Tyler Longren

Hi! I'm Tyler, a freelance web developer. I have a beautiful daughter and wife, with another baby on the way (due September, 2014)! I like PHP, JavaScript, WordPress, Git, HTML5 & CSS3, and other neat things. I really love the open source community, too. You can find me on twitter or Google+, and Github.

Just A Regular Night with WindStream DSL

terminal-ping

I see this a lot

I pay $90 a month for 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up. It’s all I have available. I never get 1Mbps up, at least according to testmy.net. Ping responses take quite a while, no matter the geographical location of the box I’m pinging.

tyler@echo:~$ ping 8.8.8.8
PING 8.8.8.8 (8.8.8.8) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=1 ttl=49 time=1791 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=2 ttl=49 time=1941 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=3 ttl=49 time=1523 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=4 ttl=49 time=2028 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=5 ttl=49 time=1831 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=6 ttl=49 time=1846 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=7 ttl=49 time=2147 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=8 ttl=49 time=2228 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=9 ttl=49 time=2299 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=10 ttl=49 time=2350 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=11 ttl=49 time=2252 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=12 ttl=49 time=2373 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=13 ttl=49 time=2247 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=14 ttl=49 time=2116 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=15 ttl=49 time=2069 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=16 ttl=49 time=2248 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=17 ttl=49 time=2162 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=18 ttl=49 time=2204 ms
64 bytes from 8.8.8.8: icmp_seq=19 ttl=49 time=2148 ms
--- 8.8.8.8 ping statistics ---
21 packets transmitted, 19 received, 9% packet loss, time 20037ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 1523.625/2095.396/2373.288/214.538 ms, pipe 3

Of course, WindStream support folks have me test with speedtest.net, which hangs well below the 1Mbps mark. Until the end of the upload, when it gets faster, and then that’s what’s used as the result.

It’s not this bad all the time, but it’s bad way more often than it should be.

I actually miss Mediacom Cable.

Where to now?

Work with Me

Think you'd need help getting somethink like this setup on your own? Or maybe you've got an idea for a product but don't know how to turn it into 'something'. I can help on both fronts! Just get in touch and we can chat about your needs.

Leave some Feedback

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WordPress Tip: Specify a Primary Category using Advanced Custom Fields

acf

What WordPress custom fields should have been

I found Advanced Custom Fields (also known as ACF) about 6 months ago while working on a project for a client. They didn’t want to have to mess around with editing the Custom Fields that come native with WordPress, it just wouldn’t have worked as smoothly.

The client needed to require one image, one PDF, one year selection, and one category. The category consisted of two options, “Weekly” or “Daily”. If you’re wondering, it was a newspaper client who wanted to categorize their posts as being either a “weekly issue” or a “daily issue”. Makes sense for a newspaper!

Getting the native WordPress custom fields to play along well with files can be tricky, and probably not worth the effort, especially with a plugin like Advanced Custom Fields around.

So, enter the hero of this post, Advanced Custom Fields. I was able to set everything up with Advanced Custom Fields within about 20 minutes, and that even counts the time that I took to make various theme templates pull data from Advanced Custom Fields. The actual setup of Advanced Custom Fields took about 2 minutes.

I’ve since started using Advanced Custom Fields here at longren.io, too. Independent Publisher, the WordPress theme I’ve been using, likes to show one main category when you’re viewing a single post, even if it’s not the most relevant category. So instead of a post about WordPress having the Git category shown at the top, I can now specify which category I want to be shown. So, for a post like this, I would obviously choose WordPress as my primary category.

I’ve already added the necessary parts to my Independent Publisher child theme, and have sent a pull request to Raam Dev to get his thoughts. It’s a very easy thing to support in a theme, however, it requires that everyone using that theme use the same field name in ACF.

I named my field primary_category, since that’s exactly what it is.

Example field setup with Advanced Custom Fields

Example field setup with Advanced Custom Fields

After you’ve added your “Primary Category” custom field, you can then use the value of that field throughout your theme. I’ll have a short post later this week on exactly how you can display the primary category value in your theme. Or, if you want to know right now, you can see this pull request at GitHub.

As you can tell, Advanced Custom Fields is a beast of a plugin. I also love that Advanced Custom Fields is totally free, which is kind of amazing to me. I’ve come across many paid plugins that are nowhere near as polished and user friendly as Advanced Custom Fields.

Advanced Custom Fields doesn’t skimp on the documentation, either. Their documentation site is extremely helpful, I never once ventured away from it while getting familiar with Advanced Custom Fields for the first time.

You can download Advanced Custom Fields from the WordPress Plugin Directory, so you can also install it in just a few clicks, right from your WordPress Dashboard! Advanced Custom Fields is developed primarily by Elliot Condon, and can also be found on GitHub.

The great thing about this is that it can be applied to any theme, not just Independent Publisher. So, if you’re not using Independent Publisher, just setup Advanced Custom Fields as I described and make the necessary changes for your theme.

A follow-up post will have more details on using data from Advanced Custom Fields, no matter what theme you’re using.

Where to now?

Work with Me

Think you'd need help getting somethink like this setup on your own? Or maybe you've got an idea for a product but don't know how to turn it into 'something'. I can help on both fronts! Just get in touch and we can chat about your needs.

Leave some Feedback

Got a question or some updated information releavant to this post? Please, leave a comment! The comments are a great way to get help, I read them all and almost always reply to every comment.

Fort.js: A Modern Progress Bar for Form Completion

fortjs

Modern progress bars for your forms

Fort.js is cool. It makes adding progress bars to your forms extremely easy. It’s especially useful for signup forms, or any form where it’s nice to see how far along in the process you are.

I don’t have Fort.js in use on any public facing sites yet, but the Kegplan.io dev site has an updated signup process that makes use of Fort.js, and I love it.

Fort.js comes with four different effects: default, gradient, sections, and flash. I typically use the Sections effect, it makes it very easy to see how far along you are in the form.

I’d love Fort.js even more if changing the colors was a bit easier. Changing the progress bar colors varies depending on which effect you’re using, but it’s all documented in the README.

Fort.js and related documentation can be found on GitHub.

Where to now?

Work with Me

Think you'd need help getting somethink like this setup on your own? Or maybe you've got an idea for a product but don't know how to turn it into 'something'. I can help on both fronts! Just get in touch and we can chat about your needs.

Leave some Feedback

Got a question or some updated information releavant to this post? Please, leave a comment! The comments are a great way to get help, I read them all and almost always reply to every comment.

Receive Alerts On SSH or SFTP Logins with Papertrail

papertrail

Frustration-free log management, plus a lot more

I’ve been a huge fan of Papertrail ever since I discovered it, probably about a year ago or so. I use it mostly to monitor server logs. I currently have two servers setup to send syslog messages to Papertrail.

The Papertrail Events dashboard can be a bit overwhelming at first, but the provided search is powerful and allows you to finely control which log messages you see and which you don’t.

You can even setup saved searches to fire when a specific event occurs. For example, I have a saved search that searches for the following:
Accepted publickey for tyler

When that message shows up in Papertrail, it means that I logged in, or that someone else has logged in using my SSH key. This can be quite handy, especially if you’re a one man shop like me and are usually the only person that has SSH or SFTP access to a server.

Getting a DigitalOcean VPS added to Papertrail, especially if it’s running Debian or Ubuntu, is super easy. It just requires that you modify /etc/rsyslog.conf and add a line to the end of the file that will send a copy of the system logs to Papertrail.

Papertrail can monitor application logs, too, such as Apache httpd logs and MySQL server logs, although that takes a bit more configuration to get working properly.

If nothing else, it’s just nice having system logs aggregated in one central place, where everything is easy to search through, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re an admin for one server or hundreds of servers, Papertrail could turn out to be one of your favorite tools. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

I suggest you give Papertrail a try, can’t hurt, they even have a plan that’s free forever. It’s definitely a great service for monitoring server logs.

Where to now?

Work with Me

Think you'd need help getting somethink like this setup on your own? Or maybe you've got an idea for a product but don't know how to turn it into 'something'. I can help on both fronts! Just get in touch and we can chat about your needs.

Leave some Feedback

Got a question or some updated information releavant to this post? Please, leave a comment! The comments are a great way to get help, I read them all and almost always reply to every comment.

Track JavaScript Errors Easily with Track:js

trackjs

I’ve been using Track:js for a few weeks now here at longren.io.

There may seem like a lot of GoogleBot-related errors at first glance. But, after deleting or filtering those out, you’re left with the errors that really happen most often.

Track:js has also recently added an option that will send you a daily summary of the JavaScript errors encountered, which is really handy, especially when you don’t have time to monitor the Track:js dashboard all day long.

A summary email can be seen below:
Track:js Daily Email Summary

I really enjoy the service, but I can’t see myself paying for it, at least not until I have a viable product of my own that is worthy of being tracked in such detail. Track:js starts out at $29.99 a month, which will get you 500,000 hits per month and 8 days worth of error history.

The guys behind Track:js are pretty awesome and seem to be pretty involved in the tech startup scene here in the Midwest. The footer of their site reads “Proudly built in Minnesota”.

Where to now?

Work with Me

Think you'd need help getting somethink like this setup on your own? Or maybe you've got an idea for a product but don't know how to turn it into 'something'. I can help on both fronts! Just get in touch and we can chat about your needs.

Leave some Feedback

Got a question or some updated information releavant to this post? Please, leave a comment! The comments are a great way to get help, I read them all and almost always reply to every comment.