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joined on 01/09/04
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Last week, Mike G. reminded us that we don't do a lot of hacking at our weekly Hackfest, which is something I also wasn't happy about. We did some brainstorming and decided to try writing a Facebook app.

So, last night, Glenn Martin and I sat down and started working on it. We started out trying to use Glenn's hosting provider, but it choked on Facebook's POST requests with a HTTP 405 error, not liking the HTTP verb. After a few minutes of fiddling around in the web-based control panel and having no luck, we decided to punt and use my Dreamhost setup.

After changing the Facebook app. settings, we were able to get our "hello world" FBML to render in Facebook. The Facebook API PHP5 code worked as expected and I was able to set the FBML in my Profile Box, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Facebook List of the Day app screenshot, 2007-12-11

It's nothing special yet, but it's a start and is finally something we can actually start hacking on at the Hackfest.

Next week, I hope we can all get the basics of our app. functionality working. Between now and then, I'll try to elaborate more on the concept behind the application so people will understand what it's supposed to do.

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permalink (RSS) links since December 3, 2007 at 09:00 AM:

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Tonight was the December Northern NJ MySQL Meetup, and Martin Adamec gave a presentation on the Content Management System, or CMS, that he's implementing at work.

Content (Component) Management System

He's using XML, XML Schema, XSLT and XForms to generate the UI for the CMS, as well as perform data validation to provide data quality controls. The work is done once when defining the XML Schema for a particular data entity, and the web forms are generated using XForms and XSLT. He's doing this all using PHP's XML support.

Martin Adamec

Thanks, Martin, for sharing your work and expertise with us.

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I ordered my LOLbiznes cards on November 25, and they arrived yesterday on December 3, a day ahead of schedule.

My LOLbiznes cards, let me show you them

I compared two companies, VistaPrint and I decided to order from, since they offered smaller quantities and I was just experimenting with this batch of cards, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money, overall.

For cheap on-demand printing at low quantities of personal cards, the cards from came out fine. Some cards--I'd guess, maybe 1 in 10 or so--didn't print properly, with toner not adhering to the card stock properly or other visual defects. The color profile of their printer is a bit too heavy on the magenta as the front-side art is a lot more purple-tinted than it should have been. The cards are good enough, but if you're looking for perfection, this isn't it.

I placed the order on Nov. 25 and it arrived Dec. 3, or eight days later. The guaranteed delivery was by Dec. 4. For 100 glossy, double-sided business cards, it cost $19.99 and $6.95 for shipping and handling, for a total of $26.94. Uploading my own design for the front and back was included, free. The net cost per card is $0.27 each.

Compare this to VistaPrint, whose minimum quantity is 250 cards for $19.99, and they charge $4.99 per uploaded design, plus $9.99 more for glossy finish, and $6.99 for double-sided: $46.95 total. Add $9.15 for 14-day shipping, and you're talking $56.10, or a cost of $0.22 per card.

Generally, folks order in larger quantities, typically 1,000 at a time, so lets compare those prices. VistaPrint: $71.95 + $11.15 S&H = $83.10 or $0.083 per card. $79.99 + $8.85 S&H = $88.84 or $0.089 per card.

Costs aside, both sites provide reasonable web interfaces for uploading your own designs and preparing your order. uses a Flash-based interface which I really dislike, but it does work and I was able to complete my order using it. No real surprises here.

In the end, I would certainly order from again for small quantity orders just to test out new designs, but I do want to give VistaPrint a try just to compare the print quality difference. If they can deliver better quality, I would definitely use them for larger quantity jobs, where the price difference becomes negligible.

Have you ordered cards from VistaPrint? How did they come out? Or, do you have any other on-demand business card printing companies to recommend? Let me know about them in the comments. Thanks!

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originally published at Dossy's Blog
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"I'm not the pheasant plucker,
I'm the pheasant plucker's son.
And, I'm only plucking pheasants
'til the pheasant plucker comes."
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