So you want to be a web developer, huh?

I get this question all the time:

Hey man, how can I learn to do what you do?  -Random citizen

And I can probably guess why they are asking it too.

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The problem with relative time calculations in bash date strings

Today I was writing a bash script that needed to reference a time in the past relative to the current UTC date.

For instance, if today is March 31st, 2015 UTC, what month was it exactly one month ago?

Answer: February

However, I found it was less than trivial to actually get the correct answer using a relative time calculation with date.

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How to connect Apple TV to a hotel Wi-Fi network

Whenever my wife and I take an extended vacation I always bring along our Apple TV.

At the end of a long day filled with adventure and fun it’s nice to just snuggle up together and watch your favorite show on Netflix or rent a new release comedy.

I’ve found that hotel television is still so primitive and annoying. The on-demand movie rentals are limited and very pricey, the regular programming is usually in standard definition, and you’re forced to channel surf without a guide. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

When I book a hotel I always make sure there is free Wi-Fi and that they say there are “flat screens” in every room, this tells me that there must be an HDMI input on it somewhere.

Ah, but my Apple TV doesn’t have a browser! So when the hotel Wi-Fi splash screen pops up asking for confirmation that I “Agree to their terms of use” or to enter some sort of special login, I can’t.

It seems we’re left with no choice but to do some friendly hacking to circumvent this annoying speed bump! :-)

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WordPress challenge: Building a web app from scratch

For the past 7 years I’ve been building websites, themes and plugins for WordPress. It’s really fun, and I love it.

But there are some avenues that I have yet to explore. The biggest one is building a web application using WordPress.

I’m happily employed over at X-Team working full-time on Stream, so I’m really just looking to create another passive income stream for my family. This is not urgent in any way, and if I’m being totally honest with myself, I’m probably just looking to scratch the proverbial entrepreneurial itch I have after selling a business I was running on the side last month.

If I’m going to start a new project, and there is not a strict time table, why not try something new? It will give me a chance to learn some new technologies I’ve not used before, like Backbone.js, and build something that I think is cool.

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Parting ways with ChurchThemes.net and looking ahead toward a brighter future

New ChurchThemes.net

Three years ago, in July 2011, I started a theme shop. It was an era where many people in smaller niches were yet to be discovered by developers as a force to be reckoned with. The “The Long Tail” principal hadn’t yet sunk in, at least not enough for churches to have viable WordPress theme options available to them.

Churches were being grossly under-served in every WordPress theme marketplace. The most common option for them was to customize their favorite “photography” or “design agency” theme, somehow seeing past page after page of irrelevant stock imagery and the thousands of “shortcodes” they wouldn’t be using. Sprinkle in a few plugins, and say a prayer – maybe, just maybe, this would work.

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