New site coming soon!

Good news, I am in the process of transitioning away from BlogCFC. I am still debating between WordPress and Blogger.

Blogger seems fairly simple and right down to business with few frills and add-ons. Which for someone that infrequently blogs (like me) it might be ideal. WordPress on the other hand has a lot of options, add-ons, style packs, and a lot of articles on managing.

So the last few years, I have been pretty covered up with family, work, and just living. But I do have several topics that I think would be good to expand upon.

Some upcoming articles will likely include:

  • Long term review of Tesla Model 3. I have owned one for close to two years now. I still love it, but feel I should give a run down of that.
  • Experience with Paint Protection Film.
  • Experiences with 3D Printing.
  • Personal coding projects -- I have a few in mind, and am thinking I will blog about the progress or bumps in the road.
  • Role Play Game system reviews.

My Tesla Referral Code

Hello Readers! If you enjoy reading my blog and you are interested in purchasing a Tesla car or solar panels, please consider using my referral code. If you do so before September 16, 2018, you can unlimited Supercharging for any vehicle you purchase (i.e. Model S, X, or 3).

https://ts.la/ted97315

I do not have my Tesla Model 3 yet, but I have configured and ordered one. Now I am waiting (somewhat) patiently for delivery.

Until next time... Cheers!

Wait, what happened to 2014?

So way back at the end of 2013, I told myself that as a New Year's Resolution I should attempt to write one blog entry every two weeks. Well, here it is the first full week of August 2014 and I have only written two blog entries, if you include this one. So much for that resolution, eh?

So, the past 365 days have been a bit of a blur for me. Let's do a quick recap, shall we?

  • August 2013 — I left a job as a Coldfusion developer for a senior PHP developer position.
  • October 2013 — I took the family on a Disney Cruise. It was tons of fun.
  • October-December 2013 — Started and completed first two phases of a large project. Got to learn Bootstrap, JSONSchema's, Slim framework, and Mustache templates.
  • January 2014 — I leased an all electric Nissan LEAF. Love it!
  • April 2014 — Put on my Business Analyst hat for 6 weeks, and learned a lot.
  • June 2014 — Transitioned into a Java Developer role, and have learned a lot in a short amount of time.
  • August 2014 — My eldest is about to enter Kindergarten, and I am beyond excited for him. He is more than ready for it.

That is just hitting some of the hi-lights. So, provided life will slow down a little bit, I will be back soon to write about JSON Schema's, life with an EV (electric vehicle), and whatever else seems like a good topic at the time. Until then, kick back and relax.

Sprucing up the code examples....

I have recently decided to switch code examples to GitHub's Gist tool. I am currently in the process of switching out old code examples as time permits, please bear with me. I know that the old code blocks are a bit ugly.

I should also have some new posts dropping soon.

Asus Transformer Prime is charged but screen does not turn on.

I recently purchased and Asus Transformer Prime, and I love it. However a couple of nights ago I was sweating bullets thinking it might be dead. I had charged it up but the device appeared unresponsive when I attempted to turn it on.

I decided to hold the power button down for about a minute to see if I would get a response. Sure enough after about 40 seconds the unit vibrated, though the screen remained off. I recalled that it vibrates when turned off. I left it off for another minute, then I pushed the power button and was greeted with the boot screen. A minute later my Transformer was back on line and ready for use.

Please welcome: hellotecho.com

There is a new technology blog out on the internet, called hellotech.com

The idea behind hellotecho.com is a simple one, it consists of former echo developers sharing war stories and advice on our various areas of expertise and is a way of giving back to the development community.

My friend and colleague Doli Stepniewski came up with the idea. Doli is an incredibly brilliant technologist and I have had the pleasure of working with him both at SmartDM (now Acxiom Direct) and echo (a former TicketMaster company).

Stone Fort Technology turns 1!

My company, Stone Fort Technology LLC, officially turned 1 on July 10th 2010.

Our first year was great, by an large due to our friends at CompuPay. So a shameless plug for them... if you are looking for a payroll system, CompuPay has some really good tools. Check them out at: www.compupay.com

Stone Fort Technology (SFT, as I call it) is ready to serve all of your ColdFusion development needs. Got a project you need help with? Drop us an email and let's start the discussion.

Lose it! for the iPhone now has online back-up support

I really try not to endorse products too much, however I have to give props to those that have really worked for me.

Earlier this year (2009) I was looking for an iPhone app to help me track calories and the food I consume, as I had read that doing this can make a big difference in achieving weight loss goals. So I stumbled across "Lose it!" and have been rocking and rolling ever since. Adding it into my diet and exercise routine has made a world of difference. Best of all it is extremely easy to use. I highly recommend it.

All that said, my point here is that they just released a much needed update that allows users to create an online profile and back their data up to the website. Additionally they have added in community features so that you and your friends can provide encouragement to one another. I highly applaud the online backup and additional reporting capabilities.

This is a great product and if you need help watching your calories, give this a look. Check them out: www.loseit.com

Joel S. tells Developers to, "Updgrade your career"

I don't know if you read Joel on Software or not. I think it is certainly worth keeping up with if you are a software developer or an IT manager. His concepts on work environment are fantastic, but not for the faint of companies.

In one of his most recent articles Joel points out that most software developers are unhappy with their job and their work-place environment. You should check it out the article: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/11/05.html

I have worked at a number of places as a software developer over the past 10 years. My favorite to date was echomusic (or just echo). Did I have my own private office? No, in fact I gave up an office to take the job. Did I look forward to going into work every day? Yes. Yes I did. Why? Because they treated people well and they had an awesome workplace vibe and respect for each other.

As my own software company grows, I am going to try to mimic things that FogCreek and echo did in order to have a company that people want to work at. In my opinion more companies need to take a similar approach.

Stone Fort Technology logo

After much going back and forth, mostly on color and fonts, I have made a decision on the logo for Stone Fort Technology, here's a look:

Below is the original comps/ideas we received:

fooling around with "plus" addressing

Several month's ago I noticed that one of my webmail clients, SmarterMail, had an option called "Plus Addressing." I didn't have time to look into it at the time, but then I was looking around last night to see if there was an option to create or include a vCard when I send out an email and I ran across this again and decided to take a look at the feature.

For those that do not know, plus addressing allows you to easily create throw away email addresses. Here's an example: somebody+trash@somewhere.com

You see, the portion of the email address between the plus symbol and the @ is ignored by the email server and delivers it to the real account. On some email clients, like SmarterMail, you can specify that the item after the plus should be treated like a folder and that items should be moved to said folder if it exists. So in the example above it would land email into the trash folder.

Summer 2009 Pt.1

Hi all, I know I have been quieter than usual lately. Life post echo / TM has been busy. I spent six weeks taking care of my son, Connor, and setting up a business. Doing both at the same time was a little trickier than I anticipated.

My company is called Stone Fort Technology LLC, we provide software development and consulting services. We opened for business on August 3rd, 2009, and started work for our first client on August 5th.

Additionally I am working with a graphic designer to come up with a company logo, fonts and colors, etc. I am also working on a game plan to grow the business as well as laying out specs for a web-based software application that we will offer as a service.

More to come soon...

Ever wonder: Is the Bathroom Free?

... well if so, this web-site aims to answer that question.

http://www.isthebathroomfree.com/

Cracking down on SPAM with SmarterMail 5.x

A few months ago, I took on managing a couple other email domains for one of my personal clients. Since then, I've seen our SPAM levels rise. I have spent a little time tweaking spam restrictions for my domains off and on for a while, but recently I have started really cracking down.

If you are using SmarterMail, one thing you can do is add in content filtering. I've added in a domain wide filter based on domain names that, in my opinion, are spammers. The thing I love most about setting up the filter is that I can have the mail server send a bounce message back. I like this approach, because it should reduce the amount of this crap we get over time. That said, I've noticed that a number of these a-holes have a multiple domains and proceed to blindly send in a cycle day after day.

All that said, I'm compiling a list of suspected spam domains, and intend to make a file available with these for anyone that would like to use them. I've only been gathering these for about a week now, but here's my current list of offending domains:

aquaphorsolutes.com
carprodamerica.com
carprodusa.com
ganachetwos.info
gmtoffers.net
leveragedonline.com
myleaderobama.com
nesma.net.sa
ointproductions.info
ricknavalha.com
serviceslocks.info
shrunkonhunk.com
stillwatermountainq.com
truthsaturated.com
unitsettlement.net
viewhills.com
yourcreativenature.com

make your website better with bacon... (really)

The folks at bacolicio.us are here to make our lives better with bacon.

Example: http://bacolicio.us/http://yahoo.com

Post Holiday 2008 Wrap-up

First and foremost, I hope that everyone had a joyous holiday season in 2008. 2008 was certainly a bumpy year for the US and the world at large.

For Gillian and me the holiday season was quite busy between visiting friends, family, and getting ready for yet-to-be-named baby boy Parton. That's right we are expecting our first little one, and are ecstatic. He's due in May, so we've been busy get the house ready, looking into day care centers, etc. We know we are in for changes, and while we can anticipate many of them, I'm sure we are still in for plenty of surprises.

Tivo & Netflix Partnership

For those of us that are members of both Tivo and Netflix, there is good news on the horizon. Look's like the pair are partnering up to offer streaming Netflix flicks to your Tivo. (happy! happy! joy! joy!)

Read more at: http://www.tivo.com/mytivo/netflix-signup.html?WT.ac=tivohome_netflix_pressreleasedet_lnk

Flying Lessons

I'm a little (OK, a lot) bit late in blogging about this, but last January I took an introductory flying lesson and it was "da bomb!" This hour of fun was a present from my awesome wife.

I took my lesson at the Smyrna, TN airport at Wings of Eagles School of Flight. These guys are excellent and I look forward to going back some time.

Check them out at: http://www.wingsmqy.com/.

I've not continued my lessons for two good reasons: 1. I'm not a small guy, but the planes are tiny. So it's a little close for comfort. B. It's not cheap.

That said I'm working on the first item, by hitting the gym on a regular basis since September and letting my trainer, Mike, kick my butt on a regular basis with his workout routines.

Gas situation in the greater Nashville, TN area

For those of you outside of the TN area, Nashville has worked itself into a panic and run out of gas due to recent hurricane's in the gulf coast and their impact on the refineries there.

This video does a pretty good job of explaining the current, hopefully temporary, situation:

http://www.bubbleply.com/player.aspx?pid=35c56117-9bea-4ada-9430-921542072a89

Black & Blue Comedy at the Pond in Franklin

If you are in the Franklin, TN area and are looking for something to do on September 4th, check out the new comedy troupe Black & Blue at the Pond in Franklin.

My friend Scott will be the MC for the night.

Details:

Black and Blue Comedy @ the Pond in Franklin, TN
Thursday, September 4th 8:00 PM
$5 cover
 
Host: Christopher Scott
Featuring: Chris Loyd, Jason Steinhauser, Leslie Nash, Chris Cherry and Monty Mitchell.
Headliner: Chad Riden
 
The Pond is located at:
595 Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37064

I'm still alive, thanks for asking. :-)

Hi all. Yes, I'm still up and kicking. I've just been super busy lately. What with getting the lay of the land at Echo, figuring out how portions of echoTools work, and investigating how the Zend Framework works.
 
... in short, I've been having fun geeking out at work.
When sans-work, I've been catching up on movies and visiting with family and friends.
 
Here's a fun little link you might like: http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/
 
Chers! - Ted

A new gig on the row...

... I am joining the team at Echo (formerly Echo Music) on June 2nd. I'm thrilled to be joining the team. They are a hip marketing company that specializes in the music and entertainment industry.
As they say: Hello Echo | Hello. Hello.

OK, so Echo isn't a ColdFusion shop. What!? Not to worry, those of you who followed my SmartDM/Acxiom career may know that I spent a good deal of time planning to make their SmartDM Insight marketing platform internationalized & localized. Now, I'm going to help Echo do the same with their platform. While I'm at it, I'll pick up some of this PHP stuff along the way.

I missed my own good-bye lunch!

Today was my last day at CompuPay, and believe it or not, I missed a pizza lunch in my honor. It went a little something like this:

12:05pm -- cell phone rings, while I'm at lunch with my wife.

Me: Uh, hello?

Eric: Hey man, are you at lunch? We don't have an emergency or anything.
Me: Yeah, OK?
Eric: Well, it looks like we forgot to tell you, but the company is having a pizza lunch for you on your last day.
Me: Oh, I see. (laughs)

Needless to say, we all had a good laugh about it. I really do think it is hysterical that there was all this planning that went on, and yet no one mentioned it to the guest of honor. Oh well, who says you can't keep an a secret in today's office environment.

To my buddies at CompuPay: So long, and thanks for all the laughs...

...The rumors that I am leaving CompuPay are true. I have accepted another position elsewhere, more on that in an upcoming post ... in an upcoming post, in an upcoming post, in an upcoming post... (is there an echo in here?)

My last day at CompuPay is Friday, May 23rd. I have made several good friends here. Shawn, Eric and I made a good team. We were able to knock out an impressive amount of work, and I'm positive that PowerPayroll and XpressPayroll are now better products than they were when Shawn and I started last October. I'm most impressed with how much Eric has learned about ColdFusion in such a short time.

Hello Tivo

For years I have had a Comcast DVR and I have even attempted to build my DVR, but as of a couple of days ago I have delved into the world of Tivo.

So why Tivo? For me it was a combo of:

  • It is networkable and networked Tivo's can share recordings.
  • Hooked to broadband, you can download content from third parties like Amazon's Unbox and other services.. it would be really cool if it would talk with Netflix.
  • I've always heard that it has a better interface than Comcast's DVR
  • I'm tired of renting equipment that has periodic increases -- even though I did not get new equipment when the price was increased. Thanks Comcast, love you too!
  • All that said, I'm also an HDTV junkie. I have a problem, I really do. I have three HD set's and only two of them have HD service. But that will be a problem of the past as soon as I get my digital cable card installed into the Tivo box.

    With a little luck, and perhaps some kool-aid, I will probably be a Tivo devotee(sp?) a week from now. ;-)

    Where do you shop for Technical Books?

    Often times I hear developers complaining about the high cost of technology books. I'm right there with them. So many of the books feel over priced. In particular, you hate to buy one only to find out as you dig into it that it really isn't what you were looking for.

    So what do I do? Well for starters I buy the majority of my computer books at BookPool.com. They always have good prices and they run great specials throughout the year. I have bought books from them since 2000.

    In fact, I will even tell you that they do not currently have a ton of customer reviews and ratings on their books. Because of that, I often look up the books at Amazon, then compare the price at BookPool. In most cases BookPool beats Amazon's price.

    As for is this book really what I'm looking for. Well unless you have a local book store that happens to have the book in stock, its hard to say. But at least with BookPool, you can save some bucks.

    Disclaimer: I use BookPool's service on a regular basis and am just passing word on to my fellow software developers and tech heads. I have not been paid for this endorsement.

    iPhone WiFi Tip

    As I blogged earlier, I purchased an iPhone in late January. While setting it up, I ran into an issue with the WiFi. The problem was that while the iPhone could see my network and it could ping other devices on my network, it could not access the internet via my router.

    As it turns out the issue was related to my DNS setup on the iPhone. By default the iPhone had registered the IP address of my router (or gateway, if you will) in addition to the DNS entries I had listed DSL modem configuration. I decided to remove all of the entries, except for my router's IP.

    Ba-da-bing, ba-da-bam! That did the trick. All of a sudden I was merrily surfing over my WiFi connection. It's been smooth sailing since then.

    I have ran into the same issue at some open WiFi spots around town as well. So keep this quick solution in mind.

    ThrillPlanet.com Warning Part Deux

    As an updated to my earlier PSA / Review of Thrill Planet (www.thrillplanet.com) and their various incarnations, I thought I would post a couple of links to some related articles.

    From ComplainsBoard.com: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/yes-it-is-a-scam-c14757.html

    PSA: Buyer beware of ThrillPlanet.com

    I consider this a Public Service Announcement.

    Last Christmas my wife purchased a gift-card from ThrillPlanet.com for a Discovery Flight. The idea of it, is by far one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the folks at ThrillPlanet.com may be defrauding the public. Since September of 2007 I have tried to use my gift card, but have been unable to do so thus far. Where did the problems start?

    First the phone number on the gift card were to their sales line. I was then given another phone number to the agent line for booking. When calling the agent line, two out of three calls result in getting a voice mail box. I have left more than half-a-dozen voice mails, none of which were returned. One in three calls, I actually talked to someone who took some information, told me that they had a flight school in my area and would call me back in 1-2 days with a scheduled date & time. So far, I have talked to 4 different agents and have received zero return calls. Moreover the email address on their website bounced back as an invalid email address.

    On around Thanksgiving of 2007, I decided to do a search on this company (as you may have done) and soon discovered that several other folks have had issues using this service as well. As of December 4, 2007, I am still and unsatisfied customer who believes that a loved one was ripped off $100.00.

    I'm not saying that they are a scam. But my experience has left a decidedly bad taste and I cannot recommend them to anyone. Bottom Line: Buyer Beware!

    BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden. This blog is running version 5.8.001.