Tech: SugarCRM importing dates problem

I was writing an module for SugarCRM so that users could regularly import data from another system. I kept getting dates that would only import as 2000-01-01 (01/01/2000).

The data was being read in correctly according to the logs and seemed to be processed as UTF-8 just fine, but the dates kept coming in defaulting to the standard "I don't know what this date is" SugarCRM result of 01-01-2000...

Recommended: Go Daddy for SSL, Domains, Hosting

If you've read my postings before, you know I like Network Solutions for domain management and for virtual private server hosting.

I really like Network Solutions because they provide ironclad domain management (their security monitoring saved my bacon when one of my domains was being hijacked after my former VPS hosting service helped (through incompetence) a hacker get enough access to hack my Network Solutions password). I manage about 40 domains through my account there and really appreciate their services.

As far as running a VPS, I really love for developer-focused VPS hosting. They have a really beautiful hosting environment, a fantastic feature set, and a super competitive pricing model. Hosting & Servers 468x60

However, when I want to get "down and dirty" domain name hosting, high value/low cost SSL certificates, or lowest cost site hosting, I usually go to

Here's why...

Microsoft's "Foot Shooting" Windows 7 Non-Upgrade Path

Well, looks like Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot again, this time with the Windows 7 non-upgrade path for Windows XP.

The only way this could be beneficial to users of XP is if MS has decided to extend support, based on the ongoing success of netbooks running XP Home or the success of the "dual license" approach of companies like Dell that are making an extra $100, forcing users to buy XP Pro if they want to avoid Vista.

While Microsoft has traditionally only provided an upgrade path from the most recent version of Windows, ignoring the huge install base of XP (especially if you add in the Vista installs that have been replaced with XP), is crazy.

When you add in problems with driver support, the need for a complete re-install, and the promise that "your existing programs may not work", users might as well starting looking a Apples and Ubuntu!

Quick tip: What to do when cron skips certain scripts

Many Unix/Linux distros come with cron already configured and a set of directories to drop your scripts in: /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.daily, /etc/cron.weekly, and /etc/cron.monthly, depending on how frequently you want them to run.

This normally works just great, but my debian-based (Ubuntu) server wouldn't run some of the cron scripts that I had copied from my previous (CentOS) setup.

It turns out that this distro's "run-parts" command (which is called from crontab) skips scripts with a period (.) in the name, so my drupal.cron script never ran.

I simply renamed the script from drupal.cron to drupal and it runs "like clockwork".

The reason run-parts ignores the scripts with a period in the name is that, unless the LSB (Linux Standard Base) option is evoked, then, per the man page:

If neither the --lsbsysinit option nor the --regex option is given then the names must consist entirely of upper and lower case letters, digits, underscores, and hyphens.

Google Announces Chrome Operating System

It's (almost) here! Google announces the Google Chrome OS.

What does this mean to you and me? According to Google, "it's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be."

Here are the facts...

What to do if Barracuda Anti-Spam is Blocking Office 2007 Attachments?

I support several Barracuda Anti-Spam servers and have been very happy with them.

However, one annoying problem has crept up since Office 2007 was released. Since Office 2007 uses zip compression to embed information in document files, my zip blocking was blocking otherwise legitimate attachments from passing through the filter.

The fix was simple enough...

Spam Increase in June 2009

Spam Hit!

Anybody else notice a huge increase in spam between June 1 and June 18, 2009?

I have one location that normally processes between 24,000 and 30,000 emails a day, with about 500 to 800 being legit. The messages processed at that location have increased about 10,000 per day until the 16th when it reached about 80,000 messages per day (still having 500 to 800 being legit).

It got to the point where I had to contact Barracuda Networks tech support so they could change some configuration settings and help me adjust the MTA's settings to cut down the number of messages scanned, just so that the inbound message queue didn't get bottled up and swell past 15,000 messages. Since the changes, the barracuda interface itself is much more responsive.

I won't go into all the settings that were adjusted, but I will say that the techs I worked with were very helpful and we are now "weathering the storm" in much better shape than we were before.

We were getting creamed from IP addresses from jp, nz, au, br, cn, etc. We were also getting a ton of messages with bad user IDs. Emails with viruses normally run about 2% of messages, but we started getting a much higher percent with viruses, along with the massive volume increase.

Personal: Surgery and Recovery

I'm preparing for my surgery scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, 2009. This "robotic radical prostatectomy" should cure me of prostate cancer and eliminate the need for any further treatment.

I'll be in the hospital that Tuesday and then going home the next day. If things go well, I'll be back on email and cell phone on Thursday (Friday at the latest). I'll be unable to drive for 2 weeks, but will be working to get back to a normal schedule as soon as it is reasonable. This means I'll be working from home "as tolerated" until around July 7th. From that point, I'll be on lifting restrictions for a few months, but I should be OK to work, other than that.

During that Tuesday and Wednesday, if you need the "please do this whenever you can get to it" kind of assistance, you can just email me or leave a voicemail and I'll get back to you as I can. If I can't deal with an issue from home, I'll be able to schedule a tech visit from my backup team, as circumstances dictate.

Don't worry about contacting me during the two weeks I'm recovering at home. If things go as planned, I should be pretty bored.

I would appreciate it if you would remember me in prayer on June 23!


Outlook Auto Complete

The Outlook auto-complete feature is kind of nice, but it can be unpredictable and strange when it starts to recommend certain addresses.

Here are a few tips to help get things under control...

Poem: The Platypus

Behold the amazing platypus
duck-billed, web-footed, and venomous
seems to have fun
having eggs not live young
more than one can be called
    or just platypus

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