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Regina's personal blog

Thursday, April 11, 2019

This Day In History Calendar: Java Applet to Servlet Conversion

Work continues in the process to convert all of my Java applets to servlets. The latest effort, the "This Day In History (TDIH) Calendar" applet illustrated in the following graphic.

You may recall, the TDIH applet originally ran on the WiredPages Style & Events page.

Since most modern desktop and tablet i.e., iPad/Android browsers no longer support Java Applets, I have been in the process of converting the applets to servlets.

The graphic on the left, illustrates the new TDIH Calendar as a Java Servlet. The html code snippet on the right demonstrates in real time, access links to the history.com site for April historical events that happened on the specified day.
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Though most of the work on the new servlet has been completed, I am not sure when I will in install the new tool.

Related Effort: The old Blogger Calendar applets will also be rewritten using a lot of the underlying code from this conversion effort.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Working Redesign Projects

I am not a web designer (more software developer), that said I do all of the work -including web design for my sites.

As mentioned in the last post, I recently updated the look for the Business Blog, Remix. I liked the way the new header graphic worked out so I thought I would do something similar for this blog.

Initially, I tried a photo image, however the results were not what I expected. I searched through stock clip-art I keep on hand and found a graphic I thought I could use.

The new header graphic for this blog looks similar to the one created for the business blog, however I am going to keep both headers for the time being.

Why not hire a web designer? Nerdy programmer cannot afford a web designer. Because of security issues, I have put on hold most of my programming projects, and began updating the graphics on several areas of my site (qisoftware.com). That said, programming is easier for me.

Other things I have been working?

By the way, have you noticed the relatively new widget on the WiredPages Real Estate page?

Unique properties are added to the interface (lower right corner on the page) on Tuesdays & Fridays. There are quite a few noteworthy (expensive) homes that you may want to scroll through. I have spent a little time going through the interiors of most of the homes. If you love great design be sure to check out the details by clicking on the links.

Want your Unique Property listed? A project I am considering.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Remix Updates (March 2019)

Over the weekend, I updated the header graphics and elements of the CSS for the QiSoftware Business Blog, Remix.

In coming weeks, you may notice changes to other areas of the QiSoftware site and its sub domains.

QiSoftware site areas include (but not limited to):

QiSoftware updates in conjunction with new features and other enhancements planned for the site.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Driver's License Renewal Process

Spent most of the day, yesterday at the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Express Services facility in Columbia, MD renewing my driver's license.

Why? Although, I set an appointment for Friday, March 29th, 2019, I decided I wanted to get this process out of the way as soon as possible. My first mistake. I should have stayed with the original appointment.

Key to my driver's license renewal process was having my prescription for glasses updated and certified by a doctor. Saturday, I picked up the glasses and Sunday, the MVA paperwork signed by my doctor detailing my corrected vision with the prescription.

So this prompted the desire to have the license renewed sooner rather than later.

The second mistake- I photo copied my birth certificate and did not take the original with me to the MVA facility. I returned home to get the original. Although, I returned to the facility by 11:00 AM, I did not leave the center until after 3:00 PM.

Based on my experience, I thought I would post things you might do to avoid problems:

Your State will probably provide the exact details as to the documents required for the renewal process, however the list above provides a good starting point.

My birthday, is not until July, so I had a little time to complete the process, however I wanted to make sure I had my eyes certified by a doctor before I went in to renew my license.

Maryland notified me in February that I could start my renewal process at anytime. The notification and collection of documents made me a little apprehensive at first, however I had more than enough in the large folder I used to collect the copies, including copies of diplomas, social security card, birth certificate, a motor vehicle registration, bank card statements, recent tax returns and official correspondence from state agencies.

Be sure to read carefully your State's requirements for the renewal process.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Picked Up New Glasses

Went by Visionworks @ArundelMills this morning to pick up my new glasses.

Pretty pleased with how this turned out. Took advantage of a "Buy One, Get One Free" offer.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Recent Additions, Just Want

Spring is right around the corner, along with the rainy season. In anticipation, I have been thinking about things I would like to own.

I added the above items to the "Just Want" store...


The socks are a little late in the season, however when I find this type of sock, I always want to stock up.


Tuesday, March 05, 2019

I Am Getting New Glasses

Last week, I had an eye appointment for new glasses. I ordered two pairs. Normally, I wear contacts during the day and glasses at night, however I have not purchased new prescription glasses in over 10 years so I thought it was time.

The new glasses are on the way. With all of the advancements in eye care treatment, I am rather old school as to how I handle my eye care needs:

  • Very near-sighted
  • Astigmatic
  • Aging eyes (need reading glasses)
  • Use computers a lot

I prefer to handle each of these issues separately rather than a single correction (contacts or glasses). The reason? The astigmatic issue, in my case- eyes are slightly off center, and at times causes dizziness and headaches depending on the type of vision wear.

I prefer contacts and over the counter reading glasses most of the time and prescription glasses without the bifocal for night time wear.

PS- Why do I have on PJs and makeup? I work from a home-office and often leave my hair pinned up, unless going out. When I have to take it out (should be every other day), sometimes I want to see if I still know how to apply makeup. I took photos because I thought my hair looked nice. Photo on the right shows the squinting issue without my reading glasses.


Monday, March 04, 2019

Go Figure.

On February 24, 2019, I installed a new tool for job seekers, refer to this post.

On the first of March, I noticed both CareerOneStop resources I installed on the WiredPages Employment page no longer worked. I tweeted about it.

The Occupation Wage Data tool as discussed in this post, was installed September 23, 2018.

The CareerOneStop APIs are offered by the U.S. Department of Labor. On March 1st both tools were rendered inoperable because of a new requirement dealing with TLS protocols put into place by the government agency running the API service.

On Saturday, March 2, 2019, I fixed the TLS handshake problem by adding the following line of code to each of the Java servlets used in the deployment of the tools (keep in mind I use a private JVM on my hosting platform):

static {System.setProperty("https.protocols", "TLSv1,TLSv1.1,TLSv1.2");}

This morning, the tools are again inoperable.

Go Figure.......................................

More information: As I indicated the tools were operable all day Saturday and Sunday, however this morning the Protocol Handler was paused (reviewing Private JVM log files-- not shown "null pointer returned" for each request). Not sure why.

Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.catalina.core.StandardServer await INFO: A valid shutdown command was received via the shutdown port. Stopping the Server instance. Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.coyote.AbstractProtocol pause INFO: Pausing ProtocolHandler ["http-apr-13895"] Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.catalina.core.StandardService stopInternal INFO: Stopping service Catalina Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.catalina.loader.WebappClassLoaderBase clearReferencesJdbc SEVERE: The web application [] registered the JDBC driver [com.mysql.jdbc.Driver] but failed to unregister it when the web application was stopped. To prevent a memory leak, the JDBC Driver has been forcibly unregistered. Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.catalina.loader.WebappClassLoaderBase clearReferencesThreads SEVERE: The web application [] appears to have started a thread named [Abandoned connection cleanup thread] but has failed to stop it. This is very likely to create a memory leak. Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.coyote.AbstractProtocol stop INFO: Stopping ProtocolHandler ["http-apr-13895"] Mar 03, 2019 3:01:27 PM org.apache.coyote.AbstractProtocol destroy INFO: Destroying ProtocolHandler ["http-apr-13895"]

A lot of my case involves, how could all of this have happened. When I work hard to install operable tools and someone interferes with my efforts, I have to show how and why these issues might be in play. Just wanted this issue noted.

I spent a bit of time researching and developing these tools. I do not like my work tampered with, especially when I have an ongoing case.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

FICO® Scores

Yesterday, I decided to check my FICO® Credit Score. This link provides similar statistics from a check 3.5 years ago.

The score is slightly higher now, I think because savings accounts were established in the intervening period and my debt to income ratio looks good.

I have business savings and checking accounts with the same bank, a personal checking account with another large institution, and personal savings accounts with the following:

Want to learn more about credit scores?


Sunday, February 03, 2019

Super Bowl Sunday Snack Idea: Chicken Fajitas

Are you having friends over for the game? Are you looking for another snack idea?

Thursday, I stopped by the local market and picked up Old El Paso Soft Taco Shells. I wanted to make one of my all time favorite "diet" entrées, Chicken Fajitas. Weight Watchers used to offer a similar frozen entrée that I liked taking to the office.

These fajitas were so good, I wanted to post about this lower calorie, lower fat idea in case you needed something similar.

P.S. Tabasco Sauce works well with this dish, however your favorite hot sauce will work just as well (without adding extra calories).


Monday, January 28, 2019

My Personal Site, A Work in Progress

I maintain my resume (résumé) as a Microsoft Word document. In February 2018, I decided to post an online copy of my resume to my personal domain (reginadenisethomas.com).

After converting the Word document to an html file, there were a number of updates made before posting the online version of the resume.

Over the weekend, I decided, rather than maintaining my personal site as autonomous html files (including the resume), I would use the content management platform, Thingamablog, used for two of my blogs, this one and Remix. It's Personal, this blog, is maintained on a Windows XP netbook and Remix, the business blog, is maintained on a Macbook.

The illustration below, shows the additional site/weblog added to the Thingamablog installation on the Windows XP platform.

For more information about Thingamablog visit these pages:

The template for the new site is a work in progress.

The template was adapted from the one I use with most of the site areas on qisoftware.com and hosting-q.com.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

January 2019

I have been working a number of projects, illustrated in the diagram below.


  • Several license/registration related renewals this year, including MVA.
  • Gathering tax related documents and starting my TurboTax process.
  • Finance moves, hoping to get the best returns on my meager savings. Switched funds in a recently matured CD, to a CD with higher interest rates. Went from 1.75% to 2.85%. Happy with the timing on all of that.
  • Last but not least, preparing (setting up development environments on my MacBook and WindowsXP systems) for more efforts using the c++ programing language.

Lately, I have spent a lot of time on software efforts. Several problems with API resources that have me searching for workarounds. You may have noticed issues with WiredPages.

To a lesser degree; efforts with taxes, finance and state renewals-- nevertheless important projects that I need to get out of the way. Simply a matter of gathering paperwork and submitting requests.

Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration- in keeping with Federal law, now requiring new procedures for renewals. Happy to report, this seems like an easy adjustment to my plans and moving along.

Several in my family are affected by the Federal Government's partial shutdown so things are a bit low key. I am self employed. I have been working late hours and hoping things work out.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Snow Day

It started snowing yesterday evening around six, and has continued throughout the morning.

I am working an OAuth issue with an API service, (the WiredPages WeatherTool is unavailable at this time), so I had no plans to venture out.

The new year brought any number of issues, I was not expecting. That said, pretty pleased I think I have found solutions for most of the problems.


Thursday, January 03, 2019

My World, Busy Lately

I have been working several projects including updating my sites for the new year. This mostly involves updating the copyright year, i.e., 2002-2019 for site pages that provide the data.

I have also been playing around with a new audio resource. I am pleased with how this worked out. The video does not provide the actual robust audio quality, however you may get a sense of how well this works.

The video provides demonstration of Alexa Echo Dot, Apple iPod Mini and Youtube video via my Android as sample input audio to the 100 Watt per Channel speaker set. Keep in mind, I am still not expert in video production.

Other projects?

This year, I spent a lot of time planning for the holidays. I am kind of happy now, to only have business issues to worry about.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

USPS Biz Zips Tool

I started work on the USPS Business Zip Tool. The tool (Java Servlet), is powered by the USPS Webtools APIs and will be installed on the Wiredpages Business & Markets page. Work is almost complete.

The following video provides a simulated look at how the tool will function. This is a simulated demonstration because I used the HTML results file provided by the program and not real time program execution results. The screen recorder(great resolution) I use is installed on my Android.

Screen grabs of the new tool.

I have minor changes I want to make, however in no hurry to install the new tool. I probably will have it up before the end of the year, however I may wait until the new year. Security and server loads always an issue.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Old, Older & One New Gift

I am always looking for new ideas to add to my stores. That is why recently, while taking stock of items in the guest bedroom/sewing room I found one or two items I decided to add to my Gift Ideas list.

What's in your guest bedroom?

I like the idea of the quilt rack, and quite pleased when I received a similar item in the late eighties as a holiday gift. Unfortunately, my rack was damaged in a move, so the one shown is the one in my parents home.

The valet stand was a gift for my father. Though I think a nice gift, now rarely used.

The other gifts continue to be used. One of my favorites, the convection oven. I use the oven quite a bit and now cannot imagine- not having this appliance in the kitchen.

The fur trimmed cape? I love this gift for its simple elegance. It works with both evening as well as more causal daytime attire. Swank enough to look stylishly expensive while walking the dog in the city? Yes, you will need the right pencil skirt, however the one shown was less than $100. The lace-up heels match the charcoal grey cape perfectly.

This post really is not about last minute gift ideas. It's really about the old gifts I found in the guest room-- and holidays remembered.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Spent The Weekend Decorating

Holiday decorations a little less than normal, however happy they are in place.

My holiday shopping is almost complete. Spent more than I planned, however happy with all of my purchases. Are you still looking?

It was an easy weekend filled with holiday good cheer, music, and foods I love. Hope your plans are going well.


Monday, December 03, 2018

Pretty Attractive Rates

In September (2018), I noticed savings rates offered by several of the major banks were starting to rise. In October, one of the online banks was offering a 2.65% APY CD, so I scraped together just over the minimum required deposit amount to open the account.

Since then, I have watched savings rates offered by CIT and Synchrony Bank (two of the more popular, highly rated online banks), rise and just recently, start a slight decline.

Since starting my research, I have noticed banks tend to offer higher rates on savings accounts going into the Fall/Winter holiday seasons and then taper off after the new year.

Would you like to do the research?

I know, it is hard saving this time of the year. Last night, I added more holiday gift purchases to my credit card and though not dreading the bill (which will be paid off entirely when it comes due), know that I do not have extra funds right now for another high interest savings account, though I will continue to track the rates.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Gearing Up For The Holidays...

Holiday photos from last Saturday through today (Saturday, November 24, 2018).

Recent movies:

  • The Post
  • Red Sparrow
  • Collateral
  • American Made

Plans? Several software development projects, WiredPages updates, and holiday shopping.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Amazon API Quick Search

Busy week. My Mother's birthday was Saturday, so preparations for Thanksgiving and her birthday kept me busy. In addition, I continued working the many software projects I have on my to-do list.

A recent software addition, or I should explain- replacement interface is illustrated below.

The tool replaces the Amazon Gift Ideas interface that was in place on the WiredPages Shopping page. I chose to replace the interface because (1) it mirrored the items found here, and (2) the Amazon Product Advertising API had to be called individually for each item listed. Server and timing issues were not as efficient as I would have liked.

The new interface only calls the API once per search, however offers several different products as part of the results. Of course, users may want to search again and again, so that might generate multiple calls to the API.

The new Amazon interface, like the Best Buy Tool, is quick. This was an important reason in the decision to replace the original interface used on the Shopping page.

Though the new interface is already installed on WiredPages, I am still taking it through its paces [debug checkout], however I think there are very few issues, if any. If you want to drop me a line-- you may use the email address provided by the WiredPages news service.


Friday, November 09, 2018

Instagram API Demo Fix...

This morning, I added two new photos as part of a story to my Instagram feed. When I checked the QiSoftware Instagram API Demonstration Tool, I noticed the error illustrated below, in the image on the left.

I am happy to report, the correction involved a simplification that is going to make my server happier. I was parsing the data, based on the type of post, i.e., single image, story carousal or video, and not the top level container for the post. Less "if" branching. Pleased with how this worked out.

Other projects?

Planning for the Holidays? Lots of things going on in my hometown. How about yours?


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Late October (2018)

Little under the weather lately [ear infection], so getting a lot of rest.

Things in the works...

  • Further research using API resources.
  • Research in the realm of site monetization through header bidding.
  • Social media posts here, here and here.

Several tools (9 or so) ready for installation on WiredPages however holding off for various reasons. New tools under development or consideration should be exciting additions for the service.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Best Buy Developer API Demonstration

This is a brand new interface that uses the Best Buy Developer API to search for products from their catalog. My predefined search criteria [UHD 65" TV] was selected based on Fall television viewing habits, however you may try anything.

The interface is in checkout mode, so feel free to let me know about any problems you find.


Monday, October 08, 2018

Recent Amazon Order

In recent years, I have started my holiday shopping in early Autumn and usually finish by the end of November. I think this trend began because I start researching for "the stores" around that time.

The Stores...

This year, I found a great deal on an item [Yunmai Digital Scale], I listed last year as a gift idea. I wanted to give it as a November birthday gift, however decided to give it early. My mother loves it, and so do I.

Other items in the same order...


I have been rather busy lately, with web site moves and software development projects (see WiredPages), so I have not done as much research for the stores as I normally do, however stay posted if you are looking for holiday gift ideas.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

WiredPages Weather Tool

Started work on the new WiredPages Weather Tool.

The old interface, illustrated in the QiSoftware Product Catalog is a Java Applet/Servlet combination.

The new weather interface, is a server side Java web application [Servlet]. The new tool will allow access via web browsers installed on most platforms including iPads, Androids, wireless devices, desktops, smartphones, etc.

Not sure when the new interface will be installed. Still working design issues and checking security risks. The new tool will be accessible through the WiredPages home page.




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