Author - Web Developer - Educator
Found 16 results for tag "kc"
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Backups and Sync Success!

Backups are important

After many, many months (and many mistakes), we finally have our own backup server!

Let me explain: when we had our data hosted on 3rd party servers, backups were never considered because the services already provided backups (or, so we were told). We only had to use WebsiteSource's backup service once, and the other company said they were creating a backup service, but never put us on it.

When we moved our data to the primary local server back in September, my level of worrying gradually increased over time. We had all of our site data on 1 server - and if that server were (for some reason) to crap out, we'd be in a very large hole with no way out. 8 years of coding. 8 years of projects. 8 years of client work. 8 years of a full portfolio. 8 years of database records. All gone.

Luckily, that hasn't happened yet (and we hope it never will - oh, the horrors if it did). So, in order to fill in this gap, I finally got the courage to make a backup server! (finally, right?)

I was able to salvage a bunch of the spare parts that I had laying around. Some RAM, some hard drives, a few semi-barebones desktop frames, motherboards galore...and all of this stuff was just collecting dust in various areas.

I went through a bunch of combinations of RAM/Hard Drives/Motherboards/CD Drives before I found a combo that worked (a few of the frames that I had required SATA drives, and I only have ATA/IDE drives available).

I finally got some RAM that fit appropriately, a large enough hard drive to hold the information that I needed (not the same size as the main server drive, but big enough), and a CD drive that worked (I had to install the Server OS somehow, right?).

After spending all of today getting the latest Ubuntu Server ISO downloaded and burned, I popped in the CD, ran the install ISO, and had a dedicated backup server ready to go.

I then spent the latter part of the day setting up rsync, cron, and mysqldump to automate the creation and mirroring of backups.

MySQL Dump Script:
#!/bin/bash
 
BACKUP_DATE=$(date +'%F')
 
mysqldump -u [username] -p[password] --all-databases --events > \
 
   /var/www/vhosts/$BACKUP_DATE.sql
--events is here because it was returning an error saying "Skipping mysql.events table"

RSYNC Script:
#!/bin/bash
 
N=$(date +'%F %T')
 
LOG_FILE="$HOME/rsync.log"
 
echo "RSYNC Begin: $N" >> $LOG_FILE
 
rsync -r -a -v -e "ssh -l [username]" --delete \
 
   [source directory from root] [remote_server_ip]:[remote directory from root]  >> $LOG_FILE
 
echo "---------------------------------" >> $LOG_FILE
--delete is to delete any remote files that aren't on the source location. Also, if you want to only sync certain file types, add "--exclude='*' --include='*.[ext]'" after --delete (exclude everything except what is included), or you can just omit --delete altogether if you want. The rest of the script is just log information - completely optional, but makes the log easier to read

Update 2013-12-09: I've updated the script a bit to make it a little more universal after some things were called to my attention

The main part of that was spent trying to get the backup server (which I am calling "Fry" - I'm thinking of going Futurama for a server nomenclature) to automatically SSH into the main server without a password (aka: storing an SSH key). I had to learn a lot in order to do that, but I found out that the problem that eluded me for about 5 hours was that the main server's home directory had the wrong permission settings for the .ssh folder.

Next time the SSH keys aren't being stored right, run [sudo] tail -f /var/log/auth.log and see what the error is. Lesson learned.

So, the overall point of this story:
  • A dedicated backup server, Fry, has been salvaged, installed, and setup
  • There is an rsync script on Fry to automatically sync up the files from the main server (all 40GB+ worth)
  • The Main Server has an automatic cron script to run mysqldump to make a full backup of all of the MySQL database
  • Fry's rsync will keep the latest 6 (daily) copies of the MySQL Dump backups along with the main backup
  • Fry's rsync script creates a custom log to record the output


Now to install a Leela (why not Zoidberg?) server for load balancing (or a production server. I don't know - I've never had more than 1 server running locally at a time).....

....and just because this whole "end of the year" thing is so chaotic, here's a comic I liked which I hope to do (just to get it all over with):
BC


Good Night!


Tags:#bc #xkcd #backup #ubuntu #futurama #rsync #sudo #zoidberg #bash #tutorials

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Bachelor for a Week 2013: Day 3

First, since Keat's in Colorado, here's an airplane joke (special relevance since Southwest allows you to pick your seats):
XKCD


I was able to sleep in this morning, but it was a little odd again having the big bed to myself. I can't say it was comfy, but it was almost....to comfy. I didn't actually get out of it until about 2.

The weather decided to have some different plans (as March always done) and it sprinkled about 1/4 to 1/2" of snow today. I would have driven into work, but based on the extremely low amount of cars that I have seen/heard on the road in front of our house, I'm guessing that traveling was not the best option.

So, I got comfy in my chair at ("in") my home office and started working on the "First Steps" section of the site. I've been making a lot of progress on different sections loading internally of jQuery's framework. It sounded like a challenge at first, but through the process, it has become a whole lot easier.

While I was working, I also caught up on my TV shows: Once Upon a Time, Community, American Dad, Family Guy, Malibu Country (which I found out that Lily Tomlin was Ms. Frizzle, which blew my mind), and Last Man Standing.

Also, I found out that Volume 2 of my Star Trek/Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 compilation has been shipped and will be here soon. In addition, my Raspberry Pi (which I assumed was extremely backordered and would ship in on the 29th) apparently shipped out today and is on it's way.

I did some research and tweaking on my RSS feeds for my personal blog and company blogs, and found out that my original RSS importer was not working. Therefore, I found a new one, which I highly recommend: RSS Graffiti , which is an app via Facebook. So far, it looks pretty sleek and works efficiently to import the RSS feeds into Facebook.

The first of 3 articles I wrote yesterday went live this morning: shadowdev.com/blog/article/extra-links-on-google-what-are-they-and-how-do-i-get-them (the next 2 will go live on Wednesday and Friday)

Also, I finished Enterprise tonight (this morning?). Overall, I give it a rating of 8/10 stars. It has some unique qualities of it's own, and has some TOS mixed in. Jeffery Combs does a great job in his own role, but I kind of wish the crew was a little more dimensional. Season 3 and 4 were better than the first 2, especially since Season 3 had a whole dedicated arch to itself, which reminded me of DS9 and the dominion war. At least the Xindi arc had a little more depth than the Dominion war.

Now, here's a(nother) Star Trek related comic:
Bug


That's it for me. 'Nite!


Tags:#bug #xkcd #plain #startrek #enterprise #doctorwho #raspberrypi

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Bachelor for a Week 2013: Day 2

I did not report in yesterday because I was in immense pain, almost flu-like symptoms. Needless to say, I spent most of the day in bed, surrounded by cats.

Today, however, was much better. For me, but not for the weather.
Garfield

(Seriously: a major downpour of rain today, snow last Thursday, great short-sleeve weather on previous weekends, then heavy gusts throughout the month....all that we're missing is hail)

I moved the Wii into the guest room/office so I could have some entertainment while I coded away. Let's just say that if I had a fridge and a toilet in this room, I'd never leave.

I watched a good chunk of Enterprise today. Now, I'm only 6 episodes away from the end. What's on my "To Watch" list next?

I also wrote 3 articles for Shadow Dev, which will be premiering over the course of the following week.

I worked on the small blurbs and larger fancyboxes of our new pricing page, which should also be premiering sometime soon.

I lastly worked on the Portal 2.0. I made some great stride with window.location.hash when trying to reload pages based on post-hash URI's. jQuery just became a lot better now.

Here's what I am happy about today:
 
$(function(){
 
	$('#db_menu').find('a').live('click', function(){
 
		var link_id = $(this).attr('id');
 
		$.ajax({
 
			type: "GET",
 
			url: "/get_box.php",
 
			data: { q: link_id },
 
			success: function(data){
 
				$('#db_box').html(data);
 
			}
 
		});
 
	});
 

 
	var path = window.location.hash;
 
	if (path==""){
 
		$('#main').click();
 
		window.location.hash = "#main";
 
	}
 
	else
 
		$(path).click();
 
});
 


I basically had to scrap the whole project and start from almost square 1. I kept the original login scripts along with the database structures in tact. My main starting point was from the Dashboard and so on.

My plan over the following week is to improve the new Portal to a point that it is ready to launch. The plan to launch Portal 1.0 with the new site launch had a small...drawback. It didn't convert with the new CSS well, and had a few delayed bugs in it, along with a good chunk missing for the Clients. My goal is for Portal 2.0 to fix that.

I don't usually like scrapping projects during development, but the pro is that the revamp comes out much cleaner than originally expected. Only time (and late nights) will tell if my feats become useful.

On a some-what related note, I was told by Keat (I don't recall if it was today or yesterday, as both days are a bit of a blur) that it is 4° out in Frisco right now. I would have been okay (that's a joke) with 4° Celsius, but we're in America, and that's 4° Fahrenheit. I do wish her the best in that frigid temperature. I'll stick with the rainy 40° here.

XKCD


Also, I used a gift code from StateFarm to order the next Star Trek/Doctor Who Crossover Vol. 2 comic book today. It only cost me $5.71 (and that was with shipping and tax). It would have cost me somewhere around $18 in a shop. Although I do support local shops, I had a gift code that I had to use or it would have expired.


Tags:#jquery #javascript #enterprise #startrek #projects #garfield #keat #articles #xkcd #doctorwho #comics

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A bunch of browser-based comics

Since my comic repository is growing faster than I can post, I thought I'd go ahead and post a bunch of browser-based comics. Enjoy!


XKCD
Foxtrot
CH Tabs
Firefox


That will do it for now.


Tags:#xkcd #foxtrot #cyanide&happiness #firefox #browsers

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Employee Praise

Received this from one of my employees. It made my day.
Praise from Dr. Hughes


And received this in as a response to this posting:
Praise from KC Weeks


Tags:#hughes #employee #praise #kc

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Triple Nugget!

I was going through my image library and saw this from xkcd comic that I thought was relevant to the past few days. Long story short: I ordered 3 DVD's from Amazon, a sign from Vistaprint, and business book from Amazon. The DVD's got here yesterday. I'm still waiting on the sign to be printed, and the business book is still in PA after being shipped yesterday. I wish it was here already.
xkcd

PS: happy triple post! (is this a record for me? maybe I should do this more often....)


Tags:#xkcd #package #tracking

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Mustard

xkcd
What if Wikipedia existed during the Magic School Bus? That'd be a short series...

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since I posted last? It's been a super-busy 2 weeks and a lot has happened. Here's an overview (without too many details):

  • We moved into the new house! YAY! We're still moving in stuff and getting it organized, but we are now living there and it's great to be right down the street from downtown and the office! It did take a while to get things packed up and moved, and we're still doing it

  • We had a dispute with one of our clients: NSMT. Apparently, some communcation got crossed/lost/misunderstood and things got a little hectic, but now it's better and we're working our butts off to get their stuff done ASAP!

  • Keat's parents came down for the weekend to help us move. I can honestly say that the tension was so thick, you couldn't cut it with a knife - you'd need some type of chainsaw on steroids! On the good side, they didn't talk about much - just the moving. That's also the bad side: we needed to talk about our wedding plans, and they didn't want to. However, we did get some house repair and needed items (like the blue recycling bags that Waynesville requires). So it's an adequate trade-off.

  • We are in negotations with a few new clients. I won't say much, but here's our potential client list thus far (minus some personal details):

    1. A photo sharing/selling company

    2. An anniversary that has a party and needs an invitation site

    3. A travel and booking business

    4. A local entertainment center

    5. A Psychic person (?)

    6. An unknown person that contacted us at the office and wants to help us (or us help them; I'm not sure)

    7. A local Retirement lodge

    8. A political action group

    9. and a Property management company


  • I just got June's Hello World out today. I know it's the 13th, but better late than never, right?

  • Had a bunch of meetings with current clients and the Exec. Director for SMDC. Along with NSMT, we're also working on Lu's Specialties Foods and Innocent Footprints at the same time (while moving....yay)

  • and a few other things that I can't recall right now. Like I said: it's been a busy 2 weeks.


On a semi-related note, I know the xkcd comic is a little far-fetched, but I thought it would be a good re-entry to the posting. Along with seeing an episode of it (about Heat) on Saturday while eating lunch. Pretty cool!

I have also collected some pretty cool comics while out and about, so I'll be posting those as well to catch up to my quota.

Hey, look! Here's another one:
Bug


I'm gonna finish moving stuff in and get some NSMT stuff done too. My "To Do" list is getting longer everyday....not good.

And I know the title of this posting is "Mustard". I already have one called "Ketchup". Why not add a little "Chili", "Relish", and some "Hot Sauce" while I'm at it? I think I have some titles ready to go for the rest of the week....


Tags:#xkcd #bug #todo #new #clients #house

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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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Birthday Times

I'm feeling super generous today, so here's two comics:






I thought I could make this update last week during my actual birthday (Wednesday), but last week was extremely looooooooong for me and Keat. Her aunt passed away last Sunday, and we traveled 480 miles across North Carolina from Waynesville to Nags Head on Tuesday, which was one of the longest trips I ever made (especially since we left after Keat's class was done at 2). Once we arrived, we crashed for the night and went to the funeral on Wednesday (which was very emotional, by the way, but I never went to a funeral on my birthday before), left for Tortuga's Lie (great seafood restaurant, and it was Sushi night, so I got some Sake!) we were all tired and left Thursday morning to drive 480 miles back to Asheville on Thursday. With the addition of the traveling from Nags Head to Columbia (NC) and back (and back to Asheville), it was close to 1000 miles in 1 week. I kept getting the notion from Keat's mom asking if I had a funeral on my birthday before. I kept saying "No, but I've had a Physics test before", and that happened about 4 times.

After we came back, our new friends in Apt #1 (Jen and Ty) invited us over to their place for beer and monopoly. That was very interesting, especially since Keat and I had about 4 beers each (which is a lot for us). We also cleaned up the apartment on Friday, which helped out a bit.

Our friend Kat invited us to Biltmore Estate on Saturday, which was very fun, but I don't want to walk around for 7 hours anymore. My legs still hurt from Saturday.......ow.

I got to work this morning at 7:45am, and still here at this hour. I finally figured out why the 3rd IP address wasn't added to my account (when I ordered it on Feb 9th) - it was because the order got stalled.....again. It seems like that is a recurring theme on my account: orders will stall and require an extra "push" from an Admin before it can successfully be processed. After getting that canceled and re-submitted, it was a fairly eventful day, with the education and installiation of the Intuit credit processing for EAUC, the status updates and video production for NSMT, the SEO Seminar preparation, and the sudden loss-of-internet for about an hour at the office (the county came over and tried to do something (I don't know what they were doing), and when they were working, the internet went out - found out about 20 minutes later that the College lost their connection, so the whole county was out for about an hour). What a day. I'm going home now to rest.....

One last thing: I found out that I'm (should be) in a book! It's called "Starting Your Career as a Freelance Web Designer" and it's available via Amazon! It is scheduled to be published in August, so I can't wait till it comes out.

I also made a logo for Zoomiform (aka: Business Accelerator) and registered the domain for it, and an official logo for Infinity.

Also, you would think that since Intuit is one of the biggest credit processing and accounting companies in the world, their online credit processing procedures would be easy. YEAH RIGHT. Unlike Sage (which NSMT used), Intuit is extremely difficult to integrate. They want you to use THEIR systems or nothing at all. So I'll be spending the next few days trying to figure out how to do that properly. I found a nice little PHP DevKit for Intuit systems, and got it to successfully return a test environment, and now have to figure out how to make it live and work with real funds. That should be fun. Night!


Tags:#dilbert #xkcd #biltmore #monopoly #eauc #nsmt #nagshead #travel

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No Snow Day? Ok...

xkcd


Wow, is the day over already? It just seemed like a few hours ago that I resistantly cralwed out of the warm bed. No delayed schedules today, but after getting up at around 10:30, dropping Keat off at class, then heading to the office, I just wanted to stay warm. There wasn't as much snow as yesterday. In a way, I'm glad. That means that there will be (hopefully) less wrecks.

I worked on a various number of things today: the cURL implentation (which was easier than expected; the hardest part was having the cURL library and the https connection), blog fixes, and some F&I things. Not really much to report about today. In 1 word, today was: blah.

1 interesting thing I did see was a slew of fire trucks parked outside of our apartment. Not quite sure why they were there, but it added something interesting to today.

Almost forgot: when we got up today, I had a bit of a rude awakening. I rolled over and felt a wet spot on the bed. I thought the worst, but when I realized that it was on the bed, on the sheets, and on the blankets, I realized that it was something I couldn't have done. Apparently, Chi had gotten on the bed and (we're suspecting) peed on it. We're not quite sure why (aside from being in heat), but the little event soaked through 2 comforters, a sheet, the mattress spread, and soaked into the mattress cover. Keat and I striped the bed and started washing the items in question. Stupid little cat.

That's it for me tonight. Not much else happened. Fairly short entry.


Tags:#xkcd #slownewsday #blah #firetrucks

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Snow Day? Snow Way!

xkcd
(Snow comic for the Snow day)


Sorry for the bad pun, but that's the way it seemed today. We saw that it was snowing last night, so Keat got up a little early and found out that classes were on a 2-hour delayed schedule. So what did we do: we slept for 2 more hours. We finally got up at around 9:30 and got our things together to leave. I didn't want to get out of the comfy, thick, warm covers. I thought "the world can end before I'll get out," but Keat had to get to class.

There was snow on the ground, and more falling every minute. My hands were about to freeze off. After working up the courage to brave the cold, we went to my car only to find out that my doors were frozen shut. What luck. I went inside and got a pitcher of water to pour on the ice. I went back outside, and Keat had the passenger doors open. I guess that side was facing the sun. I focused back on the pitcher, and poured it on the driver-side windows and doors. After some wiggling, the doors finally opened and I started up the car. It was a little squeaky due to the cold, but we made it to HCC.

I dropped Keat off at class and I went to the Mill Pond to take some pictures of a snow-covered mill house on a pristine lake. What a picturesque moment! Too bad my phone doesn't take very good long-distance photos. I was driving to the office when Keat called me saying her class was over. Apparently, the teacher was just collecting papers. I went back to her and dropped some more stuff off. Then, I went to the office again.

I caught up on my email, RSS feeder, and other related interests. A few main things I wanted to take care of were the Uptime status report on the ShadowDev.com site, "Latest Comments" on the blog, and a few other items.

According to Pingdom, the new server has a surprisingly decreased downtime as compared to the old server. The report said that the old server had a 99% uptime ratings, and so far, the new server has a 74% uptime. So much for the guarantee...

I found out that there were a few things that didn't transfer from the old server to the new server, including some of the recent changes I made to the blog. I played "code catchup" for a few things (including re-referencing the format_link alrorithym from the old server to the new; apparently, the new server couldn't find the right file and couldn't parse the functions, so the Twitterfeed fetcher and RSS maker wouldn't work), then worked on the "Latest Comments" section, which took the most time. I put in the following code to retrieve the title of the responded entry the comment was left for:
$sql="select `title` from `journal` where id=$id";
 
list($title)=mysql_query($sql) or die("Error 30: ".mysql_error());
 
echo $title;

and ran the code. It didn't turn up what I expected. As a matter of fact, it didn't turn up anything! The source code, the output buffer, the error reporting...all were blank. I spent the next hour trying different things to figure out the issue. I finally gave up and referenced the PHP online documentation. What I found made me felt stupid. I had to add one line to the above code for it to work properly:
$sql="select `title` from `journal` where id=$id";
 
$result=mysql_query($sql) or die("Error 30: ".mysql_error());
 
list($title) = mysql_fetch_array($result);
 
echo $title;

Wow, did I feel stupid. I put that in, and it worked like a charm. Only then did I find out that there were 4 spam-based comments that I had to moderate.

Keat got out of class, we had lunch, then back to the office. We also found out that the next time our neighbors' dog starts being mistreated, we can call the Asheville Police and file a complaint, which allows the landlords to file a violation as well. This is great because now we have a plan of action instead of wildly guessing our next step.

Anyway, while she worked and took a nap, I watch Danny Phantom, Season 3 (which I have not seen before) and worked on the Expo report (which is due tonight) and the VIM coloration issue. On the old server, the VIM editor would automatically add colors to the proper code segments while editing. The new server didn't support this, and it was getting very confusing when I would edit files. After searching Google for about 10 minutes, nothing turned up. Apparently, I was calling it by the wrong name and should have been searching for "Syntax Highlighting." Long story short: the VIM version I had (7.0) was compiled with the TINY option, which is basically a minimalized installiation. I tried to re-compile it, but the configure file was missing. So, I tried to update it via yum, but yum said it was up-to-date. The latest version was 7.3, so I knew something was off. I downloaded and compiled VIM 7.3 and compiled it with everything under the sun. Therefore, I was guarenteed to get the Syntax higlighting I so wanted. After some initial testing, I also found out that the command vi was defaulted as a minimalistic editor (7.0), while vim is the full-fledge editor (7.3) with syntax highlighting included. So I fixed a few bugs and have the most up-to-date version for editing, along with a backup for emergency fixing. No harm done.

I then decided to check Facebook (for the heck of it), and while trying to get used to their new profile layout, saw that a friend of ours was having some trouble on the snowy roads in Asheville. I asked her to keep us updated, becasue we still have to come home. We had a small discussion and she posted photos of the snowy roads. After I saw the photos, all I thought was "Aw crap." Based on her reports, the roads were snowy and icy, and people were sliding all over the place. And me without my current car insurance card (it's in the mail and should be here within the next few days). Keat and I decided to try to find her teacher so she could possibly miss class if need be. We frantically searched the traffic reports and saw that I-40W was slow and I-40E was clear. However, that didn't say how the road conditions were. I was thinking back to last year when Keat and I had to walk to the nearest working grocery store, and how I didn't want to drive through that.

We drove to her school and tried to find her teacher. The roads weren't that bad (although that was a 5 mintue drive). After searching and waiting for about 45 minutes, the teacher finally arrived and wasn't too sure about class. We then decided to gain the courage and drive home. Keat didn't want to stay the night at the office.

We got on the highway and I followed a truck for about 10 miles. Thinking the roads got worse the further we got near the city, I was mentally prepared to face the icy roads. We finally passed the truck I was following since the roads weren't that bad (just a little snow dusting), and kicked it up the rest of the way home. Turns out the roads in West Asheville weren't bad at all, just had a little dusting. The roads in South Asheville had the brute of the storm and had icy roads. Luckily, we weren't in that area.

We got home, took care of the kitties, and Keat worked on a presentation and paper she had due. My laptop was used to catch up on our shows, and I played PS2 while I waited.

Chi's still in heat and it's driving us nuts! We are going to call the spaying service and get an appointment asap!

The temperature is in the mid-teens (with a wind chill of 3!) and there is a light flurry outside. This isn't right for NC! I just wonder how things will be different tomorrow with the class schedule. I still have to get the Expo report done and send it in before the SMDC meeting on the 8th. Wish me luck!


Tags:#xkcd #snow #class #pingdom #downtime #mysql #php #yum #vim

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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

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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

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Sick Day vs. Entrepreneur's Day

Cat Proximity - xkcd

I can't say much about today. I spent most of it in bed....with a killer headache. I got to bed around 2-ish, which isn't bad for me, but I wasn't feeling too bad so I thought going to sleep would be easy. Turns out, Chi is back in heat. It feels just like last week that she got out of it, and now she won't stop the constant meowing. I think I laid awake until 6 or so when I finally got fed up with her and tossed her out of the bedroom and closed the door. When I'm very sleep-deprived, my long fuse of patience quickly becomes smaller than a micron. It's times like these that I regret her half-Siamese background (in case you don't know, Siamese have very large lungs and can meow very loudly. Chi is an Ocecat, so she's 1/2 Abyssinian, 1/2 Siamese, and a little tabby mixed in for color. Adorable cat, but very annoying when in heat).

Anyway, I woke up (and got out of bed) around 2pm because I had my Angel Investment class at 2:30. Keat was nice enough to take me although I had a headache all through the class. The class itself was nice, since we finished up the talks of a 3-week topic. Now I feel better prepared to talk to Angel Investors, although not completely confident. It may take me a few practice sessions, but I'll get there.

I went back to bed after I got home around 4:30, and slept till 8. My head was a little better, but not great. I finally got up, took an ibuprofen, ate a little dinner, and watched Price of Persia with Keat. Not a bad movie, but I do wish the ending scene could have been a little better. Great story and effects though.

I took another ibuprofen after the movie, and although my head isn't 100% better, I wouldn't be typing this if I didn't take those pills.

On a related matter, I spent the past 30 minutes or so going though my reader (with more than 150 items on there). I was surprised to find that President Obama announced on Tuesday that today, November 19th as National Entrepreneur's Day! I was under the impression that November 20th was the official day, but I guess today is better than tomorrow. Also, Nov. 14-20 is National Entrepreneurship Week. Glad that the work of David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos, Founders of Grasshopper Group, and the petition they started actually produced the result they were expecting. It only took them 6 months, but they did it! Way to go guys!

I'm going to finish up some work while I'm up and then back to bed. Stupid headache.


Tags:#entrepreneurday #chi #headache #kitty #angel #xkcd

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Coefficient x Progress

Coefficient x Progress- xkcd

As you may (or may not) know, I did work on the comment system this morning (last night?) and got it mostly, if not completely, done. The biggest issue I was running into last night was that Chrome and Safari were caching the old js file and I couldn't figure out why the cache wasn't being cleaned (after having extensions in Chrome clean it, and manually going in and cleaning it myself in both browsers, the cache issue was still there). Luckily, they finally gave up the cache and I was able to finish the comment system.

I was also informed by a family member that there was a small bug in the Tag system, but that was a quick 3-second fix. There was also an issue with the comments being inserted into the database, and that was solved as well. While on a roll, I also received my first spam bot, and implemented a feature to (hopefully) block spam bots.

After this morning's wake-up call, I dropped Keat off at school early and then went to the Ribbon Cutting ceremony at the newly remodeled Hardee's in Canton (Clyde? I don't know the exact town since both were being used interchangeably today). That was fun, although I didn't make any referrals or new business connections. I did get to meet a lot of the staff of the Champion Credit Union, since a lot of them recognized me but couldn't place what Champion did for us. That's another story for another time. After the ribbon cutting, we all went inside and the manager of the Hardee's allowed us to get a free lunch! Can't beat that: a free lunch at Hardee's! I wanted to try something new since this is a rare opportunity, but I ordered what I always order ($6 combo with a Monster Energy drink) since I didn't want to waste a free lunch. Not bad for a Thursday morning.

So that was this morning. Now onto the afternoon.....
I found a small issue with the Fire & Ice site after I implemented the new "Show More" jquery feature. Apparently, the slideshow feature that I have on a lot of sites uses the same commands as jQuery but didn't use the jQuery library, so it was getting confused and didn't work. Fixed that.

I'm also a part of the "Help a Reporter Out" (or HARO) community, and saw that a reporter was looking for "Freelance Web Designers" for a book. I thought, "What the hey?" and sent in a pitch to see if I could help out. I received an email about 10 minutes later saying that I was one of the few programmers that responded, the person was glad to have me contact them, the book deadline is at the end of this month, and I was given a 7-page interview sheet to fill out. Wow - didn't expect that.

I also received the check from a client today, so now we can upgrade the servers. Tomorrow's a little busy for me, so I'll have to do that next week. But at least we got the money to do that now.

Lastly, I paid my Progress energy bill last Thursday and the payment station we paid at said that they processed the full amount asked (I pay half, Keat pays half). Keat says that her bank account shows the check processed a few days ago. I checked my account, and no check had been processed (even after a week). I checked Progress's site and they said they received the full amount. Don't know what's going on with that. I'll contact the bank next week if it doesn't get processed by then.

After Keat and I got home, we slept for a bit since we were both tired. But it was hard to sleep when our neighbor decided to go outside and started singing. Ever heard nails across a chalkboard? Kinda like that. I'd rather take their dog howling for hours on end from separation anxiety (and being crated for hours) than her singing. But I won't go into details about that.

CJ says there is more trouble at LMP. Although I do feel somewhat responsible for the issues at LMP (since I put the new President in place), I can't help but think that I released an infection (the new president) there and everything has slowly deteriorated. I just wish I could have been there for another year (or more) to make sure things went smoothly.

That's it from me tonight. I'll see about adding a few more features to the blog and try to work on the accelerator. The server upgrade will have to wait until after the check processes (or else we can't pay the server company).


Tags:#xkcd #comment #hardees #champion #jquery #haro #progress #lmp

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Tueday's over already?

Laser Pointer

Yesterday seemed to fly by. Keat didn't have class in the morning, but she still had to be there to sign in, so we were up and out of the apartment by noon. I actually got a lot of sleep on Monday night, but I was always so tired during the day. Can't figure that out.

Anyway, after I got to the office, I decided to spruce up on th jQuery I'd been studying. I fixed a few Fire & Ice issues (along with implementing jQuery on the spot), and did a little sales work on the side. Didn't get 1 of our potential customers that I'd been working with for about 3 weeks, but that's okay. Sooner or later, we'll get more customers.

I also figured out that by using a border-code in CSS, I can eliminate the "rounded box images" I had been using so much. This actually makes it easier for me because I don't have to create custom-color images for each rounded box I want. The CSS automatically rounds the box for me, and uses the supplied div/img without any additional markup! What a time-saver!
.round_border, .round_box{
 
	-moz-border-radius:12px;
 
	-khtml-border-radius: 12px;
 
	-webkit-border-radius: 12px;
 
	border-radius:12px;
 
}

I also added a few features to the blog; the main one being the "Search" feature (others being the bottom gear margin fix and the Newer/Older buttons, but the Search feature took me the longest to add/fix). Using the round box CSS method, I also made that input field rounded as well. How cool is that? I wanted to use jQuery to automatically highlight the searched term when found in the context, but that took too long. With my limited knowledge and the examples from jquery.com, it turns out that the example I was using would actually go through the whole context and replace every word with &;lt;span>word, which can get very resource-heavy and it took about 10-20 seconds for the page to load. After unsucessfully finding a method for $('#content').find(':contains('+query+').replaceWith(''+query+''), only to find that the jQuery statement would end up in a recursive loop, I decided to make it server-side and have the replacement function in PHP instead of jQuery. That actually made things a lot faster and I found a case-insensitive function that allowed for replacement of the original capitalization (if existed). That saved me a few hours.

On to a different topic: I finally successfully implemented the Active/Inactive feature on the Business Accelerator form builder, but it took me forever to figure out why the variable wasn't being passed right. It turns out that I actually had my custom function get each array type in the form and (after passing it through a "Save" page with jQuery and AJAX), compile the whole thing into an orderly form with proper syntax. So in order to find the Active/Inactive variable, the function was trying to find a variable in an array that didn't exist, which is why the variable wasn't being passed. After I realized that, I took the custom parser out and made the Active/Inactive and Debug variables parse first (since they're only checkboxes), and parse the rest of the array-based form later. That solved that issue.

I'm still working on the form builder, and Milestone 4 should be done within a day or so (with respect to the world around me). If things go right, I should have it done by Spring. That'd be awesome.

I'm also going to be adding a "Projects" tab to this site for project tracking. Let's see how well that goes.

On another topic, I finished Eureka 3.5 and I'm excited to see what happens next. Season 4 isn't out on Netflix Instant yet, and Hulu only has episodes 5-9 until the season returns in 2011. I may watch 4:5-9 and watch 4:1-4 when Instant comes out, but I don't know right now. I may not be able to hold the excitement if Season 4 has 20 episodes, which means Instant is a ways off.

After yesterday's long work day (I got home around 9ish), Keat and I cooked dinner and watch the Eureka Pilot. It's a good series, I don't mind watching it again, plus Keat wanted to watch it from the beginning. She went to bed around 11 (maybe 12?), and I was up working on a few loose ends before I hit the sack around 2 (and missed the post for the day). Then, this mornings alarm woke me up around 8. Why must the winter be so cold? I wanted to call it a "sick day" and crawl back under the covers. But, work has to get done........


Tags:#eureka #netflix #xkcd #css #jquery #search #accelerator #hulu