No Credit Score and Renting a Car

I recently learned 1) I have zero credit score, and 2) some rental car companies won’t rent to you if you do not have a credit score. Read more…

Get Your Web Hosting Act Together

I still do a little bit of web development on the side. Usually it involves helping small organizations upgrade their presence. Usually it takes several days to a week of back-and-forth e-mails to get all of the necessary settings and credentials ironed out. Today, I...

Compressing old DV Videos

I've been doing some de-junking at our house, and in this process discovered a box of Mini-DV tapes. I've owned two cameras that can write to these - an old Sony that shot in the original DV format, and a Cannon HV20 that shot in HDV. I've tried to archive these in...

Pushing Pause on a Baby Step for a Baby

I started writing this back in 2015 when we still had a balance on our mortgage, but for some reason never hit the "Publish" button. Back then we had a refinanced mortgage of $120,000 that we were aiming to pay off before 2020. Around 2015, our monthly interest...

Automatic file encoding detection in Java

A few months ago I worked on a process that imports Facebook Leads into a legacy system. Facebook sends its advertising data as UTF-16 encoded CSV. The tool also had to support the CSV files occasionally being ended by hand, which reverted the encoding to something a...

An Argument Against Credit Card Rewards

A few years ago while my uncle, while he was still alive, made a good argument for why the Christian should not gamble - it is a selfish act - if you want to win, you are wanting someone else to lose. You are violating the golden rule. Put another way: Gambling, then,...

The Dumbest Thing We Did With Money

Where I work, we have this concept of Stupid Tax – when someone does something stupid and it costs them money. My wife and I thankfully haven’t had too much stupid tax, but we did have one big expense that came down to me stupidly holding on to something that was “mine”.

Flying a Drone (sUAS) at 30A in Florida

My family just went on a trip to the 30A area of Florida. This area is a combination of small towns in South Walton County, FL, between Destin and Panama City. I wanted to take my DJI Mavic Pro on the trip to take a few photos, and I was aware that the airspace along...

Salesforce Trigger Context

At work we are working on a new Salesforce organization. We've written some code over the last few months, but at the advice of some contractors who are more seasoned with Apex, we are doing some refactoring of the code. One of these changes is making sure that...

Grouping runs of data in SQL

There have been a handful of times over the last few years where I have needed to take time series data, and group the runs of data together to determine when a certain value changed, and how long it stayed that way. Every time I do this, I have to go back and figure...

Salesforce and Amazon SQS

One final post from the old company blog, from March, 2011. A couple of us are working on a new project that involves Salesforce CRM. We recently came upon a few technical challenges related to our need to keep a subset of the data stored in the cloud in-sync with our...

Coldfusion 9 ORM, Caching and Autocommit

One more from the archives of the company dev blog, this time from August 2011. We have been gradually moving off of ColdFusion over the last several years, but maybe there is something in here that might be useful for someone. We have been using ColdFusion 9 for a...

Performance of CFScript

This is another article from the retired company blog. This one is from September, 2011. I have been developing ColdFusion on and off for about 10 years, and one topic that has been controversial the entire time is CFScript. The arguments go back and forth: 'It's too...

Logging in To Salesforce from ColdFusion

Im continuing to clear out articles from the retired company development team blog. This one, was instrumental in getting me connected with one of my first big side work projects, which evolved into a two year project that helped us retire our mortgage. From August...

3 Ways to Become a Digital Lumberjack

Restored using the Wayback machine from: https://www.developwithpurpose.com/digital-lumberjack/ When we had our development team blog, our content team would edit our posts. This one was very different before it went in to copy editing, I had embellished the...

Helping Team Members Move

Here is another post revived from the Wayback machine from our (discontinued) company blog from December 2011. One of the great things about working for Dave Ramsey at the Lampo Group is that they treat all team members equally well. This is especially true of the Web...

Limiting the Use of CAPTCHA

I used to blog periodically on my company's blog. Earlier this year, the blog was taken down, and I needed to reference something I posted from 2012. I've restored the post using the Wayback machine here. The information is a little dated, but maybe it could be useful...

Development tools/links for the week of 2017-06-11

Gradle 4.0 is out. It is fast, much faster than Maven. I tried it out on 3 projects that I maintain, and all of them saw build times cut in half (longest one was 86 seconds -> 40 seconds). cukes-rest - I am really late the to the Cucumber / Gherkin party, and I...

Optimizing a SQLite Database

TL:DR; takeaways: These seem very obvious, but with rushed deadlines, and "it works well enough", these things are sometimes overlooked. Use the right data type for the job. If the documentation says VARCHAR when the values are always integers, maybe you should use...

Lessons learned from our first trip to Disney

We just got back from our first trip to Disney World, and had a great time. We procrastinated a bit in our planning, and there are some things I wish I had known before going. Maybe these will be helpful to someone: Complete your registration. When you get an e-mail...

DJI Phantom 3 – DNG Raw

I recently picked up a DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quad / Drone / UAS. I ultimately would like to use it for some aerial photography, and am considering getting a FAA UAS license at some point, but for now I am just toying around with it. When I was researching the...

The Love of my Live

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12, ESV) A little over twelve years ago, I was a...

Postal Code Voroni Diagram

The links in this article point to a free Heroku instance, which can shut down due to inactivity. It may take a few seconds for the instance to start up. I've uploaded a little experiment to Heroku, showing something I toyed around with a couple years ago. Would it be...

Using Consumer in Spring Validator to validate nested collections

In one of my projects I have a custom Spring Validator that validates a nested object structure, and adds per-field error messages. As an example, a field nested inside an array might produce an error like the following: array[0].field must be a valid value The Errors...

Mac Office 2016 – Saving some Space

For the past 3 years, my primary laptop has been a MacBook Air. Technically, it is a Mid 2012, 11-inch MacBook Air. It is a very agile little machine - I can do all of my development on it, plus play the occasional game (albeit at minimum settings). But the one thing...

Making JMeter accept a HTTP 404 as success

One of the projects I am currently working on involves re-writing a REST service written in ColdFusion into Java/Spring. I'm in the testing phase, and am trying to make sure the endpoints behave the same as the ColdFusion versions. One of the tests I am performing is...

Mortgages and Taxes

Tax season is here, and we just received our annual mortgage interest statement from our bank. It is somewhat depressing to see how much money went to pay interest on our loan, but cool thing about it this year is that we paid about half as much in interest than we...

Salesforce: Serializing Objects from a Managed Package

I'm currently working on a Salesforce project that utilizes a few home-built managed packages. There are lots of restrictions of what you can and can't do with managed package, and most of those are documented fairly clearly. Some, however, are somewhat hidden. One...

2015 Goal #2 : Be an Encourager

In 2014, one of my goals was to be an encourager to others. I had been at the receiving end of written encouragement and appreciation many times, but until then had done a very poor job of paying that forward. I had experienced it in multiple areas of life - church,...

2015 Goal #1 : Mortgage Reduction

Last year one of my goals, actually a goal for both my wife and I, was to make a serious dent in our mortgage. We set a fairly aggressive long-term goal to have our house paid off by our 10 year anniversary in July of 2016. We moved into our current house in April,...

2015 Goals

Last year I wrote a series of posts about my goals for the year. With the start of a new year, it is time for a fresh set of goals. Goals, not Resolutions I was introduced to the concept of setting real, measurable goals a few years ago - goals that are supposed to be...

Naming a class in Salesforce the same as a built in interface

I am currently working on a small managed package for a Salesforce project. One of the nice things you can do inside of managed packages is create post-install scripts, which are sort of like migrations in Rails. For some reason, I kept getting a compiler error when I...

Troubleshooting a SQL Server Implicit Conversion Issue

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been spending some time troubleshooting performance issues in some of our Java-based RESTful services. This week I came across one that required some different steps to troubleshoot. First, the tl;dr - our JDBC driver (jTDS)...

Researching Child Car Safety

My wife and I have an unwritten rule about how we raise our kids: Make decisions about how to raise our kids using the best information we can find, without being paranoid, second guessing, or spending every waking hour reading every opinion about how to parent. Ok,...

Home Mortgage Tax Deduction – Part 1 : Intro

Have you ever had a moment where you realized that something the majority of the population hold as true was actually a bad idea? You believed that idea for many years, and those telling you seemed to have good data to back their claim, so you just ran with it? But,...

Java 8: Optional

A fellow developer today asked me a question about the Optional interface in Java 8. My team is still working on a Java 6 stack, but his team is blazing the trail to Java 8. I’ve used Optional a little bit in some side work, and I am a little more familiar with...

Life Insurance: Why?

Let’s talk about a really fun topic today: life insurance. Before we get to that exciting topic, I want to excite you even more with a short meta-post. I sat down and started to write this really long post – what would have amounted to 5+ pages, complete with tables...

Budget Basics: Saving for Car Expenses

When we first started using a written budget about 5 years ago, one of the first semi-irregular expenses that we had to start budgeting for was car maintenance. Up until that point, if a tire wore out or a battery needed to be replaced, we just whipped out the credit...

A Cappella Worship Resources

Where my family worships we are a bit “weird”. We currently worship at a building bearing the name “Church of Christ” in Franklin, TN. What is strange, at least according to many followers of Christ in the United States, is our form of worship. We worship exclusively...

Mockito AdditionalAnswers

Sometimes you use a framework for years, and then discover something new that it can do. I had one of those moments today with Mockito. I have an API that I am mocking, where I need to capture the argument passed in for further testing, that had a line that ended up...

2014 Goal – Last Will

This should be the last in a series of posts about my family’s goals for the year 2014. Thank you for reading. I hope I haven’t been annoyingly personal. It has been my hope that maybe someone out there has struggled with goals, and might gain some ideas from me...

2014 Goal – Mortgage Reduction

This is the third in four posts about goals for 2014. Goal 1: Be An Encourager Goal 2: Run Goal 3: Mortgage Reduction Goal 4: Last Will The rich rule over the poor. The borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 Take a moment and think about how much your rent...

2014 Goal – Run

This is the second in four posts about goals for 2014. Goal 1: Be An Encourager Goal 2: Run Goal 3: Mortgage Reduction Goal 4: Last Will Waiting for the end to come… Wishing I had strength to stand… This is not what I had planned… It’s out of my control…. Linkin Park...

2014 Goal – Be an Encourager

This is the first in four posts about goals for 2014. Goal 1: Be An Encourager Goal 2: Run Goal 3: Mortgage Reduction Goal 4: Last Will Have you spoken a word full of hope and cheer? Have you walked with a slower pace, Till the weary of heart who were stumbling on...

Welcome to the Future

I wish they could see this now The world they say is changing oh ‘Cause I was on a video chat this morning With a company in Tokyo Hey, everyday is a revolution Welcome to the future — “Welcome to the Future”, Brad Paisley Earlier this year I had one of those “wow, we...

Upgrading an Older Desktop

If you follow desktop computer trents, chances are you know that Solid State Disks, or SSD, are quickly replacing Hard Disk Drives as the storage medium of choice. SSDs are more expensive per GB of storage than their spinning relatives, but make up for the smaller...

IE9 Print Stylesheet Issues

Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of fixing two issues with printing from Internet Explorer 9. Both of the problems deal with IE-specific “filter” attributes in CSS. We have an application that is used by an audience that deals with a lot of paperwork....

Hibernate Timeouts while Offline

We are currently on a road trip to watch opening weekend of College Football. I’m trying to get a little work done in the car – and by that, probably a whole hours worth. Im working on a Java application on my Macbook, which communicates with a MySQL backend. Due to...

Batch Operations for GoPro images

Recently I purchased a used GoPro Hero 3 Black. I’ve used it mainly to take time lapse pictures. The GoPro records images in 4x3 aspect ratio, and makes quite large images (2MB+ per frame). With the help of Google, I was able to piece together some scripts to help me...

Vacation on a Budget – Part 4 – Recap and Lessons Learned

This is part 3 in a series about vacationing on a budget. Recap I’ve said it before, and will do so again – by budget I do not mean “cheap”, I mean “a plan” – on paper, on purpose, before the trip began. There are many people who take far more expensive trips than we...

Vacation on a Budget – Part 3 – Remaining Expenses

This is part 3 in a series about vacationing on a budget. As a quick recap, our budget for the entire trip was $2,400. We broke it down into the following categories: $1,200 for lodging (50%) $300 for gas (12.5%) $400 for food, groceries, supplies (16.7%) $500 for...

Vacation on a Budget – Part 2 – Where to Stay

In part 1, I went over our budget for our 2013 Family Vacation. Our total budget was $2,400 cash. We had saved up that amount in a savings account, and had no more than that to spend. Our rough breakdown was: $1,200 for lodging (50%) $300 for gas (12.5%) $400 for...

Vacation on a Budget – Part 1 – Establishing a Budget

Our family loves to travel. During the first 3 years of our marriage, we would travel over 500 miles from home at least 3 times a year. One year we went to Hawaii, San Francisco, Texas, and it seems like at least one other place in that year. One year we drove out to...

Let Your Words Be Few

Don’t be rash with your mouth, and don’t let your heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and you on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For as a dream comes with a multitude of cares, so a fool’s speech with a multitude of words. —...

Private Insurance

It has been a long time since I have written anything of substance, so why not break the hiatus and write about a very exciting subject – health insurance. Maybe this is a bit personal, but I am not going to reveal how much my family earns, nor how much of our income...

Writing

I have been going to old sites where I used to blog, and am trying to consolidate anything that may matter and bring it here before shutting down those services. I came across a site where I used to write, Pleonast, and realized I had not posted there in over 2 years,...

Clearing Pleonast

It has been around 2 years since I last posted on Pleo. I am going to start taking the content down, and move it over to my personal blog at danwatt.org.

Mocking Time with Joda

A big project I have been developing over the last year has been an automated billing system. There is a part of it that involves scheduling bills, and has a lot of pieces that need to know various dates - when bills are due, when they were created, and the current...

Encrypting config files with Spring 3.1 and jasypt

I've been working on a project that at one point needed encrypted configuration files. The JASYPT library provides a very nice tie-in with Spring. There were some pieces I had to put together, so here are the results of my @Configuration file that handles encryption....

Full Spring 3.1 Config

Someone asked for my full Spring 3.1 annotation configuration. I've stripped all domain-specific information, but the overall structure is intact. SpringConfig.java - this is the top level class, is empty except for @ComponentScan and @Import statements. The web.xml...

Spring 3.1, No-XML, Hibernate, Cglib, and PermGen errors

Lately I have been maintaining several Spring-MVC applications written from the ground up with Spring 3.1. They use the purely Java based configuration scheme that comes in version 3.1, Hibernate. The apps do not have the pattern of "an interface for every class" that...

ColdFusion, HQL and Named Parameters with Collections

I am currently working on a app that has a fairly simple database model, and we are using ColdFusion 9 and Hibernate to map that model. The model is actually a local cache of a Sales Force CRM database. I have an Account, that can have a list of postal codes assigned...

OpenSearch

At work we use several Atlassian products, including JIRA and Confluence. We recently upgraded to the latest version of both, and when that happened I noticed Chome starting to behave a little differently. One day I was typing in https://jira (the path to our internal...

Server Migration, Once Again

It wasn't too long ago that I moved most of my sites over to Slicehost. It was a great service, and the price was far better than what I was paying before, and I got better service. But, new services come along, or at least we become aware of other services, and...

First Experience with EC2

A few days ago I had my first experience with Amazon EC2. I have been wanting to try it for some time, and had some really nice use cases for it at my previous job (had a program that would have been  awesome to rewrite as a map/reduce), but never got to use it. Well,...

New Job

So I promised to some that there would be some big news on Thursday, so here it is. Some people had to find this out first (mainly my boss) before I could post it publically. A few have known about this for a while, so thank you for holding your tongues. This post...

GMail, webmail, and HTML

While working on a project at work, I started to see some weird things coming across in an e-mail that the system is supposed to send out. There have been several other developers working in the code, and it had not quite reached the testing phase just yet. Since I...

GMail, webmail, and HTML

While working on a project at work, I started to see some weird things coming across in an e-mail that the system is supposed to send out. There have been several other developers working in the code, and it had not quite reached the testing phase just yet. Since I...

The move is finally over

It has been a very busy week / 10 days, and I finally have a free moment before going to be bed to reflect on what has happened. A week ago this last Thursday was my last day at CARFAX. It was hard to say goodbye to a company that has treated me and the family so well...

The Big Announcement

So I promised to some that there would be some big news on Thursday, so here it is. Some people had to find this out first (mainly my boss) before I could post it publicly. A few have known about this for a while, so thank you for holding your tongues. This post...

Weddings

Well, our last wedding before our child’s birth is over with (we do have one in 1 month, but that would put the baby at 43 weeks). It was actually tamer and more, oh, meaningful, dignified, reverent? There was very little drinking compared to previous weddings, the...

Back Home

Well, we are back from our trip to Jackson, MS. We were down there for the wedding of our friends Shaun and Mary Frances. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception, and we got some great pictures, despite a few roadblocks. The trip down was fairly uneventful. We...

The Cheese, It Is A-Movin

We are safely down in Salem, MO, which will be our brief resting place before moving on down to Jackson, TN for a wedding that we are shooting for some good friends. It is nice to have some down time, which is why I am actually able to post twice in a 24 hour period....

Teaching

I had an interesting reminder today that I still have a pleonast account, and that sometimes completely strangers will occasionally read what I say here (hello to new readers Tom, Doug, and Eli). So, here I am, back for a quick installment. Tonight was an interesting...

On the Subject of Gossip

I want to thank once again those of you who have been an encouragement to my wife. This year did not get off to a good start, and we ended up in a situation where we felt like we could not trust people who we once thought were friends. Hopefully this is all in the...

Cloth Diaper Cost Study

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on a study of how much we spent on cloth diapers since Silas was born. I threw in some research on the costs of disposable diapers, to make sure that so far we have saved money. By my accounting, we will actually break even...

Google GSON and Thread Safety

At work we are using gson to do some soft serialization between some applications. Our production application started to throw some errors this afternoon, and after looking into the problem it would appear that gson has a static reference to SimpleDateFormat (or, more...

No New Theft

Ecc 1:9-14: What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former...

WAMP PHP and where it gets php.ini

Another quickie. Evidently if you have PHP installed on your system after installing WAMP, Apache likes to go grab the php.ini file out of your main install of PHP, not the one installed with WAMP. This was causing issues in connecting to MySQL. If you get an error...

Struts 2 and Fluent APIs

At work we use Struts 2 for a lot of internal applications. Lately, we have started to code a lot of our business objects in a fluent style (beans that return a 'this' reference in every setter). We were working on an application this past week that used both Struts 2...

Cutting Back

I will post a little bit of what I posted to Summer’s blog. I am hoping that we can all help each other out and find ways to cut back in ‘tough economic times’. Cutting Back Another key to getting us back on track was to find ways to trim back. One of our frustrations...

Money Makeover

(imported from an old blog) For those of you who are friends with my wife on pleo, who is a gold member, she is about to post something privately that I wrote. It is about our reasoning behind switching to the process that Dave Ramsey calls the “Total Money Makeover”....

Chicago Wedding

We just got back from a weekend in Chicago. Our primary reason for going up on this particular weekend was to take the pictures at the wedding of our good friends Omair and Christine Akhtar. The wedding was great, the location was beautiful, and we had such a...

Interview Tips

For the last three years, I have been my team’s representative to all job interviews. CARFAX is still doing quite well in this tough economy, and we are currently interviewing interns for the coming summer. I believe we even have a few full time positions open as...

Moving Servers

Danwatt.org and all hosted applications are in the process of being moved to slicehost.

Silas James is Here

Hopefully you have been keeping up with my wife’s blog (she has a much larger following than I). Our son, Silas James Watt, was born on Tuesday at 7:56 am. He was born 9lbs, at 22.75 inches long. The Lord has blessed us with a healthy boy, and mom and child are both...

New Site : DSWPhotography

Summer and I are taking our wedding photography business online. So far, we have served only friends and have been recommended to several couples by word of mouth. We have formed DSW Photography, and have put some of our recent weddings online. Take a...

Welcome

Welcome all to the new danwatt.org. There isn't too much to see here. You might want to explore the links to the right.