• 2015-09-28 20:06:28

    New Blog (again), new look, hopefully more posts

    The excuse

    It has definitely been a very long time since I last blogged. Just like my previous hiatus, a lot of personal issues arose that would not allow me the luxury to devote time for this blog.

    Things managed to settle down for a bit, so hopefully I can start posting more frequently.

    New look

    For those that have been following this blog (all 3 of you), you will notice that the look and feel has changed significantly. I decided that I needed a fresh look so after evaluating many platforms and blog related software, I opted for the in house version.

    Many of you know that I have been heavily involved in the Phalcon Framework, where I serve as a member of the core team. For the blogging needs of the project, we were using Tumblr but were not 100% satisfied. So a couple months back we decided to write our own blogging software based on Phalcon!

    The results can be seen on our blog, which is also open sourced on Github.

    For my own purposes I modified the codebase, adding new functionality and modifying it somewhat for my needs. The changes are also on Github and will soon be propagated to the Phalcon repository for everyone to use. This software requires some libraries loaded by composer and of course Phalcon loaded on your web server. The content is served using Markdown.

    As far as the look is concerned, I tried (really did) but nothing came close to what I wanted. Since I am not a CSS developer by any means, I purchased this template by the guys that created Bootstrap. The result IMHO is really nice, responsive and clean. I hope you like it too!

    Future

    I intend on posting more content in the next few weeks. The goal is to post one article (minimum) per week. Other than technology, I am going to focus on Phalcon related posts, sharing experiences, tips and tricks.

    Missing...

    This blog software is still under construction. I have a few things that I need to address such as:

    • Pagination
    • RSS feeds
    • Posts by tag
    • Posts by archive
    • Comments - disqus integration
    • Tests!!!!

    Some of those are already in place but I need to make sure that they work as expected

    I hope you like the new look and stay tuned for more content.

  • 2011-11-11 12:00:00

    New beginnings – sleep(6566400)

    It has been a very long time since I last blogged.

    The primary reason is that I have been busy and somewhat lazy. Hopefully that trend (the laziness) will not last that much and I will be able to post in higher frequency.

    The biggest update for me came this July. I was actively searching for a new employment opportunity for quite some time, but due to the current market situation, it has been a really difficult task.

    In July I received (and accepted) an offer from Avectra Inc. I am now a PHP developer for MemberFuse™, a professional networking application that integrates with the client's association management software and builds an online community for that client.

    My colleagues and I are programming in PHP using a frameworks such as Doctrine, Zend Framework, Smarty on the client side. The application we produce is offered as SAAS (Software As A Service) and we have well over 1 million users.

    Although adjusting to the new environment was rough and the learning curve was steep (it didn't help that one colleague decided to resign and I inherited his workload from week 2), I managed to survive and I am more and more confident every day.

    I can only say that working with smart people that push you to excel is a blessing!

    The second update is this blog's location. With the introduction of the new dynamic templates in Blogger, I decided to move from Wordpress (and my personal installation for my blog) to Blogger.

    The downside was that Blogger could not import my blog. I would always get errors when trying to upload the XML file and after a few tries I decided to go the manual way. I therefore sat down and copied and pasted all the content that I had posted in the past to the new platform.

    Luckily it was not a very difficult task, but it was time consuming. Last night I managed to finish everything and write this blog post.

    With this move unfortunately I lost all the comments on my posts and I am sure that there will be some broken links here and there but in the end it will all work out.

    It was my intention to post this message today (11-11-11) at 11:11 but I kinda messed up the scheduling so the post is being posted a few hours later.

    I hope you will enjoy my posts.

  • 2011-02-06 13:47:00

    A look in the past and the future

    It has been months since I last posted a blog post. A lot of things have happened since August and I have a lot of material to post - just not the discipline to sit down and proof all the drafts so that I can post them.

    2010

    2010 has been a rough year mostly on a personal level. I lost my brother in law in March, my daughter was born in May, there was great uncertainty at work during the summer, an upgrade went bad for Long Hair Care Forum to name a few of the highlights.

    Since this is officially my first year of blogging, I was happy to see some of the statistics for that year (well 8 months to be exact since I haven't posted since August).

    Visits 8,940
    Pageviews 11,979
    Pages/Visit 1.41
    Bounce Rate 81.34%
    Avg Time on Site 00:01:10
    % New Visits 85.04%

    The most visited posts were:

    Google Apps and Google Accounts merge with 1,601 pageviews (13.37%) Subversion Backup [How-To] with 1,289 pageviews (10.76%) Android 2.2 (Froyo) Review with 1,124 pageviews (9.38%)

    Not that bad for a first year.

    2011

    When I started blogging my main focus was to mostly address coding issues. However due to the plethora of solutions on the Internet, the content that I wanted to relay was not that interesting or had been covered a hundred times or more. For instance I did start posting about design patterns here and here, but at the same time Giorgio Sironi started blogging about design patterns and did an excellent job at it, so that topic was scrapped. My posts then started covering a much broader scope, mostly that of technology with a small personal flare.

    For 2011 I will continue on the same scope. I intend on blogging about interesting things technologically, how-to's and topics that I want to share with the community.

    As always, whatever is presented in this blog is my personal opinion. Every post covered here as well with any code are free of copyright and you are free to use them in your projects at your own risk.

    A big thank you to everyone that visited this blog whether you shared your opinion with me or not. I hope to meet the expectations of producing interesting content in the future.

  • 2010-05-18 12:00:00

    Update

    It has been more than a month since I last blogged. I started a couple of blog posts but they are mostly ideas written down than structured posts, hence they are in my draft folder.

    Throughout this month and change that I have been absent (I know my favorite readers have missed me - all 5 of you and no mom you are not in that count) many things have happened that made me sit back and reflect on what I have and what I have lost.

    As any other family living the American Dream, we outgrew our current car capacity and therefore had to purchase a minivan!

    We decided to get the Dodge Grand Caravan mostly due to the fact that it looks great and also because we had a Dodge for the past 10 years and the features on it were exactly what we needed. The new vehicle would accommodate easily ourselves, our son Dimosthenis, our 2 year old Golden Retriever Hairy and our soon to arrive daughter Zoe, with plenty of room for our 'stuff' when going on short trips.

    So the weekend after we purchased the minivan we decided to drive to Delaware, where my in-laws live to surprise them. They always love it when Dimosthenis visits so we thought it would be a good idea to spend the weekend there. We woke up relatively early, packed our stuff and were on our way to the beach. It was when we stopped to fill the minivan up when we heard the news.

    Jim - my brother in law - had passed in his sleep. It was all a bad dream, I did not want to believe it but there was no denying it.

    James Ruel Poston died peacefully in his sleep on March 20th. Cause: Heart condition.

    We turned back home, let Hairy in the house (our neighbor was going to look after him) and headed straight to Baltimore where Jim's apartment was. The whole family gathered there,  and inevitably we had to deal with the mundane logistics of the situation i.e. moving all of his stuff out of the apartment and cleaning it. It took a great deal of effort do do so and the psychological burden of the event did not help. A few days later, exhausted physically and psychologically we managed to complete the task.

    Jim's obituary reads:

    James Reuel Poston, 40, died Sunday, March 20, 2010, peacefully in his home.

    James was born April 11, 1969 in Washington, D.C. to Joy and Phillip Poston. He studied sports broadcast journalism in college – a passion he carried with him throughout his life. Family and friends will always remember his wonderful sense of humor and strong commitment to those he loved.

    James is survived by his parents, Joy and Steve Smith and Phillip and Susan Poston; grandmother Mary “YiaYia” Pantazis; his sister Tia and brother-in law Nikolaos; brothers Jonathan and Peter; sisters Lauren and Abigail; and nephew Dimosthenis.

    A funeral service was held Thursday, March 25, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 8805 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Md. Interment was in Bethel Cemetery, Lewes. In lieu of flowers, make donations to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, ripkenfoundation.org.

    Arrangements by Watson Funeral Home, Millsboro.

    On Thursday, 25th of March 2010, Jim was buried in Lewes, DE. Family and friends gathered to say goodbye for the last time.

    Jim will never be forgotten. His goofiness, smile, kind heart, unconditional love towards his nephew and infinite knowledge about sports will always be the things that defined him.

    After the 40 day service following his passing, we started getting ready for a new arrival, our daughter Zoe Dimitra Dimopoulos.

    Zoe Dimitra was born at 12:06 on the 3rd of May 2010. She weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 20 inches tall. She came out screaming, but soon was calm and happy in her mother's hands. Her name means Life in Greek, and it is also the name of my mother in law. It is a tradition to name your children with the names of your parents or in-laws.

    We decided that she will have a middle name (Greeks rarely have middle names) and it is Dimitra.

    The reason we chose this middle name is to honor my recently departed brother in law Jim. His Greek name was Dimitris (it translates roughly to James in English) and Dimitra is the female version of that name. James/Dimitris was also my wife's grandfather ('pappous' in Greek), so we thought that it would be nice to remember him too this way.

    It has been a really rough month and a half, filled with tears, sorrow, tears, joy. Life goes on and Zoe is here with us.

    I have started taking the train again to go to work which will give me roughly 3 hours uninterrupted programming and blogging. I will finally be able to continue on some of my projects like the <angular/> bug tracker, a blog based on Google App Engine, Python development and more.

    Stay tuned!

  • 2009-11-08 12:00:00

    New Blog

    Hello everyone,

    I finally gave in and decided to become a bit serious with my blog. I have been trying to find time to update this website for years and finally decided I cannot procrastinate any more.

    So welcome to my new site. I have installed the latest and greatest Wordpress version and although I have never used this software, it seems pretty straightforward i.e. it works :)

    Feel free to browse around. So far I have moved all my past posts into this site, in an effort to keep what I had already written in case anyone ever wanted to look for those blog posts.

    You can subscribe to this blogs feeds and you can follow me on Twitter or on Google Plus.

    Thanks for visiting and as always I welcome your comments!

    Nikos