Archive for the 'PHP' Category

My Productive Practices

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

productive matrix

At this time of year the interwebs get very productive creating blog postings about productivity, and this blog is all about me adding  information to an existing saturation, so here goes:

These two recent articles have some good ideas for a more productive 2013:

Geeks are always keen to approach organizing their lives as an engineering problem.  Hence the obsession with David Allen’s Getting Things Done is a time-management methodology  and the steady flow of ideas that come out of lifehacker.com

Here’s what I consider my top five most productive practices:

  1. The OHIO principle for E-Mail: Only Handle It Once.  
    Don’t keep re-reading waiting until you’re ready for a response, choose to handle then or not respond at all (with an exception for the “can’t read this here” problem with mobile devices – but mark it as unread).  I’m not a dogmatic process-to-zero inbox person, but I do work sequentially. I’ll only mark as read when the messages is “no longer my responsibility” and some times that means responding asking for clarity to buy a little time and share the responsibility of transmitting a clear message.
  2. Tasks are important and ubiquitous.
    I think I’m one of the few people who values Microsoft Outlook’s Tasks feature, and there’s all kinds of other task Apps.  The trick for me is having those task synced across all my devices, so that when I have the moment of inspiration or recollection I record it easily.  Tasks (or your calendar) is often an important next step after E-Mail comes in that allows you to “deal” with it at an initial level and mark the message as read.  It’s also worth noting that a project is not a task.

Lunch Blog

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I’ve started a new lunch blog! I encourage you to check it out at mattclare.ca/lunch-blog/

The site is obviously more of a joke at the expense of my daily lunch at Brock University of two penut butter and jam sandwiches that I slather in double fruit jam and chunky penut butter before I leave for work each morning.

The blog was built using Bootstrap, from the developers at Twitter. Bootstrap was created to help people build web responsive web sites easier, better, and faster. You can read more at twitter.github.com/bootstrap/

The blog itself simply uses a Bootstrap example, two pictures I took with my phone yesterday, a little CSS to apply the pictures to the backgrounds of the right divs, and some PHP to dynamically create “dated” posts. The PHP is key to the ability to review older posts and the short reviews of each lunch. The source is posted here mattclare.ca/lunch-blog/index.phps .

All and all, a positive experience and I look forward to bootstrapping more sites.

More websites updates

Saturday, November 5th, 2011


I’ve recent updated the main page of my website. Ever since Facebook first took off I’ve been trying to figure out how to give the various things that dribble out of my mind and are fit (or not) for on-line consumption a proper home. A proper home, might often have been my blog, but more often than not it was easier to post it to Facebook or Twitter — both for the shorter length and the immediacy of the tool.

To accommodate this I added my Facebook, and then Twitter status to my web site as the constant “first blog post”. This sort of worked, but still didn’t provide an ideal summary of information.

I’ve tried again, this time focusing on mattclare.ca. There’s a little more of a summary of of the blog, focussing in the titles and images, with some teaser text.

Further I’m hoping to write more on the blog, and more pictures etc.

One thing I still refuse to do is narrow the focus of my posts, that will still range from server admin, to ed. tech. to F1 and fatherhood.

Here’s hoping.

Moved VPS’es

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Over the last month I’ve moved from my previous Virtual Private Server (VPS) with A2WebHosting to Linode.

A2WebHosting was a good host back when I only needed a shared host, before I wanted the apache web server highly configure with a lot of extra settings and things like PHP’s APC. My transition to A2WebHosting’s VPS service I was not that great. I’ve run basement servers that were more reliable.

A lot of the frills of having your own virtual server weren’t there with A2WebHosting, but what was worse was for the first year I wasn’t able to load any kernel modules…. like ipfilters – the firewall! — I wasn’t too public about that problem. Also the drive was often so slow (I/O wait) the site slowed to being almost unresponsive.

I’ve now transitioned to Linode. A VPS host only. I first discovered them when tracking down where comment (wiki) spam bot traffic was coming from — the hackers know where to find value.

Their recent increase in storage ensured that their low-end offering was much better than what A2 offered. I’ve since really appreciate their custom web-dashboard and iPhone app for managing servers.

I’ve also transitioned from a CentOS host and the Red Hat / RPM world to Ubuntu. The recent politics around the CentOS releases sealed the deal in me moving from the free version of the “enterprise” standard to Ubuntu’s well respected and also free Linux version.

So now that I’ve got this new, more reliable virtual server with more resources I think I need to start coming up with some more web projects soon!

RimCount.com RRRR’eturns

Friday, February 25th, 2011

My little hobby web site for tracking your luck with a large Canaidan coffee and donuts chain’s roll-up promotion is back!

My previous attempt was Drupal-based, and required an account. I was never very happy with the account requirement, and played with it being a facebook App but ultimately took the site down (described in this blog post). This time there’s no need for an account as it’s Twitter-based. This also helps with the promotional side of things.

I had hoped to partner with the www.rimrollerapp.com – but that Twitter based iPhone App needed a technical update, and for other reasons, it’s now removed from the App Store. It’s too bad, but you don’t need anything beyond a Twitter account to enjoy RimCount.com.

Simply tweet with the tag #RollUpTheRim to have your tweet listed on RimCount.com. The site tracks results posted to Twitter in the format of wins/rims (and unofficially, a few other formats).

You can visit the main page for the latest, the scoreboard for the best and worst ratios rimcount.com/scoreboard. There’s also a rapidly growing list of Twitter users who have tweeted with the hashtag #RollUpTheRim rimcount.com/list

The site is no longer Drupal-based, but some of the PHP from the Drupal module I wrote and the MySQL data structure were migrated to the new site which is otherwise built from scratch.

As many developers have indicated, working with Twitter.com‘s non-standard API is quite a joy. I was able to get things rolling (pun intended) quite quickly based on the simple twitter searches through Twitter’s search service’s RSS feed and looking-up someone’s Twitter details via an XML call is easy too.