Category Archives: Ramblings

Dead APC Back-Ups & Alternative Batteries

I recently had an UPS failure. My UPS and APC 650 ES, has a battery they call for is the RBC17. Which on Amazon.Com is $39.99. However when you peal the sticket off you get Vision UB1290. This battery (which is the same battery) cost around $15.00.

I imaging this happens a lot with companies looking to make a cheap buck. Hopefully this post catches someone search on “Alternative APC Battery” or something similar.

iPhone 5 Calendar Alerts

I’ve found out the different things you need to get your calendar alerts to work with Google Calendar.

  1. Go to Google Settings and Turn on Alerts
  2. Make sure the alert type is pop-up.
  3. Make sure it’s set to 5 minutes, then make sure your iPhone is also set to 5 minutes.
  4. Make sure you have a sound selected on your iPhone

That’s it. Happy alerting…

Cheers To The Un-Science!

I wrote this article 5 years ago, about the unscientific age we live in. We also love to correlate things and assume they are causal.

As I read some business books over the holidays it seems these items are also very selected correlated items. About how if you do A, B and C you will succeed in business. While many of these books leave out vital back-stabs or other non-flattering vital causal clues to the authors success. They don’t mention those of course because the book would not sell as well.

I was also reading about a new study on Warming of Antartica, and am reminded again about how this only works because people don’t understand science. I see the story and say, well, it looks like that hypothesis was wrong. I wouldn’t use a wrong hypothesis to support the same theory, but then again I’m not trying to sell newspapers or visits to a website.

The most popular story over the past few days was the End of The World. Which never happened, of course. At some point though something will happen and it will be “proven correct” because there’s always so many people claiming to know the future, and by chance one person will be correct.

But despite all the un-science out there in the world, the best un-science is the time I’m spending with my wife & daughter.

Updated Site

scottpreston.comI’ve decided to refresh the theme of my blog. You may notice it’s simple, and minimalist in style. You won’t find it changing too much in the coming weeks, except for a few more pages or widgets on the sidebar, and maybe a header image or two.

Correlation vs. Causation

What’s the difference between being linked and being caused? If I tell you that every time I dropped a water balloon on the ground it broke. You could say gravity caused the water balloon to break. But what if I didn’t tell you were always filling the balloons to their maximum capacity and they were dropped on rough, almost sharp concrete, would you make that same conclusion that gravity caused water balloons to break?

What if they were half full and landed on grass and none broke? Would you conclude that gravity does not cause water balloon breakage?

It seems today the public DEMANDs an explanation for everything, if A, then B. But in just about every case it’s never that simple.

The real explanation of why a water balloon breaks is when the pressure of the water inside the balloon exceeds the tensile strength of the rubber. Sharp objects exert more force per unit square meter than other items such as grass or perfectly flat surfaces. However this is too complicated for journalist catering to a public with poor and getting worse science understanding and desire to create sensation and get attention.

To truly know something is causal  (A implies B) is hard and takes time.

Don’t confuse correlation with causation. While these examples sound funny, you can read about them every day, especially with medical studies and social sciences.

100 Monkeys & Predicting The Future

The Story: You’ve got a 100 monkeys flipping coins. Eventually after 10 tries there’s a single monkey left that managed to flip it 10 times in a row heads…

Same Story: All 100 monkeys have a theory that use that use to predict coin flips. All but 1 monkey was successful 10 times and is 100% accurate.

Same Story: I can predict the future of the middle east, the economy or the weather because I’ve done so in the past with my theories.

If you look at this you realize how susceptible we all are to people that promise us they can predict the future. I suspect that science combined with clever statistics or even complicated mathematics is now the new bones, tarot cards, or crystal balls.

Isn’t it funny how we haven’t changed all that much?

Amazon Reviews

I really don’t understand these reviews. I’ve sold hundreds of books and can barely get a single review, yet this book has been released just over a day and it has 54 reviews. Half 5 star, half 1 start. I’m not sure how someone can read a book in 24 hours then find the time to write a fair review about it. I don’t ever plan on reading this book, but I just think that something else has to be at work i.e. paid reviewers.

Rebranding Progress

I started out purchasing a WordPress theme, thinking that I could just find one, configure it, and be done… Wrong. The theme didn’t work and it did not have any helpful support. I should have done it myself and am now doing that.

I have a mantra I’m working on but I don’t have the wording quite right, so stay tuned…


Deployments With RSYNC and Git

Over the past few years I’ve been trying to get away from using FTP and deploying an entire directory to just update a web app. I’ve used services like Springloops and even tried a tool like Capistrano, but nothing really was 1) Simple and 2) Free until I wrote my own bash script. Here’s basically what you do.

  1. Create SSH keys between your local machine and your remote box.
  2. Create a bash script with the following code.
rsync -rtv --progress --exclude-from 'exclude-list.txt'  $LOCAL $REMOTE
ssh 'chown -R user:nobody /home/useraccount/public_html'
ssh 'chmod 750 /home/useraccount/public_html'

So set your LOCAL to your local directory path, REMOTE to your remote path with your user that you have your deployed files.

Note the rsync parameters, I’ve not chosen -a because that will also copy my local permissions, users and groups vs. the remote permissions users and groups.

Finally I’ve added an excludes list, which I’ll add things like “.git/” so that the git repository does not get sync’d and copied.

Now if you’re stuck into using FTP and just want to export what’s changed. I use this little script:

tar czf ~/Temp/new-files.tar.gz `git diff --name-only SHA1 SHA1 | grep -w '.php'`

This allows me to create a tar.gz of just what’s changed between two commits and in the case above, just grab .php files. You can remove everything past | grep if you want everything.