Archive for month: July, 2012

Python Decorators – part 1


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26 Jul
July 26, 2012

One of the many reasons I like solving problems with python is its expressive nature – do more with less.

In particular, I find python’s decorators fun to use; they are a natural way to augment any function with additional behavior without changing the original. If you’re curious how they work, read on. They’re easy to understand and very useful.
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QA Testing in a Nutshell -or- One Man’s Descent Into Madness


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24 Jul
July 24, 2012

If I worked at a doorknob factory testing doorknobs, it would be safe to say that at least once a week the doorknob to the front door of my home would turn to ash in my hand.

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Insert Labeling


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19 Jul
July 19, 2012

Recently I was assigned the task of helping to create a solution to replace our current insert labeling process. Specific libraries request that their playaways and views are hand labeled with whatever information they want, for example a bar-code on the box to assist with checking the content in and out, or a spine label to help organize the content on the library shelves. The libraries were not able to facilitate this on their own.  It was a very manual process to get the data, print it out on labels, and put the labels on every unit being shipped. One of the ideas floating around was to try and incorporate all of this information right on the the playaway or views insert cover. The art department made a mock up of what areas on the inserts we could use and gave us a sample of how it could look. Once this idea was approved I started to design the application that would automate this process. I decided to write the application in c# and started to look for a library that would assist with the PDF editing portion of this project. The library I found was the iTextSharp library which allows for adding text and images to preexisting PDFs. The next step was to create bar-codes for the inserts. After doing some research and finding out what specific bar-code formats the library wanted to use, we purchased a bar-code creating software with c# libraries that could incorporated into the project. The bar-codes would be generated as an image, and the image could be inserted onto the PDF.

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Network Monitoring


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18 Jul
July 18, 2012

As a systems administrator,  you need to be proactive rather than reactive.  That is why we went out and purchased PRTG Network Monitor.  We needed to be able to monitor our bandwidth consumption and didn’t have a way to see real-time statistics until we set up PRTG.  PRTG is a great product and it comes at a relatively low cost.  In addition to bandwidth monitoring, PRTG also has hundreds of sensors to monitor every piece of equipment across your enterprise.  In addition to monitoring bandwidth, we also monitor our internal servers for disk space, cpu and memory utilization for both Windows and Linux platforms.  We are also able to monitor our Catalist Digital Servers, Ecommerce Servers and Web farm located at an external hosting facility across our dedicated site-to-site vpn tunnel.  With the proper tools, it makes the job a lot easier.

Magento Commerce Enterprise Edition Content Staging


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02 Jul
July 2, 2012

Introduction

Greetings and salutations. I am a Java, CMS, and UI developer of nearly 17 years (gasp!), who has recently found himself working with Magento Commerce and Jenkins CI. I have seen the difficulties of learning new technologies, and plan to blog periodically on the pitfalls I encounter, as well as recommended fixes as they arise.

This post involves a Magento Commerce EE feature that appears simple on the surface, but is surprisingly complex in actuality: staging CMS content from a staging website to a production website on the same Magento Commerce EE instance. At its best, this feature allows the content developer to work on content in a sandbox on the production (or other) server, while keeping pre-production code hidden from the public. At its worst, this is a largely undocumented and complicated process, and requires an understanding of what content staging does and does not do. Here are the steps as I understand them.

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