Rambling On…

Wordle — 11/03/2008


Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.

I spent way more time wordling yesterday than I care to admit here. It was kind of mesmerizing. I made one by entering the main LBnuke URL and a bunch by entering the feed URL. The ones with “Things” as the big word is from the feed and contains words from a broader search than the one with “Time” as the big word. I liked how changing the colors and layouts affected which words stood out the most when viewing the images. Of course the largest ones always stood out the most, but color brightness and word orientation made a big difference in some cases too. There is a gallery at the Wordle site containing images from other people’s wordles. I found the ones from the presidential and vice presidential debates pretty interesting. All images in this gallery were created at Wordle.net.

Should I rename LBnuke? — 10/17/2008

Should I rename LBnuke?

question markI started LBnuke in 2003 as an experiment with PostNuke, a php/mysql content management system. It was my first experience with php, mysql, content management systems, and open source software. I named this site after that software. It is no longer powered by PostNuke. I converted it to WordPress a couple of years ago.

Sometimes, I wonder if the name is outdated and I should change it. Other times, I am very attached to the name because discovering this type of technology was a life-changing (or at least work-changing) event. In the 5 years since I started this site, I have become highly skilled at working with these types of systems and related technologies. Somewhere along the way, I crossed the line between web designer and web developer. Since I am not a graphic artist and am most comfortable thinking in programming logic, my passion and interest for this type of work has grown exponentially since that time.

I am also a bit of a domain name whore. I have about 15 domain names that are waiting to find a home. I like the idea of using some form of my name or identity in the name of this site, since it is my personal site. I consider ‘bee’ to be part of my identity since it has been a nickname for so long.

If anyone would like to help me with this decision, please answer the poll. Any input is appreciated!

Thanks for voting! This poll has been closed and I still haven’t made a decision. Please feel free to comment with ideas, suggestions, etc.

Poll Results:

The Candidates — 10/10/2008
Baltimore — 09/25/2008


LB and K at the party

LB and K at the party

Mon 9/22/08 10:46am

On the plane from Baltimore to Oakland, stop in Denver. Had lots of fun in Baltimore. We went to an overnight birthday party for a couple of K’s friends that were turning 40 and had a great time. I really like K’s Maryland people. I am strangely comfortable around them. They remind me of people from Buffalo. The party went all night. At some point, I got tired of people and went to read in the living room. Most of the people were outside. I was happy that I had a book I could read. Got a Robert Ludlum book at the airport. The Ambler Warning. It’s a fast reader that does not require a full attention span. Other people started coming in and reading too after a while. I thought that was pretty funny. There were some books on the coffee table. K kept bringing people over to say hi and hang out for little bits of time. That was fun too. Little spurts of party.

The next day was fun too. Lots of people had slept over and others came back in the morning. After the party, we went to Kim’s place and then out for a drink. On the way home, she gave us a great tour of her neighborhood. I love tours with stories and she know a lot about her neighborhood. It was great to get to see her again after such a short time.

The first night we went to a restaurant/bar that a couple of K’s friends are opening soon. The place was amazing! Huge. They were building most things themselves, including booths and other assorted furniture from old church pews. It was fun to hang out there. Can’t wait to go back when it is open. We also helped K’s folks with their new fiber optic tv system. It was nice to be able to do that. Some stuff that is very hard for them is very easy for us. K will help them some more tomorrow. She is not coming home until Thursday.

I am looking forward to being home. Have work to do. Server was down for a while yesterday. Of course it has to happen when I am out of town. Got stuck in a loop and was overloading the CPU. A reboot fixed it, but today I got an email that the main hard drive partition might be dying and needs to be repaired or replaced. The server will need to be down for 1-4 hours. Crap. I told the techs to monitor it and reboot if it goes down again, but to wait until 3am US eastern time to take it down. I think it will affect the least amount of people at that time. Update: It did not go down again and is repaired now.

I met with the business consultant again before I left. New plan is to meet twice a month for 2 months, 2 hours each time. We covered a lot of ground in 2 hours. Got the basics of a contract written for my next project. Should be able to easily adapt it for other projects. We spoke some about pricing and how I need to raise mine and also about some other ideas I have that will bring in some steady income.

I am trying a new system of tracking hours. Only got to try it once before I left, but it actually worked. I was reading an article by David Seah that described a system where you set a timer to go off every 15 minutes and then fill in ovals on a piece of paper to track what you are doing when the timer goes off. I don’t do well with paper systems and the online version was alpha and not quite my style, so I combined some programs that I already had to do a similar thing. I set up a spreadsheet in Numbers with a sheet for each project, then set a calendar alarm to open up a 15 minute repeating timer in Alarm Clock Pro every weekday morning at 8am. The timer is set to make the spreadsheet pop up every 15 minutes. When it pops up, I just check a box for the project I am working on. The spreadsheet keeps track of how many hours I have worked on each project for each month by counting the checkboxes and dividing by 4 to get time in hours.

Turbulence. Hate it. The lady who was sitting next to me at the beginning of the flight kindly gave up her seat to another lady with a baby. She got free drinks for doing it. I usually don’t like being near kids on planes because they are loud, but I don’t mind it so much at the moment. Cute kid. Nice mom. Some screaming when they first got settled, but quiet now. My ears are clogged anyway. Enough writing for now.

Thu 9/25/08 3:54am

I never did get around to posting that. It is nice to be home. K is coming home tomorrow. I can’t wait to see her 🙂 We both have a little time off before going back to work. I am hoping to use the time to do some business stuff that I hardly ever have time to do. Today I set up an online project management system to make it easier to communicate and share files with clients. It is very similar to Basecamp, only open source, free, prettier, and hosted on my own server. Currently, I am using it to manage my hosting affililate program project. The affiliate system is ready to go, but still needs a couple of web pages, graphics for banner ads, and text ad copy. I am also thinking of starting a newsletter to send to clients and other interested people every few months. I would like to announce the launch of the affiliate program in the first one. Hopefully I can get that done this week because I have a big project starting soon.

It is 4:06am. I think I should go to sleep. Jetlag.

Taking Care of Business — 09/12/2008

Taking Care of Business

I have officially given up on voc rehab to help me with my business. I’ve been working with them for over 3 years and am tired of not doing other things because of waiting for them to help.

The last straw was when I was going to do a 10 week business program in my community. I got approved on the condition that I had a tutor to help me process the information. Karen was willing to do it, but since she works full time it would be best to find someone else. The rehab people acted like they could help find one but kept putting us off. By the time we gave up and decided to do it anyway, there were no more spots left in the program.

I did some research and found a business consultant who I will meet with for a few months. Her job is to help me structure my business so that I make more money. I met with her last week and she had some great ideas. Seems to think my case is easy because I already have clients. I hope she is right! I am excited about it.

Last month, I finally had time to fix Aspieland and the Autistic Planet Store. I will probably move the store away from printfection when I have some time because I don’t like that they charge more for larger sizes and there is no way to equalize it. Still, better than no store at all.

Soon I will start a hosting affiliate program. I have the backend set up where affiliates would log in to their accounts, but need to make some banner ads and publicize it. I will post an announcement when I get it all together. It will be a good way for me to get more hosting clients and for whoever becomes an affiliate to make some extra money.

My friend Kim was here last week. It was great to see her and we had lots of fun wandering around San Francisco. By strange coincidence, me and K are going to Baltimore next week and will see her again!

Done uploading files now. Time to get back to work.

Strange Dreams — 08/24/2008

Strange Dreams

Frida Kahloseriously strange night. started last night. nightmares. a string of them but i don’t remember most. the last one woke me up and it was horrible. don’t remember most of it just the end. too horrible to write about. wish i could stop thinking about it. at least buster is okay. buster’s our littlest cat for those out of the k&l crazy cat lady loop.

woke up disoriented. me and k went to the sfmoma to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. it was great of course, but definitely did not help with my grasp of reality. started feeling weird again this evening. hard to tell what is real. i hate that. it scares me. feels like a current of electricity is moving through me. not high voltage like sometimes when i can’t stop moving. lower like a fizzle. everything seems kind of surreal. get confused. playing boggle w/k helped for a little while. haven’t played that in a long time. it was under the bed. watched eureka on tv. strange episode. space time continuum mind mess kind of stuff. strange day to have such extra strange media on. spent a short time in azeroth as well.

so, back to the dream. it freaks me completely out and i wake up. k wakes up and i tell her not to remind me that i had a bad dream if i forgot when i woke up for real. i usually forget. couldn’t forget this one. actually, forgot most of it. just remember the end. maybe stuck in my mind forever. might write about it if i thought it would help, but i don’t think it will and i think it would get stuck in someone else’s mind and that would be very bad.

after boggle tried to read. or maybe that was before, but fiction is also another bad place to be when you are not completely at grips with your grip on reality. no idea if that made any sense. don’t care. just writing to come back. couldn’t sleep. this is night 2 for those following along at home. not last night of the bad dream. had bad dreams anyway, but not as bad. just weird. electricity. freezing but it is not freezing here. was having trouble breathing earlier. not real trouble. the kind like before. real, but not really real. what? see what i mean? finally had to get up. sleep was not happening. hopefully it will eventually come.

wasn’t sure what to do. should i write? apparently so since that is the first thing i started doing. thought about playing but not really the best time to enter yet another world. thought about turning on im to see if maybe tc is awake. still might do that. would be nice to say hi. i think i will do that now. adium. i love adium. just as i suspected. hi tc.

sometimes writing helps find reality again. always a good thing. i think. when i get like this sometimes i have flashbacks to being a kid when this kind of thing used to happen. way more often than it does now. didn’t scare me like it does now. didn’t even know it was a problem. maybe it wasn’t. but now i’m not so sure. as suspected, writing is helping and i believe that I am back in the present moment of the present universe. thank goodness for that. electricity not gone yet. that part might be hormonal. funny how total randomness can occur at the same time each month. but it is not time to think about the actual randomness or non-randomness of randomly non-random things. seriously, this is what i am writing AFTER i have come back to reality? oy.

im-ing w/tc now. that is helping. thanks tc 🙂

tc is going to make an alt on my server, the scryers. that makes me happy. i will meet her there and show her around.

an offsite backup just started. mozy. so many automatic backups i can’t even keep track. i sure do hope they work when i need them. usually they do. almost always i can save something from time machine or daily clone. there have been a few times going in the way back archive machine that have saved my butt with client files.

wordpress 2.6 saves post revisions. have used it a bunch of times already.

backup is done. in game with tc.

that was fun. tc started a little druid and we leveled her to 2. nice to hang w/tc. feel better now. strangely enough going to azeroth landed me back in oakland.

Tawn and Teruna dancing in the road

Tawn and Teruna dancing in the road.

Work, WordCamp, Dolly, Autiblogger, and .me — 08/14/2008

Work, WordCamp, Dolly, Autiblogger, and .me

WordCamp 2008This week started out kind of insane. Nearly all of my clients wanted things at once. It hurt my brain pretty bad, but somehow I managed to get almost everything done. To make matters worse, my work environment has become somewhat of an ergonomic nightmare. I fixed my wrist problem by switching to a trackball, wearing a brace, and putting the arms back on my chair. Unfortunately, the chair arms led to bad pain in my shoulder. Oy.

I worked all day Tuesday without a break and by evening, I was in some pretty bad pain. I fantasized about taking ibuprofen all day, but it makes me tired and I had too much work to do. Fortunately, I am married to a genius! Karen started rubbing my shoulders and I could feel huge relief spread though my whole body. She suggested that I get a real massage. Suddenly, I was filled with hope. I could get relief! We called a place that has relatively cheap massages and booked the 2 appointments they had for 9pm.

Turns out that you get what you pay for, but even still it was great and fixed my pain. Only problem was that neither of our massagers listened to what we asked for. K’s kept doing things too hard even after repeated requests to stop. My person asked if I had any specific requests. I told her the parts that hurt and asked her to concentrate on those parts and ignore the rest. My main request other than my painful shoulder was my hands. My hands almost always hurt. She did not even touch my hands. Suddenly it was over and my whole body was relaxed except for my hands. They were still in pain and in a total state of tease, still tingling from the anticipation that they would get some relief. Oh well. The rest of my body still feels good.

Wordcamp is this Saturday! I am very excited. Wordcamp is tied with Macworld as my favorite geek event of the year. Perhaps not so coincidentally, those are the only two geek events that I can afford to go to. Always nice to be around other geeks and share in the WordPress love.

Me and K saw Dolly Parton at the Greek last week. She was totally awesome and played about 12 different instruments over the course of the show. She also told lots of stories and laughed a lot and generally made it impossible not to have a great time.

I finally updated Autiblogger yesterday from WordPress MU 1.3 to WPMU 2.6. Had a few problems with the .htaccess file which were pretty easy to fix and blank admin pages all around due to a plugin incompatibility, but the upgrade was pretty smooth otherwise. Hopefully it will help with the splogs.

The last exciting bit of news is that I got a few more .me domains. I think I am done for now, especially considering I am not completely sure what to do with the five I now have:

  • lorib.me
  • beeis.me
  • killerbee.me
  • primarykey.me
  • whatiswrongwith.me

I am considering changing the name of this site to either lorib.me, beeis.me, or primarykey.me. The name LBnuke is kind of outdated considering it was named after software that is no longer used on this site (PostNuke). primarykey.me cracks me up, but will be lost on non-database geeks, and possibly even on them too. K hates it. lorib.me is appropriate but kind of boring. beeis.me is nice because saying it makes me happy.

killerbee.me and whatiswrongwith.me were just too good to pass up. Hopefully I will find a good use for them someday.

If anyone has any thoughts on a new name for this site and/or what to do with the other names, please leave a comment.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog — 07/17/2008

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Joss Whedan. Neil Patrick Harris. So good. Watch it.

All acts will stay up until midnight Sunday July 20th. Then they will vanish into the night, like a phantom.

Thanks to ma.tt for the tip!

The Who and Other Good Things — 07/14/2008

The Who and Other Good Things

Pete TownshendI am still having a very hard time with school, but I am tired of whining about it. Decided to take a break from driving myself insane and not getting anything done. It is several hours later and I realize that I am not miserable and exhausted anymore. Doesn’t help my school situation any, but it did wonders for my brain. Suddenly it is filled with happy things.

Saturday night, there was a VH1 Rock Honors show at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. It will be aired on VH1 on Thursday. VH1 has been having tons of Who stuff on lately. Makes me happy. The Who is one of my favorite bands of all time, and in particular, the one that made my teenagerhood bearable. Lots of performers played at the show including The Who, Pearl Jam, and Tenacious D. I also love the D.

Karate was very fun today. Only did actual karate for half the time, then heard some great stories about martial arts history and got to see a bunch of cool videos of our teacher learning from “the professor” (Professor Chow, I think). I love that kind of stuff. I like Kenpo. It is a lot like Cuong Nhu, but with more emphasis on the Chinese styles than the Japanese. I like my new school because daytime classes are very small and not as structured as night-time ones. I also like the teacher. He is patient and shows me things until I get them, then moves on to the next thing.
Continue reading

Learning is Hard — 07/09/2008

Learning is Hard

'D' is also for Defiled
Creative Commons License photo credit: flickrich

It is almost a year since the last Harry Potter book was released and equally as long that I have been trying to read it. I am about half way through. I know it is a long book, but at this rate, it will take me 2 years to read it. I am okay with that, only I have also not been able to read technical books, which are usually much easier. The timing is very bad because I am taking classes now.

Recap of uncooperative brain cycle: I get too busy, my brain shuts down, I end up not being able to do anything, things get bad, I stop doing so many things, I feel better, I start doing more things. I get too busy. Repeat. Forever.

When I started feeling better after cat scratch fever, things were great. Felt better than I have in longer than I can remember. Meds are working ok, I am not weak and tired, I can work, I can do karate, leave the house, etc. Great time to take classes! Only problem is that I can not read. Crap.

School has been very hard. Some of the assignments are easy because it is stuff I already know (PHP, MySQL, JavaScript) and use every day, but some of it is brand new. In order to learn the new things, I have to do a lot of reading. This is very bad.

I have been able to learn some of the new information by watching screencasts. I LOVE screencasts! Screencasts are videos of someone’s computer screen with audio explaining what they are doing. These are magical for me.

I have never been able to learn things in the traditional ways — lectures and textbooks. Either I have sucked information in without even trying or I learned by trial, error, and/or repetition. Luckily, sucking in information worked until my second year of college. College is when I learned exactly how impossible it is for me to learn in a traditional setting.

Some reasons for the impossibility of learning are:

  1. Can not sit still for the entire length of a class. Will fidget with increasing intensity until I have to leave the room.
  2. Can not concentrate on what is being said. Words turn into gibberish. White noise behind the clamor inside my brain. This makes note taking impossible as well.
  3. Can not read required reading. Can occasionally get enough information from pictures, diagrams, examples, and captions to get by.
  4. Get overwhelmed when too much is going on. Taking more than one class, taking classes and working, being in crowded classrooms, etc.

I do not know what to do now. I am taking two classes and loving them, but I am not sure I will be able to finish them because I can not read and am having a hard time thinking in general. Too many things are going on. I have lots of work to do and we have a steady stream of visitors all summer. My work is not getting done as quickly as it should because of school. Often, I end up trying to do either thing and end up not being able to think well enough to do anything.

At least there is no reading required for karate! That has been just as fun as ever 🙂