During the course of the day I encounter lots of challenges, some of which take minutes to solve and others that take much longer. My goal for this section is to keep track of these challenges and their solutions. I will turn the longer ones into articles, while the shorter ones will stay as blog entries. You can expect topics to range from very specific programming challenges to broader topics like life.
Below is a list of the recent blog entries. You can also browse the blog by using the tags on the right side, or if you know what you are looking for then you can use the search box at the top right.
I have recently been looking at using Ansible for managing some Windows-based web servers. Fortunately, I was able to get the authentication configured properly, but as soon as I got to downloading PHP, the Ansible win_get_url module started behaving oddly. It downloaded some other files as I would have expected, but it would download the PHP distributable as a 1KB file.
I recently needed to do some informal HealthDecision API concurrent session testing. I decided to try out the Apache benchmarking tool (ab). Given that I needed something quick, I started a new HealthDecision session in the browser and used Chrome Developer Tools’ copy as cUrl functionality to get the headers and the POST data. This obviously worked on the command line, but each request was taking close to six seconds when I used ab!
It didn’t make much sense at first sight because the exact same request was less than half a second every time. I tried running with output turned on (-v 4) and could see that it was waiting after it received the response from the server. After some more troubleshooting, I finally realized that it was the keep-alive header causing ab to wait for the connection to close!
Lesson learned, pay very close attention to the headers.
I switched to a trackball earlier this year because my wrist was getting tired after a few hours of using Microsoft’s Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse. After some search, it seemed that my only good option for a trackball was the predecessor to this trackball, the Logitech M570. I was a little disappointed in the build quality and the scroll wheel of the M570, so I was happy when Logitech announced the MX ERGO and pre-ordered it.
I used the M570 since July until the start of October when the MX ERGO arrived. Even though the MX ERGO cost almost twice what the M570 is going for, I am glad to see that the build quality is way better. The angle on this trackball also feels much more comfortable than the M570, which laid a lot flatter. I have now gotten used to the steeper angle on this and M570 now feels odd and a little “off.” Given how much time I spend using the trackball, I can easily justify the cost for myself.
I was looking forward to the inclusion of Bluetooth, but I was also a little concerned that it might not work as seamlessly as the proprietary Logitech adapter. After using it for a few weeks now, I am glad to report that it works just as well as the Logitech adapter and that now I don’t have to worry about connecting/disconnecting yet another USB device.
With Logitech’s new “Logitech Options” software for macOS, I have noticed that the forward/back buttons seem more reliable than the M570 buttons and that they now seem to work with more applications than their previous software/drivers. I have noticed that their Logitech Options Daemon software keeps using 1-2% CPU majority of the time. I am contemplating trying to use this mouse without the Logitech software, but I haven’t done it yet.
An additional benefit with Logitech’s new Options software is that I no longer have to run an additional application (called Scroll Reverser) to reverse the scroll direction. Their Options software has an “option” to reverse the scroll direction.
One thing that I am curious to see pan out over the next few months is the battery life. I did not use the M570 long enough, but I have heard that it easily lasts longer than a year. Logitech advertises the MX ERGO’s battery to last four months. My trackball shows about 2/3 battery still left to go after almost two-and-a-half weeks. Given that it’s sitting on the desk with easy access to plenty of micro-USB charging cables, I guess recharging this won’t be too big of a deal.
Overall, I am happy with my purchase and would recommend it.
Lately, I have been working on centralizing the logs from all of our servers and application layers. I decided to use Fluentd instead of Logstash because it claims better reliability without jumping through hoops (e.g. adding a kafka layer).
Anyways, working on the configuration, I noticed that it doesn’t have any default configs for PHP errors. My quick google search didn’t reveal anything either. So, I decided to write the regex myself. Here is what I ended up with. This also accounts for multiline stack traces.
#[03-Sep-2017 22:51:06 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 268435456 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 65536 bytes) in Unknown on line 0
format_firstline /^\[(?<time>[^\]]*)\] (?<level>.+?):/
format1 /^\[(?<time>[^\]]*)\] (?<level>.+?):\s+(?<message>.*)/
time_format %d-%b-%Y %H:%M:%S %Z
read_from_head true # Read the file from the start.
I have recently been working on a SMART on FHIR integration with an EHR vendor. One of the REST calls required posting some data and retrieving a launch code. During development, I use Postman to test the functionality. This call kept failing, and I could not figure out why.
I am cautiously and excitedly looking forward to the upcoming revolution of connected and self-driving vehicles. This advancement is bound to change so many things and the ways that we do those things. Taxis and truck driving are the most apparent professions that will see the initial impact, but this will also impact many other occupations and areas.
I have had a backlog of changes that I wanted to make to the iTunes patch. I finally took some time this weekend to work on those and release version 1.1. The major improvement in this version is the check for System Integrity Protection.
If you talk to anyone that has interacted with me on the entrepreneurship front you will learn that I am a big fan of the E-Myth Revisited book by Michael Gerber. I really like this book, and especially like the three roles that it defines. I have blogged about it in the past, but there is one thing that I don’t like about it: i.e. calling one of the roles the “technician.”
The title of this role has bugged me ever since I have read this book, but it wasn’t enough for me to go searching. Interestingly, on January 16th, I finally ran into someone that had the same issue!