jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/12/02/beginning-magento.

A month and a half ago I switched to a new job at SpireMedia as the 'Director of PHP Development', which so far has largely meant 'Drupal Guru', a position that I'm quite enjoying.

However, an interesting addition to Drupal is that we're starting up on Magento projects, starting with a website for a company that sells items with legal restrictions on how items are sold and shipped, and which already has a computer system for fulfillment of orders. This means that we need to not only set up a Magento site, but we need to add new rules for these legal restrictions and we're going to need to be able to talk to the existing system to pass data back and forth.

Read more... )
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So, I'm originally from Maryland, so when I started reading a thread on Christmas and came across someone talking about the Maryland state song, I was amused to find out that it uses the tune from 'Oh Christmas Tree' but has lyrics about resisting the Northern Oppressor.

Apparently a few decades ago some thought was put to change this, and naturally the folks at All Things Considered decided to 'help' with their own lyrics:

1.

We've got some hills, we've got some trees,
We sing in four-part harmonies.
There's shopping malls and city halls
And cats and dogs and ponds with frogs.

But none of us has ever meant
To overthrow the government.
From Baltimore to Hagerstown,
Just take your car and drive around.

2.

We touch four states and several bays,
The highways mostly run two ways,
We hope you come and say hello
And maybe stop and spend some dough.

We're near the nation's capital
But we are not stuck up at all.
So take a stand and shake the hand
Of every crab in Maryland.

3.

I have a dog whose name was Jack.
I threw a stick, he brought it back.
My sister had a cat, I think.
My mother had a kitchen sink.

My father was a decent man
And we all lived in Maryland.
O Maryland! O Maryland!
O Maryland! O Maryland!

4.

Our nights are dark, our days are fair,
We're right next door to Delaware.
Our song before was full of gore,
But then the Union won the war.

We're sorry if we made you mad.
It was the only song we had.
O Maryland! O Maryland!
O Maryland! O Maryland!

These were apparently written by Larry Massett, and are copied from "Every Night at Five. Susan Stamberg's All Things Considered Book". Enjoy!
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/10/25/o-maryland.

So, I'm originally from Maryland, so when I started reading a thread on Christmas and came across someone talking about the Maryland state song, I was amused to find out that it uses the tune from 'Oh Christmas Tree' but has lyrics about resisting the Northern Oppressor.

Apparently a few decades ago some thought was put to change this, and naturally the folks at All Things Considered decided to 'help' with their own lyrics:

1.

We've got some hills, we've got some trees,
We sing in four-part harmonies.
There's shopping malls and city halls
And cats and dogs and ponds with frogs.

But none of us has ever meant
To overthrow the government.
From Baltimore to Hagerstown,
Just take your car and drive around.

2.

We touch four states and several bays,
The highways mostly run two ways,
We hope you come and say hello
And maybe stop and spend some dough.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/09/20/so-its-heck-day.

Two big things happened today.

The first, is that my wife Tammy flew off with little Rose to visit her family in North Carolina. She's got a lot of family members down there, and they're all going to spoil that kid good and rotten. On the other hand, I get to go bachelor for a bit. My two big plans are to see 'The Dark Knight Returns' and attend BrethrenCon.

The second is that I turned in notice at Examiner.com, and I've accepted a new position at SpireMedia. I'm looking forward to the new job - I once consulted at Spire, and we liked each other so much that we've been trying to get together for another job since then. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Oh, and my D&D game got cancelled due to a few people not showing up, which sucks a little, but I think I'll live.

jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/09/03/rock-bye-baby-revision.

Rock a Bye Baby, Safe in my arms.
Shut your wee eyes, and trust in sleep's charms.
When you awake, then Mommy will see,
just what a good baby, Rosie can be!

A different set of words that are a bit less creepy to sing to your child. Naturally, you'll want to change the name in the last line.

jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/08/27/useful-drupal-module-stage-drupal-proxy.

Here's a useful module that I keep forgetting the name of, so I wanted to note it down: Stage File Proxy. It's not something you use for a live site, it's something you use while developing.

The basic idea is this: you're working on a site that's since gone live, making changes for the client. It's easy enough to get a copy of the database, but the files can be a pain to keep replacing, interlacing test files with live images. Stage File Proxy fixes this by snooping in on imagecache and, when a file is missing, then it grabs it off of the live site, copies it to the local directory, and then you've got the file locally and all your imagecache files get generated for you!

There's a version for six and for seven, and there's no ui for it yet, although there is a patch for it. Then again, once you've got the simple settings done, you don't need to worry about them again!

jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/08/26/boardgames-old-and-new.

Although I don't play them as often as I might, I'm still deeply interested in boardgames. The surprising announcement that Fantasy Flight Games was releasing a new edition of the Netrunner collectable card game as one of their limited card games, where each package of cards has exactly the same contents was just the beginning. They're re-theming the game to their Android world, and titling it as , and dribbled information out to old and new fans of the game slowly in a lead-up to GenCon, where they were astounded to sell out of the game within ten minutes of the exhibitor hall opening. Things got rather heated on the boardgamegeek forums about that situation, but honestly, if you'ld offered me 2:1 odds on betting if Netrunner would sell out a decade after it had originally appeared, I'd have taken the 'no' bet and considered it certain money.

Read more... )
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This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/06/13/get-real-review.

Get Real by Donald E. Westlake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read more... )
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Boy, having a kid changes how you do stuff.

Way back a year ago, before I had had to stop freelancing to get insurance, I was a fairly early user of http://www.kickstarter.com/, enjoying searching the site and finding things to put money down on. This was way before the explosion of board game kickstarters, and so when the kickstarter for Rolling Freight showed up I was all in on a copy. For one, my wife runs the train gaming at GenghisCon and is a major train gamer, and I thought she'd probably find having a copy of this useful. For another, I had a lot of disposable income when I was freelancing. I figured it would have been a great Christmas present for Tammy last year, but production of the game dragged on, and amusingly enough I got the package only a few days shy of the first anniversary of when the kickstarter finished.

But, however much time it took to finally get the game, it did finally arrive, and recently (after Rose was abed) Tammy and I dug it out for a quick game. We liked it, so we brought it along to a gaming meetup locally and gave it another try, although we weren't able to finish the game because of Rose needing to go.

Basically, it's a fun game. The system involves rolling a bunch of color-sided dice for 'resources', but a fair number of things can be bought partially or totally with just generic dice, so a few bad rolls don't set you too far back. Unlike the crayon rail games, the possible tracks are fixed between towns, and it's the demands that are set and the supply of goods that is (mostly) random.

It's a lot of fun, but if I were to put down one piece of advice, it's this: The rules say you can only deliver one load per turn... so that means that on every turn, it's important to try and deliver a load. You won't always be able to, and there might be good reasons not to this turn - but it's something you need to get done.

In other news, I'm refocusing my regular gaming on online games. It's getting difficult to play games in real life, because that involves a regular chunk of time out of my life where I need to leave home... which is something that my wife frowns on because she'd like some company in the evenings. Or, it's a game at home, and then my wife gets pretty distracted by babystuff and doesn't really get to game.

So, when a coworker of mine proposed an online Pathfinder game, I decided to go for it. I've never really played Pathfinder before, but I've got piles upon piles of 3.5 manuals, so it's not that different. I enjoy wizards, often, so this time I went with trying out the Summoner class, which is a sorcerer variant which is able to summon something that levels with him, in addition to piles of Summon Monster spells. It's a bit complex to build, as I'm effectively creating two different characters, but we played our first game last week and so far I'm enjoying how it goes.
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/05/26/rolling-freight-and-pathfinder.

Boy, having a kid changes how you do stuff.

Way back a year ago, before I had had to stop freelancing to get insurance, I was a fairly early user of http://www.kickstarter.com/, enjoying searching the site and finding things to put money down on. This was way before the explosion of board game kickstarters, and so when the kickstarter for Rolling Freight showed up I was all in on a copy. For one, my wife runs the train gaming at GenghisCon and is a major train gamer, and I thought she'd probably find having a copy of this useful. For another, I had a lot of disposable income when I was freelancing. I figured it would have been a great Christmas present for Tammy last year, but production of the game dragged on, and amusingly enough I got the package only a few days shy of the first anniversary of when the kickstarter finished.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2012/02/20/empress-mars-kage-baker.

The Empress of Mars by Kage Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This here is a great book. I'd picked it up on a whim, used, without knowing much about it other than it says it's one of Kage Baker's "The Company" series.

Amusingly, it's not obviously part of that series, and if you're worried about picking this book up and not knowing what's going on, don't worry - there's no obvious metaplot here, and although it's apparently part of the future history of her series, there's no reference to any other part of it.

Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2011/11/21/its-not-easy-shop-baby.

It's not easy to go out with a Baby. This is obvious to the parents out there, who are cheerfully laughing at my naiveté - I can only point out to them that they were in my shoes, once.

But it is hard. For one, there's preparation - you've got to pack the baby into the carseat, make sure you've got enough diapers in the bag and bring that along, and probably a blanket or two, this time of year. You then have to wrestle it all into the car, and take off. Upon arriving at any destination you need to unpack the baby, possibly also the stroller, and set off. Going anywhere costs extra energy just getting in and out of the car, and as you're out and about with the baby she gets tired and cranky. You don't really stop anywhere on a whim, you tend to plan everything you do. I'm sure this will ease up as Rose gets older, but it's hard.

jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2011/11/18/drupal-7-and-jquery-cookie-plugin.

Here's a quick snippet I just found out today: The jquery cookie plugin is presented as part of Drupal 7. This is really cool and useful, but I must note that it's not automatically included on every page load, so you'll want to include it if you want to use it, and as well it doesn't seem to actually be documented anywhere on drupal.org.

Happily, the original documentation for the plugin is at https://github.com/carhartl/jquery-cookie/blob/master/README.rdoc, and is pretty good, although I suggest reading it through at least twice, as at first I missed that you can read, as well as set, cookies with this. Basically the parameters are the cookie name, the cookie value, and then an options object which says the expiration, the path, the domain, and such. Note that the expiration can _either_ be a date, or a number of days.

Hopefully this will help other folks out with using the jquery cookie plugin with Drupal 7.

jcfiala: (Default)
John Scalzi is doing a bunch of posts this month about things he's thankful for, and I thought I might follow suit.

I'm thankful for - my family.

Really. They're great. I never met my Grandfathers that I can clearly remember, but both of my Grandmothers were helpful, supportive, and loving. My parents are great parents - again, supportive, loving, fun, helpful, etc. My Mom would pull me out of school to go to the first baseball game of the season. My Dad was willing to stop whatever he was doing and explain anything I had a question about. They respected my privacy and personal space when it made sense to, and intervened when necessary, such as the time I hid a report card in my closet so I wouldn't have to deal with the low grades. (Yeah, that's stupid, but I was a kid, y'know.) My brothers are fun too - I don't talk to them as much as I should, but then they don't call me much either. And besides, I suspect Bill's upset at all the times I would jump out of dark corners at him, still.

I hear a lot of crap about other people's families, from a to z, problems and confusions and issues. Me, I won the lottery of families, and if I can manage to be as good a parent to Rose as my parents were to me, then I'll have done a good job.

Thanks guys.
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2011/11/01/things-be-thankful-my-parents.

John Scalzi is doing a bunch of posts this month about things he's thankful for, and I thought I might follow suit.

I'm thankful for - my family.

Read more... )
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Trying to install py.test in order to get stuff tested in trying to convert Byakhee over to python, and to do that a few links were useful.

1) http://stackoverflow.com/q/4750806/9143 told me the basics for installing pip, which is needed to install py.test.

However, that lead to other problems, because the Windows 7 64 bit doesn't register the program the way that the easy_install installer thinks it should.

2) http://tech.valgog.com/2010/01/after-installing-64-bit-windows-7-at.html contains instructions on getting Python installed properly. All I had to do was to copy the python script into a file (which I named register_python.py) and run it.

Step 2 let me install the easy_install installer from step 1, which let me install pip. And now, that let me install py.test.
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2011/09/25/python-notes.

Trying to install py.test in order to get stuff tested in trying to convert Byakhee over to python, and to do that a few links were useful.

1) http://stackoverflow.com/q/4750806/9143 told me the basics for installing pip, which is needed to install py.test.

However, that lead to other problems, because the Windows 7 64 bit doesn't register the program the way that the easy_install installer thinks it should.

2) http://tech.valgog.com/2010/01/after-installing-64-bit-windows-7-at.html contains instructions on getting Python installed properly. All I had to do was to copy the python script into a file (which I named register_python.py) and run it.

Step 2 let me install the easy_install installer from step 1, which let me install pip. And now, that let me install py.test.

jcfiala: (Default)
Had a lovely day out today, including some time spent at our friends Mike and Anna's house for some gaming and conversation.

Couldn't stay late, though, as we had a free invite to a 'Just Between Friends' event. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but it's pretty awesome for a new parent - they're a periodical consignment shop entirely about the new parent. We'd already bought quite a lot of great baby stuff from them, but one of the things they're really wizard with is clothing - outfits for 1-4 dollars apiece blows away the prices in the malls. This time we went through and got:

  1. A new carseat and base for $15. (I was going to get just the base, but those were $20. Go figure!)

  2. A box of about 166 size 1 diapers for $20.

  3. About 15-17 outfits, god knows, really

  4. A changing table pad to put Rose on so she doesn't roll off downstairs, $4

  5. And a little plastic cage to wash baby bottle bits in, for a buck.



Basically, in total, $86 for what we bought, and another $5 for the parking, as it's over at the National Western Stockshow, and there's no free parking around there. But if you're in Denver, they're around for about a week.

Used clothes (and other baby stuff) is a life-saver when you've got a kid whose clothes sizes are rated in months. Yay frugality!
jcfiala: (Default)

This is a blog post copied from John's Website - please feel free to join him there and post comments. He has set up openid, so you can post there with your livejournal account using your openid, which is the same as your journal url minus the http://. You can find this entry at http://www.jcfiala.net/blog/2011/09/24/just-between-friends-consignment-shop-happiness.

Had a lovely day out today, including some time spent at our friends Mike and Anna's house for some gaming and conversation.

Couldn't stay late, though, as we had a free invite to a 'Just Between Friends' event. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but it's pretty awesome for a new parent - they're a periodical consignment shop entirely about the new parent. We'd already bought quite a lot of great baby stuff from them, but one of the things they're really wizard with is clothing - outfits for 1-4 dollars apiece blows away the prices in the malls. This time we went through and got:

  1. A new carseat and base for $15. (I was going to get just the base, but those were $20. Go figure!)
  2. A box of about 166 size 1 diapers for $20.
  3. About 15-17 outfits, god knows, really
  4. A changing table pad to put Rose on so she doesn't roll off downstairs, $4
  5. And a little plastic cage to wash baby bottle bits in, for a buck.
Read more... )
jcfiala: (Default)
So, being a Father has continued being fun. And it really is, mostly. Rose is a 'quiet' child, which doesn't mean that she doesn't have those times when she's screaming her lungs out, but does mean that there are nice, long stretches of time when she sleeps.

When we're lucky, she sleeps during the nighttime.

Happily, my wife Tammy is being very generous and mostly lets me sleep through the night unless it's a really bad night and she needs another man on deck to handle the baby while she gets some rest, which happily doesn't happen that often. Otherwise it's feedings - mostly Tammy's responsibility, since we're breastfeeding - diaper changes, and so on. Diaper changing is mostly pretty easy, although occasionally you run into a problem with her deciding to go while you're changing her... whoops!

This is why they sell the diapers by the crate. I figure the small sizes of diapers are for when you've got an emergency on the go, or something, and just need to get a diaper, just like when you go by the convenience store and lay down an astronomical amount for four eggs, or for milk.

She's growing really well, and we can feel her progress as we pick her up or as we try to fit her into her clothes. She's stretching some of the newborn sized outfits now, so I won't be surprised when we move on to the next stage, the '0-3 months' sizes. If you haven't looked, really young kids clothes are sized by age.

Back in May, I talked to the folks at Sourceforge about becoming a project admin for Byakhee, an old free character creator for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and then ended up doing almost nothing with it. The program had been created and updated by David Harvey for a number of years, and then he'd mostly dropped off the face of the earth - undoubtedly he's got other interests now. In any case, before he disappeared he'd moved the code onto sourceforge and set it up as an open source project.

The original code is Microsoft C++, a language I'm not vary familiar with, although from exposure with Java, C, and other C-descended languages I can get by in it. The problem is that the version then available for download (3.01, I think), it didn't actually work on Windows 7.

Happily, I've got a copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional that I got at (of all things) Drupalcamp LA two years ago. Basically, Microsoft was a sponsor of Drupalcamp LA, and as such had a couple of sessions where they presented on things. I (and about four other people) showed up for one of these sessions, at the end of which they handed out copies of Visual Studio. I cranked it up, and happily it held me by the hand and showed me where in the code it couldn't work, and I was able to use the error messages and some googling to update the code to the point where it now works.

Unfortunately, I don't know how much further I can take it. The code is generally pretty good, but I'm just not interested in learning enough in how to do things to add new things to it. Also, there's people who want to use it with Macs, and I don't think there's any reasonable way to do that. So, I want to rewrite it in Python. After some investigation, I think I'm going to use the 2.7 version - there's a os-independent windowing system ( http://wxpython.org ) which I want to use that wants 2.7, and it seems that's the version that Macs are more likely to use.

One of the things I've found myself doing is holding Rose when Tammy needs to sleep. Friday night was a really heavy night for that. I found that if I sit down, with pacifier at hand, I can cradle Rose until she goes to sleep, and then hold her while she sleeps. (If we set her down to sleep too quickly, she starts to cry.) So, I sit back and watch trashy anime that Tammy doesn't want to see. Starting Friday, I started watching 'High School of the Dead'. Basically, it's the zombie apocalypse, and a bunch of high schoolers are trying to fight their way to safety. Really, only the first two episodes involve a high school, but the name still works. It's really trashy - there's lots of gratuitous death scenes, 'kill me before I turn into a zombie' scenes, and tons of shots of the various girls' breasts and panties. Lots, and lots... let's just say they could use the same opening credits if they ever made a XXX-rated parody of the series.

But, you know, trashy guilty pleasures are still a pleasure, and when you're holding onto a baby at 3am so she'll fall asleep, you need something simple and easy to follow, and this sure fits the bill.

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