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Website Re-write

While I've not been updating my website with many (or any) posts, I've still been diligently working with PHP and learning a lot. Most recently, I've been working on a personal project involving budgets as well as a fitness calculator type of project. Both of these projects have been on and off.

However, one large project I need to embark on is re-writing my blog. I've been very concerned about the safety and security of my web site and for that reason, I've spent a lot of time learning which methods are most effective at staving off any sort of attack. The current method of security on my site is a collection of white lists and some pattern tests. However, those methods are slow and cumbersome.

I've also been a bit sloppy in my coding in PHP, relying on PHP's implicit type conversions. This has allowed me to create functions that could output, ints, strings or nothing at all. I've since decided that I want my code to be more portable and adhere to more strict rules.

Ultimately, I'm going to need to re-write my blog's inner workings one of these days. I'm about 80% done with my budget program, which has most of the functionality written, but needs a proper (W3 Compliant) HTML style. So, when I'm done with that, I'll start re-writing my blog.

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags:

To Javascript or not to Javascript

I've put my CMS project on hold for WAY too long. At the moment, I estimate my CMS is in the final stages of Alpha functionality. What this means is that I do everything I need to do as far as adding, deleting and editing all of the data for a website is concerned. However, I'd still need to iron out all of the bugs in the system, streamline the whole system and make it efficient.

However, I realize now that while writing the system, I've generated a ton of separate PHP files to perform all of my tasks. I can't help but think that I can compress the necessity for all of these files (especially the control panel files) into something a bit smaller and more manageable through AJAX/Javascript.

This, of course, is always a debatable topic. Do I design the system to work around AJAX/Javascript or do I design a system that will work with all browsers regardless of functionality? There are plenty of pros and cons on both sides.

Pro Javascript arguments include:
Make the site more efficient and easy to use
Make the site faster (by loading only certain portions of data)
Allow the site to load only bits and pieces of what needs to be loaded, such as sub menus and sub-options

Anti Javascript arguments include:
- Make the site more compatible with browsers and mobile devices
- Make the site more predictable by handling all processing on the server side
- Speed up the site's performance on the browser side.

The obvious compromise is to design the site to function with and without Javascript, but this adds a fairly large quantity of time and effort. My blog was written to function without any Javascript. Once I finished and added Javascript to the site, I had to finagle several functions to work with Javascript and fall back to non-Javascript functionality, which adds time and code.

We'll see how I want to get my CMS system to work. However, I will not worry about making my pages compatible with IE6. Even Microsoft is attempting to phase IE6 out. I probably won't worry about IE7 either.

Posted on January 17, 2012 at 01:10 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags: blog cms javascript

An update

Hello all, in case anyone cared, I'm still around updating the site in the background. I've been taking a lot of time to pursue personal projects and relearning a few subjects. I've been reading a book on C to get me up to speed in the syntax so that I can use that instead of Java for personal projects. I'm still unsure as to when I will get around to learning C#.

I also started reading a book on AI programming in games, but quickly stopped reading that as it was pretty obvious I was going to have to relearn some math to make full use of the concepts in the book.

So, I've also started relearning Linear Algebra and Matrices from the Khan Academy.

I've also started to focus a bit more hard on these concepts because I also want to get back to school. I've gotten a strong desire to acquire a Master's degree in a discipline and I'm looking at getting one in Computer Science.

Posted on July 27, 2011 at 10:12 am by mat.
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Face of Death

Just found this bird on the ground. It fell from a nest in a light fixture located in a building near my house. I think it was still alive, considering its limbs were moving very slightly, though I'm not sure if the wind was moving it or if the ants were pulling it.


Posted on May 24, 2011 at 06:16 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags: death dying bird

New Downtown Chicago Photograph

Here's a new photograph I took of buildings in Chicago off of the Chicago River:


I decided to try something different with this photograph. It's actually an HDR image comprised of 3 photographs. I tweaked the colors to a fair extent in Photoshop to get the look you see.

Posted on May 13, 2011 at 03:01 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags: chicago downtown chicago union station HDR

Hacking a PC Flash Sync Cable

In this post, I'll show you how to hack PC flash sync cables so that you can use variable length cables with a fair amount of ease. This method also allows you to use much cheaper 3.5mm stereo mini plugs in lieu of much more expensive PC flash sync cables.


Posted on March 30, 2011 at 10:53 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags: flash strobist hack

Things about Firefox 4 that have bothered me

Firefox 4 was released on March 22. I've had an opportunity to download and try it out and there are a few things that are initially bothering me right off the bat. I typically don't have a problem with restructuring a program's UI to make easier to use, or more intuitive. For instance, I really like Office 2007's Ribbon as compared to Office 2003's menu and button system. However, the problem I have with Firefox 4 is that it feels as though it's more difficult to use as compared to the previous iteration (Firefox 3.6). Here's my rundown...

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 10:10 am by mat.
0 comments. Tags: Firefox complaints firefox 4

Another Downtown Photo

Another Downtown Photo. I took this by Union Station looking up at Willis Tower. It's sunset so the orange is real. You can see the moon in the middle of the frame.


Posted on February 17, 2011 at 09:25 am by mat.
0 comments. Tags: downtown chicago chicago buildings skyscrapers sunset willis tower sears tower

Recent Portrait

Just took a recent picture of the girlfriend:


Posted on January 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags: portrait

Developing my Website

I've finally gotten around to developing a logo for my own business.


It's taken a long time to get my own logo developed. The problem I faced was that I'm just new to logo design. Fortunately, my attempts to create a logo coincided with a coupon from Borders for 50% off any item. This, for me, was a great opportunity to pick up a couple graphic design books, both for the "inspiration" to create something, plus insight into the process itself.


Posted on December 22, 2010 at 02:23 pm by mat.
0 comments. Tags: logo MT Design and technology

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