P90X: The First 30 Days

One of my goals for this year, has actually been on my to-do list for the last 2 years, is to go back to a weight below 200 lbs. At the start of each new year, since graduating from college, I’ve made it my goal to shred some pounds, I start diets and going to the gym only to find myself at the end of the year in square one: overweight. This year I did start a “diet” which really means that I’m eating healthier and smaller portions, but I didn’t plan any specific exercise routine per se. I did know that I wanted to reach my goal by October, a goal that I share with a co-worker who told me all about his diet and about an exercise program he wanted to try out. The exercise program is called P90X.

I went online to try to get some info on this P90X thing and all I could find was infomercial crap and some youtube videos of people’s transformations using the program. I said to myself “heck, got nothing to lose” and got the P90X Extreme Home Fitness with Tony Horton – DVD set @ Amazon. I have to admit I was very skeptical about the P90X program, but to my surprise it is really intense.

So far I’ve been on the program for 30 days and I feel very good both mentally and physically. My actual weight has not gone down dramatically (~7 lbs) but I attribute this to my decision of not following the program’s dietary strategy. I do know that the diet plan will help me shred more weight that the just the exercise routines, but it is really difficult for me to adhere to the plan. Anyhow I must say that I still have to master all the routines, ab-ripper, plyometrics and core synergistics are IMO a bitch, the rest of the routines I can manage well. From all the routines that come on the DVD set (12 routines in all) my favorite ones are: Kempo-X, Yoga-X and Cardio-X.

I have to say that I’m very happy with the program and there seems to be a lot of community support on the internet. For instance when I started tweeting about my P90X experience, other fellow users replied back offering help and support. I have to say though, some of them where actually “spamming”, but others where real people, interested in only helping. I’ll try to make posts when I reach days 60 and 90 to document my progress. I really want to reach my goal this year, lets see if P90X can help me reach it, as Tony Horton would say bring it! I know I’m up for it.

Some bloggers who document their P90X journey:

Going to Start Developing Templates

Lately I’ve been bouncing ideas with some friends on ways to earn extra passive income. So far the most reasonable ways are making templates and ads on this blog. There are many articles( like not by the hour and 20+ Passive Income Resources) that also cover this topic and they show more ways of doing it; however they don’t work for me personally.

Anyhow, in about a month (after I get a new computer), I will test the waters of selling templates. I’ll make a simple template and I’ll put it on Theme Forest, which seems to be the most simple way to showcase and sell themes right now; and although I’m not raving about the payout structure I still think its fair enough.

The question now is, what kind of template to make? I’m personally not too happy with Joomla development so I think that one is out and I’ve never worked with Drupal so that one is out too. That leaves me with a plain html template and WordPress, I think both take about the same time to develop, so by looking at the current popularity of WordPress I think it would be smart to start out making a template for WordPress.

In conclusion, my target will be to make a simple WordPress template(ie. no support for widgets unless I change my mind) and trying to sell it between $10 and $15 dollars on Theme Forest. Hopefully after two months on the market I would have gathered enough information to either make me want to make another template or make me look elsewhere for passive income sources. I’ll try to write report by Jan 09 with the results of this experiment.

First Joomla Project

I’m happy to announce that I completed my first joomla project-Exotic Car Collections– A project collaboration between Jonas(who came up with the idea) and Myself(who put the back-end together). A little background about this project:

About Two months ago I read in one of the forums that I frequent a post by someone looking for help setting up a site. At the time, I did not have a full-time job per se, so I was interested in jumping into projects just to get my name out there and to try different technologies that I might not see in a regular basis.

So Jonas, who wanted to build the site, told me his idea of having a site to post pictures and articles about exotic car collections. I thought the idea had potential so I decided to help him start the site. I proposed Joomla for the back-end as I did not have the time to build a whole site from scratch. However I had never done a full blown website using Joomla before; I had only experimented with it on a few occasions but nothing serious. Anyhow after some difficulties at the beginning I got to set up all the components and basic foundation to have the site working the way we wanted; all while Jonas learned the ins and outs of Joomla since he was going to take care of the content and day-to-day site management. Long story short we released Exotic Car Collections last week to the public.

So far no major problem has arise, but as with every project something will eventually come up. I do hope that we can improve the quality and usability of the site as time allows; but I see it difficult as I just started my Graduate Degree last week and my job’s work load is steadily increasing. Regardless I’ll try to find time to keep polishing the project.

Secure Contact Form Results in Blank Page

In this website I’m using the Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form v.2.0 wordpress plugin. After installing and configuring the plugin I tried submitting the form but all I got was a blank page after submitting the form.

I searched google to see if someone was experiencing the same problem but couldn’t find any detailed information, just someone saying that all they got was a HTTP 406 error in their logs. I checked my error logs but didn’t find that error; however, upon inspecting my raw access logs I saw some 406 responses from the server. So the blank page was indeed the 406 response from my server. From the definition of HTTP 406 response I learned that the problem could be that the server didn’t like the values I was passing it.

Now the 406 response could be raised by a couple of things. One of them is mod_security, if this is the source of your problems you could add some lines to your .htaccess to disable mod_security, read this solution on this HTTP 406 post. That being said, the solution didn’t fix my problem so I had to look for another suspect. My next step was to check my php configuration; this is where I found that there was a module installed that was redirecting to 406! The module’s name is suhosin, which is another security measure that is used for php. Now since I’m in a share host I cannot change the configuration of suhosin.

So I contacted my hosting company and asked them if they could change it but they said no. Which I understand, why change the config for just one guy’s code. However they gave me a more detailed log error which pointed out what part of the code was raising the problem. The problem was that some values where too darn long and looked suspicious to suhosin. The solution was to make them shorter.

The form_id, spam trap and send value where the values that where too long for my host’s suhosin configuration. The original code was:

$form_id = ''.$fd.''.$fp.''.$fl.''.$fv.''.$fh.'';
$trap1_value = ''.$fp.''.$fv.''.$fh.''.$fl.''.$fd.'';
$send_value = ''.$fh.''.$fd.''.$fv.''.$fp.''.$fl.'';

The new code:

$form_id = ''.$fd.''.$fp.'';
$trap1_value = ''.$fp.''.$fv.'';
$send_value = ''.$fh.''.$fd.'';

After making this change the form worked, anything larger value would result in a 406 response again. I don’t think this is a widespread issue or I would have found a solution quickly but I guess sh*t happens. If this post helps you or you have a better solution leave a comment.