Change of e-mail address

Effective immediately, if you want to send me e-mail, please use this address: rnewman at

My old address, which I've had since 1997, will stop working on or about June 30, 2013. The local Internet service provider Galaxy Internet Services, which owns Complete Internet Access, is just plain shutting down at the end of this month. They're not even selling themselves to a bigger ISP, like a lot of small ISPs have done over the past decade. They're just closing their doors and going away.

I got only 30 days notice of the shutdown.

Who knows what will happen to the and domains after that. As far as I can tell, the soon-to-close company is not interested in selling the domain names.

I think, or at least hope, that I've changed my address on all the mailing lists and Internet sites that matter to me. If I've missed any, I can only hope that mail sent to my old e-mail address will start bouncing, rather than falling into the hands of some unknown party. (I'm a bit concerned about this scenario, but don't have any good solution to prevent it.)

Vote tomorrow!

Polls are open 7 am to 8 pm, statewide.

To find out where you vote, and to see your sample ballot, fill out the form at .

As a result of the 2010 census, boundaries of wards, precincts, and Congressional and state legislative districts have changed this year. So even if you think you are sure where you vote and who's on your ballot, check it at that link before heading out to the polls.

ETA: there's some more very useful information at .


Do you maintain an LJ community? If so, please read this

If you are a maintainer of a LiveJournal community, LJ has just saddled you with an unwanted "spam protection" misfeature that is probably doing great harm to your community by silently hiding comments with links.

Please turn the misfeature OFF by going to, selecting your community from the "Work as user:" menu, and then UNCHECK the checkbox labelled "Spam Protection Comments containing a link to a non-whitelisted domain will be marked as spam and moved to a special section."

Those of you who read b0st0n or davis_square or permmembers have probably already seen my much longer explanation/rant on this subject. If you didn't, please read it here. Then please pass the word on to anyone who needs to hear it.

Does anyone here have write access to a PHP web server?

I am investigating an unfortunate interaction between a Facebook feature (the "always use https" preference) and the behavior of certain browsers (definitely Mac Safari, perhaps others) when they receive an HTTP "302" redirect.

To do this, I'd like to put a PHP file and a couple of HTML pages up on a web server, and then have a few people bang on the PHP page from various browsers on various operating systems. I'm especially interested in how Internet Explorer behaves, but I can't test this locally at home because I have only a Mac.

Can anyone help?
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So if you can take a few small files from me and put them on a public web server that can run PHP, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Goodbye, Dad

I miss my Dad, who died of cancer, unexpectedly quickly, in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday night, August 11. He was 81.

I had already come to Columbus for my 35th high school reunion the Saturday before. I cancelled my return flight once it became obvious that the rest of my family needed me to stay. My youngest brother Daniel, my Mom, and I were there for Dad's last hours, as well as for the funeral and the week-long period of shiva (Jewish mourning) that followed. I flew back to Boston late last night. Everyone else is still in Columbus since they live there.

I'll probably have a lot more to say here over the next few days. Mom is amazingly stoic (and active and lively), but I don't know if the full force of this has hit her yet.
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An 'A' student at 52

Harvard Summer School officially released its grades today, and I'm happy to report that I got an 'A' in David Malan's CSCI S-75: Building Dynamic, Scalable Websites. That makes three straight 'A's from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education.

This was an intense experience, compressing what's normally a full academic term course into just six weeks. I picked up a lot of useful skills in PHP, XML, JavaScript, and Ajax. For at least the next few days, you can see all of my submitted work at (I'm not sure how long Harvard will keep hosting the site.)

Now I need to decide whether I should try to learn Ruby on Rails on my own, or take Thoughtbot's 3-day intensive course, or sign up for Harvard Extension's fall class, CSCI E-168. I'm leaning toward the Harvard course, but would welcome any comments from people reading this post.

Back to school for the summer?

Tonight, I'll be attending the first session of Harvard Summer School's CSCI S-75 Building Dynamic, Scalable Websites class. The official course website, , today still seems to be in transition from the Extension School version (a full 4 month academic term) to the Summer School version (just 7 intense weeks).

The class is quite expensive, $2500 plus late registration fees, so I'd better be sure I want it before I register. Fortunately, I have until Thursday to make this decision.

Harvard's Continuing Education division has been good for me in the past. I wouldn't have gotten my most recent job if it weren't for CSCI E-253 Developing Web-Based Database Applications which I took in Spring 2003 (after my last layoff). I also got a lot out of CSCI E-153 Web Development Using XML in Fall 2002, though my skills in that area may have atrophied some from subsequent disuse.

Laid off

This afternoon around 4 pm, I was laid off after 5 1/4 years of faithful service as a Ruby, Perl, and MySQL programmer at Merrill Lextranet (formerly Legal Computer Solutions, Inc.)

Tasks for tomorrow:

- Return key and some random other stuff to the office. Say a few more goodbyes to people I didn't get to talk to between 4pm and 6pm today. (Some folks there are taking me to lunch on Friday.)

- Deposit final paycheck

- Re-read severance agreement, make sure I agree with it, sign it, and mail it back to Merrill.

- File for unemployment

- Try to relax