Ndifreke Ekott

Life - Tech - Thought - Journals

Automating my local PHP Server Startup For Local Testing

Today I decided to apply my little knowledge of Bash scripting and automate a task I perform routinely for my Markets project. What is also interesting is the fact I am testing my DIY Acoustic Box for my Microphone (Image Below). Do share this article and if you have questions or suggestions, feel free to add that to the comment below.

DIY Sounding Proofing system

Bots + Messaging will become the new mobile app frontier

Not that long ago, ChatBots have become a thing of interest in many spheres. Facebook, Google, and many companies have built several platforms with Bot functionalities to interact with their existing services. I have been aware of bots for a while and even had a go at Google Allo. In the present messaging ecosystem, we have a lot of messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, Slack, Hipchat, WeChat and others competing for the user base. Whatsapp for example boasts of having 1 Billion daily active users. It is also claimed that the user base of messaging platforms has far outnumbered the user base on social networks. So why do I find messaging platforms interesting?

I recently attended the Larcon EU 2017 conference in Amsterdam and the opening talk was given by Marcel Pociot on the topic From zero to multi-platform Chatbot with BotMan. The talk focused on how to build a ChatBot service in PHP. This talk exposed me to what is possible with ChatBots and not long, I began to imagine the things I could build with them.

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The Power User – The terminal is really your friend

I have been using Linux for the past 10 years and will in no way consider myself a Power User. I  can do a thing or two, I have a little amount of system administration skills and I am not afraid of the terminal. Running a few commands here and there is something every Linux enthusiast is comfortable doing. Being a Software developer for a couple of years, I am usually intrigued by anything that looks cryptic and feels like programming and so the terminal plays a big part in my everyday existence.

Recently, I have been working a lot with the Bash scripting language/tool. My bash programming isn’t that legendary but with the help of Google and Stackoverflow, I can easily look up syntaxes for Bash statements and eventually get my intended task done. I recently had a task in the office that required me to work with a 200MB+ sized file. CSV files are the simplest file format you get to work with in most programming environments. Usually when you want to generate a report that can easily be opened in a spreadsheet application and also easily consumed by a machine.

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Improvising and Going DIY to save a Buck

Online shopping as made finding what you want easy. Online shopping has also made it easy to spend a quick buck to get whatever you buy delivered to your doorstep. I woke up today with a plan to shoot some video and would like carry my Tripod stand with me. When I bought my cheap affordable Tripod stand, it didn’t come with a carry bag and so most time I just grab it by a leg and roam the streets.

Today, however, I felt like having a bag you can throw over your shoulder will make walking about with this stand easy. And so I began to look for cheap affordable Tripod stand bags. I looked at the popular online stores from our tried and trusted Amazon, Currys, eBay and a few random stores that the Google result presented. Let me start by saying, I realized searching for this item was easier on eBay than on most stores.  I tried a few phrases – Camcorder Stand Bag, Camera stand bag, Camera carry on bag. I didn’t get anything close enough until I searched Ebay and found out what I was looking for is usually called a Tripod Stand Bag. So technical if you ask me.

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When the holiday is so good, you experience a Brain Reset

Part of being an adult is working. It could be running your business or being an employee. Sometimes this aspect of life gets to you and you decided it is time for a holiday. And so this write up is about my back from holiday experience.

I work as a Software Developer and if you ask anyone who has worked in London for any number of years, you will learn how eager people are seeking to take a break from London. I got to this point where I needed an escape. Change of scenery, no tubes, no running after buses, no thinking of what to do next. Just complete freedom from it all. At this point, the universe is screaming – VACATION. And that is what I did – I went on a vacation.

Destination Malta. I went on a week holiday in Malta and boy it was the exact escape I needed. Prior to this, I did have to struggle with the decision to either take or leave my laptop behind. If you have dealt with Software developers before, you would have learned the fact that they do love their Technology. So I did leave my laptop behind for a good cause but picked up an old tablet of mine just in case I needed to google something << insert smiley face >>.

Talking about my Malta trip isn’t the point of this post and I don’t really have a point to make but just wanted to share an experience. So after a week in Malta, I am back at my office desk and ready to resume work as usual. With renewed energy, vigor, I turned on my laptop, logged in and opened up Keepass. Now for those who don’t know what Keepass is, it is a password vault. I store a lot of the login credentials to all company assets from the database login credential to password credentials of several administrative panels. My company exerts some password standards and if you are a decent IT guy, you surely know the importance of a secure password. Using Keepass, I only need 1 master password and I will be granted access to all the passwords stored in the vault.

Turning on my laptop with a smile didn’t go as smoothly as I planned. I opened up Keepass, typed in my password and got the dreaded “Invalid Password” message. Gave it a second try and still no success. I do remember my password at least my passwords are pronounceable. After several failed attempts, I realized all the while, I relied on muscle memory every morning I sat at my desk to work. This wasn’t good and it is too early in the week to start asking Sys Admin to reset all password credentials. So what did I do? I continue working with the little accessed I had thanks to cookies in the browser.

Two hours past and I still couldn’t get into the vault. My colleague next to me suggested I take a break and stop thinking about it and so I did. Stepped out for a cup of coffee, drank two glasses of water, hit the Gentlemen’s Powder room. While I was in there, it occurred to me I was pronouncing my password wrong. And due to my wrong pronunciation, I had switched a character at a certain position from “e” to “o”. I got back to my desk, energized and in 2 seconds, I logged into the vault. The day is saved but now I am worried and  I ask the question – “How do I prevent this from happening again?”.

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