The New hohle.net
by Jon on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 file under: Technology

Well, here it is, the new hohle.net. I've put a lot of time and work into this new design, both the backend and the front end. There are a lot of tweaks and changes to just about everything and I thought I'd take some time to over some of the new stuff.

Object Oriented

Almost everything is Object Oriented now. This still needs quite a bit of work, and with PHP 4, there still seems to be a tradeoff between true OO and speed (its faster to work with associative arrays in most cases). I've also included a lot of third-party classes to do some heavy lifting in areas I'm not particularly interested in (ADOdb and NuSOAP).

Smarty Based Templates

I've started using the Smarty templating engine to abstract my pages from my design. So far, this has worked out great. I can build components like the pager at the bottom of this page, and reuse them wherever I need them, like any time I need pagination. Some of the generic components include the pager, and comment sections. This has sped up template building and testing considerably. It also xmade it easier to support multiple RSS and Atom feeds.

Mostly DIV and CSS Layout

All the web design guys are constantly saying how table-based layouts are teh suck, so I took a hint and dropped my tables... well, mostly. I'm still trying to work on a few things, as I'm new to DIV based layouts, but its looking pretty good so far.


I've tried to include tool tips (title tags) on as much stuff as I could find. This should remove any ambiguity for common links. I've tried to take the guess work out of just about everything. Hopefully the site will be simpler and easier in every regard.

Third Party Services

I'm trying my best to have hohle.net bring together the various parts of my online-lifestyle. I've integrated Google search and my Amazon Wishlist. When I sit down to write some caching code, I should be able to get my del.icio.us links up as well.

Live Comments

Comments now post without a page refresh. Even better, if someone comments while your looking at a page, you'll see their comment right away. There's a lot of new code behind the comment section to make comments more fun and keep comment spam away.

In general, I'm really happy with the new look, and the code base. Its not perfect, but it is definitely ready to be used. I may be tweaking things here and there over the next couple months, but the outstanding issues are minor, and an update has been a long time in coming. I hope you like it!

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Contents Under Pressure
by Jon on Monday, March 9, 2015 file under: Off Topic

Somehow, amazingly, we've brought our fourth child home. Hudson arrived last week. Kortney really did the hard part, leaving me to pick up the moral support (can't say I'm the best at that).

Our first 24 hours with Hudson were great - he barely cried, slept in nice big chunks, and mostly just let us ogle him and laze around. Day two was quite a big different - sleep all day and party all night. After about a week he seems to be settling in.

I'm not sure what Caleb thinks yet. Kiera will occasionally put her head on Hudson's or try to give him a hug. Micah couldn't care less and has barely acknowledged him.

Nights long. Days are long.

Our family is beautiful.

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Two More!
by Jon on Friday, January 3, 2014 file under: Commentary

We've been so excited to have Micah and Kiera home this past week. They were born just before Christmas, giving us an awesome Christmas present - of course, it meant Kortney and I were stuck in the hospital most of Christmas day.

These guys have not made it easy on us so far. Kortney was extremely sick during the first three months of the pregnancy. She was so dehydrated that she had to be on home IV for several weeks. Our parents both came up to Seattle to help her and Caleb.

Along the way we moved back down to Arizona. Kortney did pretty well for about 3 months, but as the babes grew it became harder and harder on her - by the end she had nearly 12lbs of baby inside of her.

The Thursday before the kids were born I had to go to the ER for some intense abdominal pain. They diagnosed it, gave me some medication, and sent me on my way. A few days later we were back in the same hospital for the birth, which only had a few complications.

When I was finally able to settle down that night my abdominal pain returned, and I had a nurse wheel me back down to the ER. I was admitted shortly after and spent the next several days in another wing of the hospital. Caleb came to visit me every day, and we had fun playing Gooey Louie and watching (terrible, new) Tom & jerry cartoons. After recovering from some minor surgery and watching way to much terrible reality TV, I was finally released and got to spend the last night in the hospital with Kortney and the twins.

We got out in the evening on Christmas and had a low key day. The next day we closed on our house - the closing had to be postponed due to the whole entire family in the hospital on drugs which may or may not make signatures on contracts binding.

The next week involved us just trying to keep up. Ensuring that a three year-old is getting all of the attention he needs and that two newborns are fed, clean, and safe has been a lot of effort.

Things were getting too simple though. We had decided that Kortney's car was too small to lug around all of the kids and their gear, so we eventually made it over to the Subaru dealership and replaced her car with a new-to-us Forester. That's a whole ongoing ball of wax, but at least everyone fits inside without too much effort.

After nearly two weeks, Micah and Kiera are doing really well. It's amazing to watch these new little humans grow and neat to see all of the things they can do instinctively. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. Hopefully we can start getting enough sleep to appreciate these things ☺.

Along the way Kortney's parents have been a huge help with child care, assistance packing, a temporary place to stay, and lots of food. This would be much harder without all of their help.

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Coming Home
by Jon on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 file under: Off Topic

We're on our way to bring our son home. Two years after we began our adoption process, we're nearing the end. Kortney and I are both beside ourselves. We're so excited to finally meet this little boy who we've grown to know through pictures and videos over the last fifteen months.

I'm really excited to be a dad. I don't know if I'm going to be a good one or that I know what I'm getting myself into, but I'm ready to find out. I'm looking forward to playing, teaching, caring for, and protecting our little man. I hope I can be someone he looks up to.

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Grey for Gray
by Jon on Sunday, December 4, 2011 file under: Off Topic

I've changed hohle.net to grey in support of my brother-in-law, Troy Gray. Troy is an inspirational, dynamic guy who has poured his heart and soul into his family and teaching the youth of Tempe, Arizona about Jesus.

Troy has been battling leukemia since the summer and at the moment it looks like his cancer has the upper hand. Kortney and I are aching for him and his wife and children.

We are praying continually for Troy, Kelly, and their two beautiful kids who need their dad. We appreciate any time you can spend praying for him as well.

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One More Thing
by Jon on Sunday, October 9, 2011 file under: Technology

The first computer I had growing up with an Apple //c with a color monitor, tri-color ribbon printer, and an external 5" floppy drive. I used the computer to play games, write papers, draw pictures, make banners and birthday cards (with The Print Shop). I even learned to write simple programs using the built in BASIC interpreter and the Apple II Basic Programming Manual.

While I always had an interest in computers, it really wasn't until high school that I thought I might pursue a career in programming. I fell away from Apple computers for several years, but when faced with the opportunity to get a new laptop in 2003, jumped at the opportunity to get a Titanium PowerBook. I was a heavy Linux user at the time and thought having a commercially supported UNIX would be interesting. What I didn't realize was OS X would become my operating system of choice.

Earlier that year I also picked up an iPod. This was when iPods still used FireWire cables, had hard drives (5GB!), and grayscale screens. It was brilliant. My previous CD+MP3 player could store about 10 hours of music on a CD, but this iPod could store all of my music.

Since then I've become an avid iPhone user and written software for Macs, iPhones, and iPads. We've had more iPods in our house than people and currently have four Macs for just the two of us. A trip to the mall meant a trip to the Apple store, whether or not we were in the market for new gadgets or not.

It was always exciting to see what Apple would announce next, and powering it all, a magic polish which made everything insanely great.

And behind it all, Steve Jobs. He brought Apple back from irrelevance into not only the biggest company, by market cap, but also one of the most engaging, opinionated, detail oriented, and customer focussed companies in America.

It's sad to think there will never be another Jobs keynote. We'll never hear "BOOM!", about "magical" new features, or "one more thing" again.

And at the same time, the sorrow of his death should be a catalyst to seize life and remember that "all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important".

In Jobs' now famous 2005 commencement address, he states, "[Death] is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new." Sometimes we're not ready for that change, though. But that change is inevitable and we must accept it or be paralyzed by it.

This summer we were shocked by the sudden discovery of advanced lymphoma in my brother-in-law. In a matter of weeks, he went from leading teenagers at Young Life camp to a medically induced coma. He's now in the process of recovering, but events like this shouldn't be necessary to shake us into an awareness that we can all do so much more.

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Switching… Again
by Jon on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 file under: Commentary

In the Apple community the verb switching has meant various things in the last decade. Seven years ago if you would have heard the term switching in the context of Apple, you'd have thought about getting rid of your PC and getting a Mac. Four years ago the same term signified Apple's transition from PowerPC processors in their computers, workstations, and servers to Intel processors more commonly found in Windows computers and low cost servers. But at the beginning of 2011, switching takes on a third meaning, at least in the US. And from a customer perspective it has less to do with the relationship with Apple and themselves, but instead introduces a new third party choice of network operator: Verizon.

I'll be up front, Kortney and I are planning to have Verizon iPhones on February 10th. We may not port our number over immediately due to a vacation in the middle of February, but we'll be ready to switch as soon as possible.

I've read almost deafening cries about why this is a dumb idea: the iPhone 5 is right around the corner, Verizon's network is slower, you can't use data while on a call, etc. Guess what: none of those things matter for some people. I'll address each of these claims in order.

Apple has released new phone hardware like clockwork every year since the first iPhone was released. Undoubtedly, Apple will release their fifth revision iPhone in June with a dual core processor, longer battery life, and world mode radios. Is that stopping people from buying iPhones on AT&T or other networks now? Of course not. Sometimes you just need a new phone. In my case, I'll be replacing my long in the tooth 3G and Kortney's Sony Ericsson feature phone. Based on the resale values of current used iPhone 4s, I imagine that we'll be able to "upgrade" to the iPhone 5 if we choose for a modest upgrade fee. But when it comes down to it, the iPhone 4 is available now (or at least soon), and the iPhone 5 and its feature list is only known to Apple and perhaps its suppliers.

Verizon's peak network speed is admittedly slower than AT&Ts with one major difference: Verizon provides reasonable service in the major metropolitan areas I frequent. I don't care if I can theoretically download at 1.5 Mbps on AT&T, I can actually download at >500 Kbps on Verizon. I recently did a speed test on my phone while in downtown Seattle. I averaged 536 Kbps. That's right around what Verizon is offering. I guess I won't notice any slowdown.

No Signal in Downtown Seattle

I'll concede the last point, I won't be able to use data while on a call. That isn't much different from my AT&T experience, however, where I often cannot make a call... or get on a data network. It will actually be an improvement over my current situation, as I'll be able to reliably talk on the phone or use the internet. I consider that an upgrade, despite the annoying limitation.

For over two years, we've dealt with atrocious service with AT&T in the Phoenix and Seattle Metro areas. AT&T has failed to provide reliable service, despite collecting thousands of dollars from me and each of the millions of other smartphone users on their network. Like the switch from PC to Mac, or PowerPC to Intel, the switch to Verizon looks to usher in a welcome improvement in my connected lifestyle.

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Vancouver 2010
by Jon on Saturday, February 20, 2010 file under: Off Topic
Olympic flags outside of Cypress Mountain

Last weekend Kortney and I went up to Vancouver to see a few events at the 2010 Winter Olympics. We drove up Friday afternoon, slipped across the border with only a few cars in front of us and headed downtown for the evening. We checked into the Corkscrew Inn, a cute bed and breakfast in Kitsalano, about 20 minutes by bus to anything we were interested in seeing. After a small complication with our tickets, we roamed around the pedestrian areas that had been blocked off, and watched the opening ceremony while we dined at the Glass City Caf. Later on we happened across Wayne Gretzky carrying the Olympic torch in the back of a pickup as he was transported to the cauldron.

Vancouver is dressed in Olympic garnish from head to toe. The signs and banners are all consistent, vibrant, and very well designed. All of the volunteers are uniformed in the same coats, hats, and occasionally snow pants. It was really impressive to see such a large city with such homogenous decoration.

Saturday morning we headed to the University of British Columbia to watch Sweden and Switzerland compete in women's hockey. Kortney and I rooted for the Swiss, but it was for nothing; Sweden shut them out 3-0. We headed back downtown and strolled through Chinatown, Gastown, and finally to Granville Island where we watched women's freestyle moguls while eating at Cat's Socialhouse. The Canadians were thrilled when they took the lead, and disappointed, but good spirited when we took the gold from them.

Finally, on Sunday we went up to Cypress Mountain to watch men's freestyle moguls. This was the highlight of the trip. We spent 4 hours, outdoors in the low 30s, but enjoyed the entire time (except the hour+ waiting in the concession line). The crowd erupted when the final skier, from France, got his score placing him in 6th, and it was confirmed that Canada had earned its first gold on its home soil.

Afterwards, we got in the car and headed home. We took a rural back road to a smaller border crossing without any lines. We made it home around 10:30, exhausted but still with the glow of Olympic fever.

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New Moon Countdown Promo Followup
by Jon on Friday, August 28, 2009 file under: Projects
40 Twilight Saga Books

As I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to buy books from the Twilight series for Seattle area charities, specifically those who were helping women and children. I was able to get 40 books — 10 complete Twilight Saga sets — to give away and found five great organizations to give the books to.

  • New Beginnings Shelter received 3 sets of the Twilight Saga Collection.  They provide a home for women experiencing domestic violence abuse.  They also have a 24 hour crisis line, transitional housing, free weekly support groups, and legal advocacy. http://www.newbegin.org
  • Roots Young Adult Shelter was excited they now had 2 complete sets of the Twilight Saga.  This shelter, located in Seattle, Washington, is the only shelter in the city that provides a safe place specifically for young persons between the age of 18 and 25.   Snacks, dinner, and a hot breakfast is also given out in addition to visits by healthcare providers. http://www.rootsinfo.org/
  • Seattle Indian Center provides day programs for Seattle area teenagers. It offers a job placement program for adults among many other services in Seattle's diverse International District. Seattle Indian Center received two sets of the Twilight Saga for their library.
  • Seattle's Union Gospel Mission has been assisting the homeless for over 77 years in the downtown Seattle area.  One set of the Twilight Saga Collection books went to the Women and Children=92s shelter.  While here, the women receive transitional housing, spiritual development, education and career training, and, if necessary, drug and alcohol recovery. http://www.ugm.org/
  • Broadview Emergency Shelter provides confidential, transitional and emergency housing for women and children in the Seattle metro area. While at the site women have access to counseling, crisis intervention programs, addiction recovery services and goal setting meetings. Broadview received two sets of the Twilight Saga Collection. http://www.solid-ground.org/PROGRAMS/HOUSING/BROADVIEW/Pages/default.aspx

Each of the centers were really excited to get the books and I'm hopeful that they'll be put to good use.

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New Moon Countdown
by Jon on Monday, June 22, 2009 file under: Technology
New Moon Countdown - Team Edward Edition

I had written a long post about getting a few apps on the iTunes App Store, and I might post more about it later, but in the mean time, I'm happy to write that I have two new apps available for download:

More about the apps can be found at the support page.

To market New Moon Countdown, I've decided to give a book from the Twilight saga to a women and children's center, school, or library in the Seattle metro area for every 100 downloads of the app through iTunes before July 31th. These books have brought a lot of joy to young women and I hope that this will get books into the hands of people who may not have been able to read them otherwise.

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