Minecraft!

Recently I have been playing loads of minecraft, in part because of DrunkGames but we have also decided to set up a fan server, use the word fan sparingly, we are making a server to host the words we use for recording on with just us and friends as-well as public worlds to raise awareness for our channel. There will also be mini games and survival maps.

Setting up the server has set a whole new lot of challenges that are detailed on the server project page here! But also I have been setting up a minecraft server for hellolocal, this will be a way of selling minecraft without setting up a new server for each customer, most customers don't need a whole server just a world, so I am going to set up a server and rent out worlds, make then private and only accessible for the players who the owner specify. This will allow me to protect the server as a whole and allow customers to have pre-insalled plugins. I see this as a way to get into minecraft hosting without the overhead of paying for a control panel and marketing something that already exists.

A long time

It has been a long time since I have posted on this blog, that in part is because I have been busy with university work and I kinda forgot. Not much has happened in the past few months over than the new year and me finishing my first part of the year, I am about to upload my work as we speak so I will be free for a few weeks now. In these few weeks I have a big project planned which is the hosting panel, and I will also be attending a game jam at the turn of the month to make squareroot two player once and for all!

University - Two more days

I now have only two days until I move into my new accomadation, by this I mean I have two more nights, only really half a day as im going out. This now feels extermly real and alot more scary then it did a few weeks ago. The fact that I ahve a few more days then I will be by myself and in a compeltly new life it is weird. Today I finished packing my life into boxes and that means my compyter is in boxes, all of my clothes and everything else. ITs something I have nevwer done before and it is such a weird feeling ot not have everything laid out as I like and not knowing what my life will be like in a few days and that in less than 72 hours I will be by myself in a new city with nobody I know.

Some parts of this are very exiting and I cant wait to be cooking for myself, to be able to do what I want when I want, and getting a job is all good. But some things are not like not being able to talk to people I know easily. I feel like I may be taking too much but as long as I have my computer I will be happy.

Tomorrow I am getting the rest of the things on my list which will then complete everything I should need in my new life.

Bug finding - WHMCS

I found a bug in WHMCS, here is a copy of the bug report I submitted: == Affected Version == WHMCS 5.3.8

== Description == When changing custom fields on a product via the admin panel the logs show that the admin has changed the password for that product and not the custom field name or just saying custom field. For example I have a custom field called SMTP hostname, when I change this from the admin panel it shows up in the log as me having changed the password for this product when I have not.

== Steps to Reproduce == Make a product. Add a custom field onto that product. Make an order for that product. Change value of custom field. Look in logs

== Expected Result == It will look like this in logs: 25/08/2014 17:46 = Modified Product/Service - Password changed - User ID: 2 - Service ID: 10 = hellolocal = 94.72.247.50

== Severity == Low

ChatChat

Me and Joe met up for a night to drink and code, we aimed to make a chat system but only intended to get the basics done and hoped for it to work, the next morning it was working fully with usernames time-stamps multi-room support long poling an even emoticons.

At the start of the night we wrote the API to handle new messages, that seemed to work straight away without us expecting it to, then the displaying of messages was just as simple to make work so once that was setup it was just a case of using JavaScript to post messages and poll for new ones, later on in the night we made long polling work which sped things up dramatically as-well as reducing server load. Before long we had emoticons and a long list of bugs to fix. There is still allot to do with encryption on clients end plus we need to think of a name to get a domain going, for now it is hosted on a sub-domain of 64.me.uk which you can view here.

Social controll

Since I am now making a big push for hellolocal, getting it on forums and even advertising I am making sure to keep social, and because I have Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to keep updated I am using HootSuite to post to them all at once but even better than that scheduled posts sohave login every so often and scheduled posts with hash-tags and keep my social networks up to date and always sharing my site to the correct people.

Speaking of photography

I did this a few days back and it was the first time I have tried a full scale time-lapse for a while, it turned out allot better than I thought it would do which is great.

iPod - Icons

I bought an apple iPod, and although I now hate myself I can justify it. My reasons are as follows: • It has more storage than my phone. • It wont kill my phone or laptop battery on the move. • It works really well... as a music player. • I have to admit I always did like apples design. • At university I will probably listen to more music than I already do. But anyway, it does give me the plus points of being able to test my websites on an apple device, a popular one using native software, speaking of which just before I ordered it I remembered about the apple meta tags you can add to that when a user pins a bookmark to their homepage it can have a custom icon and not just the favicon, these also support different sizes for the best detail, of course I just added them in and pointed them towards /favicon but it was nice to have the option of giving it a bigger size, as you can see in the screenshot it works on all services and looks rather good.

Sitemap

Because google and other search engines like sitemaps I have been generating them up for a while now, I don't trust other parties to crawl my site as they always give lots of links in both www. and non www. form so I would rather generate it from scratch myself, since I have access to the database its not hard to look through posts for each service and print them into an xml formatted document and then point google at that. Though in the rebuild of new url structure I thought I would produce a html sitemap as well, this will help users get around and anything else that crawls the site will be able to get a nice list of links. You can see this yourself at /sitemap

SquareRoot - Its back and Working

This game came into life for a project set by college, the task was to make a 2d game that had at least two levels, and incorporated some form of power up and had an enemy.

IOGraph #2

Over the past 26 hours I have been working on getting some of my old games working again and this is what my mouse did in that time. Lines are where the mouse moved, dots are where the mouse stopped and the bigger they are the longer it stopped, and circles are clicks I think. And the colours are just there to make it look nice, I believe that they are based of mouse speed but I may be wrong.

Tetris - Its working

So its working again, I spent the past few hours and slowly rebuilt the entire backend and most of the front end, it is now more efficient and has the potential to show more stats about games and stuff. Then I imported the old stats, mainly for total games as users no longer exist but I did save my count so I can see how much i've played, I kept the layout the same as the old days as I don't want to put too much effort into it but I have made a few alterations to the homepage. Speaking of which in the picture above you can see it now shows extra information next to how many minutes you have played, it says hours in the picture but thats actually days, I have 2.3 days worth of tetris about 55 hours

I ran into a problem iframing the .swf files because I can't iframe a https version it means that in chrome you have to click a button to allow the iframe to work, it does not bother me but its something to bear in mind.

You can go play now! : hcaz.me.uk/tetris

IOGraph #1

9 hours working on the network. This was working on the update to SSL

Tetris - Its back

Its been over a year since the last game was played on this service, it started because my college blocked the normal tetris site and we found a subdomain where the .swf files where hosted so we used them instead, after about a week we wondered how many games we were actually playing. This made me buy a domain to host it on and we iframed the .swf files with a simple php counter on the page something like this: $hits = file_get_contents("hits.txt"); $hits = $hits = $hits + 1; file_put_contents("hits.txt",$hits);

Now at the time I was pretty impressed, we won't mention how it could be compressed to something less like this file_put_contents("hits.txt",(file_get_contents("hits.txt")+1)); because it worked and quite soon we was racking up to a thousand games with a few people playing it. This was also around the time that CaZDev was formed and within the first month the userbase for that was sorted so one of the first services apart from VirtusComputing was tetris, although called itsjusttetris back then, since we had a user base I added starts for different users and it was running of a mysql table that stored hits for each type of game for each user and it even had a leader board, not long after that we had about 20 people playing on and off in their lessons this prompted the Wiki homepage so it looked like a educational site if the teachers went to it and you had to login to play games (Which teachers couldn't do because they did not have accounts:P).

The service ran as it was for about a year, while the rest of the network upgraded around it it was just after its year anniversary that it stopped as people no longer played, I didn't want to rewrite the site because it used mysql and not mysqli that everything else used it meant that the CaZDev bar would not support it (There was also other games that people played). Today though I dusted off the code and put it into a public folder, as you can see in the image above I got little bits working but it won't work again, I will have to redo it completely which I am going to start after this post, just for nostalgia's sake I want to get it working again and time will tell if I keep it maintained.

If it works I will post a link to it, if not then you shall never know the joy that was itsjusttetris.

SSL - Green

Since my last post about SSL I have ensured that my SSL certificutes are now signed by a CA, by this I mean I have bought some and have a green bar, because of the price of SSL certificate (Which should not be so hight) I have only got one that provides SSL for the hcaz.me.uk domain (I have some others for different domains that I got for free but I wont be paying for them next year so I wont count them) I am not going on the policy of one SSL meaning that all ym services are now moving to the domain of hcaz.me.uk, and not using subdomains like they are now, for example when I am writing this the blog is hosted at blog.hcaz.me.uk, in the next few days it will become hcaz.me.uk/blog meaning that I can then have SSL, I will be forwarding all users to the SSL version of my site meaning that everybody will get SSL all the time and be potected!

Any subdomains or real domains for services will redirect to the correct place meaning that you can still use subdomains and full domains, but you will be redirected to the secure site and it will have little or no affect on you, there are other benefits meaning that you will be logged into all services at once now because of the single domain setup.

Domains such as vcurl.co or s.hcaz.me.uk that use the API will not have SSL enabled for them, they will contact the API using SSL and that will provide a secure enviroment, but they will be treated as addon domains as they are not a service by themself, they are only making use of a service located at hcaz.me.uk/short.

Here is a nice little video I found that explains SSL in a few minutes:

hcaz Short Vs vcurl

vcurl is now becoming part of hcaz short, this is because the way I want to run things has changed and it is easier to manage it this way, it also provides a lot more control over domains and the different ways in which things can be shortened for developers and users.

What happened to vcurl? Well technically, its been rewritten from the ground up. But in reality it has just changed its interface but will still work the basic way in which most people use it, the site of the domain will still let you shorten links and any shortened link will still work at vcurl.co/{slug} but to get access to custom slugs lists or anythign else you will have to goto short.hcaz.me.uk.

What is short.hcaz.me.uk This is the new way to manage short URL's all links are kept under this service and then links to a domain, so you can use more than just vcurl.co, you can even add your own domain and choose to make it public or private, share it with other accounts. This gives you more customisation over the short links.

Prefixes Prefixes are now a thing so you can reserve a three letter code for your slugs on a specific domain for example I want to reserve zac on vcurl.co I can do that then all my slugs using this prefix will be like this zac:slug1, zac:slug2 and then nobody else can use zac as a prefix and it is completely mine, this allows me to create custom, links for my app or website that are all related to each other and you can form a level of trust with a specific prefix only ever been controlled by one place.

Site traffic

I have had tracking built into the bar since the start it tracks every page load, only the basics mostly just the full URL and IP, after 40 days that is then compressed and sensitive data is removed. But with the addition of sites that do nto support the bar cough tutorials.hcaz.me.uk cough I have had to make it work other ways and not it is tracking so I can see exactly how many hits each post gets and work on the categories that get the most. Webmaster Tools I have also sorted out my Webmaster tools account, it was such a mess so I spent some time an removed all my tites and readded them all with the www. subdomain and set the default pages, I also setup content highlighting for the blog and tutorials, I also setup a crontab to auto generate sitemaps I find that doing them myself then downloading and uploading the file is too much, it is easier to generate them myself from the database using the tables that contain the direct slugs for the page, this means that it shows all pages aswell so google has a chance to index them all.

University - Open Days

I find that at University open days I never know what to mask, afterwards I think of loads of things to ask and then end up emailing people or searching online. Searching online is one of the reasons I can't think of anything to ask because I know most things about the university from there web page, I had my heart set on Lincoln before I even set foot in the place, I had been to Lincoln many times and loved the city just never been to the university campus before. I feel the most important things to do on an open day is walk around and see the places where you will get lectures and get a feel for the experience, but also to see the accommodation, as much as I would like to see that online the simple truth is there is not many pictures online, there are a few stock that could be old and outdated, a few on forums from people decorating but they do not give a full perspective of what what the rooms actually look like (That does mean I will be posted loads of pictures of my room both here on on g+ so people searching in the futre can hopefully find them.

Uptime - Almost 100 days

I almost have 100 days uptime on my Raspberry Pi, I knew it was high but I did not think it was this high it is currently at 94 days so in 6 more days I will post a picture just as proof. The problem is that I need to move the Pi and I dont want to turn it off to move so I have settled to just let it reach 100 days before I turn it off.

VCurl - Back end rewrite

Today I started work on rewriting the back end of VCurl this is because I want to change some features and hopefully this will be the last time I ever do this but I was being written with some great features in mind and it will let forget about VCurl for a while. There will be no change in API called because all the functions are the same to the user only the database design and things are changing once this has been done I will start working on a rewrite for the front end and releasing an update app. Once this has been done I can work on other services because allot of them depend on VCurl to operate so I think it is the best to get out the way.

Database layout: SLUGS _ID _SLUG _DATE

URLS _ID _URL _DATE

SITES _ID _DOMAIN _ACTIVE _LOCK _DATE

LINK _ID _SLUG _URL _SITE _USID _ACTIVE _DATE