Learning someone else’s code

I’ve gone into a group coding project for the first time this year. I have zero familiarity with Github, using branches, merging, making pull requests – and my knowledge of the underlying code (in React & GraphQL) is sketchy at best, although I understand it.

There’s all these terms that I don’t understand. I’ve never used Docker, althogh I understand its purpose. I have no idea what a Redis cluster is, or stunnel, or how the production dev and staging servers work. I’m getting very little help from anyone else at the moment.

It’s a minefield I need to battle through and do my best, but that involves a lot of learning along the way. Lets hope I have the capability to get it done!

Habit stacking 2020

One big discipline I’m trying to adhere to in 2020 is habit stacking.

  • If I sit at the computer – I go straight to Twitter & Gmail. I add Amazon Seller Central onto the habit.
  • When I go and see Mom, I stop off at the supermarket on the way home & pick up end of day bargains.
  • If I take my last sleeping pill, I turn off my computer.
  • If I get an appointment, I schedule a verbal reminder with Alexa.

It’s one acton that follows another action, and you stack them together until a pattern emerges.

There’ll be more habit stacks built throughout the year,but these are the ones I’m starting with, and so far, so good.

My Own Quick Excel Formula Lookups

This will become my own page of quick Excel formulas that I find myself looking up elsewhere far too often! It should flesh out over time.

Excel String Manipulation

Does any cell in a range contain a substring?
(Is the string contained in cell F4 a substring of any of the cells in column B)


Which row number in a range contains the partial match?


Return the contents of the column on the same row as the match.
(if the value A6 is found in the column A:A on AMAZON UPLOAD, then return the corresponding value in column O)


Excel Date Manipulation

Convert the date name into the date number


Fixing Amazon Price & Quantity Update Loader File errors on Mac for Excel

There have been multiple reports of errors with the Flat.File.PriceInventory.TTH file on Excel for the Mac since 2014, and it doesn’t seem like Amazon want to do anything to fix it. Visual Basic Unexpected Error 465 prevents users from saving the file after making edits.

A quick workaround for this is to use Google Sheets. Import the downloaded Price & Quantity Update Loader File, make your updates through your browser on Google, then save it to your computer as a tab delimited file.

Change the file extension from tsv to txt, and upload to Amazon, making sure you specify that you’re uploading a Price & Quantity Update Loader File from the drop down menu there before you upload it.

After many hours, this has finally fixed the upload issue.

Getting Started with SSL on Amazon AWS

I was asked to install an SSL certificate on a client’s subdomain which they hosted through Amazon AWS today. I kid you not when I tell you Amazon AWS is complicated as anything, even if you’re a technical person, and you may struggle to even understand the very basics.

The very basics are this:

  • Amazon S3 hosting is static hosting – for websites that only require a little bit of javascript and no database.
  • Amazon EC2 is hosting for dynamic websites – you run a virtual machine with your database connected website on. When the machine is running, it is called an ‘instance’.
  • An Elastic IP allows you to assign a static IP to an instance.
  • It seems that a Load Balancer is also needed to host a SSL certificate on an EC2 instance, however, testing now has me doubting if this is the case (and it may be that a SSL certificate on the CPanel host is enough)

I intend to learn a lot more about Amazon AWS over the year. What I picked up today was very basic stuff, and it is in no way intuitive. Even the pricing levels are hard to understand. However, it’s meant to be one of the best cloud hosting environments out there, so I am intending to add this to my list of skills.

How to fix a 404 error on Magento Admin Page after SSL install

The CPanel solution I used resets the admin directory to its default location (at /admin/)

  1. Make sure /public_html/app/etc/env.php has the following:
'backend' => [
         'frontName' => 'admin'

2. Go into phpMyAdmin and edit the core_config_data table:
a) set admin/url/use_custom to 0
b) set admin/url/use_custom_path to 0
c) DELETE the row web/secure/base_url
d) DELETE the row web/unsecure/base_url

3. Go into fileManager and delete all the files in /var/cache

This worked for me after installing SSL, and I was able to access the /admin login page again.

Simple New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 (and how to keep them)

Atomic Habits James Clear

If you don’t have a method to keep your resolutions, you’re likely to let them go by the wayside. I read an amazing book last year, Atomic Habits, by James Clear, which was a lifechanger for me. He outlined four ways to start building good habits along with other numerous tips to kickstart a better life. I can’t recommend the book highly enough to anyone who wants to keep their new year’s resolutions.

After reading it, I’ve become a lot more ambitious with my own resolutions this year – I think this book has given me a great guide and blueprint on how to achieve the things I want to.

1. Make your New Year’s Resolution Attractive.

Make Your New Year's Resolution Attractive

2. Make your New Year’s Resolution Obvious.

Make Your New Year's Resolution Obvious

3. Make your New Year’s Resolution Satisfying.

Make Your New Year's Resolution Satisfying

4. Make your New Year’s Resolution Easy.

Make Your New Year's Resolution Easy

Here’s a selection of my New Year’s Resolutions and how I intend to keep them this year!

Around the house

1. Turn off electric items when they’re not being used

Get Alexa or your home system to check in with you on this, and let Alexa turn things off for you! I’m particularly bad at turning off my computer at night before I go to bed, and something I need to get on top of. Thanks to technology, you can have a constant check-in – be that by your phone, or by email, or by other reminders you leave yourself.

2. Keep the heating down

Again, Alexa can keep control of this if you have the right installation. I have to keep my room at a certain temperature at all times due to my tortoise (who is being over-wintered), but there are still times I can turn the heating off entirely for a few hours and save some pennies.

Diet and exercise

3. Less delivery takeaways

By Habit Stacking, I will set up a routine where I go to the supermarket directly after seeing my mother. This should cut the amount of home delivery takeaways I get by half.

4. Start going to a gym

Whilst it’s tempting to rush into this on January 1st, I’ll leave it until later in the month. Starting on the 1st January sets yourself up for failiure, as everyone else will be expecting you to fail. In a few weeks, once I have the essentials covered through my freelance work, I will start to look at gym memberships.

Finance and work

5. Pay off the credit cards each month

Credit can be reused and recycled to pay off the bills if needed, so don’t be scared about using the money you have to pay off the cards each month (unless you’re worried that they’ll cut your credit limit for whatever reason). The aim is to put less and less on the credit cards each month, until eventually you have no credit card balance outstandng.

6. Don’t worry so much about work.

Whilst keeping to targets and making the minimum amount to survive is essential, don’t sweat it so much when you’re past the target. Despite having my personal goal, I’ll worry less about getting things done this year and make some more room for fun.

A Life of Win in 2020

My dream is to live a winning life in 2020. This is ground zero.

I’m one for making big resolutions at the start of the year and never carrying through with them. For example, I could resolve to update this blog daily – but I know I won’t. However, I am using it as a way to keep myself accountable, and I hope to provide others with the inspiration to follow through on their goals in the 2020s, too.

My main aim this year is to make $100K working for myself. Everything else will pale into insignificance, probably, as I’ll be so flat out working, I may not find the time to rest. This blog is also here for me to share my goals for a given week; report on whether I’ve kept on track, whether I’m stressed and doing too much, and as a means to organize my thoughts. It’s no lie when I tell you I have 6 businesses on the go, and I’m not devoting enough time or energy to any of them. My aim this year is to balance them all and stop neglecting the ones that have slipped through the net.

Even with that goal in mind, I have to be careful not to allow the simple joys of life pass me by. I have to make time for my friends and family, get out in nature, exercise and look after my mental health.

2020 is a reset year for everyone. A time to start again. A time to welcome a new decade and to let go of the drama and misery that may have haunted you before. Whatever your new year’s resolutions are for 2020, I wish you luck, and hope my blog provides some inspiration along the way.