PROFESSIONAL PATH

PROFESSIONAL PATH

A brief and visually helpful timeline style walk through of my work experience...

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SKILLS, TALENTS, AND ABILITIES

SKILLS, TALENTS, AND ABILITIES

Showing determination in the face of fear makes us extraordinary. Wow, that's deep but hey, check out some of these awesome skills...

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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Yo, ho! There be rough waters ahead. Ye Scallywags best be tossin' a bottle overboard! Hurry now! Send out the S.O.S....

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Homepage / Technology & Programming

Reading Time: 2 minutes Sometimes, if your computer is shut off unexpectedly your Windows 7 Gadgets may stop displaying information correctly. Below you will find different ways that you can correct this issue. I’ll put some of the common ways to fix it and then I’ll save the best for last. Method 1. Step 1 – Launch Task Manager (taskmgr.exe or Ctrl+Atl+Delete>Start Task Manager>Processes), select the sidebar.exe process and terminate it if it’s running Step 2 – Windows Key+R and in the Run Box type “%LOCALAPPDATA%Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\” Step 3 – For safe keeping, make a copy of Settings.ini Step 4 – Double-click Settings.ini to open it in Notepad (or Notepad++ <- my favorite editor). Step 5 – Configuration settings for the last installed desktop gadget is usually located at the end of the INI file. Using the PrivateSetting_GadgetName line as the hint, locate the corresponding [Section #], select all lines underneath and delete it. Then simply select all lines underneath and delete it.Leave no spaces between rows by deleting any blank spaces. Then, move to the top of the INI file, and delete the Section# line that references the offending gadget. As you’ve removed the entries in [Section 5], also delete the following line: Step 6 – Right-click on the Desktop, and click Gadgets. This starts the Sidebar.exe process and shows the gadgets listed in the Settings.ini file. Other Idea – If you don’t want to go through having to do all of that work to the .ini file you can just rename your Settings.ini file (this will cause your Sidebar application to think all settings are lost and it will rebuild a fresh one).   Method 2. Step 1 – Download the gadget reset batch file by clicking here. Step 2 – Click on Save (if prompted), and save the .bat file to your desktop. Step 3 – Right click on the downloaded .bat file and click on Run as administrator. Step 4 – You will see a command prompt flash open and close as the .bat file runs. Step 5 – When finished, restart the computer to apply.   Method 3. For those who prefer to turn UAC off (like myself) and still use Windows 7 gadgets on their desktops, here is a simple registry fix to resolve the problem of Windows 7 Gadgets not working when UAC is turned off. This is the method that has historically worked for me. Step 1 – Windows Key+R and in the Run Box type “regedit.exe” Step 2 – Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Sidebar \ Settings. Now, if “Settings” doesn’t exists you can right-click and create the folder called “Settings”. Step 3 – Right Click on the right pan of the registry editor and Create A New DWORD (of 32 Bit Value). Name it “AllowElevatedProcess” and set its value as “1”. Step 4 – Close the registry   Summary of Downloads & Extra Links   Helpful links How to Fix Image Thumbnails Not Displayed in Windows 7 and Vista? My Project Downloads Gadget Reset Batch File

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Reading Time: 3 minutes Why PHP? Whenever possible I try to stay away from Microsoft products and .asp is just insane and bloated. PHP is swift and easy to use once you get a solid handle on it. Even if you like MS and you select that for your operating system on your server you can still run PHP which is part of the beauty of the language. On this page you’ll find downloadable scripts as well as the text files which show you the code so you can create things for your own website such as contact us forms. A lot of places try to provide contact forms like Go Daddy, LLC (for instance but they also like to keep their secrets because their forms are often times very difficult to use. Primarily because they are fearful of being…well, honestly I can’t really think of any reason to defend their stance on things. I guess if you would like to know why they do things they do you can contact them. Either way, here on my site I hope you will find it a place that doesn’t mind sharing the “secrets of the coding trade” then you can have fun getting your site to do what you want. On this particular page I was going to share different code that you can use on your web page. A lot of the code I’ve figured out on my own just coding around. Hopefully you can find some of my code helpful. Time to get the led out! In this area I will include the download links to the files so you can download them in .zip format(s) as well as viewing the code as .txt files. If you would like to download the .txt file, copy/paste then just change the file extension you can do that as well. As time moves forward I will be adding more to this list but for now this is a good start. Enjoy 😉 PHP & HTML Code Samples Contact Us Form CLICK HERE to download the zip file which includes both the index.php and the actual contact us form page titled matts_contact_form.php. Look at the code for the index page HERE. This will simply open a new window and allow you to view the content that would be in the index.php file. Again, if you would like to simply copy/paste the code and drop it in a .txt document and then just rename the file extention. It does need to be used with the matts_contact_form.php file though. Of course, HERE is the PHP code which makes the whole form work. It is designed so you can add in special fields such as “PHONE” or “ADDRESS” and such. Password Protect Page Using PHP Step 1.The main idea is to insert only one line of code into each of your web pages you want to protect. This code includes a form processing script at the beginning of your original code. It first displays a small form to enter your password and if it is ok then shows the original page content. So now we need to create a PHP script with a simple form processing. The form is very simple, only a password field and a submit button is present. The code is the following: <?php function showForm($error=“LOGIN”){ ?> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”> <html> <body> <?php echo $error; ?>   <form action=”<?php echo $_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’]; ?>” method=”post” name=”pwd”> Password: <table> <tr> <td><input name=”passwd” type=”password”/></td> </tr> <tr> <td align=”center”><br/> <input type=”submit” name=”submit_pwd” value=”Login”/> </td> </tr> </table> </form> </body> <?php } ?> Step 2. As we don’t want to show the form always we put it inside a function and this function will be called if necessary. The main application logic checks if the form was submitted or not. If not then displays the form else check the entered password. If it fails then informs the visitor and displays the login form again. If the password was right then we do nothing so the rest of the code will be displayed. Don’t forget that in case of displaying the form we need to exit from the code processing to hide the important page content. The application logic looks like this: <?php $Password = ‘demo’; // Set your password here if (isset($_POST[‘submit_pwd’])){ $pass = isset($_POST[‘passwd’]) ? $_POST[‘passwd’] : ”; if ($pass != $Password) { showForm(“Wrong password”); exit(); } } else { showForm(); exit(); } ?> As you can see the password is hard coded and exists in human readable format. If you want you can store it in a separate file and encode it for example with md5() function. All is up to you. Step 3. Now we are ready with the script. Now if you want to protect any of your pages you need to insert the following line of code at the beginning of your PHP code: <?php require_once(‘protector.php’); ?>   Summary of Downloads & Extra Links   Program Downloads Contact us Form Zip Password Protect a page code in zip format, simply unzip it

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Reading Time: 2 minutes Why an interest in this language? This is going to sound extremely goofy but I enjoy reading math books and working through the problems. I think it keeps my mind sharp and keeps me in math mode! I know there is a joke I’ve heard and for a while I used it as a quote under my signature on my emails, “I’m not your therapist math, solve your own problems!” haha… *wipes tear away* oohhhh, that’s good stuff! 😉 So, I was reading a trig book and working through the problems when I came across a section on interesting/nerdy math facts and numbers. One number I came across was 1729 which has all kinds of interesting facts about it like it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways! The two different ways are these: 1729 = 13 + 123 = 93 + 103 As I began playing with this number I started doing a lot of research and wanted to display this number using binary code. I know you can convert things to binary but my Texas Instruments (TI) calculator didn’t have a simple way to do it. The best part is that you can write your own programs and then run them on your calculator! So, of course I figured out a way to write my own app and I run it on my calculator all the time. I also wrote a GPS converter and as soon as I find my origional source code for that I will post it on here as well. My Project(s) Here I will continue to put any programs I write for my TI-84. Feel free to download them and use them on your TI-84 as well! TI-84 Calculator Program(s) The decimal to binary & binary to decimal converter Please CLICK HERE to download the program   Summary of Downloads & Extra Links   Helpful links TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition Guidebook Part 1 TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition Guidebook Part 2 My Project Downloads Decimal->Binary Converter Getting Help Write TI-84 programs online  

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C#

Reading Time: 5 minutes A Video of Wilson Where to Start? Different projects require different languages to be used. Even if you are really good with VB you still will not be able to use it much for a website! One of my most recent accomplishments was finishing up some of the final touches on a voice recognition program and so I will be focusing a lot on that on this page. So, where/how do you ever come up with the idea to just randomly create an entire voice recognition program? The idea began when I was teaching myself Basic Stamp and working with robotics. Usually, you find me in my office by myself working on a project. For me, building things and the creative process that takes place is a very personal thing and many times I have the best moments of reasoning when I am alone. Even though I work well on teams I prefer to work by myself when it’s time to hammer out the code so that I am not distracted by the social elements which often times takes my mind away from pure thought. Honestly, I cannot pass a test based on the knowledge of the person sitting next to me and with working through a complex problem it is similar. Teams are very good for comparing notes and bouncing thoughts/ideas/code off of one another but when the assignment needs doing it is very hard if you work the keyboard while someone else works the mouse. Who wants to work along side someone who is thinking hard while looking at the screen? Not very many. What I was needing was not a person at all but a very functional thing…a robot. So, instead of posting an ad on craigstlist for someone to stand there and wait for me to ask to run a command across the room, I thought it was time to recognize that there was room for improvement in my modus operandi (MO). I needed to make someone or something so they could aid me in automating tasks around my office. The Making At first, I figured someone else would have already had the need for a command driven voice recognition program that could do what I was needing. Initially, I went on the search and attempted to simply find and buy a program where someone else had done the work. This would be the most simple route but it was not in the stars. I was able to locate some voice recognition programs such as the following: Tazti Voice Recognition Dragon Nuance Naturally Speaking Each of these programs are very nice but they had their limitations. These limits were discovered very quickly and after much research I realized that what I was looking for had not been put on the market yet (not saying it wasn’t already in the works somewhere or hadn’t been thought of but it just wasn’t there for the general public). So I began working to create my own customized voice recognition software solution. During this period I was coding heavily in Visual Basic (VB) so it just seemed natural to start coding in that language. Even though VB was my favorite I was taking a C# class at the time. Many of the databasing questions I had I could not find the answers to online or even through many of my books or sources. I began asking my professor about how I could do this or that. My professor was very helpful in my journey to answer my questions and because of that I converted all of my code over to C# and completed Wilson using C#. Every project needs a Universal Modeling Language (UML) drawn up to keep things organized, right? Well, I do understand how UML’s work but generally, I do not operate using this sort of method because I simply visualize the finished product and then start working the code to make it happen. Actually, I do not know of very many programmers who are working by themselves that draw up UML’s. Perhaps when I work with large teams I may need a UML. With Wilson I thought of it much like sketching in my artwork I do not sit down and write down small goals such as, “Okay, I’m drawing a face so let’s not forget to put eyeballs on there!” that just seems too natural. In the beginning, I did have a check list in my head and this would have to do as my official UML. Just from thinking through what I needed to keep working on my robotics I worked up a simple list of things that I needed and then of course things I wanted. As time went on and as I figured out how to do different things with Wilson I would just check it off the list the things as I got them working. As any programmer knows after all is said and done there is a lot more said than done! My list began small: All things to include in Voice Recognition program (AKA: Wilson) Needed Items Speech to Text  Speak to computer and have it understand me.   Text to Speech  Have the computer speak to me (and me understand it :). Must connect to a live database and not use text files or arrays. Connect to external programs to run things such as my Basic Stamp code for my robotics. Be quick in response time as well as execution time.   Wanted Items Database Limits  Would like to have hundreds or even thousands of commands.   Character  Please have a different voice than Microsoft’s Anna or Sam! Over time of course the things I wanted to do became larger and largeer and started to take over the project. The list seemed to just grow and grow. This scope creep would never work at a company if there was a deadline to hit of course but I was not constrained to adhere to a schedule so I just enjoyed the growth and went with it. Besides, if I just let the hobby end what would I do for fun? 😉 The Name “Wilson” actually comes from my wife. When I program sometimes I forget to eat, sleep and I let my beard grow out. My wife commented about how I started to become like Tom Hanks from Cast Away. During the [...]

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Reading Time: 3 minutes Why Autoit? Alright, just as any language has its roots so does our discovery of it. My discovery of Autoit! comes from a need I was experiencing at work. I was working as a 9-1-1 operator and police dispatcher and I realized a massive weakness in our GPS program we had in our center. All of our officers had GPS on board of their patrol vehicles; however, we (in dispatch) had no way of pinging that GPS quickly so we could respond in a timely fashion when help was requested. I was dispatching one night and an officer came up on the air broadcasting that he had tazed someone and he wanted backup. All of my training concerning officers on city streets was to ALWAYS clarify the officer’s location because (per my past training), “You know where he was, not where he is!” With that ringing in my ears I automatically asked the officer, “Advise current location?” His response is now fuzzy to me but he came back with some smarty response and failed to answer my question. So, I sent help to his last known location. Everything turned out okay but the problem was still his location. After the incident the officer began spreading rumors that I did not know where he was and that I didn’t care about officer’s lives and so on. Of course I got a really hard time trying to shake this “trust issue” among the units I was working with. My solution was to write my own program so I could always locate officers in the future without having to ask them. So, the writing begins… My favorite language is by far Visual Basic but the computers at work used .Net Framework 1.something old. I knew that I should use something that doesn’t rely on .Net anything so I began exploring how to get this done. I scratched together several versions in different languages trying to put something together that would run at work. Finally, after a lot of research I was able to bypass all superficial/topographical systems and locate the satellite feed and where it came in and to what server, etc. After I was able to bypass a few settings (ethically, of course 😉 I was able to capture the GPS streams as they were received and then pull those into my program. I hit a few stumbling blocks along the way but one of the most helpful forums I found was on the Autoit! site. The programmers in there were so much more welcoming than any other site. The syntax seemed relatively simple to pick up and the help files were very thorough. Now what? In case you are wondering, the answer is “no”, I cannot put that program on here for any eyes to see, download, etc. but at least you have a background on my beginnings to Autoit!. Don’t worry, I will post a couple different things on here for you to play with though. The Autoit! language is very slim and runs like nobody’s business and so I kept working in that language for a lot of programs. I still actively program in this language when I get the chance. A few projects I do not have every Autoit! program I’ve ever built on this site but I will provide a few here and then I will keep posting more as I find them. A Few of My Autoit! Projects Having Audible Weather! This program was to allow different weather conditions to be updated and then read to me as I needed/wanted it to be. You can download the zip file by CLICKING HERE. Once you unzip the folder you can play around with the programs. I did leave the .au3 files so you can open those up and view the code also. IP Finder This program helps in locating the IP. Download it here. File Monitor This program monitors a given folder and notifies you using beeps when a change has occurred. Download it here. AutoIt: Reference for Administrators. This is an AutoIt! help manual I put together to help out those who are just beginning. It walks you through the basics when getting started with AutoIt!. This was a fun little manual to put together and I hope you get some use out of it. Feel free to view or download this guide by clicking on this link HERE.   Summary of Downloads & Extra Links   Helpful links Autoit! Help forum My Project Downloads Audible Weather Apps IP Address Finder Folder Monitor AutoIt: Reference for Administrators.

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