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I'm a self-employed web developer, family man, nerd, scuba diver, and author of many fine books. Manager/maintainer of the Elgg community site, and core Elgg development team member.


As of today - 20 years of Oilers fandom

3 min read

I came to Canada in 1992, too young and new to the country to know/care about hockey. The oilers failed to make the playoffs from then until 1997.
I was 15, life was shitty (really shitty), but the Oilers made the playoffs and everyone was going crazy about it so I watched.
The oilers were the 7th seed, playing the 2nd place Dallas Stars. This was literally the first time I paid any attention to hockey outside of NHL '94 for the Sega Genesis. I barely knew the rules, but I was a bandwagon fan because of the excitement of the city and my friends. I watched every game, getting more and more excited each time we took the series lead, and getting deflated when the Stars tied it up. With the Oilers unexpectedly up 3 games to 2 in overtime of game 6 the Dallas Stars boogeyman Mike Modano again tied the series forcing it to the epic game 7.
I watched game 7 in the basement of my moms house, with my brothers, on an old crappy tv (CRT right?). Expectations were high. Even though it was only the first round, it was my first playoffs, and I was 6 games invested already. It might as well have been for the cup.
Then Dallas took the lead less than 2 minutes in... and the oilers responded quickly. Then came the Andy Moog show. The Oilers had tons of great chances were denied by some unbelievable saves. The pace was high, full on back and forth hockey, but the Stars were edging out (and mostly out-playing the oilers for a while) and earned a 3-2 lead. In the final minute of the game Todd Marchant gets a 2-on-1, passes to Andre Kovalenko who buries it and ties the game with 19 seconds left. Oilers were about to be eliminated, then a miracle goal, and we're still in it.
Overtime was tense, incredibly fast paced. Dallas was swarming and Curtis Joseph was making all kinds of ridiculous saves to keep the Oilers in it. Then he made the save of his career:
Less than a minute later Todd Marchant gets a partial breakaway and buries the goal that eliminates the Stars, gets Oilers to the second round and cements me as a life-long fan.
Of course it got a little depressing after that for a while, but I was hooked.  This is a good time to be celebrating 20 years.  As of right now we're 2-0 up on Anaheim in the second round and confidence has never been higher.

2+hrs to still not get @SequelizeJS to generate a simple query. Fuck it, raw queries forever.


It wasn't so long ago I thought 16 gigabytes of RAM was awesome. Now I want way more...


Error: Android SDK not found. Make sure that it is installed. If it is not at the default location, set the ANDROID_HOME environment variable.

3 min read

This error has plagued me for a week now.  Everything was working fine until Android Studio decided to prompt me for updates which I did.  Then suddenly I can't build any android apks with cordova.  The frustrating thing is the wording of this error is so common for misconfigurations that trying to track down a solution has been an exercise of pure frustration.

After much digging around and trial and error what appears to have happened is the latest build of Android Studio has changed the file structure of how it's storing the sdk such that cordova can't find all of the required files even if the $ANDROID_HOME system variable is correct which makes the error message even more difficult as it points to an incorrect root cause of the error.

So for anyone else running into this - I completely nuked Android Studio.  I was only using it for the sdk manager anyway.  As far as I can tell Android Studio in it's current format won't work with cordova cli.

Delete the entire contents of ~/Library/Android/sdk

I downloaded the command line tools package from here: (as per the page:  Note that this location is new since the latest release and as of this writing many search results for command line tools installation are out of date.


Unzip the file and copy the resulting tools directory to ~/Library/Android/sdk/tools

Open up the sdk manager with

~/Library/Android/sdk/tools/android sdk

With the sdk manager I installed:

API 25

- SDK Platform

- Android TV Intel x86 Atom System Image

- Google APIs ARM 64 v8a System Image

- Google APIs ARM EABI v7a System Image

- Google APIs Intel x86 Atom_64 System Image

- Sources for Android SDK

API 22

- SDK Platform

- Sources for Android SDK

API 21

- SDK Platform

- Sources for Android SDK


After attempting a new build it looks like it got further but I was greeted with an error of: Error: Please install Android target: "android-23".

So I additionally installed

API 23

- SDK Platform


Next build - new error:


FAILURE: Build failed with an exception.


* What went wrong:

A problem occurred configuring root project 'android'.

> Could not resolve all dependencies for configuration ':_armv7DebugCompile'.


Followed by a list of cordova plugins that had errored out on the build.  I took the armv7 part of that as a hint and installed:

API 23

- Google APIs ARM EABI v7a System Image


When that didn't work, I tried to be smarter and searched for solution first - stackoverflow had at least one resolved hit:

So I installed:



- Android Support Repository

- Google Play Services

- Google Repository


Finally I got a build to work.  I have yet to test the resulting apk, but I'm assuming it's good.


Ordering by numbers is harder than it looks

You know what I mean @NHL ?


Ha! Take that, sql injection vulnerabilities!



Roadmap to web development in 2017

Sometimes I feel like an imposter "tricking" people into thinking I know what I'm doing, but then I see something like this and realize just how far down this crazy rabbit hole I've dug myself.  I've gone through a ton of learning curves over the years...

Roadmap to web development in 2017

Ionic 2 + Electron

5 min read

On a whim (as almost all my self-enforced learning curves tend to be) I decided to try getting Ionic 2 running inside of Electron.  I’ve never used Electron before, but had previously read the docs and had a vague understanding of it.  That said, I did the easy thing and googled for any ready-made solutions.  Mostly what I got were threads of people trying to get it working and either failing and giving up, or never posting again.  The few examples I found where people did get it working no longer worked at the time of this writing (Ionic 2.2.0).

After some trial and error with different suggestions cobbled together from different sources I finally got the Ionic 2 tutorial project running in Electron!  It complained about the lack of cordova.js in the console log, but that’s not technically required for the tutorial… a minor inconvenience for now.


Ionic tutorial running in electron


Note, I apologize, but I didn’t keep track of each reference/site I found nuggets of info on to get me to this point.  Just be aware that most of this was figured out by people smarter than me and I just managed to aggregate the right things in the right order to get somewhere.  Sorry if you were my source and you’re upset about not being mentioned…


Anyway, getting this far gave me hope, so I copied my considerably larger and more complicated project and got to work.

In the project root create a file "electron.copy.js"

// this is a custom dictionary to make it easy to extend/override
// provide a name for an entry, it can be anything such as 'copyAssets' or 'copyFonts'
// then provide an object with a `src` array of globs and a `dest` string

module.exports = {
  copyAssets: {
    src: ['{{SRC}}/assets/**/*'],
    dest: '{{WWW}}/assets'
  copyIndexContent: {
    src: ['{{SRC}}/index.html', '{{SRC}}/manifest.json'],
    dest: '{{WWW}}'
  copyFonts: {
    src: ['{{ROOT}}/node_modules/ionicons/dist/fonts/**/*', '{{ROOT}}/node_modules/ionic-angular/fonts/**/*'],
    dest: '{{WWW}}/assets/fonts'
  copyPolyfills: {
    src: ['{{ROOT}}/node_modules/ionic-angular/polyfills/polyfills.js'],
    dest: '{{BUILD}}'
  copySwToolbox: {
    src: ['{{ROOT}}/node_modules/sw-toolbox/sw-toolbox.js'],
    dest: '{{BUILD}}'



In the project root create a file "main.js"

const electron = require('electron');
// Module to control application life.
const app =;
// Module to create native browser window.
const BrowserWindow = electron.BrowserWindow;

const path = require('path');
const url = require('url');

// Keep a global reference of the window object, if you don't, the window will
// be closed automatically when the JavaScript object is garbage collected.
let mainWindow;

function createWindow () {
  // Create the browser window.
  mainWindow = new BrowserWindow({width: 800, height: 600});

  // and load the index.html of the app.
    pathname: path.join(__dirname, "www/index.html"),
    protocol: "file:",
    slashes: true

  // Open the DevTools.

  // Emitted when the window is closed.
  mainWindow.on("closed", function () {
    // Dereference the window object, usually you would store windows
    // in an array if your app supports multi windows, this is the time
    // when you should delete the corresponding element.
    mainWindow = null

// This method will be called when Electron has finished
// initialization and is ready to create browser windows.
// Some APIs can only be used after this event occurs.
app.on("ready", createWindow);

// Quit when all windows are closed.
app.on("window-all-closed", function () {
  // On OS X it is common for applications and their menu bar
  // to stay active until the user quits explicitly with Cmd + Q
  if (process.platform !== "darwin") {

app.on("activate", function () {
  // On OS X it's common to re-create a window in the app when the
  // dock icon is clicked and there are no other windows open.
  if (mainWindow === null) {

// In this file you can include the rest of your app's specific main process
// code. You can also put them in separate files and require them here.


Edit package.json and add to dev dependencies:   

"electron": "^1.6.2"


  Edit package.json and change the build script

"scripts": {
    "start": "electron .",
    "clean": "ionic-app-scripts clean",
    "build": "ionic-app-scripts build",
    "electron": "ionic-app-scripts build --copy electron.copy.js",
    "ionic:build": "ionic-app-scripts build",
    "ionic:serve": "ionic-app-scripts serve"

Edit package.json and add the main.js

"main": "main.js"

Install Electron and dependencies

$ npm install


Build the project

$ npm run electron

Start the application

$ npm start


and we have a working application!  I clicked around and tested a few things.  It appears to be working, making calls to the external API and getting correct responses.  Cool!



Still some things to figure out, like whether I should get cordova loaded or not, whether it will export as an app nicely, whether there is a good way to do this that can keep the codebase the same and still build for mobile/web, whether I can make this work with a browser production build… those are less interesting details though and can wait for another sleepless learning curve night.  I'll update this post if I find better ways of doing things with this.


[edit 1] - simplified issue with polyfills copying

[edit 2] - created electron-specific build command

[edit 3] - added browser platform and attempted to use browser prod build in ionic - seems to work, but my app needs work with the browser cordova implementation so not sure where issues from that vs electron start/end.

Anyway for that to work I created

ionic build browser --prod
rm -rf www/*
cp -r platforms/browser/www/* www/
npm start

This uses the browser prod build in electron, does so by building for browser prod, then copying the prod files into the local www folder before starting electron.


Kojeon - the saga continues

So Edison has been calling BS on the Christmas Kojeon card because it's a photo-realistic Kojak who is clearly lying on Nick's blanket.  Fine then smart guy, you want to play it that way?  I've got a few things you don't have.

1. Mediocre photoshop skills

2. Google Translate

3. Contacts in Japan with access to the mail system

4. An obsessive compulsion to beat a 6 year old in a battle of wits

Let's see how he reacts when he gets personalized mail from Japan with a Japanese version of Kojeon AND a Kiteon with cartoonized depictions.