Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 21 results for tag "dev"
RSS Feed

My Journey into Git

Git logo

My Journey


My journey to discovering git was not an easy one. Since git was not covered in my formal programming lessons, I had to learn "version control" the hard way - the very hard way.

When I started learning HTML back in 2001, I learned to save and modify local files only. In 2002, I learned PHP and MySQL by working on a team server, but version control was not introduced (git was introduced to the world in 2005, but options like CVS or SVK weren't taught). My first local server came in 2004, when I learned to FTP files, instead of testing local files only.

I quickly updated to SSH'ing into the server and editing the direct code, and backuped the files using a combination of file extensions (such as .bak, date stamps like.20150515, and "Backup 20140523" folders).

...and I used this method up to about a year ago, when I took a git intro course online. Unfortunatly, I didn't quite understand the purpose of git because the demos kept talking about files that either already existed, or branches that were made by someone else - never really diving into the underlying purpose of git, which was version control.

I also couldn't get used to the idea of uploading my database login information (along with other private code) to the public site GitHub, which is great for open-sourced projects (see mine here), but not great for a company version control backup. So I dabbled in git for a while, until it hit me about a month ago: I could use git on my own server(s) and not have to deal with private repositories on GitHub (or the prices).

So, I started using git on my server for backups of projects site-wide. Then, I wanted to deal with errors on a non-production server basis (I didn't want the world to see my error testing, because that would be unprofessional). After getting a local Apache server, and MySQL server, and installing PHP (on Windows), I thought that I could use the GitHub software to create backups - but that was only for the GitHub site; I needed something to work with my own existing servers. Therefore, I installed Cygwin and got the Linux-enabled commands with git to my production server.

Overall, this is what I learned, and I hope it helps others:
The Process
The "direct" process vs the git process

Usage


(If you don't already have git set up on your remote server, then please do so by installing it - I recommend sudo apt-get install -y git. Otherwise, this won't work, and it's just a bunch of lines of code)
The SetupRemote (seperate from production folder):
mkdir [dir].git && cd $_
 
git init --bare
 
cp ~/post-receive.sample hooks/post-receive

The hooks folder deals with webhooks to automatically catch incoming files and do something with them (or at least, that's what I've discovered). To make the hooks run properly, you need a post-receive file, and this is what it should look like:
post-receive.sample
#!/bin/sh
 
GIT_WORK_TREE=[absolute path to production] git checkout -f


Once you have that set up, you can work on your local machine to create and modify files.
Local development machine
# If files do not exist
 
git clone [email protected]:[dir].git 
 
cd [dir]
 
# If files DO exist/update
 
cd [dir]
 
git pull
 

 
# Time for editing
 
vim [file]
 
[...]
 
[work on files, test on development machine]
 
[...]
 
(Ready to upload to production server)
 
git add [file(s) - * works as well]
 
git commit -m "Relevant message to update"
 
git push


One important note: As I have learned, your Git folder is not your production folder. I had my .git folder in my production folder of a project, and it was good for local editing, but not remote pulling. If your project folder (example: project.git) is somewhere else, like your home folder, then you can use the post-receive webhook to automatically pull committed files to the production area

Bonus: SSH Login w/o PW


Unless you want to type in your login information every time you git push, I recommend setting it up so your local machine/development server can automatically upload to the production server. If you are running a Linux system (and I recommend you do), then you can do the following:
SSH Password-less LoginOn your local machine (hopefully a Cygwin or Linux/Mac Terminal)
ssh keygen -t rsa
 
ssh [email protected] 'mkdir -p .ssh'
 
cat .ssh/id_rsa.pub | ssh [email protected] 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys'
B = Remote server



Summary


There is still quite a lot I don't understand about git (like branches, merging, etc), but I am getting better. I've been using this guide as a resource, as many other guides are very technical for a non-git person.

My takeaway: Better integration into team development instead of just "solo development"


Tags:#git #development #php #mysql #html #linux

RSS Feed

My First Mobile App

I've been trying to push my limits for the past few days, to make up for the fact that I've been very de-motivated. So, I decided to pick up the progress on WNC Local, which has been going well. I've also been working on the WePay API as well, and that's been...enlighetning? It's been a little challenging, but it's good to get the experience.

So, to take a break from the many hours I've spent slaving over the API, I decided to switch directions for a bit and start tackling the Android and see what I can do with mobile apps. Not having a speck of knowledge in Java, it is a real challenge.

However, thanks to the Android SDK bundle, the Eclipse IDE was included (I've had experience with Eclipse when I was working on C++ back in 2003), and Eclipse+Android Development Toolkit (ADT), getting to "Hello World" was fairly simple.

Using the techniques mentioned on the basic training page, I created the following:
My First App Icon
(Yes, that is Asuna in the background)

My First App

The basic training allowed for the creation of the basic app: input text, output the text.
My First App Output

The documentation was not completely fool-proof, so I had to do some additional research to do a few things (thanks to Toast), like this:
Search Button Pressed

Settings Button Pressed

And the documentation didn't go this far, so I thought I'd add this based on some UI experiences:
String cannot be Blank

I know it's not a very impressive app, but it's not bad for my 1st one done within an hour.

In case you want to fork it or view the source code, I have the app on Github: https://github.com/kode29/MyFirstApp

Here's the APK if you want it

Here's to seeing what Mobile App Development can do!


Tags:#android #app #development #github #wnclocal #wepay #c++ #sdk #eclipse #ide #adt

RSS Feed

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

RSS Feed

Mid-September Review

Bug Martini

It's halfway through September, and things have been less than calm. Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right and you pretty much have to change everything in order to fit one request/demand/requirement? Yeah, stretch that over about a week, and that is/was my past 2 weeks.

Here's the rundown:

Server Downtime, Transfer, and Remodification


Over the past week, I had to majorly downgrade/upgrade the primary hosting server for Shadow Dev. Since our primary hosting environment was costing us $200/qtr, we were looking for an alternate hosting environment. The requirements were simple: Linux hosting environment, ability to SSH into it from a remote location, and root access. You'd be amazed how many services out there offer a "Windows/Linux" environment for a much lower price, but no Admin/Root access. I'm sorry, but I need direct control over the server, and shouldn't be waiting on the hosting service to perform updates (especially security updates).

So, we had a partner company help us out. Over the past few months, we transferred all of our primary data to their hosting server, since they were helping us out. Things were going smoothly. Our old VPS system ended their service on September 1st, and we weren't going to renew. Things were going as expected.

Since our primary hosting environment was hosted semi-locally, I split off my personal stuff and the business stuff. I modified the DNS servers to point home so I could host my personal website (this one), and have the business stuff on a "business dedicated" server. Meanwhile, my plan was to relaunch the main Shadow Dev site with a new design and direction on September 1st, but that had to be delayed by a few days.....and then the problem started.

Do you recall my previous blog posting about the "Server Connection Confusion"? On September 2nd, I was trying to SSH/FTP into the server to update some business pages and could not get through. I could access the server via Port 80 (HTTP), but not 22 (SSH) or 21 (FTP), which meant that I could view what was on the server, but I could not modify it in anyway. There was one option: I could access Port 10000 (VirtalMin backend management) and download/upload one file at a time, but I had about 200 files to download, modify, and upload, so that would have taken forever. I kept trying over the next few hours with no success.

On September 3rd, I tried to access the server hoping that the Port 21/22 issue was just a fluke (as it sometimes happens). However, I could not access any part of the server. SSH, FTP, HTTP, VirtualMin backend, Email, anything (which meant that my primary email server was down as well). I sent an email to the company that manages the physical hardware and said that the server was down and if they could look into it. Their response: "Yes, it is down, [they] will boot it back up. You will need to start paying for this server or remove your content from it. Out accounting software has placed a hold on it. As we have decided our relationship has not been mutually beneficial." Long story short: our "tradeoff" was not paying off. The tradeoff was "website service" for "hosting space". I should have realized something when the person we were talking to said "You have creative freedom." In an inexperienced mindset, that means "YAY! I can do anything without limits and they will like it!" In an experienced mindset, that translates into "I don't know what I want. Read my mind, or I will turn down any ideas/suggestions you have" which, in a "web designers" standpoint, is a huge red flag. It also doesn't help that we only had one informal meeting about a new site for them.

Anyway, in my response to that email, I said "If that is the case, then we will remove our content from it. In our current state, we cannot afford $1200/year for hosting, as we were paying $800 before. / Please reactivate it so I can move all of the content from it within a reasonable timeframe, then you can do with it as you wish. / I wish our relationship could have been more beneficial."

Afterwards, I tried to re-login to the server (as I was told they would boot it back up). Same result: nothing.

I waited and tried to re-login to the server over a few hours. That turned into the next day. I sent another email to the company restating "Please reactivate the server so I can move all of the content from it within a reasonable timeframe".

Once again, nothing. This downtime was really starting to mess with our uptime records, which we try to strive for a 99.9% uptime record. This was not helping. However, I did get an idea; get a cache of our main site (CSS3 and minimal design concepts only), modify my home server to act as a proxy-hosting server, and get the uptime records going. It took about 3 hours to get (since the primary hosting server was pretty much "blocked"). Thanks to CloudFlare's uptime caching, I was able to get the egg, the egg shadow, and the CSS3 that I used to make it move. I made the DNS changeover, and our uptime was back up and going. It wasn't the full-fledge hosting server, but it's better than nothing.

Day 3 of primary server downtime: I sent yet another email to the hosting company and said "I have tried to be patient with you, but my patience is wearing thin. I have asked nicely in my previous emails to reactivate the hosting server so I can transfer our content off of it. I have not heard back from you since my email on the 3rd. Since it seems like you are holding our content hostage, we are facing our 52nd hour of downtime, and our clients (and ourselves) are suffering that have their sites hosted on this server. In addition, any one who has email being handled by the server is not receiving any emails, including myself, which is causing panic since the emails are not bouncing or anything." Seems like a mostly professional message, right? (By the way, we had about 25GB that we needed to get - note to self: don't have the primary hosting and backup services by the same 3rd party)

I received a response within minutes: "You patients is thin? It is your actions that caused your problem by not producing anything. If you are that poor of an admin and do not have a backup of your content sounds like a personal issue... However I have issued the boot command to your server. Remove your content asap." (yes, misspellings and typos are maintained). I will say that 'Yes, we did not have a primary backup, because you said that you were going to enable that for us, but never did after many months of saying you would.' Regardless, situation has passed.

Anyway, the server was booted back up, which meant that I could get the files....or so I thought. I tried to SSH into the server, but for some reason (whether through my own doing of automating a port blocker or not), I could not. After many hours of fiddling with system and network settings, I came to a conclusion: my IP address was being blocked via Port 22 (SSH). This meant that I could not SSH into my home server and initiate an SCP transfer (Secure Copy - basically a command-line FTP between two Linux-enabled boxes). However, FTP was still open, so I initiated a primary backup to my home desktop (not the home server). I had the max system simultaneous downloads set at "2". I increased it to "3". Yay, things were going faster. I increased it to "4". Even better. I increased it to "5", and things crapped out. I could not SSH/FTP/HTTP or anything into the remote server. Which meant that I was back at square 1.

Based on my previous experience, I knew that I could log in to the server via SSH using my phone (thank you ConnectBot) and the 4G connection. I did so and tried to initiate an SCP connection from the remote server into my home server (for some reason, incoming SSH connections from my IP weren't getting through, but outgoing's a whole new story - and before you bark at me, yes, I did check the iptables for an Incoming blocking rule. There were none. Anyway, I let that run since I thought things were going a bit slow, but better than nothing.

After about 30 minutes, ConnectBot just quit. No reason, no message, no disconnect dialog boxes. It just quit. Which meant that I couldn't SCP for more than 30 minutes, which was a problem.

I tried to FTP into the server again, and was able to. I decreased the amount of simultaneous downloads to "4" and let it run. It took about 8 hours to transfer everything, including the primary MySQL databases.

After everything transferred, I ran a rm -rf command in the /var/www/vhosts/ folder. I know it's not completely secure, but at least it gets rid of things on a first level basis (installing a secure command like shred was possible, but the documentation didn't say anything about shredding a folder - it was only 1 file at a time, which for 25GB, will take a very long time). I also dropped the primary MySQL database and let it. My last words: good riddance.

So, I had the primary hosting files on my home desktop. Now to begin the mega-upload to the home server. 3 hours later, transfer complete. Now for the fun part: setting up the "Linux Desktop" to operate as a "Linux Server" (which, by the way, is not GUI based anymore, so all of this was done via Command Line), to be able to handle multiple domains and subdomains, import the huge MySQL database dump, setup the permissions for the databases, files, and folders, and re-initiate the cron jobs to run. Let's just say that I'm 99% done all of that as of now.

One of the hardest portions I had to deal with was separating out all of the domains. Let me explain: on the old hosting environment, all of the domains (except for the primary shadowdev.com domain), were managed and recorded under one central apache2.conf file, which Apache looked for and loaded for all of the domains. My home server, although the same operating system, didn't like that. Therefore, I had to go into the primary apache2.conf file and separate out each domain into it's own file under /etc/apache2/sites-available/[site], then run sudo a2ensite [site] to make it enabled, then sudo service apache2 restart to allow for the webserver to reload and reread the configuration files. Yeah, that was fun.

I still don't have the Postfix/Dovecot system completely operational yet, but the server can now receive and forward emails. It can't 100% send emails yet, but I'm working on it. I also have some finer points of the cron jobs to figure out. Aside from that, the server (hopefully) should be back up and operational.

Liquidation Sale Troubles


On a related note, we had our Liquidation Sale on the 31st for the office. Let's just say that apparently this town doesn't like any "Liquidation Sale" signs around the area. I posted a few around town, hoping that they would allow them for just a few days (since the event was on the following Saturday). I can understand taking down signs that are for an event a few weeks away, or for personal services or hand-written items that are pretty much illegible. However, after checking on all of the signs I put up, all of them were taken down. Now, I want to hope that it was because people liked the event and wanted to make a note of when/where it was. Based on the attendance record of Saturday, it was obvious that the signs were removed. We only sold $110 worth of stuff, 1 buyer, and 2 browsers. I mean, it's better than nothing, but I wish that we sold more. Now, the agreement that I put in with the landlord was "Anything that we didn't sell on the 31st is free-for-all for any tenants." That didn't translate quite as I expected. It turned into "We [the landlords] will keep what we think is ours, but you have to remove everything else." So, I get a large box from Walmart and try to remove a bunch of the small stuff. I receive an email a few days later saying "We have a tenant that would like to move in, so please remove all small items from the office." So I have to get another box (luckily they are cheap) and go back and get the rest of the small stuff. So much for getting rid of all of the small stuff.

Let's just say that our home is overflowing with office-related stuff. I'm just glad that we don't have to bring any of the BIG stuff home - I have no idea where we would store it. So yeah - our nice, professional, dedicated office is now sitting at home.

Getting the main site back up


The new Shadow Dev site
Meanwhile, I got the new Shadow Dev site up and going and wrote a State of Shadow Development Address for the public. Basically, it says that "We did our best, it wasn't good enough, so we are changing directions to pursue new ideas." That's pretty much it summed up. You can read the rest if you want.

I've been working on finishing up the touches on the new Shadow Dev site (like cross-browser compatibility, improving it's performance on other connections, and finishing up the content distribution with the database. It's coming along a bit slower than I had hoped, but working at home has it's own pros and cons to it.

Personally, I'm having a hard time dealing with the major downsizing and removal of partner services. What I had to do 7 years ago in my dorm room (where I had the main hosting server sitting in my dorm and I was managing all of the services via Command Line Interface (CLI), I'm doing yet again. Although I'm more experienced in how to handle the technology, and the technology is a bit easier to handle, the amount of responsibility needed to make the server work like it was before is no short order.


Lunar Progress


Crystal Blaze
I'm trying to channel some creativity and write some storylines for Lunar Productions' mangas. I did create a new site for them using the old Shadow Dev design, and ramped up the interactivity and information distribution (see beta.lunar-productions.com for a preview), so that helped a bit. However, I can't launch the new site yet until we get some final items down pat. I did, however, completely revamp Death Rose into a new series. Any storywriter will tell you that there was a part in a story (or even the story itself) that seemed to make the storyline go off-track. Well, Death Rose wasn't going anywhere, and I was getting tired of forcing myself to write storyline that didn't fit. So, I revamped the whole thing: the primary storyline, the storyline concepts, the characters, the antagonists, the setting....everything! It's now called Crystal Blaze. Let's just say that it's like Sword Art Online/Matrix/StarCraft/Accel World/Star Trek mix. Yeah, I know it's a lot, but it is making sense, because I'm already on Page 19 of script. The story is unfolding in my head, and sometimes my fingers can't keep up to type the story fast enough. I will say that the beginning of the story is a bit slow, so I am thinking of adding some concepts in the beginning to make a more enticing "hook" to the story. We'll just see where it goes.

Wedding Ups and Downs


Colonnade
On a positive note, we have the Colonnade! (For the wedding, not permanently) The final "OK" was put forth by Keat's parents and we were able to sign the contract and put the downpayment in. That's just 1 of the multistep process that is wedding planning. (see more details at (temp site) kk.shadowdev.com - actual domain to come later) I will say that I knew the whole wedding planning process was going to be tough, but I thought the major disagreements and compromises would be between Keat and myself, not Keat and myself vs her parents. No matter how much planning we/I put in (I am saying "I" here because I have been self-designated as the primary planner since Keat is finishing up her last year of school. As anyone will say, "Put Education First". She's already taking 18 hours of classes, and my schedule is not set, so it's pretty much been put upon me to do most of the calling/negotiating/researching/quoting/etc for this event), it seems that her parents have some minute detail that they must demand. For example: the reception. During our discussions, Keat and I talked to the event planner at our location. She gave us a packet that outlined all of the details, prices, and items that would be provided for the reception. I had a few follow-up questions to clear up any non-clear items (like "when does the 4-hour reservation start: when the guests arrive, or when the crew starts to set up" and so on), and things were going well. Suddenly, Keat's parents demanded to have custom beer and wine at the event. They even "suggested" (kidded? I hope) to have a keg at the reception. I'm sorry, but if this was a frat party, a keg would be acceptable. At a wedding reception? I may not have been to many nor planned many, but I find a keg unacceptable.

Anyway, we asked our location how much it would be to have "a local microbrewery supply beer and a remote winery supply the wine". According to the planner, they had to purchase it because of their liquor license. Okay, understandable. I don't want to impede the liquor liability on any one unnecessary. After 2 months of asking that question, we finally received an answer: the microbrewery has to bottle their beer and ship the bottles. Our cost: $10/bottle. HOLY CRAP! $10 a bottle? That beer must be made of gold or some super rare gems! We still hadn't heard back about the winery question, so I contacted the winery directly. Within a few hours, I received a response and forwarded that to our planner. Still haven't received a response (I think at this point, they are starting to hate us and may force-cancel our penciled-in reservation with their location). After waiting so long, Keat's parents said "Let's forgo the custom wine and beer and just go with what they have. Can we get an itemized proposal for this?" At the absolute end of my frustration, I sent a calmly-worded email to the planner and asked the question. She pretty much responded with the exact same thing that the packet says that she gave us. The location, the DJ, the setup/cleanup, China, Silverware, chairs, linens, tables, etc, etc, etc, for the set price (tax and gratuity included as well). If they were getting mad at us, I don't blame them, but please don't kill the messenger. We're just passing the message along to get the check signed.

What we would like
We've also talked to the cake company that was highly, highly recommended and received a quote from our tastings. $800 for a custom, high quality, delivered day-of cake. Not a bad price. We told Keat's parents, and (I quote) the response was "Keep looking! That is out of sight!!!" Based on the amount of cake companies around here charge, yes, that is a bit high, but we're dealing with a high-quality cake here, not a "Let's go to Walmart and order a cake" kind of thing. Yes, Walmart makes great cakes. We even got our 7th Anniversary Cake from them, but I don't want to go to them for a wedding cake. That's like having a keg at the reception. At this point, it's either "go all in or get out" kind of deal. I don't (and Keat doesn't) want to compromise on a lower-quality cake that we will wish we could have improved 20 years from now just to save a few bucks. So, I contacted other cake companies around here and once you add in the amount of guests we will have along with the design concept we want (along with their delivery fee), it pretty much averages out to $800. (We had a "phone conference" (although if you call Keat's parents on 1 phone and Keat and I on another a "phone conference") about the overall budget. Basically, Keat's dad was mad that we had multiple versions of the budget. I thought he would be happy that I split the budget up into 2 categories (Estimated and Actual), then subsplit that into what Keat's parents would pay, my parents would pay, and we (Keat and I) would pay. That seemed acceptable, but he had made some adjustments that we didn't know of until he sent us his copy. I sent him our latest version (since we were the ones doing the research), and he seemed to get upset that there were multiple copies floating around, so he claimed "his" copy the official one, which means that any additions that we find due to research, we have to let him know instead of just using our own copy. I thought I could simplify things by using a Google Docs copy that would allow for simultaneous edits from multiple users, but that seems to have majorly backfired as they do not know how to use Google Docs, so we are back to "his copy being the only one that should ever exist" scenario. Yay.... I have, however, asked on multiple occasions "What is your optimal budget? What would you like to spend on an event like this? Therefore, we can stay within that range and know what the limits are." Seems like a reasonable question, right? I mean, we're trying to shoot for a $10k budget. Keat's dad is acceptable with a $15k budget (in passing conversation), but we aren't trying to spend millions upon millions on this thing. Heck, we're even below the average cost for a wedding Haywood County ($16-24k). The only answer we have received is "We don't have a set budget - we just want to make you happy", which means (yet again) "Read our minds or we'll turn down every idea and suggestion you have". Great.....)

So, if this whole wedding thing was a TL;DR for you, let me sum it up: we have the Colonnade for the ceremony, I think our Reception location hates us, we need to find a high-quality custom cake for less than $800 total, and the budget seems to be out of our hands.

Additional Money Needed


So, in order to gain some additional money in order to pay for this "seemly outrageous wedding", I decided that I should try to apply for some part-time work (heck, since I don't have to "go into the office" any more, my schedule is pretty freed up). I found out that there was a Trader Joe's opening in Asheville, so I tried to drop off an application last Tuesday. The website (which isn't 100% working) said that they were accepting applications Monday-Friday, 10-7. No problem, right? I arrived at 4:12pm on Tuesday. There was a whiteboard out by the front door that said "Accepting Applications: Tuesday - Thursday, 10-4", which meant that I was 12 minutes late. Well, that's pretty much a trip to Asheville wasted. However, thinking ahead of this process, I thought "Why not apply to Kitchen & Company?" (it's a kitchen supply company that offers a whole lot more than Walmart or other kitchen companies. Keat and I found a lot of good quality stuff in this store during our previous trips). I tried to contact the store via their website, but their careers section was on their parent company website (which was a pain to find), and they only have 1 job posting available. They said "Please contact our Admin offices to inquire about other positions", so I sent them an email inquiring about the question in hand. Within 30 minutes, I received a response basically saying "Walk into the store and bring a resume." Seems simple enough, right?

Well, I head on over to the store and start to walk in. Little did I know that there was a sign on the front door that said "Part Time Sales Associate: Must be energetic, ability to multitask, and passionate about cooking" (I may be paraphrasing here). Seems like my kind of day! (Since I do most of the cooking at home anyway). I walked in, asked for an application, filled it out, and talked to their manager. Since he saw that I had previous experience at Staples, he said that this would be pretty much the same thing (I hope so too). Although, if there is a "Kitchen Quiz", I should be ready. Questions like "How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? What's the difference between a Santoku and a Chef's Knife? What does a 'sharpening steel' actually do?" and other questions should be easy, thanks to Alton Brown. I don't know if there will actually be a quiz, but can I say that I kind of hope so? Anyway, I received a letter in the mail today from Trader Joe's saying "Thanks for applying, but you have not been selected for an interview." Basically saying "Thanks for coming in, and we appreciate your interest, but we don't need you right now." Oh well - my dad did say to stay out of the Grocery business. I guess this is the Universe's way of keeping me out. No biggie - I have higher hopes for Kichen & Company anyway.


New Anime: Accel World


Accel World
In order to blow off some steam, I thought I would give "Accel World" another try (in laymen's terms: Accel World is by the same author as "Sword Art Online", but set about 20 years in the future (from SAO, so about 2046) where all of the <15 year olds have a digital device that allows them a "virtual environment" to type, send messages, view emails, save video, and even enter their own VR world. 'Accel World' is an advanced version of the VR world that heavily relies on a software called "Brain Burst", which allows your processing power of your brain to be increased 1000x. The (semi) downside is that in order to use it, you need to build up some "Burst Points" by fighting in the "Accel World". The theory seems legit). When I first tried it, I got about 5 minutes in and had to stop. I didn't watch the series again until this past Sunday. Throughout the week, I watched all 24 episodes (and got some great ideas for Crystal Blaze) up to Thursday evening/Friday morning.

I will say that it had some flavors of Sword Art Online, and I liked how it wasn't exactly the same (as the author wrote this post-SAO and submitted it first to a writing contest, where it won first prize) as SAO. The concepts portrayed in the series were unique enough to hold their own, but also reflected some traits of other series like Bleach), so I was able to find those traits and mold them into what Crystal Blaze (and other series) should offer. I was never in any "Creative Writing" classes, but I believe this gave me a better understanding of how to write a compelling storyline (although I still have the fan-crush on Asuna from SAO. Accel World didn't really have any characters that I could really connect with, but that's not necessarily a bad thing).

Is this the end?


That's it for now. I believe that 27,000 characters is pretty much my max limit on a blog posting like this. However, I hope this gives a better insight to what one chaotic, crazy week I have had.


Tags:#swordartonline #accelworld #wedding #colonnade #vr #kitchen&company #traderjoes #altonbrown #beer #crystalblaze #lunarproductions #shadowdev #design #server #hosting #sale #apache2 #sudo #scp #ftp #http #css3 #email #virtualmin #port #bug

RSS Feed

Business Transition and Wedding Details

I thought this would be a good time to let everyone know about the recent changes/progress that have been going on. First, Shadow Development is going though a business transition (as mentioned in my previous post).

Shadow Development is transitioning from a "build websites for clients" to "designing, developing, and maintaining online services" (so, basically, a "software development company"), as the underlying reason since 2005 has been all along. Now, we're serious.

Shaking Egg...
I've replaced the main Shadow Development site with a shaking egg that I coded completely with CSS3


Out with the old office


As of August 31st, 2013, we have moved out of our office. Yes, the new office that we moved into in January, we have officially moved out. It wasn't because we were evicted or anything, it was just a combination of multiple channels combining their worst moments at once (we had half of our client base leave, invoices weren't getting paid to us, staff members were losing their motivation, increase in bill costs, etc). After crunching the numbers, it was better for us to leave the office and go virtual instead. The whole "working at home" thing is nice, but it has its drawbacks.

A "State of Shadow Development" press release should be released on the main site soon. Edit: Here ya go

code process


Over the past week, I've actually been doing a lot of work on code. I've revamped the Shadow Dev Beta Site, which has a whole new theme and concept versus its previous incarnations; I migrated the old Shadow Dev design to the Lunar Productions Beta Site, which worked out quite well, and I fluffed out some extra images to give the site some makeshift content to view; I worked on the wedding site a bit to get it up and going (I was inspired by WeddingWoo examples for a new concept, since the old concept was a bit...well, drab); and additional work here and there on various aspects.

Server Connection Confusion


Although, right now, I'm very confused at the main hosting server. Here's the rundown: last night at 3am, our legacy server at Website Source finally kicked the bucket (at our discretion), which means no more $200/qtr for hosting on a "maybe it's up, maybe it's down" kind of hosting environment. Although, about 5 hours ago, realized that the old legacy server was also handling the MX records for our mail. Once that was gone, well, so was our email accounts and forwarding. Therefore, I had to initiate a server system upgrade to the hosting files of the primary shadowdev.com domain in order to set up the new email accounts. (Yeah....that sounded like gibberish. - by the way, I updated the DNS records to have the MX records point to the new server, and I just received an email that was sent at 3:27AM today. 17 hours in limbo - wow!)

When I initiated a system backup to my local machine, my SFTP process stalled. I tried to connect via SSH, and I kept getting timeouts. I was furious since I basically had no "editing methods" for the server any more! After finagling for a few hours, I thought "what if I disabled the Wi-Fi on my phone and tried to SSH with that?" (from previous experience from a similar situation). I did so, and was able to SSH in no time! So, that just meant that the server wasn't accepting FTP (port 21) or SFTP/SSH (port 22) from my IP address.....again.

Basically, I can access the server via port 80, 8080, 10000, and others, but not 21 or 22, so I can't initiate a total system backup from my home, and I don't have any tunneling options since I only have access to 2 locations (my home and the server). So, I'm still chasing down a port 21/22 access error....

I've checked the iptables and even enabled a complete system access acceptance for my specific IP address. I made sure ufw wasn't enabled, as that was the problem before. I rebooted the server multiple times (that usually solves it). However, nothing was working. So, yeah, I'm still trying to figure that out.

The situation is as follows:
- The web server will not accept port 21/22 connections from my IP address, although the port is "filtered" (that's acceptable)
- Resetting my home router/modem does not work
- Restarting the web server does not work
- I can access the web server via port 22 when accessed from outside IP address
- I'm pretty lost with this situation

NMAP results

The Wedding Plan(ing)


To change up the tone a bit, I've been working on some wedding plans for me and Keat. With Keat in school taking 18 hours of classes (and working on homework every night), she doesn't have much free time, so I've been self-appointed with planning the wedding.....yay.... (for clarification, Keat is in her last year of school, so that's a little more important for her right now)
Save the Date

Here's what the plans are so far (and you can find more details at kk.shadowdev.com - the real domain will be acquired later, just so people checking it in September 2014 aren't cut off, and we aren't paying an additional fee for a year to have the site active for 2 months):

Rehearsal Dinner: Bogarts, August 30 (2014), 7pm
Status: We've been penciled in for 20 people

Ceremony: Lake Junaluska, August 31, 6pm
Status: We have talked to the coordinator, have the contract, now we are just awaiting "approval" from Keat's parents to move forward and submit the contract

Reception: Waynesville Inn, August 31, 7pm
Status: Everything is pretty much set, we just need to straighten out the food budget, get a quote on bringing in additional alcohol, and get the contract (again, Keat's parents)

Apparel:
- Keat has her ring and is paying for it
- I have placed an order for my ring, and should receive it in 3 weeks
- Keat and her mom are shopping for a dress (this is all her)
- My tux order has been placed, and I am paying it off
- Best Man has his own tux, but is getting some additional items
- Rest of Groomsmen need to be fitted
- Bridesmaids have been picked out, now for "Bride Discussions" (not my department)

Flowers:
- Quote has been received, and vendor has penciled us in for the day

Photographer:
- Quote has been received, details will be discussed in person in October

Music:
- Music selections have been selected, but waiting on professional opinion before finalizing (see next bullet)
- Musicians for ceremony have been ordered (friend of mine), quote received, details discussed this week
- Reception location is providing DJ

Print:
- Designed and received Quote for Invitations + envelopes, RSVP cards + envelopes, Thank You cards + envelopes, programs, road signs, Save the Date cards + envelopes have been edited. Need finalization from decisions and order placed

Guest List:
- After multiple, multiple versions, I believe we are at about 100 (115 with a 20% no-show rate, so 92-ish + party), however it seems to be a constant battle between her parents and us (my parents are okay, so far). Butter zone is between 100-125, as the Lake has 75 chairs +$3/additional chair, and the Waynesville Inn needs a minimum of 100 for the reception.

Budget:
- We are estimating a $12,000 total budget (let me explain: I am tracking the budget, which is split up in "Estimated" (what we expect) and "Actual" (what has been spent), and then it is sub-split into each party pay area: Keat's parents, my parents, and us. We're looking at $10k for her parents, $500 for mine, and $1.6k for the two of us)
- I'm also keeping track of all of the finances (what is expected, what will be paid, what has been paid, outstanding amount, additional fees, etc)

Travel:
- Quote received from local limo company, just need to inspect/place order and figure out payment system

Cake:
- Appointment is being made with local company for tastings (and possibly ordering, based on the high number of recommendations from others)

Gifts (what we will give the people in the wedding):
- Have been looked at and budgeted, but not ordered yet

Favors:
- Decision made, quote received, but not ordered yet

Officiant:
- Quote received
- Finalized on date
- Travel costs will be covered
- "Pre-marriage Counseling" has begin with a 126 question "Inventory" list (we both fill out questions about ourselves and each other, then discuss that with the Preacher)

Salon/Spa:
- Prices have been estimated, no decision has been made yet

Hotel:
- The Waynesville Inn is the plan, but one thing we did not expect to encounter was "higher hotel rates for the holiday." Yeah, big overlook on our part. The Waynesville Inn's "Group Rates" (if we can guarantee 10 or more rooms) would be $130/night. I'm hoping that other hotels around us can provide lower rates.

Wedding License:
- Will go in July 2014 to receive from the Haywood County Registrar of Deeds office. $60 flat, no physical/blood tests required.

Wedding "Day Of Schedule":
- Schedule has been planned, tentative timeframes have been scheduled, awaiting discussion from other parties and vendors of finer details

Dance Classes:
- Have contacted local dance groups/academies. Awaiting response

Website:
- Website has been redesigned (kk.shadowdev.com), new features available
- Online RSVP available
- Online donations set up/honeymoon somewhat planned

I believe that is it so far. So, yeah, I'm the "wedding planner" for this big event. I have absolutely no idea how the Bride is supposed to do all of this, as you better be damn well organized to keep all of this in order. I've been to some excellent weddings and some way-below-par weddings, and my expectation is for this day to be outstanding and (hopefully) I can recall it in 20 years (I barely recall my own high school AND college graduations since they were so hectic).

I'll post updates when I get some and can clarify a few things.


Tags:#wedding #office #coding #shadowdev #lunarproductions #dns #ssh

RSS Feed

Get a Webpage Screenshot with GIMP

I was browsing around GIMP trying to get a screenshot when I stumbled upon this neat little trick:
GIMP Get Webpage

In GIMP (this edition is in Windows 7), you can go to "File > Create > From Webpage" to get a screenshot of a webpage! This is especially helpful on super-long pages (like Parallax websites) in addition when the browser Screenshot extensions/addons/plugins do a bad job.

(I have the Screen Capture extension in Chrome, and it works most of the time, but sometimes it gets the screenshot and misses/overlaps sections, so I have to repeat the Screen Capture process multiple times in order to get it right).

Anyway, after you click "From Webpage" in GIMP, type in your URL
GIMP Get Webpage

And click "OK".

In a few seconds, you'll have a full screenshot of the website in GIMP ready to edit/export/compress/etc!
GIMP got Shadow Dev!


I hope this helps some people out. I know it will save me a few headaches.


Tags:#gimp #screenshot #google #chrome #shadowdev

RSS Feed

Early Bird get the....you know the rest

Good morning world! Yes, it is 3:47am here on the east coast, and what am I doing? I am at work! Not because someone forced me to be here at this ungodly hour, but because I wanted to. Yes, I am that insane.

Don't believe me? Here's a photo I took about 30 minutes ago:


Actually, I'm not that insane. Most developers work best at night, and since Keat is out of town for 24 hours, I thought it would be a good chance to come in and get some work done without the distraction of home (and since Netflix doesn't (completely) work on Linux, I can't stream it from the office. Pandora on the other hand is a joyous pleasure).

Usually at this time, I have been up for 12+ hours and have been drugging away all day with the standard day-to-day activities. This time, I've turned the tables. I went home after work yesterday, got some dinner, finished "Rules of Engagement" (at least, Season 6 on Netflix), slept from 10:30 till 2:30, got dressed, had breakfast, fed the kitties, got all of my materials together, came to work, loaded up Pandora, got some tea ready, and I'm working! YAY!

I don't want to jinx the day so early, but I would like to estimate that today looks like it will be a good day.

Anyway, my expectation is to get a lot of development-specific work done during these wee hours. We'll see how things go.

On the brighter side (ha, get it? Because it's before sunrise.......), I thought I'd post a few comics here to free up my un-used collection. Enjoy, and Good Morning!









Tags:#goodmorning #shadowdevelopment #keat #dilbert #bug #kitty #linux #netflix #badjoke

RSS Feed

I just found a cool tool!

Ever since I first learned about Chris Pedderick's Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox, it has been an invaluable tool for my web development processes.

Now, Chris has gone one step further and included something that I just thought was cool: Responsive Layout viewer!
Responsive Location


This little widget allows you to view a site in the standard responsive design sizes, including standard mobile, mobile landscape, tablets, standard desktop, and more!

Here's an example of The System in this view, because I like the way Rosscott made his site:
The System - Responsive!


If you have Firefox or Chrome and work on the web, I would highly recommend this tool. This is an extremely close 2nd to Chrome's Developer Tools when working on sites.


Tags:#webdeveloper #chrome #firefox #responsive

RSS Feed

Webinar-mania!

Bug

Not quite sure how this comic fits in to today, but enjoy!

Today just seemed to fly by - literally. I arrived at the office shortly after 11am this morning to attend a RingCentral webinar for reselling a service to offer toll free numbers to our customers. Still need to verify some final information before the service is offered, but I think I have a good idea on how to revamp our program to reflect the best opprotunity on how to offer this to customers.

Anyway, that webinar was supposed to last about an hour. In reality, it lasted about 2 hours. However, I was able to ask an important question about direct and indirect calling of the 800 number to our employees and direct calls to our cell phones. Finally, after months of searching, I finally found an answer, and cleared up a very confusing situation that dealt with people calling my personal cell phone and (for some reason) forwarding to Tom's phone. I believe that has been resolved, and when people call the 800 line (with extensions or not) the 800 number will show up on the cell phone, so therefore we know if a professional call was made and how to process it.

I also received a free meat pie from Joan from St. Andrews Square bakery down the hallway. I have 1 thing to say about that: GOOD!

After I finally found out the issue with the phones, I attended a "Merger & Acquisition" webinar at 1pm, discussing the trends of the industry, what the peaks were in the vertical and horizontal market, and who bought what (company-wise) in the past year. It seemed like a lot of information, but I think I took away a lot of good information.

I wished I could be at CES this year, but based on two of the presenters that were at CES, it's a madhouse (although, that seems like a standard there) and the cell signals were jammed.

On a related note, here's this:
Bizzaro


That seminar was supposed to last 1.5 hours, and about an 1.25 hr in, I called it quits since it was Q&A time. A client was supposed to show up around 3:30, but did not due to other obligations. Tom was supposed to stop by as well, but he got a little too busy and didn't have a chance to show up. It's kind of a good thing, since I had a few things to take care of in the afternoon.

I filled out the tax form for the county, called my car insurance company to get some information, went to the post office to send off the tax form and pick up some stamps, stopped by my car insurance company and spent around 45 minutes there getting an answer to my (what I thought was a) simple question. In reality, it was worth it because the staff at the car insurance company were more-than-friendly and gave me a lot of information to use.

It didn't occur to me until I started to leave the office that I didn't open PuTTy and modify any file on the server. Make-shift CEO day?

After that, I came home, got some chili from last night, and watched Mythbusters until Keat got home. She and I discussed some topics that needed discussing about Shadow Dev, and even though things got a little tense during some topics, but I think it was because she had a headache and things weren't getting across correctly. Aside from that, we are on the same page.

Afterwards, Keat and I watched a bunch of episodes of The Big Bang Theory (time does fly while watching these, doesn't it?). She hit the hay and I plan on getting some coding done as the night goes on.

Now, to bring an important topic to mind: comic copyright. I just want to go on the record to say that all comics posted here are copyright and under ownership of their respective owners (also mentioned in the footer on every page). I do not modify any comic (except for one, since it had the F word in it) and do not take credit for any comics, unless they are drawn by me, which probably won't happen. I follow an artist on DeviantArt.com who talks about the issue in detail about a Facebook App that scrapes the internet for comics, takes the copyright off, and shows them. His journal can be viewed at http://tompreston.deviantart.com/journal/Facebook-Art-Theft-App-279043179 - just thought I'd bring that up.


Tags:#bug #bizzaro #webinar #ringcentral #bigbangtheory #comics #deviantart #ces #insurance

RSS Feed

Are you kidding me?

I was browsing DeviantArt.com about 10 minutes ago and saw this ad:
Firefox for AOL?

I'm sorry, but if you are still using AOL, Firefox must be as Greek to you as the Higgs Boson. I'll admit: when my parents had AOL, I connected (using dialup) using AOL and browsed with Firefox, but why would you need a Firefox optimized for AOL?


Tags:#firefox #aol #ad #deviantart

RSS Feed

Illuminati

Illuminati by Adam Withers

Saw this on DA [source]. Thought it would be nice to share.

+100 Points if you can name all of the characters.


Tags:#illuminati #cartoonnetwork #deviantart

RSS Feed

Hello October!

SYAC

If you are wondering why this is my first post of October, I've been extremely busy over the past month. And I have a lot of comics I'm waiting to display in the upcoming entries.

So, here's the overview of what's kept me busy over the past month:

  • I updated my blog using HTML5 fonts instead of the JS Cufon. It processes faster and works in more modern browsers instead of having to load the page and post-process the H1 and specified div tags into the font I chose.

  • Tom and I worked on our "Intro to Shadow Dev Seminar". That took a lot more time than we expected, but the seminars we produced went well

  • We've signed on a new client: Saki Sushi! They are opening their new restaurant in the next few weeks, and we've signed on to help them get a great web presence before their opening

  • We've also signed on another new client: Cullowhee Mountain Arts, Inc, with the help of Dr. Lockwood

  • Tom and I have been running up and down Route 19 to find some new clients - had some very interesting adventures up Rt 19

  • Watch MLP:FiH episode 2 (John de Lancie was great as Discord) and episode 3, which I can sum in 2 words: unorganized chaos (emphasis on "organized")

  • I'm working on a few domains and subdomains for Shadow Dev: docs.shadowdev.com (for a documentation area (wiki-like) for our quotes to help reduce our carbon footprint instead of sending our 30+ page quotes), getmyanalysis.com (our site analysis landing page from Fox Carolina), m.getmyanalysis.com (GMA's mobile version), and a few others

  • Celebrated Shadow Dev's 6 Year Anniversary!

  • Shadow Dev joined the NFIB

  • Wrote an article about Domain Name Expiration Notices, since I'm sick and tired of them anyway

  • Registered ReceiptRescue, ScrumIt, and Zoomiform on Twitter too

  • Finally saw the season premiere of Psych! I'm so glad a new season started

  • Attended War of the Wings in Elkin. Sacred Stone won! Yay!

  • Watched Last Man Standing on Hulu. It's good to see Tim Allen back on TV

  • Attended a forum for WCU. Best part of it: "We should have a beer department!" - WCU Chancellor Belcher. I like the way he thinks!

  • Ok - I'm on Spotify now. Whoppie. It's good, and the music is more controlling, but it seems that the SAME commercial shows up after every 3rd song.

  • Beat Angry Birds without the Eagle

  • Watched the last episodes of Eureka - Season 4. Wil Wheaton had a very "Vulcan" acting style....ironic?

  • Finally saw the new Producers movie. Certainly one to look back on and laugh, in a good way. Although, I can't think about it without hearing John de Lancie singing "I want to be a Producer"....creepy (?)

  • Started a new book: Final Theory, which is pretty good. Here's a quick preview:
    ICHC

    Ok, that's not a preview. But it's cute, right? (and the book does deal with the String Theory)

  • Got our Fox Carolina ad up and got some great team shots for Shadow Dev

  • Dealt with Netflix's price increase, then the Netflix/Qwikster split, then the Qwikster descent. I believe this comic works well for this:
    the Joy of Tech


  • Received a complaint on my blog in the past few days. If you are reading this, please keep in mind that this blog is a personal reflection of myself and does not reflect the views, opinions, and/or skills of Shadow Development or any associated companies. In addition, all comics are © of their respective authors. I do not take credit or responsibility for any comics posted. (If a comic has a super-offending word in it, but the context is acceptable, I will edit the comic, but I try not to if I don't have to.) If there is something on here that offends you, let me know. Don't go behind my back and tell your friends to tell me. Have the guts to take 10 seconds to send me an email saying "Hey! I don't like this: _____________". My email address, facebook, twitter, linkedin, and other contact methods are located on the right side of every page



That just about does it for me. I know this is a little long, but I think I need to catch up for almost a month of no entries (in addition for being 20 days away from my 1 year anniversary of this blog, and 5 entries away from my 100th entry). Back to watching Mythbusters on Netflix. Yay!


Tags:#syac #joyoftech #wcu #hulu #timallen #spotify #zoomiform #receiptrescue #psych #angrybirds #newclients #mythbusters #deviantart

RSS Feed

Ponies vs Q

RealLife


Yes, I'll admit: I watch MLP:FiH. And best part of all, the newest episode (Return of Harmony (part 1)) has John de Lancie in it (the voice was too obvious)! If the ponies are going up against Q, they have no hope. But we'll see in Part 2.

On a semi-related matter, my favorite is Rainbow Dash!
Rainbow Dash
Credit goes to ~Creshosk


Tags:#ponies #mlp #Q #deviantart #rainbowdash #reallife

RSS Feed

Busy Monday

Zits


Whoa, it's Monday already. What a busy day/week/month so far.

Here's the rundown:
Today:

  • I received 2 calls 15 minutes before my alarm this morning from 2 clients. Way for a Monday to start.

  • Stopped by Post Office to pick up package that wouldn't fit in the mailbox on Saturday

  • I got to the office and got ready to make some calls that I was supposed to make. Had the first client come in. Nice lady, but seemed like she just wanted to vent. No biggie - but did find out that her husband has some Pro Photography experience and could take pro photos of us on Wednesday for the Ad

  • Tom came in as I was finishing up with the 1st client. I finished things up and went to him. He and I started talking about some personal stuff.

  • 5 minutes into that meeting, client #2 walks in, talks for 5 minutes, leaves. I go back to Tom and discuss options for him

  • Spend an hour or so deciphering odd Paypal code. Tom makes packets.

  • I did some budget analyzing and found out that it costs us (figuratively) $13 to make an info packet. Whoa.

  • Tom left; I called/contacted most of the people on my list today

  • Responded to some emails, cleared up confusion in a contract, and graded an email

  • Ordered more ink for the business - $50 for each other, 2 standard blacks, and 1 XL black - not bad.

  • updated and re-printed a sign for the office (with hours and updated QR code)


All in all, it doesn't seem like a lot, but I've been going non-stop since I got here at 10:15.

And not to bore you with the finer details, here's the quick-and-dirty summary from last week:

  • My old phone was sick. I got a new one! YAY!

  • Kat, Keat and I played WhiteWolf on Saturday and Sunday

  • Had meeting with Shadow Dev staff on Monday, hired Kat on

  • Planned Developer Training for Shadow Dev

  • Working out the finer details of our Movie Night

  • Had to deal with the Copier missing the Scanning function - had a meeting with Allan and going to figure it out

  • Fixed a client's login/check issue - that took a while

  • Finally got ST:TNG Season 1 and 7 back on Netflix - now I can finish Season 1

  • My 2nd oldest sister and Dad stopped by on Friday - she is now in TN

  • Met wit 2 potential clients. Wish I was more professional

  • Finally got a response back from the Fox Carolina guys about the relationship. I was told to call another person. Here we go again

  • Had a major server outage on Friday for about an hour. I can honestly say IT WASN'T MY FAULT! Apparently, the server company had an issue with their main operations server and had to force a shutdown/restart. All details are at the Shadow Dev Blog

  • Fixed some issues with another client's site. Should be getting the final check soon

  • Watched the 4th Bleach Movie. It was really good.

  • Created a Site Reporter using Google's API. Now, I get daily reports telling me where Shadow Dev is in non-biased Google Rankings for our area

  • And of course, the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. Still can't believe I was a freshmen in High School when that happened. My support goes to those in need.


That wraps up last week. And now for something completely different (but TOTALLY worth it):
Blade!



Tags:#blade #twilight #foxcarolina #server #outage #google #sttng #training #developer #shadowdev #phone #ink #sign #calls #postoffice #zits

RSS Feed

Designer vs Developer vs Manager War

RSS Feed

Bachelor for a Week

Well, it's here again. The week that I am alone. Keat's with her parents spanning the US (NC to CO, AZ, NM, and others). All I have is 3 cats and only 1 internet connection. This is going to be a LONG week. In addition to keat being gone for a week, our new sales person will be gone from Wednesday till next Thursday. So I will literally be alone from Wednesday till Saturday, when I pick Keat up at the Airport.

But enough griping....here's today's comic:

Non-Sequitor

In plight of the major downside, I've made some great improvements and completed some major work that I've been needing to complete over the past few weeks.


  • I've added a mobile image optimizer to my blog. The images will now be loaded to 10% of their original filesize for faster loading on mobile devices

  • I've finished work on NSMT's password complexity, as well as finished a 180-day expiration policy. It's taken a longer than usual, but it has been completed. Now, on to the rest of the to-do list

  • I've added shadowdev.co as an official URL shortener for Shadow Dev. There are more details on the Shadow Dev Blog. Right now, it's not really open to the public, but general readers can create shortened url's at shadowdev.co/shorten - we are working on some analytic procedures and may have those up within the next week or so (at least on a basic level)

  • I've also created a nice 404 page for our URL shortner. You can view it at shadowdev.co/nonfolder (this doesn't exist, so you should get a 404 error). Thanks to the @Oatmeal for those images
    TumblBeasts

  • I've created some HowTo articles on the Shadow Dev blog - mainly about some techno-babble like DNS systems, Proxy servers, and Email hacking solutions

  • I've been on a Voyager-trek (no pun intended) for the past few days, and without (borrowing) Keat's laptop, I can't watch it at home (and our PS3 has a faulty laser, so that's out of the question), so I've been watching it at the office all day. I am at the end of Season 5 and about to begin Season 6. I'm so glad that I've been able to watch all of the episodes in chronological order and without commercial breaks
    PvP
    Although this is from April, I thought this would be appropriate since I'm on a Voyager-trek

  • I received my new license in the mail today (with my updated address). However, my license still expires in Feb of 2012, so I still have to go get it updated then. So basically, my license is good for about 6 months

  • I've also created 3 major cron jobs: one to report 404 errors to me to see where people have been trying to access (and block attackers), one to update YUM on a nightly basis, and one to send weekly reminders to our Independent Contractors to send in their weekly status report

  • We've finally received info from one of our clients that has been pretty quiet. I hope that the rest of the information we receive should be able to make the site live (especially since they wanted it on July 15, but we had no information to go live)

  • I played WhiteWolf with Kat on Saturday, and we've progressed fairly far. I had 1 quest to get a Silver Braided Cord to trade for a skill, and now I/We had to go to a trailer park and "take care of it". Right now, we are stuck mid-dash trying to get away from the trailer park. We'll see what happens in a few weeks when the episode resumes


That's it for now. I'm sure this is a lot to read, so I'll leave you (the reader) with additional comics, one I think may make my generation cry a bit.

Corpse Run
Dilbert



Tags:#corpserun #cron #witewolf #url #shadowdev.co #dilbert #keat #non-sequitor

RSS Feed

February already?

Rudy Park
Squeezed this one before February hit with just a few hours to spare!

It seems like just yesterday I was making my last journal entry, but I mean WHOA! It's already February. My last entry was on Dec 11, the day that my internet provider left and I haven't had internet at home in.....wow, almost 2 full months. That's, like, forever in Internet-land. It's really a strain when you have a lot of work to do ON the "internets" and when your clients are breathing down your neck to get stuff done, but you can't get anything done because your only stable internet connection is 30 minutes away (I'm speaking of the Office, here) and you're snowed in so much you can't even leave the parking lot! Yeah, it's been a hard 2 months.

I won't go into any fine details, so I'll just cover the basics in 60 seconds or less (I hope). *big breath* Here I go: Keat and I went across the state (twice) for Xmas, had fun with my sisters and their signifiant others (and accompanying children), got a few gifts for Xmas, spent New Year's at Keat's parents' and met Thomas' new girlfriend, shucked oysters (fun), came back to Raleigh, found out that I mixed up my Secret Santa person (oh well), came back to Asheville, got snowed in for 2 weeks (not fun), got Chi fixed before Xmas (semi-tragedy; almost lost her (temporily misplaced, not due to surgery)), finally got into work and have been working for 2 weeks straight, Keat is back in school and it's kicking her butt, doing well with the Shadow Dev Newsletter (yay - committment!), got 2 new Ratchet & Clank games (spent many wee morning hours playing those), signed up for FourSquare over the holiday, got tired of it, stopped doing it, attended many, many seminars over the past few weeks, started a new service Receipt Rescue (which seems to be progressing well), worked on client stuff (did I say that yet?), trying to shrink my to-do list, worked on Neko Sentou and 50% through Vol 12 (YAY! Check our story progress at Lunar Productions), participated in my first PiLam Omega Zeta initiation after 2 years, and we are moving to Waynesville in the summer since Keat's transfering (hoping) to Western in the fall.

Was that 60 seconds? Probably not, but that's a lot easier than filling x number of pages with finer details.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working on NSMT's request system. After a (literal) system overhaul with some finer tweaking, the system is finally finished (99.9%). Technically, it's done, but I'm revamping a record modification system with jQuery and it's taking me longer than expected.

I've been working closely with QR codes on the Shadow Dev site for today (take a look at the QR Page I created - I think it's pretty cool), and replacing the images with image sprites (to reduce the server hit response; in laymen's terms: 10 images produces 10 hits, meanwhile 1 image sprite with 10 images used 10 times produces 1 hit - smaller server response time, faster loading, and more accurate analytics). I'm also working on NSMT's Shuttle Service, which is a new service they want. May take me a few more days to get that finished.

Just saw Inception, and that was pretty good. It took a while to get into it, but once you got into it, it's like a roller coaster ride (same goes with The Men Who Stare at Goats).

Oh yeah, I have been receiving a butt-load of spam-bot comments on the blog. I finally revamped the comment system to strip out a lot of what the spam-bots were sending in. I used to receive 1 email every 30 minutes saying "New Comment" with the content of (but not limited to): free poker online, certain underage adult actions, enlargements of a certain male body part, getting 1000 Facebook fans (tons with that), "I like your site and visit it daily" (if they really submitted that, they would realize that the blog hadn't been updated in 2 months), and various other spam-bot-like material. They're getting really desprate and/or creative. I like to think the first. Anyway, since I revamped the comment posting system and implemented some new filters, I get maybe 1 spam-bot a month now. Nice to have those multi-level filters in place.

One last thing: finally met Janet at the Specialty Sauce place down the hall. Turns out that she and her husband(?) owned the Sushi restaurant down the street for 16 years. They had to leave since a nail salon moved in next door and the toxic fumes were getting into the restaurant - not a good experience. However, it turns out that she's a semi-expert sushi and nigiri maker, and she's making/selling sauces since her restaurant is kinda downhill right now. She also said that people from all over the area went to her specifically to have sushi (even people in Sylva, Asheville, and even Robinsville (where the heck is that?)). Can't wait to try some of her sushi!

I'll try to keep up with the postings as much as I can. Till later.


Tags:#inception #xmas #rudypark #qr #hits #sprite #nekosentou #receiptrescue #chi #asheville #snow #shadowdev

RSS Feed

A day full of TV - and Facebook URL's!

Amount of Comedy in Entry: 30% - xkcd

Although I'm not getting this in before midnight, I do believe that I should get this done before tomorrow starts. Bear with me...

Last night was a pain. It seemed like I couldn't get to sleep - tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable, staying warm, and....Chi meowing downstairs. Although I did have a few dreams, I believe Chi was meowing away last night as her "heat spell" was dying down. I sure hope it is over soon, because it is getting really annoying with the Siamese-volume meowing and constant "marking" all around the house and anything on the floor (I mean, even with a TOTALLY clean litter box AND being house trained, she still pees on random things while in heat).

The alarm went off at 8am and Keat got up. Yes, that is a first. She got up at 8 and stayed up. And the weirdest part: she got up before me. Although I love my sleep, it's very awkward that she gets up before me. She got some coffee and got ready for school. I tried to sleep for another 30 minutes. I thought I killed all of the alarms between 8 and 8:30, but apparently, my phone wanted to create some alarms to annoy me. 8. 8:10. 8:15. 8:20. 8:30. Okay, I got up.

I gotta say: This 2-day work week is really throwing me off. This morning, I was planning for what to do on Thursday and Friday. After I asked a few questions about using certain cars on Wednesday, Keat said "I don't have classes on Wednesday!" Then it hit me like a brick soccerball (because a "ton of bricks" would kill me). Thanksgiving break starts Wednesday and we're heading out, so (knowing how things will go down) work won't get done between Wednesday and Saturday. I hate putting work on hold for that long, especially when I'm on time-specific deadlines.

We left at 8:59am, and it usually takes us 22 minutes to get from the apartment to get to the office and/or school for Keat. Somehow, we arrived at her school at 9:16am. Don't quite know how that happened.

Anyway, my day was busy. Along with catching up on the weekend tasks and reading my RSS feeds (aka: my "daily digital newspaper" - should call it my "DDN"), I decided to go ahead and start the server upgrade process. Although it upgrades the main hosting server from a 30GB space to 50GB and Red Hat RHEL 3AS (which isn't supported anywhere, and it seems it hasn't been for about 2 years), to CentOS 5 (32 bit) which is something I can certainly relate to since the main operating box at the office, and the box in my home office both run off of CentOS 5 (32 bit). Can't complain about that.

I spent a lot of time talking to the hosting support staff on how to get the upgrade done. It seems pretty seamless from what I understood. I purchased the upgraded server space, but waited to initialize the domain and file transfer from the old VPS to the new VPS. Although I had both VPS's set, I wanted to proceed knowing that all bases were covered before I was slapped with some "unknown" fees. I was about to get things going until....normal business called.

After I sent out a mass message on FB asking people to "Like" Shadow Dev, I received a tip saying that a local competitor may need some help. Long story short: the business owner opened up a new business (while operating the current business), and things seemed to fall behind. The tip suggested that we offer our services to them in a non-competition agreement. I said that I'd think about it, and may attempt to contact the owner after Thanksgiving, allowing the holiday chaos to calm down a bit. Odd request, but what the hey?

I also received some updates from a client concerning some cosmetic items and photos. The photos they sent were to be used in the main slideshow on their site. All were good photos, but I could only properly use a few of them. There were also some issues with spacing and photo placement, but nothing unusual from normal day-to-day activities.

I went to Arby's for lunch, which was good for variety, but I swear: their "Value Roast Beef" looks like (Bread + Air) + 1 thin slice of Roast Beef + (Air + Bread). I've always been an Arby's fan and loved the Big Montana sandwich back around 2002 (which I believe is now a #4), but this was a little unacceptable. I wish I got a photo, but I was so hungry I didn't care what it looked like. I'll get a photo next time (I also dowsed it in Arby's sauce so it actually had some flavor). Their chicken is still good though; fresh, crisp, and thinly breaded. Pure flavor there. And love the curly fries. Mmmmmm.....is there an Arby's open this late?

After Keat and I got back to the office, I read an updated headline about "including your Facebook URL on your marketing materials" and thought "there's no way I can fit our super-long url on our marketing material. How can I fix that? Hmmm. Oh! Unique Facebook URL! Ok, how do I get it?" I recalled a re-tweeted tweet from a local competitor trying to perform a "social experiment" to gain 25 "Likes" to get a "Vanity Facebook URL". Not a bad idea. We had a few "Likes", and I knew it would take a while to get to 25. I thought "If they could do it within a few hours, so can we. Let's see what happens."

I posted the first "Like Us" post on my profile, Shadow Dev's page, my twitter, and Shadow Dev's twitter (turns out that auto-made shortened FB links don't always work) at around 3:30pm. I posted updates on how many followers we had and made sure to be at the top of the "updates" list about every 30 minutes or so. After multiple update posts (and probably the point that most of my friends were tired of me), we reached 25 followers at 8:30pm and I got Shadow Dev's own Vanity Facebook URL at facebook.com/ShadowDevelopment (30 characters) - what a space saver (instead of facebook.com/pages/Waynesville-NC/Shadow-Development-Technologies/30328325855, which is 77 characters).

After that happened, I offered a 10% discount to all new customers who are Facebook fans, in order to show my appreciation of their support. Honestly, I think it's a great deal. Like us = save 10%. No coupons, rebates, or special conditions. I recall Land's End had a similar deal for me when I was ordering the shirts. The lady on the phone said "Can you go to the Land's End website?" / Me: "Yea" / Her: "Do you see our main special on the front page?" / Me: "Yea, the one about logos?" / Her: "Yep. That special allowed you to save on your logo setup fees. Congrats." / Me: "Really? Wow" / Her: "Yeah, it's that easy." Why not give a little incentive to some fellow facebook fans?

Keat and I picked up some dinner and went home after that and caught up on some of our favorite TV shows. However, Keat made a good point while we were picking up dinner. She and I were talking about the Direct and Indirect competitors for Shadow Dev. Although I had a rudimentary understanding of direct and indirect competition in my 1 Marketing class while in college, I don't believe I got a lot out of it since I was preoccupied with ScrumIt and Nascent (when the idea of riding the Indy Speedway in a Limo is in your head, nothing else really fits). It has been determined that Keat knows a heck of a lot more than I do at marketing, and that is one of the many reasons she's studying Marketing and I'm studying Operations. I'm going to leave just about everything "Marketing" to her and do what I can with what I have.

Back to the shows: Futurama had a new special out yesterday, and we watched it online (comes out 1 day after air showing). That episode was.....a little weird. After that, we watched The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show. Although they had good stories, it certainly seems like Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane, and their writers are stretching to find good quality stories.

I just realized a whole 1 1/2 episodes of Futurama have played while I'm writing this (we sleep to Futurama in the background). I'm gonna sign off before this becomes a term paper.


Tags:#xkcd #thanksgiving #chi #linux #vps #fb #arbys #shadowdev #discount #marketing #futurama #thesimpsons #familyguy #americandad #theclevelandshow

RSS Feed

Shadow Dev has a Vanity Facebook URL!


I've shared it everywhere else - why not here? Yes, Shadow Development officially has it's own Vanity Facebook URL at facebook.com/ShadowDevelopment, and I have all of the Fans to thank for it.

It took a few hours and a bit of Social Media marketing to do it, but what was only an idea this morning became reality about 30 minutes ago! And best part of all, I'm giving every Facebook Fan a 10% discount for new clients! Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell your fish! If you're a fan, you'll get 10% off of your service amount - just like that!

It's been an eventful day, and I hope to get another post in before midnight - don't know if that'll happen or not, but here's hoping....


Tags:#shadowdev #facebook #vanity #url #fans #discount

RSS Feed

Today - Headache = Good Day


Today wasn't bad. I woke up around 11am (no alarm) without a hint of a headache and it felt great. Keat and I spent the majority of the day cleaning the apartment to get ready for the inspection. We watched a lot of Eureka again today, and I think we're up to Episode 8 of Season 2. This is actually a series I would like to buy. Anybody know of any good sources? So far, I can't find Season 1 for less than $24. It'd be great if I could get it under $15.

Chi's still in heat, and it's driving us nuts. She's peeing everywhere she can and we're tired of washing things. Although things are getting cleaner, it's really a pain.

On to a better topic, I received a message from a Entrepreneur friend on FB from WCU, and he said "This is my new business. Would appreciate you "liking" it so I can build a following. Feel free to drop me a line if you want to talk small business sometime." Interesting idea, so I sent out a few invites for the Shadow Dev FB page and had a bunch of people "Like" it within 30 minutes. Not bad for a shot-in-the-dark blanket marketing message.

Didn't really do much else today. More cleaning tomorrow, and hopefully I get that Interview sheet done by Monday.

I should also be able to get the servers upgraded on Monday. Can't wait for that transition.....*cough cough*


Tags:#facebook #dilbert #eureka #shadowdev

RSS Feed

Winding down the Semeter...

Well, I know that it's been over a month since my last post, but I have a good reason for it: I have been extremly busy. We now have a new client, the Student Support Services of Western, I'm talking to a new client (Desktop Factory), SD is now part of the Web Advisory Board for Western, we lost Catamount Communications to a "class project" (they'll come back to us, muh ha ha ha), and the UC site is a dud (the guy said that "we as individuals will redo the UC site"). AND...SD (which is now SD&T [Shadow Development & Technologies]) is trying to get ad space in the new LMP Calendar (it's going to be a flip kind, instead of the one sheet of paper).

Besides that, I had a lot of innovative ideas over Thanksgiving break, and only 2 weeks of classes left till exams!

I haven't been able to work on Verge much, but as I practice AJAX, I should be able to make Verge better than ever.

On the down side, big controversy with Sara and everybody. I've been out of the loop for a while, but it seems that Sara is apologizing to everybody (i don' quite know why). Also, I have discovered a new band: The Offspring. They've been around for a while, but I just heard them for the first time, and they ROCK! As I heard "Kids Aren't Alright," I was thinking of an intro for Keat's and my Manga series, Neko Sentou (of course, this will be for the anime, which I hope will happen soon). That song fits perfectly for an action-based series like this).

I don't know what else to say...post later


Tags:#AJAX #LMP #Offspring #SGA #Shadow #Dev #Thanksgiving #Verge