Officially Acquia Certified!

Thanks to iFactory for putting me through Acquia certification! I definitely would not have passed without having learned so much from working there in the past 5 months.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Section 1 – Fundamental Web Development Concepts: 62%
  • Section 2 – Site Building: 93%
  • Section 3 – Front end development (Theming) : 50%
  • Section 4 – Back end development (Coding) : 77%

Interesting outcome since I feel that I’ve been really comfortable with my frontend development. Ah well. Feels good to finally be done with the exam!

Drupal 7 and RESTWS with Basic Authentication – Getting Started (Tutorial)

I couldn’t find a good tutorial on how to do this from the ground up, so here is a definitive one that’ll get you started.

For this tutorial, you will need

  • Drupal 7 set up and ready to go (I’m using a local server)
  • The Following Modules Installed: RESTful Web Services & Entity API (required by restws)
  • Your favorite REST client for testing. I’m using “Advanced REST Client” (Google Chrome Extension)
  • A basic-medium knowledge of already how to use Drupal 7 (installing, enabling modules, etc.)

Ok, let’s get started! Here’s a basic new installation. Yay.

Read more

Samsung S34E790C and Retina iMac (2014) … and MacBook Air (2013)

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What a beautiful display.

Thanks to my friend Tim sending me so many links from /r/battlestations, I’ve been thirsty for an ultrawide display. I found a good deal for one on Amazon in their refurb warehouse, so I bit the bullet and bought one. Although I did read that they were compatible with Mac, I didn’t know if they’d be compatible with mine. Let me just clear it up for the record: yes it does work!

The refurb only came with a display port cable and no mini-dp adapter, even though the manual said it should have, so I had to wait an extra couple days and order one. I was scared that it would need an active dual-link DVI adapter like my Crossover 27″ IPS display, but to my surprise, it didn’t! It worked directly with the display port cable (with the adapter) on both my Retina iMac and my 3-year-old MacBook Air, so I am one happy camper.

And let me tell you, this is the most beautiful display I have ever used, ever.

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My current battlestation! Retina iMac on left, Samsung curved 34″ in the center, Crossover 27″ IPS on the right.

New Peripherals – Apple Magic Keyboard and Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M557

Since moving to Boston, everything is way more accessible to buy now. With that in mind, I knew I needed to buy some new peripherals, but I wanted to try them first. After all the testing, reviews, and research, I settled on the Apple Magic Keyboard and Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M557. And here’s why.

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Apple Magic Keyboard (photo from Apple’s website)

So this keyboard feels like the new keyboards they have on the new Apple Macbooks. I wasn’t a fan of them at first, but holy cow, this thing feels so good for my worn out hands. I suffer from RSI due to a pinched nerve in my neck, so the lesser travel on the keys and easy pressing works VERY well for me. It might not be for everyone, but my hands don’t get tired anymore, and I can type and code for extended periods of time without getting tired now. Even typing on my MacBook Air feels awkward now because I’ve gotten so used to this keyboard.

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Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M557 (screenshot from Logitech’s website)

First things first: I hate the Apple Magic Mouse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great mouse, but it is an ergonomic nightmare. I even tried buying this thing online that makes it thicker, but it still made my hands sore. So I had to look to other solutions.

This wasn’t an easy choice. I’ve been using this older Logitech wireless mouse with USB dongle for years and have loved it to bits, but it was starting to break. Since I was getting tired of USB dongles, I looked to bluetooth solutions. I owned another Logitech bluetooth mouse in the past and wasn’t a fan of it, but I came across this, and it reviewed great, so I tried it.

The buttons were just like that of the Apple Magic Keyboard: very easy to press. The size of the mouse was the perfect thickness that my small hands craved. This was it. I bought it, and I’ve been using it for about a week now and couldn’t be happier.

So if you’re on the same boat as me with some wrist problems that need something that makes it easier on you, I highly recommend these two peripherals. Just make sure you go to the store to try them first.

Beyond The Box – Guam

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I’ve been buying my Macs and other Apple Products on eBay for years now. Sometimes, I’ll even buy straight from the Apple online store.

Neither has been ideal for me though. With eBay, sometimes, you never know what you’re going to get. Luckily, I haven’t had a problem with that yet. With the Apple online store, they don’t ship to Guam. So, not only do you have to pay tax (which hurts, by the way), you have to pay extra shipping to use a forwarding company (I use Aloha Forwarding, which runs on the expensive side).

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard there was an official Apple reseller chain opening on Guam.

I visited the store twice this weekend. It’s beautiful, just like an original Apple Store. There were plenty of things to play with, and they had everything on display. The staff was very helpful and friendly too, greeting you as you enter and answering any questions you might have.

You’d think the pricing would be high, especially for Guam, right? Nope! The prices are PHENOMINAL! They pretty much charge the same price as the the Apple Store, adding 4% GRT. This is way cheaper than what you would spend buying a new item anywhere in the United States (except for maybe New Hampshire, which doesn’t have sales tax).

Ok ok, everything good so far, right? Well, here’s the catch… They don’t carry stock of Apple’s newest items. My wallet is ready to purchase a Retina iMac. I was actually going to, too, but they didn’t have any in stock. Honestly, I’ve been wanting an iMac so bad to start on iOS development that I would have settled for a 2013 iMac if they had a Fusion Drive option, but mostly everything they carried in stock was base model or a step up.

On a similar note, they also don’t carry the iPad Mini 3 or the iPad Air 2 (yet). To be fair, they said they would be expecting the Retina iMac sometime next month, so it seems that maybe it’s just that Apple isn’t giving priority of newer releases to their authorized resellers.

So it’s back to ordering online for me.

More Tech Infatuation: The Retina iMac

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I’ve been waiting and waiting for a new Mac Mini for a couple years now. I bought a Mac Mini in 2011, mostly as an HTPC. I’ve slowly been using it more and more to do work though, because coming from a Windows user, it’s really hard to find equivalent apps to use on a Mac when you’ve already gotten so used to the workflow on your Windows programs.

I’ve since then gotten very comfortable working on a mac, having owned a Macbook Pro (2011) and Macbook Air (2013) since then. The biggest thing for me though is that I’m getting into iOS develpment now, or at least I want to.

I do have a working Mac Mini and a working Macbook Air, but the problem is that my Mac Mini is stuck on Mavericks due to some of my audio equipment not working on Yosemite (so I can’t program with Swift), and the Macbook Air is sometimes being used by my Fiancee, so I don’t have access to it all the time. Not only that, but I am really spoiled by my PC because it has 4 screens. Since I can’t afford a Thunderbolt Display or two, I’m stuck with my Macbook Air working on 1 screen + the laptop screen.

I’ve been wanting to get an iMac for a while now, and the fact that you can connect two external displays to it is a huge plus. Now, when the iMac Retina was announced, I was floored. I did a configuration of the original iMac with a 1TB fusion drive which came out to about $2,299, compared to the retina iMac that starts at $2,499 (base model starts with a 1TB fusion drive). So essentially, you’re just paying an extra $200 for all those extra pixels, which is a STEAL!

Anyway, I keep watching videos and reading reviews on the retina iMac, which is my usual ritual for whenever I get infatuated with hardware (like my MacBook Air in 2013, and more recently a Wii U…more on that later). After pining over these things for about a month, I end up just biting the bullet. I guess, at least in this case, I’m already doing a bunch of tech work, so it will eventually pay for itself.

Yosemite and MIDISport 4×4 [update] — M-Audio Makes A Public Statement!

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Yes! M-Audio makes a public statement to all Yosemite users for their products. I was so sad that I might not be able to update my recording rig to Yosemite, especially if I decide to buy a newer Mac, but it turns out that M-Audio is indeed working on new drivers for Yosemite.

I’m glad they are, because I would have stopped buying any of their products for fear of quick obsolescence. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Welp, here’s the statement from M-AUDIO:

Apple’s newest operating system Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite introduces significant changes which may require updates to the drivers or the software included with your product.  We are conducting ongoing testing and development in order to support this new operating system with our products.

Bonus: Here’s a photo of my recording rig (powered by a Mac Mini)

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WordPress vs Drupal

I’ve been using these two PHP applications for a long time now. I didn’t want to call them CMS’s because WordPress isn’t really a CMS. And I didn’t want to call them Blogs because Drupal isn’t really a blog. Although they both can probably do everything you need them to do, there are huge differences as to which one you should use.

I’m going to keep this short, because there are many other comparisons online about these two pieces of software, but I’m hopefully going to cover them from a first person perspective, rather than a completely objective perspective.

WordPress

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbWho should use it: People who need a blog. Sure, there are tons of plugins to add functionality for CMS like features, but natively, it doesn’t support it.

Who shouldn’t use it: People who need to organize a lot of different types of data.

Pros: Great Text Editing. Great media organization. Great Plugins and themes. Looks beautiful out of the box.

Cons: Not necessarily good for data, file, and general content management. Database tables must be created manually with PHP (this could be a pro for some people).

Summary: It feels like the Apple of PHP software. The software has beautiful design and it encourages its developers (for plugins and themes) to make their software with beautiful designs as well. It works right out of the box if all you need is a blog with great media and text editing.

Drupal

drupal_branding_2012Who should use it: People who need to organize dataand content quickly and easily. Between its built in support for fields and views (with a module), you can organize your data quickly and easily. Programming experience a plus.

Who shouldn’t use it: Newbies to PHP software.

Pros: Fast development for different types of content. Tons of customization options. Create databases with point and click.

Cons: Looks ugly out of the box. Steep learning curve. Can be a headache to get it to work exactly how you want it.

Summary: It feels like the Linux of PHP software. It doesn’t really do much out of the box, but you can (and have to) configure it to do what you want and need it to do. It is great software for rapid development of database systems and can do everything you need it to, but it will take a lot of tweaking to get there.

Conclusion

I use both and will continue to do so. Drupal can be a real headache sometimes, but if I need to organize a lot of different types of content, it makes it a breeze. WordPress is such a pleasure to use, but if I want to organize different types of content, it can take much longer than a Drupal website could.

I think Drupal could become my #1 choice if the Text Editing and Media organization could reach the wonderful usability level that WordPress has. Until then, I will continue to use both.

RotD: Anything Apply Pay vs CurrentC

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CurrentC retailers not allowed to accept competing payment services, may face fines if they do

I’m not planning to get an iPhone 6 because I’m perfectly happy with my 5S, but if I do, it will be because of Apple Pay. Living on Guam, sometimes you don’t know if you’ll get the latest technologies with the rest of the USA, but I’ve been seeing the NFC pay icon at many areas, so if I find out Apple Pay works here, I just might save up for a new iPhone.

But this Apply Pay vs CurrentC thing is ridiculous. You just need to browser http://www.reddit.com/r/apple to view all the posts about it. It has even united /r/Android and /r/Apple , because CurrentC supporting vendors have been disabling ALL NFC payments because of Apple Pay, thus affecting Google Wallet customers too.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been mostly focused on Reddit today. It’s fun to watch this corporation drama unfold.

Yosemite and MidiSport 4×4

os-x-yosemitemidisportI guess I should have waited to update my recording rig to Yosemite, but it seemed like it wasn’t a major departure from Mavericks, so I thought that the drivers wouldn’t be affected. Boy was I wrong.

I use the MidiSport 4×4 to drive my three Mackie Control Universal + two Extenders, so you can imagine my dismay when I found out the center of my control wasn’t working anymore.

I came across this link and tried to do what it said to make it work: https://gist.github.com/anonymous/56df524e2a58ffe65a1b – It involved some command line which I am alright with, but it still didn’t work. Oh well, back to Mavericks it is.

Infatuation with MacBook Air 13

techspecs_13_headlineMy first Mac was a top of the line MacBook Pro 13 (i7) I bought in 2011. I thought that maybe I’d just try it out, and wasn’t a big fan of it for quite a while. I guess I never really knew how to use Finder and all the keyboard shortcuts. I didn’t have many applications for it either.

As time went by, I souped up my MBP from 512GB to 1TB. 4GB ram to 8GB and then eventually 16GB. And then I found out you could take out the Superdrive for another hard drive, so I added a 256GB SSD to it. The thing became a BEAST! As time went by, I got more accustomed to using things like Reminders, Mail (which I love), Calendar, and other things, especially since they sync nicely with my iPhone.

But the biggest thing for me is that, even though I love my souped up MBP and thought it would last me for years and years to come, the battery life is starting to stink! Although it’s not horrible, like 2-3 hours, it’s still a hindrance for me to use it on the go, thinking I’ll need to take the power adapter with me and always needing to find a place to plug in.

I was never, ever planning on getting a MacBook Air. I thought it would be nice, but nothing would ever surpass the specs I have made on my souped up beast. But, come this past WWDC a few days ago, the new MacBook Air 13 is boasting 12 hours battery life! WTF! I was working on some music stuff yesterday on Studio One, and found that after a two hour session of messing around, deep in concentration, I had to plug in. Now, with 12 hours battery life, I will never have to plug in until the end of the day. That is amazing, and is probably the main reason I am so infatuated with this thing in the first place.

The problem is, it’s summer and I have less work than I do any other month. But I can probably justify getting it, seeing as I can sell my MBP for a decent price still. Ehhhh. I thought I was done with tech lust. But I guess Apple has made me a fanboy, whether I like it or not :( It’s not even about brand loyalty anymore though. 12 hours of battery life is crrrrrz!

iPad 2!

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I’ve been having a blast with my iPad 2. I hate to feel like I’m becoming and Apple fan, mainly because I was never crazy about Macs. I have to say though that this is a beautiful piece of hardware that will get a lot of use from me.

This is also coming from a Music Educator’s viewpoint. I found an app that teaches music theory and another app that shows rhythms and you have to tap them out on the screen. I think it’s amazing the kind of tools I have at my disposal now.

I probably will never get a Mac, but I have to say, I haven’t been in love with a piece of hardware in a very long time.

iPhone vs Windows Mobile

I just got an iPhone, contrary to me resisting Apple products. My whole professional life, I’ve been relying on Windows Mobile and Microsoft Outlook to keep my life organized, and it has been simple. Windows Mobile and Microsoft Outlook. Period.  So how does the iPhone measure up with keeping my life organized?

When I got the iPhone, the first thing I did was connect it to my computer and sync it with iTunes. To my liking, I found out that the iPhone plays rather nicely with Microsoft Outlook. It synced my contacts and calendar no problem. HOWEVER, the iPhone does NOT come with a Todo app. I was very disappointed.

Luckily, I found a TODO app on the App store, but it was $9.99! The hell… I tried the trial version and it helped me get organized a lot better than the simple todo list in Windows Mobile, so I thought, hey, that’s pretty worth it. I bought it.After I did, I set up sync and was so happy only to find out that it DOES NOT synchronize via cable, but WiFi.

Uh, when I had my WM6+Outlook connected to my computer, it was sync, WAM BAM, k unplug, and you’re all set. This whole App+WiFi sync added another layer of complexity to my syncing process.

I figure I’ve been wanting to ween myself into using more online apps (like Google), so I moved all my e-mail from POP3 to Gmail, and calendars and contacts to Google Apps. Unfortuantely, I needed to get a different app for everything.

So anyway, I went from this:

  • Connect phone to pc, sync finished

To this:

  • Calendar: CalenGoo App
    • PROS
      • auto-sync with Google Calendar on load flawlessly
      • Works flawlessly
    • CONS
      • Does not use iPhone’s native calendar app
    • Price: $6.99
  • Contacts: Sync in a Blink App
    • PROS
      • sync with Google Contacts
      • Uses iPhone’s native contacts app
    • CONS
      • Buggy. Sync not always exact
      • You have to manually sync by opening the program.
    • Price: $4.99
  • Todo: Todo App
    • PROS
      • Great app. Keeps you organized
      • Notifications are great
      • Better than any TODO method I have ever used
      • Syncs automatically upon opening.
    • CONS
      • Syncs via WIFI: INCONVENIENT
      • Syncs with Remember the Milk ($25/yr subscription required): EXPENSIVE WTF
    • Price: $9.99

So now I have three separate apps that sync differently with several different services. The iPhone sure is fun to use, and getting organized isn’t bad to begin with, but if you need to be really organized, you better be ready to fork out extra money to do so.

Am I doing it wrong? Is there an all-in-one solution? I found an App called Pocket Informant, but it was rather expensive and I had already bought all these other apps. Also, I looked at some screenshots and wasn’t too crazy about the interface.

IT’S ALIIIIIIVE!!!

The Dell XPS m1210 is a BEAUTIFUL machine. I think it’s the best laptop there is. It’s not too big, not too small, and has tons of processing power and of course, it looks and feels great.

Unfortunately, about a year ago, one of my friends (AHEM!!) put the laptop on a surface where it couldn’t ventilate and it overheated and couldn’t be turned on anymore.  After doing some research, I found out that the m1210 has a defect where it is VERY prone to GPU overheating!! … So i guess that didn’t help.

To make matters worse, the GPU is integrated on the motherboard, so to fix this thing would require an entire motherboard replacement. Screw that. I sold out most of the parts immediately: the motherboard, the keyboard, the ram, etc. Everything but the casing and screen, because I couldn’t sell them.

And thank God for that. Just a month ago, I had some money saved, so I did some research and found out that I could get this sucker back up and running if I spent about $300. I was thinking… That’s about the price of a netbook, and instead of getting a dinky little thing, I can get my awesomest laptop back!

So I bought a motherboard ($175), CPU ($75), 2gb ram ($40), keyboard ($15), and battery ($30). I was really scared though, because the motherboard came from China, so sometimes you never know what to expect.

I received everything and guess what? It didn’t work!! Man was I pissed. I spent hours trying to figure out what was wrong, but I figure either one of two things: I screwed up, or one of the parts was dysfunctional.  I only assumed it was the motherboard, so I furiously contacted the eBay seller and asked him WTF and wanted a replacement. After he agreed, I was taking apart my laptop once again to take out the motherboard to get it ready to send.

But, before I did that, I wanted to run a little experiment of my own. After doing some research, I found out that Rhea’s laptop (Dell Inspiron 6400) uses the same components as my m1210, so I asked her (very nicely) if I could take apart her baby. She reluctantly agreed, so I took out the CPU and RAM and everything and popped them into my m1210.

It worked!! I couldn’t believe it. After doing some troubleshooting, I concluded it was the CPU that wasn’t working. Good thing I make sure all these eBay sellers have a “working guaranteed” clause in their auctions because I got a refund, and after more buying and waiting, I put this sucker together and it works again!

It’s good to have you back :)

Sick, but Productive

We’re finally almost done with the Senator’s site. After that, we have to get the Guam Veterans site up, which shouldn’t take too long as long as everyone participates to make it happen. DRT’s next project is Guam Arts Calendar, which hopefully will go up within the next couple weeks.

I’ve been sick so I haven’t really worked out these past couple days. I’ve been taking my body tests every day, though. Today, I lost 2.2 pounds from yesterday, which is weird, because I pigged out at Pochon Chicken last night (which by the way was FREAKING GOOD!!!!! A++++ WILL BUY AGAIN). Maybe I should eat more to lose more weight :D

I feel a lot better now that I don’t have so many weddings to do. Hopefully, web business will pick up before it gets busy with weddings again. I’m perfectly happy playing piano for weddings, but I keep hearing that numbers keep going down and down and there’s no telling how long the wedding business is going to last before one of the big shots take over everything. Well, at least I have plenty to fall back on.

Oh and I’ve also been productive because of PIANO! I made it a point to accompany all my students this semester. I’m doing it for myself as well as for them. I’m also kinda doing it as a favor for Stevie B too, because I feel sorry for him that he always has to learn at least 10 different accompaniments every semester. Plus, I really want to get back into practice and I want to get better at sight reading, so yeah. This semester, I’m going to be learning Faure’s Fantaisie for Flute, Vocalise for Flute, Vocalise for Alto Sax, Poulenc Sonata for Flute (1st mvt), and Weber Concertino op26 for Clarinet transcribed for Alto Sax, which is pretty much the same.

I have my work cut out for me. BRING IT ON!

In the works!

I’m on a programming high. I started programming today at around noon and I’m still going and it’s already 10pm. What I mostly worked on today is a barebones script… kind of like one you would find on Drupal, except I have to program everything by myself.

I should really start to learn how to use these other CMS’s one of these days to save myself a lot of time because so much time is wasted programming things over and over again. I actually created a library of functions several thousand lines long to help me with my programming. Maybe I’ll post up some of my libraries on here to see if anyone cares about them.

Anyway, in addition to the barebones, I’ve started working on a Guam Arts Calendar site. I’m hoping it will help raise awareness of the Fine Arts on Guam and most of all make it so that people can schedule their events without having to worry about overlapping.

That’s all for now!

Guam College Books

Just finished Guam College Books site (thanks team DRT wuwu)! I’m still making a lot of changes but overall it’s functional and it’s been so much fun getting this thing off the ground. Here’s the URL:

http://www.guamcollegebooks.com

I also finished up the DRT website… at least a placeholder. You can check it out here:

http://www.drtguam.com

I’m going to play around with WordPress a lot more. It seems to be a really CMS. Plus I’m using it to create Senator B.J. Cruz’s website so I need all the help I can get to get this thing to work lulz :P