Pither.com / Simon
Development, systems administration, parenting and business

Journal, ISO week 2018-W44

last week

Gaming time

Over a month ago I decided to make some changes that were intended to reduce the amount of time I waste on time-demanding (and perhaps not so enjoyable) games. This week I took a few minutes to see how I've been getting on.

The time I spent playing games (I think this is all time-sucking games with a few minutes here and there - I haven't played a "proper" computer game in ages) over the last few months:

  • July: 11 hours, 46 minutes
  • August: 13 hours, 18 minutes
  • September: 9 hours, 10 minutes (changes made towards the end)
  • October: 4 hours, 49 minutes

So it's gone down, by quite a lot. But I still spent nearly 5 hours chasing time limited bonuses, taking part in time limited contests and recharging/rebuilding some numbers in a database!

I want to get back to gaming that builds reactions and skills (yes, they might only be skills at a game but it's better than repeated drudgery where you inevitably do better because you've upgraded things - a few minutes here and there really not being enough to build a skill anyway). Or maybe even gaming with other real people who you can speak to afterwards!

Exhausting meetings

Another week with a lot of time spent in phone and physical meetings. These seem to take so much energy, especially the physical meetings - I'm always exhausted by the time I get back. The meetings were mostly for consultancy clients this week and they've come with a lot of required background thinking and planning, which probably hasn't helped my feeling of tiredness. Unfortunately it also means there's going to be a lot of writing in next week's schedule.

PHP (WordPress) development environment

I don't do much in PHP but this week I've ended up building two development/testing environments for WordPress related things.

One was just for a one-time test to work out how (if) a data migration from Magento to Woocommerce would work. For this I used the super simple Scotch Box which provided all the basics. Then I copied over a couple of databases (with mysqldump, etc) and copied the website files - that was it, a working and easily disposable testing environment. The Magento to Woocommerce migration seemed to work quite well too!

The second environment was for actual, and ongoing, development. My PaTMa blog is using WordPress and I'm working on a custom theme so that I can make it more consistent with the application site. Then my intention is to also use WordPress for the marketing site for PaTMa, leaving just the actual application as a Django based bespoke site. I've previously played with the Vagrant approach for this too, but it felt a bit heavier/slower than I wanted. Thankfully it didn't take long to find (be reminded of really) PHP's built-in web server, work out a few PHP dependencies (I already have MySQL installed on my main dev machine) and make use of the excellent WP-CLI to make an empty WordPress site all ready for some theme development.

In case it's useful to anyone, here's what I actually did:

sudo apt install php7.2-cli php-mysql
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wp-cli/builds/gh-pages/phar/wp-cli.phar -o wp
chmod +x wp
mkdir test-wp
cd test-wp
../wp core download
../wp core config --dbname=test_wp --dbuser=root --dbpass=root --dbhost=localhost
../wp db create
../wp core install --url=http://localhost:8000 --title=Test --admin_user=admin --admin_password=password --admin_email=admin@example.com
php -S localhost:8000

Then point a browser at http://localhost:8000/ to see a basic, default WordPress site.

One final step for me was linking my development theme into this new WordPress install:

cd wp-content/themes
ln -s ../../../my-theme

I then logged in as admin and activated my development theme, all ready for work.

Bricks and Blocks

Saturday included a visit to a Bricks and Blocks event that the local scout group ran. I was quite surprised by how large the event was; there were a lot of great things on display including an infinite (ie circular) ball-run made entirely from Lego and a Robot Wars stall. The Robot Wars display included several full size robots, including one being demo'd; plus a mini arena with mini robots for the "children" to try out. The range of Lego was also impressive with all sorts from town to Star Wars to the new Harry Potter. Even the ancient Fabuland had a stall, much to the delight of our youngest (who's a fan of some Fabuland books I still have).

Uneventful budget

Having set aside my Monday afternoon to watch the budget - so I could react quickly and get any changes required for the buy-to-let profit calculations, I was quite pleased it was pretty boring, especially on the landlord and property front.


I had a great chat with Susannah Cole from The Good Property Company - some fantastic insights.

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