Binge Learning is Failure

Good info from Scott Young:

A great deal of psychological research shows that studying in a burst is less effective than study sessions spaced out over time. Blogs naturally embody the latter method, dripping out ideas over weeks and months instead of in a burst.

Bolding mine.

This aligns with what I was listening to on  Tim Ferris’s podcast where he talks with Luis von Ahn where Luis says that users of Duolingo get best results with 20-30 minutes per day rather than bingeing.

Olixar Universal Bike Phone Mount

I commute to work every day on my motorcycle, it’s a 52 kilometre trip each way. Wearing my headphones, Waze lets me know of any accidents or hazards ahead but because the phone is in my jacket pocket, I only hear such warnings, I don’t see them. It would be nice to see the Waze screen.

I was talking with the folks over at MobileZap, who said I should try out a Olixar Universal Bike Phone Mount on the bike. So for the last month I’ve been quite happily riding around, able to see the screen with an easy glance. An added side benefit is that when I’ve received a phone call, I can see who it is and decide if I’ll pull over and talk or not. Previously I’d just ignore all phone calls whilst riding.

photo of the Olixar bike phone mount

The holder itself I thought looked a bit flimsy, however it has held up really well while I’ve ridden through both really hot days (34°C) and heavy rain.

After placing the phone between the two grippy holders, simply squeeze them together and the phone is securely held. I’m using an iPhone 6 in an Otterbox Defender case and it accommodates the larger case quite well. There is a small fold-out piece at the bottom if you’re worried about it falling out the bottom, but I’ve found I don’t need it, the phone doesn’t slip or move while in the holder at all.

To release the phone, there is a small button on the lower right hand side, pressing it causes the two holders to release their grip. Although I was concerned initially that it wouldn’t hold my phone securely, it turns out that it does hold it really well, I’m now quite confident that the phone won’t come loose and fall out while I’m riding.

If you’re looking for a phone holder to fit to your road bike, I can happily recommend this one.

Thanks to MobileZap for providing this product for me to test out.

Tracking down long running queries in SQL

I’ve had a client whose Linux Server (CentOS) gradually gets slower and slower, then falls over.

By logging into the MySQL command line, we were able to see that there were some long running queries that never end.

show processlist;

returns


| Id | User | Host | db | Command | Time | State | Info |
+———+———-+——————-+————–+———+——+————–+——————————————————————————————————+
| 2322386 | ssgadmin | 10.21.1.149:58526 | sugarcrm_ssg | Query | 2202 | Sending data | SELECT IFNULL(hr_humanresources.last_name,’’) hr_humanresources_last_name ,l3_cstm.verification_c l3 |

The key part here is that hr_humanresources_last_name has an underscore between the table name when it should be a period i.e. hr_humanresources.last_name. Knowing the table name was enough to tell me it was caused by something to do with SugarCRM that’s running on that server. But we don’t yet know what action caused these queries.

Knowing it was 2202 seconds ago from the time we ran the query we are able to pinpoint a time the action occurred. Looking through the SugarCRM log files did turn up that the error was often caused by a single user, but didn’t show up anything to help us figure out exactly what was the causal issue. Talking with that user, getting them to do what they’d done at that time didn’t turn up anything, the error wasn’t reproducing on demand.

So I turned to looking in the tracker table in the SugarCRM MySQL database for entries around the time of the error. Turns out that there is a Dashlet being loaded, that Dashlet uses a Report.

Each time I load the Dashlet or run the Report I get a corresponding long running query turn up. We’ve found our culprit, and we’re now able to recreate the report.

Location of the SugarCRM log file

By default it’s in the same base folder as the SugarCRM application files. But on occasion we’ll move it. Quickly find it’s location by looking in the config.php file. The two relevant lines are:


‘log_dir’ => ‘/var/log/sugarcrm/’,
‘log_file’ => ‘sugarcrm.log’,

If you’re at the command line, then this makes it easy:


grep 'log_dir' config.php

How long running are those queries?

At the MySQL commandline, you can enter
show processlist;
and see what processes are running.
If you’re tracking down some problematic code and you’ve got a query (or set of queries) that don’t end, consume CPU cycles and generally bog everything down to a crawl, it can be helpful to know what time you’ve run the command above. Thusly, I now run this:
show processlist; select now as current_date_time;
and it rather nicely tells me the current date/time on the MySQL server, using the Time column from the processlist, you can work out a tad more accurately when a query started, giving you a starting point to look in other logs.
Now those long running sql queries are easier to track down.

Hotkey for New Day One entry from selection

I use Day One to journal. There is a service that creates a new Day One entry from the selection, but it didn’t have a hotkey associated with it. So I’ve set one up.

First (optional) step is to use to make your CAPS LOCK key useful. Big thanks to Brett Terpstra for that, I use that for loads of other shortcuts.

Next step is to add a shortcut for the New Day One Entry With Selection using the instructions to create keyboard shortcuts in the Apple knowledge base.

I used CAPSLOCK D as the hotkey to send whatever I’ve got currently selected to Day One as a new entry, works a treat.

Note: this is ^⇧⌥⌘D using the optional first step, so it is the same as pressing Control, Shift, Option, Command, D all at the same time.

Encrypt and decrypt .zip files on Mac OS X

I just needed to compress and encrypt some files on Mac OS X. The following command does that:
zip -ejr TARGET SOURCEFOLDER
This will ask for a password (twice to confirm it), encrypt and compress the sourcefolder and put it into a file named target (and auto add the .zip extension).

To unzip it do this:
unzip SOURCE -d TARGETFOLDER
This will ask for the password, decrypt and uncompress it into the targetfolder.

Allow a Checkbox to be Mass Update-able in SugarCRM

Here’s how to enable a checkbox to be updated enmasse.

First create a new extvardef.php file containing the following:

Then put that file into at the following location

/var/www/html/custom/Extension/modules/Module_Name/Ext/Vardefs/

Of course, you’d want to check any existing files in the folder to make sure none of them already deal with that field.

How to backup SugarCRM from the command line

From the linux command line, these commands let you backup and restore a SugarCRM database.

Firstly, for a proper back up of SugarCRM you’ll need two files, one containing the application files, one containing the SQL database.

First up, the backup…

Backup files:

Change to the folder you want to backup, then…

tar -zcvf CRM-BACKUP-FILES.tar.gz .

Edit: if you get an error ‘Permission Denied’ you may be trying to write to a folder you don’t have permission for, instead try writing to ~/CRM-BACKUP-FILES.tar.gz and it will likely work.
Edit: see also this StackOverflow article.

Backup sql (empty copy of the database):

mysqldump -u USERNAME -p -–no-data DATABASENAME > CRM-BACKUP-SQL.sql

Backup sql (with the data) :

mysqldump -u USERNAME -p DATABASENAME > CRM-BACKUP-SQL.sql

Then you can ‘tar’ the .sql file with

tar -zcvf DATABASENAME-mysql.tar.gz DATABASENAME-mysql.sql

Backup just a single table

mysqldump db_name table_name | gzip > table_name.sql.gz

If you only want the database schema, then in the SugarCRM web application you can do the following:

  • Admin
  • Diagnostic Tool
  • db schema
  • Download that file

Then for the restoration…

Restore files (to current folder):

tar -zxvf CRM-BACKUP-FILES.tar.gz

Restore sql:

mysql -u USERNAME -p DATABASENAME < CRM-BACKUP-SQL.sql

Restore just a single table

gunzip < table_name.sql.gz | mysql -u username -p db_name

These SugarCRM Knowledge Base articles may also be of use:

Faster Numbering of OmniFocus Tasks

I wrote up how I’m numbering tasks in OmniFocus, but I’ve now modified the Keyboard Maestro recipe so it’s just a touch faster.

Here’s a screenshot:

Updated, faster recipe for numbering tasks in OmniFocus

Updated, faster recipe for numbering tasks in OmniFocus

I’ve also since created a separate recipe in Keyboard Maestro for each key Project I have in OmniFocus, each with it’s own .txt file that it refers to. This lets me do

,,taskadmin

and it’ll spit out “(Admin #7)” or if I type

,,taskcrm

it’ll spit out “(CRM #15)”.

Numbering tasks in OmniFocus 2 for Mac OS X

I’m using OmniFocus 2 on my MacBook Pro and wanting to ‘number’ tasks because at the end of each week, I print a PDF of the tasks completed and outstanding for a particular client. Task numbers make it much easier for the client to reconcile the work I’ve done with the lists they use.

The problem is that OmniFocus doesn’t have a ‘task number’ function.

Keyboard Maestro and a shell script to the rescue. This allows me to get the next sequential task number. Now all I do is type

,,task

and it expands out to the next available task number.

In a nutshell I use the shell script to get a variable from a text file (which is the last task number I used), and increment it. Keyboard Maestro is wrapped around this to both trigger it and make it look pretty.

The shell script itself is quite basic, any improvements you can suggest, please do.

Here is a screenshot of the Keyboard Maestro recipe (edit: I’ve since modified this recipe to be a little faster)

Keyboard Maestro recipe to increment task number

Get last task number, increment it, save it.

This relies on you having a text file named

last_task_number.txt

in your home folder.

The format of this file is just a single line of text as follows:

TaskNumber=0