Git & SVN

Originally posted on Mike Rapin, Talking

This is a technical post, just so you know. Move along.

So, I ran into the chance to try to work with an SVN repository recently and, well, it didn’t turn out like I expected. Not in the least.

Git has become my best friend in the past year and a half. I should have learned more about it when I was in college, but the idea of a version control system (VCS) was foreign to me when I was still an undergrad. I managed to fiddle around with Mercurial (hg) a bit, but not enough to actually integrate it into my coding life… but I digress.

I’m a big fan of Git. It’s powerful and, at this point, it’s necessary on 99% of the projects I work on—personal or in my job. So when I ran into the situation of having to work with SVN (something I knew very little about, but knew it was a VCS), my interest was piqued.

Sure, I stomped around and complained a bit to myself about how great Git was and how crazy it was that people still use SVN when they could use Git, but in the end, I knew there were ways to get my particular situation work.

The idea was this: take my existing Git repo and the SVN repo and mash them together to make a coherent working system. Sounds… fun, right? I sure thought so.

After reading a whole lot of different articles about how to make this work, I figured, “It can’t be that tough.”

I was mistaken. Continue…

Blind-Deaf Karaoke

This is a strange thing. It’s something I came up with off of the top of my head maybe 6 or so months ago and apparently it’s starting to become popular with friends of mine who still attend college.

Drunk people like to sing karaoke. Not every drunk person, but a helluva lot of drunk people like to sing karaoke. Now imagine singing karaoke at home, with your friends, and you have no idea what’s happening.

Let’s break this down a little bit and add a bit more clarity.


How to import products to Magento using Magento’ Advanced Data Profile Product Import

So, I’m writing this and such because, for the life of me, I could not find proper instructions to import a bunch of items into Magento via their native importer–maybe another day I’ll write up a guide on how to do this with a 3rd party interface…

Either way, here’s what I did to get about 2600+ items imported with images!

Now, this “guide” will be assuming a few things:

  1. You have a working Magento store
  2. You know how to generate a CSV file
  3. You’re familiar enough with Magento to navigate it’s administration section
  4. You understand your server’s file system and can upload files to said server
  5. You have this Import Product and Category plugin installed.

Edit: Since my original post, the free plugin I was using has disappeared from the Magento Connect site. I am now linking to a premium plugin that does this.

Edit 2 (Sept. 20, 2014): Here’s an official piece of documentation about importing using Product CSVs. This is likely to be more accurate than the post below.


Apps to live by

I’m always searching for cool apps to make my life easier/better/cooler. Lately, I’ve come across quite a few and have had a little cash to actually buy some that are worthwhile. I thought I’d compile a list here to share, to get suggestions, and just so I had them all written down.

Also: If you have any suggestions/alternatives/other categories you want to see, please let me know!

Web Development


Gradient – $4.99 – Create CSS3 gradients without hassle

Pencil – Free – Wireframe a website with ease

Coda 2 – $75 – By far the best code editor for web development I have ever used. Just read through the site. You’ll understand.

Transmit – $34 – The fanciest FTP client you can use and it’s well worth the price. One thing: Finder mounted SSH connections. The end.


Prompt – $7.99 – Need a terminal to connect to a server? Yeah you do.



iTunes – Free – Obviously…

Vox – Free – Super non-intrusive music app that just works. Import the music you want to listen to and just listen.


CarTunes – $4.99 – By far the best app for listening to music while you’re driving; everything is gesture based so you really don’t have to finagle with your iPhone/iPod while driving.

8tracks – Free – Playlists you can stream on the go. What’s not to like?

PowerTimer – Free – Power Hour. ‘Nuff said.

gMusic – $1.99 – Play music from your Google Play account aka probably your whole iTunes library.

DropTunes – $0.99 – Stream music from your Dropbox account, if you’re into that sort of stuff.



Evernote – Free – Take notes/pictures/video/audio all in one. Tagging/categorizing/etc. So awesome.

nvAlt – Free – A fork from Notational Velocity that syncs with Dropbox and SimpleNote for simple note taking. Markup support = awesome in my book.


Evernote – Free – Take notes/pictures/video/audio but from your phone!



NameMangler – $9.99 – For when you need to batch-rename files. I do this so often manually (aka renaming 100+ files one-by-one) that this was a must have. Pricey, but worth every penny.

BetterSnapTool – $1.99 – Snap windows all around your Mac’s screen. Similar to the functionality in Windows 7, but a bit more powerful.

CheatSheet – Free – See what key combinations you’re using on your computer. Kind of handy when you accidentally press something and your computer wigs out.

DockDrop – Free – Drop files on this dock icon and have it immediately upload any sized file to a personal server/WebDav/SCP/Flickr(pictures only). Super simple. Super awesome.

ScreenGrab – Free but no longer available (I have the .prefPane if you’re interested) – Automatically upload screenshots to a personal server when you press Cmd+Shift+3 or Cmd+Shift+4 and place the URL on your clipboard.

Alfred – Free – Quick Launch just about anything, do math, and much more all from a simple key command.

AppTrap – Free – Asks to delete associated files when uninstalling an application (dragging the app to the trash)



Growl – Notifications for hundreds of applications.

NowPlaying – Free/$1.99 – Currently playing song in iTunes pops up as a Notification Center alert when a song starts. Get it free here?


Prowl – $2.99 – Basically, you can use this to get alerts for just about anything on your phone. It’s pretty damn handy. I use it with wordpress to send updates when someone submits a post to!

Pushover – $3.99 – Similar to Prowl but with a much more complex system. IFTTT has this as an option to use, so I use it for various weather notifications.

Slice – Free – Get notifications on any kind of delivery that provides updates (Amazon, UPS, etc.). You can even set it up to auto read from your inbox and pull UPS/FedEx/etc. from your incoming e-mails.



Gas Cubby – $2.99 – Track your MPG/usage/etc. for your car. Tune-ups too!

Dayta – Free – Stats for anything you want. Requires you to input almost everything about what you want to track, but exporting and setup is pretty seamless.

WolframAlpha – $1.99 – Your favorite “solve everything” website is now on your phone. What more is there to say?

Who I am, How I Do Things | September 2011

My name is Mike Rapin. I’m twenty-two years old, living in Allendale, Michigan. I attend Grand Valley State University and am in the (final) process of gaining a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Information Technology.

I currently work part-time for GVSU’s Office of Student Life as their Student Technology Manager and am a freelance web developer. I am also the Web Design intern for West Michigan’s PBS/NPR affiliate, WGVU. For free/cheap, I assist my friends and/or anyone who comes to me with computer issues.

I am the president of the Comic Book Club of Grand Valley and the New Media Director of GVSU’s student-run television station, GVTV. Both are elected positions I have held for over two school semesters.

I run and co-own a website,!, that posts reviews of comic books, movies, and music. As co-owner, I have been in charge of editing, advertisement, designing, and maintaining the site and it’s content as well as hiring and keeping in contact with writers. As a site, we have been featured as small press at the San Diego Comic Convention.

I have written two television shows for GVTV, Jeff & Mike Write A Comic Book and mat42dr, as well as a handful of sketches for the GVTV sketch-show Randomish!. I have directed a sketch on Randomish! (“Joe is sad”), starred in four episodes of Jeff & Mike, and have directed seven episode of mat42dr–with plans to direct nine of the eleven (possibly twelve) episodes that remain.

As a writer, I have participated in NaNoWriMo, Script Frenzy, 52-52, and have written my own zine. I am currently working on a new issue of my zine that should be released sometime this month.

I read comics like a fiend. Marvel and Image, for the most part–any X-Men, Invincible, Walking Dead.

I am an strong user of social media websites, particularly Twitter (@mikerapin), Tumblr (tumblr.mikerapin), foursquare, instagram, reddit, and facebook (mikerapin). I am most easily reached on Twitter.

I am a Mac user, and I currently run 10.7.1 Lion on my black Macbook (circa 2008). As a web developer, I use Coda and the OS X Terminal for any and all programming. Image editing is normally done by me in Adobe Photoshop CS5.5. I manage the music I have through iTunes, with Bowtie as an assistant. I use Dropbox on a daily basis, and the official Twitter application as well. I check my e-mail through Sparrow and launch application with Alfred. For writing (zine/non-scripts), I use the Mac OS X application TextEdit (in plain-text mode), and Celtx for scripts.

I own an iPhone 4 running the iOS 5 beta 7. I update the twittersphere using Tweetbot, check into foursquare with the official foursquare app (occasionally EightBit or Forecast), post to Tumblr with the official Tumblr app, IM others with the app, chat Facebook friends with the official Messenger app, and post what I’m listening to using TweetMusic and/or soundtracking. I use CarTunes to listen to music when driving, manage files with Dropbox, edit scripts with Celtx, read books with iBooks, check my bills with Pageonce, stream music through 8tracks/DropTunes/Audiogalaxy, picture myself using Everyday, receive periodic notifications with Prowl and Boxcar, edit and take pictures with Camera+ and Instagram, take notes with PlainText, control my computer with HippoRemote LITE and MochaVNC, and manage my calendar with Week Cal. Occassionally, I play DropZap 2 and Words With Friends.

I can be contacted through e-mail at

Thought Lightning: Communication

I had a long phone conversation yesterday with someone and I made it clear to them how I communicate and the order of priority:

  1. Text Message
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. E-mail
  5. IM
  6. Phone
  7. In person

All of this had me thinking about how I communicate and how I prioritize things. I’m so much more likely to communicate in a digital medium only because I can time my words and phrasing and I’m less likely to screw up how I say something.

Truly, I am a child of the digital age.

Some current projects I’m involved with

I’m in the middle of quite a bit right now, it seems. Random things, including school work, scripts, websites, and all sorts of stuff. This is just a random list of what I can think of.

The Study Club

The Study Club is a short film currently in the process of being made, penned by myself and Ben Perry. We’re casting actors now, and filming begins on April 1st until the third. It’s looking to be about 8-10 minutes long and will be shot almost entirely on 16mm film. Ben and I are in the middle of the fourth draft of the script, and we’re hoping that the fifth draft will be the final, shooting draft.

Once the film is done and everything, it will be shown at GVSU, then may go off onto a short-film circuit. I’m not 100% sure… I’ll have to check my facts on that.


Thought Lightning: Mini-Naps

Sometimes I think that taking quick 5-10 minute naps are all my body needs to complete a REM cycle and put me back on track. I’ll be exhausted and after a very quick snooze, it’s as if my whole body is restored.

This happens on the bus a lot… Maybe there’s a correlation.

Thought Lightning: Apathy

I had a discussion today with some co-workers about how I work. I admitted that unless I am really excited about an idea or assignment, I don’t want to do it. Supposedly it’s a strength and a weakness in me. For some reason I see it as more of my own apathy towards non-thinking work. I could name five things I don’t like to do and they’re all monotonous tasks that require no thinking.

My own apathy comes from my need to think. I can’t figure out if that’s a flaw or not.

Thought Lightning: Music on the go

I’m always confused when people on campus don’t have earbuds or headphones. I have to wonder how they get by walking by themselves without some sort of musical background.

Then again, people who aren’t heavily into music confuse the hell out of me. It’s as if they’re simply ignoring a fundamental part of the human mind. I could be biased on this because I have some musical talent. Nonetheless, music is a core feature of human culture. How can you ignore that?