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Found 14 results for tag "netflix"
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Bachelor for a Week 2013: Day 4

Today was very unenthusiastic/lethargic. The thought of "something is missing" was always on my mind, and I didn't have the slightest idea why.

Here's a clue:
Squirrel


Yep, the internet was out at home, so I'm Internet/Email/TV/Server-less for the night. I don't know what the exact reason is, but I was told it will be back on tomorrow. (I'm writing this on my home server, so I still have access to that, but if you are reading this, then it means that the internet is back up)

On a better note, my order of Assimilation2 came in today! I can't wait to crack it open and see what happens to the Enterprise and the Doctor.

Since the Internet was out, I didn't really know what I was going to do. Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, iHeartRadio all require the internet, and I have limited data on my phone (which resets on the 21st, so just under a month away, and the only radio system in the house is in the attic). So I thought I would catch up on some Reboot for nostalgia-sake. Currently, I'm at the end of Season 2, and it's amazing how many adult themes/pop culture references/computer science jokes there are that I never caught as a kid (there was even a bit in AndrAIa where they have a Kirk and Picard reference!).

While I was waiting on dinner to be microwaved, I worked on some localhost files and retweaked my RSS parser. Apparently, anybody referencing my RSS feed was getting some incomplete parsed code, which looked very weird when processed. I believe I have fixed the problem, but I won't know officially until outside sources process the feed.

In addition, I have pretty much confirmed that CJ is coming up next tuesday. That will be exciting, although I expect some of my production to slow down since getting CJ+Keat+Me together can cause some rather long discussions (in a good way). Man, some stores can demonstrate that!

All things considered, Keat's vacation is half over. Optimistically, she is only 3 days away. I can't wait to (get the drive over with and) go to the Greenville airport on Friday night and pick her up. My expectation is for Saturday to be a super-lazy day and Sunday is a "you're back, let's celebrate" day (weather permitting).

Also, Doctor Who returns in 3 days as well! I won't be able to watch the live event, but I will sure find some resources to watch The Bells of St. John!

On a related note, here's this:
Dalek mania!


Tags:#internetisout #squirrel #cheezeburger #startrek #doctorwho #cj #rss #reboot #netflix #hulu #pandora #localhost #keat

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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

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July Progress + Christmas (List)!

It certainly seems like my posting frequency has been reduced to 1x/mth. Well, we'll see how it progresses.
Zits

Between my last post and now, here's a summary of the last month's operations:
Personal:

  • I started re-watching Voyager again (since July 1). I'm already on Season 3 Ep. 16. At this pace, I should be done with the whole series (again) by the end of the month.

  • Keat got me a new bow! It's a 45lb'er, so it takes a little more strength then the ones I've used before. My previous one was a 29#, and Keat's a 35#. I've developed some blisters and had some string-bite welts, but nothing permanent. With a little more strength training and practice, I should be able to hit the bullseye 9/10 times!

  • I went to Games and Gluttony in Canton in June. It was really fun - I learned to play some medieval games and had more than enough feast. Next event: SAAD in September!

  • Star Fleet! I'm already starting my Christmas list for this year. Here's my first item: Starfleet Uniform (pre 2370)

  • Next item: Tickets (and hotel, and airfare, and transport, and spending money) to ComiCon! I'm seeing all of the photos, videos, cosplays, merchandise, comics, etc, and it's just making me want to go even more!

  • I can't believe the last episode of Eureka airs next week. It will be missed!

  • Futurama's next season started on Wednesday at 10pm. This season has been....interesting.

  • I've taken up Python....again. Hopefully, I can stick with it this time. If Python sticks, I may try Ruby as well, if the server will support it.

  • I installed Debian on my work computer. Now it dual-boots into Win7 and Debian, although I'm using Debian more. There are only 2 differences between Win7 and Debian:
    1) I can't run Netflix. Without going into too-technical detail, Netflix uses SilverLight to play their titles. SilverLight is a MSFT product. Netflix/Microsoft has declared that SilverLight will NEVER be available for Linux (I can run it by creating a VirtualBox, but I have to install Windows on that Virtual partition in order to run anything. Apparently, I can't have the VirtualBox load the existing Windows partition because it doesn't like to work that way, and without the original installiation discs (the computer only came with a recovery partition), I can't install a 2nd copy of Windows on the VirtualBox, which means I can't run SilverLight, which means no Netflix)
    2) Windows-programs (and the Windows half of the hard drive) run SUPER SLOW whenever they are accessed. Quicken has to be run for financial records, and it runs like it is on a 256MB system instead of a 4GB. Everything else is super-fast.



Business:

  • A few tools have been created for public use: Phrase Encrypter, tinyJpg, FontTest, and GTS Homepage Tool (the last one we've had for a while, but we finally decided to release it for public use)

    And I created a Japanese Name/Word Generator. While working on Omega Noir, I needed a tool to help me create some Japanese names and words. Most of the japanese words in Omega Noir were created with this tool.

  • I've created an automated "Weekly Facebook Resource Mailer" that I call our "Web Utility" Newsletter. In short: this gathers all of the posts made on the Shadow Dev Facebook page (via RSS), puts them in a database, pulls out all of the ones from the past week (based on date comparison), makes those nice and pretty, then sends them out to everyone who wants a copy of it.

    I had a few issues with the initial concept of it, but after studying the structure of how the RSS feed was presented, but after looking at it with fresh eyes (after 24 hours), I figured out a good de-structuring method and configured the system to parse the RSS into the database. In short: it's working!

  • Today, I was invited to a grand opening of a new data center in Asheville. I invited Keat because I thought it would be a unique experience. Apparently, the experience was nowhere what we expected. Let me explain:

    Based on the original member invite that I received, my assumption was this:
    Arrive on site, see 20-30 people gathered in a small security room with some crackers and sodas, mingling for about 20 minutes, taking an extended tour of rows and rows of servers in a chilled room, seeing the backup generators, seeing the security room of a data center, following up for questions, leaving in about 1.5-2 hours

    Here's what actually happened:
    We arrived at 5:20 (10 minutes before the event "begins"), about 50 people were already there. We walked into a fairly large "lobby" (about 700 sq. ft.). I found my nametag and Keat had to write hers. Tours began at 6 and ran every 15 minutes, and we wrote our names at the top of the list.
    We found the "refreshments", which consisted of wine, beer, and water. More people gathered. After about 20 minutes, there wasn't any wiggle room in the lobby because of everyone cramming in (my assumption, 120ish). We were introduced to the "Board room" which had a large table of finger foods. We gathered some, ate, then tried to "wiggle" out. 5:45 - about 180 people, and more were pouring in. Keat and I were starting to get dizzy and a little claustrophobic.
    We gathered around the "tour table" hoping it would begin at 6 as expected. More people were coming in.
    6:05 - no tour, more people coming in. My guess - 200+. This arrangement made a sardine can look comfortable.
    6:10 - tour was about to begin. The guides looked at the list, looked around, looked at the list, looked around, said "We will only take 6 people on the tour." (I'm thinking: "6 people! That's only 1% of the people here! Come on!") The first 6 people around the table rushed to the hallway behind the guide. "1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6! Okay - that's it!" (I'm thinking: "WHAT!?! We were the first names on that list! We've been waiting ever since we got here! Why can't we.....aw, nevermind")
    Keat and I wiggled our way to the front door, threw our cups away, and drove off. So much for a tour.....

  • We had a some-what "Part 2" of the Shareholders meeting with Lockwood. Let's just say that the meeting was....more personal than business. It was good to catch up with Lockwood and Donna.

  • We had a meeting with the owner of Chimsesa (?). His product was definitely interesting, and I wish I could have helped him out, but he is looking for a Technical partner with a python background. That is one thing that I/we do not have.




That'll do it for now. My days have been merging with nights, and I'm lucky if I can recall what day it is. I'm trying to wake up at 9:30am. Let's just say that my 9:30am days are starting at about 12-1pm. So, my day consists of the following:
1pm-ish: Get up, get dressed, get to the office
1-7pm: Work on everything: programming, accounting, legal, project management, sales, secretary, janitorial, etc
7-10pm: Go home, do home-based chores (cut grass, laundry, dishwasher, clean up, cook, etc)
10ish: Dinner
11pm: more home-based chores (dishwasher, laundry, gather files, feed the cats, etc), go for a daily walk
11-1am: Get ready for the night (help with pills, tuck Keat in bed, etc)
1am - 4:30ish: work/program (while either listening to music or watching Netflix)
4:30ish - 9:30am: sleep
9:30am - 1pm: attempt to get up, sleep more
Repeat


Tags:#startrek #voyager #zits #archery #comicon #saad #sca #python #win7 #debian #netflix #silverlight #virtualbox #tools #datacenter #

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Happy Post-Valentines Day!

It's been a joyous Valentine's Day 2012. Especially since I've been sick over the past few years on this date. Really. Over the past few years on Feb 14, I have come down with an extremely bad virus that kept me in bed all day. And when I go down, I really go down for the count. The good news: I wasn't sick this year! Yay!

However, I did stay home and work since I had a lot of work to get done (and another reason, but I'll get to that later). Really, it's not a bad thing. I spent most of the day in front of my desktop at home, played Pandora in the background, and worked on some tasks that have been living on my ToDo list for a while.

The other good news is: Keat got me chocolate for today! Here's a snippet:
CHOCOLATE!


Now, you may be thinking: "What did you get for her this year?" Well, the short answer is: nothing. WAIT! Before you start flipping out on me, hear me out. We observe/celebrate "Valentine's Day and White Day". I'm sure the latter sounds like a racist celebration. I assure you it is not.

White Day is actually a holiday in Japan that the younger generation celebrates. Instead of me trying to rant on about what it is, here's a quick overview:

In Japan, Valentine's Day is observed by females who present chocolate gifts (either store-bought or handmade), usually to a male, as an expression of love, courtesy or social obligation. A handmade chocolate is usually preferred by the receiver, because it is a sign that the receiving male is the girl's "only one". On White Day, the converse happens: males who received a honmei-choco (本命チョコ, "chocolate of love") or giri-choco (義理チョコ, "courtesy chocolate") on Valentine's Day are expected to return the favor by giving gifts, usually more expensive. Traditionally, popular White Day gifts are cookies, jewellery, white chocolate, white lingerie and marshmallows. Sometimes the term sanbai gaeshi (三倍返し, literally, "triple the return") is used to describe the generally recited rule that the return gift should be two to three times the cost of the Valentine's gift. [source] [another source]


You may be thinking this is a quick cop-out for me forgetting Valentine's Day. I can guarantee that I didn't forget it, but just didn't have the necessary means to get something yet. However, she is going to get something 2-3x nicer next month (and I'll be 25!).

Anyway, here's the comic for today:
The System

I thought this comic would be relevant to this past week, since I do have a few projects going on that could fall anywhere on this chart.

However, on Sunday, I had a revelation. After thinking over the events from last week (revamping the contract, the preliminary fish bowl launch, Drinks with Geeks planning, getting the new computer up and running, finalizing the new prices, straightening out the accounting records, meeting with AdvantageWest about funding, fixing a co-worker's computer problems, getting a new contract signed, planning some new "ease of use" projects to help new sales people, and more), I realized that everything that we were doing seemed to be working in countless different directions, causing our workforce to become thin and not be able to take on much work. I realized that if things were going to improve, we have to mainstream: make the whole "first contact to project launch" process a whole lot faster, easier, and more flexible.

After thinking about the process we had in place for the past 6 years, it occurred to me that we are basically reinventing the wheel each and every time. Overall, this wasn't getting us anywhere. We need to have a tried-and-true process for going from Step 1 to Step 2 to Step 3 without any hassle. Right now, in order to get one task passed along the production line, a person either has to be trained in that area to take care of it, or it needs to be taken over by someone who can get it done quicker, and some communication between the lines gets lost.

We need a company-level Sales tracker, Project tracker, Site Manager (not just a CMS, but a Company-wide version), Customer notifier, integrated payment system, team calendar, and EVERYTHING else that we have been working on. Instead of working on so many different projects, the solution is simple: make this 1 massive project for the company. This way, Sales people can track leads, Designers/Developers can work on any site, Customers can keep track of their projects, Customer payments can be processed/managed, teams can collaborate on projects and tasks, and more. By integrating the Scrum methodology to this process, we can shrink 3 months down to 1 month or less! Just imagine the work load we can take on!

To be honest, I feel stupid for not seeing this earlier. The solution is so simple. I was trying to create 20 different things to do 20 different tasks. What I should have been doing is developing 1 project to do these 20 things and integrate it into the company so it would be easier to manage.

Why am I confessing all of this here? Two primary reasons: 1) So I have an official record of what I am thinking about so I can look back on it at a later date, and 2) So I can be held accountable for this. Looking back on a few projects that I've worked on, they were started anywhere from a week to 2 years ago, and they all seem to be in the same state: hiatus. To be honest: that sucks. How can I work 5 days a week from 10-5pm and 10-5am and get so little done? This will change.

On a related matter, one reason why it will change is because of the following:
TNG, DS9, and Voyager. Done


Yes, I have finished watching Star Trek: TNG, DS9, and Voyager in their completion. I will admit that I spent a few nights in the past months up till wee hours in the morning watching Star Trek, but now that I've gotten through TNG, DS9, and Voyager, I can dedicate more time to getting stuff done.

I find that I get a lot done with background music. Time seems to work with me when I'm in that "state of mind." However, when I find a series I want to watch (or I'm curious about) on Netflix, that seems to occupy my time instead of getting things done. For example: I didn't think I'd really get into Heroes. I thought "I'll watch the first episode and be done with it." Yeah right. Before I knew it, I watched all 4 seasons and lost valuable programming time during those 16 days it took me to watch it. I have lots of other items on my Netflix instant queue to watch, but I have a ToDo list that is breathing down my neck. I have to get that done.

Enough procrastinating on this blog. I have work to do.


Tags:#thesystem #chocolate #keat #valentinesday #whiteday #startrek #tng #ds9 #voyager #japan #netflix #heroes #accountable #streamline

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End of 2011

I thought I'd go head and get one last posting in here before the end of the year.

First....
BC Picture Day for Firefox!

Anyway, I know I've been slacking on this whole "blog" thing, but I can assure you that it will come to and end! (the slacking, not the blog). Here's a run down of what has kept me super busy over the past week or so:

  • I have surrendered to The Big Bang Theory. Finally watched it, and now I'm a fan. I must agree: Smart is the new Sexy. I know I'm about 4 years too late, but better late than never, right?

  • We went to Keat's parent's beach house for Xmas. It was fun. Traveled over 1000 miles. Yay. That's all I can say.

  • We got a Wii for Xmas! Yay! Now we can watch Netflix on our TV

  • Been working hard on planning some new seminars for Shadow Dev. One deals with the Mobile market and one deals with taking brick-and-mortar stores online

  • Also been working on notes and storylines for our two new mangas: Phoenix Eye and All Souls Crescent

  • Been working/studying/planning on a new version of MyShadowDev to help clients check/report things

  • Rearranged my desk before I left. Looks nice:
    Deskchisaineko.shadowdev.com - so far, looks good

  • My laptop is on its deathbed. The fan is about to give out after so many years. It's wheezing so much it's hard to talk over it. I checked in on the warranty from Best Buy, and wouldn't you know it: it expired on 12/26! On Monday! I should have taken it in last week and had them fix it over Xmas break! So basically I have a delima: pay $90+ to have it shipped off, diagnosed, and (hopefully) fixed; pay $900 for a new laptop; or pay $200x2 to get some new desktops (Yes, Windows - some of my programs only run on Windows and I'm not paying $900 to get the Crossover software, and until they create a stable Wine, I can't use a lot of the programs I want to). Personally, I think I'd go for the desktop since it provides more power with less hassle, and more customizable than a laptop. My laptop has served me well these past 3 years, but I think I'm ready to move on once it croaks (luckilly, all of my files are on a cloud. Can't say 1 specific location, because I have many.


And now for something completely different:
Penguin Hat


Also, remember Fresh Prince? I found a photo of the cast from about a week ago:
Fresh Prince, circa 2011


Chances are I won't be able to post between now and midnight tomorrow, so HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE and have an enjoyable party/celebration/sit at home.


Tags:#laptop #files #freshprince #newyear #xmas #seminars #bc #desk #netflix #wii #eureka

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Neat Netflix Trick

Believe it or not, my cat, Maru, found this trick by accident. This little trick allows you to skip through the portions of a show that you don't want to see (like the intro or the credits). So far, this only works for me in Full-Screen Mode, and I've had it work in window-mode a few times, but it's nice to share regardless.

Here's what to do:

  1. In "Full-Screen Mode", press Shift+Enter, and you should get a screen like below:
    Netflix Trick


  2. You can move between sections of the film/episode/etc in several second-based intervals using the left and right arrow keys. In this example, this episode is 45:35, and this allows a person to skip in 10-second intervals.

  3. When you are at the section you want to resume, press Enter, you will get a small "Loading" bar, and you will get the place you selected without having to sit through boring scenes (like the Intro or credits)


I don't know how many people know this trick, but I thought it would be nice to share.


Tags:#netflix #trick #maru

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Post-day blog rant

The System

Wow, another late update. Either this week is really busy, or I'm just lazy. I'd like to go with #1. Anyway, here's what happened yesterday:

I watched the Eureka Xmas special, which was pretty good, even for Eureka standards. It was also good to see everyone come together in the end. We also got the result from the Board presentation of the SMDC Expo idea. Guess what: it was pretty much beaten to death. All of the ideas we had (except for the open house) were shot down. But we're not giving up that easily! The whole idea has now been "morphed" into an open-house (only) expo! And it's now scheduled for the spring instead of late winter.

The Client meeting went well. I dropped Keat off at class at 11, then went to the office to set up. I arrived at about 11:10, and the perspective client showed up at 11:15. Glad I got there early. I set up the conference room with a very simple setup (laptop, notepad, chairs, etc), and noticed my laptop was making a "WHIRRRR-CLICK-RRRR-CLICK-RRR-CLICK-RRR-CLICK" noise. Usually, the fan makes a low humming noise, but this was an annoying "CLICK CLICK CLICK" that I couldn't get rid of. I tried to blow out some dust and shake it a bit, and it calmed down a little. When I went outside to get the client and came back in, it was down to its usual hum. Overall, the client meeting went well! She was looking for someone to help her out of an almost-given up situation, and we provided all of the options she needed. Can't wait to get started!

I also added a few subdomains via the Plesk control panel on Wednesday, but they weren't showing up. I was about to contact the support guy again and say "Hey! My subdomains aren't showing up. What's going on?" Instead of losing my temper, I thought about logging into the VPS Control Panel (since I recall having to do a 2-step procedure before), and I added the subdomains that way as well. It seemed like a hassle, but they worked today!

Dr. Lockwood also asked about having dinner sometime. I responded "OK" and asked for a confirmation time. I'm still awaiting a response.

Keat and I were ready to watch the DVD we received from Netflix, but by the time we sat down and attemped to watch it, the PS2 wouldn't play it. After fiddling with it for about 2 minutes or so, I opened it up and saw the DVD was cracked. I mean, a clean, straight crack! Don't know how that happened (honest!), but I notified Netflix and sent it back today.

I'll make sure to post today's post tonight.

PS: According to my tracker on the blog (top right corner), I have also been blogging for 1 month! YAY!


Tags:#netflix #plesk #vps #subdomain #client #ps2 #lockwood

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Subdomain trouble again

The System

Before I get started, I wanted to share this major issue that I just discovered. I was standing downstairs in our apartment today, and I thought I felt a slight breeze. After trying to narrow down the source of the mysterious wind, I found out that the door wasn't completely sealed! There was a constant gust of freezing air blowing in from between the door and the frame. Keat and I jury-rigged a light insulation system made from blankets (see below). Afterwards, I also found out that a breeze was also coming in from the window next to the door! Somehow, the sliding window frame wasn't flush with the wall, so that was poorly insulated as well! The make-shift insulator worked well, but not perfect. Hopefully, we won't be paying high electricity bills again if this works (and as soon as it gets fixed - Keat sent an email to the landlord yesterday).
Make-shift insulator



On to Today:
Today wasn't much better with the subdomain issues. As you may (or may not know), I contacted the support guy yesterday with a concern about the subdomains. I received an email at about 1:30 on Thursday:
Hello,
 
Thank you for your email.
 
01. Most of your sub domains are manually configured pointing to 
 
a folder in shadowdev.com (sub net). You might need to reconfigure 
 
the httpd conf file which locates at /var/www/vhosts/shadowdev.com/conf/
 
Let us know which one is not working.
 
02. Please fill out this form:
 
http://####.com/company/cancel.php
 
Make sure you cancel the old account. Or email billing@####.com 
 
about it after you fill out the cancellation form.
 
Let us know if you have any question.

Again, notice the lack of grammar. Additionally, after I stopped the old server and requested a service termination (which I assumed was the correct course of action), I now have to fill out a stupid info form for canceling my account. I don't have an issue with forms, but this form was anything BUT professional:

Cancelation Form

Aside from being very unprofessional, the "Password" field was just a plan text field! Talk about lack of security. You would think they would at least make the Password field a password-type field!

After the old account was canceled (it took about 10 minutes after I sent the cancelation request), I received a response email at about 2:30 talking about the subdomains. My email had a dig request for the subdomains, and it showed all of the subdomains pointing to the old IP address. This is the response I received:
Hello,
 
Thank you for your email. They all point to the new IP now. What i did 
 
was that i logged on the old control panel, go to each sub domains, and
 
switch the 'subscription' to the new one. DNS record will automatically 
 
pick up the new ones on the new VPS account. Let us know if you have any
 
question.

Again, notice the lack of grammar.

I then sent another email saying that the subdomains are pointing to "Apache Test Pages." This basically meant that the subdomains were pointing to the correct server, but to the wrong location. For those of you who know the Plesk system, it seemed that the web server was ignoring the custom file locations in httpd.include and going back to the original file locations for when the subdomains were created. What a pain! As far as a response....none yet.

Later, I received an automated email saying that my server space was almost used up. At first, I thought, "How can that be possible? I transfered about ~20GB of info from a 30GB server. How can I use up 50GB already?" I didn't really install anything super-large and there wasn't anything added to the domains that was huge. I remembered that I told the control panel to perform a backup, about 2 days ago. I guess it finally got done (and duplicated the whole server, which can easily eat up any remaining space). So I went through and told it to delete it. I think it's still doing it...

Lastly, I don't mind the spotty support service or the server transistion issues, but if there is one thing that bugs me about 3rd party hosting, it's downtime. I subscribe to a free service called Pingdom which pings the web server every minute testing for downtime. Here's the latest result of uptime:
Pingdom Report: Uptime

Yeah, one major issue there.

I finally got home, and Keat and I watched American Dad while we ate dinner (gotta love Netflix). After about 4 episodes, we went to bed. So....'Nite!

PS: Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!


Tags:#netflix #thesystem #pingdom #apache #downtime #subdomain

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Wednesday is here, now it's gone...

I thought I'd go ahead and get this post out of the way before I forgot tonight (knowing how busy I'll be with cleaning the apartment for "Inspection" on the 30th). You may have also noticed that I'm including comics in the posts. I'm doing this not because I can draw (really, I can't), but these are some of my favorite comics from various sources. They may have something to do with the content of the post, they may not. It depends on what I find that day.
Pearls Before Swine - May 23, 2010

After I posted this morning's post, thing got crazy. First, the web server suffered from a MySQL hiccup. I couldn't get anything to load or edited, which got really annoying, especially since a lot of the sites I create run from our main MySQL database server. After multiple attempts to get it restarted (and stay ON), I sent an email off to my hosting provider, and they said "We restarted it, try it now." I did that, and same thing. Then it hit me: I'm doing a massive download of the main server to a backup server for the hosting server changeover. Could the FTP requests be hogging the sockets and denying MySQL the sockets it needs to access the page information? Maybe. So I slowed down the FTP service I had from 10 files at a time to 3, and limited the download speed. After about 15 minutes, no more MySQL errors. Crisis averted.....for now.

For the majority of the day, I worked on the Blog design and features. The main things I changed were the background (like it?), moved the Social Network features to the top, automatic syntax highlighting for source code, and the toggling (togglation?) of the archive listings (that took me all day). jQuery is certainly being challenging, but I think I'm getting the hang of the basics.

I also learned that the loan that we applied for (won't say though who) was turn down. This isn't the first time, but I'm a grown person, and instead of whining to some random Internet reader or forum list (or to the person's/committee's face), I'm going to say "Ok, thanks for the opportunity. What can I do to improve the business so I can reapply for the loan?" We'll see where it goes from there.

I'm still working on the "Projects" tab, and that should be up by next week (hopefully). I also worked on the F&I site, unifying the Ticket section along with writing a news which should help in the PR/SM department.

This is actually the first day in a month that I've worked without a TV show in the background. Exactly 1 month from yesterday, I started watching Heroes on Netflix and finished 16 days later. The next day, I started Eureka and finished yesterday. Today, I just listened to music on Pandora and worked. It's amazing what a non-distraction workplace can do for the attention span.

I was also asked why I am doing this blog. The purpose is actually 3-fold: #1) to provide family members with updates to what I am doing and the progress I have for our advisors/project owners, which mirrors #2) update our advisors and project owners on the status and progression of their projects, and #3) give myself a personal log to track what I've done over time and where I am going (just in case I forget - say, over a long vacation). I'm also using the Blog as a personal sandbox where I can test and refine new techniques and functions without having to mess up other sites. This way, I can show off what I know and nobody's site will go down because of it........I hope.

I had some criticism about the content of the blog, saying that it was not relevant to some of the viewers, but I want to assure you (generically) that this is more for the advisors and myself. If I include too much jargon in a post, please either let me know or Google it. It would be really stressful to maintain 3 separate blogs (if that many) to update the individual audiences, so I'm going to try to create a function which can extract the appropriate information per audience depending on what is searched. Maybe that's the wrong direction? I won't know until I get responses.

Since the Blog design is basically finished, I'm going to go back to working on the Accelerator. I have a new business idea in mind that I'm really excited about, but I'm not going to say anything until the idea is ready to go public (news-wise, not IPO).


Tags:#heroes #eureka #jquery #netflix #pandora #mysql #ftp #pearlsbeforeswine

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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

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It just had to be Monday

Garfield

Last night was fun for me, especially since I was on a roll with the .fadeIn()/.fadeOut() jQuery functions, along with a few animated sequences that I'm proud of. However, I was also working on making the .remove() function working as well with the "parent of the parent" issue. Luckily, I got that resolved.

However, I was up till about 4am last night working on the form builder, and I'm glad to see how far I am, but I regret staying up till 4. Keat had class this morning at 9:30, which meant that we had to get up at 8-ish. Knowing me, I usually kill the alarm and go back to bed till the last possible moment. And it doesn't help that Winter is unofficially here and it felt good to be under the nice warm covers and soft pillows. I wanted to call it a "sick day" if I could, but I knew that stuff had to be done and other requirements needed my attention, so cancel the "sick day" idea. How I desperately wanted to go back to sleep........

While Keat had class issues and presentation due at 7:30pm, I used the majority of the day fixing the data submission feature of the form, along with catching up on Eureka. I finished up Season 2, proceed to Season 3 3.5, and finished watching Ep. 7 earlier this evening, but let me back up a bit.

Since jQuery is still kinda new to me, I decided to study up on the form submission process, along with the AJAX background structure. I still prefer server-side coding to client-side, but getting to play around with a new, exciting language is just fun!

I found out about the .ajax() feature, and experimented with a lot of the .ajax() features, but the ones that interested me the most for this task were .submit(), .serialize(), and .serializeArray(), all of which come with their own pros and cons.

It turns out that I had to submit information via jQuery .ajax() method and send it in POST format, which was the idea until I saw that the original data stream for the tutorial was only in GET format (example: page.php?id=3&sel=Hi&p=4q), so I researched and found out that I could switch out the .submit() and .serialize() functions for .serializeArray(), which submitted the information in their original Array format instead of a serialized string (GET). Afterwards, I had to write a function that sorted through all of the fields (which were all arrays) and set up the database form structure based on the array placement, type, and name (along with maintaining the tableDnD library to allow the rows to be moved dynamically). Overall, it was quite a challenge, but I believe that Milestone 4 is 90% complete.

That brings me to about 7pm. Keat had to leave for class, and I thought about another sub-feature: What if the person designing the form needs to make a form go in-active, or they need to take it offline for a while to make some corrections? That's when I thought about adding a "Active" boolean variable to make forms active or not. And what better way to allow for this option (along with showing it off) than the iButton jQuery plugin! Most people see this on mobile versions of WordPress pages, but I found a custom library from Giva Labs which allows for custom iButtons side from the default On/Off.

Maybe a little show-y, but I like to test new features I learn.
Business Accelerator Progress - Form Builder:
78%


Tags:#jquery #eureka #netflix #ajax #miletsone #ibutton #garfield #tracker

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What a way to end a week

Well, I finished Eureka Season 2 today. Gotta love Netflix and all of their Instant shows, right? I mean, I could have watched SyFy (or SciFi as it was known) when it came on, for example: Tuesdays at 9, and I usually operate on a "must have a time slot" schedule for most things, but not TV shows. Instead of waiting each week for a certain day at a certain time for a TV show to come on (if it comes on), I prefer to watch it online. Sure, I can't do that with current shows (waiting on new Psych episodes is killing me), but who else can say that they watched all 4 seasons of Heroes in 16 consecutive days? I know I can.

But on to more important things: Keat went out shopping with Kat today, which left me home alone for about 5-ish hours. My main goal was to figure out Milestone 3 of the form building algorithym. I found out about the .empty() portion of the jQuery binding function (example: $('.to_delete').click(function() { $('#box').empty(); });), which is 80% of the Milestone. Now all I have to do is get the form builder to have multiple fields recognize the self-emptying feature with 1 function instead of having 1 auto-built function per row (which can get very confusing and very redundant).

I'm still playing with jQuery to better understand it. Although I'm all for building my own functions and features from scratch, I gotta admit: jQuery is probably the best of AJAX scripting libraries I've ever come across. jQuery makes everything that I've done with AJAX (such as the repetitive function $(box){ return document.getElementById(box); }, which simplifies a lot of the element claiming) seem like 1st grade.

If I keep working at this tomorrow, I should have Milestone 3 done by evening (I hope). Although one thing that always bugs me about the Fall/Winter season is the shortening of daylight. In the Summer, I like how at 7pm, you can see the oncoming of the night, and by 9, the night us upon us. However in the Fall/Winter, it's day at 5:30pm, as soon as 6 o'clock, nighttime comes and it's pitch black.

So far, the progress is coming along nicely. I'm awaiting payment from a client, which will allow us to afford the server upgrade, and then I'll spend some time getting the cURL installed and getting their site up. After that's done (est. time: 1 week), I should be back on the Accelerator and hopefully have the form builder done by Xmas, which means the whole system (form builder, form editor, validation and submission, payment, and more) should be done by March.


Tags:#jquery #netflix #heroes #eureka #milestone #xmas #psych #curl

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2 down, 3 to go!

I'm so excited about this, I have to talk about it!

The Business Accelerator I've been working on just passed it's 2nd major milestone! For the form builder, I wanted to merge the Field Adder (click "Add Field", a new text field is added to the form without erasing the current info) with the Row Mover (the "Netflix Queue" effect). In my mind, it worked perfectly. In real life, it was a pain to get to. But now that I made it, I'm excited!

Milestone 1 was getting the Field Adder put in place and tested. It worked right out of the box.

Milestone 2 was adding the Row Mover. After much testing, Milestone 1 had to be re-worked from scratch. After much testing and many, many edited pages, the Row Mover worked (many thanks to jsfiddle.net/pvpFU/2/ for the jQuery field adder and isocra.com/2008/02/table-drag-and-drop-jquery-plugin/ for the drag-and-drop jQuery feature). As of today: M2 has been reached and passed!

Milestone 3 will be for field deletion without messing up the current field structure. Should be easy (I hope)

Milestone 4 will be for field submission with database structure building rules (basically: taking the data and putting it in the database to be re-constructed as a form on the fly)

Milestone 5 will be testing the database insertion to make sure the form is built correctly.

Can't wait to get back in the code!
Business Accelerator Progress - Form Builder:
40%


Tags:#jquery #netflix #milestone #accelerator #tracker

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Does anything go right?

I know this is a little late for yesterday, but I wanted to make sure I got it in. Yesterday, it seemed like nothing went right, except for one thing - I'll get into that later.

As for thing not going right, a client wants us to get an e-commerce system for their site. In my mind, I'm thinking "Ok, no problem." So I find out that I have to install cURL on the main server. I tried to add cURL via yum, but yum couldn't find any appropriate packages to install cURL. So, I tried to update yum, but yum was missing an important file called libcap.so.1, which was needed for proftp. So I go out searching for libcap.so.1, which only exists in far out-of-reach corners of the Internet. Afterwards, I'm sent on a wild goose chase to track down dependencies for out of date files, which are out of date themselves, so I had to find up to date dependencies which needed more dependencies......can you say "endless loop"? So I try to update some of the main core files in the RHEL system, but it turns out that RHEL 3AS, which is on the server, is no longer supported anywhere.

I contacted the main server hosting service asking if the OS could be upgraded. It turns out that the OS cannot be upgraded, but PHP and MySQL could be (they failed to mention a $75/hour fee, which I did not commit to). I could upgrade the VPS and get a new OS, which would handle the PHP and MySQL upgrade without the upgrading fee. However, the new VPS upgrade would only allow 10 domains to be hosted instead of "Unlimited" which I was promised when I first signed up for a VPS system with this company back in 2007. In addition, we can move the files of the client websites, but can't move anything else (like httpd.conf, email forwardings, specific server configuration files, etc).

Shortly after I unsucessfully tried to install cURL on the main server, I thought "Ok, why not try to install it on a local server" (little background: local server "Blueice" has Centos 5, not RHEL 3AS). I ssh'ed into it. ran a yum installiation for cURL, and 10 seconds later, I had cURL on Blueice. After I saw this, tested it, and confirmed it, I was furious. Why couldn't the main server be this easy?!?!

So basically, I spend 5-6 hours trying to get cURL installed only to find out that the system itself is outdated and I have to upgrade the whole system. I decided to tell clients "We've outgrown our server capacity and have to upgrade." In a sense, we have outgrown our current space and need to upgrade, but I was furious for the first few hours. I also think this could be the "kick in the butt" we needed to take more risks in the business. With the new VPS system we're looking at, we'll have more space, more bandwidth, up to 100 domains (which shouldn't be a problem; once we reach 100, we should be able to get another VPS or self-hosting), and up-to-date software. Not really my day.

After I gave up on the server upgrade for the time being, I tried to work on the Accelerator to make AJAX-ified fields appear. It works with 1 box template (a hidden box with pre-determined fields), and I thought I could merge a "field adder" (without removing the existing text), with the drag-n-drop system, similiar to Netflix's Queue manager. However, once I configured the system to have custom boxes (like "Title", "Instructions", "Text"...basic stuff), the system would run through it once and then wouldn't add any more on demand. It seemed like the event listener in the AJAX file wasn't working and wouldn't add the proper event listeners with the proper binding properties. In my mind, it works perfectly: Click "Add Title", type in. Click "Add Instructions", type in. Click "Add Text Box", type in. Move and re-arrange the text boxes for better organization. Submit structure and build database based on the input. And................it doesn't work. Great....

On the up-side, I stopped by Wendy's for lunch, and saw that they had the 5-piece Spicy Nuggets on the Everyday 99 cent menu! YAY! I was so afraid that they would take the 5-piece Spicy Nuggets away again.

After we got home (after Keat went to class), we watched Psych on Netflix and then went to bed.


Tags:#netflix #accelerator #wendys #kick #vps #server #nuggets #curl #e-commerce