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One of those days

Some days are good coding days. I have neat ideas that I’m able to execute fairly quickly and they work, sometimes better than I intended. Then there are bad coding days where nothing works. Ones in which I constantly forget a ; or misplace a }

Today has been a good coding day. I hope that some of the work I’ve done tonight I’ll be able to reuse. Testing code once is better than rewriting even more code and then having to test it. So even though I may not have produced that much I’ll be able to put it to good use.

The Aftermath

I’ve been rather busy since reformatting my laptop Thursday night. There’s a lot of settling in to be done still. Moving all of my files back over was rather quick an painless aside from the little chirping noise that my hard drive was making. Of course I was copying over several gigabytes so it’s understandable. Files were only a small part of it. I should be used to this from having to format so many machines at work. (I’m actually working on a lab right now. Six of the 20 machines need to be formatted. If that’s not enough of a headache they’ll probably fail again within months because of the type of machine they are.)

What else had to be done? First off, of course, was antivirus. Then came Windows updates; I finally have IE7 on this laptop because of that. Dreamweaver, Photoshop, MS Office, and several other programs followed. I haven’t installed Firefox yet because I use Firefox on my jump drive so that I don’t have to worry about retyping passwords and keeping bookmarks in several places and such. I think I’m done with the basics except for the little things like Quicktime and other plugins that I’ll install as needed.

Now comes the explanation for this format. I had no viruses, no malware, nothing disabling my machine that I was aware of. I did have quite a few programs left over from college that I no longer use and don’t plan to ever use again. That, however, was not the driving factor. For some time now a friend of mine has been tossing the idea around that he’d like to have a website for his photography. My sister has also said something along the same lines and then I kinda got into it. Knowing how time intensive it would be to manually create each page for new photos and keeping track of, well, everything, I got the idea to start writing a script. The more I thought and planned the larger it grew. I now have plans for a CMS focused on creating and maintaining photo galleries. It has functionality for more than just that, though, for some other ideas I have. In order to write this script I’d need a place to test it. I didn’t want to bother with FTPing files for each and every minor change. Since I plan to write it in PHP there would be a lot of those. Each time I left out a ; or was missing a ) or a ‘ or even a . I’d have to make the change, save the file, upload it, refresh, and wait to see the next error. How much simpler would it be to have everything here on my computer and completely cut out the FTP part?

That’s what I’ve been working on this afternoon: setting my laptop up to run as a test server. The first step was to download and install Abyss Web Server. The setup was simple and seems very easy to use. Next came PHP5 which was also simple. Aprelium had documentation for configuring the server to run PHP which was also very easy to follow. I had a little bit of a hangup due to stupidity on my part but that was quickly solved. Last came MySQL. The setup for this component was a little more difficult but after some searching and trial and error I had it installed. Or so I thought. I found that I was able to connect to a test database I had created but couldn’t read any records from it. Thanks to the excellent documentation on I was able to determine the error: I hadn’t granted enough permissions for my MySQL user to be able to select records from the database. A few minutes with the MySQL command line client got me what I wanted: access to read the database.

Now that my “test server” is configured and all of the components I need are in place it will be time to start coding. I have a good deal of the database structure already planned out but it’s not yet created. The data dictionary I created will be a good resource as I continue, though. This project has been code named Topaz by my husband as I’ve not yet come up with a name for it. I foresee many nights of coding, testing, error trapping, and general frustration in my future but I believe it will all be worth it.

See, running my laptop as a test server for myself has pretty much been one of my intended plans for a while and one of my main motivators for upgrading the memory. I plan to continue using it in this fashion even after my desktop is returned. That’s another story for another day. I have some further updates but nothing of importance. I still don’t know when I’ll be getting it back.

You might be asking why “Nenya” is also a tag for this entry. Back when I first got my desktop I named it “Glamdring” after one of the great swords from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books. My husband and I were watching The Two Towers while I was working on my laptop and so I decided to name it Nenya after the ring that Galadriel was charged with keeping. I know, I know, I’m a nerd. That should be pretty obvious by now though, yes?

My Computer: Part IV

I have no updates on my desktop to speak of. Last Monday (August 11) I was told that the power supply was the source of all my problems. A replacement was supposed to have been ordered but that’s all I know. Oh, regarding the missing fan mount. Apparently the case for my computer was basically destroyed in shipping. Michael told me this soon after it arrived. What he didn’t tell me was that my CD-ROM drive was also destroyed and that there was no insurance on it. HMMM. He told me this after he made a deal with the guy who is fixing it to trade my mount-less fan for a new case and a DVD-RW drive. That was about 3 1/2 weeks ago.

Last week I decided that if I am going to be using my laptop for a much longer period that I had originally thought that I should upgrade the memory in it. I wanted to upgrade the memory a long time ago but I always convinced myself not to. It originally came with only 512MB. On Monday I finally ordered 2 sticks of 512MB ram. My laptop model will only support up to 1GB so this was fine. Once I received my tracking number I eagerly watched its status. Yesterday I saw that it was due to be delivered today. This was my first time ordering something from NewEgg but I only have positive things to say. The memory arrived today. I snapped it in on my lunch break and it works wonderfully. I have noticed a huge increase in performance so I’m very glad that I decided to upgrade. We’ll see how long it is before I get my desktop back but until then I’m happier about using my laptop.

Michael's Crazy Folder Name I know in my last post regarding my computer situation I mentioned that I wanted to avoid reformatting my computer. Since then I’ve changed my mind. It’s been quite a while since I have reformatted it. There are several programs installed that I no longer use. Instead of burning all of my junk to CD I asked Michael to make a folder for me on his computer and share it so that I could just transfer everything over. This is the folder name he came up with. Apparently “laptop” became “lap” because the name was too long. I’ve just finished a double check of my files and programs and I believe I’m ready to format it. I have other reasons for wanting my computer to be in really good shape but I’m not quite ready to talk about it. I hope to get some things done this weekend so keep an eye out.

One More Makes 8

My sister-in-law gave birth to a baby boy today! We’ve been told he was 8lbs, 7oz. New mom and baby are doing well. I don’t think she’s decided on a name just yet but I can understand. It took me a week to name Poe and he’s just a cat! It’s too bad that they are out of state and it will be a while before we get to visit though I’m sure some of the family will be sending us pictures very soon. The title is in reference to the fact that I now have 8 nieces and nephews: six nephews and two nieces, to be exact.

Technical Difficulty

One of my plugins for 365 seems to have malfunctioned. As a result none of my pictures have a category. I think that’s the only damage. But… time to go re-categorize 75 posts.

Wait. There are no categories for either 365 or echodrift proper. Apparently I’m having some database issues so please excuse every thing that’s broken until I can get it taken care of. I’m in the process of backing everything up and contacting my hosting company. We’ll see how it goes.

Edit: my webhost has corrected some issue with my databases and all appears to be in working order now. What the issue was I have no idea. They never inform me of anything, just reply with a message that says “The issue has been corrected.” How helpful is that? I’m thinking none. Anyway, I really need to stop freaking out about stuff so late at night. I’m sure it’s not good for my health.

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