Family report

You know there are actually other things going on in the family besides my situation. Since I have so many family and friends watching the website now, I should update you on that as well.

For myself, there's not much happening. A lot of talking to doctors and getting ready for the surgery. The doctors are actually giving me tomorrow off to spend a long weekend with my family. Monday is going to be a long day. I have a PET Scan, which I had never heard of before, x-rays, EKG, and blood work to prep me for surgery. My day starts at about 8 AM at Green Hospital and I wont get out of there until about 5 or 6. I had them jam all my pre op stuff into the same day so after that, I should have little to do until Friday. My surgery will be Friday, July 1st at Green Hospital and the doctors are planning on me being there for a week.

As for other going on (believe it or not there are other things happening in our little world besides me 🙂 ). The girls last day of school was yesterday and they are now moving on to the 2nd grade. The community pool had a Summer Break Pool Party today that the girls attended. It was great, they swam all day, had 4 of those big jumpies, this huge crazy slip and slide blow up thing, music, arts and crafts, food, and just about anything fun. I went and picked them up from this event and I was jealous we didn't have something like that when I was a kid. The girls had a great time, and they are getting so big. It seemed like half their school was there.

Bek is doing well. Needless to say her main focus of late has been to make sure I am taken care of. But she was happy to wrap up the school year as well. Bek has been very active in the schools PTA and helping out in classrooms. You can tell she really enjoys it and she has made some great friends doing it.

We've had a lot of offers from people to help out with the kids or around the house, anything we need. I just wanted to let you know we are not blowing you off by any means and I am sure we will be calling on some of your services in the very near future. Right now, things are really busy but not unmanageable. I am getting around OK and not being too much of a burden on Bek and the girls. That is probably all going to change next week.

And now we wait

So, I finished meeting all my doctors today. First some good news, the Vascular Surgeon said according to the MRI and the CAT Scans, my leg which there was a concern would suffer some sort of permeate damage due to the tumor pressing up against the vessels, is going to be fine. There shouldn't be any long-term damage. It may take up to a year to bounce back but it will bounce back. It was kind of cool because it was the first time I got to actually see the MRI and CAT scans and see the tumor itself that is located in my pelvis cavity. There is no question, that bad boy is big.

Also, it looks like the date for my surgery has been made. Unfortunately the earliest they could get everything together is July 1st. I kind of have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I'm in no hurry to get cut into. The surgeon today reiterated that it is not going to be a pleasant recovery. On the other hand my leg hurts and I need to get this thing out of me. Also, we can't figure out what the next step is until we get this mass out of me.

For now, I am scheduled for some more test and prep work for the surgery.

No news is, well no news…

Well today was kind of a disappointing day. It all started with a wonderful MRI which was very reminiscent of the movie "The Incredibles" when they attempted to stuff Mr. Incredible into a tube to jettison him down onto the bad guy's island. Once they got me stuffed into the tube it was basically just a bunch of loud noises with me being told to hold my breath a lot. Good news is that should be the last test where I need to be stuck with a needle for a while. At least until the actual surgery.

I also met my Oncologist today. He is going to be the person who primarily takes over my treatment after the surgery. It was a very disappointing first visit mainly because we were really hoping to get a lot of questions answered by him that he is just not ready to answer at this point. Basically, he can't give us any new information until after the surgery. No idea on the exact type of Sarcoma, or if it is actually 100% Sarcoma, what treatment there is going to be, or what my quality of life is going to be.

It all hinges on the surgery, which is an issue in itself. Now, they want to include a Vascular Surgeon in on the process to address any issues they may have with the tumor and the arteries as well as fix any problems that the tumor may have caused to the arteries. This makes the total number of Surgeons in on the operation 3, and the process that much longer.

Over the next couple of days I will be meeting with the Vascular Surgeon as well as the Primary Surgeon. Then the 3 Surgeons need to get their schedules all lined up to actually perform the surgery.

So, there probably won't be much to update everyone with until Thursday night but if anything comes up I will be sure to post it.

And a new chapter begins

It's been so long since I've posted anything and I have had so many things to talk about. I just haven't had time. I was working on a presentation for the computer group I am a part of, the SDNUA and thinking about how I should be putting a lot of this information on my website. If I could just find the time to do it.

Sometimes life forces you to turn the page on what you are currently doing and start a new chapter. This is what has happened to my family and myself over the past week.

First off let me say, to my family and friends who I haven't had a chance to talk to yet, I apologize if this is the first time you are hearing this information. If I had my way I would have had long conversations with each and every one of you.

Today, I was officially diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Sarcoma. Right now I'm afraid there isn't that much information to relay. I have a baseball sized tumor in my pelvis that needs to be removed and the doctors are working on getting that surgery out of the way in the next couple of days. I know this is a lot of information and at the same time not a lot of information, unfortunately it’s really all I have right now. To give you a blow by blow (or needle poke by needle poke) of events over the past 7 days would take too long and it would be filled with a lot of worthless information. I just wanted to get what important information there was up on the site. And to let everyone know, as much as I can, I will keep the website updated with my progress.

I will make sure everyone stays up to date on my progress if you care to be. Please keep my family in your thoughts. And I will talk to you again very soon.

"11 Days Of Remembrance"

I thought this was kind of cool so I figured I would share it with everyone. The San Diego Blood Bank, in conjunction with local credit unions, had an “11 Days Of Remembrance” from September 1st to the 11th in honor of the heroes from 9/11. Basically you went down and donated blood. Now I had never done this before but I went through with it. Anyways, just about everyone at the credit union I am working at decided to contribute in one way or another so we decided to take the opportunity for a photo op and put the picture up on our website.

Well, apparently the San Diego Blood Bank got wind of it and got a copy of the picture and placed it on their site as well. So, like I said I thought it was kind of cool to get that type of acknowledgement so I grabbed a screen shot of it to keep. Check it out since the website will probably be changed to something else by the time you read this.

11 Days Of Remembrance

Protection and Productivity You Can Afford

I get asked a lot what programs should a person absolutely have on their computer. The answer varies a lot depending on what you are going to be doing with the computer and exactly what type of computer you have. But let me address the most general “need to have” application for the most typical users.

For the most part, my friends and family use some form of Microsoft Windows computer. First step is to make sure you are up-to-date with all the Patches. You can accomplish this simply by going to Microsoft’s Update site . This is a MUST first step. If you are running Windows XP make sure you install Service Pack 2.

OK once your system is up-to-date, you’ll need a Firewall (unless you installed XP Service Pack 2 which enables its firewall), Anti Virus, some software to kill Spyware, and you’ll most likely want some sort of Office Suite. Now there are commercial versions of all this software, however I am going to point you to Freeware and Open Source solutions instead. [side note] It’s important to understand that there is a distinct difference between Freeware and Open Source [/side]

I guess before we proceed, I should make sure you have at least some understanding of what you are getting when you use freeware/open source and make sure you are comfortable with this as your solution. Personally, I have no problem recommending these solutions but I do not guarantee their performance. OK real quick, freeware is defined as “Copyrighted software given away for free by the author. Although it is available for free, the author retains the copyright, which means that you cannot do anything with it that is not expressly allowed by the author. Usually, the author allows people to use the software, but not sell it.” Where as Open Source is “a program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge, i.e., open. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community. Open source sprouted in the technological community as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations.”
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Fatal error: Call to undefined function: pn_dbmsgerror()

Had a strange error message on one of the sites I manage. It said "Fatal error: Call to undefined function: pn_dbmsgerror()". This is a Post Nuke CMS system and the error occurred after a reboot to the physical server and we made some space on a partition that had filled up.

Turned out the problem was a corrupted table in the Post Nuke database. The table _referer got twisted and didn't know what it wanted to do with itself. This table is only used for tracking where people come from who visit your site, so since I had a back up of the database, I just nuked the table and copied over the table from the back up database. That got everything up and running again perfectly.

Vi for programmers

This is a great article that shows you how to really harness some of the power of VIM. I snagged it from

It was a multiple part article so this is going to be kind of long but really filled with a lot of great information.

If you're a developer working on a UNIX/Linux platform, you've already encountered vi. Vi users fall into one of two categories: those who hate it and continually curse its finger-twisting key combinations and hard-to-remember commands, and those who love the flexibility and power it offers. For a long time, I was in the former category. However, continuous usage has led to a gradual appreciation for the speed and power under the cryptic interface, and I've since learnt a bunch of shortcuts and key combinations that ease the task of writing code in the editor. This article discusses my personal top ten features. Before proceeding, ensure that you have a copy of ViM (that's Vi iMproved) installed and working on your system. You can download both binaries and sources from

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Backing Up and Restoring Your MySQL Database

Do you need to change your web host or switch your database server? This is probably the only time when you really think of backing up your MySQL data. If you've got a website with a database or your custom database running for your applications, it is imperative that you make regular backups of the database. In this article, I will outline two easy ways of backing up and restoring databases in MySQL.
The easiest way to backup your database would be to telnet to the your database server machine and use the mysqldump command to dump your whole database to a backup file. If you do not have telnet or shell access to your server, don't worry about it; I shall outline a method of doing so using the PHPMyAdmin web interface, which you can setup on any web server which executes PHP scripts.

Playing with mysqldump

If you have either a shell or telnet access to your database server, you can backup the database using mysqldump. By default, the output of the command will dump the contents of the database in SQL statements to your console. This output can then be piped or redirected to any location you want. If you plan to backup your database, you can pipe the output to a sql file, which will contain the SQL statements to recreate and populate the database tables when you wish to restore your database. There are more adventurous ways to use the output of mysqldump.

A Simple Database Backup:

You can use mysqldump to create a simple backup of your database using the following syntax.

mysqldump -u [username] -p [password] [databasename]> [backupfile.sql]

[username] - this is your database username
[password] - this is the password for your database
[databasename] - the name of your database
[backupfile.sql] - the file to which the backup should be written.

The resultant dump file will contain all the SQL statements needed to create the table and populate the table in a new database server. To backup your database 'Customers' with the username 'sadmin' and password 'pass21' to a file custback.sql, you would issue the command:

mysqldump -u sadmin -p pass21 Customers> custback.sql

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Configuring Apache to use a .htaccess file

Just a good step by step on how to configure Apache to use a .htaccess file. I rarely ever use this method except in testing so I always forget.

First, get your web administrator to enable your use of .htaccess files. This requires a stanza in ServerRoot/conf/access.conf like this:

AllowOverride AuthConfig

where /home/webber is replaced by your home directory. Without this, the usual default is AllowOverride None, which means that .htaccess files are ignored. The above stanza allows .htaccess control in all subdirectories of the specified Directory.

Set up a reasonably secure directory for the password (and optionally the group) files. This directory should not be in the web document tree! If it is, someone who can learn or guess the URL of the password file can fetch it and try to crack the passwords. (This refers to visitors from elsewhere on the Internet. There is no simple way to prevent users with accounts on the web server host itself from snooping in the password file, so we will have to settle for security by obscurity and trust them not to try too hard.)
Let us name this directory http-etc by analogy to the Unix /etc directory where the system passwd and group files reside. Place it in your home directory (not in public_html) so that it is outside URL space. Give it permission 701 = rwx-----x meaning you the owner can do anything, and the web server, running as the ordinary user apache, can access the directory but cannot list it (so it must know the file names in advance).1

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Backup files with tar

I don't remember where I got this article from but it is full of some good information

TAR is the Unix Tape ARchive utility. It can be used to either store data on a streaming tape device like a DAT drive, or store files in what is commonly called a tarball file- somewhat like a pkzip file, only compression is optional.

[The basics]

In these examples, I will use the following file structure: a top level directory called DIR1 containing the files picture.jpg, document.doc and database.db.


[Creating a tarball]

If we were in the directory DIR1 and wanted to backup all the files to a tarball called backup.tar, we could issue this command:

$ tar cvf backup.tar .
tar: backup.tar is the archive; not dumped

c=create (an archive)
v=verbose (just because)
f=filename (the name of our tarball)
.=current directory (what's going to be backed up)

Also worth mentioning is that by default tar is recursive- meaning it will back up all files and subdirectories recursively unless you otherwise specify with the n flag (non-recursive)

[Displaying the Contents of a Tarball]

The current directory will now contain a file called backup.tar. To display the contents of the tarball file, we could issue this command:

$ tar tvf backup.tar
drwxr-xr-x root/gci 0 Jun 29 10:10 ./
-rw-r--r-- root/gci 1 Jun 29 10:10 picture.jpg
-rw-r--r-- root/gci 1 Jun 29 10:10 document.doc
-rw-r--r-- root/gci 1 Jun 29 10:10 databse.db
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Learning to Use Regular Expressions by Example

Dario F. Gomes

This site I'm working on relies heavily on user input through forms, and all that data needs to be checked before being sent a database. I knew PHP3's regular expression functions should solve my problem, but I didn't know how to form the regular expressions in the first place. What I needed were some sample strings--obviously the first places I looked were the PHP3 manual and the POSIX 1002.3 specification, but they don't help much in the way of exemplifying.
Adding to that, I had a really hard time finding good literature on the Web about the subject. I eventually got to know how to do it, mostly through experimenting, and seeing there wasn't much to it, I decided to write down this straight-out introduction to the syntax and a step-by-step on building regular expressions to validate money and e-mail address strings. I just hope it manages to clear the fog around the subject for all you fellow programmers.

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