Monday, March 6, 2017

Paywhirl Tips

I am no web developer, but I have copied, pasted, and modified my fair share of code. PayWhirl is a service that allows nobodies to do subscription billing online.

Basically, they write the APIs for you so you don't need to have that skill in order to do subscriptions through Stripe (for example). They seem to be the only ones out there who make subscription billing available to the average Joe building a site through Squarespace or Weebly.

I am going periodically update this post with stuff I have learned.

The first things that I have discovered (and that I do not see advertised anywhere) is that you can add HTML to the features of any widget item. Because their widgets are pretty rigid, this added freedom allows you to accentuate certain things and can help provide a lot of clarity.

Notice the widget on this page. The features include bolding of text, as well as hyperlinks. Note, for hyperlinks you will want to add a "target="_blank" or else it will open up within the frame that the widget is in.

Monday, February 27, 2017

HTPC Build

I document this because I have learned much in the last few days only after LOTS of forum browsing. Millions of computers setups out there, but every setup is different.

Background: I have an 8 year old Dell that I added a Radeon HD 3600 graphics card, and a Bluray burner to back when I bought it. It has always been hooked up to an Insignia 1080p LCD television bought at Best Buy circa 2008. DVI output converted to HDMI for the TV. I never understood it, but it always defaulted to 59 Hz and that made the picture small on the TC (1 inch black borders all around). Changing it to 60 Hz gave me a perfect 1:1 pixel display.

It looked great for many years. I had consistent problems over the years with Corel's WinDVD 11. Problem after problem. I eventually quit even trying to play Blurays and I just ripped them with Make MKV. Then the MKV files quit playing. I had promised the kids we would watch the Hobbit and I was desperate, so I plunked down $50 for PowerDVD. It kind of worked but was super blotchy. Tax returns came and I decided to upgrade.

Goal: I just want another media PC that I can watch blurays on, and eventually connect to a 4k TV. I am not gamer, so I don't need much, I just want to be able to surf the web in 4k. The goal then is to enable 4k on a budget. Using integrated graphics is where I try to save my money. The new Kaby Lake processors have HDCP 2.2 capabilities and can handle 4k.

New Build:MB:   GA-Z170X-Gaming 7  (one of few motherboards I found that supports HDMI 2.0)
Processor: Intel 7th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processor i7-7700K (BX80677I77700K)
SSD: Samsung: MZ-75E250B/AMRAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz (PC4-25600) C16 Memory Kit - Black

1. Put it all together. Will not boot. Thankfully, the error code on the motherboard (62) led me to the right forums where I learned that my old BIOS can't handle my brand new processor. Simple. Flash the BIOS, except you need a processor for that. Micro Center took care of that for me--flashed my BIOS for $30. Money well spent. Now it boots! Installed Windows 10. Basic functionality successful.

2. Overscan. The bane of so many people's HTPCs. The image spills far beyond the edges of the TV. There is a scaling option in the Intel control panel, that in essence solves the problem, but everything looks blurry. a 1 pixel line looks a bit blurred, and text is kind of fuzzy too. It makes sense, because the comp is sending a less than 1920x1080 picture and the TV is then scaling it up to 1920x1080. But I swear my OLD computer looked better. So I hook it back up. Things look great. I put that old graphics card in my new computer. Also looks great. (I tried playing a bluray while the old GPU was in there. Failed miserably. It was the problem with blurays. Blue rays play great with integrated graphics) What's the difference. Much searching leads me to an answer I am confident in. My TV (Insignia circa 2008) recognizes my old computer signal as DVI despite it coming through the HDMI input. It announces DVI on the screen when it is plugged in. The firmware on the TV, recognizing DVI as a computer signal does NOT overscan. Hence it works with the old comp. The new build is HDMI - HDMI and my old TV does not allow me to turn off overscan (even through the factory menu (input 2 5 8 0)). I imagine a dedicated graphics card may be able to handle this better. I ended up just buying a $250 Scepter 4k tv on Research says that I will probably be satisfied. I shall post a review...

3. My ripped blurays (mkv) still don't play. HD tune reveals my HDD (moved from old comp to new) has a read speed of 1 MB/sec. Bummer. I don't remember how old it is, but was used very little and always as a secondary drive.

Future: I will post reviews once I have the 4k TV setup. There was a lack of resources for me looking to build a non-gamine 4k setup. Hopefully this will all work well and someone will benefit from this first blog post in like 8 years.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no hope for mankind.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. Paul's claim that his strength is made perfect in weakness is starting to make sense. My own shortcomings certainly draw my attention to the fact that Jesus is the only I have going for me. I honestly cannot comprehend how those who rely on themselves make it through the week.

Thor celebrated his second birthday today. The whole ordeal reminded me how great of a mother Stephanie is. Time sure does fly.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Succeeding diet

So, I believe it was through that I heard of "The Line Diet". Quite simply, you graph a line from your present weight on the current date, to your goal weight on your goal date. I have decided to take my time. I am aiming to lose 61 pounds in a year. So far, it is working like a charm. I weigh myself every day, and if my weight is above the line, I don't get to eat anything that day. The fear of foodless days motivates me to eat better all of the rest of the days. So far, I have lost about ten pounds and am way ahead of schedule. You can see the graph before.

The ridiculous drop on January 16th was cause by a little stomach bug, and I was quite surprised that I didn't put it all right back on. I found an incredible little spreadhseet online that does all of the work for you. It even instructs you how to eat. It graphs the points for you, and everything. There is an online version at There is also an iPhone app. The spreadsheet I found was here. I modified it a bit, and learned a lot about excel's IF THEN statements.

Anyway, I thought this might encourage some of you. Peace.

P.S. Do you know why I am blogging again? It is because I have a million other things to do.

Monday, February 1, 2010

As I go off to school.

I will be leaving for school any minute. I am waiting on Leslie to get here, so she can watch Thor. I am in week 5 out of 12 weeks of student teaching. I am shamed to say that I have never worked harder in my entire life. Thankfully, my head is well above water, and I am surprisingly chipper. Last week, I woke up at 5 every morning and apart from my normal commitments was working either in school, or on schoolwork every hour of every day. But, Christ is seeing me through. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have been yearning for more the past few days. I truly wonder how the athesist answers such longings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Apparently it took something as exciting as last night to get me to write a blog post. Last night, around 11 p.m., while Charles and Bobby were still lingering after Bible study, I started playing with the pocket knife Andy gave me for Christmas. Mind you, this isn't the typical knife. It is large enough to fit comfortably in my large hands, and spring loaded. If you open it it ten percent, it take care of the rest. Therein lies the reason I was playing with it. Although I hardly ever carry a knife, and am far from violent, it is fun to look at people and say things like "You want to say that again?" while simultaneously flipping the knife open effortlessly and flashing it before them. The sound of it opening is the perfect conclusion to any threatening rhetorical question. It really is fun, and most audiences find it amusing too.

So there I was last night opening and closing my knife. Somehow, while locked open, it slipped from my hands and began to fall. Instinctively, I went to grab it... Somehow, in this split second, rather than gracefully catch the knife by the handle, I somehow shoved it into my pelvis. It instantly hurt, but not much beyond the typical puncture wound. I set the knife down, told everyone in the room that I had stabbed myself and waddled into the bathroom to survey the damages.

About this time, and before I was aware of what had happened, Stephanie looked at the knife and this is what she saw.

There is no dollar bill in this picture to give you a sense of scale, but from the tip of the knife to where the blood stops is two inches. I used a tape measure. Suddenly, Stephanie was quite concerned. She quickly came to examine me. I must say, as a medical professional, I was not too impressed. I was as calm as a cucumber, but she could hardly looking at the wound. It was two inches deep, and only about an inch long. I have concluded that the only reason it did not go further is that it dead-ended into my pelvic bone. After consulting everyone, we figured I best go to the emergency room. Stephanie and I took off while Bobby and Charles stayed back for Thor.

It was while driving that I realized how lucky I am. If it had been two inches lower, we would be stopping at two children, and if it was 2 inches higher, I would have been urinating in a bag for the rest of my life (apparently they can't fix ruptured bladders). Praise the Lord for letting me get away with only a minor flesh wound!

We went to Mount Carmel East and had a great experience. The wait was short, and I enjoyed trying to eavesdrop on the Spanish speakers behind me. The doctor was quick, reassuring, and pleasant. He used a whopping 3 stitches, and I am glad that was it. They hurt. We were remarkably home by 1:40 and I was on time for school today!

So, there it is--my adventure for the week. Thanks for reading and pray that I blog about all the other beautiful things in my life soon.