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Friday, April 03, 2020

The Bathroom Project

In early March [2020], I discovered because of corrosion, the faucet in the main upstairs bathroom would have to be replaced. We ordered a new faucet (PARLOS Brushed Nickel) and also decided to use Amazon's Home Services to have the work done.

The plumber who performed the initial work, although installing the new faucet, also explained the corrosion was more extensive than we thought. We would need a new sink as well. So I took measurements and went over to Lowes to get a new sink.



While at Lowes, I also found a Dracaena Trifasciata (mother-in-law's tongue or snake plant, similar Amazon offering) that I decided I had to have. When I left home right after college, my mother gave me one she had had for years, so I was happy to find another at a very reasonable price (under fourteen dollars).

This post was going to be about all of the projects I have been working lately, however the bathroom project was a big one and took a lot of time to complete. The repairs were completed by 11:00 am Wednesday, however the sink was not usable until the following morning to give the epoxy a chance to set up.

Of course, the current situation with COVID-19 a factor in scheduling of repair services--- even with our hustle to purchase the hardware that was needed for the repairs. Just happy to have that sink working again.


Monday, March 30, 2020

NPR One API Interface

Recently, when I finished work on the new Amazon Product Advertising API interfaces for WiredPages, I decided to continue with other software projects, specifically an effort I put aside sometime ago.

The NPR One API resource is an interesting project, and quite frankly when I signed up over a year ago, I thought I would get back to the project a lot sooner. Part of the problem, it took longer than usual to set up the correct authorization procedures. When I finally "correctly" initialized all of the codes, I felt most of the hard work was done and it was only a matter of writing the interface.

Below, illustration of work completed on the project, with still lots more to do...

One of the biggest obstacles, I thought I could use HTML5 audio features to enable live streaming of radio programs. I could not. So I spent most of the weekend coming up to speed on a popular jQuery Player.

Over the years, I have decided against using cutting edge technologies like JQuery and AJAX because a lot of my development hardware is older and cannot support those newer technologies. However, what this has enabled me to do, is insure my sites work with both new and old technologies. My old desktop Mac can still run most of the tools on my sites without issues. Today, there are very few sites my old desktop Mac computer can visit.

Now, I do have access to newer hardware, however up until recently, my newer hardware was for testing and not development work. These days, I am using a Windows 10 Pro mini for a lot of development efforts. Updates to SSL protocols left me with little choice but to afford a newer development platform-- see the Items I Have link for more information.

So, back to my efforts this weekend... I am pretty happy with the jQuery Player I will be using for the NPR One API project, and will have to get over the fact that some of my hardware platforms will not be able to provide the live radio streams from NPR's network of stations.

The new tool is a Java Servlet and will be installed on the WiredPages Media page.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Amazon PA API5 Updates

Earlier this week, I noticed I had access to the Amazon PA API, so I decided to take the opportunity to convert my old PA API 4 tools, to the latest release (PA API 5). Efficiency guidelines, periodically disabling the resource, so this was my first opportunity to work with the new API.

I am not sure why, I thought the new release of the API would be easier to use, as related to development efforts for Amazon Product Search tools. In my opinion, the earlier release, PA API 4 was easier, especially the signing process.

That said, after some research and testing, I was able to get three program versions working using different frameworks:

  • Java Servlet not using the Amazon supplied SDK
  • Java Servlet using the SDK
  • PHP Version

When I install the new tools on WiredPages, I will be using the Java Servlet version which does not incorporate the Amazon supplied SDK. The following graphics illustrate how the new tools will look on the site, however [shown below] running in local mode from my IDE (NetBeans).

If you are familiar with my earlier Amazon Product Search tools, you will note the new tools are similar to the old. Updates also included new search categories. I will probably release the new tools sooner rather than later, however I am still researching security issues. Think I have found most of the program bugs.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

New Tool in the Works, Alexa Rank Check

Yesterday, I completed most of the work on a new tool that will provide Alexa Rank information for a specified website.

Plans are to install the tool on the WiredPages Technology page, however not sure when this opportunity will present itself. Related issues include; (1) Access to Amazon Web Services (AWS) data is billed based on usage, (2) the popularity of a tool like this could affect my web hosting plan and (3) security is always an issue for me. At this time, too many have access to areas of my site, which I cannot prevent.

Keep in mind, I am a sole proprietor and have no business partners as related to software development (see Business Partnerships for more details). I do maintain several advertising affiliate relationships as outlined in my disclosure policy.

Also note, the tool is still in checkout mode so I may change elements of the user interface, i.e., graphics, font sizes, etc., before the actual installation.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Ham & Cheese on a Croissant...

Yesterday, I stopped by Costco and Safeway. I thought I would be doing all of this shopping on Friday, however weather forecasts though calling for rain, seemed to indicate the precipitation would begin late in the day, so I thought I could get most of this done by noon. Actually, arrived home after two, so it took longer than I expected.

For some reason, I have been craving a ham and cheese sandwich on a croissant along with a strawberry milkshake. So along with necessary staples, i.e., bottled water, paper products, coffee, etc., I thought I would get the ingredients to satisfy my cravings.

Strawberries were a little more expensive than I thought they would be, so I did not get the ingredients for a shake but did get everything I needed for my sandwich.

The croissants and pepper jack cheese purchased from Costco, and the ham, lettuce and tomato picked up from Safeway.

Other things I have been working on?

  • Updating my local master copy of the Celebrity Birthday Database (security issues preventing the online installation of the master version of the database). The almost 4000 entries included in the offline version are being checked for dead biography.com links which are being replaced with Wiki links. Very tedious process, however the database should be pretty robust by the time the work is complete.
  • Researching a problem with the "Who Are My Legislators?" interface accessed from the WiredPages Government page.
  • Reading, "Secrets of a Charmed Life" by Susan Meissner

Things are working out with my new Windows10 Mini insofar as duplicating my software development environment. Working a number of issues and ensuring I can duplicate development efforts normally worked on my older Mac system.

The cost to provide this duplicate development environment, given I needed new hardware and operating system to work effectively with newer technologies, was something I could afford at this time.


Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Current Reads, FICO Scores, etc.

I use the OverDrive App to borrow books from the Maryland Digital Library. Just finished the latest Grisham release "The Guardians". Now reading "The Silent Wife".

Also happy to report, I am done with my 2019 taxes. Any refunds due, already deposited to my personal checking account.

Here are recent photos from other things going on around here. Lunch today, cookies I made Monday, watching the banana plant I moved to the guest bedroom flourish.

Other things I am watching? Recent news reports indicate FICO score computations are changing. One of my credit cards provides free access to my personal FICO score and my business bank provides reports about my business scores (in my case these scores should be the same because I am a sole proprietor and use the same tax information for both personal and business accounts).

That said, I noticed a 13 point drop in the FICO score being reported by my business bank in early January 2020 and think this may explain the change. The fluctuations seem to be more reflective of spending. Holiday spending using credit cards may have been used in the business FICO score, however I always pay the entire balance on my credit cards so I think the new computations maybe a little trigger happy.

Are you noticing changes with your FICO scores?




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