Uniform Server (WAMP) and Laravel

I’ve been playing around with Laravel a bit just to try it out and figured I would bundle this with a light weight WAMP solution.  Went through the install and everything worked fine exept when it came time to migrate my database:

C:\UniServer\laravel1>php artisan migrate
{"error":{"type":"Symfony\\Component\\Debug\\Exception\\FatalErrorException","message":"Call to undefined function Symfony\\Component\\Console\\mb_detect_encoding()","file":"C:\\UniServer\\laravel1\\vendor\\symfony\\console\\Symfony\\Component\\Console\\Application.php","line":721}}

Took some googling around, but the solution was pretty easy.  Assuming you’re running a stock and fairly recent version of Uniform, all you have to do is modify your php-cli.ini file and add:

extension=php_mbstring.dll

Restart Apache and presto.

~david

New Years Resolutions and Data Visualization

At the end of last year (December 2010) I set out to change a few things.  The biggest one being to try and burn 10,000 calories a month through exercise.  The first few months I kept track of my calorie expenditure base on a heart monitor, when my heart monitor met an untimely death I switched to an Android app call CardioTrainer. I highly recommend this app for anyone else who wants to keep track of their workouts.

While I was only able to accomplish this 6 times, I have burned over 100,000 calories so far and lost about 10 pounds.  I will continue working towards 10,000 a month in 2012.  So, now I have a year of data and I’ve been looking to play around with Google’s Chart Tools and figure this would be the combination.  Here’s my first stab at visualizing the data I’ve collected so far.

 

~david

May 2nd 2010 Pittsburgh Half Marathon

In my never ending attempt to punish my body and hate my knees I’ve been training to what I hope will amount to another full marathon this year.  Along the way I figured it would be a good idea to give a half marathon another shot.  If you’ve never been to Pittsburgh, I recommend you do, it’s called the city of bridges for a reason and running through its neighborhoods and streets is a very unique experience.

The morning of the race, we arrived with a little under 30 minutes to spare, which was not good.  I really didn’t get a good warm up run in and stretched out just a bit.  It was a cloudy day with chance of thunderstorms.  Which was an issues, since the race could get called off if there was lighting… the chances of getting hit by lighting are incredibly small, but I digress.

The race began promptly at 7:30 AM, but since I was so far back in the pack I didn’t cross the starting line until about 10 minutes after the gun went off.  The first couple of miles are always torture.  It’s really a free for all, you never hit your stride as you’re on the lookout for all other runners, ensuring you don’t step on someone or someone doesn’t elbow you as they are trying to squeeze by you.  At bout mile 5 is when the seas start to part and you really get to focus on what you came here to do.  The unfortunate part is that you hit the half way point before you know it.  For me this is the hardest part as I always feel that I’ve spent too much energy trying to make it through the pack that I start to run out of gas around mile 9.  Oh well, that’s what training is there for, right?  At the end of the day it was a great day for a race even though the rain was coming down pretty hard.  Final time below.

 

PittMarathonTime

My only complaints about this event are the lack of Goo.  All they had for the runners was water and Gatorade, glad I packed some beans, but I was banking on some Goo to break up the monotony.  Second, I didn’t see any post race beer, not saying this is imperative, but I love me a beer or three after pounding out a 13 miler.  And finally, I should have used more lube.  Yes, my armpits were red and tender and it had everything to do with the huge amounts of water that came down on me while running.

~david

Phishers use IVRs for phishing!

This week I received a text message from an “Unknown sender” and it read:

“This is an automated message from Franklin Bank.Your ATM card has been suspended.To reactivate call urgent at 866-545-2647”

Being the curious little monkey that I am, I just had to call it. So, the first thing I did was find a phone which did not display an external caller ID (ANI). After finding a phone I called the number above. I was greeted by an automated voice asking for my credit car number, my expiration number, and my 4 digit pin. I entered random information. After it was trying to verify my information, it asked for it again. However, this time it said it could not verify my account at this time and to call customer service representative… however it didn’t provide me with a number.

This is a scam, although I must say a some what ingenious scam. First, there’s an automated voice which answers the call, this can’t be tracked to any one person which might throw of a caller because of an accent or tone of voice. Second, is very similar to text messages received from various financial institutions. Finally, they have a toll free number which they provide for you to “activate you call”. Pretty cool, huh?

I think I’ll set something similar up at my home and even have it go to a web service to verify the credit card number is of the correct format just to say I can. :-)

~david

Rio Rancho, NM

I’m out here to do a presentation and this place is absolutely beautiful. The sun is out and shining brightly, while the temperature is in the mid 30s. I’m staying at this beautiful resort called the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and the place is immense with a lot of great things to do and see. The room I have, while it takes around 10 minutes to walk to it, has an amazing view of the mountains. Here are two pictures I took.

Mountains

And another:

Mountains 2

One thing I also love is the fact that gardens here consist of rocks, sand, and some shrubs. My type of gardening.

~david

Oh Sprint How I Love You So, Let Me Count the Ways.

The last few months my Sprint bill had been in the multiple of hundreds of dollars. Usually above $300, so I finally decided to switch to their everything plan. $99 dollars + tax for all the calling, texting, and web is an excellent price and I will take full advantage of it. However, it just so happens that I have a corporate discount of 23%. Now, if you do the math, that would be a savings of at least $23 every single month! Yes, doesn’t that rock, simply everything plan for $77 + tax? However, I received my first bill today and the awesome savings came to a total of $0.18. Yes, that cents… 18 cents.

I picked up the phone and got in contact with Sprint (who btw has changed their IVR and gotten rid of ASR). The wonderful agent I spoke with, Christina, informed me that “since the simply everything plan is already so discounted, no further discounts can be applied towards it”. Well, isn’t that grand? In the long run, I will pay less, however I will miss that 23% discount. :(

~david

Let me tell you about my current life.

It has been a long while since I’ve had any time to breath. While I enjoy the non-stop days and nights of working all day and rocking all night… well rocking perhaps not, but sleeping yes, it is nice to just take a break. A break where you can just sit, relax, and exhale. This past week my currently project reached a major milestone. Even though we had multi-week delays, we were still able to come through and deliver. At the end of the day, when under the gun, we all realize that sleep is over rated and not really necessary. Now that this date is behind us, we can all go back and ensure everything is configured correctly and ready for production, which comes around in March of 2009. Here are some pics from my last week.

The answer is 7.

The answer is 7.

I want this sheep!

I want this sheep!

No relations.

No relations.

~david

Sometimes it all just comes together

I was done with my last project and was only supposed to do remote support for a few weeks. However, some issues starting popping up and I was flown in to help smooth things out. We came in on Monday and by Wednesday things were really bad. However, the customer had discovered some bad hardware and bad router configs which needed to be changed. Come Thursday morning we didn’t have much going on. Funny how everyone blames the phone system when the network fails, but packets are packets and if the pipe breaks not just your voice will spill out. Regardless, Thursday was a pretty slow day and the everyone was in good spirits, including the customer. The customer PM likes to draw and she made portraits of us all, here is mine. I have to say, I like it a lot.

~david

david

david

Have you backed up your computer lately?

So, I was doing my weekly backup of my work laptop and noticed that I have close to 10 gig worth of stuff in My Documents folder. Looking a little closer, the breakdown is as follows.

2.0 gigs worth of email.
3.5 gigs worth of Cisco related documentation/training materials.
2.0 gigs worth of customer related data.
1.5 gigs worth of random personal stuff.
1.0 gig worth of random files which I should probably clean up.

Needless to say, I think it’s time for some spring cleaning.

~david