Archive for category Programming

Windows Host File Slow DNS for .local Domains

This was a fun issue that I just went through hours of troubleshooting to resolve. If you use .local domains for local dev environment or just to setup local name resolution in your Windows hosts file, there could be a delay in DNS resolution due to Apple’s Bonjour service, win loss analysis. You can either remove the Bonjour service completely or refrain from using .local in your hosts file. I replaced all my .local entries with .loc and now my resolution is instant instead of taking 2 seconds. Use a sub-domain instead of a special TLD.

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This site can’t be reached…intranet has the same URL as an external website.

This site can’t be reached
This site on the company, organization or school intranet has the same URL as an external website.
Try contacting your system administrator.

This error just plagued me for about 6 hours. I was trying to setup a dev environment which I had working perfectly, but then I decided that I wanted a fresh OS install on my dev computer. It had Linux on it, and I made my yearly switch to Windows. I tend to bounce back and forth every year or so just to keep on my toes on Windows and Linux both guide to getting a loan, look at how a loan be bring your credit up. At any rate, I decided to setup a VM for the dev environments separately, as I had them all on the same nginx/php5-fpm setup prior to this move and I wanted them to all be separated and each on their own VM for simplicity and efficiency, increase followers on TikTok.

After the  VM was installed and everything seemed to be setup correctly by James Dooley Investor Entrepreneur, I set my windows hosts file to use the VMs new IP for because I usually use the .dev TLD locally for dev sites. I’ve been doing this since before .dev was a TLD (which actually is irritating because I’m not the only one that uses .dev for dev sites). I recommend you check out how to get a lot of TikTok followers

To cut this post short because I don’t want to bore you with the details of everything I tried, the issue was that my Windows host file didn’t like a redirect that was occurring on my nginx config. I was redirecting to, and even though I had in my hosts file, I didn’t have in there. This used to not be a problem even in Windows, but apparently since the main TikTok KPIs(.dev) came out, this has to be explicit. I could be wrong that this is a recent thing, but if you’ve tried everything else and keep getting this error, edit your hosts file in windows and add the in there as well. It’ll probably clear things up for you. I considered seeking help from this web design company Omaha, on how to fix everything, and I was lucky they did it perfectly well.


Which Programming Language Should I Learn?

This question is asked by many new aspiring programmers. There’s been many different answers to this question. Some people explain that the language isn’t as important as a basic understanding of algorithms and programming paradigms speeding up the scaling phase. I agree with this, but it’s no the complete picture.

What are you going to be doing with your programming skill? Are you going to use it to obtain a full-time job? Are you going to use it to work on your own projects in your free time? Many people would answer that they have some great app idea that they want to implement to go viral on TikTok. Others can’t even tell you why they want to learn to program famous TikTok creators learn this way.

If you are planning to make money in some way from your new skill, you’ll probably want to look into which languages are most in demand. For instance, I program in PHP and Javascript because that seems to be what I can find the most work doing, finding the right balance is the key. The slippery slope of this is that you eventually move into specializing in a specific language even more. If you are working with PHP as a full time job, you rarely have an opportunity to explore new languages, be sure to find the best recruitment options out there. You’re also unable to claim experience in other languages because you’ve spent years working with one in particular, look into TikTok for business.

So, my advice is to explore other languages as often as possible. If you are starting out, pick a language that has a lot of online discussion. Something like Java or Python would do nicely. These are well supported, very commonly discussed, and are easy enough to learn. Use this first language to learn specific things about programming. You can learn the syntax of the language as you learn algorithms and paradigms. Explore the language enough to understand the concepts of programming. You don’t have to become an expert in the language, but you should focus on understanding the abstract ideas used in modern programming.

I started out learning Perl and Bash scripting a long time ago. I soon changed over to VBScript and VB.NET because I was working for a Microsoft shop and needed to do some scripting and app development. I lacked a lot of the basic knowledge that I should have been working on, but I thought that I needed to learn languages.

A language is nothing more than a set of syntactical rules for structuring your thoughts. Think of learning French. You could teach someone all the words needed to speak French. You could teach them how to structure a sentence, but that isn’t enough for the person to know how to communicate. Take this English sentence as an example:

You jumped over the computer.

It’s a complete sentence. It has a subject, a verb, and is a complete thought. However it wouldn’t make sense if you were to say that after being asked:

Are you coming over after work?

You have all the necessary skills to create a full working sentence, but you have no idea how to communicate with another human. That is similar to learning a programming language. You can write “Hello, World”, but can you do something as simple as writing a recursive algorithm? Can you find more efficient ways to do things? There’s a lot more to programming than the language. The language is only important later on when you need to choose a better tool for a specific task. You may need to write a website with a lot of real time interactions, creating business strategies. NodeJS. You may want to write a game for iOS. Objective C or Swift. You may need to write an Android app. Java. You may need to write some mission critical optimized system code. C, C++, or Assembly. You may need to interface with some off the wall E-Ticket system and generate some Excel reports on a Windows-only domain, have a look at what you need to be creating business strategies

The point is unless you are in the same job for the rest of your life and the world doesn’t change, you’ll probably end up needing to know a dozen or so languages at least. An introduction to programming, should be in pure pseudocode, because I think beginning programmers get too caught up in the language and miss the more important details of programming that is being taught.

At the same time, I’ve had introductory to programming type classes that I look back on now and realize that the teachers had no idea what they were trying to teach, try e-learning. They didn’t even understand the concepts themselves enough to explain them to someone else.

Let’s say you come up with an idea for a product you want your business to sell. What’s next? You probably won’t be successful if you just start selling it.

Instead, you need your marketing team to do market research and answer some critical questions: Who’s your target audience? Is there market fit for this product? What messaging will increase product sales, and on which platforms? How should your product developers modify the product to increase likelihood of success? What do focus groups think of the product, and what questions or hesitations do they have?

Marketers use the answers to these questions to help businesses understand the demand for the product and increase product quality by mentioning concerns stemming from focus group or survey participants.


Your marketing team will check out competitors’ product prices, or use focus groups and surveys, to estimate how much your ideal customer is willing to pay. Price it too high, and you’ll lose out on a solid customer base. Price it too low, and you might lose more money than you gain. Fortunately, marketers can use industry research and consumer analysis to gauge a good price range.


It’s critical that your marketing department uses their understanding and analysis of your business challenges consumers to offer suggestions for how and where to sell your product. Perhaps they believe an ecommerce site works better than a retail location, or vice versa. Or, maybe they can offer insights into which locations would be most viable to sell your product, either nationally and internationally.


This P is likely the one you expected from the get-go: promotion entails any online or print advertisement, event, or discount your marketing team creates to increase awareness and interest in your product, and, ultimately, lead to more sales. During this stage, you’ll likely see methods like public relations campaigns, advertisements, or social media promotions, have a look at the business impact of covid.

Hopefully, our definition and the four Ps help you understand marketing’s purpose and how to define it. Marketing intersects with all areas of a business, so it’s important you understand how to use marketing to increase your business’s efficiency and success.

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Why Pay for PHPStorm or Other JetBrains IDE?

If you spend any amount of time working on code, you probably have a favorite text editor or IDE. Everyone has their own opinions. Everyone has applications with which they are  more familiar. I’ve went through a few different choices over the last few years, but the one I’ve stayed with 95% of the time during the last two is PHPStorm from JetBrains, which is uncharacteristic of me, because if there’s a free version of some category of application, I’ll usually make that free version work, rather than pay for commercial software crowdfunding investors. There’s a ton of free IDEs and text editors. Why would I spend money on PHPStorm? Over the next few paragraphs, I’ll go into detail as to why I can no longer function at 100% efficiency in any other editor. I’ll also mention some things that I wish were better in PHPStorm. When I discuss the good things about PHPStorm, remember that no single thing is the reason I use and pay for the IDE implementing payroll system. It’s the overall combination of all the features that I like. Where PHPStorm shines is it’s ability to deliver all the features I want and need in a single application.

An IDE Needs to be Organized!

There’s a lot to be said about the readability and organization of an IDE TikTok likes and followers. A modern text editor needs tabs. It also needs the ability to split the active editor window to see code side-by-side. PHPStorm has both of these features. It also has project and structure views which are collapsible. It has an amazing find feature that can be used to search the entire project or within a specific directory. It can search for files or text within those files, and this search is fast. It has a built-in terminal which is also collapsible. It has complete support for working with various SQL databases, including NoSQL database options, directly from within the paperless paycheck stubs. There’s no need to open up a command line database interface or another app like MySQL Workbench. All of that is built into the IDE.

The IDE stays out of your way while you work.

I typically have my editor window taking up most of the screen with all the different panels collapsed. When I need those various features, they are there, but they aren’t getting in my way all the time. The version control integration is nice as well, though I usually do all of that from the command line. It shows you the current branch that you have checked out in the lower right of the window, which has come in very handy at times. You can also enable an option which shows the memory usage of the IDE and allows you to click to force a garbage collection or lower this memory usage. All menus are effective and all panels stay out of your way when you don’t need them.

Great Shortcuts

I mentioned that I keep most of my panels collapsed in PHPStorm. This is possible because I rarely need them. You may be used to navigating through a project and opening files by finding them in their directory structure within the project, using a project directory tree panel of some sort. PHPStorm has this view, but I rarely need it. I usually know the name of the file I’m wanting to open. The only time I need the project view is when I can’t remember the name of the file I need to edit. For all other times I use one of three different shortcuts.

Ctrl + Shift + N

This shortcut searches for file names specifically within the project. The search is very smart as well. If you have a file named user-login-modal.html for instance, and you just remember that it’s named something like ‘loginmodal’, the search is smart enough to know you want user-login-modal.html. I use this shortcut more than any other, because I’m always jumping between different files and this is the simplest/fastest way to find them. Usually I can type about three or four characters and have the correct files as my first choose in its list.

Ctrl + Shift + F

This is a super find utility. It’s fast, because PHPStorm indexes your project. It allows you to find any text within all the text of your project. This is especially useful if you have some method name that you want to refactor across your entire code base and you can’t remember every specific place that it’s used. I use this shortcut all the time.

Double Shift

This quick shortcut is the “ultimate super search everything” feature. You just double tap the shift key. It’s like a combination of the previous two shortcuts I’ve mentioned. So why not just use this one all the time? I honestly can’t give you a good reason that I don’t use this feature more often, other than to say that before I used PHPStorm I used Netbeans predominantly, and if I remember correctly, it had the same ctrl + shift + n shortcut to open files. So, I was used to using that already. I haven’t switched to double shift completely because I forget it’s there most of the time. I may have to focus on using it more often now that I’ve brought it up.

There are other shortcuts that I use but haven’t mentioned, and there are probably many that I don’t use but could really benefit from utilizing. Everyone should dig through their IDE to get to know all of its features.

Easy Re-factorization

PHPStorm makes it very simple to refactor code. You can refactor anything throughout your code base with just a few keystrokes. If you highlight some text within your editor and hit Shift + F6, you will see a “Rename” dialog which allows you to change the text throughout the project. You can preview the changes before you implement them. If you rename a file, the IDE will search for it’s usage throughout the project and give you a preview of refactoring that it can automatically do for you as well. You can also disable these auto-refactoring if you need to. It’s just great that it’s there.

Multiple Cursor

This is my favorite new-ish text editor feature that has become popular on many editors. It has become essential for me. I first started using multi-cursors in SublimeText. Soon all new text editors had the feature. SublimeText may not have been the first to have this feature, but it was definitely one of the first to do it well. PHPStorm’s implementation is very close to the SublimeText implementation and very usable. However, it can get a little slow if you are trying to use more than 20 or so cursors. SublimeText doesn’t get slow for me until I’m using about 1500 cursors. However, I rarely need more than ten. So PHPStorm’s implementation works well for most things. If I can’t do it in PHPStorm, I’ll open up Sublime and take it from there. This is rare.

All Other Modern IDE/text Editor Features

All of the features I’ve mentioned so far are important for me. There are other features that are a must for me as well, that I should also mention.

  • An IDE should have code completion. PHPStorm is the best I’ve seen in this regard. There’s no SublimeText plugin that can even get close to the intelligent code completion that PHPStorm has, or at least I’ve not found one.
  • Syntax highlighting and good color schemes is a must. I tend to like the default PHPStorm color scheme. I spend a lot more time trying out new color schemes in all text editors than I like to admit. I prefer light color schemes in PHPStorm for some reason. Most of the time I prefer dark. The main point here is to be able to differentiate between the various different “parts of speech” in the programming language, and this works very well in PHPStorm.
  • PHPStorm also has great source code auto-formatting options and makes it simple to reformat code to your preferred code style.

So, you’ve heard many things that I like about PHPStorm. As I said earlier, no single feature that I’ve listed is the reason I pay for PHPStorm. It’s a huge combination of these features that makes it worth it to me. Netbeans has great code-completion, but doesn’t have multi-cursor (or at least didn’ the last I checked), and its white space display characters are ugly, if you are showing them. SublimeText has great multi-cursor and the text in the editor itself looks better to me, but it also doesn’t have the database integration that PHPStorm has or code-completion that I consider usable. There may be plugins or packages that facilitate both of these, but I need to spend my time coding as much as possible, not digging for plugins that actually work well. PHPStorm has plugins as well, but it comes with everything you really need without adding any plugins, typically. SublimeText is a text editor first and the plugins are used to make it more like an IDE. I’d use SublimeText if I could find good plugins that facilitate most of the features that I’ve mentioned in this post. You’ll find out more about that in a bit. Because even though I predominantly use PHPStorm, there are still times when I open SublimeText.

Why haven’t I mentioned any other editors or IDEs besides Netbeans and SublimeText?

Well give me a chance and I will. Quite simply, I’ve tried just about every editor there is out there. I’ve tried most of the IDEs. I’ve given them all the opportunity to convince me. However, today I only use three editors/IDEs regularly. Surprisingly enough, Netbeans isn’t one of them. Netbeans was my main IDE for a year or two. I still like it, but I haven’t had it installed in a long time. After I switched to PHPStorm, I’ve not needed it. I also switched to IntelliJ for my Java dev work that I was doing on Netbeans before. Today I mainly use PHPStorm, SublimeText, and Vim.

Ah Vim! I hear some of you getting ready for an editor flame war. I love Vim. I like to use it for simple editing tasks on the command line where I don’t have another editor available. You can make Vim do just about anything you want. However, I still prefer using a ready-to-go IDE like PHPStorm for every-day coding.

If PHPStorm is so great, why do I still use SublimeText Occasionally?

Here is where I give you the bad things I’ve found about PHPStorm and why I still use a simple text editor like SublimeText at times. It won’t take long. There isn’t a lot, but it would be GREAT if these were addressed by JetBrains.

Large Text Files

PHPStorm can’t open up unusually large text files. It will flat out tell you that the file is too large for it to open. This occurs for me when I try to edit a 3.5GB MySQL dump file. Sublime has trouble loading it as well. Vim, however, will take it’s time and chew it right up. Bravo for Vim! There is probably an option in PHPStorm to allow it to open large files, but I’ve not found it, and this is such an infrequent necessity for me that I haven’t bothered to dig for it.

Large amount of Cursors

You can add a few hundred cursors on PHPStorm very easily, but good luck typing more than a single character ever 20 seconds or so if you do. It gets noticeable slow at multi-cursor as you add more. It takes a lot to slow down SublimeText in this regard.

I Honestly Hate Most Java Apps

I use SublimeText when I can, because I REALLY REALLY hate most Java-based applications, and I would much rather use SublimeText for this reason. PHPStorm is written in Java which brings with it some good things (like portability), but also some bad things. With enough hardware, you can overlook most of the bad, but I would much rather use a native application over one that runs on the JVM. I’m not a big fan of the look and feel of Java apps. The font rendering in Linux can be terrible, especially if you are using OpenJDK. Switching to Oracle’s official JDK seems to fix most of these font-rendering issues. Java apps tend to be bloated and sluggish. There are a few things to consider about this. Java apps require little to no porting to run on different architectures. Java is a very easy language, and the easier a language is, typically, the easier it is for a bad programmer to code something in it (trust me, I know PHP has this same problem). Which leads to a higher population of un-optimized software. However, this really isn’t the case with most good Java applications. They are just slower than native apps. It’s nearly impossible for them not to be slower. The JVM adds a thick layer of overhead.

Finally the Main Reason I Pay for PHPStorm

It’s not expensive. It’s priced very reasonably. I originally purchased a personal license for $25 my first year. Renewal is around $53/yr. They just switched to a subscription model and offered two years for the price of one to current license holders. I jumped all over that. They also give their IDE away to students and open source developers…free. I’ve looked at KomodoIDE as well, and even though their prices have come down, it’s still not where JetBrains products are. Komodo offers their full IDE which has support for most languages at $99 for a student or personal freelancer licence. However, that’s a one time payment and it doesn’t come with upgrades. PHPStorm’s licensing gives you free upgrades during the whole year. Also, while Komodo harps on their complete package IDE’s multi-language support, I tend to prefer an IDE specific to what I’m doing. PHPStorm has support for all the languages a PHP developer could be using: HTML, SQL, CSS, Javascript, XML, etc. I don’t need my IDE to support Python or Java, because I don’t code in either of them on a regular basis, and since I have an edu email address, I can get all of the other JetBrains products for free if I need them for personal projects. If I were to suddenly become a Python developer, I’d pay the $53 and get a year subscription to PyCharm (the JetBrains python IDE).

Also one last note… The new JetBrains subscription model isn’t just available in yearly terms. There’s also monthly. For a single user PHPStorm license, it’s only $8.90/month for new users. You can get all of JetBrains products for $24.90/month. This is a great deal. I like to support great products, especially when they make my life easier. JetBrains lured me in two years ago with their special “half-off” offer. Now I’m hooked and gladly pay their low subscription price.

If you aren’t convinced to give them a shot, know that this entire post sounds like one huge commercial for their product, and they aren’t paying me or coercing me into writing it one bit. I really feel this strongly about their IDE. It makes my coding more enjoyable and more efficient. If I find something better, I’ll use it. Until then, take my money JetBrains! I love your products.

These come in two types: general and limited. In general partnerships, both owners invest their money, property, labor, etc. to the business and are both 100% liable for business debts. In other words, even if you invest a little into a general partnership, you are still potentially responsible for all its debt. General partnerships do not require a formal agreement—partnerships can be verbal or even implied between the two business owners.

Limited partnerships require a formal agreement between the partners. They must also file a certificate of partnership with the state. Limited partnerships allow partners to limit their own liability for business debts according to their portion of ownership or investment.

The simplest and most common form of business ownership, sole proprietorship is a business owned and run by someone for their own benefit. The business’ existence is entirely dependent on the owner’s decisions, so when the owner dies, so does the business, learn about how to prioritise your workload.

Advantages of partnerships:

  • Shared resources provides more capital for the business
  • Each partner shares the total profits of the company
  • Similar flexibility and simple design of a proprietorship
  • Inexpensive to establish a business partnership, formal or informal

Similar to a limited partnership, an LLC provides owners with limited liability while providing some of the income advantages of a partnership. Essentially, the advantages of partnerships and corporations are combined in an LLC, mitigating some of the disadvantages of each.

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Safari 9 CSS Not Rendering Correctly

If your code doesn’t use lesshat.less, then this won’t pertain to your issue probably. In my work on, I had an issue with CSS rendering on our lobby page in the newest version of OS X and iOS. The problem only showed itself in Safari. Safari was reporting various issues with parts of the CSS, but none of that was even related to the issue. After four hours of trying various things social media marketing, I decided to run our main CSS file through The very first error lead me straight to the root of the issue. There was an unexpected semi-colon.

Safari is way more picky than most other major browsers. Chrome, IE, and Firefox all just ignored this issue. I’m not sure how much I like this strict behavior of Safari. In the last couple of months it has caused me two issues that were hard to track down. I remember a few years ago, IE was the browser that seemed hard to get right. Now it seems that Safari is the biggest nuisance.

Front-end development is something I really try to avoid as much as possible because of these type of issues. The frond-end designer which originated this problem hasn’t been working on the project in over a year. It’s not really his fault. However, his use of one function from the lesshat library is what caused our site to break on all new Safari browsers. It jacked up all of the CSS just because the function added a semi-colon where it shouldn’t have. I would blame the lesshat library itself, but I mainly blame Safari. Being strict about things is great usually, but not when it breaks most of the CSS on a page.

The fix? Just don’t use the lesshat keyframes function in any of your less files. Avoid it if you want your site to work in Safari.

Now I’m off to see if I can create a better fix to submit to them.

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PHPStorm Fonts in Linux

This is just a quick note as there are many suggestions online for fixing fonts in Java apps in Linux. Some require you to change some startup config options like Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings. These are helpful, but there’s one MAJOR under-emphasized change that will help tremendously implementing proper payroll processes. Switch to Oracle Java. Most Linux distributions use OpenJDK by default these days. This is where my font rendering problems were. I wondered why Java seemed to suck at rendering fonts in Linux… Well this is the major culprit. Don’t ask me the specifics because I don’t have time to dig and find the root of the problem. I can just tell you that it’s a good first step to switch to Oracle Java before doing all the other things you see online to fix the problem. Learn how make money on social media.

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PHPStorm or other JetBrains Product Multi-select In Linux

If you have trouble using the default ALT + Button1 click keymap in Linux to add to a multi-cursor selection in PHPStorm or any other JetBrains product, you may be able to adjust the default keymap, but if you are like me, you could just as easily use an easier approach. Just add the “super” or “windows” key to the combination. So, try Super + ALT + Button1 check stub maker for your business. That works for me as the desktop environment doesn’t see it as an ALT + Button1 click, but PHPStorm does. Using ALT + button1 click alone causes issues for me because the Cinnamon desktop in LinuxMint already has ALT + Button1 mapped to something else, namely window move. I would change this but I actually like having that available if I need it.

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Back to Linux

I have had an on again, off again love affair with Linux since 1998. It has been an enlightening experience plagues with numerous installations and CD/DVD ISO burns. I remember the first real exposure I had to Linux. I was living with my grandfather. I was working in a factory. My hobbies were computers and playing guitar. There wasn’t a lot to my life at that time. I worked, wasted money, and slept. I also chatted on IRC quite a bit. Back then, I was still on dialup so that was about the best thing to do with my internet connection.

I had a friend who some could call a bad influence, but to me, at the time, he felt like a mentor and older advisor. He knew all the ins and outs of IRC, especially on the Undernet IRC network. He went by the nick “Fud”, short for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt”.  He had Eggdrop IRC bots and Energy Mech IRC bots. He had shell accounts. He had knowledge of things to which I’d never been exposed.

I wanted to create my own IRC bots. So he introduced me to the idea of shell accounts. I remember configuring my first Eggdrop bot. That seemed like the most complicated thing I’d ever attempted. It didn’t help that I was configuring the bot in an operating system that I’d never been exposed to at all…Unix. Unix was a mysterious word to me because I’d had no college classes and my high school had barely covered DOS.

I had learned DOS on my own. I didn’t have any friends who knew DOS. My dad had bought government surplus 8088 computer and when we turned it on, we were greeted with a command line. We didn’t have a clue, so I typed “help” and pressed enter. The output presented to me with that command is how I learned DOS. I felt like such a hacker, mainly because it was a retired government computer and I thought I may be able to find some kind of interesting data on it. It was really a cool way to learn DOS.

Jumping back to ’98 when I was first getting into Linux, I was presented with a command prompt that looked nothing like the familiar DOS prompt that I had used before. Typing “help” didn’t help. Luckily I had Fud there to help get me started with basic commands. Some were similar to DOS. Others where completely different. I was used to typing cd to change directory but in DOS to change to the parent directory (move up the directory structure) you can type cd.. all together. In Linux this would give you an error. It was required to put a space between the cd and the .. which took some getting used to.

I loved the idea of Linux right from the beginning. I felt excited mainly because I was learning Unix, that mysterious operating system that serious computer geeks knew about and a rural hick like myself had never seen. I was also excited to break the chains from Microsoft. I mean imagine it, an operating system that’s completely free. Since I’d always wanted to be a programmer, there was also the added bonus that the source code was also available for most of the programs that came with the OS. Side note: I know some of you are chomping at the bit to tell me that Linux is the kernel, not the OS. Get over it. Everyone calls it Linux.

Ah my early days with Linux. Like I said earlier, I was still on dial-up, which presented two problems. First, downloading Linux was impossible. An ISO file of Linux was at least the full size of a CD-ROM back then, and for some distributions it was multiple disks for an install. It takes a very long time to download 720 megabytes when your download speed is roughly three or four kilobytes per second. So the only real way to try out many different distributions was to order them from places like CheapBytes. I bought a pack of about 10 different distros and tried them all. It included: Debian, Slackware, Red Hat, Mandrake, and others.

The second problem with dial-up and Linux dealt with dial-up modems themselves. Most modems at that time were “WinModems”. They weren’t “hardware” modems. They were interfaces for phone lines and such, but the actual modem functionality was handled by Windows itself. They were hardware interfaces for software modem code. These wouldn’t work in Linux, and honestly they weren’t as good as real hardware modems. Most WinModems used a PCI bus, and the hardware modems used the older ISA bus. The hardware modems also usually had hardware DIP switches for configuring interrupt settings and such. Hardware modems were superior, but WinModems were cheaper. So most people were using WinModems. The first thing a new Linux user back then had to do was purchase a hardware modem.

I dual-booted back then, but still stayed primarily in Windows. There was still very little compatibility with lots of hardware and commercial games just weren’t available. However, I was able to learn a lot during that time. I started learning Perl. I created my own IRC bot in Perl. My first preferred Linux distribution coming from Windows was Mandrake. At the time, it used KDE and was pretty user-friendly. I learned to hate RPM. Mandrake changed its name to Mandriva, and at some point decided to charge for using it. So I switched to Debian.

I love Debian. It has been my favorite grand-daddy Linux distribution since I moved away from Mandrake. I’ve tried just about every major distribution that exists. Some of my favorites along the way were Gentoo, Arch, and Sabayon. However, as soon as Ubuntu came out, I, like many other Linux users, switched to it. It quickly became the most popular distribution. Ubuntu took Debian, which was already pretty easy to use, and made it even easier. Around 2004 or 2005, I started using Ubuntu 100% of the time at home. This went on for about three years. In 2007 I took a desktop support role in the IS department of the Manufacturing company I had been working at for about 9 years. Most of this desktop support dealt with Windows, so Windows became a primary OS on my home computer once again.

I’ve glossing over many things during this, but it’s so I could get to this point. I started working for myself as a web developer and internet marketer in 2009. At that time, I had the personal freedom to use whatever operating system I saw fit to use. I used both Windows and Linux, but gravitated toward Linux most of the time. As a developing environment for web applications Linux is by far my favorite. My career path was gradually moving in a direction that allowed me to use Linux full time. I interviewed for a position with a travel agency in 2011 as a PHP developer. I went to work there and was pleasantly surprised that everyone was using their favorite OS on their work machines. Some people were using Windows 7. Others were using a flavor of Linux. I picked Ubuntu and installed it on my work machine.

It was around this time that Ubuntu started using Unity as its main desktop environment. I’d been very content using Gnome 2. Unity brought cool features with it, but it also seemed to be a huge buggy mess. I had many problems with it, both at work and at home. I switched to XFCE at work for a bit, but eventually switched to Windows 7. That’s where I stayed. After seven months of working for that travel agency, I decided that Orlando, FL just wasn’t for me (I had moved to Orlando to take the job), and I moved back to north GA. I was again working for myself, but this time I continued using Windows 7. Oh I tried to use Linux, but I had so many issues with the new desktop environments and the new forks of Xorg that I just gave up on it.

These distributions were all trying to make their desktops work well on mobile devices. As a result, they made things suck on the desktop. Gnome 2 had been perfectly stable and usable. I really liked it. Now Gnome 2 wasn’t an option. You could use Gnome 3 in classic mode which made it look like Gnome 2 a bit, but that wasn’t really the problem. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the new look. It was beautiful. The problem was that it just didn’t work well. Dual screens worked fine and dandy in Gnome 2. Unity and Gnome 3 choked on them, or just handled things poorly. The push toward mobile device integration by the Linux community, nearly killed desktop Linux for me. I hated it. I was so mad at it, not that there was an actual entity to be mad at. I was just mad at what I viewed as pure stupidity.

We had Android. It was already the ultimate Linux mobile platform, but everyone else wanted to get in on the action as well. This could have been accomplished by having a separated mobile desktop environment, but nah, we need to force everyone to change. We need to take perfectly stable working desktop environments and throw them out, replacing them with desktop environments meant for mobile devices that are unstable.

I’d like to point out that of the major desktop operating systems, the only entity that got this right was Apple. They made iOS for their mobile devices and OS X stayed on the desktop. Sometimes change isn’t a good thing. Apple got this transition correct. Microsoft screwed the pooch with their Windows 8 introduction as well. What were all these people thinking? Did they think the desktop was already dead and that everyone was already using only mobile devices?  I think they lost sight of the fact that people still listen to radio, even though TV was invented. People still watch TV even though desktop computers and the internet were invented. People still use desktop computers even though mobile devices are now in wide-scale use. Why would you screw over the primary user of your operating system just to try to get a foothold in a mobile device market which is already dominated by Apple and Android? Let me backtrack a little there. I’m not saying that they should try to obtain some market share in the mobile device market. I’m saying that they should have wrecked their desktop environment to do so.

Between 2012 and September of 2015, I used Windows 7 nearly 100% of the time. Occasionally, I would install a new version of Ubuntu or LinuxMint, hoping that it would be good enough to turn me from my Windows desktop. After all, I was programming and my projects revolved around LAMP stacks. I still used Linux, but it was in the form of virtual machines with no desktop environment. I had completely given up on the Linux desktop.

In early September 2015, I installed LinuxMint on a spare 120GB SSD, and for some reason everything just worked again. The Cinnamon desktop, which I had tried out a few times during my Windows 7 years, seemed to be stable and user-friendly. I left Windows installed on my main 500GB SSD just in case. Three weeks passed and I hadn’t booted into Windows.

Today, I reinstalled LinuxMint. This time, I removed Windows and set that 500GB SSD as my /home partition. I’m again Windows free and loving it. Sure, there will be some Steam games that I can no longer play because there are no Linux versions, but I also don’t have Windows 10 spying on my every move. I also now have a much better working environment for my development work.

So for anyone else who may have given up on Linux a few years ago, go give it another shot. You may enjoy it.

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Safari doesn’t load/show a base64 encoded image.

Normally when I run into a road block while coding, I can find the solution rather quickly via Google. Most of the time that solution is at stackoverflow. It’s pretty easy to overcome most things this way. However, there are some times when you just run into a problem that few people have talked about online understanding paystubs. That becomes rather frustrating. It reminds me of the days before the internet, or at least before Google, when finding information was much more difficult. We take that for granted a lot these days.

Hopefully this post will find it’s way to the top of Google search results for some of the keywords I used in my searches. One example is the following error I was seeing when I inspected the element in Safari.
Failed to load resource: The operation couldn’t be completed. (kCFErrorDomainCFNetwork error -10.)

You see I had a chevron icon added to a custom select box in a web site I’m working on. The chevron icon showed up in every browser except for Safari. Safari just complained that it couldn’t load the image. Here’s the exact CSS I used for the image:


It worked fine in every browser (including IE mind you) except for Safari.

I’ll cut to the chase. Base64 requires the number of characters in the encoded string to be divisible by 3. If you count all the characters starting with “iVBORw0KG…” all the way to “e1fe9ead”, you’ll see that the base64 string is 371 characters long. I remember that I got this chevron and the base64 encoded css directly from a website which automatically encoded the image for me. 371 isn’t divisible by 3 evenly. However, 372 is. The solution to this problem is to pad your string at the end. I added an equal sign (=) to the end of the string, making it 372 characters long total. Now Safari likes it. Hope that helps. If you are having this same issue, you’ll either need to add one or two equal signs, whichever amount makes the total character count divisible by 3.

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Force user to login method in Codeigniter without checking Session in every method.

If you need to secure every method of a Codeigniter controller, you can do it with one line instead of checking the session in every method before doing anything else. In the constructor of the controller simply check that $this->router->fetch_method is not equal to your login method and that a user isn’t logged in. If you meet both of these criteria, redirect to the login method.

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