Charles Brown

just a simple blog

Dislocated Rib?!

So it is about as bad as it sounds. So far the dislocated rib option is sounding the most like the cause of the issue – reason? The back brace I am wearing is up along my ribcage and it provides pressure on the ribs, while this might seem painful, its keeping things in place I think! 

This is something so far my wife, chiro, and mother all are thinking might be the actual issue as this helps and I’ve been a bit more functional the last day or so with it, than I have in almost 2 weeks.

Still some pain, but posture is one of those things which can cause it and my posture and fairly out of wack back are both things which can lead to this, so nice to feel more productive in the last day or so then I have in again like 2 weeks.

Code is coming along nicely, once the customer signs off and its public I’ll post a link, but just a lot of projects lately, last night included some big eComm updates which went by far the easiest I’ve ever had over the years, it just worked so what we hoped was going to be around 30 minutes, ended up being an hour (waiting on snapshots to be taken) but in the end it worked!

Today has been coding galore with my coding project, and fixing up some hiccups between dev box -> cPanel box – I do like cPanel for hosting, but sometimes coming from Vanilla-ish Linux setups some PHP configs don’t work well in a shared setup, but so far so good, ironing out bugs, and if I can stay upright a few more hours today the front end will be 100% done, and I can move on to finishing the backend similarly on the cPanel setup and customer on Monday can really start kicking the tires and I pray it works just peachy! 

For now, going to swap to the bed for 30 minutes and l let my back/lungs rest a bit, then come back in for more worktastic fun!  

My back is braced!

Ladies try to control yourselves. Yes. I am wearing this from my wife, and it’s been a life saver. Not hurting as bad, still sore/achy but compared to stabbing/throbbing/wanting someone to club me over the head and put me down for a few hours, this works.

I’ve been able to function most of today, I did take a brief 35 minute break away from the chair, simply trying to give my back a break but made some amazing progress on projects today, something to be said about your body not being in a bad place to be able to have focus! 

Tonight is round 2 of a upgrade project, last night it went mostly ok – just hit some snags in the move to upgrade the eComm on the site, but got it all resolved, actually just started my snapshot of the site, linked in the new licenses for those expired and about to expire, and prepping to dig in @ 10pm.

All in all this week was a bit of a loss, but at the end of the day, happy to simply not be in as much pain and be able to function! I do have a Doctor’s appt. in about 10 days, so before I age I get to have a doc check me out too – even if my back is fine, still going to just get a checkup and talk about non-blood sugar things if needed. 

Anywhoo – stalling from working (even though in the last 20 minutes I wrote a very nice Pretty URL system inspired in part from Tuts+ article) but looks good and cleans up URL’s very nicely – allows me to get geo-location and too pass customers off to other parts of an application, I had this “kind of” working in a test environment but something about cPanel’s .htaccess rules always gets cranky – but another thing off the list, hoping by next week to have 2 major projects completely done and relax for a day… maybe and a half. 😀 (ah one can dream!)

Pain + Work = No Money.

So for nearly 20 years now I’ve done my own business, in that 20 years a lot has happened to me, but thankfully nothing like currently. Back pain sucks.

I have literally been on my back and while everyone says as your own boss you are in control and make your own hours – there is some truth, but the real truth is you don’t have a boss…. but you have many customers who become your boss.

Sadly while being on my back I haven’t gotten much in the way of hours in, sure sure I have gotten a project or two (PTL) however a lul in hours for over 2+ months now has slowly drained reserves, and here we are mid-ish Feb. and I think my total billable hours is currently sitting at …. 2 hours. So that needs to change.

I have a big project which I am staying up tonight to work on, thankfully this back brace I got as a V-Day gift (oh yes, we are romantic like we are in our 70’s) is helping keep pain at bay without meds thankfully so whatever its holding in place … thanks Wifey 🙂

One thing I want to accomplish all things said and done after feeling better is most definitely finding new streams of revenue, design lately has been one that has given me some hours, but once things are wrapped up on a few projects I’m heading to the coast to talk business.

I’ve applied at a view DC’s over the years, and looked at the option of once again finding a 9-to-5 however sadly I do get the “You’re over qualified” or my personal favorite “We can’t afford to pay you what you’re worth” and while these are great ego boosts that I’m good at what I do… still I have no job to speak of lol – so this option can lead to some steady flow of income, a new stream for funds to flow in.

For now going to take my back-braced self and get some work done while pain is minimal and then get some rest, tomorrow is going to be a nutso day! 

(thanks for reading my random thoughts this evening partially brought to you by … Pain. Oh it hurts.)

Stalling. *Ugh*

Yup. I’m stalling. Honestly part of it is the fact that for a few weeks now I’ve had a lot of pain, and today is the first day it’s down to a mild roar. I don’t want to get swept up working and find myself hurting later. 

So where have I been? Well Let’s see since the last post I’ve been busy. A project has consumed a lot of time, and I am working on a slew of others right now but work, pain, work, sick fam, work, pain, stress, tired. So – semi normal 😀

Honestly lately I haven’t done much in the way of relaxing doing something other than computers. It’s been work or on my back lately, but I have been wanting to write. So later this month maybe a birthday post? Silly post? Still not 100% sure what I want to write, but I’d like to write. So we shall see what happens.

Re-themed things a bit, but all in all, probably won’t fiddle too much unless inspiration hits! So for now, stalling stops, and back to it! Happy February! 

3 Months Away

Honestly I don’t know where the time goes anymore. 

The last three months have brought about a lot of changes. Health wise, family loss, new stresses, old stresses, stresses I didn’t know I’d have with server moves, and a project the size of a house looming over me due in 21 days. 

I’ve gotten to the point with my blog here that I don’t honestly know what the purpose is any longer. I mean I enjoy writing, I enjoy putting things down but then it comes down to a few things – no one is reading the personal stuff, traffic is maybe 1-3 people unless bots are more clever than ever 🙂 but the big hitter is the crypto code for the Omega. So what do I do next? What’s the next thing with this blog? Do I chronicle life from a business standpoint? Do I just release helpful code snippets and how-tos? I considered that once with the idea of TechFriendly, but sadly it never got off the ground.

For now likely this will be the last post for a while again – I could talk about the losses, the code complexities, the fun with creating things like decals, stickers, t-shirts etc. but for now? Check my instagram, as it is one of the most up to date life preview I have at the moment.  (Some nice stickers if I do say so myself!)

So for those of you who do stop in and read, thanks, keep me in your prayers, going to bed more exhausted than I was yesterday to a week that is going to demand more and more out of me! If I decide a focus for the blog, I’ll be sure to swing back and bring it to a focus but for now, have a great Christmas & Happy New Year! 

Full Circle?

When I was 18 I started this wacky journey being a “Web Designer” – one catch. I’m not super artistic. So while I can make a website, I’m not good always at putting the graphics together that really scream “WOAH! AWESOME!”.

Well somewhere along the line where Miva Merchant came into play. I had learned Miva’s Scripting language doing some eComm for another customer, and that led to a job in which I was administering a Linux box to run Miva Merchant for my first major job outside of the comfort of ye-old safety-net, and that’s also where I started to diverge from designing print ads for the local Christian Production Company and helping a band/friend with a website design – while not good, it was also early in the web – not the fancy flash/shockwave era 😄

But as I moved towards eComm, I continued to go down the rabbit hole that was Server Administration, set up my workstation to run Linux and tried to dig in deep. I have dabbled now and again and built out a website or two, but honestly? Hosting the pages was more of the thing I did vs. create them.

Well with the most recent build of I took to the editing board and built out a site. It worked. It was clean, it fit, and it’s online still – but it hasn’t stopped there – recently re-designed and built out the local Christian Radio Station’s site, and freshened it up.

Yesterday though I had some projects thrown on my lap and was asked if I had all of the graphical assets if I could make the site functional? So I figured, what could it hurt to take some images and organize them a bit and see if I could make a site. I did. Worked great – and that’s opened a few more projects for me. 👍

So while I’m currently taking a Network Certification training course (CompTIA Network+) – I’ve got a website or two in the works, building out things and banking some time – thus its nearly 2:30am and I need to sleep – but funny that I’m full circle building out sites again. Good times.

Took a Certification Test….

So I’ve been considering a few job options out and about, currently looking at various IT fields since all of my current prospects run something like this:

Employer: You’d be a valuable asset to our company! Would you be interested in working here?

Me: Sure! That’d be great, love to come on board and get things running smoothly!

Employer: Oh… well… yeah… We’ll look into it. [Insert Crickets]

I’ve come to hate the “Nice” thank you that opens a door in my mind, only to shut it. So recently I started looking at certifications, and the CompTIA Network+ certification is one I took a practice test for, I only missed 3 in the practice test, it’d of been two if I stopped acting like a service provider and acted like an IT manager again (Report, then inform user).

But honestly some cash out of pocket couldn’t hurt to do this test, I do want to take the updated study stuff as the test changes in 2 days from the N10-006->007 so a brush-up course of study couldn’t hurt, but honestly? I’ve been doing this so long much of this is second nature and while I’m sure the cost would mean a few more bucks out of pocket, couldn’t hurt… right?

Any certifications out there anyone would suggest? For now, my pillow is going to be my employer! Good night.

I missed only 1. Thanks $5 Traffic School.

So at the start to this summer’s state capital we made it over the pass heading towards Denver in our rental, and honestly, I couldn’t tell how fast we were going, but a CHP was concerned and pulled us over.

I don’t say a jerk because honestly nicest officer I think I’ve ever gotten pulled over by – and I’ve had a lead foot now and again, (even on my birthday!) but this guy was super nice, even was polite with Daisy & Lilly, explained how the ticket worked since it was in Mojave, not Bakersfield, and sent us on our way, and that extra caution on speeding, really did make the rest of the trip much safer, and I think avoided us an accident or two.

Officer Franklin – Thank you, sir. Got me more mindful of the rental’s speed, even managed to get its cruise control running that much more accurately and by trip’s end the car was second nature!

But thankfully since my speed hasn’t been an issue for a few years I was up for Traffic School, after a slightly painful ticket – but found 5 Dollar Traffic School. It was on the list they sent, and honestly it didn’t look like Netscape 1 was the only compatible browser (there are a LOT of crappy looking traffic school sites) – had some PHP errors I reported, but all in all, worked great.

Took it all in a day. All of the quizzes were super helpful to the point at the end as I said, only missed 1 (96%) and now I have a ticket on it’s way to being removed from my record, even paid a little extra for status since its all digital now with the courts + got a copy of things for my own records just in case something is wonky.

Nice to have one more thing off the list in the grand to-do! I start a new project tomorrow, and hopefully get paid for a server project here soon too! Lots on the docket as of late, but I’m still moving forward – been a busy/rough couple of months, I’ve applied to another IT job, no response. I do have a name that I could drop, but I’m seeing what I can do at this point on my own, but for now, I’m “Under Review” so we shall see.

Back to it for another hour then it’s bedtime. For me, that’s early to bed, and before 10 AM is early to rise, so working on it 😀

Farewell Spectrum VoIP – Hello Callcentric!

I recently started looking for ways to cut the cord.

I’ve been a member of the method of digital media vs. OTA or Cable for a while, however, the Mrs. is a big fan of cable – well I recently noticed even she is slowly drinking the kool-aid of all the digital outlets we have access to, and I shut down our Cable TV & while I was at it, our Phone Service.

Sure sure, the guy explained to me on the phone “But you’d lose the Caller ID on your TV!” – after the 30 or so minutes on the phone having him console me on this horrible loss which as I don’t watch cable TV, and we don’t get a TON of home calls, I pulled myself together, and said: “I’ll be ok.” LOL, Honestly there is a lot more to the world than just having Caller ID on my television screen.

So I did some research and the solutions out there range from Plug and Play with a hefty price tag or the option I went with which is DIY with pretty good savings. How good? $39.99 -> $8. Yeah, that says $8. Now granting you do need to buy some hardware, number porting was free, and it does take a little patience if you aren’t too tech savvy, but in the end I was able to set up my office number and home phone number on the same hardware and cost wise was still under $20 a month. That’s it.

I went with Callcentric as it had amazing reviews – some with folks upset about things like local dialing not working (which they have documentation for on their site to hardwire your local area code) and some general just frustration that it’s not a pre-configured deal, requires some legwork.

In the end if you are looking for something like this honestly I’d say go with Callcentric, because if you are like me, your home phone is a little old school – folks mainly call in, I rarely call out so cost wise I get 90 minutes of monthly outbound calling, but unlimited inbound calling – so when I get that call from the doctor, the Mrs. school, etc. it’s free – and if I need to call out, I’ve got my cell if its a complex call needing hours.

All in all, it works for me. If you are interested in knowing more I’ll happily write up a tutorial on getting set up, enabling local dialing, etc. including too the routing on the OBIHAI OBi202 which was great for me since it allows 2 separate lines but the lower 200 model which is a little cheaper works fine if you are simply replacing your single home line not an office + home line.

Post a comment if you are interested and I’ll write it all up (may do so anyway) but if you are interested posting will encourage me to do it sooner vs. later 🙂

Harry’s vs. Dollar Shave Club

So the other day while browsing my overwhelming SDCC feed on Instagram, it said: “Try Harry’s!” it boasted that it was a better blade, and a better price, and while they claim that, unless I’m grandfathered into some insane pricing setup, the pricing was about $1 difference.

I considered the offer for $8 via Instagram, however, I didn’t want to jump into another subscription which for something I honestly don’t do that often, the subtle beard is a common thing for me, and by subtle I mean – I get harry. It happens.

I was Target bound today, picking up a scooter for an upcoming 4yr old 🙂 and saw the display and figured “Why not” it wasn’t as robust an offer as the online, but it also meant I didn’t need to wait, that is one plus over DSC is that in the past if I was out of blades for any reason, I was stuck. No quick pickup all local Target locations carry their products, and I didn’t need shave cream or anything else, Brandless has me covered.

So tonight I had a blade setup fresh and ready for each and I must say in the hand, Harry’s felt better, more control, stable, a bit larger so it wasn’t a small thing to hold, it was comfortable. The cut was cleaner too + as my hair is insanely thick/full usually with the DSC blade it’s constant tapping and rinsing, only had to do that 1 time after I over shaved without rinsing – but no tapping out hair. Nice.

All in all, in comparison to the final cut, Harry’s took me less time. So as it stands, I’ve got the DSC on hold at the moment, pushed it back a month, may toss it back another, because honestly, that’s my big issue, DSC sends whether or not I need them, and I actually have a small stockpile, so may cancel and run out the stockpile then make a choice.

Harry’s seems to not be going anywhere, it’s comparable in price and the quality/ease of shave is better, plus I don’t HAVE to get a subscription for savings, the price in store is basically within a buck of what I was getting, so long-term maybe a fresh set of blades every 3-4 months? Not bad at all.

Overall verdict? Harry’s? Worth a shave. 🙂