500 Days Sober: My Life is not perfect

I enjoy sharing every 10 days of sobriety. With a milestone like 500 days I hoped I’d have something profound to say. I don’t, but consistency is an essential aspect to my life. So here goes…

My life is not perfect. I do not expect it to be. I don’t want it to be. Perfect is unrealistic and exhausting.

Had my life been “perfect” I would not be the man I am today. I grew out of challenge, heartache, and darkness; much of it self-imposed.

I realize my circumstances are better than most.

Life is ambiguous. A tension between who you are and who you will be; our facticity and our transcendence.

I balance being ok with who I am today while seeking to be the best person I can be tomorrow.

I am grateful for what I have in life. I experience a lot of joy.

I also battle depression and angst. I worry about my niece and nephew. I wish I did more for my family. I wish we were closer.

I have the most supportive friends in the world. I hide at home many nights because I’m still learning how to connect with people without alcohol and drugs.

I have a yoga practice I love. I beat myself up over it. I call myself lazy. I know I need to keep breathing / moving / trying. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t know why. Breathe.

I remember being an asshole. I sometimes think I am too nice. I say the wrong thing all the time. I know better. I still do it. I think I’m being funny. I’m not.

I wish I was impeccable with my words. Some people find the humor. Some find me off-putting. I don’t have to please everyone. I can’t please everyone.

For all my accomplishments and responsibilities, I still can’t manage to keep my apartment clean.

I often wonder what’s more important, helping solve today’s problems or solving interplanetary travel? Does anything truly matter after you die? Where should I invest my time?

Am I happy? Happiness is so temporary. Tomorrow I could be sad.

I prefer stronger and more resilient rather than happy or sad.

I am all these things. Often all at once.

I like myself even if I think I have small hands.

Namaste y’all.

Day 496: Graduating and looking for your first job? Do what Kate did.

Finding a job right out of school with no experience is challenging.

With graduation season upon us and s many new graduates trying to figure out how to land their first job, I thought I’d share how Kate Butcher and I met.

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to an organization at Georgia College I helped found nearly 20 years ago. I hoped to pass along three points of wisdom I had distilled from my own journey.

  • Take opportunities before you think you are ready.
  • Seek out, do not be afraid of, feedback.
  • Suspend your need to be right.


The next morning I received a LinkedIn message from Kate referencing one of the points of the speech, how it resonated with her and a request to learn more about an entry level sales position at SalesLoft. Her message was personalized, relevant and to the point. And maybe most importantly the message was more about me than her 

To test her seriousness, I asked if she could be at the SalesLoft office at 9am on Friday, less than 36 hours of receiving her initial message. She agreed to meet on Friday.

Upon meeting her she was poised and prepared, and as I learned more about her I realized she had an aptitude for technology. She double majored in marketing and management informations systems.

Many of my colleagues, my network and I hire for positions that don’t have tracks in traditional colleges, and I thought maybe Kate was not aware of all of her possibilities when she inquired about the sale roles. I have the good fortune to work with very strong female technology leaders at SalesLoft. I asked for favors so Kate could spend time with them and learn about their teams.

We don’t know where it will end up, but she got her foot in the door by being the right amount of assertive and respectful, and she found a friend and mentor in me.

 

Day 460: A dedicated yoga practice changed our lives

460 days (Butler) and 768 days (Flo) sober: A dedicated yoga practice changed our lives.

I started to get to know Flo in May of 2015. We both signed up for a 3 month Ashtanga Yoga immersion at Balance Yoga.

As you learn Ashtanga, teachers begin to talk to you about the benefits of a dedicated practice. 

They first convince you to practice Mysore style which is intimidating.

Mysore is self-led. There is no teacher up front telling you what to do. You memorize the sequence, and you do the same sequence every fucking day but somehow it’s always different.

No music. Just breathing.

When you enter you think everyone is going to look at you. You haven’t learned about drishti yet.

Everyone looks like advanced. You are a beginner. Everyone is beginning something.

There is talk of a daily practice, 6 days a week at sunrise except on moon days. What the fuck is a moon day? You will quickly begin to appreciate moon days.

You begin to notice what affects your body. To maintain your practice you begin to sleep more and eat healthier.

An article this week read, “Watching live music is better for your wellbeing than yoga.” Using a heart monitor and psychometric tests “experts” measured “wellness” after a concert and a yoga “session”.

Sutra 1.14: sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra-ādara-āsevito dr̥ḍhabhūmiḥ

Practice becomes firmly grounded when it has been cultivated for a long time, uninterruptedly, with earnest devotion.

1.20 śraddhā-vīrya-smr̥ti samādhi-prajñā-pūrvaka itareṣām

śraddhā means having faith you are on the right path.

Practice must be pursued with trust, vigor, memory, absorption and discernment.

1.21 tīvra-saṁvegānām-āsannaḥ
The goal is near for those who apply themselves intensely.

1.22 mr̥du-madhya-adhimātratvāt-tato’pi viśeṣaḥ

Even among these, there is further differentiation of mild, mediocre and extreme intensity.

The benefits of yoga are found with dedicated, consistent practice over time. The immersion was about committing to the practice in this way. The article is talking about one session which is simply exercise

This is something we didn’t fully understand until years later. We were not able to commit back then, but our teachers never gave up on us. We are committed now and have faith we are on the right path. We help each other.

Namaste.

Unregister custom post types in WordPress Themes

Remove Wordpress Post Types

I have a few WordPress themes that are just easy to work with. I know them inside and out and can spin up a site very quickly. However, these themes come with custom posts types I don’t need or want, and I like to keep the content management workflows as lean as possible.

To remove unwanted custom post types set by themes you simply unregister them post type.


//working with a theme that is easy to builid in but come with some posts
function custom_unregister_theme_post_types() {
global $wp_post_types;

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[“portfolio”] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[ “portfolio” ] );
}

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[“testimonial”] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[ “testimonial” ] );
}

}
add_action( ‘init’, ‘custom_unregister_theme_post_types’, 20 );

In this particular theme there are a number of custom post types. Chapter 12, “Two is Two Many,” of Understanding Software by Max Kanat-Alexander has always stuck in my mind. If I find myself cutting and pasting code there is I can probably find a more generic solution. He writes, “I do this as soon as I’m tempted to have two implementations of something.”

This function could very easily start to look like this:


//working with a theme that is easy to builid in but come with some posts
function custom_unregister_theme_post_types() {
global $wp_post_types;

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[“portfolio”] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[ “portfolio” ] );
}

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[“testimonial”] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[ “testimonial” ] );
}

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[“review”] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[ “review” ] );
}

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[“blog”] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[ “bog” ] );
}

}
add_action( ‘init’, ‘custom_unregister_theme_post_types’, 20 );

So you can begin to make this more generic by storing the post types in an array and making the rest of the function generic. PHP’s foreach construct provides an easy way to iterate over arrays.


//working with a theme that is easy to builid in but come with some posts
function custom_unregister_theme_post_types() {
global $wp_post_types;

$arr = array(‘portfolio’,’testimonial’, ‘course’);

foreach ($arr as $value) {

if ( isset( $wp_post_types[$value] ) ) {
unset( $wp_post_types[$value] );
}

}
add_action( ‘init’, ‘custom_unregister_theme_post_types’, 20 );

Day 440: Finding Ways to Keep Butler Sober.

A few hours ago my friend Rachel drove away. Several of us shared one last meal at a favorite Ethiopian spot before she headed to Michigan to start her new job.

Rachel has been a pillar of Balance Yoga Atlanta for much longer than I have practiced there. Her dedication to her practice and her love for our community is inspiring.

As I make excuses to stay in bed on Monday mornings (the Walking dead ran over), Rachel is there when the shala doors open. Whether 3 people or 15, she is there, in the front, doing her practice. Her practice, the practice she needs to do for her with no judgement; just simple dedication.

I met Rachel over 4 years ago after I started practicing Ashtanga yoga at Balance. The first time we had a real conversation was at a shala community potluck. Overweight, probably drunk and with a thick Southern drawl I felt out of place at a yoga vegan potluck. She noticed and was kind enough to start talking to me.

When I “decided” to stop drinking on Jan 1st 2017 I did not know Rachel well, but at a point when I needed support the most, she simply starting being there.

I put “decided” in quotes because originally I only committed to a few months of not drinking. I had practiced for three years , and I could barely make it through half primary series, and I was perpetually injured and sick. I hypothesized not drinking for a few months would allow my body to heal and build strength. I knew I need to stop drinking completely but was afraid of that commitment.

It didn’t occur to me that Rachel cared about me and my sobriety until one weekend after a hike she posted, “Finding ways to keep Butler Raines sober. Today’s activity was a 3 hour hike at Arabia Mountain.”

Since then we have been on many hikes, ate many brunches and had many conversations about life. She is always there encouraging me to practice yet reminding me to take the rest my body needs and to not judge myself for any of it.

Why she decided to care so much and take the time to help me I don’t know, but I know I am sober today,  and I am a better man because she did.

I look forward to practicing together again soon.

 

Transferring Drupal Apache Solr configuration files to EC2 Solr instance.

I decided to put Apache Solr on a separate EC2 instance. A requirement of this module is that you use the core configuration files from the Solr API module. If it was on the same server we could just copy the files but since this is a different server we need to move them either from server to server or local machine (laptop or desktop) to the Solr server.

We will use the secure copy protocol which is based on SSH secure shell protocol. The command is scp.

You need to locate the fully qualified path to your private key. I am not sure where you store your but a common place to store your private ssh keys are /home/.ssh

You will need to public DNS of the server you are copying to.

I like to login and make sure that the program we need, in this case scp, is installed.

whereis scp

This will copy to the home directory.

scp -i /home/.ssh/my-key-pair.pem /path/solor_module ec2-user@ec2-198-51-100-1.compute-1.amazonaws.com:~

I think it easier to just copy to your home directory and then move (mv) or copy (cp) once you have it on the remove sever.

This all would have been a lot easier had I just put Apache Solr on the same instance as my Drupal website, but I like playing around.

Day 430 of not drinking: LinkedIn Helped Change My Life.

Butler Raines LinkedIn

As I stepped up to talk about our product vision, the question hit me, “How did this Southern boy from a town of 500 get here? Six years ago I was teaching high school chemistry.”

Sixteen years ago I set out to get a PhD in chemistry at the University of Florida. Although I enjoyed my research in nanomembranes and quantum dots, I gravitated to teaching.

Computers, and later the internet, always fascinated me so I started a website to help my students with their chemistry questions. A friend in computer science recommended Drupal, a platform written in PHP, as a framework for my question and answer forum.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I did not finish my PhD.
With my masters degree and hurt pride, I took a job as an chemist in Savannah before pivoting to teach a few years later.

Thinking it would be a good for my resume, I kept the chemistry website going. As the website grew, my skills grew out of necessity. SEO (my #1 skill on LinkedIn) began to drive traffic to the website. Higher traffic required me to learn how to optimize servers and databases. My teacher salary “inspired” me learn about ads, and the advent of social media changed everything.

I started freelancing as a web developer to supplement my income.

In 2008 I set up a LinkedIn profile. Based on my SEO knowledge, I made some assumptions on how LinkedIn search worked and optimized my profile around my experience in Drupal and PHP. I started meeting more people and landing more projects. One summer Randi, a recruiter for NDN, found me on LinkedIn. I took the job shortly after. It was the culmination of all the skills I developed since graduate school.

As NDN grew, we hired a VP of Product, and I met my first product mentor, Rob Sheppe. I joined his team shortly after.

One morning I woke up to a LinkedIn notification on my phone. It was a message from Kyle Porter asking to chat about “determining the future.” Yesterday I celebrated my two year anniversary at SalesLoft as Head of Product. I have grown like never before, and the people I work with at SalesLoft inspire me daily to be the best me I can be. Thank you.

Installing Software on Linux from Source Code

install from packages when possible
Sometimes the package manager  may not have the updated version.

In keeping with my previous posts I will use the program htop as an example. This time I will walk you through how to install a program on Linux from Source code.

What is source code?

 

Download the source code of Htop and compile it on your system.

 

wget is preinstalled on your Linux machine

Using Source Code

wget http://hisham.hm/htop/releases/2.1.0/htop-2.1.0.tar.gz
tar xzf htop-2.1.0.tar.gz
cd htop-2.1.0
./configure
sudo make && sudo make install


Compile htop from the Source on CentOS

Another option is to compile and install htop from the source. This option is useful when you want to install the latest version of htop.

 

Here is how to download the source and install htop from the source

 

Download the source files using wget

 

Wget is a free software package and command line tool used for retrieving files using widely-used Internet protocols like HTTP and FTP.

It is likely preinstalled on your Linux machine but as always we can check with our

which searches your for your not only for the executable but also if it is in the $PATH environment variable.

Is wget installed an in my path?

[ec2-user@ip-172-30-1-107 ~]$ which wget
/usr/bin/wget

yes it is here!

whereis locates source/binary and manuals sections for specified files.

To find the paths of $PATH environment variable

echo $PATH
[ec2-user@ip-172-30-1-107 ~]$ echo $PATH
/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/opt/aws/bin:/home/ec2-user/.local/bin:/home/ec2-user/bin

This basically mean any executables in any of these path (directories) will excute from the command line regardless of where you are in the file system if you have the right permissions.

Installing programs on Linux from command line.

To learn how how to install new programs on your Linux machine we will start by examining a preinstalled program called top.

The program top provides a real time dynamic view of resource usage and currently running processes. It can be invoked by the command top on the command line.

Typing top into the command line of your terminal starts the top application. The upper part is a summary of resource usage and the bottom part under the black line in the screenshot is the running processes.

You even see here that the user, ec2-user , is running top because I am!  The top part is showing me a summary of how many processes are running, how much CPU I am using and how much memory is available and being used, and the bottom part is breaking the usage out by each process. Pretty awesome.

If you played along and you now have this list of processes running on your Linux machine, you will want to get back to the command line prompt by simply typing “q” for quit.

This is not an exhaustive tutorial on top. The top program is used here so I can show you a few things that will help you when you install your first program on your Linux machine or EC2 instance.

OK I will show you one top specific command.

Typing

$ top -a 

will sort the top process list by memory so you can see which processes are taking up the most memory. This is very important in server management.

In the command  top -a the command is top and -a is an option you can set on the command. You can find options by reading the documentation on top.

Let’s explore top a little bit. This program came prepackaged but where is top “installed”? Another way to ask that is, “where is top’s executable binary?”

Linux has a few other commands that can help us answer that questions.

We have three pretty good options:

  • whereis
    • whereis locates the source, binary and manuals sections for specified files
  • which
    • which locates the executable file associated with a given command
  • find
    • find searches for files in a directory hierarchy

You might be thinking, I thought this tutorial was about installing new programs on a Linux machine. It is! Bear with me. I am hopeful the stuff I am explaining will save you a lot of headache in the future.

The goal of this tutorial is to install your first program on your Linux machine. We can get into specifics later let’s actually do what we came to do.

To install our first program, htop, we are going to use the package manager, yum. Htop is a interactive process viewer for Linux like the preinstalled top, but is a bit more visual and provides more information than top. Htop is a great system monitor.

$ sudo yum install htop

Now simply type htop into the command line.

$ htop

$ which htop
/usr/bin/htop

You can see that htop is the in the same directory, /usr/bin/,  as top. 

When we check the permissions of htop we see that the two executables have the same permissions, group and users.

ls -la htop top

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 121312 Jul 24  2013 htop

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  58400 Mar 17  2015 top

 

The permissions read -rwxr-xr-x

file –

Read Write Execute

Read   –        Execute

Read  – Execute

So any user on the system can execute this file.

$ echo $PATH

/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/opt/aws/bin:/home/ec2-user/.local/bin:/home/ec2-user/bin

 

usr/bin is in your path so you can execute htop simply by running the command htop anywhere by any user in the system.

Analyzing the permission, groups, owner and path will be important in running programs after you install them.

 

 

 

Why you need an Amazon Elastic IP Address.

If you are using Amazon Web Services and EC2 instances, go ahead and setup an Elastic IP address.

I am just going to save a you a little time here. We have chosen to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it is easy to create and terminate free Linux based servers thought their EC2 instances. We can try things out, and if I need to start over we can just terminate the EC2 instance and start again. Of we can quickly back it up and revert back to a previous state if we become frustrated.

However, my hope is that you get to a point where you are building an application you are interested in continuing. Inevitably you you’ll need to stop and restart you EC2 instance.

Whenever you start your EC2 instance it is assigned a public IP address and a public DNS. The public DNS resolves to the public IP address. You will be using these to connect to the server, and maybe to request your web application.

However, if you stop and restart this server, both the public IP address and the public DNS will change. You will then have to go update these wherever you have used them. It could be in your SSH command or your SFTP settings or in your local hosts file you are using to resolve virtual domains on your Apache server.

Regardless, it is annoying but there is often a price to pay for convenience, and it is super convenient to be able to spin up free computers whenever you need them.

We get around this by using Amazon’s Elastic IP addresses.