Raising the Herd

My Heart Goes Out

Friday, April 4, 2014

I follow alot of people over the internet between twitter and my feed reader, almost 99% of them I do not know personally, nor will I ever get the chance to meet them. But everyday they share with me their lives, their families and their work.

Over the past several months I've been reading about a little girl with brain cancer. Those that know me, know what that means to me. Those that don't, probably just never asked. In 1994 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor on the left side of my head. It was my senior year of high school and all I wanted to do was graduate. That's all I really remember feeling about it. Now it terrifies me. But my prognosis was good, even at that time. The tumor was fully removed and benign. I've had probably 3 to 5 follow up MRI's over the past 20 years mostly just to make sure my headaches aren't a result of something of that nature again.

I cannot begin to comprehend what Eric Meyer is going through. His 5 year old daughter will likely not survive her cancer. For the past two days I've found my self in tears as I read his words. Today, he wrote about why he was writing. While I cannot help them through this. I will do what I can to help Rebecca's arrow fly around the world.

It is not easy being a parent. What I feel now when I think about my brain tumor has to small in comparison to what Eric and his wife feel about losing their child. Rebecca is being strong and brave and she should be an inspiration to us all. The Meyer family is in my prayers.

New Server at Work = Laravel

Friday, February 21, 2014

Today and yesterday started the fun process of creating a new web server. Yay! and Boo! Long boring hard work is ahead but the benifits out weight the boring hard work. Fruitful boring work! Once we get the web server up and running I can finally begin the long audious task of converting my CI applications at work into Laravel 4! No fun you say? Me I look forward to that adventure. I cannot wait until the day that I can work with nothing other than Laravel.

I've learned so much working here and Laravel has played a bit factor in that in these past recent months. It has taught me to be a better developer! Needless to say with Laravel even if I stop using it down the road. Chances are I won't have to redo a crap ton of work because it'll easily port into a new system because of the way it is built. I don't forsee a reason to switch, but then again I didn't see one with Code Igniter either. But this will be a far better solution than CI.

Why am I not using it now, or converted earlier? The biggest reason being that I could not for the life of me get freeBSD to play nice with MSSQL and PDO. I am not a sys admin, I know my way around, I can do most things, and the rest I google. But that! That was beyond my scope and my comfort zone. We had someone who could do it when I got here, sadly he left. Our new IT guy doesn't do much with nix based systems, great with windows. And since MSSQL and mySQL are a requirement for my job, they have to play nice. So we are migrating to a WAMP system. Maybe one day I can play with other server types, but for now I know this will work!

I can now maintain the software much easier by myself. And the windows permissions and stuffage I don't know our IT guy does or we can get the inforamtion quickly.

So today I am listening to Laracasts while I work. I started with the SOLID vids first, those are where I want to concentrate. I've hit a few basics, but I know the basics of Laravel pretty well. Now hitting a few of the more questions in my mind. I do very much enjoy working with Laravel.

The First Age

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Those that know me well know I have a fondness for writing. I've been writing since I was a kid, silly stories about the ABC's or holidays. It's kinda cool to see Kathleen doing that now as well. But that's beside the point of this blog. My fondness for writing got me involved in play by post RPGs first at Dragonmount and now pretty much exclusively at The First Age.

The First Age like Dragonmount is based on the Wheel of Time but with a different twist. It's currently 2045 and channelers are just reamearging. The world building to start off with is pretty great, but with such a small site and with so much unwritten stuff the world is your oyster. Since the creation of the site, there have been two player classes that have been added above Channeler, Civilian, Atharim, Government, Military and Wolfkin. Furia and Sentient were created with the help of members by our Fearless Leader, Ascendancy.

As memebers join, new monsters are created. Wait? What? Monsters? Yes! There in lies another twist. The year 2045 holds many different kinds of monsters as well as strange new classes. Things form myth and legends are true. They are tied into the Wheel of Time universe as well as our current myths and legends. In chat you can debate the theory of the wheel and the pattern, which we've done on many occassion, but mostly it's a great place to get to know your fellow writers and plot your next adventure.

I didn't know how much I missed a small writing group until I came here. I missed interactive writing. I can write Cari all day but it's so much more interesting when you don't know what's going to happen next.

If you miss it too, or want to give it a go, stop on by. There is almost always someone in chat and we are only a post away.

Test Driven Development: Take 2

Friday, January 24, 2014

At work we are finally converting to a platform where I can use PDO and MSSQL at the same time. This means we are moving to a windows server. I know against standards but I am a PHP developer not a .net while I could learn .net and probably pick it up quickly, it is far quicker just to stick with what I know. So with this move it means I can move to Laravel.

I love Laravel, but I love that it can easily implement testing in an automated way. On our biggest project and my daily life at work it would be great so I don't break things down the line by changing or adding new features. So this is a big win for me. Not to mention that I get to work with Laravel on a daily basis.

My biggest problem with TDD (Test Driven Development) is that it is very difficult for me to implement in terms of here's the answer how do I get to it. I'll be honest most of the time I'm given a problem, here's the data, now make that data create the solution to the problem. Almost 100% of the time I have no idea what the data will look like much less what it is supposed to look like in the first place.

You'll say that I don't know the business that well. Yes, I don't. We are a rent to own company. I know every little about the workings of everyday things. I learn something new everyday about what we do and don't do and I'm cosntantly asking questions to better understand the problem. Which isn't a problem in itself, but the idea of knowing what my output should look like is something that I'm not going to say I grasph 100% of the time.

I mean I do know what the answer is, but not how to massage said data into the right data. So how can I write tests for a report I'm writing when I don't know exactly what's it's going to look like in the end. A simplified version of the problem is. I need to get a % difference from some set of statistics. Sure the answer is going to I mock up a decimal or percent and yay, it's working.

But that doesn't test the calculation was done correctly.

But I think I might have figured out how to do some of this. Today I was rewriting our existing website and creating our by Zip code store locator. I wanted to use the Repository pattern for this simple site so that I could learn it for the big project down the line that will need rewriting. I kept the DRY principles in mind. I didn't want to rewrite code. I think I'm starting to implement SOLID programming - specifically the Singlular Responsibility Principle but I think by using this method I'm working mostly within the SOLID principle.

Granted I didn't do TDD more like BDD.

Upswing

Monday, January 13, 2014

On the upside of the whole trying to change for the better. I have cut out most of my caffeine. Though I still do consume it. And I still have the occasional soda. It try to limit it to one serving at a sitting. And I do try to avoid it in general, as I do most things.

Lack of caffeine is making me sluggish but I'm sure that will adjust. I'm drinking Green Tea to help compensate for the lack of soda. It's not diet but it's 100 calories per bottle instead of the 130 per cup I beleive Dr Pepper is. Tho I still crave it. It is a big weakness, though I won't stop drinking it completely because if I do then I'm more or less just going to break down and start drinking it all the time again.

I lost 2 lbs last week. Pretty sure that is mostly water weight from cutting back on the soda.

Brr Cold

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I haven't posted the past 2 lunches cause I worked through them. Had to take Sam to the doctor for a potential ear infection, she was right, she had one. We spent nearly 2 hours in the doctors office waiting. While I was supposed to be at work. Thankfully I made up the time.

So that's why there was no posts. But for the past two days it's been freezing her in South MS. And to top it off the office has sporatic heat. Thankfully today is slightly better than yesterday, but my feet are still freezing and my fingers are cold. But it's slightly warmer.

The girls started school again after Christmas break, both of them really didn't want to go. Not because they don't like it but because they were use to staying home. It's all good I guess, they went and Shea's home so he can pick them up. I don't have to go out in the cold again. He does, which I don't envy but I'm glad I don't have to rush.

I've lost about 2 lbs since the Friday weigh in at work. On their scales and will report on Friday where I stand. I'm not counting calories and I have managed to cut out the soda, but I'm still drinking hot coccoa/capiccino in the morning to wake/warm up. We'll see how it goes, but other than the green tea I have I've not had any additional caffeine.

Work is lovely. While not overly challenging project it's time sensative which gives it its own set of challenges. Thankfully it's must CRUD work with very little calculations involved. At least right now. I'm sure the reports will become complicated. But that's not really until we have data beyond my tests.

I'm eagerly waiting working in Laravel 4 on a regular basis. Hopefully by June I'll be able to work fully in it. But it all depends on how fast I can rewrite existing code. At the very least the new Babers.com site will be using Laravel 4. Which is good, BeyondRTO.com was my first Codeigniter site. Same basic function just different store. We are hoping for a new look around April.

Ch-ch-changes

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New years resolutions? yes and no. I want to make changes and to do that I'm starting a goal tracking program for myself. I have a small list of goals that I want to accomplish on specific days and reasons for each of them.

Every work day I want to write here, in my journal. I noticed that when I was going back to do my Christmas Newsletter that I really hadn't written anything here except my step sons wedding and out trip to New York. I know I missed a lot of things. I can't say I'll write on the weekends but those will be bonus Everyday at lunch I need to sit down and make a simple small note so that things are recorded for posterity and for next year. I might also start wrting more on moving to Laravel as I will be working that from Code Igniter here soon at work and it will be a big process but it's all doable.

I will also be tracking my daily pill intake. Which is mostly for my forgetful mind. I do forget if I take my pills even though I am very good at doing so for myself not so good with remembering anyone elses.

I will incorporate fruits and vegetables into all meals. One to eat less of the bad stuff and two just because it's healthy.

I am trying to kill the soda consumption and this is by far the hardest change, but it is NOT a trackable item. I will attempt to cut down on the caffeine intake and try to switch to green tea. However I know my weakness and if all things in moderation is the rule, I just have to learn it. Not to keep it out, but to moderate it.

And of course the all important exercise. I don't like to run, I don't like to walk, I don't like to cycle, I'm not likely to start up the Wii U to get into dance mode on a regular basis. And I'm not likely to go to a gym or a work out classs. What does that leave? Body weight exercises. I have a small list of exercises I want to do every week day.

I have found that doing those few exercises in the day is a great wake me up. So from the hours of about 4:30 to 5:30 I intend to do some push up, planks, squats, chair dips, butterflys, floor extensions and hip bridges. Maybe in the future I'll add some pull ups in. But right now I don't see that happening with no real place to do them at home.

I am looking for an app that will track many things and tweet those things to a given twitter account. I might have to end up creating one myself. Or installing wordpress and the correct plugin to do that. So if you know of one then I'd love to hear about it other wise I'll probably end up with wordpress doing most of the leg work until I can write my own (not complicated but just don't have the time).

So here's to a better me, not because you said I need to change, but because I need to.

On a side note, my company is sponsering a biggest loser type contest a pot to be split by weight loss percentage for all participants. So yay for accountablity in this next year.

Resolution Failure

Thursday, December 19, 2013

As usual my goals for 2013 have pretty much failed.

* Lose weight - ulimate goal: 136 min 130 prefered
* Continue working on A Dark Journey stories
* Write at least one application for the web and mobile platforms
* Finish the Wheel of Time series
* Teach The girls the basics of writing a program (only if interested)
* Start reading the girls some chapter books

The only thing I did accomplish was finishing the Wheel of Time. It only took me two months.

I'm always working or thinking about A Dark Journey. Though I didn't write much. I did attempt Camp Nano this year and I met my word count goal but not the goal of writing everyday.

I did lose weight on and off. I'm currently down 10 lbs but not for my trying. I was diagnosed with High Blood pressure and I was retaining water. So all the weight that I've lost was just water weight that the meds have helped me reduce.

The girls have been introduced to Scratch, a programming interface aimed at young kids and beginners. But the biggest accomplishment here is Kathleen is learning how to type in school. So that's one step closer to teaching her.

I have not completed any applications. I have started many but not followed through. Not for lack of time or motivation. Just move on to another project too quickly. I need to work on that.

Kathleen is reading chapter books on her own so I didn't feel the need to read them to her. She started Harry Potter, though she doesn't read it much she has started it tho.

Exciting News

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Some of you have heard, but I've not posted anything official. Last Tuesday Shea went into Ameriforce and tested for a job at Ingalls. He went through Ameriforce because they don't have to take the strength/agility test that did him in last time. Shea is now working in the shipyard as a pipefitter again. He's on his third day today.

We are all still adjusting to the new schedule. We all go to bed at 8pm. Shea and I get up at 4. I do a 15 min work out, sit at the computer for a little bit, and at 5:30 I make breakfast. We get in the shower around 6:15a. And then we get the final touches on going to school and deciding what is coming to work with me when I pick them up.

I go in to work early now. I still need to work on my schedule a little. But I can't do much until I get a better feel for how things are with the girls pick up schedule. Yesterday, I didn't wait long, the day before I did. So I don't know.

I pick the girls up around 3, I leave the office around 2:50 which gives me enough time to get them.

All in all it's going well. Supper is a big chore though we have this week covered.

I am tired in the morning and caffeine is necessary. Though I may have to force myself into tea with caffeine, but really I can't do it with out sugar so is sugar better or soda? It all comes down to calories I guess.

But I'm working out now. I hope to keep doing it first thing in the morning. 2 days in and I'm sore, but that's to be expected.

Wish us luck as we start this new chapter as a two income family.

Clipping Magic App

Monday, September 9, 2013

I suck at Photoshop. Sure I can use it and I can make it do what I want in most cases, but I don't have the patience to do half of what is needed. Extracting backgrounds is one of them. I hate it! It never comes out clean. That was until I found Clipping Magic. It such an awesome tool. And at lunch I found a good use for it.

clipping magic family header

And I only had to zoom in and make some minor adjustments to it.