research. I’ll be sharing them as I go along. Here are a couple new words:

  • Voluptuary: n – a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit and enjoyment of luxury and sensual pleasure.
    • This reminded me of San Francisco. I know people in SF who aren’t like this, but it seems like the majority of people there are.
  • Calumniate: v – to make false and malicious statements about; slander.
  • Manichaeism: n – the system of religious doctrines, including elements of Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc, taught by the Persian prophet Mani about the 3rd century ad . It was based on a supposed primordial conflict between light and darkness or goodness and evil. (See also the wikipedia article)

Actual Nickelpinch news!

Link first, to the project on github.

So, I spent time this weekend working a little on Nickelpinch. Saturday, I haunted the Lafayette Library’s halls and coded away, and have a pretty good finished product for what the new database structure will be like. See the model in PDF.

Then last night and today I worked with jQuery Mobile to start on the mockups of the new interface, optimized for mobile/tablets.

  1. Start here
  2. The starting page. click login at the top left
  3. The login page! just click submit
  4. The overview page. You are viewing a users info, they have four categories (rent, food, fun, utilities) Click on any to open the details of the category. It will show the Reserve (how much they’ve allocated to that category), Tally (how much they’ve spent so far this month in that category), and Limit (The limit of how much they want to spend on that category). The color coding should be mostly self-explanatory. Then click add, on the bottom left
  5. The Add Entry page. It’s where you’ll be able to add a new purchase. I believe it’s pretty user friendly, though it needs a date picker.
  6. End of tour

Holy moly is it cool!

I’m totally wiped right now, otherwise I’d write more.

Date-storing tests in MySQL; Part 2

The results are in. First, there was a little thing I forgot about when describing the test to you earlier. Namely, storage size. The amount of storage required is also another thing to think about.

The relevant sizes of MySQL data types:

  • DATE: 3 bytes
  • INT: 4 bytes

Looking at my 3 ideas, one should be thrown out right away. Having three integers, even reducing them to 2 TINYINT’s (1 byte) and 1 SMALLINT (2 bytes), we are still talking 4 bytes, and thats with a lot of extra complexity. So that was out.

I generated a dataset with a little over 7 million rows, with data looking like:

[sourcecode language=”sql”]
mysql> SELECT * FROM crunchme LIMIT 10;
| idcrunchme | a_date | tim_date | a_year | a_month | a_day |
| 12111 | 2009-01-01 | 20090101 | 2009 | 1 | 1 |
| 12112 | 2011-03-03 | 20110303 | 2011 | 3 | 3 |
| 12113 | 2008-11-19 | 20081119 | 2008 | 11 | 19 |
| 12114 | 2009-07-16 | 20090716 | 2009 | 7 | 16 |
| 12115 | 2008-10-19 | 20081019 | 2008 | 10 | 19 |
| 12116 | 2009-04-22 | 20090422 | 2009 | 4 | 22 |
| 12117 | 2009-04-03 | 20090403 | 2009 | 4 | 3 |
| 12118 | 2011-06-10 | 20110610 | 2011 | 6 | 10 |
| 12119 | 2009-06-01 | 20090601 | 2009 | 6 | 1 |
| 12120 | 2008-08-24 | 20080824 | 2008 | 8 | 24 |

Let’s see what happens when we run some queries!

[sourcecode language=”sql”]
mysql>SELECT SQL_NO_CACHE count(idcrunchme) FROM crunchme WHERE tim_date >= 20100101 AND tim_date <= 20110514;

| count(idcrunchme) |
| 2388242 |
1 row in set (2.96 sec)

mysql>SELECT SQL_NO_CACHE count(idcrunchme) FROM crunchme WHERE a_date >= ‘2010-01-01′ AND a_date<=’2011-05-14’;
| count(idcrunchme) |
| 2388242 |
1 row in set (3.61 sec)

So, the integer solution is faster, by roughly 22% at this level. However, here is where it gets fun. It is larger, by one byte. Also, it will mean having to add extra code when I’m working with dates in my CodeIgniter app.

After all this, I am going to go with the MySQL DATE type. I was surprised to see the time difference being so low.

I hope this helps someone else out!

Date-storing tests in MySQL; Part 1

Data, what fun it is!

My issue is this, I’m working on a web app, which uses CodeIgniter, with a MySQL DB. My question was, since all I am storing for a date time is the year, month and day, what is the best way to do this? I’m going to be making a lot of queries like “select all entries from user bob from March to May of this year”.

As I see it, there are several options:

  1. Use the DATE data type in MySQL, which stores as “YYYY-MM-DD”.
  2. Generate 3 attributes, each an integer, one “year”, one “month”, and one “day”.
  3. My new idea, to store it as an integer, in a “YYYYMMDD” format. It will allow for decent queries, since the hierarchy of time still works. (May still comes before March, 20110301 < 20110501).
  4. Use the time function in php, which returns the number of seconds since 1970. A lot of people go this route, but I think it’s crap because in 2038 it will restart, causing issues . Y2K38 people! I’m going to pretend you didn’t even bring this up.

I’m writing a script that will generate about 10.000.000 rows of data, each with every date recording option I mentioned above, then I will make some pretty bar graphs and we shall see what we shall see.

My guestimate is that my integer idea (“YYYYMMDD”) will be the fastest, but let’s see.

Maybe I don’t need to rush into the Cloud

The Cloud is everywhere it seems. And this is okay. There are times where it is so useful! For example, I love Rackspace.

Recently though, I’ve been thinking about where everything is going, how everything “needs” to be in the cloud. Specifically, music and files. The problem is, these services are not guarantees, so to “be safe” a user would want to have there data in several places. Have pictures on Flickr? Use the API to mirror it to a privately hosted site. Data? Better schedule to pull it down occasionally in case of an issue with the company.

Then, I had an “ah ha!” moment. The cloud is great, but if you want access to files,pictures, music, etc everywhere, isn’t it easier to use a USB flash drive? I realize it isn’t the new hotness, but it kind of does the job pretty well. I’m not saying the Cloud doesn’t have it’s uses. But maybe remember the modest USB flash drive, and what it can do.