Kevin Whitman's Blog

It’s been a while

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Over a year in fact. A lot has happen in that time.

I’ve Been freelancing, playing around and experimenting with different ideas, dealt with drama between people, moved to a new place, and keeping myself busy. Worked on a bunch of projects all the way from a cleaning company site to one for a company that makes sensors for airplanes, trains, cars and more where I actually helped improve their internal search engine. Another thing I help do was stream line everything from the website to backend processes for a travel related company that helped result in last summer being their busiest season ever. Continue reading

One of Vyvanse side effects is Sudden death… What?

I was surfing YouTube and seen an advertisement for a ADHD Pill called “Vyvanse”. Half the commercial was just listing of its side effects. It lists Sudden death, stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure were seen in adults taking Vyvanse.

I was like what… how the freak did the FDA clear a drug that has “sudden death” as a side effect? I’m guessing this company paid the FDA lots of money since the one with the most money can buy any laws they want in America. Paid lobbyists should be illegal, but that’s a whole other topic.

Like as Jeff Foxworthy says, “half the time the side effects are 50 times worst than what the medicine cures.”

Anyways, just wanted to write a quick rant.

Steve Jobs and his son Reed Jobs in 2007

58 years ago on February 24, Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, California.

Steve Jobs inspired a lot of us, helped show us beautiful design and typography. As he said in his Stanford Commencement Speech.

If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.

Other than the Mac and fonts, without him we would not have the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad. Products that are awesome and has over 275,000 third party developers for them. Without him, this world would have been different and less beautiful. He made the world a better place.

Happy birthday Steve. I really wish you were here to enjoy it still, and I miss your keynotes that would always light people up with excitement.

Related Content: Back in 2011 I wrote a post about some of my favorite quotes by Steve to help celebrate his life. If you have some free time and need an interesting read, check it out.

Free ChunkHost VPS

ChunkHost is giving away free VPS’es. They start at 128MB of Ram, 3GB of disk space and 35GB of bandwidth but the cool thing is, if you refer people you can get it upgraded to 2048MB of ram, 30GB disk and 600GB bandwidth which is great. I guess to them this is free marketing and if people like their free VPS, maybe they are hoping if you need a bigger one or a second one(maybe another project) that you’ll pay with one of the paid plans.

I signed up about 2 months ago and today I woke up to my email saying that it got created. The time for waiting might be different for you as I’m not sure how they allocate them.

I SSH into the server and set up a basic demo page. They offer Ubuntu 10.04LTS, Ubuntu 10.10, Ubuntu 12.04LTS, Debian 5 (lenny), Debian 6 (squeeze), CentOS 5.6 and CentOS 6.2 for the operating system choices. I’m using 12.04LTS as it’s the latest Ubuntu OS they offer. But if you really wanted the least release (Ubuntu 12.10 currently) I don’t see a reason why running the update commands from within 12.04 would stop you from updating. I think this small 128MB server would be great if you wished to host a small website to get yourself started. Great if you just want to play around with Linux, and if you screw up you can reimage it.

You can check out the part two of my guide of setting up a sandbox in a VM, scroll down to “Connect via SSH” to see how to connect and the commands to setup PHP, MySQL and PHPMyAdmin once you get your server created.

Disclosure: I linked to ChunkHost using my referral link. Hoping to get my VPS upgraded to the max, planning on hosting a future project on it that should be ready around mid 2013. If you signup you can do the same by sharing your referral link with friends and family via social networks, your own blog, etc.

MySQL without writing SQL!

I was working on a PHP application and felt like writing SQL is a bottleneck for adding new features quickly. So I decided to write a database abstraction layer library. One really simple, yet powerful to use. Something to make databases fun again. I decided to call it PastaDB. Since uncooked pasta is nice and solid looking vs. SQL which looks like spaghetti a lot of the time. So you tell this library what you want to get done, it prepare’s, cooks it and gives you a result.

I wrote version 0.1 over the weekend. Aimed at keeping it simple. For example an insert is $db->insert(‘TABLENAME’, ARRAY OF DATA TO INSERT). and it returns TRUE or FALSE. Also supports MySQL transactions with a simple API. $db->begin(), $db->commit() and $db->rollback(). I really made this library for me and my needs, but decided to open source it on GitHub because it might be helpful to others, and maybe the project can get outside improvements. Check it out at, I hope others will like this as much as I do!

I’ve been playing with Node.js

For about the past month and a half I’ve been playing with Node.js. Node.js is server-side JavaScript, using Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. Node.js can run a HTTP server, or any other type of socket connection. I’ve really only experimented with it’s HTTP server using the Express framework

I’m coming from a PHP background, so writing server backend’s in JavaScript while being asynchronous requires a slightly different mindset. In PHP, a user hits your Web server and Apache fork’s a new process, the PHP interpreter runs the script from top to bottom, then it gives the output to Apache and then dies. With Node.js, you have one process for the whole Web server. Also I find myself passing around the request and response objects a lot, unlike with PHP where you have a start.php or config.php file with variables accessible by any of the code. But after a while the stuff will come naturally to you.

I’ve started experimenting with writing a cloud based video encoding related application(not giving many details on that yet, not promising anything.) within Express, I use EJS(Embedded JavaScript) for template files so I can keep my application logic away from my views. I have configured my app I’m working on to have PHP styled open and close tags, since I’m used to template files being that way in PHP.

Another thing you have to do is define all your routes, guesses very similar to the frameworks like Ruby on Rails. Also with Express, I created a static file store to store my CSS, public JavaScript files, images and anything else I would want served statically.

Another thing I really love about Node.js is NPM(Node Package Manager). NPM is a package manager similar to apt-get that comes with Node.js. In the NPM, you can install modules, and publish modules. I’ve already wrote a few modules, to help me out on my own applications.

Some modules I wrote already are:


A module to check how much free space, and total space the hard drive has. Node.js didn’t really have any native functions for this. This module works on both Linux, Mac and Windows. On *nix systems it uses df -k and on Windows it calls a small little C# application I wrote called DriveSpace(My first C# app) that comes bundled with the module.


A simple generic round-robin. Great for database connections pools.


A simple but powerful email wrapper around Nodemailer. Also uses Basic Template, another tiny module I wrote.

Range Check

A module to detect if a IP is valid, it’s version and check if its within a certain range. I mainly wrote this to use in node_CloudFlare.


I use CloudFlare to supercharge my websites. I wanted this in Node.js, and I couldn’t really find any existing modules, So I wrote my own.


A simple module to mask emails, domains and even regular strings! Will turn [email protected] into t**t@e****


A simple yet powerful HTTP request library inspired by jQuery and LSL written in JavaScript for client and server JavaScript. I wanted a nice and clean simple to use HTTP request library for both the server and client, so I wrote one.

So those are some of the modules I wrote so far. I really enjoy Node.js, but sometimes it feels overkill compared to just whipping out a .php and just writing something quickly. I guess I’ll get more used to Node.js and get better at it as time goes on. I also want to get in to mobile development, so I think Node.js would be a great tool to write backend’s in.


ÜberConferenceConference calls have been around for a long time, but they aren’t that great. You have pin codes to enter, the controls are hard to use, not sure who’s all on the call. They are often confusing and most of them I played with in the past I just gave up on due to having a hard time to work them.

Well, ÜberConference aims to make us love conference calls, and so far I like it. It has a web interface where you can create conferences and invite people. As a bonus feature you can record calls to MP3 and download them. Conferences calls can be private or public, when made public a pin code is given for people who’s not invited. I can import contacts from LinkedIn, Google(I use these) and a few others.

People who’s in contacts show up with their name and some other details about them. It also seems to show social networks people have added if they have an account also.

The service was invented by the same people who invented Grand Central, which Google acquired and turned it in to Google Voice. Currently the service is free, but I think in the future they will charge for add-ons or maybe the whole service with different plans(Max people in the call, max call recording time, etc) but this is just speculation.

I never wanted to host a conference call before, but ÜberConference wonderful UX made me want to try it so I tweeted it out and a few people called in :). The call quality was excellent.

I think this service is worth checking out. Currently you have to ask for an invite, but I got it the next day, but you may not get the same results. I think this could be a real nice alternative to using Skype to conference a bunch of numbers together. So far this and Skype are the best conferencing products I’ve used, but ÜberConference is more aimed at phones so this could make a good replacement for businesses who do phone conference calls.

Disclosure: The ÜberConference link up top is my affiliate link. Each new user that signs up via this link will give me credit towards future features.

It would be cool if the iPad or iPhone was a Mac also

I was thinking, it would be cool to carry around an iPad or iPhone that was dual featured as a Mac. For example, you open your iPad out of the box, turn it on and do everything you do with one today. But we also love Mac’s! I was thinking about how cool it would be if OS X and iOS merged, and not merged as in iOS on the desktop. I mean as in one OS but has a “mode”. “tablet/phone” and “desktop”. The iPad could be plugged in to a monitor or wirelessly beamed to a TV. you grab your Bluetooth Apple keyboard and mouse and put your iPad in “desktop” mode. A OS X styled desktop comes up. You’ve been busy working on some project on the train coming home in some app. The same app is for Mac. It has a shared folder within the sandbox with your data. No syncing or duplicate data. You edit it, save it. Go to sleep. Wake up, put your iPad in “tablet” mode and later review the data with your coworker.

So the same device running OS X and iOS, but switching between OSes instantly and shared data between them. I doubt this will happen anytime soon, but it was a little idea that popped in to my head. I guess the first steps towards this would be porting OS X to arm. I’m not even sure if a iPhone or iPad could run the full OS X, even if it ran on ARM, maybe in the future. Do you think this would be a cool thing if it happened? Have your iPhone be your phone and power your desktop in the same device?

CCleaner for Mac!

I was board and was browsing the Mac App Store and stumbled apon CCleaner! I’ve previously talked about similar apps like AppCleaner, MacKeeper and MacCleaning. Coming from the Windows world I’ve used CCleaner and I love it.  Was excited to see it on the Mac!


The cleaner feature itself to clean up log files, cache, etc is working great! The uninstall feature kept on giving me an error. Not sure why, I’m an administrator. 

This app seems useful on Mac and I just wanted to share it. I think I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars. If you would like to give it a spin, you can download it on the Mac App Store at for free as of this writing. What are your thoughts on this application? Feel free to write your answer in the comments.

Spotify and Skype are like twins separated at birth

Spotify and Skype are the two hottest european startups it seems. Skype does internet phone service and Spotify is an all you can eat social music service. I use both of these products everyday. They also seem to have a lot in common:

  1. European
  2. P2P technology
  3. They both start with an S.
  4. Microsoft is in both of their friend networks. Skype is owned by MS. Spotify is friends with Facebook who has Microsoft as a friend.
  5. Popular among us geeks
  6. Integrated with Facebook.
  7. Social

Gets you thinking, right? Just some random information.  They seem so similar but different businesses. is a really great write-up on Spotify P2P tech. Spotify is like an “Modern Napster” but this time the music industry is happy with it. Skype and Spotify are using peer to peer for awesome, legal and legit uses. I think they both are great examples of legit P2P use.

I recommend using both of these products if you aren’t already. Hope you enjoyed this random post.

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