DC, Days 1 and 2

Last year we got a pretty unique Christmas bonus: a “personal betterment” trip, partially funded by dt. This was a pretty awesome surprise bonus and I thought of the perfect place to go and the perfect time to “spend” it. This year is my wife’s and mine fifth wedding anniversary (yay!) and both of us have had a desire to go to the east coast; what better place than our nation’s capitol? So, here we are in Washington DC for a week celebrating our fifth anniversary and “bettering” ourselves. I’ve decided that while we’re here I’ll be blogging about our experience to share it with everyone else. I’ll be trying to blog daily, but sometimes that won’t be possible (i.e. this first post). So, stay tuned over the next few week to experience DC with A and I!

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A week with the Nexus 7

A week ago I ordered and received a 16GB Nexus 7 bought directly through Google. Coming from a first generation iPad and series of Android 2.x phones, I was hopeful from Google’s presentation at I/O, but not quite certain their promises would exceed, let alone meet, my expectations. My phone, through little fault of Google’s and more fault of Samsung’s has been a less than optimal experience. My iPad has been a fantastic device for meetings, note taking and media. So how does the new Jelly Bean Android based Nexus 7 stack up against these prior experiences?

A week ago I ordered and received a 16GB Nexus 7 bought directly through Google. Coming from a first generation iPad and series of Android 2.x phones, I was hopeful from Google’s presentation at I/O, but not quite certain their promises would exceed, let alone meet, my expectations. My phone, through little fault of Google’s and more fault of Samsung’s has been a less than optimal experience. My iPad has been a fantastic device for meetings, note taking and media. So how does the new Jelly Bean Android based Nexus 7 stack up against these prior experiences?

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WordCamp San Francisco, 2012

This year at WordCamp San Francisco, I’m giving a talk with Chuck Longanecker about how we at digital-telepathy used the power of WordPress to build, scale and sell an awesome SaaS product.

I’m up in San Francisco this weekend for WordCamp SF – the WordCamp of WordCamps. Its cool enough to be able to come up to the bay and attend this conference, but this year’s conference has a twist for me as I’ll be speaking at it! Come and see +Chuck Longanecker (or @barefootceo if you prefer the Twitterverse) and I talk about how we at digital-telepathy used WordPress to not only create full-blown SaaS application, but scaled it to a paid subscription revenue model and eventually sold it!

Come and see our talk at 5:20pm this Saturday and learn HOW WE BUILT AND GREW THE HELLO BAR WEB APPLICATION USING WORDPRESS.

2 New WordPress Plugins – OOP Plugin Boilerplate and MU Utility Plugin

I’ve done a lot of WordPress plugin development lately and thought I’d share some of the great little tools that I’ve used during creation. To start giving back to the community, I’ve decided to make public my OOP WordPress plugin boilerplate and my Utility Functions MU plugin – both valuable tools that I use whenever I’m building a new masterpiece with WordPress.

I’ve done a lot of WordPress plugin development lately and thought I’d share some of the great little tools that I’ve used during creation. To start giving back to the community, I’ve decided to make public my OOP WordPress plugin boilerplate and my Utility Functions MU plugin – both valuable tools that I use whenever I’m building a new masterpiece with WordPress.

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Pure LNMP stack

So, in an effort to save a little cash on hosting I’ve moved my stack on this server to a pure LNMP stack – no Apache, no Varnish. I’ve also introduced a new third-party caching solution called CloudFlare to see if we can take even more traffic off the server. With W3 Total Cache running as well the site is extremely fast, and this only on a 256MB box. Granted, I get about as much traffic as the 395 in the middle of the Mojave, but its fun running at this speed anyways.

Display Link – Make use of that iPad sitting on your desk

So, while working at home today I decided it would be great to have a third display (besides the laptop and 24″ monitor hooked up to it) so that I could monitor server performance, but not sacrifice my work area on the primary monitors. I have an iPad and I thought that there must be some way I could hook it up as a tertiary workspace area, so I did a little searching and found DisplayLink.

DisplayLink is a desktop server, iPad client software system that runs in the background and allows you to connect an iPad on the same wi-fi network as another monitor. This is nothing particularly new except for two major selling points 1) Its free and, more importantly, 2) it works without shutting of Aero in Windows 7! This is a major win for desktop extension software for the iPad as most others traditionally cost you at least $10 in the marketplace and they don’t work with Aero turned on. Without Aero on Windows 7 and Vista, the Windows interface slows down considerably, you lose previews, and everything in general looks like trash. With DisplayLink though, I’ve got my iPad sitting next to my laptop running a terminal screen with htop going and I’m able to keep working like normal on my other two screens.

Oh, and as an added bonus, the integration of the iPad as a monitor is really tight with the Windows OS. When you have the DisplayLink software running and linked with your iPad, the iPad just shows up as another display in your monitor configuration area and you can move it around and change how it’s linked (extended, duplicate, etc.). The monitor view on the iPad also does not hinder notifications and messages coming through on your iPad either – they just appear over the view like any other application.

Major win for DisplayLink!

Zen Development

One thing that I’ve found helped me out a lot with development snags is perspective. I know it sounds a little hippy and existential, but it really helps. It always used to frustrate the hell out of me when I’d encounter a bug in my code, but I realized that it was only frustrating me because I was taking it personally – “why the heck isn’t this working! I know I programmed it right!”. Once I realized that this was happening I began taking a different perspective – learning.

I know that I’m going to write some code that will break. I know that something might break because I made changes elsewhere. Knowing this, I take every bug now as an opportunity to learn. So, instead of getting frustrated and pissed at my IDE (Aptana) or my PHP because it isn’t doing what I told it to, I just start from nothing. I assume nothing, and start building up what I can know for sure. I begin throwing a bunch of debug,  exits and echos all over the place and starting from the very beginning I try to discover where it might have gone wrong, establishing a base for what I can be sure of. From that base I can discover what went wrong and learn from it because I’m not distracted by my frustration.

Treat every bug like a puzzle to unravel and a chance to learn something new. In becoming a learning opportunity, it looses its power to piss you off 🙂

Dresser Restoration

About a year and a half ago my wife and I decided to purchase a dresser. We were still living out of boxes and previously owned Rubbermaid stracking drawers in the closet. After a quick bit of Craigs List searching, we found a nice dresser we planned on eventually restoring to match the rest of our decor for a mere $40! Well, that dresser sat used, but un-restored in our bedroom until about two weeks ago when we decided to get to finally restoring it.

We weren’t really sure how long restoring a dresser would take, or how much effort was truly going to be involved in the process when we first started. Around 40 hours of labor and about $170 in equipment and new dresser hardware, here we are two weeks later and we’re finally finished. Let me tell you, if you want to restore a piece of furniture, a lot of hard labor is involved, but man, is it ever worth it! Continue reading “Dresser Restoration”

WordCamp San Diego 2011 (#wcsd)

WordCamp San Diego 2011 is done! Looks like the state of the Word is going well with active WordPress installations up above 50,000,000 (30,000,000 wordpress.org and 20,000,000 wordpress.com sites according to Automattic’s numbers). This is an impressive figure that is pretty exciting to be a part of.

The panels for the camp were pretty good, although I was really hoping for a little more detail and breadth in the topics, but hey this is San Diego’s first WordCamp and really when it all boils down to it: we’re no San Francisco. Regardless of that, the atmosphere was great and the people were all excited to learn a few new things and be a part of the WordPress community.

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