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Bachelor for a Week 2013: Day 5

Last night was a bit of a doozy. I spent most of the night watching Season 3 of Reboot. Apparently, I haven't seen that season in quite a while, because nothing looks familiar.

Well, the good news about yesterday is that the Internet came back. Long story short: I have no idea why it came back.

Long story: On Tuesday, the internet went out. So I found the most recent paper bill and saw that "If $4.55 was not paid by 3/25, then service would be cut off". Since the Internet was out, I couldn't pay the bill online, so I had to use my phone to do it. Good News: Charter has a mobile friendly site. Bad news: their payment system doesn't work on mobile (and I have a market smartphone, so having an "Unrecognized device" was irrelevant). Since I thought that the bill wasn't paid, I freaked out a little and paid $150 to cover the bill cost. That charge went through successfully, however, since it took 24 hours to process, I was internet-less on Tuesday night.

I came home yesterday and I find out (to my surprise) that the Internet is still out. I logged on to Charter's site from my phone, and somehow, the billing system says that I paid $150 at the beginning of March, so I have a credit of $78, which means that I overpaid. If that's the case, where's my Internet?

I called Charter and said "Internet is out", which apparently is a key phrase that starts their automated system troubleshooter. After it automatically ping'ed and restarted our modem (which was the first thing I did along with power cycling the router), the Internet came back up.

Miracle? Probably. But I didn't do anything to fix it.

Well, semi-rant over.

Today started out weird. I first had a call from the building Director that his computer was acting up and some program was making him buy some antivirus software. As soon as I arrive at the office, my first question to him was "Were you using Internet Explorer"? His response (of course) "Yes, I think so". Found the problem.

So I booted into Safe Mode, found the location of the issue program, removed it and all traces of it, cleaned up his computer, scanned the registry (Thank you CCleaner) and rebooted. Problem solved.

I told him (for the xth time) to use Firefox or Chrome to browse the internet because IE is bad and etc, etc, etc.

ILK


As you may be able to tell, I don't like IE - the fact that over 80% of the world uses it and having to develop for Microsoft's excuse for browser standards.

After that was done, I played catchup all day, including re-convincing a client to not pay extra for SEO services again (let's just say that the client paid somewhere around $2000/yr to a company to perform "SEO Services". Translation: they added some Google Analytics code and provided meta tags for pages (which were very poorly written and irrelevantly coded). As I told the client, "this is 'first year developer' stuff. There's no need to pay somebody else $2000 for this when we do it for you". I have been told by the client (again) that she will contact the other company and cancel the service. Here's hoping it turns out better and doesn't come up again.

On the brighter side, my Raspberry Pi came in!
Raspberry Pi!


At first, I thought: provide power, connect network, all is good.

However, nobody told me I had to configure it myself.

Here's what I have done: provide Ethernet cord, Provide power supply, go to raspberrypi.org/downloads, download OS, dd'ed it on SD card, provide USB keyboard, provide RCA cable (I don't have any HDMI TV's), connect everything together, (here's where I am) boot from SD card, set up OS, configure system, and then ready to go.

So far, I have everything, but I'm not sure if my SD card (which is in the form of a 8GB Micro SD card in a SD Card reader, which is in a SD/USB dongle to write with) is working right. When I plug the SD card in and power on the Pi, the red POWER light comes on, but nothing else. Even by connecting the RCA Video cable to the TV (and making sure it's on the right input setting), still nothing. I'm supposed to get a green LED to light up, but no luck so far. I think I may need to get a full fledge SD card, which nowadays are pretty cheap.

Other good news: our peppers are finally coming in! I took a look last night, and 9 sprouts are coming up!
Peppers!


I've also started watching Breaking Bad - not bad so far. (Sorry for the pun). I'm halfway through episode 3, and it is still keeping my attention.

I also did some research on Zero Hour, found out it was semi-cancelled. Can't same I blame it - the first episode dragged on, set up the mystery at the very end, and basically told the whole story in the first hour of show. I like a quote from The New York Daily News' David Hinckley stated the series "dodges several bedrock problems that have torpedoed other recent attempts to make engaging series TV out of mystery thrillers", adding, "The question is whether Zero Hour can sustain [the setup] for 13 weeks, because what makes a good two-hour movie doesn't always make for 10 gripping hours of television." (wikipedia)

I'm going to see what I can scrounge up tonight on the server and call it a night. Good thing is that this is the last night I will be spending alone for a while. In just over 25 hours, I get to pick Keat up from the airport! YAY!


Tags:#zerohour #raspberrypi #breakingbad #reboot #ie #seo #ccleaner #internet

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(A Small) Time to Breathe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Personal:

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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Ketchup

Wow, has it really been over a month since I posted last? It seems like yesterday that I made my last post. Since then, it's been nothing but busywork and client jobs.

Here's a comic to help relate to my previous month+ of absence:
Dilbert

I won't bore anybody with the finer details of what has happened over the past month, but here's a quick overview (just to keep you entertained):

- last week was a week of bad luck: had a co-worker's computer crash (had to re-install A LOT of software and do a full hard drive backup since the backup manager wasn't syncing everything), had the roof of an office space collapsed and spewed water and insulation all over, the co-worker had to find an old copy of Office 2007 so his SBA software would work right (OOo didn't cut it, unfortunately), prepared for a client's Open House, worked at said client's Open House, had both of our PPT and SEO seminars (which went great, with the exception that our PR got out late (again) and the first attendee showed up before we did), had a confused conversation with a current client over a chart display, had a very odd sewer smell in the office all week (turned out to be a lack of water in the drainage system; finally solved that after playing the "blame game" with the building secretary), one of the units got a fresh coat of paint which made the whole building smell odd, our first marketing order arrived (YAY!) and a client got some custom t-shirts, Tokyopop shut down their US office (not relevant, but I thought it was important news to mention), switched our DNS servers to CloudFlare which made the response rate lower dramatically and the uptime much higher, helped a client with a business plan for a competition (after having to re-write most of it), had some confusion over a potential client website and the hosting issue, finally switched over 2 clients DNS records (one had a major pain trying to get her domain from her old provider), made a video for switching over DNS records for said (and future) clients, had a mixup of payment systems for a client (although they had an invoicing system from the credit processor, they wanted another one created from us; we got a call today saying they wanted to go with the credit processor's invoicing system instead of ours, which we are okay with), said client had confusion when issuing credit to organization payers, uploaded the financial reports for the past 4 quarters to the corporate site, had some SSH and FTP issues with the server (solved?), went to a new Thai restaurant in downtown, had a large influx of followers for both my and the business's twitter accounts, got a DM from George Takei on Twitter (YAY!), and that's about it for last week.
George Takei DM

- not much else happened in the past month, aside from getting some insurance quotes, WCU getting a new chancellor, offering remote tech support for some clients, received an email that was sent 7 months ago (talk about being lost in cyberspace), had a mis-payment of a license (which was fixed), participated in a ΠΛΦ ΩΖ initiation, had a hard communication with a client's old hosting service, attended my first MeetUp, uploaded a few videos of Niko and Chi, installed our first successful SSL certificate, got 2 new clients signed on, and worked on other client works (still have no time for other projects), wrote a few informational articles, and got a mini squishy fox!
Squishy Fox!


That's about it for the past month. I'll try to be better about posting on a regular basis and not every other month.


Tags:#dilbert #pilambdaphi #server #georgetakei #squishy #dns #ssh #ftp #sba #tokyopop #office #ppt #seo #pr #ssl #niko #chi #