So after being pulled away onto another project, I'm supposed to be doing a prototype Facebook Canvas app. Struggling with it: the Facebook API seems pretty ugsome compared to Twitter.
We're mostly a Windows house, so I initially tried using a .NET API. Couldn't get that to work and the forums seem to think they're pretty dreadful, so I thought I'd try PHP instead which seems to be better supported.
However I can't get that to work either. You need a public-facing web server for Facebook to call. Installed PHP on our IIS server but can't get the Facebook stuff to work: seems to fail silently when I try to make certain calls. Possibly a configuration/firewall problem, but not sure how to fix it, or if I even have enough permissions to fix it.
So, tried a couple of free PHP-hosting services, but they both seem to fail because they don't allow PHP to make calls to other domains.
Pretty pissed off with it. I despise Facebook anyway. The business were totally uninterested in our Twitter demo and I don't see them being any keener on this.
Anyone know of a free/cheap PHP hosting service with the CURL PHP extension and allow_url_fopen switched on?
Update [2010-8-23 18:32:16 by TheophileEscargot]:
OK, the issue was that behind a proxy, local and internal network addresses worked, but Internet addresses didn't.
In PHP 5 there doesn't seem to be any way to configure global proxy settings for PHP and have all the network code just work. Instead you have to go into the .php files and edit the code to use proxies.
What I'm Reading
Finished Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, which seems to have got some attention lately, sometimes titled "Every Man Dies Alone". It's by a German writer, set in the Nazi period. The main characters a middle-aged couple who mount a minor rebellion by distributing anti-Nazi propaganda postcards, but it also follows some other characters living in the same apartment block.
It's not exactly the most cheerful book in the world: it's made clear from the start that the characters are doomed, but follows them remorselessly to their execution. Does have a few redemptive touches, where a kind of moral victory is implied in spite of their practical failure.
The book is stylised rather than gritty: some of the conversions and events are not too believable, for instance there are multiple occasions when characters are knocked harmlessly unconscious with punches to the jaw.
The book does do well with its depiction of everyday life under the Nazis. We tend to imagine life under the Nazis in the dramatic binary with-them-or-against-them terms of the movies. But the interesting part is the all-pervasive nature of the regime. There are thousands of little ways that they make your life a little bit easier if you cooperate, and a little bit harder if you stay neutral. Promotions for party members, subtle demotions for non-members; party members allowed to shirk when non-members are not. Also the endless stream of requests for pledge drives and attendance at meetings, made it very hard to stay neutral: duck out of the meetings and you're marked as uncooperative.
There's an afterward describing the author and the real events the book was based on, which is equally interesting. The book was apparently written in only 24 days, after the author was released from a psychiatric hospital where he'd spent the last phase of the war. It might have been a bit better with more revision, but Fallada's health was poor, he was coopted into the post-war recovery, and he died in 1948. I think that leads to a degree of ambiguity in the book: when he wrote it, Fallada could not have known that Germany would ever have recovered.
Overall, while a bit flawed, it's still a fascinating document about everyday life under the Nazi regime. Worth reading if you can take it.
Pics. Slideshow of how painted Greek statues may have looked. (Bit skeptical that they were completely covered in paint: they were certainly part painted, but why would you use marble rather than clay or wood or soapstone if you didn't want to show it off?) 1926 swimmer. Book cover cliché: partly obscured figure of a woman against a plain background. Miss Universe 2010 National Costumes. 1932 map of Harlem.
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