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Author: Thomas

Lamp Restoration Project – “Après La Classe” by Moreau

10:43 09 June in Crafts, Restoration by Thomas

So, after the lamps in the new bedroom[1,2], I guess I decided I needed a hobby.  While the bedroom  project was on-going, we had another project running at the house, Operation:  Clean the hell out of the Attic.  It was a successful project, one that yeilded some treasures here and there. One of the items we came across while sorting the boxes of stuff we pulled out was this old lamp. [singlepic id=24 w=320 h=240 float=] I wish I took one more before photo here.  What you see in that image was partially dusted.  It was initially covered in decades of dust and cobwebs worse that what you see here.  It was accompanied by a stem.  The original configuration, minus shade, looked like this: [singlepic id=22 w=320 h=240  float=] Written on a small plaque on the base is "Après La Classe".  Barely readable beneath that is the name Moreau.  I can only make that much out, but there seems to be a first initial or possibly 2, like L & F.  I ran a search on 'Après La Classe lamp'.  I found this first. [singlepic id=23 w=320 h=240 float=] That lamp sold $467, and I believe it to be original. My lamp is a bit different.  For one, its been neglected.  For as long as I have been back in NY, this has been sitting in the back of the house gathering dust and cobwebs.  To get a better idea of what restoration would require, I started cleaning. The process went like this. Dust like a madman. Apply a paste of baking soda...

Lamp Update

16:31 06 June in Home Improvements by Thomas

(totally not server related) The refinished lamps from my previous post(Rebuilt light fixtures) are now up on the wall of our new bedroom!  Check em out. [gallery ids="356,355"]...

Interesting thoughts on data mining

12:37 06 June in Data, Scripting by Thomas

Here is an article by Debarghya Das on data mining. He was able to get access to test scores from the Indian education system, and present some interesting results. I'll bet you we woulde see similar results from other countries, the US included. It should be stated that he did nothing illegal here. The term 'Hacking' to most people equates to criminal activity. To me it means something like 'exploration', for lack of a better term. Essentially he walked through an unlocked and publicly available door that anyone who looked for it could have found....

Cleaning Contact Information with MySQL

11:03 19 May in Contact Management, Data Cleaning, MySQL, PHP, REGEX, Thomas' Toolkit by Thomas

Last week I came in to bat clean up on a large data project.  It was a long lead up before it got to my desk.  A database of some 30 thousand contacts was verified by a group of individuals who actually took the time to call and email every contact to see if their information was still accurate, a truly herculean effort.  But, in the end, because there were many people working on the project, there was a wide array of inconsistencies in files and the way they kept their data.  In the autopsy phase of the project, we discovered ways to prevent that sort of problem, but no sense wasting time on 'woulda, coulda, shoulda', and no looking back now.  I had to clean what I was provided. To start, I uploaded all the contacts to a new MySQL table.  This required that all data from multiple sources get homogenized into a single CSV file to normalize all field data.  There after, I like to set all known bad entries to NULL. Set as Null: update table_to_clean set website = NULL WHERE (website = 'no' OR website = '' OR website = 'n/a') The website field had several different values, depending on who made the entry.  I did this for the other fields as well. The email address field was the most important, as this list is going to drive electronic contact going forward.  I found this expression that does a good job of identifying a proper email address format: '^[A-Z0-9._%-]+@[A-Z0-9.-]+.[A-Z]{2,4}$' First, to find all bad email addresses: SELECT...

Thomas V. Microsoft

20:45 15 May in Microsoft, Thomas Stuart Hall for President of Microsoft by Thomas

This is one of my Facebook pages. It is in good humor, not that I wouldn't take a job offer seriously mind you. (<cough/>) I am not a real MS basher, not in the 'I hate Microsoft' sense anyways.  MS delivered some strong technology, and truly their innovation has brought us to where we are now.  They didn't invent the personal computer, nor did they 'perfect' it.  What they did do was to help make the personal computer ubiquitous. There are only very few people I know that don't have a computer.  And over 95% of the people I do know own some variety of a Windows box.  So...

jQuery Mobile

22:27 14 May in JavaScript, jQuery, JSON, Thomas' Toolkit by Thomas

I've been on a jQuery Mobile based product for almost a week.  Its a revamp of a project I did 2 years ago. The original system ran on Wordpress just for the HTML shell, and my own custom JS, heavy on the AJAX, then later on jQTouch for mobile.  Its been a solid performer for about 2 years now, and a pretty hot item our clients, so there must be something to it. But, times change, and I'm feeling that jQuery Mobile is evolved enough now to take a real run at it. So far its been easy enough to learn, once you get by the whole 'pageinit' thing.  I'm only adapting the system, not rewriting it yet.  This job is "old brain in new body".  For the moment, I've found this works to call custom JavaScript for each page: $( document ).delegate( "#my_page_id",  "pageinit",  function() { $.ajax(...

Rebuilt light fixtures

17:49 09 May in Crafts, Home Improvements by Thomas

As part of the home improvement projects in the run up to the new baby, I rebuilt 2 light fixtures for our new master bedroom. Its hard to say how old they are.  They've been in the house my entire life.  Looking for lights like them, or alternate arms for them, proved useless.  The bases I think are tin.  The arms are brass, and quite ornate.  Pictured here is one left over light.  As you'll see, the socket is inverted in this one, unlike the other two. [singlepic id=7 w=320 h=240 float=center] And as is typical in this blasted house, we see the dreaded cloth covered wire.  At least unlike some of the other fixtures in the house it doesn't have cork insulation. So, we decided to paint them, and I decided while I was at it, I was going to replace the wires and sockets.  And what we ended up with is: [singlepic id=3 w=320 h=240 float=center] I think they turned out pretty well. Originally, they had brass tassle-shapped pieces hanging from the bottoms.  But alas, only one remained (I swear I've seen the second one about the house some where...

Webmin, Linux Firewall, and China

08:00 02 May in Firewall, Linux, Security, Thomas' Toolkit by Thomas

Here was the situation. Our server got hit by multiple login attempts from China about a week ago. Our security of course keeps these attempts from being successful, but the shear volume of attempts slowed us right down. After dealing with the immediate attempts to get in, and restoring service, I had to find a more permanent way of dealing with the attacks. Since the time of the attack, I've been reviewing access logs on a daily basis.  Access attempts continue, with 5-6 machines attempting 1000's of times each to get in, guessing usernames and passwords.  Over 85% of the attempts originate from China...