New Job – Quick Thoughts

As many of you know, I started a new job with the new year. Yesterday was my first day as a Senior Attorney in the litigation group of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. It was a great day, and I’m very excited about the work ahead. I will be doing two types of work: both representing clients in their litigation matters and developing software platforms to augment and streamline the practice of law. It’s a truly unique opportunity to combine two of my skill sets and passions, and I can’t wait to get started in earnest.

I will, of course, miss the outstanding justices and wonderful former colleagues at the First Court of Appeals. But all good things in this life must come to an end, and this next chapter promises to be a great one!

What I’m Up to Now

If you read this blog regularly, you know I have a lot on my plate. Here’s a quick snapshot of what I’m up to.

It’s safe to say 2016 is off to a busy start.

Leaving My Job and Starting a Business

Entrepreneur Name Tag Business Owner New Startup Company

As you may know, I gave my notice at the First Court of Appeals this week. I am leaving the practice of law in order to start a software company, Cereblitz!

Cereblitz makes the first fully-customizable cart for customizable products

I will be developing and marketing an ecommerce platform for selling customizable products, such as products that can be imprinted with text or logos or have other user specifications. I have mentioned the software before, but now I am going to be working on it full-time.

This platform is one-of-a-kind: there is nothing else out there that is available to small and medium-sized businesses for selling customizable products!

I need your help getting the word out! Please help me by doing at least one of the following:

 

How to Stop Random iPhone Vibrations

I had problems recently with my iPhone 6 vibrating randomly. I didn’t get any alerts, banners, or app icon badges that I could see, so it was driving me a little crazy.

It turns out there are two kinds of mail notifications. The first kind is under Settings > Notifications > Mail. The second, which causes these phantom vibrations, is under Settings > Sounds > New Mail. Head there and change “Vibration” to “None.”

h/t http://www.scottyloveless.com/blog/2014/how-to-stop-your-iphone-from-vibrating-randomly

Using SSL with MySQL

If you ever make remote connections to a MySQL database, it’s extremely important to connect over SSL. Otherwise, you run the risk of someone seeing data in transit, modifying data in transit, or, worst of all, stealing your credentials. This could be an utter disaster.

Unfortunately, getting MySQL to use SSL is kind of complicated. Here’s how to do it.

Make Sure SSL is Enabled

First, make sure your installation of MySQL supports SSL. Using PHPMyAdmin, a MySQL command-line prompt, or whatever you prefer, run this command:

You should get a result looking something like this:

If you see “DISABLED” next to “have_openssl” and “have_ssl”, great – that means that your copy of MySQL supports SSL. If you see “NO”, you need to recompile or reinstall MySQL. If you see “YES”, you’re already done!

Create SSL Certificates

Now, you need to create some SSL certificates. Go to wherever you want to store them (I’d suggest something like /home/mysql/certs) and run the following commands:

Enter information as needed at the prompts. This will create self-signed client and server keys for you to use. The last two lines are very important! OpenSSL versions 1.0 and newer create keys in the PKCS #8 format, but MySQL expects them to be in the PKCS #1 format, so you have to run these commands to convert the keys we just created. You can read more about that problem in this Ask Ubuntu question: Enabling SSL in MySQL.

Tell MySQL to Use the Certificates

Edit your my.cnf file (probably at /etc/my.cnf) to include the following entries:

(If you used a directory other than /home/mysql/certs above, use it in the entries here.) If your my.cnf file already has mysqld and/or client sections, just add the appropriate entries to those sections.

Restart MySQL. The command varies by system, but will usually be something like service mysql restart.

Test It

Run this command again:

You should see something like this:

If so, congratulations! You’re done! If not, you might find the post Debugging MySQL SSL Problems on the Percona blog helpful.

Have you had problems with MySQL over SSL? Let me know in the comments! I’ll try to help you out!

Stack Overflow Moderator Elections, Part II

In case you missed my first post on this topic, I am a candidate in the 2015 Stack Overflow moderator elections. I made it through the nomination phase (32 candidates) and primary (30 candidates), and now I’m in the general election with only 10 candidates for 3 spots remaining! I am extremely honored and humbled to have received so many votes in the primary phase, especially with so many amazing candidates. Thank you to all who supported me!

I would really appreciate your vote in the general election! I would also urge you to vote for Martijn Pieters and meager, though I don’t think you can go wrong with anyone in this amazing group.

Larry Niven Programming Quote

Please remember to read all of the remaining candidates’ nomination comments and candidate questionnaire answers.

StackOverflow moderator elections

I’m standing for election as a moderator on StackOverflow. There are many worthy candidates, but I would appreciate your vote, if you’re a member!

Userscript for WebdesignerDepot.com Tweet Round-Ups

If you are at all into web design, you likely read WebDesignerDepot.com’s weekly post on their favorite tweets of the week. If not, you should.

If you do read that post, you will notice that only the fancy shortened-URL links are clickable; the images aren’t clickable. This was driving me a little crazy, so I spent about two minutes writing a userscript to make the images clickable.

If you aren’t familiar with userscripts, they are little bits of JavaScript that run in your browser. You need the GreaseMonkey extension for Firefox or the TamperMonkey extension for Chrome to run them. They can add a lot to your web browsing experience.

Here’s the script. You can install it by clicking here.

Free Website Security Certificates (a/k/a Free SSL Certificates)

If you have a website, you almost certainly need to secure it. Even for a simple WordPress blog like this one, security is a real problem; sites get hacked all the time, and even a site like this one can draw hundreds or thousands of hack attempts per day. Sometimes, it’s because hackers discover a new vulnerability. Usually, it’s an old one that just hasn’t been patched yet. But there’s more: hackers can steal your login info and take over your site just by monitoring your traffic over a wireless network, like in a typical coffee shop or airport.

The solution for this is to get a security certificate (commonly, but no longer correctly, known as an SSL certificate). Typically, these cost $100/year or more, depending on what you need. But there’s good news.

The free option for today is StartSSL.com, which will give you a very basic certificate for free. It still requires some technical know-how, but not much; whoever handles your website maintenance now should be able to handle it pretty easily.

It’s about to get a lot easier. In mid-2015, Let’s Encrypt is launching. Let’s Encrypt is a project of the Internet Security Research Group, which consists of some real heavy-hitters in the tech world: Mozilla, Akamai, Cisco, the EFF, and IdenTrust. It will allow you do secure a website with, basically, one click. For free.

So, cost is no longer a barrier to securing your website. Go do it!

Cereblitz Cart is Coming: A Shopping Cart for Customizable Products

I am very excited to announce the formation of Cereblitz LLC and, with it, the upcoming launch of Cereblitz Cart!

Cereblitz makes the first fully-customizable cart for customizable products

Cereblitz Cart is the First Cart Available to the Public that Supports Truly Customizable Products

Cereblitz Cart is a completely new take on the traditional ecommerce model: you can sell absolutely anything with it.

Traditional carts limit you to items with a few choices – maybe a few colors or sizes – and are basically one-size-fits-all. If that doesn’t actually fit your needs because your products are complex, tough luck.

Cereblitz Cart is different. It is a completely customizable shopping cart, and it supports completely customizable products. With it, you can sell anything, no matter how complex. Need to allow customization, like a custom image or imprint? No problem. Option A is incompatible with Option Q? No problem. Need to allow more than one way to customize the product, price customized products differently, give all the many possibilities their own product codes, and do it all instantly and online? No problem.

Cereblitz Cart is All-Purpose

Obviously, many stores sell customizable products. There are lots of imprintable t-shirt stores, print-your-own-card stores, and so on. Here’s the catch: those are all one-off solutions. They are typically developed in-house, often at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and completely out of reach for small business.

Cereblitz Cart is different. It can handle everything from mom-and-pops to selling a passenger aircraft, and from selling stock items off the shelf to custom web design packages. Really, the only limit to what you can sell on this platform is your own imagination.

And. It’s. Awesome.

We’ve worked hard on this. In fact, creating Cereblitz Cart cost at least $200,000 worth of developer time.

Before working on this software, I’d spent 15 years developing solutions for customers who have unique products: customizable products with countless variations, special limitations, multiple pricing schemes with discounts and add-on fees, and so on. I’ve even owned and run a business that specialized in selling such products. This cart reflects all of that knowledge from the trenches. And we’re committed to making it better all the time.

The result is, frankly, an awesome product that supports:

  • Unlimited products
  • Unlimited customization
  • Special fees and discounts by product, product group, customization, customer, and more
  • Gift cards
  • Easy-to-use themes – use a pre-packaged one or roll your own!
  • An easy-to-use plugin system
  • Internationalization – support as many languages as you like, and handle different date and currency formats automatically!
  • Flexible sales/use/VAT taxes – collect whatever you have to collect, however you need to do it!
  • Built-in split testing (a/k/a A/B or multivariate testing)
  • Lightning-fast load times (most requests load in 1/20 of a second on a very basic server)
  • Secure transactions – security has been a priority from day one
  • Unlimited flexibility
  • And, most importantly, it supports your business, whatever that may be.

You are going to be able to license all of that for pennies on the dollar.

Interested?

Now, it’s not quite ready. Some lucky customers are using it in a private beta, so we can make sure it’s 100% ready to knock your socks off in the next few weeks.

But, if you sign up for our mailing list now, you will be eligible for an exclusive discount when we go live. (We won’t spam you, I promise.)

So, go check out cereblitz.com and get ready for the revolution in flexible ecommerce software that meets your business’s needs!