Fix eventmachine gem install error on OS X

In Ruby, eventmachine is a common gem containing an event-processing library. While most gems are written in Ruby, this one has bits that need to be compiled during installation. That’s why we call it a “native gem.”

Some people reported problems installing eventmachine in OS X. Fortunately, the fix is simple. There are two things to try when that gem cannot be compiled and installed:

  1. If it’s bundled in a Gemfile, update the gem itself:
    $ bundle update eventmachine
  2. If the above didn’t help, tell Bundler which OpenSSL library to use when compiling the gem:
    $ bundle config build.eventmachine --with-cppflags=-I/usr/local/opt/openssl/include
    $ bundle install

This should help you install eventmachine.

Teens try Windows 95, adults feel old

Remember the Fine Brothers? Hahaha… Anyway…

Remember Windows 95? How Microsoft successfully did their best to turn every PC into a Macintosh?

The Start button, the dozen of floppies to swap during installation, the odd bonus clips, the movie trailer, and the music video you had on the CD-ROM version, the faulty drivers, the blue screens, the endless number of OEM versions with varied USB support, the extra Plus! package to install the first version of Internet Explorer, the hundreds of steps to take for installing a TCP/IP stack just to get on the Internet via dial-up without having to sign up with MSN… The memories go on. Windows 95 has its shares of problems, but it was certainly a huge step after Windows 3.1x (the x meaning 3.1, 3.11, or whatever).

Some teens found out how lucky they are to have wi-fi and computers with fancy graphics and touch screens that fit in their pockets:

If the general confusion they expressed above wasn’t enough, see how one of them didn’t shut down the computer right and provoked ScanDisk to run on the next boot:

Does this make you feel old? It is now safe to feel nostalgic.

Rolify prevents a Rails app from starting

Web site screenshot of Rolify

If you are using the Rolify gem to manage user roles in your Rails app, you may have sometimes encountered a problem which will prevent you from starting the Rails app if ever the database table for Rolify wasn’t present, even if cases when you don’t need Rolify or the database.

To prevent this from happening and make your Rails app start again even when the database table for Rolify aren’t present or accessible, add this initialiser:

# config/initializers/rolify.rb

Rolify.configure do |config|
  if ActiveRecord::Base.connection.table_exists? 'roles'

If your role object is called something other than “Role,” for example, “AdminRole,” specify the name as the first argument of “configure” above:

Rolify.configure 'AdminRole' do |config| # ...

The above was tested with Rolify 4.0.0 on Rails 4.2.1 as well as Rolify 3.4.1 on Rails 4.1.6. It is possible the issue was resolved in Rolify 5.0.0.

Cameron’s World: memories of GeoCities

If you’re new to the Internet, or new to Web design, this Web site will give you an Internet lesson. For people like me who grew up on the Internet, it’s an overdose of nostalgia.

Cameron’s World is “a Web collage of text and image excavated from the buried neighbourhoods of GeoCities.” GeoCities was one of the most popular free hosting sites in the late 1990’s. It was founded in 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet, and was one of the first places where people could upload their site for free.

All that was asked in return was to insert a banner to their Web site. Several people did not, however. It was only a matter of time before GeoCities forced their banners into the Web pages of their members, which caused some controversy.

Yahoo! bought GeoCities in 1999. All traces of the early glory in Web design, with its animated GIFs, rainbow text, MIDI tracks, and blink tags, were wiped away when GeoCities closed almost 10 years later in 2009.

Screen shot of Cameron's World

There are places where some of that historical content was preserved, like OoCities and the Internet Archive. Others today are trying to revive the spirit of GeoCities, like Neocities.

Similarly to Web Designers File reviewed earlier, Cameron’s World feels like a time capsule. A bit like how we used to save anything we liked found online onto our floppy disks, so we wouldn’t have to download those files via our 56k modem again. Then later burned them onto CDs when we bought our first CD burner.

Opening this Web site is liked browsing files on those old CDs. You’re greeted with everything that made the Web of the late 1990’s, coming back to life, letting you relive those memories.