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Marching on

Yeah, it's a lame title. But it gets the job done. Let me explain, but first: here's a comic I've been holding on to for a while:

So, where to begin?

Since this is my first post in almost a month and a half, here's the rundown of what has been keeping me busy:
  • First and foremost: we had a staff member leave Shadow Development. I won't say exactly who it was, but I will say that having this person leave does alleviate some stress from us. Broken promises, 99% tardy, never following up, and spending more time with others than working on the job. It seemed like a huge stress reliever to come home and just vent about the craziness at the office. Well, that person is gone and we do not have to deal with the likes of that person again. It feels good to say that and to be able to program in peace without having to re-teach what I just taught multiple times to this person.

  • I'm curious and want to build a webcam-based monitoring system. With Port-forwarding open on the router, things have been very adventurous and I want to explore the options. So, here's the deal: I buy a Type-B Raspberry Pi circuit board, a webcam, a powered USB hub, and (maybe) a usb-to-wifi device (the wifi is TBD). Through some instructions based on, I believe that the setup should be fairly simple. Now if I can only get the Raspberry Pi to arrive....

  • I had to reformat my home server. Since I was playing around with the firewall rules and tried to find a Firewall Rules Editing GUI, apparently it installed and overwrote what I had in place, so it erased all of my iptables rules and blocked port 80, 22, 443, and pretty much everything incoming. After trying to correct/reset/re-enable the previous ruleset, my only option was to perform a complete system reformat. Luckilly, Debian is free. I just had to go through about a week of backups and transfers, resetting options, enabling modules, and getting the start-up commands the way I wanted them. So now, here is the first post on the reformatted system!

  • Shadow Dev is going through some major reconstruction. Not on the office (although, it could use a physical visual upgrade), but the strategies and operations. Since January, I've been the VP of Operations, and basically, I'm in charge of the technology, processes, networks, and overall operations of how the business is run. It's basically like President, but without a lot of the Presidential stress. Keat and I have been meeting with our new advisor off-and-on for a few weeks, and he has us on the right path. Now to just finish it and get the new strategy underway.

  • I spent my 26th birthday weekend with my family in Murphy, NC. It was nice to have a family gathering without the 20+ other members, and just make it with my immediate family. The nieces and nephew weren't too bad, and my sisters and I really caught up. We had a bit of a confusing endgame, though, when I blurted out the idea of visiting a dam on our out-of-town-sightseeing-tour, which turned out to be off some unnamed road out in the boonies, so all of us were driving for about 2 hours up and down steep gravel roads until we reached Tennessee. Jinnee and them went west (to their home), Mom and Dad went east (Raleigh), and Keat and I traveled up to Knoxville, then down 40 to Waynesville. It was quite an interesting trip, and I got to see a bit of Knoxville while I was at it. Now to just go back and hit the zoo!

  • Keat and I wanted to have our friend CJ over for a while, and in order to do so, we needed to make the guestroom, well.....usable. After a mass weekend cleaning, we rearranged the guestroom/office and now it's easier to walk in to and easier to navigate. Somehow, it seems like this place wouldn't be able to operate without the specific arrangement we picked, but we'll see what time says. (by the way, CJ had to postpone his trip to a later date)

  • I've been working on some improvements on the site. So far, I've made some major improvements to the contact page. I'm working on the solutions page, the new pricing page (TBA), and a new section I like to call First Steps. More info to be announced soon

  • On a related note, Shadow Dev has some new pricing scales that will be announced. Basically, I have been talking with my friend at 3dBWireless, who is building a data center+office at the SMDC Incubator The Center for New and Expanding Businesses, right across the hall from us. It's interesting to see how far they have progressed in their construction and what types of technology they have been installing. I thought our new office was pretty neat, since we were pretty much the tip-of-the-technology-point in the building. In comparison, they put our new office to shame. I'm really hoping that they can help us reconstruct our office to some better standards when we get the funds. Also, we are doing a trade off with them: web work for hosting space. Yet another way for us to bring our costs down, but also we are able to have local hosting instead of paying out $200/qtr for the limited hosting service we have now. To summarize: we have 30GB of space, 1TB of bandwidth, and 512MB of RAM. With 3dBWireless, we have 60GB of space, unlimited (at least, not capped) bandwidth, and 4GB of burstable RAM. I call that a good deal. And it's local, so speed should definitely be increased instead of having to send a NC signal all the way to Germany (CloudFlare proxy IP) and California (current host) and back.

  • A few clients have been taking up some time in the office. One client has a site that is slowly progressing, but they are still paying their bills and we should be able to launch their site any day now. One client was put on hiatus because they were still working on their business plan 1 year into billing, so since not much work was being done, it was our decision to put them on hiatus until they are ready. No sense in paying a company that doesn't do anything, right? Also, we got a new client (finally!). Our former staff member was able to get a client signed right before departure, and this is the first client signed since August! Check out the Shadow Dev Blog for more details.

  • Since we moved in to our new space, I really haven't paid much attention to the power meter. I guess I should have, because the demand on our meter was "off the charts" (as our building manager put it). I don't know why, as we only have 2 computers running, a low-power router, and the AC every once in a while. The little spinner-disc-thingy is barely crawling during standard day-to-day operations, and the meter counter barely increases from day to day. An old tenant who specializes in electricity developments is coming by tomorrow to take a look at it.

  • Also, I've begun watching Star Trek: Enterprise. I know some people say "It's the worst thing on television...", and I believed that for a long time. But I realized that I never really gave it a chance. Yes, there are a few things that could be improved, like the dimensional development of the characters, the cultural diversity of the crew, the storyline consistency, the cinematography style, etc, but by thinking about it in a different way makes it understandable. Put it this way: TOS, TNG, DS9, and Voyager all followed one storyline, and as things got further, things progressed better. Enterprise is not really on the same storyline, but is instead making it's own storyline off the chart. It's the early days of Starfleet, the era before the UFP, and we "humans" have never heard of a "Klingon" before, much less the "Romulans". So it definitely sets up the rest of the storylines using a bit of modern technology (like functional and LED lit PADD's), but it has a flavor all it's own. Sure, the budget is a bit more than TOS's christmas light buttons and boards, but that's part of the issue with modern day society. You can't shoot a 1960's series in 2000 making it ready for the 2000 audience. Things have to progress faster, be made flashier, always keep them guessing, etc. I tried watching TOS, and it has its good points, but the storyline is the same as the 1960's and 1970's Doctor Who: the first few minutes sets up the story, purpose, and situation, then a lot of filler story, then the last few minutes solves the issue. I'm sorry, but TOS and classic Doctor Who put me to sleep. There - I said it. Let the blasphemy begin.

Chances are at this point, you are either tired of reading or just scrolled down to see the ending. Well, I'm done for the night. I may be able to work on some small items for about another hour, but I need to hit the hay since I need to be at the office at 8:30am for some electrical testing work (see above).