Sunday, January 13, 2019
It started snowing yesterday evening around six, and has continued throughout the morning.
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.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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.
Monday, November 19, 2018
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
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.
- Minor adjustment to the Movies tab on the fb HanoverMDBusinesses page.
- New updates to these WiredPages:
- Mid Autumn Photos, I love this time of year...
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
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.
Monday, September 03, 2018
Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer. It has been a busy summer for me.
Some of the things I have been up to:
Friday (08/31/18), I started work on a new interface to replace a Java Applet that provided a snapshot of the market indices. The old applet was located on the home page and the Market & Business page.
This 30 second video, shows where I am in the development process for the new Java Servlet.
Also on tap this summer, like every summer- my age climbs higher. Recent photos...
Why not dye my hair? Believe it or not, some are not sure if it is my hair. Four years ago when I dyed it a darker brown than my actual color-- it looked more like a messy wig.
Today, I really do not get out a lot, however when I do-- you might be surprised by what tends to be a curiosity. Why is that hair so big and messy? I have a lot of hair that is very porous [like a sponge it absorbs steam and humidity]. People have done odd things. I do not want to be tested.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Big event over the weekend, however about all I want to say at this time. Everything on track. Waiting on repair people.
In other news, working on a new tool for the WiredPages Employment page.
Short video to demonstrate how the interface will work.
You may have noticed one of the tools on the Employment page was removed, so this interface will be integrated sooner rather than later. I am still tweaking the appearance and testing different results [debugging] from the API. Should be installed within the week.
Friday, August 17, 2018
On November 29, 2011, I wrote about an incident involving my Celebrity Birthdays Database. The article is rather lengthy, however discusses in some detail how and why I created the database and related Java Applet & Servlet that were used to both update and display the database information.
The article, provides an illustration of the number of records I had in my local [offline] database at the time of the article [Nov. 29, 2011]. The following diagram shows the same illustration side by side with today's record count in my local database.
The data is credible because it was extracted from the Biography.com site. Initially, the data was gathered using a custom program [Java JDBC/servlet] I developed which parsed the biography.com html file relating to current birthday information and added the entries to the online database.
When I first developed the servlet which extracted data and updated the database, I was unaware my server and database were so accessible by anyone who wanted the data. I also discovered the data was being tampered with. That is why on April 29th, 2011 I accidentally, deleted all of the records. I used the "<>" the wrong way. So it really was an accident. I was trying to make the data less attractive.
Biography.com provides an HTML page showing all of the birthdays for the current day. The page also lists separate article links about each celebrity with a birthday on that day.
The custom program extracted each day; the individual celebrity article link, celebrity name, and the month and date mm/dd".
I could have left the program in place, however did not want others to use it so I deleted it. That program only needed to run for a full year. When I manually updated my local database, I did not do it with the program. I would have had to run the tool every day in local mode-- so I manually extracted the data from biography.com using cut and paste. Keep in mind, only the offline database is complete. I purposely left the online version corrupted.
The following illustration shows data in the online version of the database that I recently deleted. The records were deleted because someone inserted records with links to the biography.com html page of birthdays for the day and not the individual biography.com articles about the celebrity. I did not do this nor did my program.
In my current effort to remove all of the applets used on WiredPages, thereby using only servlets, I recently replaced the Celebrity Birthday interface used on the WiredPages Style & Events page to the new program which only uses the Java servlet.
If you do not see the interface that means the online version of the database does not have birthday records for the current day. My offline version does, and periodically I will export the records from the offline version and import them to the online database, as was the case for today, August 17, 2018.
I will install the entire Celebrity Birthday Database to hosting-q.com, when I am able to control who has access to the server. In the meantime, this provides explanation of why the interface is sometimes unavailable.
QiSoftware is a legal business entity and registered in the State of Maryland. When you tamper with my online assets you are interfering with my business ventures. Please cease and desist at once.
As of the entry time of this post-- hosting-q.com is having a problem with the with JSP, i.e., Java Servlet support. This means there are many "Service Temporarily Unavailable" messages throughout the pages of WiredPages, even though the main site, hosting-q.com is available. I host a lot of my programs on the hosting-q.com site.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
I have started work on the new World Factbook Tool for WiredPages. The interface will be located on the Reference page, same as in the past, however now- powered by a SQL/MySQL database.
I spent most of the afternoon [yesterday], loading the data to a local MySQL database on my Macbook, in preparation for the software development phase.
Some of the datasets [tables] were so large, I initially divided the data into separate files for the import. Initially, I did not use gzip files to import data, however if this had been the case I could have saved an hour or so during this phase of the project. The largest table (factbook_values.sql 5.5MB), was imported using a gzip file. I consider this an important lesson. That said, I did have to override some of the php.ini settings for phpmyadmin.
This new effort will incorporate parts of the software from the old interface [Java Servlet], including:
- Data requests [user interface] are the same as shown in the illustration above.
- Text output formats the same.
- Rendering of graphics [World Flags]-- very similar.
The CIA World Factbook SQL gzip file I found in 2014, uses 2013 Factbook data. This data is relatively new [in terms of what the CIA releases to the public in this format (SQL)] and should be fine for this project.
I plan to submit a FOIA request for the latest available data, however since security issues prevent loading data to an online database, I am only concerned with development and testing of the new Java JDBC/Servlet in my local environment. If and when my security concerns are allayed- the installation of the new software and latest available database should be a breeze.
This post- provides notes on the development progress for this project.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Continuing to update WiredPages tools. The latest, the Youtube player found on the Arts & Entertainment page. Installation of the new player is pending however the images grabbed today [shown below], illustrate how the player will work.
The tool had very few cosmetic updates from the original, however changes to the API required updates to the underlying software.
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Working several projects, including:
- Updated the LocationFinder Tool [found on the WiredPages Reference page-- current version showing tool unavailable because of security flag] incorporating new API data sources. New tool will be released at a later date. Tool illustrated below, running in local mode on my Macbook.
- Updated widgets using the NewYork Times API to reflect changes made to the underlying data structure and security elements. WiredPages Libraries page.
- Developing an Instagram demonstration widget for the QiSoftware Catalog.
Other things I have been up to?
- Movie: Justice League
- Movie: The Snowman
- Movie: Big Game
- Another birthday, Friday, July 20th.
- Store Updates.. see upper sidebar.
- Social media posts-- WiredPages Events & HanoverMaryland events.
- Integrating new features to the Facebook WiredPages page-- and adding icons and links to Facebook from WiredPages.
I am excited about some of the new elements I am creating for WiredPages, however still unsure when I will install all of the new tools.
Monday, June 25, 2018
Many are aware, I was a defense contractor in the Washington metropolitan area for a number of years. I enjoyed living and working in the area and especially the many activities the region offers its residents and visitors alike.
One of the newsstand issues I looked forward to getting, the Washington Post's Weekender. In the same vein as the Post's resource, the WiredPages Style & Events page offers a list of entertainment guides for some of the major cities in the U.S. I am always looking for new resources to add to this page.
My own hometown [HanoverMaryland], also offers quite a few distractions.
Social media has become an important factor in our daily lives. Hope you find something exciting to do in your off time.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
In the past, WiredPages provided many tools powered by popular APIs, enabling visitors quick access to data and information.
Some of the tools/interfaces included [there were many more]:
- World Weather -- Tool is being rewritten eliminating the Java Applet interface.
- YouTube Search & Video Playback- interface is being rewritten to handle updates to the underlying API.
- Indeed Job Search-- rewritten [changes to underlying API] and installed on the Employment page.
- Political Representatives-- installed on the Government page.
- CIA World Factbook Quick Reference-- researching new ways to provide the data on the Reference page.
- Zillow Real Estate Values-- referenced on the Real Estate page-- installed.
- Food Nutrition Data-- working and ready to install on the Health page. Security issue a concern.
Four tools that are working and ready for installation are shown in the illustration below. The illustration was screen-grabbed today after I retested each interface. Three of the tools are new;  Amazon links to the NY Times Best Sellers,  Gift Ideas, and  Today in History.
The Fat Secret interface [shown lower right corner] is the same tool that was installed on the Health page in prior years, however due to security concerns I am holding off on updating access to the tool.
Tools like the Mortgage Calculator [almost] and Base Converter are ready, however I am holding off on installation.
I am working to get all of the tools working [many had to be rewritten to remove the Java Applet interface which today's newer browsers are not supporting], however probably will not install many more of the tools until I resolve the security issues.
This post, in case you were wondering...
Friday, June 01, 2018
Some are aware, I use my news service, WiredPages to showcase my custom software tools and interfaces.
Its primary function has always been to provide "real" demonstration of my software widgets and tools, allowing visitors an idea of the type of customization I [QiSoftware] offer.
I have provided this information in the past, however feel new visitors may not understand the primary intent of the news service [WiredPages].
As indicated in an earlier post, over the last two or three months, I have been working to repair most of the tools.
Security issues caused by a server move [about 4 years ago] that I did not understand, prevented most of the tools from running. Appears to be mirrors and masking issues. You may have noticed, over the last 3 or 4 years though I mention the service, I rarely provide links. All of that is changing.
Visitors over the last 2 months may have noticed- things are beginning to work, however I am still holding off on the installation of some of the updates or new tools.
Today, I created a new interface [Java Servlet] for the Shopping page which showcases another use of the Amazon Product Advertising API.
I have several tools that use the Amazon Product Advertising API, so this new tool only offers another idea on ways to integrate Amazon affiliate resources. I am not sure if I am going to install this new interface, another security issue, however I am almost finished with debug. I may also change one or two things with the appearance.
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
For reasons I am not going to go into here, though I have continued the tedious process of converting my old Java applets to servlets, I am no longer installing the updates to the server.
Work on the Quick Number Base Converter servlet was completed about 2.5 weeks ago.
Be back soon to provide details about some of my other projects and activities.
Friday, April 27, 2018
Among many recent updates to WiredPages (WP), the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)1 calculator maintained on the WP Health page was updated from a Java applet to a servlet.
The illustration above taken before work was complete, however I wanted to show the difference in the applet version versus the servlet. Updates like this conversion now allow visitors using mobile devices to interact with many of the WiredPages interfaces that were originally developed using Java applet technology. Typically, mobile devices, i.e., iPads, Androids, tablets [stand alone] and phones do not support Java applets.
Briefly, some of the other recent changes:
- Added a new Dictionary interface to the Reference page.
- Added Famous Birthdays to the Style & Events page. (Did not update the online birthday database with the master version I use off-line for software development and testing. Security issues, however the current online version is pretty robust.)
- Updates to the interfaces on the Government page.
- Slowly, updating links on most of the pages.
Yesterday I decided to take a break from software development. I went out to take photographs for business community projects. See my social media link icons, top right sidebar.
Today, again I did not pull out my Macbook [used for software development and illustrative documentation screen-grabs].
It has been a busy 3 or 4 weeks insofar as updates and rewrites to WiredPages interfaces and I still have lots of work to do.
1BMR is the amount of energy expended each day when the body is at rest.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the last 3 years because of server mirrors, redirections and moves, you may have noticed the "No Authorization" message on several of the pages where security triggers have stopped execution of many of the tools that were available with the service.
Sometime ago, I started updating the underlying software for some of the tools, however put off the actual installation of the new software. Documentation of this work, provided in Remix blog posts.
Over the last two weeks, because I decided to prepare to re-establish the news service [WiredPages], I found many of the tools broken because either the data source updated their offerings or unusable because the "Java Applet" is no longer supported by newer browsers or tablet devices, i.e., iPads, Androids
To be honest, I had no idea so many of the tools were in disrepair and I have been working 12 hour days to fix the problems. I still have a lot of work to do.
That said, I wanted to give you an idea of what I have been doing [and where I have been doing it] for most of the last two weeks.
I use the Macbook for software development and the other platforms to ensure the new tools and site updates work on as many systems as possible. Some of my computers are very old and most of my pages and tools still work in those environments-- as well as new.
When will I finish? I used to work 12 hour days just to ensure the site and its tools were in working order. Yes, I also liked adding new tools. So the answer is- not sure. I am busy and actually miss working software issues-- so I am not unhappy about this-- just a little tired.
What's been updated? Will update this later, however here are a few examples....
Saturday, April 07, 2018
Normally, my software development efforts are discussed in the Remix blog, however because of the many projects ongoing, I have chosen to use this less formal setting for discussion of my latest interfaces.
First, recent visitors to WiredPages will notice I updated all of the AP News Headlines interfaces. The following illustrates both the new interfaces and how they used to look.
When I developed the original interfaces, I used a combination of Java applets & servlets. Now the interfaces are comprised of only servlets. The reason? Many desktop browsers no longer support Java applets and mobile devices, i.e., iPads, Androids, etc., never supported the Java applet.
The following pages [WiredPages] have new AP News interfaces:
You will notice, some of the pages [WiredPages] still use Java applets. Firefox and MSIE are able to run the applets, however you need to set the security settings to enable engagement.
The Java applet shown in the illustration above [lower image in the illustration], was taken from a recent screen-shot using my Windows10 PC/Tablet and the Firefox browser. This of course, before the interfaces were rewritten and online versions updated.
Some of the WiredPages tools that use Java applets have been rewritten using only Java servlet technology, however I will not update the online versions until I workout security issues.
The second interface just completed, is an interface that provides visitors with the latest New York Times Best Sellers [books] and the Amazon link for purchase.
The interface illustrated above uses the following resources:
- Amazon Product Advertising API
- New York Times API
- Java Servlet Technology [Java Servlets run on servers and are typically faster than other server side programming/scripting technologies.]
The new interface is ready to install, however I am still deciding where to showcase the tool. Options include: the QiSoftware Products Catalog or the Libraries page of WiredPages. Yes, security issues also a factor in when the interface will be installed.
Thursday, April 05, 2018
Yesterday, I made a carrot cake. I used a recipe adapted from one found online. The cake turned out great, however one ingredient as called for by the recipe, seemed excessive- the reason I am not providing the link here.
The recipe called for two cups of sugar, so I decided that just over half of that amount would be more than enough, given so many of the other ingredients were naturally sweet. I also based this decision on other cakes I have made using similar amounts of flour and sugar.
WiredPages and the associated Business Directory are getting quite a bit of my attention these days. Hope to release more of the updates in the near future.
Monday, March 26, 2018
I had a busy weekend. While continuing efforts to integrate all areas of my sites with analytics tags, I also updated some of the WiredPages Business Directory pages. Discussion in this Remix Blog post.
Today, I booted up my Macbook to check operational status of several software widgets and tools. The following illustration shows two of the tools running in local mode on my Macbook.
There were no errors with the Amazon Product Search tool, however not the case with the Zillow Zestimate widget. Happy to report, I was able to correct those issues.
Over the last 3 years or so, I have updated or entirely rewritten several tools associated with WiredPages and other areas of qisoftware.com, however because of a security issue- have yet to install the updates. Sometimes, I simply provide reminders that the tools exist and are operational.
Other things I did over the weekend & today?
I am planning a special meal for the upcoming holiday (Easter), so I will be a little busy by the end of the week. Between then and now, hope to continue testing and updating my software tools to insure they are operational.
Monday, February 12, 2018
In an earlier post, I mentioned I registered several new domains- including reginadenisethomas.com. Because of a glitch with Tomcat [jsp support], a web hosting service feature I use on qisoftware.com, I was unable to correctly access the new domain as the add-on domain I setup and pointed to via the domain registrar.
Recently, I decided to research and fix the error [when requested- reginadenisethomas.com resolved to qisoftware.com], however had to first have the web hosting provider for qisoftware.com- delete a system entry that I was unable to access.
At this time, I am not doing much with the site, however did provide my resume.
Other things I have been working on?
- Social media posts- here and here
- Store updates:
- Integrating and testing this formula: "=IF(ISBLANK(G43)," ",IF(A43='Sheet 1'!A159,'Sheet 1'!G159))" in an Excel Workbook used for finances.
- Checking the status of my tax refunds.
- Monetizing reginadenisethomas.com.
- New batch of the lemon loaves, mentioned in an earlier post. We love this recipe.
Getting something new with my tax refund? No, already moved the funds to a savings account.
Friday, October 20, 2017
For the last two days, I have been developing a new Microsoft Access Database to assist with running, tracking and reporting items associated with an affiliate program.
Thus far I have created the following elements for this new database:
- 2 Tables
- 1 Form
- 4 Reports [2 HTML snippets to use with my site areas]
- 8 Queries
- 1 Macro
- Data Access Page [still working on this]
Though I have extensive experience developing and working with SQL compliant databases [and Microsoft's Access product], in recent years my work in this area has concentrated more on MySQL development efforts and Java JDBC programming.
This has been a great exercise for me, in that I have been looking for a reason to play with Microsoft Access again. I am pretty pleased with my efforts thus far. In 1993, when I first started working with Microsoft Access, I was pretty impressed, and I must say-- I am still impressed with its power.
That said, in 1993 I was writing front-end c routines, back-end Fortran code, c-binding for DEC's RMDBS, and the X-Windows System platform to develop graphical user interfaces for my programs.
When I was tasked to come up to speed with Microsoft's new offering [Access], I felt it comparatively easy to my other system development efforts.
I still have the original HR System I developed for my Crystal City Rockwell office. The system was pretty extensive and gave me a great opportunity to develop in the Windows environment.
Back then, I mostly developed software for Unix or VMS platforms, and used a PC to document my software development life cycle efforts.
I also used Microsoft Access to create a Program Trouble Report database that was used to support Configuration Management efforts for our contract deliverable programs. I also have this system.
My résumé boasts, Microsoft Office Power User, however until this week I had forgotten just how powerful this resource is.
Next week, I am going to continue looking at the Facebook API. I have been adding national events to the WiredPages Facebook page, for the new widget/servlet I am developing for the Style & Events page. See illustration of a similar interface here.
If you would like to have your event listed-- contact me at wiredpages dot qisoftware dot com. Check out the list to see the type of events being listed.
Friday, October 06, 2017
Mostly an uneventful week, however I was able to complete several tasks I had been putting off [discussed below in the itemized list].
- Went by my business bank on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
- Booted my Macbook today [these days I rarely do this- since I am not in software development mode]:
- ... updated the Thingamablog Remix Business Blog. Sometimes I make minor changes to a blog's appearance-- via the web hosting cPanel interface without installing the updates to the "master" copy of the blog. The "master" database, system and associated files for the Thingamablog Remix blog are maintained on my Macbook.
- integrated other minor changes to the Remix template and backed up the entire blog to an external hard drive.
- Began development work on the new interface for the HanoverMaryland Businesses Page which accesses the Facebook API. Minor issue with SSL Certs. Hope to complete this project tomorrow.
- Paying bills, business phones, site hosting, etc. Always want this noted.
- Minor updates to my stores:
- Played around with a newly released site/blog monetization tool.
Happy the weather is cooler. Since I am going out a bit more, I have added a few items to my wardrobe that will show up in the coming months. I am also planning a nice holiday weekend and meal. Hope you are too.
Friday, September 22, 2017
It is finally here, the first day of Autumn. I love this time of year.
- Social media posts-- HanoverMD Businesses
- Movie: La La Land
- A new Facebook application that will display upcoming events from the Hanover Maryland Businesses page to websites and blogs. Will post about this project later on my business blog [Remix].
- Paying business related bills.
- Research for the stores. Links located- upper sidebar on the right.
Illustration below shows partial results from the Facebook API. See "new Facebook application" referenced above.
I think it is going to be a beautiful Fall. Are you looking forward to the season?
By the way, did you notice the number of upcoming Job Fairs or Hiring Events in our area via this link?