OCD Guide to Beginning a Bike Commute

How I Prepared

I started simple and slow, just by pedaling around the neighborhood, 1-2 miles on a cruiser (Walmart brand, big seat)  just having fun, getting used to riding a bike again.  My confidence in stopping, getting on and off, turning, was VERY low.  Hell, I still can’t jump curbs!  After about a couple weeks fooling around, I decided I wanted a bike with handbrakes, and so I sold the cruiser on Craigslist, bought a Mountain Bike for 30 dollar difference and off I went.

I found a couple trails and on weekends would go with a friend to do maybe 3-5 miles total.  After a month, I made a goal to bike 5 miles everyday in February.  I met my goal and knew work was only 8 miles one way and was slowly building the idea of commuting.  Only problem was that though I felt my strength was growing quickly, I realized I was pedaling harder, but not getting much return.  It felt like I was pushing and getting no where.  I set my next goal:  change my bike and plan my commute.

 

Bike and Setup

I decided to get a hybrid bike.  It’s like a mountain …

JomSocial: Preventing Album Reposts When Uploading Single Picture

I’ve been working on another site and it features JomSocial (Joomla 2.5, JomSocial 3.0) along with the “activities” module that lists the latest activity as far as pictures, videos, comments, forum, etc.

One of my biggest irritations with the activity list was this:

I created separate album, say per city or subject and would upload maybe 5 pictures one day.   Months later, when I go to upload a new photo pertaining to that subject/album, not only would my new photo show up in the activities feed, but ALL photos (up to the limit of 5), even if they were months old.  It would make other updates of photos drop down the feed and the new photos become lost.  So, today I dug in the code and created a bit of a mod.  I’m sure it might be buggy or can be improved upon, but for now – it gets the job done.

in file:  /components/com_community/libraries/photos.php

at line 81, after

$albumsHelper = new CAlbumsHelper( $album );  insert this:
$db = JFactory::getDBO();
$sql = “SELECT * FROM #__community_photos WHERE `albumid`=”.$album->id
.” AND `id`=” . $photoid
.” AND `status` != ‘temp'”;
$db->setQuery($sql);
$result = $db->loadObject();
$created = $result->created;

at line 116, replace:

$sql

Learn Chinese with Movies

The information below is outdated. Now, getting Hanzi/Pinyin subtitles is much easier!  Go to Reddit’s /r/pinyinsubtitles (which I own) and follow the Pinyin Subtitle Wiki or download ones I’ve made previously on my 52zhongwen website.

  1. Download movie
  2. Grab original Chinese/Mandarin (Hanzi) subtitles. I used this: OpenSubtitles.org
  3. To avoid any encoding problems: Right click on the srt file, open in Microsoft Word
  4. Choose the default encoding (usually CH-GB2312), if it’s already UTF8, ignore and move to step 3.
    File > Save , choose UTF-8 encoding.
  5. Be sure to remove any .docx, txt, extensions etc…. file should end in .srt
  6. Use this site to add the pinyin below your hanzi: Chinese Pinyin Subtitles Converter
  7. Choose UTF-8 for encoding. I left the rest of the options alone.
  8. Do the calculation, submit, save your new .srt file.
  9. You can stop here, or add the English subtitle. 2srt2ass helps you join two srt files into one ass file (also a subtitle file).
    Submit query, save.

Now you can watch your old faves and learn Chinese at the same time!

Morse Super Deluxe Zig Zag 5401 (Manual / Download)

For the past month or so I’ve been really wanting a sewing machine.  Really, really wanting a sewing machine… and for all the machine’s I looked at online, at Walmart, on Amazon, the perfect machine I knew, would be metal.. old… resembling the Singer I learned on with my mother.  I looked them up online, researched all the latest models and stalked Craigslist for the latest offers in my area, but I just couldn’t find what I wanted within my budget.  I finally decided about a week ago to put up a wanted ad, $35 – any model, as long as it is working, please send a picture or model number.   If I can’t get what I want in my budget, I might as well start cheap and work up, right?…

Connecting to and Calling An AS400 Program with i5_toolkit

I’m starting to document some of the ways I’ve begun to use Aura’s EasyCom i5 Connect package to connect PHP to our as400. This has been a long process of trying to webify some of our programs and get the information out.  (btw, we’re a small business and yearly the package is about $600 – very, very reasonable.)

Currently, we have a webserver (Windows Server) that hosts our website. On it, we installed the required Aura software (a Windows exe GUI and a PHP extension) to connect to our as400. The PHP pages then utilize that PHP extension to make calls to our as400. On our as400 side, our programmer created small programs to access the larger programs we need. So, I pass say 3 parameters via PHP, make a call via Ericom i5, and then the RPG does the brainwork. It passes back my requested parameters and sets up a datafile I can query using basic ODBC and mySQL. We may change this in the future, but we like the logic work taking place in RPG on the as400 (where all our data resides anyway) and PHP being the fetcher of such data.

So, first up,  here’s how I …

How I Study Chinese Online

Programs I use:

  • Lingoes – this allows you to highlight words on screen for instant translation (written: English / spoken: Chinese).  Below are the elements you need to make it work.
    • Essential dictionaries:
    • Install all dictionaries under Index and Text Capture
    • For Index I have, in order:
      • Vicon
      • CEDict
      • 21 Century
    • For Capture I have, in order:
      • Vicon
      • 21 Century
      • CEDict
      • Instant Translation
    • The best Audio Translator I found (female) was here:

After this is all installed, you should be able to right click on your bird (in lower corner of your screen) and check off: Translate selected text.  Now, whenever you highlight selected text it will read it to you.  Chinese text will be read aloud (in Chinese) and a little pop up (the Instant Translation) will appear over your highlighted words and translate it into English for you as you listen to the Chinese!

Now, for …