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Category Archives: Kotoba

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Kotoba_app’s First Words

Some of you may have noticed that kotoba_app is now speaking! While the first fits and starts included my heavy-handed hand in the background, we have since gotten ourselves to where it does it all by itself. Papa is very proud. What is all this about? How to get periodic, background process running on a […]

A Moment’s Word

In order to help introduce ourselves to new words sometimes it is best to find them serendipitously. While serendipity by not definition is not something we can will to happen, there are some good substitutes. Kotoba now offers a moment’s word. Just refresh and continue your journey, or come back whenever you want to learn, […]

Managing Externals with Piston

One thing that I like to do is ensure I am using the best practices I can even (especially) in my personal projects. Kotoba is no different. One thing that has bothered me with Rails is the myriad of ways to get external components into a project. Gems are, of course, a great way to […]


I recently ran into an issue with installing subversion 1.5.6 via MacPort. Namely, I ended up with incorrect encoding of characters (文字化け as it were) as svn tried to display Japanese text where terminal’s LANG was configured incorrectly. Macintosh:~ wwv$ svn –version svn, ?\227?\131?\144?\227?\131?\188?\227?\130?\184?\227?\131?\167?\227?\131?\179 1.5.6 (r36142) ?\227?\130?\179?\227?\131?\179?\227?\131?\145?\227?\130?\164?\227?\131?\171?\230?\151?\165?\230?\153?\130: Mar 8 2009, 20:28:48   Copyright (C) 2000-2008 […]

Caching RSS Feeds

We recently incorporated RSS feeds into Kotoba. I noted while implementing my solution that there are some tutorials [1, 2] out there that provide quick-and-dirty solutions to getting RSS feeds into a Rails application. While the tutorials are a good start, they do neglect the fact these implementations will drive a lot of (unnecessary) traffic […]

Integration Testing with Selenium

Testing.  Testing.  Testing. There any number of ways to qualify testing in software.  Unit testing.  Functional testing.  Systems testing. Integration testing.  Usability testing.  Load testing.  Et cetera.  And what testing you do do, or do not, is somewhat predicated upon the type of software you are developing. One thing is for certain, though; no matter […]

Create Icons Easily

Want to quickly create icons quickly that all follow a similar size, coloring, and text?  Then check out We used this on to quickly add customized icons for our blog and twitter. Basically, you can enter in the text, size of the icon, colors of background and text to generate an image.  The image, […]

Kotoba is Fav’conified

  Sometimes it is the little things that can make you smile.  Case is point is Kotoba‘s new favicon.   I wanted something that was clean and easily recognizable in the toolbar.  While options included something abstract, I felt that a monogram might best represent the intent of the site.  While “K” might be arguably more universal, […]

Phase II Complete

It took me a bit of wrangling, but I believe Phase II of the project is now complete!  It too me three different UI approaches to managing vocabulary lists before I finally settle on a set of functionality that meets my design goals.  It is now possible to add vocabulary lists that are only editable […]

Multi-byte Strikes Again

Multi-byte support, while by-and-large a now a well-supported stable of modern programming languages, is still something that trip up a person from time to time.  In particular, while UTF-8 is the de facto standard for encoding it does pose an issue when you get down to the character level. I ran into this today while […]