Happy New Year 2016!

A new year is upon us, 2016, which means another attempt at resurrecting my blog. It has been quite a while since my last post about Chelsea winning the League Cup in March, but for me 2015 was far from quiet as I became a father for the second time, this one a baby girl who came over the summer. As any parent can attest one’s priorities are thrown out the window with a baby in the picture, as such my running greatly dovetailed last year and I have quite a way to go in getting myself marathon ready again.

Here’s to a new year and hopefully more blog posts!

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Return of the Blog: Take Two

Nearly two years ago, after a roughly two year hiatus, I wrote a post entitled Return of the Blog in which I attempted to revive the blog I so enthusiastically managed for several years. Unfortunately, that attempt fell flat as after a few posts it was radio silence again and here I am nearly two years later giving the blogsurrection another go.

The past few years have consisted of a lot of cloud computing work, a newfound hobby in running, and a newly rekindled interest in science. I hope to share my passion for these topics and more in the near future. With any luck, my next post on this blog will not be entitled Return of the Blog: Take Three. ;)

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Return of the Blog

Ten months ago my (gs) hosting account at Media Temple was closed at my request. I hadn’t blogged for a very long time and was living in London with my wife and newborn baby. It’s safe to say my priorities were much different, and rightfully so. Fast forward to the present and my inner geek was screaming to be embraced. I have ditched iPhone after five years for Android, rekindled an old love interest with PHP and MySQL, and started dating Media Temple again.

jonholato.com is back. :)

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First mobile post

For a long time I’ve been wanting the ability to blog from my iPhone, but with poor Safari support for the WordPress admin panel that had always proved too difficult. However, a few days ago I stumbled across a plugin called “wphone” that is a pretty fully functional WordPress admin built for the iPhone. I’m not sure of the link off-hand, but just do a Google search for wphone and you’re certain to find it easily.

As far as this blog is concerned, now that I have the ability to do so be on the lookout for future posts from my iPhone, which apart from their likely short and sweet nature, will be recognizable by their posting in the “moblog” category.

Also, for my non-WordPress fellow iPhone bloggers, Google has the ability to post to your Blogger account from your iPhone, so that might be worth looking into for you.

Now, back to my Stella…

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Reflecting On Becoming A Quarter Centurian

So today is a pretty significant milestone in my life, I turned 25 years old. I remember wishing for this day when I was younger, thinking that this would be the last great birthday as it would be the time I could finally rent a car. However, with the emergence of Enterprise onto the rental car scene and some company contracts with rental car companies which bypass the whole “no renting until 25″ thing, much of the aura of becoming a quarter centurian has vanished.

It goes without saying that my life has changed drastically over the course of 25 years, but what strikes me as particularly amazing is how much the world has changed in 25 years. I didn’t intend on writing a post of this nature in the days leading up to today, however now I feel like a bit of reflection is appropriate for the situation.

Back in 1982 — from what I can remember — we used VCRs, had home telephones only, changed ribbons on typewriters, drove 55mph on freeways, had Reagan as President, supported Saddam, thought professional sports had integrity, drove station wagons, watched sitcoms, wore neon colors and incredibly short shorts.

Now, we use HD-DVD or Blu-Ray Discs, have more cell phones than home phones, change computers every few years, drive 65mph on freeways, have Bush as President, executed Saddam, criticize professional sports scandals, drive SUVs and hybrids, watch reality television, wear t-shirts with sayings on them and incredibly baggy shorts.

What I really want to focus on with this post, though, is technology. As I write this I am heading North on highway 95, about 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C., while my girlfriend Carin is driving. 25 years ago this would be impossible. The laptop that I’m writing on, the aircard that gives me Internet, and the blog that stores this information online, none of them existed when I was born.

Today, in just 25 years since my birth, so much has been accomplished from a technological standpoint that it’s quite difficult to grasp everything. The World Wide Web has completely turned our lives around, as now we can do everything from banking, grocery shopping, making travel plans, getting directions and much more right from the seat of our home. Satellite technology has evolved much as well, and now usage in activities such as weather tracking and flight management has enabled us to increase the safety and security of our everyday lives. And of course, the emergence of the personal computer has made nearly every single aspect of life easier and more efficient.

I could go on forever about the technological advancements of the last 25 years, but that is out of scope for this post and I just wanted to make the point that it has evolved more than anyone could have anticipated.

However, with all of the technology success stories it is easy to forget that much of the time technology is used for malicious purposes. For example, to develop increasingly lethal weapons, or to enhance the ability of the government to spy on its citizens. With all of our new technology, the world has seemingly become a much smaller place, and thus the potential for conflict has risen sharply.

Technology has the ability to make human life better than anyone can ever imagine. Conversely, it also has the ability to destroy every single one of us. While I absolutely hope that I will be able to write another post of reflection in another 25 years, I hope more that humanity will not allow technology to be used with harmful intent.

To a more peaceful 25 years,

Jon

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Digg and Reddit No Match For Media Temple

I feel compelled to make a post thanking my wonderful Web host Media Temple. As many of you are undoubtedly aware, this site made the front page of both Digg and Reddit a few days ago for a post about Doda Elektroda. What you may not be aware of, however, is just how much stress that can put on a server.

This site is currently being hosted on Media Temple’s Grid-Server (gs) service. What this means is that jonholato.com is hosted on a network of interconnected servers, each sharing resources with one another. Thus, Media Temple measures server load for jonholato.com in terms of Grid Performance Units (GPUs). Each month my site is given a monthly allowance of 1000 GPUs. At the end of each billing cycle the number gets reset to 1000, unfortunately it’s not an AT&T rollover type of situation.

According to Media Temple’s Web site, GPUs are calculated as follows:

A GPU is a measurement that derives from CPU time required by every single hit/request made to your (gs) Grid-Service. This includes your web server activity, programs, scripts and all associated parent and child processes across all nodes within our system (100’s of processor cores). The GRID system keeps track of all the measurements taken from your server and adds them to a running total which is calculated about once an hour. Each (gs) Grid-Service plan is given 1000 GPUs monthly, which is equivalent to continuously using 10% of a processor core for one month. This breaks down to 1.4 GPUs per hour.

To give you an idea of just how much stress was put on my server a few days ago, my average monthly GPU consumption since switching to Media Temple has historically been around 200. However, on Tuesday alone it was 258.

I don’t want to get into the specifics of traffic, but to help visualize, once the site hit the front page of Digg it was getting about 15-20 visits per second for over an hour. Despite the influx of traffic, not once did this site become unresponsive or go down. My previous Web host (which I won’t mention by name) crashed three times when I hit the front page of Reddit for the first time – not even during peak hours – and I had to dismantle large sections of code to keep it running. After that I switched to Media Temple for the reputation it has of being able to withstand the Digg Effect, and I must say it has more than lived up to it’s reputation.

So a big thank you to Media Temple, for being the Web host I can depend on.

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The Meaning of Sleeping Positions

A study from BBC News says that the position in which a person sleeps provides valuable insight about the individual’s personality. Professor Chris Idzikowski of the UK Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service studied six common sleeping positions and found that the way people sleep is connected to personality characteristics.

different sleep positions

I’m a cross between the foetus and yearner positions, which according to Idzikowski, means the following:

Foetus
Those who curl up in the foetus position are described as tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. They may be shy when they first meet somebody, but soon relax. This is the most common sleeping position, adopted by 41% of the 1,000 people who took part in the survey. More than twice as many women as men tend to adopt this position.

Yearner
People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it.

The study concluded that the freefall position was the best for digesting food, while the soldier and starfish positions led to snoring and bad sleep most frequently.

To find how what your sleeping pattern says about you, visit the BBC study on sleep positions.

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Learning Polish – Day 1

Saturday I took the first step in accomplishing one of my new year’s resolutions. Carin and I stopped by the Willowbrook Mall and made an appearance at the Rosetta Stone booth. I purchased the Level 1 Polish CD set for $200 (came with a free headset and a 6-month guarantee). Today I took my first long and hard glimpse into it and I must confess to being pretty overwhelmed.

Learning Polish seemed like a novel idea over the holidays when I was surrounded by future-family who spoke 90% Polish, but now that I have actually begun to attempt it I have been greatly humbled. I like to think I can pick up new things pretty quickly, especially computer-related tasks such as computer languages, but this is a completely different beast altogether. Prelimenary ventures into the Polish language have left me confused and irritated. However, I will not give up. Learning Polish is important to me for a number of reasons, the most important being that it is the first language for over half of Carin’s family, including herself, and without it there are family members with whom I cannot communicate at all. Thus, it is imperative that I learn it and I will not give up until I do. Luckily I have Carin to help me, and she has been great as always.

I will try to track my progress regularly on this blog so that you all can follow it too if interested. If not, no biggie, just don’t be alarmed one day when you all of a sudden see a post written in Polish! :P

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A jonholato.com Update

So it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been super busy at work and will probably continue to get busier, however the good news is not all is lost. In my little spare time I have been working on tool for those in search engine optimization called SEO Robot. It’s still a rudimentary work in progress however it’s progressing nicely. I keep adding more and more functionality to the SEO Robot because I’m not quite sure how far I want to go with this one. For more information about this tool you can visit the SEO Robot page. I have also begun work on a search engine marketing glossary. There are others already in existence, however I plan to take mine beyond those into not only mandatory search engine marketing related information, but also I plan to incorporate general Internet or Web knowledge that I feel would be valuable for search engine marketers.

Also, the theme hunt is on once again. I enjoyed the unsleepable wordpress theme for a while, however I have grown bored with it, and am seeking one that provides more eye candy along with some room for me to add customized php code for enhanced functionality. I promise I will be posting more frequently! :)

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Google Cruise

Last Thursday night, 9/28/2006, some of the good folks at Google decided to take some of us from the office out on a drinks/dinner/drinks/dessert/drinks/more drinks cruise on the Hudson River. :) It was their way of saying “thank you for doing business with us,” and we couldn’t have been happier to say “you’re welcome.”

We took the Calypso out of Chelsea Piers and headed up river, all the way to the George Washington Bridge. We turned around directly underneath the bridge, which was an amazing sight, as most people only drive on it and never get to experience the view from below. Unfortunately, I was in the midst of a sit-down dinner with numerous co-workers and a few Googlites and was unable to leave and capture the moment on camera. After that we headed southward all the way down to the Statue of Liberty, which, if you haven’t yet seen Lady Liberty in person, I highly recommend.

Against all of our wills the cruise ended shortly after that as our time limit had expired on beautiful Calypso. Kudos to Google for planning an amazing night, which was every bit as educational as it was entertaining (one of the Googlers taught me how to play craps).

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