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2018 Year in Review

Chris Hammond
Here we are, January 1st (or 2nd) 2019, and I haven’t done a year in review for 2018. This post will have to suffice, it’ll be abbreviated, 2018 was a busy year, lots of change, lots of excitement, far too much to cover in the 10 minutes I’ve allotted myself for this post tonight. This post won’t cover family items, for those you can check out all my Facebook posts.
This post is really a test of sorts. If you can read it, that means that Windows Live Writer still works as a desktop blogging platform. It’s been many years since I’ve actively blogged, but so far for 2014 I’m 2 for 2 (3 for 3 if this works). In the days of old, Windows Live Writer (WLW) was a great little tool for blogging, creating and saving your blog on your PC, then easily publishing it out to your website.

My website was due for an overhauled design, somehow a full year came and went and I hadn't done any major updates to the website. I guess that is what happens when you, move, change jobs, and have a second child in on year, time sort of magically goes away.

A couple of weeks ago I started working on a new DNN skin, to replace my MultiFunction skin that I've had in use here on ChrisHammond.com for a number of years now. Initially I was going to work on upgrading MF, but after giving it some thought, I felt like I wanted to start over, and this time around I wasn't sure that I was going to create an open source skin, most likely just something that I would use for my own websites, of which I have plenty to spread the skin around on.

Wow, where has the past month gone? I didn't even get to blog yet! 

On June 10th, we welcomed Daniel Christopher Hammond into the world. Here's a photo from last night (1month) 


freshbandThis week I started reading a new book. It is a book from a course I took in college. I left the book at the office today (mistakenly) so I can’t tell you the title of the book, but basically the book is about programming language design. I noticed that while reading it, it is like I am reading it for the very first time. To be honest, it probably is the first time I’ve read the book. I couldn’t even tell you what course it is for, or when I took that course in college, though I can probably guess the outcome of me taking it, I likely dropped the course.

I don’t know when I became a bad student, but I can tell you, I am a bad student. I don’t think I ever really learned how to study. In grade school, middle school, and high school, I didn’t have to study. I took AP classes, was enrolled in an IB program my freshman year (before moving to Indiana where it wasn’t offered), I was considered bright.

frenchclass95I got good grades, played football my final two years of HS (or watched mostly from the sidelines), played tennis one year, golf one year, was in band all throughout. Up through 12th grade school was easy, if anything I think the only class I really struggled with as Calculus. After high school everything changed.

I started college in 1995, planning on getting a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Rolla (UMR) (now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology, MST). I struggled at Rolla. I joined a fraternity, I met a girl, I went to class, I discovered this new thing called the Internet (this was in 1995, before going to college all I was exposed to was Prodigy).

15569_1182361751660_1006680206_30450552_6095236_nWhile at Rolla, I did okay in some classes, and poorly most others. Towards the end of my time there I was dropping half of the credit hours I was taking each semester, and not doing great in the classes I remained in. Needless to say I didn’t do well at UMR, after 4 years of school, with one semester off to work, I left Rolla and decided I was going to work full time and go to school part time.

I moved to St. Louis, lived with my parents for 6 or 7 months, until they up and moved to South Carolina. I stayed in St. Louis, took a few CS classes here or there at UMSL, but struggled in those as well, working full time wasn’t conducive to me getting good grades. Eventually I took a year or two away from classes at UMSL, but I talked myself into going back and meeting with a counselor to figure out what I could do to finish. We looked at my transcripts, and figured out what I needed to do to finish. With 110 or some odd credits under my belt, in order for me to get a BS in Computer Science at that point in time I needed another 70 credits, a lofty number at the rate I was taking classes.

We looked at switching to an MIS degree, that wasn’t that much better, maybe 63 credits remaining. Ultimately we figured out that I could get an economics degree in just 36 more credit hours, I had to take 6 hours of humanities (not something that Rolla had in the requirements) and then 30 hours of economics. I had taken two economics courses during my time at Rolla, they came easy, so I thought, what the heck, 30 hours of econ and I’ll have that degree I need (as in I wanted to complete A degree, which one wasn’t that important to me).

I think around 2006 I started taking UMSL seriously again, taking 2 classes in the evenings during the week so that I could get the credits I needed out of the way. I did fairly well in my studies at UMSL in Econ, better than I had done in CS at either UMSL or UMR. In May 2011 I was officially done, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. I was rather proud of finishing. Did it change anything? The only thing it changed is I can now officially say I am a college graduate, not one other thing.

But here we are today, March 1st, 2012, I’m a college graduate, I have a good job, a wonderful wife, a beautiful daughter. But I still am a bad student.

A couple of weeks (months?) ago the CEO of DotNetNuke Corporation gave a presentation to some employees about learning. Pushing yourself to spend 30 minutes a day learning. After school, you really don’t do that, or at least most people I know don’t. I know I haven’t pushed myself to learn anything outside the scope of DotNetNuke in many years.

It is time to finally change that. I want to learn, I need to learn, about what? Everything. For now, I’m going back to my computer science dreams, I’m going to read the books I have on my bookshelf. I’m going to learn things outside of my current comfort zone. To start off I am learning how to build and program hardware. I’ve been working on the web since 1995, it is time to break into the real world.

I’ve dabbled in that a bit already, I’ve been working on a project that we call DNNFoos (www.dnnfoos.com) a black box that is used to keep track of the score of foosball games. I’ve been building and testing and debugging the project for a few weeks now, and I am now at the point where I need to learn more to make it work reliably. I need to learn threading, I need to learn how to write code that fits on a Netduino and doesn’t throw out of memory exception errors. Now is the time.

After that? Who knows, maybe I’ll learn a new language. That could be rather useful living in California where 43% of the population speaks another language at home (census stats)

What are you going to learn today?

Holy Cow! If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and don’t have plans tomorrow, or if you do have plans, cancel them. You need to get the Maker Faire at the San Mateo County Event Center. Check out www.makerfaire.com for more info! I went this morning, and I am going to go again tomorrow, this time taking the family with me. This morning I headed over with my GoPro camera attached to my head, with the intention of time lapsing the day. I stuck it to the top of a trusty Boston Red Sox hat, which I hoped would last.

So this post is actually going to cover two different things.

First, I’ve decided to stop with a few things electronically. I’ve taken part in Foursquare over the past year or so, and I find myself trying to get points checking in to places I’m driving by. I also realized that I really don’t need to check in anywhere, even the places I go. Foursquare, to be honest, is useless to me. So long Foursquare, at least for now. I also find myself playing “Cartown” on Facebook. I go there daily, sometimes multiple times a day, and all I do is click through my “jobs” and then go on to other things. As of now, the game is pointless. It’s just habit. So, that too is getting cut. No more Cartown for me.

Now for the real cutting the fat topic. Saturday I started a new weight loss plan. Right now the plan is to better control what I eat, not consume as much, not eat more than I should at every meal. I started out Saturday morning at 259lbs, my goal is 225lbs. I’ve got myself a reward attached to that as well. I want to hit 225lbs and hold at that weight (+-5lbs) for 3 months. If that happens, then I can get my reward. A Motorcycle Open-mouthed smile 

I’ve tried that goal before, we’ll see how it works this time around.

If you have a 3 bedroom house for rent in San Carlos California, and are open to dogs, we can be your future tenants!

Natalie and I are looking to find a larger place than we currently are in, as we feel the baby needs her own room, and I need to maintain an office. The baby doesn’t necessarily need a room for herself, but we need a room for her so we can try to start sleeping more!

We actually love the place we are in, the location is great, we are up in the hills and have some amazing views! But we have just outgrown the 2br space. We’ve asked the landlord if he could just add another bedroom on for us, but no luck! Smile He’s a great landlord, and I’m sure if he could make it happen he would!

We are looking for a 3 bedroom place in San Carlos, Belmont, Redwood Shores, Redwood City, or somewhere similar. If you have something, use the Contact Form here on the website.

So it’s been a while since I’ve actually used my Windows Home Server, for the past year or so I have had some troubles with it, so ultimately I ditched it and went with just a single external hard drive for my files. I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but it has worked out well so far.

My Windows Home Server (v1) had 6 terrabytes of drive storage, so it was a shame that I wasn’t using it, but part of the reason I wasn’t is because this is how I had it setup for the past year, while it was running, and even when it wasn’t for the past few months, it looked like this.

Replace this

Not exactly an ideal configuration considering we have a baby and two dogs. Fortunately the baby isn’t yet mobile, and the dogs avoided things as to not create a spaghetti incident.

I’m becoming paranoid about my files though, and decided it was time to have another solution in place rather than just copying the external hard drive to another external drive for a backup. So I wanted to get my WHS up and running again, but due to a variety of configuration issues I wanted to start fresh and pave the machine. I also wanted to get a drive bay to put the 4 1.5tb drives in, so I picked up a Sans Digital 5 Bay Raid tower.

I am going through the process now of installing WHS on my old desktop (the same machine it was on before) and while that goes, and I run windows update for I don’t know how many times, I am going to get the 6tb of drives into the new tower. I don’t expect it to be all done tonight, but I’d like to have a lot of it going so that I can get the data transfer started this week.

And no, I am not planning on using Windows Home Server Vail (2011) or whatever it is called, the machine I am running this on is 32bit and won’t support the latest release as far as I know (because it requires 64bit).

Domain name backordering

Chris Hammond

Within the past week or two I started getting notifications that a version of a domain name that I owned was available for purchase. I’ve owned the .ORG for the domain name for 5 years or so now, but the .COM was taken (not being used).

These notifications that I started receiving were for the .COM version, and made it sound like they owned the domain and I could purchase it from them. I probably got 5 or 6 different versions of this email, from different people, so I started wondering what was going on. I figured out that the .COM version of the domain was actually expired though not yet released.

So I checked on Godaddy, and I had a backorder credit that hadn’t been used yet, so I setup the backorder for this .COM domain name that was coming up for deletion. The domain went into the “pendingDelete” state which usually lasts 5 days. This morning the domain was officially deleted

Godaddy came through and acquired the domain for me. So, now I am thinking. Should I email back the spammers who said they could get the domain for me and say “Thanks for the heads up”

Six years ago today

Chris Hammond

Six years ago today I met the most beautiful woman in the world. We met for dinner at Applebees, we closed the place down. We had talked on Match.com for a few days prior to meeting, but January 29th, 2005 was the first time we saw each other face to face.

Less than nine months later we were engaged, and less than two years later we were married. We’ve been married 4 years now, and have a beautiful baby girl (almost 4 months).

I love you Natalie.

So here it goes. The second attempt at writing this blog post. I had it 50% complete about 10 minutes ago, but then Windows Live Writer started typing backwards and then completely crapped out and went away. 2010 In Review
So I’m sitting here working on Chapter 1 of the book, not getting as much done as I would like, but far more done than I expected to actually get done tonight. I find myself easily distracted, playing with my music, posting on twitter, running downstairs to get a drink, snacking, with a little writing sprinkled in here and there. Another common distraction I like is to read the headlines and news. I don’t just do this when I’m working on the book, I do it all the time, at work, at home, it’s a habit, I’m not sure it’s a bad habit though?

Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, developer and car guy. Chris has long specialized in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke development, so you will find a variety of topics here on the website. For more information check out the about me page.

If you are looking for DotNetNuke consulting please visit my business website at https://www.christoc.com/