The moment my life went wrong

Back in the Summer of 1983, I was a child you would recognise from the wreck I’ve made of childhood.

I was an extrovert, I was never in the h

 

ouse, I was out with a massive group of friends any chance I could get.

Then December comes. As any other kid, I looked in my mum and dad’s wardrobe’s looking to see what presents I would be getting for Christmas. Nothing. A little weird, so I took a risk and looked in my oldest brother’s room and there in the back of his wardrobe was a Woolworth’s bag with black box, about a foot long, half a foot deep and wide. On the front was a black machine with what looked like blue keys.

What the fuck is that?  Guess it’s for my middle brother or something, so I presumed my present hadn’t been bought yet.

Come Christmas Day, I wake up excitedly and rush downstairs with my brothers and we start unwrapping presents. I’m given this box and I unwrap it and it’s the same box I saw before.

Aaaaah… look at that beauty

Same question, what the fuck is it? Sinclair ZX Spectrum Personal Computer. What is a computer? What is a Spectrum?

So my brother’s set it up for me (they’ve obviously used it before!), plugged into a colour TV, cassette player and a few WH Smith’s tapes. The fuckers didn’t even bother buying games for it but pirated them from someone in their work, along with a list of games I could buy for £2.50 or something. A tradition I’ve carried on every since ha.

So they put in a tape and we wait, and wait and wait and then I’m presented with this screen. The first computer game I’ve played.

Let’s remember, this is 1983, and computers by modern standards were crap as you’d expect, so  it’s hard to imagine the impact this made at the time, or as I prefer to see it now, what a complete fucking disaster this made of my life.

For the next six to nine months, I hammered that fucking rubber keyboard and Kempston joystick as I refused to let some fucking sprites on a screen beat me. Jetpac, Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Pssst and Football Manager was hammered morning, noon and night.

The number of hours I wasted on this game. FML.

But then the boredom set in. No more “yay let’s play Atic Atac”, more “oh god, do I have to play these shitty games again”, but that god for the manual, which gave very, very basic instructions on how to “program” it and this was the point my future life went to shit as I typed in those long program listings from Sinclair User that never fucking worked first time around, that took longer to debug than to type in the first place, but at least it gave me a skill I have to this day of finding problems very quickly and fixing them.

I can still remember me and my brothers writing a game called Miners Strike, which was basically Space Invaders but instead you fired policeman at miners. Well it was topical at the time, and the hell of doing graphics as binary characters with the help of pen and paper.

So this is how my future life was decided. My mass of friends drifted away, going outside was rare, I was kicked out of the school football team and basically I turned into  what kids of today are like: glued to their xbox’s and playstation’s, never going out, anti-social.

Over the next year or so, I learnt Z80 code but then moved to the Commodore 64, and it was the same story… I got bored of the games and started coding on it instead as it was much more entertaining to me.

Then I joined the 16 bit generation in July 1987, and what was left of my personality soon disappeared as I joined “the scene”, writing tech demos in what was bascially a European wide pissing contest to see who could do the best effect better than anyone else.

Ah it was fun.

Now it’s my job, I’m a developer for a living, sat in front of two monitors for eight hours a day, writing crappy code and fixing issues before I go home and spend another five hours at my home computer before going to bed and the whole sorry cycle starts over again.

Sounds a fucking blast doesn’t it.

Setting the ‘to:’ address in Contact Form 7 from a custom field

This does assume you have the Contact Form 7 and Dynamic Text Extension plugins installed. If you don’t, this article will mean bugger all.

On our works web site, we use Contact Form 7, about 30 in all, and after being asked to change the ‘to:’ address once too often, I thought ‘fuck this’ and came up with a solution where the content editors can do it themselves without pestering me all the time.

The quickest way is to simply set a custom field on the page/post you want the Contact Form 7 to appear on. At the bottom of the editor screen, there is the option to Add New Custom Field. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to call the key cf_email_to_address and then enter the email address you want to test.

Click Update or Save depending on what you’re doing, and now head over to the Contact Form 7 that you want to edit and in the Form tab, add this at the top:

[dynamichidden recipient-email "CF7_get_custom_field key='cf7_email_to_address' obfuscate='on'"]

This is a CF7 dynamic field that put the value of the custom field cf7_email_to_address that we created above, and puts it into variable recipient-email.

All we have to do now is click on the Mail tab and in the To address, add this:

[_post_title] <[recipient-email]>

Will send an email with the post title name to the email address we specified in the custom field.

Simple.

Things to do in Rotherham when you’re dead

Time for a little review of things to do based on extensive research before and during my three and a bit days in Rotherham.

So here’s the top ten of things to do:

  1. Find the nearest road out
  2. See item 1.

Seriously, I’ve never been so fucking bored in my life. Staring at the four walls of a fucking Holiday Inn room was more fucking interesting.

A drive every morning to our training room was like going back in time.

Only good thing was beating the works Designer at table football, though to be fair, he was pissed up at the time. But a wins a win ha

50 shades of grey. Almost.

I was sent this by a developer in the office, from the SASS file for a web app.


/* greys */
$grey1: #DEDEDE;
$grey2: #CCCCCC;
$grey3: #333333;
$grey4: #666666;
$grey5: #999999;
$grey6: #f7f7f8;
$grey7: #dddddd;
$grey8: #eeeeee;
$grey9: #777777;
$grey10: #f5f5f5;
$grey11: #f9f9f9;
$grey12: #e8e8e8;
$grey13: #e5e5e5;
$grey14: #555555;
$grey15: #737373;
$grey16: #e6e6e6;
$grey17: #adadad;
$grey18: #262626;
$grey19: #f8f8f8;
$grey20: #e7e7e7;
$grey21: #888888;
$grey22: #222222;
$grey23: #080808;
$grey24: #9d9d9d;
$grey25: #4A4A4A;
$grey26: #101010;
$grey27: #d5d5d5;
$grey28: #e3e3e3;
$grey29: #ebebeb;
$grey30: #bbbbbb;
$grey31: #efefef;

Notice the wonderful concise and informative referencing of the classes, easy reference was not top of the priority list I presume. But this is what happens when you are sent PDF’s from the designer.

Laughing at funny foreigners

As much as I hate to laugh at people who can’t speak English, and I do find broken English incredibly adorable when I’m speaking to my European friends, I have to admit to moments where I’ve had to stop what I am doing because I’m laughing to hard.

I don’t mean having to learn north, south, east, west, left, right, front, behind in Romanian and Ukrainian because my friends get very confused (re drunk) playing an online game.

From experience I find the Romanians to be the most hilarious, and they pick up words from films and television and then write the words out phonetically, for example, ‘health’ will be typed as ‘healph’ , ‘heapf’ or ‘helfph.’

For extra lulz, ask them to pronouce a word that end in ‘th.’ That sound isn’t in the Romanian language so asking one to say ‘teeth’ leads to much amusement on my part as their tongue does gymnastics to get that sound and leads to a conversion of shouting ‘teeth’ being repeated a lot.

So rewind a few weeks, and I was talking to my friends on TeamSpeak while playing Armored Warfare with Romanian friends. We somehow got onto the subject of tattoos, as one of their girlfriends wanted to get one of a ‘dan-dill-lee-on.’ There was a short pause as I tried to make sense of this mangled word. ‘A what?’  ‘A dan-dill-lee-on. You know the… er… plant you blow on (cue a ear shattering sound as he blows into the microphone) and er… floating things.’ Oh you mean a dandelion. ‘Yes dan-dill-lee-on.’ I had to walk away because I was laughing so much, right in the middle of a game.

‘Sorry I disconnect. Fuck-king Were-les.’ No, it is ‘why-er-less.’

‘Wee-Fee’ when he means ‘why-fi.’

Just stop speaking English until you can speak it properly you daft twat 🙂

Oh you know I’m joking my dear friends.

MAMP Pro to the cloud

After my my Mac decided to fuck up after installing Sierra, it gave me a chance to reorganise my shit as I forgot to backup my MAMP Pro installation, so I had to rebuild all 20+ web sites and databases from scratch. Not doing this again as it’s a right pain in the ass.

So after playing around a bit, I’ve moved the htdocs folder and the MySQL databases to Dropbox. I could use iCloud but I’m not installing that shit on my Workstation PC at home.

Before we go to Terminal, make sure MAMP and your MySQL management tool (phpmyadmin/Sequel Pro/Workbench) of choice is closed.

Copying the databases

If you want to use another cloud storage solution, here are the default install path for iCloud:
~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/

Google Drive:
~/Google\ Drive/

Microsoft OneDrive:
~/OneDrive/

Just replace the Dropbox path in these examples. So let’s copy the databases folder to Dropbox in a folder called MAMP_db.

cp -r /Library/Application\ Support/appsolute/MAMP\ PRO/db ~/Dropbox/MAMP_db

Rename the default folder to something else

mv /Library/Application\ Support/appsolute/MAMP\ PRO/db /Library/Application\ Support/appsolute/MAMP\ PRO/delete_db

Create a symbolic link to the new folder.

ln -s ~/Dropbox/MAMP_DB /Library/Application\ Support/appsolute/MAMP\ PRO/db

Now start MAMP Pro and wait to see if MySQL loads without errors. I double checked by loading Sequel Pro to see if my databases were there.

If you want to use iCloud instead, use

If that was a success, we can now move the web sites.

Copying the htdocs

Exactly the same commands, just a different folder.

cp -r /Applications/MAMP/htdocs ~/Dropbox/MAMP_htdocs
mv /Applications/MAMP/htdocs /Applications/MAMP/delete_htdocs
ln -s ~/Dropbox/MAMP_htdocs /Applications/MAMP/htdocs

Load MAMP Pro and click localhost and hey presto.

I did this on a fresh installation, and when tried to access localhost I got a Forbidden 403 error. All I did was make a new host and it worked fine.