Sunday, February 7, 2016

I'm still alive

Figured I should put something here this year.

Forum migration Status: haha very funny... I barely touched it, I really need to get off my butt and finish that, it's been years now. I just tend to get tied up with other stuff. But trust me it's on the agenda, and I did not forget.

I've been working on migrating stuff off my old and first server, Borg. It was commissioned in 2008, though I believe it was actually comissioned before that, it's just that the current install is from 2008. That server did everything from local email, web apps, file storage, VMs, DNS, etc.... Most of that stuff has been virtualized, except for mail. Mail is always a beast. The old server uses Unix accounts, which is kinda dirty. Basically I'd just create a unix account for each email. My online server uses virtual users, which is much better to manage. Since the spam, special rules, and stuff of that nature is handled by the home server, the online server does not have much rules. A couple RBLs to get rid of some of the major spam but the rest is handled by the home server. Per mailbox ruless + virtual users proved to be an issue. It seems it's just not doable. You either spam filter ALL mail, or none. There's a solution called Sieve, but even that solution does not seem to support sending mail to a 3rd party app. For example the post bot for (hahahahaha that's another thing I need to update, the front page generating script broke years ago and it's stuck in 2014 and I never fixed it) So...... I need to write my own mail transport. Basically a mail transport is a program that takes incoming mail and delivers it to the right mailbox, and possibly does other things to it. Postfix has a basic virtual user mail transport, Sieve is one but there arn't any premade ones to do what I want. Thankfully they appear easy to write, as it just needs to grab data from standard input which something like cin.get() can do.

So that's that, once that's done, I will work on the forum migration. The migration itself is not really that complicated, it's mostly just the planing as I only want to do it once. There will be a central account system that is separate from the forum, as any other service I start will point to that system, so I need to code that too. Given it's something to do with security I obviously need to ensure it's robust. Unlike all the corporations that keep leaking and selling users' info, I actually care about my users' privacy.

Oh, and LASIK: Been over a year, will be 2 this summer. Still seeing great. Still have starbursts and halos but I think they are slowly going away. still have floaters but don't notice them as much as before unless I think about it. Even then I really have to look for it. As I type this on a white screen it's not even noticeable. Overall still super happy with surgery, so nice to not have glasses.

So that's that, I might make another update some time this year. :P

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iceteks forum migration progress

For further updates on the migration process, you can view this post here:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

LASIK: ~5 months later

Still seeing awesome. Now that winter is in full swing, I'm seeing even more benefits of no glasses. No fog blindness when entering a building, no snow getting in the lenses when brushing car or shovelling or going outside during blowing snow. It's the little things that really add up to make it worth it. I still see halos and starbursts at night, and now that it's winter I don't have a choice but to try at night all the time. Dark when I get up and dark when I'm done work, whether I'm working day shift or night shift. The halos have really improved though. I'd say it's 30% of what it was. The star bursts are still kind of bad when there are incoming headlights. It makes it a bit dangerous as if a pedestrian was to randomly jwalk I probably would not see them. Hard to tell though, maybe I would. I definitely drive more carefully and watch for pedestrians a lot more. I think the star burst and halos will continue to improve so I'm not that concerned. Even if it was to not go away completely, all the benefits still make it worth it. I would not let the halo/starbursts discourage anyone from getting it done, it's a small price to pay really, and I'm really picky about my vision. The glasses used to annoy the hell out of me such as specs or smudges etc. but the halos arn't as bad as that. It only happens at night. The only way I can really notice it during the day is if I look at a bright light that has a dark background, like a bright LED or something. But if I look at say, a regular light fixture, since it's generating a diffuse light on the surface around it, I don't see a halo at all, I just see it normally. So as far as looking at a computer screen or TV or something it's not any different than before. Originally when I'd look at white text on black background I'd see a halo around it, but I don't see that anymore or at least, have not really noticed it anymore. Overall, still very happy with the surgery. Also I don't think I ever mentioned where I got it done, I should probably mention it. It was at Dr. Sorgini in Sudbury, Ontario. Highly recommend.

Saturday, August 16, 2014, and revamp

For a very long time, like, probably over 5 years, I've been wanting to revamp and and redo the sites/forum as they are very old (some code is like 13 years old!). is fairly new in comparison but I will redo that one too. The goal is to combine all 3 site forums into a single forum. Also anything that requires a login will be unified into a single login. For you need a login to submit a shard, for example. That will be the same login as the forum.

The actual forum will most likely be 1 forum for all sites, it's just easier to manage that way, and also will have the benefit of combining traffic into a single place. Hopefully it will be easier to promote that way.

I've barely started yet but I do have a dev environment ready to rock and roll. This will be a big deployment as I will need to convert all the posts from the 3 forums into a single forum. This will be more involved than simply moving data to a new database with different field names as I can't keep the same post/topic etc IDs.

I have not fully decided what the plan is but I have some general idea. I'm also an uptime evangelist, I've seen places take on a project like this but they take down the forum for DAYS! Nope nope nope nope. I will not do that (even though two of the forums are pretty much broken at this point due to a php update) The whole process will happen locally on my dev server, be pushed to test for further testing, then uploaded. The DB conversion will probably be done offline as I have that luxery given the forums don't get much activity.

One of the main reasons the forums died off as well was spammers. I had to turn off registrations, it just got insane. This new revamp will incorporate a sign up page that is separate from the forum, and will have some anti spam/bot measures. Still need to research that, but I think just having a separate form alone may help things. Also having 1 forum to moderate will help. Can't stop all spammers but can at least try to reduce them.

This should be a fun ride, I have not updated any of my sites in FOREVER. Will actually be nice to have something more modern going on again, and hopefully I can add more articles and other content and get some traffic flowing again.

I may even convert this blog over to a self hosted solution. TBH this blog was quickly thought out originally and not really used much, I'm normally not a fan of hosting stuff in a system I don't control.

LASIK: ~2 months later

Been roughly 2 months now since I had LASIK. Vision is still good, and it feels pretty much just as good as with glasses before. I still get floaters but I think it's true what they say that your brain just learns to ignore them as I am seeing them less and less unless I think about it. Night vision is always improving. Contrast is a bit better than it was before, and halos are slowly going away. Overall still very happy with the surgery, it's great not having to worry about rain as much as I don't get droplets in glasses anymore. That was one of the most annoying things ever. That, and other debris/dirt getting in glasses is pretty much what drove me to get the surgery in first place. It's also great to no longer worry about where I sit in a restaurant or other place as I don't have to worry about reflections from light sources behind me. That is a huge issue with glasses, it seems no anti glare in the world works 100%. As squeemish as I am when it comes to eyes, if I was able to go through this, anyone can, if you are thinking about it, DO IT! Oddly, I still have trouble watching videos of the procedure being done. It's like when you're on the table at the heat of the moment you are so anxious you actually are overloaded with thoughts and worry and forget what is actually happening, and that actually makes it easier to go through.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LASIK: 4 weeks later

Went to my post op appointment at my local doctor a few weeks ago, vision was 20/20 both eyes, and everything looked good. I no longer need to wear the eye patch at night, and while I am still very careful to not rub my eyes, I think I've reached the point where I don't actually have to worry about it any more. I have another appointment in a few days. Vision is still good, I still get halos and starbursts at night, but I think it may be reducing, it's hard to tell. I was told it can take months, so not too worried. Since it's summer, unless I'm staying somewhere very late I don't really need to be driving at night anyway, and by the time it gets dark enough there is less traffic. One downside I found out about through research is that LASIK can give you floaters. Unfortunately I have some, and they are very annoying when looking at anything with a white or otherwise light background. Thankfully I don't notice them if I'm watching TV or anything that has lot of variations and is not just a flat colour. I will have to ask about that, and I hope it eventually goes away. I did have floaters before but they were way less pronounced and did not always show up, these seem like they're permanently in place. Overall I'm still very happy with the results though, not needing glasses is incredibly nice.

Monday, June 16, 2014

LASIK: Day 4

Not much to say, but still doing well. Eye drops suck, but only 1 week, so Friday will be my last time needing them. I also have a post op appointment then. I self tested myself with a Snellen eye chart (probably not the most accurate way, so can't wait to do a real one at the doctor) and I'm at 20/30, almost 20/20 as I can slightly make out the 20/20 line but takes some effort, without squinting. I was 20/30 in one eye and 20/20 in the other at the doctor. I'll find out for sure what I'm at when I go for my appointment. I've been told the eye sight will slowly improve so right now it's still not 100%. I'm so glad to not need glasses anymore and thank God that all went well with the surgery.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lasik day 1/2:

I'm at home and on my PC now, so more details on how it went.

Day 1:

Went for consultation yesterday, went through all the stuff like risks and so on and I was able to back out any time, there was also a video I had to watch. They were not pushy, this was a good sign. After the consultation I paid and was booked to come in a few hours to get the procedure done. Since I have large pupils there's an extra step they have to do so that cost an extra $500 but I was told about that before, they just could not know if it applied to me until they got through all the tests. Turns out that extra step is actually a good thing, as it reduces the chance of major halos. (will get to that later)

Left the office to kill some time then went back in the afternoon for the actual surgery. While I was waiting I was more and more nervous, knowing, this was it, it was real, and it was about to happen within minutes. They called my name, I went into a room for a final quick consultation and to sign the consent form. They also applied the drops for the freezing. TBH, the drops are the hardest part of this entire process. They always had to do it multiple times before I don't blink or move or what not. It's not a very nice feeling having a drop of something fall directly on your eye ball. But it has to be done, and this one in particular was quite important!

Next, this is where my heart lifted, I was brought into the actual laser room. Seeing the bed (like in final destination) and the distinct humming sound. A faint but loud enough hum. I imagine it's cooling fans for the equipment. So I lie down and line myself up to look at the red dot. The bed moves too so they lined it up as well so it's 100% accurate. The laser part moves too. They applied more drops. Then they started to actually play with the eye ball, this part was tough, but I was just doing my best to keep looking at the light. I believe they put a suction cup of sorts to keep your eye fairly steady as well as to keep it open. I could still move my eye, but at this point things got really odd and sometimes I could not see or it went blurry etc... the doc was really good about explaining everything and what I expect to see. Then he cut the flap. This had an odd sensation, it did not hurt, but imagine a very fine tooth saw just brushing against your finger. It felt about like that, but on the eye, but, no pain. It's hard to explain. It's a laser that does it, so at least it's nice to know it's not actually physically touching your eye. I could not really tell 100% when they lifted the flap but I figured that's what they did right after it was done as things went blurry. I just remember lot of odd flashing lights and auras.

The lasering itself is nothing. You hear a buzz sound from the corner of the room to indicate the laser is about to activate, then you hear what sounds like static electricity. very fast tsk tsk tsk tsk tsk. It also felt a bit like electricity. If you've ever played with a van degraaf generator, when you put your finger near ground while other hand on the ball a lighting bolt keep shooting out of your finger, it felt kinda like that, but very faint. I would take that feeling 100x over the eye drops. The laser was done in about 5 short spurts of 5 or so seconds. The entire process on one eye took MAYBE 3 minutes, I think it was even less.

Then they moved me over and repeated the same thing on the other eye. At this point I was a bit less nervous realizing how quick it was. Very uncomfortable and awkward, but not painful. Then, they told me it was all done, and to slowly slide forward (eyes were closed at this point as they removed the tape and other devices - nothing was touching my eye anymore) Then I got to the end of the bed and sat up, then I could open my eyes.

It was incredible just how quick it went, and it was awesome to realize that, it was done. I was still kinda grainy and contrast was not all there, it felt really gray but I could actually see things in focus. Then they put protection on my eyes, it made me look like a gold fish or alien or something. Basically two plastic domes. At that point I asked to read a chart for fun and I forget what my eye sight was at, but he said I could technically drive. So it was quite good. Note: Driving is NOT recommended after, he just told me that to gauge what my level was at. You need a ride after the procedure.

Went to rest at the hotel, but given it was middle of the day and I was quite excited and still had nervousness in me, I could not really sleep but I did lie down for about 4 hours to try to rest my eyes. I thanked God that all went smooth.

There is only about a 3% chance for me that I may need to go back, so that is good. I continue to pray that I don't. It can take months till it heals to a stable point so I just have to wait and see what happens.


Got up early, showered carefully, and went straight to the office to get my protection removed. At this point I could really gauge my improved vision better. Did some tests and one eye is 20/20 and the other is 20/30, but it should improve.

Now I'm back home. I just put in eye drops alone for first time. Took me a good 10 minutes. Have to do this 4 times per day, it's going to suck, but it's only for a week, so in the end it's all going to be worth it. These drops are also very important as they will help heal the eye as well as prevent infection.

I still can't see my computer screen as good as I did with glasses though, but I'm hoping this will improve, and I think it will. Also it's not so much that things are blurry, but I think I just have a harder time focusing as I'm basically "learning" how to use my eyes again instead of the glasses doing the work. So I think all this will clear up.


For anyone worried about this, it is really not that bad. I can only notice them if there is something bright with a dark (less light, not color) background. The halo effect is similar to doing a contour blend effect in a program like photoshop. Say you are looking at a round light. The white part being the actual light source, and very bright, as normal, now take a paint brush and paint a faint white circle around that white portion. That circle is about 60% transparant. That's basically what the halos are, and since it's summer and the sun is up when I'm up, I wont really see them much. I have not experienced night yet and by the time I do, the halos will have faded away. This is normally not permanent.

Friday, June 13, 2014


It's 6am, about ready to travel 3 hours to where I will be getting my procedure done. Big day today. Pray all goes well!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Getting LASIK in a few days

For years I've been sick and tired of wearing glasses, but too chicken to get LASIK. I can't even do contacts, or anything that involves touching or getting too close to my eyes. The LASIK procedure is just unthinkable. For long I've been trying to just coax myself to go, try not to think about the actual proceedure and just the after effects. Finally booked it. Nervous as heck, especially because not only am I freaked of actually going through the procedure, and possible recovery pain and the thought of having to use eye drops, but I'm also scared that for whatever reason it does not work, or has permanent side effects like dry eyes. I pray that all goes well and I don't get any of that, and that it does give me perfect vision without glasses, and that this perfect vision is permanent. Friday, I'll be going out of town, and it will be the moment of truth. One fear of LASIK is also the fact that they cut a flap. Originally I wanted PRK but the recover sounds way more painful, and actually requires a contact lens for a few days. When I go for consultation I'll actually be able to decide for sure if I go with PRK or LASIK. From what I've been reading though, the flap does heal strong enough that any force that could be an issue to damage it would probably damage your eyes anyway. I will need to confirm that with the doc, as I really want to be able to do "extreme" things like sky diving at some point and don't want to worry about issues. Some people who got LASIK do play sports though. I will post more updates on progress as the date approaches, and when I actually get it done in 2 days. In a bit more than 48 hours, I will be on my way to get it done.