Emacs and the eternal struggle!

So I’ve really been knuckling down getting to grips with emacs recently, ditching my other editors and forcing myself to focus purely on emacs. And boy am I glad I did.

Emacs and the eternal struggle is more about my eternal struggle with understanding the complexities of this editor, and boy can it be complex for a newbie.

The default emacs environment sucks, it just does, no getting away from that, but with a few tweaks here and there you can have a really great editing / programming environment.

Three resources I’ve found extremely helpful in my quest are these:

www.masteringemacs.org – a website by my friend Mickey Petersen with an accompanying book (had to give it a plug!)
Uncle Dave – A great emacs playlist, and lots of useful knowledge
Mike Zamansky – another awesome emacs playlist

Between these three resources I’ve now got a much, much better understanding of the inner workings of emacs.

It seems there is a lot more interest in the editor these days, not bad for an editor that’s been around since the 70’s!

I know vi is probably just as old and well supported, but you can never have too many editors to play around with.

-l1dge

OneMonth Python

Here we go again, as they say. I’m attempting to retake the OneMonth Python course that I started a number of months back, but failed miserably due to it being mainly written on a Mac and not being able to get it to work without significant effort on a PC (it was beyond my python skill level that’s for sure!).

Since then I have managed to acquire a Mac Mini, that is I got back my Mac Mini from my daughter and gave her a laptop instead, and everyone was happy and I have been able to successfully start the course again, and I have to say I’m making good progress.

My Progress - Image

I’ll keep you posted here on how I get on and any pitfalls or challenges I may face.

If you are interested in taking any of the OneMonth education courses you can find them here http://onemonth.com and if you are interested in watching my progress you can have a look at the app that we are developing as part of the course here l1dge’s Progress.

Update and my Review of OneMonth Python

I finally managed to complete the course!! Whoop!! I’d love to say it was a painless and enjoyable experience as far as online training goes but it wasn’t, I’ve had better, so I thought I’d leave you with my thoughts and a little review.

The course, whilst it didn’t totally suck, I learned a tiny bit of python and a lot of django after all, was so rough around the edges there is no way a beginner could have completed it. Now I’m no programming expert but I’ve been around enough developers to know what to look for and how to fix issues by using the forums and community sites for everything but the most complex issues. However, when I purchased the course it was not mentioned that it was mac only, me originally having a PC to work from caused me more issues than I care to discuss and initially forced me to give up on the course without actually starting any of the actual programming. To their credit, the team at One Month has posthumously added a “Sanity Check: Software Requirements” video now, but it was a bit late for me and I guess some others. I did receive some pointers from the community at the time, but when you spend more time trying to set up your machine to partake in a course than you do actually partaking, then you’ve already lost me. Fortunately as I stated above, I managed to reacquire my Mac Mini and thought I’d have another go.

I can honestly say One Month Python had issues on at least 50% of the lesson videos. Don’t get me wrong, I love the One Month site, in fact I have purchased a few courses from them but this one has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I love the concept of learning something by producing a tangible product and saying “I made this!”, there is no greater satisfaction, be it a web page an app or whatever.

Despite finishing the course and creating a fairly responsive site, there are still a few things missing from the final product i.e. a logoff button, deploying the final app to heroku, missing sections from the css files, hit and miss instructions, missing instructions, some rough and unedited videos (I wondered why the instructor kept putting his hand up to the camera) and the list goes on. Yes I’ve learned some of the skills in the course to do this, and yes I have attempted some of it, so far as deploying my “completed app” to heroku, but it still leaves me longing for more, and doesn’t leave me completely satisfied.

The forums are a bit of a sorry state, lots of users asking why x,y or z doesn’t work and how to fix it, but the “experts” just aren’t there, conspicuous by their absence, only a very helpful user or two seem to be taking the reigns – I applaud you, you know who you are. These great guys will try and help answer some of the questions and even provide solutions, but I’m sure they won’t stick around forever; hell, I’ve even tried to help one user when I realized the course had switched from Python 3 at the start to Python 2.7 half way through. Guess what guys and gals, some stuff just doesn’t work in Python 3, but I guess you knew that which is why you switched back to Python 2.7 half way through the course, would have been nice for a heads up though!!!!

I fixed some of my issues with the help of a couple of the forum posts, bar one, redeploying my virtualenv with python 2.7 and re-installing all the modules required; whether a beginner could have done this is questionable, I had to figure this bit out on my own.

Congratulations___One_Month_Python

There is also the congratulatory message at the end. I think it’s questionable to use profanity in any professional literature when you are trying to portray a certain brand. Again, maybe I’m just an old git, but when my kids are in the room and this pops up on the screen “Congratulations You F”:*ing did it!!” it’s not the kind of congratulatory message I expect on course completion.

All in all is it a good course? Hmm, yes and no. I certainly know more about Python and Django than I did when I started, you learn a lot from trouble shooting, but did it fulfill my expectations from the first pre-launch webinar, not really. Maybe I set the bar too high and was expecting too much, but I have seen more polished courses on other sites. Has it put me off buying from One Month, for the time being yes. Unless I see a turnaround in the support from the guys selling and supporting the courses I shall look for my continued education elsewhere.

 

l1dge

WordPress – It’s all gone wrong

Why you shouldn’t update WordPress plugins on a live site before you’ve tested it thoroughly on a test site.

Damn! I did it. It’s all gone wrong. I updated my live WordPress site before thoroughly testing everything was working on my dev site, I was in a hurry, but I’ve learned my lesson. The wonderful plugin I use “Revolution Slider” on my homepage no longer functions correctly with my theme which is why you’ll see no beautiful slider at the top. DOH!! as Homer Simpson would say.

Broken Slider
I broke it…..

 

Normal Service should resume in the next couple of days when I’ve figured out what is wrong with the damn thing and either corrected the problem or downgraded the software.

Update: Fixed It!!!!

So eventually the guys over at the support site of the theme I use (Themeco) posted a really great support note on how to troubleshoot the latest update to the slider plugin. It appeared just to be a case for me of disabling all of my caching plugins, Jetpack & WP Supercache included and then just re-enable them one at a time. Now I’ve done this the slider appears to be working again, although slightly updated due to the various bits of testing / re-creating I’ve had to do!! Lesson learned.

Or did I??????

So I just checked my site gain after a few hours and the slider had stopped working again. Suprisingly there was an update available for the slider plugin which I’ve applied and normal service appears to have resumed……again.

Let me know if you see any issues.

SQL*Plus on Windows (Part 1)

Welcome to Part 1 in a series of articles on running SQL*Plus on the Windows platform.

Did you know that SQL*Plus under Windows is often preferred to its Unix equivalent?
There are many ways to configure SQL*Plus to suit your individual needs but today I’ll just cover one option that makes life that little bit easier (at least in my opinion).

Many beginner DBA’s (and some senior ones too!) often overlook the usefulness of a login.sql script.

We all have our favorite editors, I personally still float between Sublime Text and emacs, but the choice is truly down to personal preference. SQL*Plus on Windows defaults to notepad, as do most applications that use a text editor in the Windows environment, and we all know how useful that is; but its old and there are much better editors out there these days.

With a few choice commands and a bit of technical know-how you can change the default editor for SQL*Plus to something more DBA/Developer friendly.

Launch SQL*Plus on Windows from either the gui or a command prompt.

C:\>sqlplus /nolog

This will launch sqlplus.

Type:

ed login

By default This will launch you into notepad.exe and you will be editing a new file named “login.sql”, this file will be located in the directory you launched SQL*Plus from so remember where that was (the easiest way to do this is to create a shortcut to launch SQL*Plus which starts in the same directory every time, but this is something for another article).

Now this is where we define your preferred editor, so in my case, I like Sublime Text, therefore the line for setting my default SQL*Plus editor is as follows:

def _editor = “C:\Program Files\Sublime Text 3\subl.exe”

Editor

Save and close your file, then restart SQL*Plus.

Now when you type “ed” within SQL*Plus you will be thrown into your preferred editor.

This is just one of the changes that can be made in the login.sql; there are lots of others documented in the SQL*Plus reference documentation but this is my favorite change to make when first working on a new Windows environment.

Keep an eye out for further articles in my series on running SQL*Plus on a Windows platform.

Windows 10 – Change the default browser, it’s not difficult!!

You’re talking Rubbish!!!

I thought I’d write this article as I’m amazed at the backlash that Microsoft has been receiving about “How difficult” it is to change the default browser in Windows 10. I’ve never seen, in my opinion, so much poor biased journalism, and no I’m not a Microsoft “Fan Boy”, around a browser setting in an operating system.

I don’t think I’ve ever read an article about Apple shipping Safari as the default browser in OSX or being asked to give users another choice out of the box.

If you don’t like it change it. So with that in mind I thought I’d show you how to do it below. I hope you find this useful and don’t have any problems changing your browser.

How to change your default browser in Windows 10

Here in simple steps, with pictures, is how you change the default apps in Microsoft Windows 10 to something you do like, assuming you have downloaded and installed the software you want to use.

1. First step, using the Windows Menu, go to settings:

Settings Screen

2. Select the System option and you will see the screenshot below.

System Settings

 

3. Select the Default apps option.

Default Apps Option

 

4. Scroll down to the Web Browser (notice you can change other apps in this menu setting)

Web Browser

 

5. Click on the Web Browser and you will be presented with a list of alternatives, assuming you have installed some!

Browser Choices

6. Select the one you want and close the menu, Job Done!

I hope this helps those people out there that appear to be having trouble and shows you just how easy it is. Just because a company changes how a piece of software works doesn’t make it bad, in fact I see it as a sign of progress, and in fact I believe Microsoft have made a huge leap forward with Windows 10, and I hope they continue to innovate.

 

And then there were three..

As I’ve discussed previously I’m trying to play with all forms of Social Media at the moment and have been doing a Twitter course as well as a Facebook course. If you’re interested in seeing whats happening with my experiences with these two services you can follow me on Twitter and my new Facebook Page.

I’m interested in getting your feedback and comments on your experiences with the same networks so please leave me comments below.