Geekiness, Ramblings

What I learnt this week

Image of the video rendering in progress

So, a few quick things I wanted to write about this week.

Video editing is painful

As part of the ASMR series, I’m uploading a bunch of videos that show me typing. This week’s video with the CM QuickFire Pro has been delayed a few days because I’ve been playing around with Da Vinci Resolve.

The verdict? I’m taking a sledgehammer to a nail. This tool is powerful but I need to relearn how to edit videos from scratch. Why did you delete Movie Maker, Microsoft, why?

Rendering can be nuts

As part of my “learning curve” with the software, I ended up exporting a file that was 65GB. Don’t ask.

This explained why my subsequent export of the same video in a different file format took only minutes instead of hours.

Can’t edit noise in the software

For some reason, I could not edit sound to remove noise in Da Vinci. I am going to export and then add the sound back from Audacity when done. I thought I’d removed all noise earlier. Annoying? Yes, very much so.

Exercise hurts

Finally upped my fitness game from mere walking in Pokemon Go to actual exercise. Yesterday (Wednesday) was Day Two, and for some reason my thighs hurt. Note to self: It could also be due to the fact you walked about 10,000 steps a day last weekend.

Still, it is better than almost nothing of the last two years.

Conclusion

This week was a week of pain, to say the least. See you all next week.

Ramblings

Comfort zone and New Year’s Resolutions

I made three New Year’s Resolutions this year to myself. One was to keep active according to the active time recommended by my health apps (no sweat, seriously, which means I should look into upping the challenge levels). The other was to go through my stash of Big Bad Wolf Sale books – this has been harder, because my attention span has shrunk over the last few years. I am getting there, somewhat.

The third, and one I thought I had in the bag, was a goal to write 2000 words a day. Now this may seem like a lot, but when you considered that I averaged around 1700 words a day during Nanowrimo, it looked like something I could do.

Erm… about 18 days into the New Year and to say I am failing epically is kind of a major understatement.

I feel like I need to mention a few qualifiers.

  1. I went into this challenge knowing and expecting that I would not be able to write 2000 words off the bat. That is a goal that would be nice but unrealistic. I instead aimed for at least 300 words a day, with a view to ramping it up as I hit it consistently.

  2. This would have covered everything non-work related, which includes this blog post you are now reading. So it was a fairly low bar to set in the first place.

So when I say that I am epically failing, I am, because even by this low bar I can’t seem to muster the discipline to do so.

Writing even twice a week and publishing a blog post is plenty enough, but the thing is it isn’t that I lack the material nor the skill, it’s that I lack the commitment to timeliness.

Which is why I am writing this, and why, hopefully, you will see a video at the top of this blog post later.

I am trying to document my adventures in writing using a medium I actually don’t really like (yes I am aware of how ridiculous it is).

I am basically videoing my attempts to write every day, with a view to recording the sound as ASMR type video.

Part of this is sheer spite – Google recently revamped their Youtube videos, and so I basically need to get about 4000 minutes of viewtime each month and then about 1k subscribers in order to be eligible for monetisation. So I’m creating short videos that hopefully won’t require too much editing.

Two is forcing myself to at least keep to a semblance of a routine. Something like this should not take me more than an hour or so at most, with the actual recording taking about 15-20 minutes. I foresee the biggest problem I’ll have is with editing sound – I would prefer to record this in Audacity before I merge them all in VideoPad, which is a software I will review.

Will this work? Will it fail? Who knows? At the very least I will be able to say at the end of the year that I tried.

And getting out of your comfort zone is never a bad thing.

Ramblings

[Quickie] Innisfree Christmas 2017 box

Last December, I got tipped to one of the best deals I’ve seen on Innisfree products by Fiona. For RM120, you would get:

  • Green Tea Seed Serum (RRP: RM98)
  • Green Tea Sleeping Pack (RRP: RM58)
  • Green Tea Mineral Mist (RRP: RM22)
  • Orchid Enriched Cream (RRP: RM111)
  • Black Green-Tea Mask (RRP: RM111)

So that’s about RM400 worth of products for just RM120. Did I mention that everything here is full size and not those sample sizes? And because I made a purchase of at least RM120, they also threw in a Bija sample kit.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get the kit, but a random conversation with Rin led me to my purchase because of the Orchid Enriched Cream (anti-aging). I was already on my last quarter bottle of the serum anyway, so that made two items I wanted to get.

I ended up using the Black Green Tea Mask and the Orchid Enriched Cream first before anything else (mom got the Green Tea Sleeping Pack as hers was running out). The online reviews for these two products vary between “Mreh” to “OMG THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER” as beauty products tend to.

Impressions: Black Green Tea Mask

The Black Green Tea Mask is an interesting experience. According to the website, it contains 55% fermented Jeju green tea squeeze, obtained through fermentation and ripened by cedar. Supposedly, it is a great moisturiser and antioxidant.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this, except it was surprisingly strong on the tea scent. It was very calming and gentle on my skin. You will know when it’s on your skin, as it has a somewhat heavy feel to me, but once the absorption process begins it’s gone.

So I tried this twice, once following the instructions aka cleansing and toning before masking, and the other as an in-shower mask as recommended by Kathy of Your Seoul Key. The first time, it was fairly heavy on my skin, but the cleansing process left my face looking fresher and calmer.

The second time, my face felt much softer. It also felt that I didn’t need as much as the first time, probably because my face was a bit more moist and the mask could be spread much more easily. Interestingly enough, the shine on my face had cooled down quite a bit (there was much more during my first trial two days before this) but it seemed that I could see more uneven skin tone (or could just be the lighting from the computer).

Either way, the mask is a really great step if you want a luxurious and relaxing spa-at home session. I love it for this alone.

Impressions: Orchid Enriched Cream

This cream is… heavy. It also takes quite a bit of time to be absorbed into my skin. In case you’re wondering, this is no mean feat considering my skin tends to absorb almost everything in a matter of seconds rather than minutes. Also, my forehead becomes super shiny but my cheeks are ok.

The Orchid Enriched Cream works better as a night cream for me, though the worrying part is that I can feel it itching around the edges of my face. This usually indicates a skin reaction, but I’m going to trial this for two weeks as I’m coming off the part of my cycle where my skin usually breaks out anyway, so we’ll see.

Was this a good buy? Yes! Will I end up repurchasing? Check back in one year. :P

Geekiness

Implementing SSL for WordPress on Exabytes

Back in April 2017, Exabytes announced that they were going to provide free SSL certs for all those on the Shared Linux Hosting plan. In May I activated it, but it was only recently that I realised my site was not redirecting by default to the https version.

Turns out I missed two key steps.

The first is relatively easy to do for most WordPress admins and should not harm your site. It’s basically:

  1. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > General (usually on the left sidebar).
  2. Under the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL), add a “s” to the http, so it will be https://WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS
  3. Save and you’re done here.

The 4th step requires adding several lines of code to your htaccess file. This file is a configuration file for servers running Apache Web. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to download a copy of it to your hard drive and/or copy it somewhere on your web server before making any changes to it.

Now, the Exabytes support site says to add the following code to your .htaccess file:


[IfModule mod_rewrite.c]
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS/$1 [R,L]

If you’re having trouble with that, then you might want to give my method a try. It’s quite simple really.

Just add this to the first line of your htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS/$1 [R,L]

So if your file has code in it and looks something like this:

BEGIN W3TC Browser Cache


AddType text/css .css

Just add the rewrite code above so it will look like:


RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.WHATEVERYOURDOMAIN.IS/$1 [R,L]

BEGIN W3TC Browser Cache


AddType text/css .css

Then save and either clear your cache or test the URL in a private browser. It should default to https:// with a Secure notice (if you are in Chrome). Special thanks to Razier for helping me figure this out.

Ramblings

So Long, 2017!

Wow.

Didn’t expect December to sneak up on me so fast.

Sorry this blog has been so inactive the past few months. I’ve not updated it for a variety of reasons, but the chief is mainly lack of energy and inspiration, plus battling with the feeling that my screams were going into the void.

As funny as it may seem, a combination of Nanowrimo, low self-esteem at work and trying to journal every day via WriteADay (which has failed whenever I am at home and have access to GDocs and am too lazy to look at phone) has basically encouraged me to write.

In terms of setting down hours to write.

I noticed I now have short spurts where I feel I need to be writing. Not necessarily creating, because that word means a completely different thing to me, but just to be putting down words.

And that digressed pretty wildly.

So I’m writing this just to mention a few things:

Blog updates

  • RSS Feeds:
    I’m killing Feedburner. It’s long overdue; I’ve been putting it off simply because Feedburner itself is still running.

    • Subscribed via RSS readers and/or browsers: If you’ve subscribed anytime before today (4 December, 2017) via your browser’s services I think you should be fine.
    • Email subscribers: You’ll need to re-subscribe, sorry! I’ve got a widget in the sidebar for it.
  • Changed themes: Mainly due to previous theme somehow ending up switching my “Previous Posts” page with the RSS feed page from Feedburner (which is also why it has been removed). This theme is much simpler and cleaner, I hope.

  • More postings? Probably. The biggest obstacle I have to overcome is the inertia to write and publish. It’s been… weird and sad to say the least.

Life updates

This year has been fairly interesting. A few notable milestones:

  • Finances
    I bit the bullet and dug deep into one of my emergencies fund to clear off my credit card debts. My study loan too, should be repaid in full by the end of the month. This means that in January, I should be hopefully only be saddled by long-term debt aka my housing and car loans.

  • Shopping
    I admit I bought a lot of things this year. Unlike previous years though, I don’t think I went that crazy, but among the noticeable purchases were:

    • Bought a new car, because my old one was condemned and my brother wanted his MyVi back.
    • New HP – I got the Galaxy Note FE (aka the Note 7) which was also one of the reasons why I decided to simply clear off all my credit card debts.
    • Bought a new monitor too, to replace the one my brother lent me all those years ago. I consider this payback for having to deal with his crazy ex.
  • Health
    This year has been about recovery. Refilling the creative well. While I’d like to think I’ve been fairly successful, a few things have stood out:

    • End of year slump
      Towards the last quarter of the year, I often get itchy butt syndrome. I notice this is also accompanied by a dip in productivity and errors made.

    • Return of the viral fever
      I had viral fever earlier this year. Took me out for almost a week. To top it off, I also had rashes at the end of the the fever. The itch was really bad and annoying because why in the world did I get rashes after the fact?

    • Hello weight gain
      I have stopped running for the past few years and suddenly I’m larger than I’m used to (gone from a size XS/S to a M/L depending on the cutting). While I like the size of my boobs, the fat around my waist has me worried, so I will probably take up Pokemon Go as an excuse to walk and exercise more outside of mall running (I work in a mall now, window shopping is a legitimate exercise).

What’s next in 2018?

My wishes are simple: more cash (period, I just want more money) and healthier lifestyle.

My goals on the other hand, have nothing to do with my wishes (ha!). All I wanna do is write the two stories I have bouncing around in my head and sell some more to others. Simple, aren’t they?

The voice in my head is laughing at me, in case you were wondering.

Have a good 2018 everyone!