24 apr

Load Balancing Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal

***, Architecture, Cloud Computing, Clusters, CMS, Drupal, Hardware, Internet, Joomla, Linux, PHP, Wordpress

There comes a time when Amazon Web Services gets extremely expensive or even unusable for your websites needs.

If you look out in the world of websites that are out there, it has been guestimated that over 70% of all websites run either WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. Below are estimated number of websites that each of these CMS’s take care of.

WordPress: 60 million
Drupal: 20 million
Joomla: 8 million

This basically means that if you have strong programming knowledge and background across with strong experience in each of these CMS’s, you can stay gainfully employed for some time.

With all these sites, let’s say http://www.whitehouse.gov which is Drupal, you are going to deal with an enormous amount of hits. And one box alone is not going to be able to take care of everything.

That’s when we start diving into high availability and load balancing.

There are lots of different ways to balance load. Primarily you will setup two Reverse Proxies that route traffic from a number of rendering servers inside your network. You can choose between a massive database or the new trend seems to be replicated databases. Then you need your file replication to keep each of the rendering servers in sync.

That said, it’s being done every day. Once your setup, you can add or peel off nodes to adjust for load. You will likely have to tweak your file replication to get your new content up quickly. These tutorials below do an amazing job of sharing how it’s all done. Enjoy!

Joomla Load Balancing
WordPress Load Balancing
Drupal Load Balancing

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23 apr

All Websites Should be WCAG 2.0 Standard

***, Browsers, Companies, Design, Internet, Rants

I have been contracting with a Non-Profit for nearly two years now and the big word in this place for websites is Accessibility. This word is so over-used and for some reason, I feel that people gravitate to this word to simply call it out.

In my opinion, Accessibility should be a standard practice of living while creating public facing websites. There should be no reason that someone with a disability should ever struggle while navigating through a website. In-fact, you are helping non-disabled individuals when making a website Accessible. It’s just Good practice!

It’s frustrating. Almost like, just make the website the right way and everyone can use it. Why do we have issues with people making websites incorrectly or not following W3C standards? It’s public, expect all sorts of different people on your site, that’s your job. Why do we have to hide behind the word “Accessible”? Better question, why are there so many lazy developers out there? If you are developing a public website, make it accessible. Just follow standards.

And use WCAG 2.0, it’s common sense:

Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

  • Guideline 1.1: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
  • Guideline 1.2: Time-based Media: Provide alternatives for time-based media.
  • Guideline 1.3: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • Guideline 1.4: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.

Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable.

  • Guideline 2.1: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Guideline 2.2: Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  • Guideline 2.3: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  • Guideline 2.4: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.

Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.

  • Guideline 3.1: Make text content readable and understandable.
  • Guideline 3.2: Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Guideline 3.3: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

  • Guideline 4.1.: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

That said, I just did a WCAG 2.0 check on my site and I am totally slacking on my alt tags, text tags, and title tags. That said, I could probably go in there and fix it up in less than an hour. I should. I need to follow my own advice. I will.

http://achecker.ca/

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22 apr

Building Houses with 3D Printers

**, 3D Graphics, DIY, Electronics, Home Automation, Home Projects, News

If you think 3D printers are cool, you should see this video. In Shanghai, they are printing houses with 3D printers.

I have my 3D Printer (Makibox) completely assembled. I have yet to do my first 3D print. I need to calibrate the dimensions first. More to come on that soon.

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17 apr

Heartbleed Attack Leads to Arrest

***, Clusters, Companies, Electronics, News, Rants

This whole Heartbleed thing has me seriously wondering what is going on today with our Security and our understanding of Security. It is laughable!

First, if you are trusting OpenSSL, which is an OPEN SOURCE encryption SSL certificate generator, you need to be able to completely understand the source you are using before you implement it, because anyone else out there will be able to understand it too. That’s the down-side of open source, it’s all hanging out there. Go and spend the money for a real trusted certificate.

Second, not only does a website have to be running the exact version of an OpenSSL cert, but the hacker has to be inside the network to be able to ease-drop on the communications that are being relayed. Whether it’s an employee or a Starbucks or Airport WiFi.

So many people got their panties in a pinch when this came out. The news spread like a wildfire and in-effect, revealed IT departments poor decision making in selecting a good SSL Certificate. Also revealed some bad decision making on the part of hiring right people. The thing with Certificates and understaffed IT departments, there is no specialist who understands the full ramifications. It is just funny! Crazy media pot of stew, just climbing up the ranks, stirring unnecessary changing of passwords. Although passwords should always be on rotation.

Here’s to you Canada, congratulations.

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13 mar

Learning JavaScript? Here’s How

***, DIY, Internet, JavaScript

Learning JavaScript can be the gateway to much more serious, much more powerful programming languages out there. You can easily take the logic and syntax learned in JavaScript and take the next step to PHP pretty easily, although still very much different. You can apply the same syntax JavaScript has to C#, Java, PHP, and even CFScript. Lots of options. How do you get started?

Take a course:
https://www.learnstreet.com/ – A highly interactive course that allows you to learn and play at the same time.

Learn on your own:
http://jsfiddle.net/ – The best online interactive testing and collaboration tool.

I’m not going to list w3schools (unlinked) – w3schools is a definite resource, but only as a reference once you understand the concepts and basic syntax.

Also, jump into jQuery early! jQuery makes native JavaScript much easier, it handles cross browser compatibility much better, and will serve as a much needed crutch to climb the curve. Eventually, see how you can do without it, and you may have a couple nights that I was privy’d to having back when JavaScript was in it’s infancy.

Learn by example:

Native JavaScript:
http://jsfiddle.net/thomasf1/XNJxT/5/
http://jsfiddle.net/blazeeboy/fNPvf/

jQuery Examples:
http://jsfiddle.net/3E2Hg/1/
http://jsfiddle.net/dwahlin/DUU9p/2/light/
http://jsfiddle.net/dwahlin/bbwZr/3/light/
http://jsfiddle.net/dwahlin/nCLy6/4/light/
http://jsfiddle.net/BH8q9/ – Countdown
http://jsfiddle.net/8LV3p/ – Use Chrome / Firefox for this one!

jQuery Plugin Examples:
http://jsfiddle.net/db5SX/ – Dialog Boxes with jQuery
http://jsfiddle.net/davidpadbury/AUEQq/ – jQuery UI
http://jsfiddle.net/webdevem/p3sfy/ – jQuery UI

Enjoy!

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12 mar

Hydrogen Vehicles As Soon As Spring 2014!

***, Car Computing, Electronics, Government, News
fuel cell car

fuel cell car

Thinking about purchasing or leasing an all electric vehicle? Well, you may want to take note before you sign on the dotted line, because the next generation of EVs are just around the corner!

Hyundai is taking pre-orders for their first-ever, hydrogen-powered vehicle that emits zero-emissions and travels as far as  300 miles on a single tank up to speeds of 100 mph. Filling up a single tank of hydrogen takes anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes while a traditional electric vehicle such as a Nissan Leaf can take as long as 3 hours at a charging station. The initial model from Hyundai will be called the Tucson Fuel Cell and it’ll be available Spring 2014 at $499 a month for 3 years. There’s a $2,999 due at signing, but there’s also $2,500 government rebate to encourage this future technology and stimulate growth in this new market.

All maintenance, service and hydrogen fuel is included during Hyundai’s program plus many other free benefits. However, Hyundai plans to offer their leasing program in the Los Angeles and Orange County area in California where Governor Brown signed a bill to fund 20 million a year for 10 years for up to 100 stations to be built. In doing so, California has mandated at least 15% of new vehicles sold in the state are required to produce zero emissions by 2025, and its regulations require auto makers to sell electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles to meet the requirement. Note: At this time, there are fewer than 15 public hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S. today.

Here’s a rather detailed description of how a hydrogen car works I pulled from one of the videos below:

“Rather than purchase a conventional car with a gasoline tank, a fuel cell car has a tank that stores compressed hydrogen as a gas. Hydrogen is used as an energy carrier, so the fuel cell car can produce its own electricity on board rather than store it in batteries. This compressed hydrogen is expanded and then fed into the fuel cell stack. The fuel cell stack is like a tiny electric power station. Inside it the hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to generate electricity as water as a by product. Water vapor is the fuel cell car’s only emission. The electricity created inside the fuel cell stack is used to power the electric motor which in turn is used to drive the car.”

Hyundai is not the only manufacture producing Fuel Cell vehicles, there’s also Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell, Honda FCX Clarity and Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell.

For more information, check out these few videos below that demonstrates how this technology is our future  not only our cars but also our homes.

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8 mar

Man versus machine: Table tennis champ to take on Ping-Pong-playing robot

News
The oh so beautiful Maggie Q playing in 1997's Balls of Fury

The amazing and oh so beautiful Maggie Q playing in 1997′s Balls of Fury

I love table tennis also known around the world as ping pong — I have an awesome game on my iPad I like to think I’m pretty good at however I haven’t played lately, so although it’s a synthetic experience I’ve probably lost all skill just the same.

Here’s an awesome video of how an engineer crafted his own robot to play opposite of him in a game of ping-pong. Will the future of robots be man’s new best friend? Probably not, but this is pretty cool.

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Now that you’ve enjoyed that short video be sure to check out this brief teaser trailer of man vs. machine table tennis match, who will be victorious? The battle begins on March 11, 2014 as ping-pong champion Timo Boll is facing KUKA’s KR AGILUS robot at the ping-pong table.

Will machine beat man in ping-pong just like IBM’s Deep Blue Supercomputer won a match against reigning World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov in 1997 or how IBM’s Watson defeated both reigning Jeopardy champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings in 2011? My bet is on machine if you ask me!

Watch the video production on March 11th 2014 at www.kuka-timoboll.com to find out who is the winner. Check out the teaser below. Should be fun!

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5 mar

Super Super Busy!

News

I have been slacking on this blog as of late. As of the past 4 months actually. A good thing, been REALLY busy. Just moved even closer to DC. Sorry about that everyone.

On that note, just wanted to note that I love how when I go into my command prompt on Windows and type LS, it actually works because I have all the unix binaries properly pathed and my Linux behavior begins to act up anytime there is a prompt screen and the background isn’t blue. Lol!

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12 feb

Sharktank Cycloramic Panoramic App

**, Apple, Electronics, Entrepreneurship, iPhone

Some people tell me that this is the best Sharktank invention ever. I tend to agree. It uses already existing technology that can be transferred over a network that is highly difficult to calculate and makes a new practical use. I think Mark Cuban just bought a genius is what he did.

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3 feb

Investigating Yii – PHP MVC Framework

**, Entertainment, Internet, PHP

yii-logoThe web world is big. You hear me say it all the time. And just when you think you have a wrap on just how big the internet is, you get another Framework that has been around for nearly 5 years, that somehow skated right by you.

I’ve briefly heard of Yii Framework before, but did not realize how advantageous it really was to quick development using techniques I love like DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) and MVC (Model-View-Controller). What does Yii stand for? “Yes, it is!” Every single thing that you need for rapid website development, all influenced by Prado, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Symfony, and Joomla. This little guy is light weight and offers quick and heavy integration with databases and user interface fun all out of the box.

If you are looking for another PHP Framework to give a try, take a look at this one.

http://www.yiiframework.com/

And if you have 5 minutes to play Hangman, here’s a Yii version:

http://www.yiiframework.com/demos/hangman/index.php/game/play

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