Node and Ghost, How I did it

Since I never touched Node.js before, and wasn’t comfortable with any kind of installation that coexisted with my preferred mix of PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Nginx, XCache, ModPageSpeed, and Apache; a separate cloud instance seemed the best way to go.

I found about about Ghost while doing some research on design/layouts. At the time Ghost wasn’t released to the wild but it was interesting; a short time later we were all able to get a copy.

It took four attempts, but found a Bitnami Ghost config that I liked:

https://bitnami.com/stack/ghost

Going this route makes setup extremely easy. At the time of this writing this is my third Ghost server, the previous were short-lived learning experiences. My next update will likely be a new instance, but with less disk space – just enough for Ubuntu Linux to function.

I’m usually a rpm-linux guy when it comes to servers, and tend to go debian-linux on personal devices. However, running 64-bit Ubuntu has been an interesting experience. My firewall setup steps were different at first but they eventually started to become familiar.

There is still a CDN/Proxy involved, mainly to cache the few images I’m using and do some basic HTML/CSS optimization. I wouldn’t consider it necessary, only if you’re accustomed to doing it for your sites already.

I’m looking forward to the possiblities with Node.js and Ghost!

Black Friday – Embracing The Horror

What started as a favor to my wife turned into an event I look forward to. We generally are good about doing Thanksgiving Dinner a bit early and getting a few hours sleep beforehand hasn’t been a problem.

The Proper Way to Approach Black Friday

For many reasons, the average customer doesn’t represent the same revenue amount that it did a few years ago. The tradition of Black Friday is also being diminished by retailers that are opening on Thanksgiving and pushing similar promotions all the way up to Christmas.

An XBox One is going to come to our home. My son and I are gamers, and enjoy some degree of internet-supported content. However, I’m not expecting that such a device is going to available at a lower price on Black Friday but it might me.

Most of my Black Friday purchases have been small or medium-ticket items. We tend to carefully consider electronics purchases but on occasion I have brought home (I meant Santa brought) great deals on Kindle Tablets, Laptops, Android Tablets, and iPods.

Black Friday has also been an opportunity to bring home items that were merely for oursleves or the household. We still use a ladder and a few tools that were great deals at 4am, and one of our BluRay movies is just now being sold at what I got it for two years ago just before Breakfast.

My Advice

  • Do not wait in a line, life is too short.
  • Limit the number of clothes purchases.
  • Big Ticket Doorbusters are usually a tradeoff.
  • Some stores will be open only to capture revenue from the traffic.
  • Premium items may not be doorbusters, but it isn’t unusual to see promotional gift cards associated with their purchase.
  • If you’re alone, buy something for yourself.
  • Take care of yourself during the night, eat small snacks and have some coffee. It wouldn’t hurt to have a good breakfast after it was over.
  • When the initial rush is over and parking lots are no longer busting, check back at some of your favorite stores again. I tend to visit a couple stores twice before dawn. Some stores may set out promotional doorbusters after they have “run out”.
  • Don’t buy music CDs or BluRay Movies unless you are certain it will hold a special value (such as a extended or limited edition). Gift Cards to their preferred media outlets are better.
  • Avoid 720p HD TVs, or incredibly inexpensive DVD Players, they are useless in today’s world.

My time usually starts at 11:30-11:40pm. A quick shower and some good boots. Dress warmly, but you’re not going to spend much time outside so you can be comfortable.

The Stores

  • Best Buy I don’t fight for the doorbusters at midnight, but have picked them up at 4am. On other occassions it has been deals on various devices with promos associated.
  • GameStop We are Pro Members, but don’t always buy on Black Friday. On the successful years I’ve brought home new games at great prices, but limit purchases in order to manage games via your preferred process.
  • Vintage Stock A local chain that carries great deals on new and used games, consoles, music, movies, and toys. They usually don’t open at midnight, but early enough when it is necessary to complete a shopping list. If they don’t appear to have anything, don’t worry – they usually will by Christmas.
  • Sears Some still find value in their tools and enjoy them as gifts.
  • Home Depot They usually open around 4-5am, but offer doughnuts and coffee. This store is fun, especially if you’ve already had some successess, but take care in what you buy.
  • Eddie Bauer Some years they are a great stop, but can be a bust. Don’t spin your wheels in any clothes store.
  • Hallmark Christmas Cards are a way to take care of a necessary step and buy yourself some downtime while others are waiting in line.
  • Starbucks Bring your device and check your research around 3am.
  • Toys R Us Never during the notorious times, but some of their unique items can quickly fill your list if children are involved.
  • Barnes and Noble Consider taking a look for your Cyber Monday activities. Their sale items are not necessarily Black Friday items, but on some years they have surprised.
  • Office Depot They bring customers in with good deals.
  • Target A few years ago they used to pack a store at midnight. Stick with the specials only in the center isles, or other marked areas, and get out. Doorbuster quality isn’t that good.
  • Cabellas Check the ads first, but this can be a good mid-term store during the night. Stick to the specials, as they tend to promote early.

With realistic expectations returning home with slightly more than you bargained for usually means sleeping the morning in peace.

If you came home frustrated, chill out with some comfort food for breakfast and take it easy – because the growing number of Cyber Monday sales continues to grow. So much so that some retailers attempt to keep shoppers away from their computers/devices on Mondays with unique deals as well.

My Previous Motorcycles

The mid-90’s were a wonderful time, not just for technology reasons, but it was when my fascination with Motorcycles was picking up. Back then my top pick was a Moto Guzzi California.

A friend advised to set aside the desire for a while and consider a sportscar instead; which ended up being a very cool Camaro that I put 120k miles on before trading it in for a Mustang GT.

However, the itch to own a bike eventually took over (while I still had the Camaro)

I toyed with a couple newer Triumph Daytona 955i bikes (silver and yellow), as well as a Ducati 750SS, but fell in love with the original Daytona900 and rode them both for a short while

The Triumph fascination didn’t stop there either. Being a web development hobbyist I built a portal/community for Triumph Enthusiasts as well; TriumphRat.Net – which is one of the world’s busiest websites.

By the time the mid-2000’s rolled around, we had completed a extremely challenging adoption process and I was looking forward to parenthood – and subsequently sold both of my bikes and the website.

For the next few years, I toyed around on the most dependable motorcycle ever owned – a Honda VFR800 Interceptor

That bike was bulletproof!

Today, I still own some motorcycle websites but gave up the motorcycle. Still riding two-wheels though, but today it is a Road Bicycle.

This winter, who knows – maybe a trip to either Oklahoma City or El Dorado Springs is in my future.