David, Me, & PHP

Yesterday was a milestone event in my PHP programming career; I wrote my first PHP robot script.  It was a nerd triumph of sorts.  My friend David, who got me started on PHP about 3 years ago, once again helped me get to the next level.  He’s not really a PHP programmer per se, but he works data magic on spreadsheets and knows the PHP syntax well enough to pop data variables into PHP scripts brute force style.  We collaborated to create a straight up PHP brass tacks script that did some real work.  Which as it turns out, was a real epiphany for me.

Let me begin this story with an analogy about drywall and demolition.  When I had first set out to remodel our kitchen in our first house, I had never done drywall or demolition.  My father was an engineer, and most things we worked on together as father and son were precision in nature: rulers, pencils, straight lines, diagrams, graph paper, &c.  So I really didn’t know what I was getting into when it was time to demolish my old kitchen.  Luckily, I had my father-in-law coming over and this was his type of work, and I was about to learn from one of the best.

I woke up one spring morning and made myself breakfast in my kitchen for the last time.  My father-in-law shows up after breakfast with a couple of sledge hammers and some other tools.  He hands me one of the sledge hammers, takes a swing at a wall in my kitchen with the other and knocks the fuck out of it.  A little explosion of dust and debris came from the contact of that hammer against the wall.  That visual coupled with the loud THUD! noise made my goes wide.  I was thinking ‘what the fuck!?!? we’re just going to knock this motherfucker the fuck down!?!?’.   It was very liberating to swing that sledge hammer; it was intoxicating.  I got into a zone smashing walls, cabinets, old nasty range-tops, counter-tops, soffets, &c.  It all happened so fast.  The kitchen that I had just eaten breakfast in was gone before lunch time.  My kitchen was naked down to the studs and what used to be my kitchen was a scatter of debris in my backyard.  It was awesome.

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Back From The Dead

Hello again.  You probably didn’t notice or know this, but I got my site hacked.  What an experience!!  I got to put my money where my mouth is with my backup process and where I talked some junk about fearing no hacker.  I plan on writing a post about it explaining how I got hacked and how I recovered my site.

The backup process was good, but it is never quite the same as when the real emergency happens and you have to do a full recovery process.  I will explain this and add some more steps to how I backup my site in order to make a “real” recovery even easier and faster.  There are a couple steps more I could have been doing to make this process even more streamlined.

Hell yeah!  I’m back.  And I’m stronger than I was before!  One more loophole closed.  Bring it on hackers.  Each time you attack, I get stronger!

How To Copy Your WordPress Blog To Your Localhost

Overview:

This how to tutorial will explain how to copy your WordPress blog from your webserver to your home pc and run it on your localhost.  First we’ll talk about what I’m using because your situation might be different.  Then, we’ll talk about a couple things that you should already know how to do that are prerequisite.

The goal of this tutorial is to be hacker proof by knowing how to back your blog up to your home pc.  There are other conveniences of being able to ‘run’ your blog from your localhost too, like being able to tinker with it.  This is conceptually no different than backing up files at home to an external hard drive.   After you’ve done this a number of times, the whole process should only take you 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your blog.   Once you have this process under your belt, you can screw around with PHP and CSS to try different things out with no fear.  If you get hacked you won’t care either because you’ll be backed up.  This is a good procedure to add to your knowledge tool box.

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PC History, Spreadsheets & Programming Theory

Accidental EmpiresThere are a million tutorials out here on the internet showing you bits of code for whatever language you’re trying to learn or implement.  There are not, however, a lot of posts or essays on programming theory and logic in general.  It’s imperative to have an academic training that precedes your production experience if your production experience is ever going to truly be top notch.   This is true for most things learned and practiced in life.  It’s like they say about a house only being as good as its foundation.  And if your talking about personal computing and programming, you have to ask yourself where the beginning really is.

I’m going to consider the beginning to be birth of the PC and make reference to a book called Accidental Empires by Robert Cringley.  This is a terrific book about how the PC came about and gives a more human look at the lives of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs and the folks at Xerox Parc.  It covers the players that were in the industry initially and touches on a program called VisiCalc.  While these titans of today were developing the first operating systems and hardware as kids in garages, there was one piece of software that was simultaneously being developed that changed everything: VisiCalc.  VisiCalc was a spreadsheet software that did something transformative to society: it gave people a reason to want a computer.  It gave them something they could really use.  The advent of the spreadsheet gave people this living interactive graph paper with a built in calculator and it was a oft overlooked transformative event for all of human society.   In this sense, the spreadsheet was the father of the modern day PC.  Without VisiCalc, there would probably be no computer on your desk today.  This evolution of how humans interact with data was going to come eventually no matter what, but you would probably turn the clock back years on computer technology had VisiCalc not come along when it did.

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