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What’s in a pipeline – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

WHAT !?
6 months without an update !?
How dare I !!!

Yes, it has been a while since my last update.
A lot of things had to be taken care of. And therefore, a lot has been pushed forward.
That being mentioned, we have done a lot of improvements to the website!

  • Website has been moved to a different host!
  • Speed has been improved by moving to said host and implementing Cloudflare!
  • Security has been improved by implementing more spam filters!
  • More exclamation marks are being added to list items!!!
  • Uptime is being monitored for faster responses when the site goes down!
  • Ideas are being drawn for a new Division system!
  • Monkeys are being trained to train lions, so they can hunt the hamsters that have been roaming free in the bunker.
    Because let’s face it… Even a monkey could do that… Or this is the moment to find out!

As for the things I still need to work on:

  • Improved division system.

Let’s be fair… It has been a long while since I’ve build the current system.
And it looks really weird compared to the rest of the website.
Which is why I’ve created a suggestion box!!! ← Seriously! Let me know what you want!

If you find any issue with the website, please send us a Bug Report through the forums (← that link over there) or through Discord.
I will try to come back with regular updates. But just like 6 months ago, I will make no false promises!

‘Tis but a refactor – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

Small update this time.
Because not much has been changed since the last one.

The website is still up to date, improvements for speed have been made (we should now be on par with last yer, before we switched servers).
And I am still going through the error logs in order to get as many bugs out of the system as possible.

That being said, you all will have seen read the news by now.
I am officially an admin!
Which means that I can finally enjoy all the perks that come with this status!
The perks that I got… Like… Ages ago… When I started doing small maintenance for the site…
But hey… Official title! Whoo!
Step into my office and enjoy some celebratory cookies!

As for TSU related projects:

I’ve been behind on reworking the Divisions page because of the Mammoth!
The last few weeks were filled with blaming PayPal for their shitty API and then celebrating the fact that I finally managed to get the donation system up and running before the event at the end of this month!
Not a small task if you go and check out their documentation…

So yeah… Coding and stuff…
I’ll try to get a bigger update in 2 weeks, but I won’t be able to make any promisses until after the Mammoth!

The environment got locked! – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

Mad Monkey Maintenance

Two whole months without a maintenance report!? How dare I!?
Did I abandon the TSU!? Have I dieded!? Could I finally have gotten a social life!?
No, this monkey did not die… I just slepth through winter to save up on energy!
And dare I say, it did not work… :(

I am not energized, I am not healthy and I am way behind on the promissed deadlines!
Hello 2017, did you miss me yet!?

That being mentioned…
Take a good look at the address bar that you use to navigate from website to website.
You know… That weird thing that contains the web address for this awesome little website of ours.
See anything different? No… Well… Fine! I’ll tell you what’s different!!!

We have this awesome lock on our domain :D
Nice and shiny and green! (Except in Edge/IE… Because Edge/IE doesn’t play with the cool kids and doesn’t use green).
This now proves that all passwords and user input will be secure and encrypted before I or anyone else gets their grabby hands on it!

As to why this took so long after moving to a new server? (Which we totally did, sorry for not writing a big blog post about that)
Mostly because of personal issues and a lack of time.
But with the Gaming Mammoth coming closer, and security being #1 on my priority list.
I simply could not put this on hold any longer.

Also, I am aware that since moving to the new server, the website in general has been very, very slow.
This is #2 on the list. Our previous host had speed over security, while our current host gives us all the freedom we want with the server.
Which means that we can tweak things around and find the perfect balans between speed and security.

If you know server settings/configuration that could help us out, please let me know through Discord :)
I can reward you with an awesome personal marker on our awesome toy soldier map :D

Hey, speaking if the mammoth!
Make sure you share http://thegamingmammoth.com with as many friends as possible!
We need the publicity!!!

Yap… That’s a merge conflict… – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

Some things just don’t add up…
On a weekly basis, I get conflicts on my work, caused my people in the same team.
You would say that is weird, since we’re in the same team and working on the same stuff.
But that’s EXACTLY why we get into conflicts!
We’re working on the SAME. BLOODY. THING!

Which isn’t that bad…
Unless you consider the fact that some of the bigger conflicts, can take up to 2 hours to resolve and test.
Just to make sure that other people’s changes don’t break the functionality you’re trying to implement!

TWO. BLOODY. HOURS!
Almost the same amount of work I put into creating said functionality in the first place!
That really pulls my nails on some days…

Then again… We did sort of turn it into a sport.
That when we know we’re touching the same lines of code.
We’re racing each other to have your changes approved and merged before the other.
Just to mess with their setup and have them resolve and check it all over again.

So far I’ve lost 9 out of 10 rounds :/
No reason to quit just yet, but I might consider alternative options.
Probably something with tape and glue.


That all being mentioned, I finally found someone who is willing to help out with an android app for you all to use :D
Will keep you updated on that in the future.

I still need to work on the new group/division system.
Which has been delayed because of the new Gaming Mammoth site that is in need of a custom (light) management system.

Setting stuff on fire is still a nice thing to do.
As long as it is not our server!

We’re still in the works for migrating the entire website to a different host.
If all goes well, we should have a shiny green lock by the end of the year :D
You’re looking rather cute today!

I’ll branch, just drop the stick! – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

Over the last week I was part of a hackathon.
And it was awesome!

We made great stuff, drank a lot of beers, enjoyed good food and didn’t sleep a lot.
Just the things you would expect when you throw 120 people in a remote location.
And I have to repeat… It was AWESOME!!!

Being out of the office with that many people. All having different ideas and interesting stories of how they started back in their days.
It really was awesome :D

A bit less awesome was when we had to do the “no-code-hour” which involved all 120 people going outside and playing one big game.
Where most of the players had to rush across a field, steal a balloon, inflate it and run back without getting hit or letting go of the balloon.
There were a few selected soldiers who were handed pool noodles. Which they had to use to hit the runners.
And yes… Things were fun… Things went wrong…
Eventually, 2 out of 120 had to be taken to the nearest hospital due to broken/fractured collarbones…
Leave it up to IT people to turn a game with friggin’ balloons and pool noodles into a lethal combination…
Long story short, the no-code-hour got ended after 30 minutes and we were forced back inside to the safety of our laptops and projects.

But enough about that awesome stuff.
It’s time to talk BUSINESS!!!

I have been poking before about wanting to collaborate with other soldiers in order to create an app.
But I’m still looking for ANYONE with experience in creating Android or Iphone apps :/
so PLEASE give me a poke over Facebook or Discord (Do give me your TSU name if not obvious from your profile).

Other than that, I discovered that the ID Card generator is now over 3 years old…
And so is the TSU army map :D
Still need to do some work on automating the locations though…
As well as a major upgrade for the group pages… Perhaps something with Facebook integration and messaging?

All those links yo… You should really check those…
And if that isn’t enough… Here, click this!


This update isn’t really that much of an update due to a lack of sleep.
Just like when I’m doing the charity marathon, everything that involves me being awake for more than 32 hours
ends up with me spending the next few days trying to restore my sleeping schedule and getting the required amount of rest :/

I do wish to improve the group system though, so feel free to flood my inbox with great ideas ;)

There is NOTHING regular about that expression! – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days.
Which results in me throwing comments at people that might come off as rude.

Best example, last week our CTO came in to tell us that he was going to stand down as CTO to look for new challenges within the company.
And the first question that popped into my mind was: “Does that mean you will be losing your assistant that you were showing off the last time?”.

I didn’t mean to be rude or anything.
The moment I asked, I thought is was kind of funny.
It wasn’t until our Product Owner poked me about that question and the fact that the CTO acted quite surprised by me asking.
Though… In the CTO’s defense, he did respond perfectly to it.

“Y… Yes…” *wipes fake tear away*

Can’t blame me for laughing at that moment.
Even if I was the only one of the 8 people that were in the room.

Another example is when people start asking stupid questions like: “Can I ask you a question?”
“Well, you just did!” *Puts headphones back on*

It takes them some time to realize that they have been played, or that I really don’t want to be disturbed because I’m trying to focus on something.
Though they are starting to learn… Now they are asking if they can ask two questions in order to get my attention.
Clever bastards…

But seriously though, I hate it when I’m trying to focus on a certain task and people keep interrupting me.
Doesn’t make it any better if they start asking questions they should know the answers to.
Like: “Hey, wanna go out for lunch?”
Well… Duhh! Of course I want to go out for lunch!
It’s one of those moments where I can get some fresh air AND food at the same time!

Okay… So that’s not a bad question per se, but the fact that they have to ask…
You could just drag me away from the code if I look happy enough!

That being mentioned, I guess I should start writing more funny work moments and stuff…
Or not?


I’m still getting daily mail about people resetting their passwords, which is good! (Only 4076 left to go)
As well as some brute-force login emails, which is bad. But they got thwarted, which is good!

The Gaming Mammoth crew is starting preps for next year’s marathon. VOTE HERE FOR CHARITY!

Are there any app developers in the house?

Can I just go and take a nap now? – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

I’ve been working on a lot of stuff.
Biggest problem with that is that I suck at self-management and that I’m working on multiple projects at the same time.
Resulting in me losing myself in side-projects and lots of distractions.

It’s like I’m playing this awesome adventure game *cough*Skyrim*cough* and never finishing the main story line because there are all these awesome side quests to do.
And never finishing those side quests because that one bloody butterfly won’t let itself get caught!

This does lead to me slacking off and missing personal deadlines.
Because yes… I’ve missed a few Friday updates and am posting this on a Saturday.

But I can’t help it… You know… With me being social and all that…
It’s not like I’m letting stuff fall apart or anything!
I mean… The site is still being updated.
Security checks are still being done.
Attacks seem to have been halted.
And we’re still throwing stones and breaking sticks in order to get the best possible results with everything we do!

That being mentioned, I missed a few Friday Updates due to TSU related activities!
You know… Theme parks don’t invade themselves!
Meat doesn’t cook/eat itself!
Soldiers don’t just ENJOY themselves!

Oh wait… Yes they do :)

For what it’s worth, I’m just happy that it has been an IT friendly month.
Only a few queries related to network of computer issues.
And of course the usual 40 hour work week that provides me with a lot of challenges on a daily basis.
Like pushing away recruiters and poking co-workers in order to play a match of foosball.
You know… The important stuff that you should be doing while working!

Now… If you will excuse me…
I need to go look for a second cat and prepare for a BBQ in the evening.
Someone has to make sure that Gonzo doesn’t electrocute the rest of the #512 :)


Small update again:

Website and all the templates are up to date and easier for me to maintain now :D
The amount of attacks has been reduced to ZERO \o/
Life is still full of surprises

And yes, you are awesome ;)

I rant, therefore I am. – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

People who’ve talked to me in chat know that I’m a really nice guy.
Most of the time…
I know I can flip my shtick if I really need to, and all the others know that only happens when my bucket is really full.
And I can only thank you all for accepting that :)

That being mentioned, I nearly flipped my shtick a few days ago.

I’ve started working out a few weeks ago and Delina started her internship.
Which means that we wake up early, have dinner at (for our doing) late hours and combine that all with an as social as possible life.
Add that to my awesome 9-to-5 job and you’ll get a nice little disaster growing…

I know how to handle feedback.
But when I don’t get enough sleep, I can really stand by my opinion and not move until I’m satisfied.
This meant that, on the earlier mentioned shtick moment, I nearly flipped it at one of my colleagues.

I was talking about some refactored code I wanted added to the website.
And how the refactor meant that some extra (seemingly) non-testable would be added.
This resulted in a whopping 0.01% decrease in code coverage. And he refused to add this to the code base until that issue was resolved.
I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to write a decent test for the new code, and came up with something that I felt good about.
Up to the point where I showed it to my team members.

Don’t get me wrong, they are great.
But when they told me that I just wasted my time on writing a decent test that increased code coverage by 0.05%, I nearly lost it…
They didn’t have any bad intentions. I just couldn’t accept it…
Asking some others however, confirmed that writing testes for the changes I made was a but dull…
And that I could have asked before I actually started with it.

Which only proves that, even when you try to do something good, you can still do something bad (that can be quite good).
And that’s okay! As long as you learn from it :)

Now if you don’t mind…
I’m going to relax my arms and legs.
The last 2 workout sessions really took its toll on me :I


Small update:

The security features we’ve installed over a month ago are proving themselves useful!
I’m also in talks about trying to move the domains (and sub-domains) to an https connection.
This to make browsing and shopping in the armory more safe ;)

There are also still over 4000 members who have yet to update their password due to the events in this post.

I’m also still open for ideas regarding the website.
If you have any, please leave them here!

Nope! Can’t do that now! – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

As I am the only one within my family with direct IT knowledge, I become the go-to guy for all sorts of computer problems.
Having left IT services behind the moment I started my development career, this annoys me deeply.
If you want me to fix your computer, I will do so when I have the time for it, and under my own terms.

This includes me requesting the computer to be freely accessible and any trash/garbage removed.
And with good reason…

Last time I was asked to look at a computer due to slow internet and lots of adware notices.
No surprise, the computer had dozens of toolbars and even more dodgy files saved in the downloads folder.
Good thing I know what to do with these kind of things and people.

Step 1) Disconnect and cleanup!

Also known as “No internet until you clean up all the empty candy wrappers, soda bottles, rotten fruits and other stuff that does not belong”.
I still don’t understand how people can live with that much trash around a location where they spend most of their time…
Of course, after that, I was able to actually look at the total damage and remove most of the problems from the system.

Step 2) Explain and teach!

While the victim was cleaning up the room, I was done cleaning up the computer.
As a last step, I decided to disable the network adapters just to see what would happen when he gets his freedom back.
And sure enough, while I was downstairs talking with the parental units, he could not resist.
Within 10 minutes he would come downstairs and start complain about the fact that he could not get on the internet.

I can be such an ass from time to time :D

Confirmed by the parental units that I am, indeed, an ass. I explained what I did to get the victim to clean up.
The female was impressed, the male was a bit pissed off about the fact that I managed to do something in a way that he could not think of…
Success!!!

Step 3) Reconnect and Recess

After we were all done with our parts in making the workplace a little better to work in, I re-enabled the network adapters.
Confirmed with the victim that all is working again and told the parental units that this would be the last time (for now) that I will keep fixing the same stuff over and over again.

Veni, vidi, vici!

It would take the parental units little over a week to contact me again with IT issues…
I love them… But sometimes I think I should have them pay me for my services…


Small update:

The ID Card Generator has had a small fix regarding new members not having edited their forum profile.
There are also still over 4000 members who have yet to update their password due to the events in this post.

Rebase? REBASE!!! – Mad Monkey Maintenance inc.

I’ve been doing this development/maintenance thing for a few years now.
And I must say, I love it!

Having all these options to mess about with the site and technical freedom (read: Last word against what Dutch would want) is doing wonders to my happy feelings :)
Though, it has not always been like this.

2013

When I started, I talked a lot with both Dutch and Silent in order to get limited information just so I could build the Big Map you people can use today.
This was limited to only locations and no names, so every dot on the map was named “Robot 101” (or something like that).
It was hard to work with, but eventually it turned out great for a first concept.
Throwing everything into a zip file with instructions on how to install and a few hours later, the first version of the map page was born!
It was black, slow loading (with progress bar) and a pain to navigate / search.
But that was my first project that was well received within the TSU, and it opened up new challenges and projects for me to work on.

2014

However… All good things come with bad things… And it wasn’t long before the BIG DUMP OF 2014 happened…
A day not easily forgotten by me, Dutch or anyone else who was active with content editing or forum posting.
It was the day where we lost 2 or 3 days of data because of one faulty plugin update that went haywire.
If it wasn’t for the host creating weakly backups, we would have had a big problem.

Ever since, we run 2 database backups a day and I personally check big changes before anything goes to the website.
And if we had to do a big change, I’d do full backups of the important files so that we could always go back to the pre-“whoops-wait-what” version of the website.
I would also like to believe that this was the moment where Dutch realized that he needed someone else to take care of these sensitive things before people would all point fingers at him.
Basically being able to turn me into the black sheep :L

2015

This is the year Dutch likes and hates me the most for…
I did a real good and real bad in one year…

For the good part, we managed to make the site look a lot better on mobile!
Making it possible for soldiers in the train, on the bus or (secretly) at the office to stay up to date with the forums without losing the look and feel of our trusted system.
This was a big challenge involving a lot of talking with both Dutch (Sys admin / Wallet holder) and Jet (Graphics queen / Moral support) to give you the layout we use to day.

As for the bad… Well… He still dislikes the fact that I am actually writing this in a place where he can’t see it.
Just like how I managed to slip 12 posts from the WRITE division into the system and have them published.
The posting itself wasn’t that bad… But I forgot one thing when it was all over…

You see, we have this nifty plugin that allows us to automagically post to social media.
At some point, I made a full copy of the site to work on some plugins and forgot about this plugin…
Which resulted in more spam from all the posts that had to be published according to my setup…
So yes… A lot of toysoldiersunite.local links got spammed over the internet on behalf both Dutch’s and Jet’s accounts…

Oops :I

But hey… New, good looking website, éh?

2016

Shit is getting real and everything is breaking down!
If I didn’t know any better, I would say this would be the worst year in my 25+ years of existence…
(Luckily I DO know better, and personal matters prove to me that it has indeed been worse!)
Celebrities dying… Jet resigning as Admin… Website getting hacked… Dutch getting married…

Ow yeah, it did bring something good with it :)
You see, last weekend Dutch decided to finish the long due paperwork and gave a party to celebrate the fact that he and his SO got off their lazy asses!
All in all, as big as pain in the butts go, working with Dutch can be fun from time to time.

But working against him still feels better!

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