What I Want My 2019 to Be About

2 weeks ago

We've been in 2019 for a month now, and it's time for me to buck up and do what I say I'm going to do. I want to try harder. I want to be more inspired. I want to have creative drive. I love thinking about doing all of these things, but I don't -- at least last year I didn't. Last year I went in to the year having the same intentions, but I fulfilled none of them. I want to take advantage more of my creative outlets like I did in 2016. That was a very creative year for me in terms of quantity. I want my blog to have more tech articles on it. I love tech. Why don't I write about it? I want to just put out more articles in general. I want to make more videos. I've been practicing a song for a cover I plan on doing soon. I just wish someone didn't live above us. I feel like I'm disturbing them when I sing since it's a little loud. I just need to move past that though. If I don't I won't record anything ever.

I just make so many excuses for myself and end up doing nothing. This mindset extends to my life in general. I need to be more accountable and responsible. I need to be a better person and have more discipline. This year is going to be good. One reason for that is I'm getting married this year! I'm so excited! Anyway, enough making excuses. Time to do.

I have an Apple Watch!

2 weeks ago

The Apple Watch isn't something I've desired since it came out. However, I've always kept up with the upgrades it's been given. My brother was recently given the Series 4 version for Christmas by his girlfriend. He offered me his old Series 0. I tried giving it to Sarah, but she wanted me to have it! She's so sweet! Thanks, babe! NOW IT'S MINE!

Note: the former owner of the watch needs to remove it from their iCloud devices before you can use it.

After resetting it and syncing all my possible apps that had Watch apps, I was finally ready to go! I was really excited! At first, I noticed how much I liked the aesthetic of this accessory. The last time I wore a watch, I was in 7th grade, 13 years ago. I feel cool and hip now. I have another watch band other than the included one, and it's upped my style possibilities. I'm about to get another set tomorrow, and I'll be ready to be fashionable as heck. The customizability of this watch really enable you to complete your look if you so choose, and I really like that Apple did that.

The Series 0 is a good device. It's old in terms of tech, but I'm getting great use out of it. I wish it were faster and had a longer lasting battery, but I can really understand it's doing exactly as well as it can. I got this thing for free too, so I can't complain. I really like notifications being on my wrist and checking them there instead of on my phone. It's a lot quicker to turn my wrist than to pick up and unlock my phone. I really like this new way of interacting with notifications.

I enjoyed choosing which watch face I wanted. I went with the modular watch face. I made the colors all white to keep it minimalist (throws up). The complications I chose were Date, CARROT5, Fantastical, Drafts, and Battery. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by not having chosen other complications. If I do start to feel like that, I'll definitely make some changes; but I'm good for right now.

I've been using Drafts 5's dictation functionality to take notes. Many podcasters I listen to would rave about this feature, and I was jealous. Now I can do use it too! It's really great. So far it hasn't gotten any of the words wrong either which is very impressive because Siri does all the time. I've also been absolutely loving seeing the weather on my wrist instead of needing to check an app on my phone. I plan on using Siri more on the Watch even though I just said it doesn't listen very well. I want to start adding things to Todoist, my main to-do list app, using voice commands. I really hope this becomes my new way of doing it, because that would be so much faster, and it syncs everywhere.

This watch has offered so many conveniences I didn't know I wanted, but I'm really glad I have them now. I'm looking forward to getting more used to this device and everything it can do for me.

Watch Bands

Stack and SSH Issues

1 month ago

I recently had an incredibly frustrating time with my MacBook Pro. There were 2 things giving me trouble: I couldn’t run local websites with a database; I couldn’t ssh into my Linode for Bloganueva. I’ve been able to resolve these issues, but it was a horrible time. This post is meant to chronicle what happened leading to these problems and how I fixed them. This is not only for myself, but for those who may also run into these issues. I want this to be a one stop shop because there are so many answers out there, I figured it would be nice to have everything in one place. I hope you find this helpful!

Last week I tried running a local version of my work’s website using Valet to make an update, but I got an error I’ve never seen before. I tried a little troubleshooting, but nothing was working. Then I tried opening the local version of Bloganueva, but that didn’t work either. I opened up Sequel Pro to try some more troubleshooting, but I got this:

ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to local mySQL server through socket '/var/run/mySQLd/mySQLd.sock' (2).

My boss told me he just ran into this same exact problem. His solution was to wipe his whole computer and start from scratch. I really didn’t want to do that though. I researched a whole bunch of possible solutions, but none of them seemed to be working. I started to realize that I accidentally updated Homebrew without paying attention to what it was doing, and everything broke. My version of mySQL was super old. Homebrew updated it to version 8. I was on some version of 5, I’m not sure which revision it was. There is a huge compatibility issue between version 5 and 8. I tried looking for answers concerning this, but I didn’t find anything. Before wiping my whole computer, updating to MacOS Mojave, and starting over, I followed steps to uninstall Valet, PHP, and mySQL and reinstall everything. I wanted to give it everything I had before I took this extreme step. After using your computer for a while, it’s setup exactly how you want it. Software updates often break things, so you’re afraid to upgrade. That’s why I waited so long to upgrade from Sierra to Mojave. I tried nearly everything to no avail, so I decided to obliterate everything and upgrade. My boss reminded me to make sure I have all my files and folders, even my hidden ones. I did think about them, but ultimately I forgot to back those up. Those included my isa_pub files. Yay! That caused my second problem which I’ll talk about later in this post.

After setting a few things up, I was ready to start installing. I installed Valet and PHP 7.1, and I confirmed I could run local sites that didn’t have databases. I installed mySQL 8, and database websites still weren’t working. At this point I was feeling incredibly frustrated. I was getting an error similar to

#1062 - Duplicate entry '1' for key 'PRIMARY'.

It was one of the same errors I was getting before I wiped everything. I couldn’t really find a satisfiable answer for this problem that didn’t involve messing with my databases. I thought to myself, I wonder if I had a previous version of mySQL installed before. I LISH’d onto my Linode server (because I couldn’t login: details below), and I had mySQL 5 on it. So I knew it must’ve been some version of 5 installed on my machine. I uninstalled mySQL 8, and installed mySQL 5.7. I was FINALLY able to import and use databases in Sequel Pro. However, my websites still weren’t working. I was almost at my whit’s end. Then my boss reminded me that since mySQL requires you to setup a password now, I needed to ad that to my database config files, wherever they were. After this, all of my local websites, databases and all, were working. I was so relieved. Until… I remembered I couldn’t SSH into my Linode server. This was the next problem I had to solve.

When it rains it pours, am I right? I looked all over for solutions again. Tried them. Nothing worked. I tried so, so many things. Nothing was working. I couldn’t believe I came this far, and still not everything on my computer was where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t going to feel the same until I could do this. I FINALLY found the solution that was right for me. I word it like this because there are so many out there that work for others, but not others, you know? I had to change my sshd_config on my Linode server to allow root and password login. After this, I was able to scp the local keys I generated. THEN IT WAS FINISHED. I felt so damn good after this. This was the last step that mattered to me to make my laptop feel like home again. Sheesh.

I wanted to put this post together to have as a one-stop-shop for an issue like this. Answers are all over. It would have been nice if I only had to go to one page. I hope this helps anyone out there!

Order of events:

  • I tried running local versions of my work’s website, but I got an error I’ve never seen before.
  • I tried using Sequel pro and got this: ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to local mySQL server through socket '/var/run/mySQLd/mySQLd.sock' (2).
  • I realized I must have accidentally updated Homebrew, and it updated Valet, mySQL, and maybe PHP.
  • I researched multiple solutions and tried them.
  • I wiped and upgraded to macOS Mojave.
  • I tried installing Valet, PHP, and mySQL.
  • Valet and PHP worked.
  • I installed mySQL 8. It still wasn’t working.
  • I installed mySQL 5.7 and was FINALLY able to import and use databases in Sequel Pro.
  • I realized I needed to change the code in my websites to include the password mySQL’s installation now required.
  • I realized I couldn’t ssh into my Linode for my website.
  • I reset my root password using the Linode dashboard and LISH'd into my server.
  • I researched multiple solutions and tried them.
  • I finally changed /etc/ssh/sshd_config to allow root login and password login.
  • I was then able to follow steps to get my ssh key working again.


I finished a knitting project!

2 months ago

I finished my cowl! I've been working on it for who knows how long (months). It was supposed to be a hat, but I didn't gauge (ALWAYS GAUGE); and it became too wide. I kept going because I had hope that it could just be a super floppy hat, but it seemed grim as I kept knitting. The Tipsy Knitters, the knitting group Sarah and I go to, suggested I make it into a cowl. At first I was apprehensive just because I really wanted it to be what I originally intended, but I eventually gave in. I'm really glad I finally finished a knitting project. My cowl has quite a few mistakes, but it didn't matter to me because I wasn't giving it to anyone. It was good enough for me to finish.

I'm proud of myself for finishing it. It was a good learning experience. I made the mistake of purling a whole row, and Sarah showed me how to fix it without pulling it out! I'm better at recognizing what stitches are supposed to look like. I learned how to bind off and cast off. I'm just better at knitting now, albeit I'm still a rookie. I've been knitting for a whole year pretty much, but I've never finished anything. Now I have!



Weekly Artifacts | The ENIGMA Machine

3 months ago

I remember when The D-Day Invasion of Normandy exhibit reopened last year, one of my coworkers told me to go check out this particular artifact. I remember walking up to it and thinking how cool it looked and how special it must be that it gets its own case. I don’t mean special in a good way either. The Germans used it to transmit encrypted information to each other. This machine was an incredibly integral part of their operations. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t know the Allies had cracked the code; the Allies just let them think they didn’t know anything. The Allies would play along with what the Germans thought they knew so the Germans remained clueless to the fact they had cracked the ENIGMA Machine’s code so to speak. It looks similar to a typewriter, but its functionality was so much more complicated than a typewriter’s.

This artifact makes me think about what it must have been like to think you were tricking your enemies, but they knew the whole time. I wonder what soldiers cracking these codes thought. Like, wow you are really dumb. I also think about what would have happened if we never had the Polish help we received to figure out this machine. Would things have ended up the same way? We’ll never know, and I’m glad.


Encryption has been around for a very long time, at least simpler versions of it. It’s very easy to think about today’s technology and how much of it relies on encryption. The Germans were relying on it heavily back then, but it failed. Nowadays, we rely on it to secure our privacy, but even then it may not work; the same way it didn’t back then. It doesn’t feel good when something as supposedly “strong” as encryption doesn’t work anymore. I wonder, what’s the next step for this technology?


Make Better

5 months ago

Since Twitter did weird things with its API, third-party Twitter clients haven’t been the same. They’ve lost some key features that helped make them better than Twitter. I didn’t like the Twitter app because it wasn’t chronological and had a bunch of promoted tweets (ads). That's also the #1 complaint I've heard from anyone else using it. Now for me, the game has changed.

I was listening to the TechMeme Ride Home the other day, and one of the stories was about someone finding out how to put Twitter back to chronological order. This is amazing! Now I’m totally fine with using the Twitter app and Twitter in the browser. I was inspired by this to look into disabling the ads, and I've done that as well! If you've been missing how Twitter used to be, just follow the steps in these links!

We're engaged!

5 months ago

I made a video to remember and commemorate what happened! Thinking about when I did it and how happy I felt made my smile not leave while I edited this. I'm so, so happy right now!

I proposed!

5 months ago

I proposed to Sarah on Saturday, August 28, 2018! This weekend we took a little vacation in New Orleans (that I planned as a surprise). On Friday we went to Herbsaint for some dinner. After that I surprised Sarah with the hotel! We stayed at the Intercontinental New Orleans. Saturday morning we ate breakfast at Pete’s on the first floor. We went back to the room before we went out for the day to rest and watched some SVU. Sarah was washing her hands, and rounded the corner. SVU was still on because I didn’t want her to be suspicious of my turning off the TV. She was in the middle of asking me something, but I was down on my knee. I caught her completely off guard. That’s when I asked her. She said yes! After all of our happiness we called and texted all our family and friends. We walked around the city and visited a few places. We went to the rooftop pool to cool off when we got back. Then we took pictures!



We finished the night seeing Crazy Rich Asians at Canal Place (it was good!). Sunday morning we ate at Pete’s again. Before we checked out we relaxed just a little bit more on our balcony. It was the perfect weekend! I couldn’t be happier! I’m going to marry the love of my life!


I Love Podcasts!

6 months ago

I love podcasts so much. I started listening to them in 2016 per recommendation of my girlfriend Sarah to listen to “Serial.” That was it. I was hooked. Season 1 was great. The story was gripping. It has great production value. I’m glad my first podcast experience was so good. I can only imagine someone listening to a podcast for the first time, and everything is horrible about it. That would be quite a negative first impression of the medium. However, that wasn’t the case for me, and I wanted more. The first genres I would listen to were true crime and tech. Last year I started branching out. I stumbled upon podcast after podcast. At the time of writing this, I’m subscribed to 80 podcasts. You may ask, “Marshall, why are you insane?” Here’s the answer!

How am I subscribed to 80 podcasts?

Subscribing to a podcast may be daunting at first, especially if they have a gigantic backlog of episodes. You obviously don’t have to listen to every one, but I was once tempted to be a completionist upon subscribing. Don’t do this. I had to tell myself that podcasts are meant to be enjoyed, they’re not an objective you need to complete. I continue to struggle with this today since I subscribe to so many, but I’m getting better at reminding myself of that.

The podcast app I use Overcast has a Smart Playlist feature that adds every new episode from each podcast to an assigned playlist automatically. I’ve realized that having this happen first and then deleting the episode from the playlist if I don’t want to listen to it is easier than adding the episode manually to that playlist.

The Playlists


Insight has podcasts I aim to learn something from, mainly about people and how they’ve achieved their goals.

News has podcasts about general news to tech news. I listen to this playlist every weekday morning while I walk Bob and wash the dishes from the previous night.

Politics has podcasts that talk about the people and policies involved with our country and the world.

Recreational has podcasts that I can relax to and simply enjoy.

Tech has podcasts that have to do with my favorite industry right now.

Having this sort of organization really helps me not feel too overwhelmed with everything I want to listen to; however, it doesn’t help me get through it all. I need to listen to everything sped up. I’ve written about the speed I listen to podcasts already. I’ve had to gradually “train” my listening to understand fast talking. I got used to 1.5x, then 2x, then the next notch then the next notch. With all this, sometimes it’s still not enough. One more thing I do to help with the quantity is that if an episode doesn’t pique my interest within the first 2 minutes, I just stop and move on to the next one.


Why do I listen to 80 podcasts?

I listen to podcasts for fun. I listen to podcasts to educate myself on things I never really used to pay attention to. I listen to try to help myself become a better person. I love learning about different perspectives from all kinds of people. I’m really trying to be a more considerate and understanding person, and I believe hearing different opinions is helping with that. I really like hearing about people’s backgrounds and history leading up to where they are today. They’re often more than willing to share their struggles and triumphs. That’s really reassuring, especially if you’re in a place in your life where you think it’s not going that great.

Additionally, I don’t necessarily listen to certain podcasts because of the subjects they cover. I listen because they have guests that I want to hear. Quite often if I see a tweet of someone guesting on a podcast, I’ll just download that one episode without subscribing to it. I just really like hearing things I haven’t heard about the people or celebrities I follow on social media. It really helps to get a better sense of him/her.

They’re my favorite right now.

I just really love listening to podcasts. I could listen to them all day everyday (for the most part I do during weekdays). I feel like they help my mind stay at least a little sharp. If you haven’t tested out these waters, I 10/10 would recommend.


Podcasts In Header Image
ATP (Accidental Tech Podcast)
Somehow I Manage
Sword And Scale
Service On Celluloid

Apple Hits 1 Trillion Dollars

6 months ago

Apple has just become the first US company in the world to reach a one trillion dollar market cap. That’s incredible. That’s so much money, and I wish they would give me some; but I’m really excited for them. I really love their products and will continue to use them for the foreseeable future. I know they have big plans, and this one trillion dollars basically means they can accomplish anything they want. To the future of Apple!


4 months ago

I've been really trying to get rid of paper in my life since I started college. Instead of taking notes in a notebook, I started taking notes in a notebook app on a laptop or tablet. I just really liked the idea of having everything digital and becoming more technologically savvy. I took this mentality to my jobs if applicable. I just wrote everything down on my computers. It wasn’t really until my current job that I started writing a lot more down than usual. I was using your standard notepad with the binding at the top. It was doing the job, but then I learned about the Panobook.

This is another product I found out about on Studio Neat’s podcast like I did with the Glif. They make a lot of unique and well designed products, so it really intrigued me when they came out with a notebook.

I really liked the idea of having a nice notebook instead of just a generic notepad. It helped that it seemed on trend with this bullet journaling fad that I was starting to take an interest in. I wanted to supplement my digital productivity with something analog.




How I Use It


Freedom of Expression

Having the Panobook enables a freer space for me to express my ideas. There's virtually no restrictions, there are just guide dots and lines that are super helpful. There's something about writing your thoughts down without any restrictions. You can just start writing or drawing without having to worry about conforming your thoughts to fit them in whatever app you’re using.

Page Utilization

I write down my work tasks or more formal personal tasks in landscape on the “left” side of the “right” pages. I also take notes that have to do with those tasks on the “right” side of the “right” pages. I’ve decided to segment each “right” page like this because it works really well for how I do my work. I write down random thoughts or lists that don’t matter as much or draw on the “left” pages. I usually use the “left” page in portrait mode. When I first got my Panobook, I really considered how I was going to use it. I’m glad I figured it out pretty quickly because I don’t know about you, but I really like it when a notebook I’m using is used in a very consistent manner. That’s just me.


The Shape

I really like the “panoramic format” of the Panobook. It fits very nicely below my laptop at work in landscape mode. I can also put it to the right of my laptop if I want to write on it in portrait mode. I’m glad Studio Neat decided to make it in this shape because I believe that enables more versatility for different situations depending on how you want to use it.



I’ve mainly been using my Panobook for daily work tasks and notes associated with those tasks. I’ve also used it for some simple drawings and simple to-do lists for other things. I’m really enjoying this type of notebook. It’s really versatile, and that’s exactly what I want right now. If you’re looking for a notebook, I highly recommend this one.

ReactJS at Work

6 months ago

I’ve been really interested in learning ReactJS for a while now. It’s the new hotness, and everyone wants to do it. Employers are looking for this skill; and to pile onto that, there’s a sort of a peer pressure amongst developers to know this tech now. If you don’t know it, you’re not keeping up with the times. I’ve felt this pressure, and that coupled with ReactJS’ versatility really made me want to learn it. I’ve done some tutorials, but they covered really basic aspects of the framework. Last week I finally got the chance to dive in a little more. It was really fun!

My boss and I were trying to add something to one of our Drupal sites built with ReactJS. We worked together to figure things out. I always enjoy learning something new in code, especially when I’m able to execute it properly. This was definitely a great learning experience. I’m glad we worked on this together because it helped me understand everything more quickly than I would’ve if I would’ve done this on my own. Having someone that you can bounce ideas off and that has solutions you didn’t think of is such an asset. We were both super excited about this particular fix! A day or two later I fixed something small by myself. That was really great because I did this one solo having learned what I did the day before. My understanding has really grown dealing with these fixes, and I’m really excited to learn more about ReactJS!