While you were out…

Techie warning… the next few paragraphs will be filled with techie stuff, so feel free to skip ahead a bit. 🙂

I’ve been experimenting with code this week. I’ve switched the PCS Photo blog over to use PHP, and in the process learned a lot about PHP and how it interacts with MySQL. It’s kind of a refreshing change from the Perl coding I do all day. Perl and PHP are similar enough that moving code from one to the other is not too difficult. There were a few Perl-isms I had to correct, such as the fact that PHP doesn’t have “my” variables, or that PHP uses “elseif” instead of “elsif”. PHP also doesn’t seem to allow conditionals tacked to the end of statements. For example, in Perl you can write:

print “The value is $value” if $value;

And the print statement will only execute if $value is defined. In PHP, you must do:

if ($value) {
print “The value is $value”;

The latter may be a bit easier to understand, but the former definitely saves time and coding space if you don’t want to build a whole “if” structure around a simple line of code.

I’ve also done more tweaking of our website code. I think I may just ditch the archive link altogether… it was interesting to learn how to make it, but from the research I’ve done, the Weekly and Category archives aren’t terribly popular in terms of number of hits. We will still keep the individual entry archives around, since they’re pretty useful for when Google comes by to spider our site.

Anyway, enough of the techie part. Last night, I went to the “Mars Night” the ***Museum of Science|http://www.mos.org/*** was holding.

BOY was it crowded. I got there at 7:15-ish. There was a line from the lobby all the way down the ticket lines almost to the garage to pick up tickets for the free planetarium shows. By the time I reached the part of the line where they were handing out the tickets, they were already giving out tickets for the 10:30 show!!

So knowing I would have to be there a while, I also bought a ticket for the 8:00 Omni show, “Top Speed,” which was only $5. Top Speed was actually very entertaining, it followed four people through their journeys in the realm of speed – an Olympic sprinter, a mountain biker, a race car driver, and an automobile engineer designing a new, faster, better-handling SUV. It was narrated by Tim Allen, who was actually not too annoying.

After the Omni show, I headed up to the rooftop for the “star party”. Unfortunately, the sky around Boston was rather cloudy, so Mars only peeked out every once in a while. There were hundreds of people up there, and they all cheered loudly whenever the clouds moved enough for Mars to show up. 🙂 There were 10 different telescopes set up around the perimeter of the roof, but unfortunately there was a line of about 100 people at each one of them… so I looked around at the night skyline for a while and then went back inside.

Inside at the end of the Red Wing, there was a guy giving demos of a miniature Mars rover radio controlled vehicle. It was really nothing more than a kids’ toy, but it was still fun to watch all of the kids playing around with it. I even learned a few things myself. 🙂

Finally, I got in line for the 10:30 Planetarium show on Mars, only to find out that everything had been moved back, and this was actually the line for the 10:00 show! The 10:30 show was going to be at 11:00…. I was just about to leave the line, but a woman said that I could have her husband’s ticket, since he couldn’t make it for some reason. So I went in to the show. I’ve always liked planetarium shows, and this one was just as good as the others I’ve seen at the MoS, very educational. The seats in there are very comfy, too… 😉

It would have been cool to see Mars through the telescopes, but the planetarium show was definitely more than worth the price I paid for it. 🙂

So that was last night… tonight, I’ve got to get the apartment whipped back in to shape before Becky gets back from the Vineyard (If you’re reading this – it’s really not that bad!!). 🙂 I’m looking forward to this 3-day weekend. We’ll be heading up to Townsend for some R&R and family time. Should be nice to see everyone.

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