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Thomas Stuart Hall

A midnight ride

22:31 21 August in Life by Thomas

When I was thirteen someone stole my BMX bike. The following Christmas my grandparents gave me a 10 speed, because they knew I missed that bike, or even just having one at all. I rode that bike all over the valley for 5 years, until I left for college. The bike stayed in the barn from that time until now, some 19 years later. I fixed the tires, have yet to clean up the dust and grime, but got her running again. I took a night time bike ride around Gilbertsville just now, under a full moon. Man, I live a beautiful life in a beautiful place. It's easy to lose sight of that basic fact when one works constantly. The job has been demanding lately, and the house has been crushing. I have said often since July "I'll be done soon", but it just keeps going on, this work. I've sustained several minor injuries, most recently last night. I often feel beaten and bruised, particularly tonight, and sometimes I run completely out of steam. It's been worth it. The house needed it. And so did I. I'm physically stronger now, and healthier for it. And for all of this work, this massive recovery effort, I find great things, like a bike to enjoy again after so many years. Man, I live a beautiful life in a beautiful place....

Hi there!

16:13 30 July in Home Improvements, Life by Thomas

I've done a lot since the last update, mostly surrounding my house. I'm continually beaten and bruised, but I for some reason am still running. While our previously mentioned renovations are in process, I've set about cleaning and ordering the property. A high water mark was hit the weekend before last at our yard sale. I've never seen so many people on this street before. Most of the things we pulled from or attic and barn to that point were put out for sale, and we did great. I'd been preparing for it since May when we could start work for the season. This just served to further clear the house and barn for more work. Work(work) is good. I'm a video editor for the time being, which is fun, although stressful on the machine. I just upgraded to a second Xeon CPU with a total of 22Gbs of RAM. Hopefully things will start going smoother, and I'm happy to say that it has so far tested well. I had a rush coding job last week, and was thrilled with that. I miss life in the text editor. The baby is good, although with the projects running around the house I don't get to see her much. I made the most of my time with the kids this past weekend. The projects should mostly terminate soon. I hope to spend the rest of the summer holding my girl, going on adventures with my boy, having the occasional cookout,...

Well, hello world, how have you been?

21:51 08 July in General, Home Improvements, Life, Restoration by Thomas

Just a general update, because I've been stuck in the real world for a while. [caption id="attachment_392" align="alignright" width="215"] Stoat. This is that picture.[/caption] On Father's Day my daughter Henrietta Eleanor Hall was born, a heck of a present.  The birth was very quick.  A very efficient baby I must say.  My wife did well, and was up and around quickly after only a few hours labor.   I took a week off to be with her and my children, in addition to continuing renovations on our house.  My son and I had a lot of fun, visiting the Rogers Environmental Education Center, and seeing Monster University on opening day. Rogers was fantastic.  I love that my son gets so excited about nature.  After we fed the fish the first time, we did the Visitors Center, where they had on display all of the wild life indigenous to Upstate New York.  There after we walked one of the trails around the swamp.  Towards the end we surprised a stoat, who ran around our feet, up a tree by my head, then shot up the path (all while i was fumbling to get my iPhone out of my pocket, so no pics.  Here however is the Wikipedia article for Stoat.  Enjoy!).  You seriously can't buy that moment. My son has seemed to have adjusted well to his new sibling.  But he is a loving boy, and I knew that he would.  And Etta is just...

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(...