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Summer Review

This has certainly been a crazy summer. Since my last post in May, I'll sum up what has happened, but first, this:
Dilbert

Business:

  • We have decided to evolve the business: after 7 years of creating client websites, we are taking a different direction focus to the business. The plan is as follows: we will be offering "quick to create" CMS websites at a low-end price for the businesses and organizations that don't have $1000 to spend for a website, and require the ability to update their own website (although we have been pushing and emphasizing our "Website Management" service), and focusing more on developing "Software as a Service" (SaaS) applications. These applications include the following:

    • CityFix

    • OmniCard

    • WNC Local (which is actually coming along quite nicely since I am developing a primary framework for it to work off of, which I can use for other projects to help reduce the amount of coding required)

    • ScrumIt

    • ...and a few others


    Let's just say that based on what our developers want, they would like the ability to code, develop, design, test, and innovate in-house applications instead of having to conform to deadlines or produce less-than-quality websites.

  • Based on the next upcoming months, we should be moving out of our current office space. All details aside, things just aren't working in our favor to keep it. The move out should happen within the next 60 days.

  • We did receive 2 new clients during the away-time, but we also lost about 5 clients. One client we gained wanted a full-fledge basic website, while the other wanted some custom work done to their current site. Either way, it's good money. However, we did lose about 5 clients, and (to say what I've told others) I have no specific idea why. So there was some bad to go with the good, but I do believe that this was a sign telling us to get out of the "design client websites" business. Therefore, "message received."

  • (This can be classified as either business or personal, but either way) I signed up for CoFoundersLab.com, which is basically a Match.com for Entrepreneurs. Overall, I like the concept, and within the first few days of signing up, I already had a meeting with a potential business partner in Asheville. (I put on there that "[I am] looking for someone to join [me]" to help bring all of these SaaS services up to speed. We can produce the code if they can manage the business) After the meeting, things went well, but not as well as expected. I was later contacted by many people who were looking for me to join them. When I explained that I already had prototypes of my services and were looking for someone to join me, they backed off. However, I did receive one good contact from Atlanta who (after a lengthy phone conversation) will send me investor connections he has. So, things look good so far.



Personal:

  • I beat Tales of the Abyss (finally). When I last played it, it took me over 70 hours to play fully, and when I reached the final boss, I could never beat him. Using a walkthrough I found (supercheats.com/playstation/walkthroughs/talesoftheabyss-walkthrough01.txt), I was able to level up appropriately and beat the final boss on the first try. I got to see the end of the game, and I'm playing through again with 2x the experience, which should allow me to beat the stronger optional boss at a later time. Yay!

  • Keat and I have started (seriously) began planning for the wedding. I'm saying "seriously" because her parents are finally getting serious. We have pretty much everything planned out, including: the locations, the downpayment schedules, the overall budget, the payment logs, the tuxes, the reception menu, the program design, invitation design, Save the Date designs, groomsmen, bridesmaids, preacher plans, limo scheduled, flowers, etc, etc etc. The only things that we have left are to finalize everything, test/decide on the cake, and order the printing material. Just over a year to go.

  • I was interviewed for the Magnet Program for Wake County Public Schools. I wasn't quite sure what to expect (since I had been through the magnet program since 1st grade and didn't have anything to compare it to), but I went down last Tuesday, went through the interview on Wednesday, and got it over.

  • I finished my Python program through Coursera and received a 90.6% with distinction (I didn't do the first week's quizzes). Not bad for my first online course. I tried to enroll in a "Programming with Design" course, but that seemed to be more of a "how to emphasize design in programming" geared more towards designers with little to no coding, so not really my kind of course. I also tried enrolling in an Algorithm course from Stanford, but I did not have the time during my week to watch 20 hours of videos each week, so I had to unenroll myself out of that course.

  • I've tried to install Ubuntu on my home server and failed miserably. After multiple, multiple attempts at trying to install it, I believe the issue was that my hard drive had officially died. I don't mean "dead as a doornail" kind of dead, but it could not have anything else written to it, so I cannabilized the spare office computer and inserted the hard drive from it into my machine, and I'm using that version of Ubuntu on the old mainframe. Not pretty, but it works.

  • Keat and I have picked walking back up. Based on the past few weeks, we are doing an average of 2.5 miles a night, at a pace of 2.2 mph, which isn't bad. I'm sure I can go a lot faster, but I'm going Keat's speed, which is fine with me. I'll get up to running around the block again....one of these days.

  • I finally saw "Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead". This is the one Tennant movie that I could not get via Netflix or any other online streaming source (aside from BitTorrent), and while I was in Raleigh for my WCPSS interview, it was on BBC America! So I got to watch it! YAY!

  • One of my favorite animes, Sword Art Online, got an American adaptation with dubbing. Now, I know that I'm probably being prejudicial by saying "The American version won't be as good as the Japanese version", but in this case, I can freely admit that. Based on my previous blog posting, I said that I had a fan-crush on Asuna, and I meant that. However, when I heard that Toonami was picking up SAO when ThunderCats ended, I was excited....and scared. When I heard Episode 2 (that's the first one that we get to hear Asuna speak), I will admit that they didn't do anything to capture Asuna's spirit or personality. In addition, the same actress that played the daugter (Natsumi) in Sgt. Frog voices Asuna. I was semi-okay with the voice-over work, until the tail end of Episode 2 when Asuna said "I'm so stupid". At that point, I didn't see Asuna anymore, but the pink haired main female character from Sgt. Frog: Natsumi Hinata (don't get me wrong: Sgt Frog is a great, yet stupid, series). And...that ruined it for me. I still prefer the original Japanese version any day of the week.

  • I got a haircut. Yes, I know. "What a shocker!". I thought "It was time for me to get rid of the ponytail and get with a more realistic haircut....how about a 'David Tennant' inspired style?", and that's pretty much what I was aiming for. Not perfect, but I have a year to get it right before the wedding.
    My haircut

  • Wow, has it really been over 2 months since ConCarolinas? Keat and I attended Con during the first weekend in June and it was really fun. We saw the Team Tardis Cosplayers which did an amazing job cosplaying Doctors #9, #10, and #11, with an awesome real life Dalek, Keat entered into a Costume Contest as Katniss and she should have won (personal arguments against the actual winner aside, and the judges for making the contestants and audience wait 4 hours for a result), we met up with a lot of friends, attended a few parties, got a bunch of stuff, then drove back. I didn't have much of a costume, so I threw together some khaki's and a button up white shirt, trying to be Jamie Hyneman (I can't be Adam Savage), but it turned out more "Han Solo" than "Mythbuster" (see below image). Oh well, better luck next time.
    Wannabe Mythbuster turned Star Wars

That's it for now. I'll try to get back in to posting soon, as soon as I can get back into it.


Tags:#talesoftheabyss #saas #coursera #ps2 #wedding #ubuntu #debian #concarolinas #mythbuster

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Xmas is almost here

I know I haven't posted in a month, but I have a good reason. First, the comic:
Insane?


Here's what happened in the past month (in no particular order):

  • We now have Cable and Internet at the house! Yay! It's only a matter of time before I have more all-nighters working on projects.....

  • I finished TNG on Netflix. I've now started DS9. I know Pilots aren't always great, but I know DS9 gets better as the seasons go on.

  • I've moved my desk to face the door at the office. According to Janet, it balances the Feng Shui, and I think I have more confidence because of that.

  • Keat and I went to my parents for Thanksgiving. My sisters weren't there, so it was fairly quiet and not much happened. We also visited Keat's parents and went to a basketball game at State, then visited downtown Raleigh some.

  • Tom landed us a contract with a new client

  • We also had a great monthly meeting at the end of November. Everybody was there, and we were able to Skype in Hannah from Oregon. It was definitely a.....n interesting meeting

  • Obtained a new lead with a potential client in the incubator. So far, things look good

  • Cleaned the home office out a bit and am now using it. Combined with the internet, I'm looking at some good progress coming soon

  • We have a neighbor across the street that we've never met. Her mother died on the 16th. It was a chaotic situation trying to get everyone to calm down and the EMS's there. I do wish we met them on better terms instead of that.

  • Working on a new marketing "packet" for clients. This may be a great incentive for new clients, and may give us a new stream of revenue....?

  • Keat started work with the Sushi restaurant, and it's been great work for her. Chaotic here and there, but still a good job. I've been helping her out as well, and I can tell from first hand experience: it's harder than expected

  • I've played "Takes of the Abyss" for the PS2 for a bit. I started playing it because Keat wasn't. At first, I didn't know what to make of it, but 80 playing hours later, I'm through the majority of it and right before the big battle at the end. I'm waiting to level up my characters before I beat the super-hard boss, then go to the main boss. Should prove interesting...


I'll stop at that. We are heading to my parents and Keat's parents over Xmas break. Depending on how things go, I may be able to post. I will if I can.


Tags:#sushi #insane #cable #interest #skype #ps2 #talesoftheabyss #xmas

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Time well wasted

Not to knock off Brad Paisley's album, but today was really wasted. With the building's main internet connection going inactive at 11:15 (just as I finished the first draft of this entry, along with getting ready to begin today's work), and just came back at 6pm (as of this writing) - you'll understand more at the end of the post. This means that I couldn't do anything that I wanted to do today that required the Internet (and nowadays, what doesn't?). While the Internet was out, I did get a budget created for the wedding, and also created a master copy of the guest list that Keat and I will be maintaining. Aside from that, it has been a very wasted day. Stupid internet. ANYWAY.....

Angry Birds via Over the Hedge

I've made some improvements to the blog recently; mainly SEO-friendly URL's. It did require a re-parsing of the feed, but hey, at least the relevant URL's are showing in search results instead of "entry.php?id=48". I think that counts for something.

Last week was certainly a week for attacks, wasn't it? I mean, with our DoS attack on 4/20, then Amazon's AWS network going down (which supplies about 90% of the important stuff on the internet), and Sony's Playstation Network going down, and not to mention the launching of Skynet (for those of you who pay attention to The Sarah Connor Chronicles, although the same thing could be said about April 29, 2010, if you know what I mean), things certainly had a downward spiral last week. On a semi-related note, I just created a CRON job that will scan our secure SSH log, filter out denied access attempts, add the offending IP addresses to our firewall, and email me the report. Not bad for a 15 minute "lets-do-it-now-and-it-hopefully-works" job.

On the up-side, I have made some major improvements to the Shadow Dev mobile site along with the CloudFlare service. It was a bit confusing trying to get the mobile site to update with the CloudFlare proxy DNS set in, but I finally got through it.

On the flip side, the apartment looks like a tornado went through it. Everything that had its own little storage area is now in the middle of the living room, dining room, and part of the kitchen. Why? Because we are moving to Waynesville and we have to get everything packed. Although our original plan was to move at the end of June/July, a friend of ours let us in on a connection to some local landlords and they are looking to have the smallest downtime ever, so with the eviction of their old tenant last friday, they want someone to move in NOW! So we had to move up our move-out date to the end of May (must give current landlords a min. of 30 days notice, as usual). It's not that we don't like Bear Creek, but with Keat going to WCU and the business in Waynesville, the amount of gas alone would be at least $100 a week if we stayed in Asheville. Also, we haven't spent enough time in Asheville to really call it "home" - sure, it's nice and trendy, but we spend more time in Waynesville than in Asheville (really, there are over 200 events, restaurants, shops, and more in Asheville, and we've been to.....4?).

Anyway, I've also picked up the PS2 again and started playing some of my games (the ones that weren't packed yet). I started Onimusha 2 again, and it was pretty fun. I was beating myself up for remembering certain things in certain levels, then trying to figure out how to get them (like the Yellow door at Gifu castle) when in the end, Jubei goes back to those locations and can access them. I beat that in about 4 days (mainly playing between 11pm and 4am). After the boss battle, I switched to Onimusha 3, which (thank god) finally allows access of the left analog stick. I was getting tired of using the D-pad for directional control. I also had my previous save file on my memory card, so I could use Samanosuke's Cowboy outfit (not really appealing, but I thought I'd give it a try). 2 days in, and I'm already at the Zoo level.

On to today's to-do list: working on NSMT's Shuttle system and mobile site, working on finishing Lu's Specialties Foods design, getting Innocent Footprints design planned out (code-wise), finishing Shadow Dev's mobile site, take some business calls for insurance and a potential client, service a friend's computer, create site analysis for competition, write some articles, and see about getting the Wedding site up and going with the online RSVP system. Yay for Monday....

Speaking of the Wedding site, here's a good Bug comic:
Bug


And Monday continues to taunt me with the absence of an internet connection from 11:15 to ??? (although, the college that our building connects through is also down, which means their internet connections, VoIP Phones, teleconference systems, faxes, etc, are all down as well - what luck....). I finish my weekend reader, create a small cron job, reply to some emails, (and write this entry), and as soon as I'm ready to begin my actual work....the internet goes down.

On the up-side (again), I did receive a CloudFlare T-shirt in the mail today (it must have been delievered on Saturday since Friday was a holiday). Thanks CloudFlare, and keep up the good great work!
Webcams suck on quality, and camera phones suck too when there is a lot of background light


Tags:#internet #overthehedge #bug #cron #terminator #apartment #ps2 #onimusha #asheville #mobile

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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