Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 16 results for tag "cat"
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How many drafts does it take?

As I browse through my online profiles, I realize that I haven't updated my blog. IN 5 MONTHS! Geez, my online life really has fallen behind. I'm not proud of that.

My many drafts
My many drafts for Omega Noir
So, what has been keeping me busy? I'm glad you asked:

Working on 3rd draft of Omega Noir 1 manuscript


During NanoWrimo 2015, I wrote the majority of "Omega Noir: Ascension", which was the first of my magical fantasy series. During 2016, I finished the manuscript and began editing it, and really liked where it was going. However, while writing "Omega Noir: Chaos Cast" (#2), and editing what I had of that, I realized two things:
  1. Vol 1(1) had lots of plot holes
  2. Vol 2(1) had a sucky villian


So I started a 2nd draft of Omega Noir (#1), and got about 70 pages in, but I realized I was doing the same thing: making sucky villians and building up plot holes. Additionally, the story didn't flow the same way, and lost even MY interest.

Hence, I began Draft #3. This one has a better hook, explains as it goes, and keeps on moving. I'm already 56 pages in, and so much has already happened, with a lot more to go!

Teaching Japanese Elementary and Middle School


My job in Japan has me teaching at 4 different schools: 2 elementary schools (1-6 grade) and 2 middle schools (7-9 grade). My job: Teaching (or assisting in teaching) the English Language.

Luckily, the programs have already been planned out, so all I have to do is show up, maybe bring an activity, and be active. It's not the hardest job in the world, but it is technically the first 8-5 job I've had.

Teaching AB Tech


While teaching English during the day, I'm also teaching HTML by night (well, late evening). I still have my job with AB Tech, and I'm so happy that AB Tech was willing to let me keep my job while across the world. I've had to do a lot of video recording (and editing) as my course is completely online, so I can't just show up and talk for two hours like I did before.

Managing Japanoblog


Japanoblog has become a big part of our lives. While in Japan, we have traveled around the area, including Tokyo and Kyoto, documenting different adventures, sights, foods, and more. Although we still have to work on the weekdays, it's nice to get out and share our adventures with our fans.

Managing the cats


Getting the cats to Japan (after the paperwork) was easy. However, shortly after we arrived, the cats got fleas. We're still not quite sure how, because they never had fleas in America, and we didn't bring them. But somehow, they got fleas, and we've been fighting them ever since. The two of them fight like siblings and we keep them fed and watered, and they like the treats that Japan has to offer.

During some nights, Maru will come into the bedroom and sleep on our heads (or lick our faces) while Chi traps us under the blankets. Other nights (or days), neither of them will enter the bedroom, and when we drag them in, they immediately dash out. No idea why.

Figuring out Japan lifestyle


Comapring Japan to America is like night and day (which, since we're 14 hours ahead, can be a literal definition). There are many things in Japan that are different from America, such as traveling, paying bills, bank accounts, phones, and more. We'll do an article/video on Japanoblog and talk about that in detail.

So until the next post, I'm still busy.


Tags:#tokyo #kyoto #japanoblog #cats #abtech #english #omeganoir

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Latest Code Project: Coder Ranking

Coder Ranking
Version 1 of the Mockup Site Design

While traveling over the Thanksgiving break, I encountered a sign for a "code school" along the highway. That got me thinking: why isn't there a code school that allows you to pick up classes?

I did some research on this "code school" that I saw an ad for, and noticed two things:
  1. They only do Software (Python, Ruby, C#, etc)
  2. They charge $12,000 for a 12 week course!

  3. I'll admit that $12k is a lot to shell out for a coding course, and their in-depth approach is nice, but most people (especially aspiring programmers) don't have enough to buy a new car with (including me).

    I did some more research on other code schools, such as Codecademy, Udemy, Coursera, Treehouse, and others, and found that they were all lacking some form of educational resource: in-person training, low cost, accreditation, full study specializations, basic training (ex: Java for an Android course), predictive course schedules, and a few others. So I thought about merging my Entrepreneural and Programming experiences to make one.

    That's where I came up with Coder Ranking.

    (The name is mainly the only .com domain that I could get.)

    What is Coder Ranking?


    Coder Ranking does three primary things:
    1. In-person Training: The "online education" doesn't fit everyone (I know it's a challenge for me), and helping students and getting help from emails and forums just doesn't help. Someone needs to be there to help explain it, or show it live so it can be better understood.
    2. Low Cost: Not everyone has a grand or so laying around for a course or two. Therefore, by offering the training at a low cost, it should be accessible by everyone.
    3. Courses are à la carte: If someone has some fractured formal education, and needs to catch up to the latest trend or at least round out their training, they shouldn't have to go through 2- or 4-year colleges to get the education for something they already know 50% of (see my example below).


    Coming from Fractured Training


    The last one is probably the best: the à la carte option. Since I was semi-formally trained in Web Development, I learned HTML (4), CSS, PHP, MySQL, XML/XSL, and basic JavaScript. HTML5 I had to learn on my own, and the jQuery library. However, the big issue here is that while I was trained in PHP, I was trained in Procedural Programming while other languages like Java and C++ use Object Oriented Programming, which PHP does as well. My training was acceptable, but trying to get a better understanding of OOP and implement it was like pulling teeth. After much, much research, I have found that OOP is better, and I should have been doing it all along, but the tutorials that I stumbled upon were either jumping around like the person that wrote it assumed the learner knew, or were too advanced to understand.

    Additionally, since I went to college, Java wasn't really a big thing, so I didn't think that a CIS Degree would help. So I went into Entrepreneruship. However, a few years after I graduated, Java is the big thing (Mobile programming, OOP-based training, code structures, etc), and a CIS/CS Degree would be needed for a fallback field in case I wanted to go anywhere. When I tried to take an "Android Development" course through Coursera, I thought that it would be nice to learn, since the instructions said "For beginner programmers, with little to no experience with Java." I signed up for it, and the first lesson was great. However, the 2nd lesson required an understanding and experience in Java. Otherwise, the lesson didn't make any sense. So I tried to get some education in Java, and (sans the Oracle training) there wasn't really much out there. I tried to pick up some odd courses and tutorials here and there, but nothing really made sense. After a while, I tried the Android course (again, without knowing it was the same course), and even with the little experience I had in Java, the 2nd lesson still beat me.

    So why wasn't there a place to get a Java education without a 4-year degree (and cost)? I didn't know.

    Badge!

    Extra Bonus


    Another thing I like about Coder Ranking is in the name: The students are ranked by their education material.

    By completing each course, a student will get a badge and some points toward their profile. Additionally, they will get a certificate saying they passed. As they get more education, they can get more badges and points (basic gamification).

    The added benefit is that they will also get an identifying code that will allow employers and the like to look up their public education record (limited to Coder Ranking) and see what they have done. No other coding school really does that. I have some certificates from some coding schools, but unless I take the certificate in with an interview, the only reference that my possible employer will have is a listing on my resume.

    Can I Test Out?


    Additionally, coders with experience can "test out" of a course" and just try for the certification. For example: I have plenty of experience, but I don't have many certifications in coding. Some certifications I can get are from odd 3rd party resources that will either charge me $200-$10k for a certification, and even then, it may require a class or two. I just want the sheet of paper saying I know my stuff!

    I'm hoping that I can get Coder Ranking accredited some how to make the certifications mean more than just a sheet of paper. It's in the works.

    I'll work on this a little more and get my entrepreneurial experience up and going once more!


Tags:#coderranking #gamification #badges #courses #coding

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Pre Xmas Status

It's been a busy end-of-November, and the holiday chaos is just beginning.

The good news: I finally got to work on the Pi some. After reconnecting my Pi and finding out that it had been dormant for about 7 months, I decided to kick things back into gear. First, the server setup:
Server Setup

With the Pi set up in the window, I set up the Cron system to automatically delete all files older than 20 minutes and automatically RSYNC over to the main server for remote management. Having all of the images on the Pi over the course of a day creates over 90,000 files and fills up the tiny 8GB device within hours. So I had to find another method. Luckily, I already knew how to automatically back up files over RSYNC with Password-less SSH sessions. Yay.

Cron commands:
*/2 * * * * root find /var/www/motion/* -mmin +30 -exec rm -f {} \;
 
*/5 * * * * pi /home/pi/rsync.sh
See my rsync script at my other post

Other good news: Night Blade has been published! Yes, we are out of the Proofing stage and officially selling copies!

Luckily, I got my Proof copy right before we left for Thanksgiving, and I spent the majority of Thanksgiving break proofing the edition (all of 6 days). After I got home, I made the modifications to the manuscript, reformatted it, and re-uploaded it to CreateSpace, Smashwords, and Leanpub. Personally, I'm proud of the fact that I wrote a book. Now on to #2: Day of Reckoning!

Back to Thanksgiving for a bit. Keat and I did the turkey, which turned out well, as expected. A little drama happened over the break that I really am glad that I wasn't a part of, although I wish I was in order to defend Keat a bit. As expected, as usual, we went on a hike. This time to Stone Mountain.
Keat on Stone Mountain

Overall, it was "fun" with the expectation of someone questioning your every decision. Ah, the holidays.

Also, since Shadow Dev is going through a bit of a revamp (and I spent some time writing instead of coding), I've been looking for some jobs with very little success. My requirements are as follows: non-sales job and non-fast food. Aside from that, I'm pretty much open to anything, but 90% of the jobs are "Part Time Sales", if you know what I mean.
Our Generation on Jobs
(I did not say this - it is a screenshot from Failbook)

I mean, I don't mean to be picky, and I have very good reasons to why I said what I did. As per my previous experience (and what many others have told me), I suck at selling. I'll say it again: I suck at selling. I'll admit it. Anyone who hires me to sell will never get their ROI back. They'll pay me to stand there and do many other things (stock, checkout, manage, etc), but not to sell. I'm a "people pleaser", and if I know of something that you can do to save you money and not hand it over in an "upsell" tactic, I will let you know. Although I'm thinking I need to move away from the "people pleaser" state as it seems to be doing more harm than good for me.

Anyway, here's what has been happening so far:
- Haywood Community College: I applied for the Small Business Director position. Personally, I thought I was a great fit. I met all of their qualifications (including a Degree in Entrepreneurship, which I have), so I thought I was a shoe-in. I sent in my application, my research paper, and my transcript copy to them in September as the due date for the application was October 30th. After a month, I didn't hear back, but it was still before the due date, so I sent in a message via USPS contacting them about the status of my application.

A few days before the due date, I was contacted by the HR Department saying "We received your letter, but not your application." Confused about the situation, I hand delivered in the other copy of the application, my research paper, and another transcript request copy to them an hour afterwards.

Not hearing anything back, I emailed the HR person about a followup. They said that they never received my transcript, and I had to go on a wild goose chase to find out where it went. Western said that they sent out both requests that I sent in, with the matching dates and addresses as well, so the problem was with HCC. Apparently, the problem was that my transcripts (and probably my first application) went to Student Services, not HR. I called Student Services and asked them to deliver my transcript to HR (across the hall).

Afterwards, I contacted the HR person again and asked for a status update. She said that the committee was making their decisions and that interviews were to be held on December 5th and 6th. Well, here it is, December 9th, and no callback. Which means, I didn't even get considered.

- Thinking that the HCC job was a deadend (and looking for backups), I applied to Target on December 3rd for "Backroom Stock" (not Sales and not Fast Food - perfect!). The application process wasn't that hard, but I have yet to hear back.

- I also applied to Biltmore a while back (October), but was turned down for 3 different positions: IT Staff, Security Guard, and Dishwasher. Yes, Dishwasher. I was passed up for a Dishwasher. Their message:
Thank you for your recent application for our Dishwasher position 
 
with The Biltmore Company.  We regret to inform you that we have filled this 
 
position. After considering each application carefully, our hiring team felt 
 
that there were other candidates that more closely matched the specific needs
 
 of the position.
Seriously? WTF?

- Looking elsewhere, I also applied to Regal Grand Theaters hoping to get some low-line cleanup crew position (hey, it's money). After visiting the theater with Keat at the Catching Fire premiere, the whole building said that they were hiring. So, I applied on December 3rd and have yet to hear back (I was hoping my LMP experience would mean something. I guess not)

If "overqualification" is a thing (it was when I applied to Best Buy back in 2004), then maybe I should do this:
Overqualification solved


Onto a different topic, I visited the NCCAT center last night to celebrate the "Hour of Code" (an initiative program to increase programming skills in schools) and talked to Dr. Wade with the NCCAT. After briefly meeting with him, I think that we may be on our way to start our own CoderDojo in the WNC area (the closest one is in Missouri). I also got an "Hour of Java" which was interesting. I contacted Dr. Andrew Scott for more information. Although, this has resparked my love for programming.

Meanwhile, Keat is working with a few "clients" on a Consulting business. Knowing that, we had a discussion and may be opening a "Web Technologies Consulting Business". Since "Web Design" is such a flooded market, and there aren't really any upsides to DIY Websites (and people want the moon, but only want to pay $1), we explored WordPress (yes, I know - stop badgering me) as a viable option. I installed a test environment and it does seem quite easy to use, so we may be able to offer that as a "Small Website Option" and make the clients manage it themselves. Self-managed websites with client decisions and actions, without being yelled at for things out of our control or expectations that we can never meet? I think it's definitely a considerable option, but not just for the "Web Design" factor - a consultant should be referenced.

And just because my week had been going like a wild rollercoaster, I saw/heard this, and it really helped me along:

And a reference:
Tso - get it?

And with that, I probably won't post again until after Christmas, as the holiday chaos is catching up and my sleep pattern is completely messed up.


Tags:#thanksgiving #nightblade #rsync #cron #stonemountain #jobs #consulting #target #haywood #regal #bc #nccat #coderdojo #hourofcode #picard #startrek #tng

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Post-Government Shutdown/October Progress

Derpy cat - why not?

I decided to put up a derpy cat. My reasoning? Why not.

Anyway, it's been a while since my last post. Since the Government shutdown lasted an agonizing 16 days (at least, agonizing since I've been an adult, since the last one was in 1996 when I was too young to know the difference), I've heard more than enough about the parks closing, veterans storming the gates, furloughed paychecks, federal services that closed, etc.

Since the Government shutdown is now over (as a seemed force-of-hand by the Republican party), hopefully this process can be easier to proceed.

Anyway, government techno jargon aside, here's what's been keeping me busy:
  • I've picked up progress on WNC Local again, and it seemed that my thought process almost repeated itself since I worked for a few hours only to realize that the work was already done (yeah, I feel stupid). I've been working on the front end aspects and it seems to be coming along nicely. According to the original timeframe, we are right on track, but I'm hoping to move the timeframe up some.
  • Since we launched the new Shadow Dev site, there were a few things that weren't quite finished. I believe that I have patched up those few things and polished up, including the services pages. I was able to write a posting about the Q4 expectations and celebrated 8 years of Shadow Dev. It's not completely glorious, but it's better than completely shutting down.
  • After reviewing the analytical data, I realized that Two Cats wasn't getting any traffic. I realized that the site wasn't active and it had to do with some misplaced site files within the internal file structure from the new Shadow Dev design launch. I took about 15 minutes and remedied that today. The site itself isn't fully functioning, but I've decided to pick up the coding again.
  • Basically, here's my work docket: WNC Local, CityFix, OmniCard, Two Cats Studios, Lunar Productions Beta, Zoomiform, and ScrumIt (and eWaiter, but it has a long way to go). Yeah - that's everything I have so far.
  • I'm also working on (again) integrating the WePay API into the services to help online charges and auto-payments. It's been a challenge and I believe I'm up to it, but it will just take time.

In (what's left of) my personal life:
  • I started watching Yu Gi Oh on Hulu. I know it's been over a decade since I've seen the series, but at least I can now watch the series in order and finish up the series (since after Duel City, the new series started - I don't know (or care) what the name of the series was, because I stopped watching it).
  • Keat and I attended War of the Wings last week, and it was a lot of fun. One of the many things I can say about it is that it was a lot more comfortable than previous WoW's. The temperature never reached about 75, and the nights were never below 60, which meant that the heat wasn't too unbearable and the nights were nice and cozy under the blankets, but never enough to bring out the cloaks/capes for warmth. There were a lot of other items that were fun, but I won't go into it here because it will take up 5 pages of text. If you want to know, ask me, because I have a great story about an idiot on the Archery range.

And, just for good measurement, here's a comic that I can relate to as far as Retail work:
Retail jobs are obsolete


Tags:#dilbert #derpy #warofthewings #wnclocal #omnicard #yugioh #lunarproductions #zoomiform #twocatsstudios #cityfix #shadowdev

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Hittin' the Tracks with Rails

Well, more like a "Ruby" and "Ruby on Rails" scenario, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, here's a comic that I wish I could create:
FatCats


Getting back to the topic, I've been going through the Codecademy's track for Ruby to understand the concepts for Ruby (I went through all 10 courses they had within 11 hours), then studied up with RailsForZombies.org and Rails Tutorial book to get a grasp on Rails. I've been working on that book for about 2 days now, and it has really shown me the in's and out's of a basic dynamic rails structure. I'm on Chapter 7 right now.

All I can say is that Ruby seems very robust, but Rails seems very picky.

It is a different standard from what I'm used to with PHP. Whereas Rails is extremely picky with "only my way works" (kind of like older HTML), I'm used ti the PHP mindset where "if you have an idea, there are about 50 ways to create it". Personally, I still like the PHP way, but I haven't given up on RoR yet, but I like the MVC procedures that Rails incorporates (and now that I can finally use git for a good reason). You can checkout my progress at http://cdn.kmp.link:3000 or even view my github releases at https://github.com/kode29/sample_app.

On the lighter side, I've created a "Skillset Chart" on my blog showing off some of my skillsets and how experienced I am with them. Just view the middle right section of my blog layout to view it.


Tags:#fatcats #rails #ruby #ror #php #html #github

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This is your only clue

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DOT!!!!!!!!! DOT DOT DOT DOT DOT!!!!

Here's to all of you cat fans and wonder why pets act the way they do.
Garfield
DOT


Tags:#cat #dog #laser #ball #fetch #dot

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(A Small) Time to Breathe

First, here's a good comic to celebrate 4/20:
4/20 with Cats

I don't think the term "crazy" defines the past few weeks around here. It would be more like....chaotic, crammed, catch-up, compiling, compunding....any other "C" words go here?

Anyway, here's a quick rundown of what I've done, and what is yet to come:
Shadow Dev:

  • Fairview's site is coming along, and should be ready by May 1. I spent a little too much time on their scraper, but when it ran, it was a beauty!

    Here's what it was supposed to do: scan the site for links, find product pages, and archive their current product listing.

    Here's what it did: scan the site for links, create a database of the links that every page goes to, scan each of the pages for a common phrase that is on the product pages (since the product pages didn't have a commonality among url's), scrape the code and find the product name, default ID, and default photo, scan for further images (both small and large photos), find the area that lists prices, grab and store the different types of prices and "packages", optimize the database for remote links and make them local, download all images that are listed in the database, scan through the database and delete duplicate product entries, scan the stored images and delete duplicates, and set up a test page to choose a random product and show the different images, prices, and listings based on the information presented. Yeah - that's a mouthful!

    With our other basic developer out of the area for a while, I have to finish the rest of Fairview's site in order to be ready by May 1. Here's the todo list for the next 10 days: finalize the design tweaks, create additional pages, integrate the information into the new pages, create a formalized version of the product pages, order/integrate an SSL certificate, and integrate a Merchant account into the system ready for a May 1 launch. Yay....

  • We've hired another Developer, Cheryl Mason, and she is a real gift! She knows more SEO stuff that I could have ever guessed. She's also well prepped for Developmental work. Put it this way: I had to spend about 3 months training our other developers from basic HTML 4.01 to HTML5, CSS3, basic PHP, MySQL, and basic Javascript/AJAX/jQuery. My overall experience with Cheryl took about 2 weeks. It looks like I may have found my replacement in the Development area! YAY!

  • We've finally finalized the transfer for one of our "potential" clients. I won't go into details, but I'll say this: Potential client "Pete" owns a business. He's had this business for X years. His primary source of new business comes from people calling in (our reasoning: his site didn't work well, so people had to call). Pete knows that his site wasn't doing too hot, and wanted to discuss details about getting a new site. Bad news, his wife owns the domain. More bad news: it's his ex-wife, and they are not on good terms. So.....after about 4 months or so, Pete's domain expired and was available to the world. Pete told us to get it for him. Well, by the time it was available for us to get it, his ex-wife renewed the domain (we believe it was auto-renewed, and she didn't know/care). So....Pete finally talked to his ex-wife and his hosting company, got the domain released, and gave us the EPP. From there, we exchanged a number of emails confirming the transfer (which is another reason we recommend updating the nameservers instead of a transfer, as a transfer can be really confusing and frustrating depending on the technical experience of the transferee). After about a week, the transfer finalized and we got it updated to our servers. He should be signing within the next few days.

  • We are developing some new services to produce some additional income. These services include a: Site Usability Report, Competitor Comparison Report, and In-Depth Analysis (which we used to offer for free, but the time spent on generating these reports didn't produce the ROI we expected). More details to come soon.

  • We are also developing a Rewards Program for our clients. Can't say much, but it should be coming out soon

  • The role of "Presenter" may also be taken off of my plate. I've talked to Cheryl about it, and she's really excited to have control of an SEO Seminar that we put on a while back. If things go well, we should be able to schedule that during the summer or fall. Can't wait to see what she produces!

  • Been talking with AboutUs, seeing what they can do as far as a site comparision and competitor comparision, and we are in talks about a Partnership! Cool!

  • We've released the PR for our site contest. The "fishbowls" have been out since the beginning of February, and we now have all 10 placed, and the PR is out. I honestly didn't even know that we were published until Cheryl (the SMDC Secretary) came over and said that she saw our article. My original response was "We're in the paper?"



Personal:

  • I watched all of Heroes, again. Still a good series.

  • Finally get to watch all of Season 4 of Eureka! now I can see how they got to 1947 and the stories before and after that. I was really excited on Monday (wow, is it really Saturday already?) to see Eureka Season 5! That first episode was....a repeat of Season 4 (with the changing time frame), but still looks good. It really sucks that this is the last season. It seems like all of the good shows are cancelled before their time.

  • Mythbusters new Season! Yay! In addition, Jamie and Adam have a new series: Unchained Reaction, which is really awesome.

  • Psych had their season finale. Boo! I wish their seasons ran longer

  • We went to "Drums of War" earlier this month in Elkin. Didn't win anything, but had a great time shooting some targets and getting to see everyone again since October.



I think I'll call it a night with that. Between now and May 1, I may not be able to post again. I see a lot of sleepless nights in my soon-to-be future.


Tags:#lolcats #heroes #erueka #mythbusters #sca #paper #pr #aboutus #seo #services #epp #html5 #css3 #

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April Showers bring May.....Vacations?

It's been super crazy around here. That's probably why I haven't posted since February. I mean, with everything that is going on, I've barely gotten 6 hours of sleep at night.

But first, here's one reason why I hate March:
FatCats - March


I've put out the latest Shadow Dev newsletter that gives a good insight to what's been going on. But for those of you who don't get it, here's the run-down (business-wise):

  • We've signed on 2 new clients: Fairview Flower Shop and Dehydrated Delites. Fairview is a family-owned company in Decatur, GA, and Dehydrated Delites specializes in dehydrated and chocolate-covered fruit. Yay yay! The downside is that Fairview needs their site done by May 1, and it's one of the biggest projects we've taken on

  • It's been a record-breaking quarter for us. With the accounting records finally (and correctly) updated, we can see how things have been and are going to be. Let me put it this way: All financial reports have increased 430% and higher!

  • Tom and I have been discussing a lot of things and figured out a lot of good (and bad) ideas, both manpower and budget wise. This should allow us to proceed correctly down the right paths

  • Drinks with Geeks has a date: Saturday, May 5th at 4pm. The event is free, and we are trying to see if we can get food there or not. Details to come

  • Tom and I were at the HCC Career Fair. At first, we thought that we would have 3 or 4 people interested, but.....let me put it this way: our table was crowded from the point the fair opened to just about closing with potential applicants and clients. Way to go!

  • I'm researching a way to automatically export a pre-created pre-filled contract for Shadow Dev. Based on our previous process, it would take roughly 1.5 hours to manually fill out the fields necessary, along with doing the necessary calculations to figure out the rates. With this new PDF-Contract system, (which is in a prototype stage now), just put in the information, check the services requested, and BOOM! Contract created. A 1.5-hr process now takes 30 seconds. I call that Success!

  • We are working on 3 new (well, 1 is somewhat-new) services. I haven't started programming anything yet, but we may be able to enter these into the business competition later this month. Here's the overview: an automatic menu ordering system, a city-report tool, and a service comparison tool/app. Can't wait to get started!

  • I re-requested a quote for Shadow Dev from an Insurance Company that specializes in IT Companies. Luckily, the quote they gave us has the same rates from the quote they gave us last year. It would be nice to see that in action.

  • Tom helped re-plan the finance schedule. I don't know how he did it, but the system he developed (with a little tweaking) made the whole "check how much each person is making and payout" system a whole lot simplier.



And now Personal-wise:

  • I'm rewatching Heroes. So far, I'm halfway through Season 3. Although the latter seasons aren't as good as the first, it's still a great series

  • I've been doing a lot of editing on Neko Sentou and found a few areas that need improvement, and a lot of areas that need correcting. Hopefully, by going through the 300+ page draft, it should make for a better storyline

  • My mom came up to visit me yesterday. We had a good visit, but the best part was that she said she was proud of me. I'm so happy (YAY!)

  • I really need to catch up on MLP:FiH. I'm about 10 episodes behind and just haven't had the time to watch them yet

  • I am now off of my parent's car insurance. I know my Dad is happy, but now I have another $48/mth cost I have to work in to my payment schedule.

  • Keat is with her parents from Friday until Wednesday. It's super lonely here without her. I think I may go insane with 3 cats......are they talking to me?

  • I will (with keat and kat) be going to Drums of War next week. This event usually isn't until July-ish, but with the weather being what it has been, along with a wonky schedule update, it is now in April. I just hope it doesn't rain like it did last year



I'll end it at that since this seems like a rant, but hey, if you can't rant on your own blog, who can you rant to?

And now, an additional comic (since my stockpile has been growing):
Pearls March 25


G'Nite!


Tags:#fatcats #pearlsbeforeswine #heroes #mlp #insurance #sca #pdf #automated #hcc #fairview #dehydrateddelites

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SPAAAAAAAAACE Bar

I was browsing my reader a few minutes ago, and saw this:
SPAAAAAAAAACE Bar


Which, of course, made me want to see the ending to Portal 2.......again.


And that referenced to this video, which is slightly annoying, but still fun to watch.


Tags:#portal2 #space #keyboardcat

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Vacation Relaxation

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Weekend of Unplanning


+10 points if you can correctly guess which episode and series this came from.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to discuss this weekend. Sure it's Memorial Day weekend, and I'm proud of our active and non-active heroes in the military and non-military fields, but that's aside the point.

To start off with, I am currently at Nags Head beach for the weekend. This was not really of my choice. I have a lot of work to do for the business, and it seems like with the way that Keat's parents were acting, we are staying Friday till Monday in the Nags Head area. My parents wanted to hold a get-tigether with both of my sisters and us to celebrate Jinnee's birthday, Jarrod's graduation, and Keat's graduation. It originally was planned for last weekend, which we had open, but then based on Jinnee's schedule, it had to be re-scheduled for THIS weekend, and since Keat's parents wanted us over for Memorial Day weekend, and wanted us over for 2 weeks originally. While we did NOT have 2 weeks to spare, we were able to get it down to about 4 days.

Long story short: Keat's parents are nice and everything, but it seems that the whole concept of "vacation" usually doesn't mean anything to them. They like to discuss things (or as they say: "talk about it") that Keat has issues with (from their standpoint), yet anything that has to deal with us, Keat's dad will only talk to her and not me.

This has been the actual proof-of-concept that proves that Keat's parents know what a "vacation" is. So far, all we have done is gone on the beach and gotten sunburnt (don't remind me). A lot of family is over and it seems like the only way that they can "talk" to us is to pull us aside and out of the way. As they are the "hosts" of this little "get-together", it seems kind of hard for them to do that. In addition, we are also staying at a family friends' house, which reduces the chance of them "talking" to us.

On a semi-related note, my sister sent over a text which seemed like she was super-mad at me. I can kinda understand, since apparently my parents had a special "celebratory dinner" which I was not told about. I sent her a response saying that we were not told about the dinner and based on the original idea of Keat's parents, we were lucky to get 4 days out of the original 2 week plan (and could not get out of it). I haven't received anything back yet which means she understands the situation (either by my text or talking to Mom, who knew our schedule), or she's even more pissed at me, which I'M SORRY for. I would have loved to stay Memorial Day weekend with my parents, even if a few chores are involved, but trying to manage 2 schedule requests for 1 person ain't that easy.

I do have some good news, though. Late on Wednesday (the day before we left), I was flipping through some channels at my parent's place and saw Boomerang playing Swat Kats, one of the best shows ever! Because I was curious, I found that WB stopped selling the Swat Kats DVD's, but that doesn't means that other sellers don't have it. While searching for the DVD set, I also came across another great series called ReBoot, which was one of the first (and possibly greatest) CG series that ever came around.

On a more good-news note: I'm watching a Mythbusters marathon on Discovery channel, one of my favorite shows which I haven't seen in so many months since Discovery doesn't have an agreement with Hulu yet, so I can't watch my missed episodes (and they don't have episodes on Discovery.com/mythbusters yet).

While I try to heal this unsightly and uncomfortable sunburn and work on some of these client projects that are due by Tuesday, I hope your memorial day weekend goes better than mine.

And while I'm at it, here's a bonus comic:


and if you like bonuses, here's another comic (I have a whole gallery that I need to catch up on):


Goodnight!


Tags:#mythbusters #swatkats #reboot #graduation #vacation #xkcd #bug #dilbert

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SSL Relief

After spending 1 week with email support from Website Source, Comodo, and enom, I finally have the SSL Certificate for a client that was assumed "lost". It turned out that after getting super-frustrated at being sent in circles, Comodo sent me an email saying "Please call support". So I called support and (finally) had my SSL Certificate within 10 minutes. 5 minutes later, I installed it on the client site and everything was at peace.

Here's an overview of what happened:
  1. Ordered a "Comodo Essential SSL Certificate" via our Control Panel (powered by Parallel's Plesk) which is through Website Source (aka: "WSS"), our reseller on May 6

  2. Comodo sent me a "Domain Verification Email". I clicked on the link, provided the code, and verified the domain.

  3. 24 hours later, I did not receive an email from Comodo with a "Here's your Certificate", so I contacted Comodo about it

  4. They said to contact my reseller (they said "enom", which isn't true)

  5. I contacted WSS about the issue, and they weren't sure about the WSS/Comodo relationship. They also said that I can contact Comodo and cc them on all correspondences in the future with Comodo

  6. I sent back an email with the instructions that I used to obtain the Certificate purchase procedure.

  7. It turns out WSS didn't even know that purchasing SSL Certificates through Plesk was possible (even though I did it a few months ago). This was their response:
    Well, that clears up our first source of confusion - buying SSL certs through the Plesk panel might be a new thing, we didn't know it was possible.
     
    SO- unfortunately it doesn't seem to do anything to clear up what happened after you ordered it.
     
    Perhaps you could write to Comodo again and say, basically- your last message didn't make a lot of sense, Enom shouldn't have anything to do with this transaction, could you please either tell me exactly where the certificate was sent, or just resend it to the proper address?
     
    As I said, feel free to cc us on this stuff. I hope that you can clear it up with Comodo. If not, then I imagine that we'll have to open a ticket with Parallels.

  8. I contacted Comodo again, and they sent over the same response ("The certificate has already been issued. Please contact your webhost reseller")

  9. I sent them a response saying "I know - I've contacted them and they said enom shouldn't even be part of this"). I also asked "Where did it go?"

  10. They responded with "Please be informed that i have sent the certificate once again to your account email id. Kindly contact your web host. Also for your information you can directly download your certificate from your account login."

  11. I tried to login to their "Account manager", but none of my login combinations worked. I tried their "Forgot your password" feature, but it said that all of my login information was wrong. SO...I contacted them about it

  12. They responded with:
    If you want to get the login detail, you will have to reset the password and get the login detail through the account admin email ids.
     
    You can reset the password by the given below link by entering the order number and account admin mail id and get the login detail through your account admin email id: [password reset link]

  13. I responded saying "THAT DIDN'T WORK! This is why I'm writing to Comodo - to say it didn't work!"

  14. They responded with "The certificate has already been issued. Please contact your webhost reseller (enom)" (sound familiar?)

  15. So, I set up a support ticket with enom and awaited a response.

  16. In regards to my "Account Manager" issue, I received
    an email saying the following:
    For this reasons you need to contact your webhost [Secure Business Services],they will assist you in better way.
    meaning I need to talk to enom
  17. I appended the ticket I sent to enom saying this
  18. I finally received a response from enom late last night saying
    Thank you for contacting eNom technical support. I will be glad to look into this for you, but I will need some additional information to better assist you. Unfortunately I was not able to locate the domain: #### or any account associated with it on our system. Do you have an account with eNom? And if so, what is your login ID? In order to 
     
    purchase this certificate, you would need to have had an account with eNom or eNom Central. Unfortunately without additional information I won't be able to find any additional information, and it is likely you did not purchase this directly through us.
     
    It is possible that you may have ordered this through a reseller that uses eNom as their backend service provider. In which case, you would want to contact them to find out more information, and for further assistance.

  19. I tried to respond to the ticket, but enom's ticket management system kept logging me out for some odd reason. I even tried a different computer and different browser, but it kept logging me out even when I wasn't logged in. I couldn't go anywhere or do anything, so I emailed them about it.

  20. I received an email from Comodo again (with the title "Password Reminder") saying that enom had the certificate and I had to go through enom to get it. I also received an email from WSS asking what the issues were with my password. I responded saying "I only cc'ed you on this. There aren't any troubles with my login"

  21. I responded to Comodo saying "I can't login to the account manager, I can't get access to the certificate, I can't get a straight answer!" (paraphrasing)

  22. Comodo responded saying "The instructions enom provided you were wrong" and some other @^(*&$! about how I have to go through enom to get it

  23. I said that the instructions were NOT provided by enom, they were provided by Comodo! I think this is the 3rd or 4th time I said "If I can't get a straight answer, I will demand a refund and go somewhere else" (at this point, I was ready to punch through my laptop - my mediation training from Martial Arts couldn't save me now!)

  24. Comodo sent me an email saying "Thank you for your reply, please call into our support staff for further assistance at US"

  25. I called Comodo support, and got the certificate emailed to me within 10 minutes

  26. I told WSS what had happened and cleared things up with them saying it wasn't their fault. I am still awaiting some type of answer from enom if I ever get it.

...and that was the past few days. May 6 to today to be exact. It feels good to get that off my chest and release some steam. I was driving like crazy today and about to rip something if I got my hands on it since nobody was paying attention and didn't understand what was going on.

ANYWAY, here's today's comic (which I think is very relevant):
SMBC
Is this the first time I've posted a SMBC comic?

That pretty much sums up my past few days. Keat and I went house hunting on Sunday and found a few houses that we liked. We sent the list off to her parents and are awaiting "the talk."

I also called my mother on Mother's day and wished her "Happy Mothers Day". Yay for mothers!

Also got Half-Life re-downloaded from my old Steam account and started that back up. By using a wireless mouse I have from ??? ago, I'm doing pretty well for not having played the game in about.....4 years? The CD didn't want to install on Vista 64, but luckily Steam had my account active and I was able to re-download the install files. Yay! Now to deal with all of the stuff that piled up over the past few days while I was dealing with the SSL stuff.

PS: Keat finished up her final semester at HCC today and graduates on Thursday! Hooray for her! Now on to Western to finish up her Bachelors.

PPS: I (and Keat) am on the Squishable Gallery! (2nd page) YAY!


Tags:#squishable #ssl #comodo #websitesource #enom #halflife #certificate #plesk #parallels #smbc

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Weekend Overview

Zits

I think this comic would have been better with last week's posting, but it didn't come out till 4/29. Anyway, here's the run-down from last week:
  • Our neighboring branch of the SCA had their annual Southern Atlantian Archery Day (SAAD) over the weekend, and it went well. Unlike last year, I actually participated! And it was great! I used my hand-me-down bow with a few new arrows that Keat had made, and I shot 37 points (out of 21 targets/3-6 arrows each)! Not bad for my first tournament shoot. I can't wait till the next one so I can shoot more! The good side: we didn't have an uncontrolled fire like last year (although one of our camp-mates caught his tunic on fire for a few seconds). The down side: we traveled to and arrived on the site, ready to set up, and we found out that we forgot our tent poles! I had to drive to Walmart down the street and (luckily) bought the same tent - we harvested the poles and set up camp in about 10 minutes.

  • Keat and I went to the AB Tech Jump Start day last thursday, and it was okay. Most of the vendors there I had already dealt with, so the event itself was a little down. I can understand "New" businesses going to that to get connections, but being that we have been in business for a little over 5½ years, I didn't feel the need to talk to most of them. I did, however, talk to the organizer of the event and register Shadow Dev as a vendor for next year's event - yay for free marketing!

  • we also went to our monthly meetup group last thursday, and it was great! We had about 7 people show up, and we talked about everything from PPC to AdWords to Niches to SMI to....you name it! I also met a rep from TopFloorStudio - although one of our direct competitors, it was good to get to know a name other than Ty Hallock.

  • I was feeling really bad early Thursday morning, so I had to call in to my morning event, a TCC Peer Entrepreneur Lunch. I wish I could have gone, but my body said different. I hope I don't get sick before the next one!

  • Keat and I semi-decided on the Allen's Creek apartment that we looked at earlier, but then we received a call from Holly, our broker, who had a list of foreclosures that she wanted to send us. I swear she was listening on our conversation, because Keat and I were talking about that with Keat's parents just moments before Holly called us. We have looked at a few of those houses (online at least), and we are interested. Now if we can only get the finer paperwork done.

  • Speaking of moving, Keat and I started to pack up the apartment. As I said last week, it looks like a tornado went through it and took everything off the shelves and out of the closet. We are working on cleaning that up, but it's pretty much a death trap right now.

  • Finally received an email from the owner of the lawn care service that our apartment uses - he was willing to replace our catnip plant, but the attempt at communication came a little late. Exactly 1 month late. I sent an email the day of the lawn work (March 29) to the landlords, and they said they contacted the lawn care guy (I saw CC on an email). I received an email on April 29 saying "Sorry for the delay in this email. If my employees cut you plant down I want to apologize and see what I can do to replace the plant. If you want to tell me where you bought your plant and what it was I will replace it. In the future if you will put a stake or something for my guys to identify it from other plants or unwanted weeds they will not cut or remove it. We have alot of apartments to take care of and lot of people who plant items in the beds but never mark it. So when the mowing crew comes around they didn't see it last week or last year so they think it needs to be removed. Once the mowing crews knows its suppose to be there then they will leave it alone." So much for support; this seemed like a "We're sorry we did that - here's a coupon as our apology" attempt

  • While I was at SAAD, I received an email from Mint.com (great service, btw) saying that Wachovia charged me $5 on my personal savings account. I recall the phone call on March 14 saying "Would you like to open a savings account?" / Me: "Is there a monthly maintenance charge?" / Them: "No, as long as you have your free student checking, there will be no charge to use the savings account." So I transferred the money out of the account (they said the same thing on my Business savings account, then charged me for it, then said "there is a charge to use it", so I closed it), went over to Wachovia, talked to an Advisor, and she said that there wasn't a discount code added to the account. She refunded me the $5, added the "No Charge" code to the account, and sent me on my way (in a good way). Hopefully, they don't gouge me out of more money, or I may have to transfer my 3 accounts from them to somebody else

  • I set up a cron job last week to scan for IP addresses that try to SSH into our main web server (which runs every day at 12:01AM), and so far it has blocked 26 unique IP's since it was first set up. Not bad for a quick "let's-set-it-up-and-hope-it-works" attempt

  • One last thing about SAAD: Since I didn't have much archery equipment, I had to borrow someone's leather glove to shoot off of (so I wouldn't scratch up my hand with fletching burns). He said "I'm letting you borrow this, so you owe me". I agreed, and he called in the favor. Late Saturday, I was called over to the Cordial lady (who is "Madison", btw, and she lives in Fletcher! Small world, huh?) and she had a little challenge for me. I was tied to another guy (who I didn't know) by some leather rope and we had to get out of the "tangled mess". Being of stupid-, sleep-deprived-mind, and tired-body, I just wanted to get out of it. It was some fun trying to figure out how to get out of the knot when everybody around us was laughing, recording, egging on, tempting, and trying to "help" us (although I don't think the "helping" was "helping", if you know what I mean). After about an hour and a half, the other guy wanted to give up. If we gave up, we had to lose a pinky for an hour (Madison would tape our pinky down to our hand for an hour). The guy I borrowed the glove from gave up in the last round and lost his). I wanted to keep going and find the solution. I don't know how long we lasted, but the other guy finally surrendered and gave up. He didn't lose his pinky, but he had to get up SUPER early on Sunday morning and help Madison pack her van. I was tied to another friend known as JR (real name unknown). After about 10 minutes of looking silly, JR and I (mostly JR) finally figured it out. I won't say how, but we had to perform the "escape" again since Madison didn't see it. We both got a cookie for winning, and she said "At the War of the Wings, come to me and ask 'Where is my prize?' and I will give you a much better prize!" I made sure to put that in my calendar (and post it on this blog) so I wouldn't forget. The other guy in Madison's tent sold swords and other unique items, and when he walked up to me, I thought he was going to say "Congrats" or something. He hands me a claw-like necklace and says "I can't let you go with just a cookie. Here, take this". Cool! I got a free gift for being stubborn! As my good friend James Contratto would say, "ROCK!"



I think that about sums it up from last week. Until my next posting!


Tags:#zits #saad #cron #wachovia #catnip #tcc #entrepreneur #apartment

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Google Maps API Success!

Garfield

Today was a fairly successful day. I worked on the NSMT system a bit and got the Shuttle Service 80% complete. I also revamped my ToDo list, and now have it squared away better. And HEY! I even got today's blog entry in.

The reason for the title is because I researched, learned, tested, and successfully implemented a Google Maps API today for NSMT. I applied for a Google API key for the site, found some test scripts, and customized the scripts to return the road distance between a location and their office (my first script only calculated the direct distance, but I'm guessing my client wants the "Road" distance, which makes more sense). I also used those variables to calculate rates based on their service charges. Best part of all: it works in all browsers, even IE!

I also researched a JS function to detect if you're using IE (which you shouldn't be, anyway) and if you're using IE 8's compatibility view (which you ALSO shouldn't be either). Turns out that NSMT tested the "Request a Transport" system we created at a local school, and the majority of students were using IE8 with Compatibility View! What a nightmare for Web Developers! Luckily, the script successfully determines if IE8 Compat. view is on, and how to remove the site from Compatibility view standards so it runs better (IE8 and html5 were hard enough, and now we have to deal with Compat. view!)

I also browsed the internets some and found a lot of good stuff, like the live feed of the Firefoxes at firefoxlive.mozilla.org and the 24-hour broadcast of Keyboard Cat at exitthroughthepetshop.com - how entertaining! (not sarcasm)

I actually got a 20+ increase in twitter followers this week, which for me is great! Usually, I see a 1-2 increase, but to see a 20+ increase was amazing.

Overall, this has been a great day and I'm heading home. I've been in since 12 and only had 1 can of Dew so far (I know, I know....BLASPHEMY!) I'm going home to rest.

Oh, I also finally beat "Ratchet & Clank" yesterday. I got it Friday(?) and beat it last night. The last boss was a killer, but after I realized I had the PDA to order weapon reloads on-the-road instead of running out of 1 type and using whatever I had left. It actually worked better to use my Blaster (200 mini-shots) first, then use my Devastator (20 big shots) to kill the boss. The first 10 tries or so, I would use the Devastator and keep reloading, but the PDA charges a convenience fee to restock, so it was 2000 bolts each time. After I realized I could use the Blaster first, I killed him on the first try. Now I can go back and get the RYNO and Tesla weapons and get them free in R&C: Going Commando and R&C: Up Your Arsenal.


Tags:#nsmt #ie8 #compatibilityview #js #firefox #keyboardcat #garfield #ratchetandclank

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Break's over - Back to Work

xkcd

I had a long day today, so this will be pretty short.

Not much really happened today. I mean, I woke up around 10 (again), packed up, drove home (uneventful), arrived home, had an issue with the power company (note to self: call them on monday), cleaned, picked up dinner, watched Ferris Beuller, and came to bed.

Although Friday night/Saturday morning, it seemed like I was inside a hurricane! I swear; the winds outside of Keat's parents' house were constantly blowing at around 25-35mph (estimate). It's hard to go to sleep when there is a constant "WHOOOOOOO" outside. It started around 10pm and (I think) dissipated around 5am-ish.

I checked on the server transfer, and it seems like a lot of the domains have been transfered so far, which is good. However, 2 databases weren't transfered (yet) and I found a new issue: "open_basedir restriction in effect". I've done some basic research to try and figure this out (and how to remedy it), but no avail yet. I sent an email off to the server support staff and hopefully they get back to me soon with follow-ups about the database issue(s) and the open_basedir issue.

Until tomorrow: G'night!


Tags:#xkcd #ferrisbeuller #wind #server #transfer #cats