My Views On Fishing

Disclaimer: This is my personal blog where I share my personal thoughts and ideas. I share for anyone that wants to know me on a more personal basis. It can also be used as a conversation starter, I’m open to talking about this subject with anyone.

To me, fishing is not a sport, or a way to catch food. It’s simply animal cruelty.

That fish fighting at the end of the line is not playing with the fisherman and having a good time. They’re scared for their life, trying to get back to safety. Imagine a stranger walking up and grabbing your child, they will be fighting to get away from a being much larger than them. They’ll be scared, and just wanting to get back to their life and family.

How do you morally justify killing an animal that does not want to die?

 

Compassion Is Important

In my previous post What Being Vegan Means To Me, I tried to layout how I got to this point.

I’d like to build upon that further, with the caveat that this again is my personal opinion and you should proceed reading only if you are open to learning new things.

I started down this road purely from a place of wanting to improve my health for my family. According to the CDC, Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. It accounts for almost 1 in 4 deaths in the US. There’s been a ton of research that shows that heart disease is not only reversible, it’s also preventable by diet alone. The China Study is one of the books that my wife read and helped motivate us both to make over our lives.

Beyond the health aspects, we started learning more. This is where things start getting murky and I want to introduce you to a UK YouTuber that goes by “Earthling Ed“. I personally love the way he talks and interacts with people, even people he completely disagrees with.

I believe most people are sad when they truly stop and think about the suffering that goes into putting food on their plate. It’s easy when you just pick up a pack of meat at the grocery or order it at a restaurant. But if a person is truly compassionate (which I believe we all are), then they can put themselves in the place of these animals. Dairy cows being forcibly impregnated (raped) just to provide milk. Male chicks are macerated right after birth because the industry has little use for them. Macerated is the easier way to say that they are thrown into a high speed grinder.

I’ve recently watched and shared this video with people. I hope that you will watch it with an open mind.

 

Why We Must Stop Drinking Cow’s Milk

I share because I care. This information is important to me. These are my own thoughts and not those of anyone I do business with.

 

What Being Vegan Means To Me

I recently had a conversation with a loved one that ended with the statement “I don’t like the fact that you are Vegan”. When I asked why, they said that they don’t think it’s healthy…

First off, I want to say that I appreciate the concern. I had the same feelings towards other people that were Vegan in the past. I had a negative view of their decision and thought it was something that I could NEVER do. (Spoiler: I was wrong)

Second, I’ve never been healthier in my life. Some people think I went on this diet to lose weight, that is not the case. I did it for health reasons and weight loss was a fantastic side effect. Recently, I’ve done things that I have never been able to do, such as doing 2 pull ups in one set. For most of my life I couldn’t even do 1. There have been times I’ve lost weight and could do barely 1. So while some will read 2 and think really?!?!?, I see and am amazed and so happy.

So after my heart attack, I made the decision to be healthier for my wife and kids. My wife is amazing and joined me on my journey to eat more of a plant based diet. At this point, I didn’t think I was going to be 100% vegetarian, let alone Vegan. I thought I would incorporate more plant based protein, and eat meat occasionally.

Then we started learning more. I won’t list all of my reasons here. My goal for this post is to really just let everyone know that I am healthy and happy.

I do want to say that I am not a perfect Vegan. Having a label is bad because it sets expectations that I can’t live up to. I am a work in progress, so if you see me eating eggs or cheese, or doing something else that goes against veganism, don’t look down upon me, don’t question me, don’t make comments. I only use the label (Vegan) in a way to quickly identify my preferred meal options, not to be held to any sort of standard.

On that note, if you are hosting a party, don’t necessarily go out of your way for me. Don’t get me wrong, I will appreciate being taken into consideration. But, talk to me about options first. For example: if you are ordering pizza, it’d be nice if there were veggie (non meat) options, but don’t order all of the pizza that way, as I don’t want to impact anyone else that hasn’t made the choice to change their eating habits. If it’s a pot luck type of gathering, then don’t worry my dietary concerns at all, I’ll bring something I know I can eat, and if there are other things there, GREAT.

I do plan on releasing other posts about my journey, my reasons, ups/downs, etc…

If you want to have a conversation with me, please do so in person. Any conversation of this sort online will not work.

 

A Life Changing Event

I wanted to share a recent event, without worrying anyone at the same time. It will be talked about at length on the PHPUgly Podcast, Episode #123, recorded 10/4/18. If you are reading this after about 10/9/18, go look for that episode.

TL;DR; I had a mild heart attack on Saturday 9/29/2018, but I am fine.

On Saturday evening, around 9:00pm, after the kids were in bed and my wife was out at book club with her friends, I noticed a weird discomfort in the middle of my chest, straight through my back. I thought it was odd, but I didn’t have any other symptoms like pain shooting down my left side, etc… The stuff we always hear about.

Earlier that day, we ran a 5K with the kids, pushing both of them in a stroller for a good portion of it. Then we went to a beach town, had lunch, and I ended up carrying both boys at the same time about 1/4 mile back to the car. So when this all happened Saturday night, I assumed that I had strained something. I really felt like I just needed to pop my back.

I had trouble falling asleep that night. My mind racing, feeling my heart beat… I was scared. I got up, did some reading and of course read everything from OMG Get To The Hospital NOW, to it could be inflammation. So I took some Advil, and finally got some sleep.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling 95% better. I lied to myself and others that I was 100% better. I had plans that day with the kids and nothing was going to stop me from being with them for that day. As I write this I realize the irony and am crying. I chose one day over possibly the rest of their lives. I had plans for the 3 of us to go get our haircuts together and then go to a baseball game. Nolan’s first, and we got to watch from a Suite.

While at the game, I noticed my chest more and more. I made the decision that I’d finish the game, get the kids home, fed, in bed and then I’d go have it checked out. I still really thought it was a strain, that I was just going to have it confirmed real quick that night. I got home, told Jacki my plans and she told me to go right away. She would take care of the kids. I had convinced her as well that it was nothing.

Geeze I’m balling as I write this… pull it together man… (Ok I was distracted by work which helped calm me down… where was I…)

Got to the ER, even the person checking me in asked if I did anything to strain the chest wall. Kind of confirming what I thought the issue was. So I was relieved. I went through the tests, EKG nurse said it looked ok, had blood drawn, etc…

Then the doctor saw me. He told me about an elevated protein in my blood called Troponin. Then he said, “I’m going to just be blunt, you had a mild heart attack, and may still be having it”. He went on to tell me the normal level is 0.2 or lower, and mine was a 6. I needed to be transferred to another hospital that had a cardiology unit. By the time I left the hospital, my Troponin level reached 10.2.

I went in for an Angiogram the next morning. Luckily all they found were 3 very small blockages. Unfortunately, they were in branches of blood vessels that couldn’t be opened up or stented.

So now I’m on a ton of medications, and need to change my lifestyle (luckily only a little).

Conclusion: I’m an idiot for waiting. But I will make a full recovery and will live a long happy life and be here for my kids.

 

Jenkin’s Build Pipeline

I watched a great video of a presentation by @adamculp about Jenkins. I have been setting up a Jenkin’s build server for a while, but this thing can be both easy and complicated at times. The video, while great, left me wanting more of the specifics of the setup, not just “look at what this can do”. I wanted, “This is how you do this”.

I reached out to Adam on the twittersphere and he told me which plugins I needed. The one I really wanted was the Build Pipeline Plugin, and when I finally took a second to scroll down on the plugins page, things started to click. Specifically “views”. I hadn’t used them before.

Even with the instructions, I missed the key point. It says to add a new build pipeline view, so I kept clicking on New Item and not finding it. I read a little closer and looked at the picture, and it was clear… Click the “+” to create a new view.

 

YNAB: You Need A Budget

I have been getting on a soap box a lot lately, and thought I would take a moment to put my words into a blog post. This will be a long post, but I have so much passion for this right now that I have to write it down.

I am terrible with money. I live well, but like most people, at the end of the month, the money is gone and I don’t know where it went.

My wife and I have been saying to each other that we need a budget. She or I would take the first step to start an excel document, load up a bunch of numbers, and then pretend we never saw it. Because we would get so overwhelmed, it just never got completed or looked at.

That is… until I found YNAB. Something in this program made the whole idea of managing money click for me. I don’t know why, or how, it just did. They have fantastic videos on their approach, and do it in a very personable manner.

Of course, you will still not have any money at the end of the month (at first), but I think if you stick with it… that will change.

So my challenge to you. If you are someone that knows me well enough (mostly family), and you want to try You Need A Budget, start your free trial now. You have 35 days to use it. If at the end of 35 days, you are convinced that this is for you, but you truly can not afford the $60, I will buy it for you. (Disclaimer: I have the right to turn down any request for any reason) ūüėÄ

Keep your categories simple. Track your major expenses, and if you have a bad habit you want to quit, create a category just for that. Track what you are spending and then make an honest assessment. You will be amazed that when you start budgeting and realize that to pay for that habit, you have to knowingly remove money from savings, that you may just want to stop that habit anyway.

And I like the idea of paying yourself first. Start with a small percentage, say 5%. When you get your check, let’s say it’s $100, first things first, put $5 into your savings category. Yes, you may need to use that, but do it anyway. Then when you are budgeting the rest of your money, you will have to knowingly take the money from that savings line, and put it somewhere else. Again, it’s that act of doing this that makes you aware of your money.

 

Laravel Repository Pattern Experience

I am always trying to learn, and lately I’ve been working on the repository pattern via Laravel. ¬†I found myself WAY overcomplicating this, and it turned into a mess.

With that said, I think I got myself to a very happy point.  All of the examples on the Internet that I have found ultimately return Eloquent models.  Which, if your controller is ONLY accessing the data, is fine.  But I found myself then relying on Eloquent, which defeated the purpose of the repository.

Introducing domain objects.  I was trying so hard to use active record objects, that it ended up causing me issues.  In the end, I want controllers to be very small and ask a domain object for the data it needs to pass back to the requestor (Web visitor, or API consumer).

The domain object is responsible for all logic (not data).  The domain object should interact with the repositories, and ask for data, or send data.

The repositories are only responsible for retrieving data or saving data. ¬†They should return either arrays or plain old php objects (popo), not Eloquent, Mongo, Redis, etc… models.

Controllers ask the domain to DO something.  The domain asks the repositories for data it may need to do said something.  The domain asks the repositories to store some data.

Once I started following these rules, things started making sense to me.

/** @todo: show examples */

 

Asterisk astobj2.c: bad magic number for object 0x7ff6ac021888. Object is likely destroyed.

Recently we had 2 asterisk servers that were segfaulting, and of course when that happened, all current calls were lost. ¬†This was very frustrating for our customers, our customer service reps, and of course for the us developers. ¬†It was very hard to explain, there was not silver bullet saying “X” is responsible.

So, my boss Kevin and I spent time going through log files, analyzing time lines, researching on the Internet, etc…

Our conclusion is still dumbfounding.

We recently added a new outbound sip provider. ¬†We started only giving them a small percentage of our overall traffic. ¬†During this time we saw 0-1 segfaults each day. ¬†But we didn’t even know about some of them because asterisk started right back up, and unless there was a complaint, we wouldn’t know.

Of course we got the occasional complaint, but we didn’t have an answer. ¬†All of a sudden the last couple of days was showing 4-5 segfaults per day. ¬†Some happening within 20 minutes of each other. ¬†This was very unacceptable and we spent a lot of time trying to narrow down the issue. ¬†It so happened that 2 days ago, we ramped up the amount of traffic this new provider was receiving, subsequently increasing the odds of segfaulting.

At this point, we still don’t know what actually caused the segfault. ¬†We just know that removing that carrier has so far stopped them from happening.

Ugggg… what a PITA.

 

Should My Website Accept Bitcoins?

If you own a website that accepts money, you should be asking yourself this question.

To me, this is like asking if you should accept Yen, Euros, or Pesos. ¬†The fact is, you probably already accept these other forms of currency and don’t even realize it. ¬†Payment processors like PayPal or other gateways handle those exchanges for you. ¬†You tell the processor you want $100 for some goods, the customer pays (currently¬†10172.00) Yen, and you do not know the difference.

Same thing happens with bitcoin.  Through a payment processor like Coinbase, you can easily accept bitcoin payments and immediately turn them into US Dollars.  The processing fees are so much lower as well, roughly 1%.  Compare that to the 3% that credit card processors charge.

Not to mention, the chance of chargebacks are absolutely zero. ¬†Because bitcoin is a push payment, the customer has to choose to send you bitcoin. ¬†You can’t take what you want, like you do with credit cards.

So the answer to “Should my website accept bitcoins?” is absolutely yes.