You May Like This One
MrKent Helping Tech Support
If you have read the last blog you know the company I rent my server from made changes which caused the clock to be off GMT by about 1.5 minutes. That is not acceptable for the International Time Clock app which thousands of people use. I had created a ticket which told tech support about it and that I needed it corrected ASAP. Within a few days I received an email saying they were "working on it."
Several years ago this site was getting so many hits on the typing tutor pages that I had to rent a server which I controlled and had no other web sites on it. I am now renting a "virtual private server" which works like a dedicated server but can be affected by one or more of the other websites on it, but it costs much less to rent. I say that so you can understand that even with my bad memory I can recall how to set the server's time to GMT.
So, after a week of no response I used their "Chat" feature to talk to tech support myself. To make a long story short, I told them where to look and how to make the correction. Then I said, "God bless" and closed the chat. About 15 minutes later I received another email telling me "They" had found the error and corrected it.
In the mean time I have rewritten the code in the International Time Clock so the app's GMT time is derived from somewhere other than the server I am renting. That should help make life for all time clock users and myself much easier.
Thanks for your patience and God bless.
Server Time Errors
At the mercy of the Uneducated
I have to apologize again (and again) for the service I have been getting from the administrators of the internet server I rent from back in Virginia. Somewhere between 9/19/2018 and 9/20/2018 some IT person did some maintenance which caused everyone who clocks in to the Time Clock to receive a message telling them their time zone will be corrected.
That is an automatic message I have created for whenever an error arises. So I apologize for that annoyance that came about this morning as I write this. But, on top of that, the GMT time on the server is about 1.5 minutes ahead of the actual GMT time. That is NOT acceptable and I have sent a ticket in to have that adjusted ASAP.
I wish there were something I could do to fix it myself but I am at the mercy of the IT technicians at Dream Host, where I rent the server. It may help if some of you folks would attempt to chat with them about the lack of quality service we have been receiving over the past six months. I don't know if it would do any good but it may help.
In the mean time please understand that my heart is into this website and how it can be a blessing to folks like you. Again, I apologize and God bless you.
On the morning of May 25, 2018 I began receiving emails that my time clocks were not working properly. After spending some time trying to figure out and fix whatever was wrong I decided to just upload the latest backup of the database. That fixed the issues they were having but unfortunately, the latest backup was the 23rd of May. That left all of us with no data for the 24th.
I am still trying to get all of the other problems fixed that occurred during the night between the 24th and 25th. It is as if either someone at the server location was trying to "mess" with my site or the server company had some unknown issues.
It always makes me sad when these things occur as I have the website here to serve. Those who rely on this service do so trusting that it will provide satisfaction. When that does not happen everyone suffers.
Thank you to all of those of you who continue trusting MrKent.com even when someone somewhere else causes problems.
Time Zone Notification
Mrkent.com Server Relocated
If you are using the Time Clocks on MrKent.com you have recently begun to see a message appear telling you your time zone records were in error but will be readjusted.
The issue is not related to anything you may have done to change your records. The company that rents out the server used my MrKent.com was relocated from the mountain time zone to the eastern time zone (Two hours earlier). Because all of your records were also moved, as soon as you arrived at the "Clock-In" page the Time Clock application noticed an inconsistency. Whenever this happens it does what it is supposed to do and makes the correction for you automatically.
In this case, you are noticing a two hour difference when you are "alert" appears. After clicking the "OK" button the application makes the correction to the database and then continues logging you in. So do not be alarmed when you see this take place. All of your records are still accurate and available.
You will also notice the same alert when a Daylight Saving Time change takes place. Once again, do not be alarmed when that occurs. The Time Clock application will handle all of the time-zone corrections.
Thanks again for using the applications on this website, and God bless.
Time Clock Issue Resolved
Batch Download Issue
From time-to-time it is wise for me to make sure everything works the way it should. So after moving from Washington State to Arizona, into a different time zone which does not observe daylight saving time, I checked my model business to make sure all was well. That is when I realized there was an issue with the batch download application.
Sometimes I wonder if someone has the ability to hack my site, and, I have had it happen in the past. There have been no issues related to the problem of hacking for quite some time. But somehow a couple of lines of code were duplicated in the download "php" file. That caused an error message to be displayed on the downloaded CSV file. The file could still be used but the user had to be able to manipulate that file to get the necessary results.
Needless to say, I experienced the same thing others have been experiencing all along without my knowledge. Well, it was not difficult to repair and is now working as it should.
I have to apologize again to all of you who have been frustrated with that issue. The file was working fine last time I checked so I have no idea how long the issue has been there.
Thank you for visiting and using MrKent.com.
You may have noticed lately that you needed to re-enter your user name and password on pages where your browser had previously remembered that information for you. MrKent.com has recently obtained a SIGNED CERTIFICATE for most of the pages related to this site. This means that all of the data traveling between your computer and MrKent.com is encrypted.
Encryption is a method of totally re-wording data in such a way that it could never be broken down and understood by outsiders or hackers. For instance a word like "mrkent" could possibly be changed into something like "*P.0@bU4v8_+c" at the server and when it reaches your computer it is changed back into "mrkent."
A good example of how this will come in handy is if you make use of the free Password Generator at, https://passwords.mrkent.com/index.htm. The password you create cannot be broken down by someone that may be trying to hack your computer or the server at MrKent.com.
This added security was not something that could have helped prevent the issues we were having during the year of 2015. Those issues were connected to something totally different, and they have been eliminated altogether.
By the way, you can always check to see if the page you are at is encrypted by looking at the URL address in the upper-left-hand corner of your browser. If you see the little paddle-lock and letters "https," the data travelling between your computer and the website's server is being encrypted. As always, I want to thank you for visiting and making use of the resources here at MrKent.com
UAV Pilot Flight Log Book
Last spring I decided to get back into flying RC aircraft. As the summer progressed I became more interested in flying quad-copters, rather than the standard fixed wing aircraft. About the time I became interested so did the federal government. As a result of careless, unconcerned people who were flying their quad-copters in areas that caused possible collisions with full-size aircraft, the FAA developed a rule that all quad-copters weighing over 1/2 pound had to be registered. The purpose was supposedly to make it possible to track down offenders.
Having been a private pilot for many years I realized that it would be a good idea to keep a log of my quad-copter activities just like I did when I flew FAA regulated full-size aircraft. Then, if I were falsely accused of flying in any illegal manner I would have a log book to help establish my credibility. And that is what sparked the idea for an on-line log book that all other quad-copter pilots could make use of for free.
You can find this new application at www.uav.mrkent.com. If you know of someone who flies any type of model RC aircraft you may want to direct them to this free application.
Went too far!
I have to apologize - again - for the issue we had on the morning of December 22nd. As you may know, I moved this website to a different server on the 7th of this month. The purpose was to avoid having issues (like we had this morning).
But, thinking that all was well and it was time to go through and delete unnecessary items that were only needed to get the site set up on the new server, I began the task of cleaning house.
Well, I deleted one item too many during the process. And it had to do with every database used on mrkent.com. As a result it caused many fine folks who use this site to have their day start with more problems than they wanted. So, it wasn't the server's issues this time - it was a careless mistake of MrKent. I am very sorry to have caused problems for you who were affected.
At least I know the server is steady and not letting us all down, and that is reassuring. God bless you all and please have a merry Christmas.
MrKent.com Has Moved
New Hosting Service
In December, 2014 I needed to find a new hosting service for MrKent.com. That means I needed to find a new server to serve the website from. I did some looking around and found a fairly inexpensive hosting service by the name of Arvixe. I should have done more research than I did. Another hosting service I considered was DreamHost, but I chose Arvixe instead. Things went along fine for a couple of months until May 26, 2015 - roughly three months into the contract period.
If you use the online timeclock at MrKent.com you may remember - two tables in that application's database turned up empty on that day. I was out of town and the most recent backup was at Arvixe and nearly a week old. Many of your valuable records were lost. How did that happen? Nobody knows. But I have been doing this for over 15 years and that as never happened before - until I came to Arvixe. Then, two or three times after that later in the year MrKent.com was off line for unknown reasons. Arvixe tech support suggested I must have a virus on MY computer.
Finally, about a month ago at the time of this writing a notice appeared in the server application known as cPanel. CPanel is the server application we use to manage our databases. The notice warned that I was using a trial version because the license term had expired, and, needed to be repurchased. The license was not the responsibility of a client of Arvixe. It was the responsibility of Arvixe. I chatted with tech support three or four times over the period of about three weeks and was told that "management" was working on it.
So, on Monday, December 7th, as time was running out to be able to download the databases in order to upload them into a new server I made the decision to switch to DreamHost after all. As it turns out they have been rated number one two years in a row. MrKent.com is now located at one of their servers in Virginia. Hopefully we all will have fewer issues.
By the way, thank you for your patience.
Temporary Time Sheets
Time Clock Issues
Thousands of people use the time clocks offered here on mrkent.com (International Time Clock, and International English Punch-Clock) each day. Many small businesses have found this valuable resource and make use of it because it saves them money.
But we do not live in a perfect world and from time to time things happen to all websites that cause them to be unavailable. This happened again recently (11-9-2015) when for unknown reasons the server crashed on a day when I was busy working outside on the yard for a few hours. Once I realized there was an issue tech support was called and began working on resolving it.
In the mean time many folks were put into a situation where they had no way to clock in or out of work. Unless, their administrator was wise enough to print off the temporary time sheets provided on the administration page of these applications. In that case all they needed to do was to make a copy for each employee and have them keep a hard copy of their working hours. Then, later, that information could be recorded into whatever method is used to calculate payroll.
But for those who forgot to print off a copy, or, just never got around to it they were left with some more complicated method of resolving the issue. Therefore, to help encourage and remind all users I have now placed a link on the home page of both time-keeping applications. It appears in the lower portion of the left-hand column of the home page. (If you do not see it please take time to refresh the page to view the latest version)
The link brings up a PDF file that can be saved or printed off. If you use these applications please make use of this resource. We are all hoping these hard-copy sheets will never be needed, but as I said earlier, we do not live in a perfect world - which is why I back up the databases each evening.
I just recently reposted a site I had up for years until moving to a Linux server. It had been created using Active Server Pages so wouldn't work until I rewrote some code. I finally got around to getting that completed a few days ago.
The page consists of some of the thoughts I share that influenced the methods I used in bringing up my children. Young parents would be wise to at least check it out. You may not agree with everything you read but I am sure there are some good helps that will improve your child-rearing efforts.
Check it out at: http://parenting.mrkent.com/index.htm
The Ten-Key Test is a very popular app which has been available for many years on MrKent.com. I was recently notified by a friendly visitor that it ran out of characters before the three and five minute timings were complete. This only occurred when the person testing was already very fast with the fingers. I was notified while on vacation with my family but after considering all the alternatives I tried making the fix remotely. And it worked.
I am able to use the ten-key pad but not fast enough to run it out of characters so wasn't aware of the issue. I appreciate being notified of things like this. Everything is usually "fixable." But if I am not aware of an issue it goes un-repaired.
If you would like to try the Ten-Key Test you can find it at: http://www.mrkent.com/tenkeytest/index.htm
As always, thank you for visiting MrKent.com
Code to Adjust Height
Today I completed a new sub-domain for web programmers. Most folks will not be interested, but folks who live with the challenge of creating interactive web pages may find this site useful when placing a web page within the frame of another page. If you care to take a look, it is located at resizableiframe.mrkent.com.
While I was at it I also redesigned the home page to include a category for web designers.
Thank you for visiting www.mrkent.com.
Amateur Radio Assistance
CW (Morse Code)
If you do happen to have your Amateur Radio License and are interested in broadening your experience I have placed some learning materials on mrkent.com. What I have posted relate mostly to the practice sessions I have been providing for some friends who are working on their CW skills. You can find the material at http://www.cw.mrkent.com/index.htm.
If you would like some assistance you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I can fit it into my schedule I would be pleased to set up practice sessions with anyone interested.
Windows 8 Help
If you have been enjoying the home screen layout of Windows 7 and before - and do NOT enjoy the home screen layout of Windows 8, there is hope for you. About a year ago I bought my first Windows 8 computer. I had always been used to the old "START" button and the list of programs available but it was absent in my Windows 8 computer. At that time I did some research and found a fix - and have been using it since.
Recently I began to realize there are other folks who feel the same as I do. So I have put up a page to help with that. If you go there be sure to watch the short three-minute video in order to get the job done quickly.
Embedding YouTube Videos
New on MrKent.com
If you are interested in embedding a YouTube video on a web page, this new addition to mrkent.com can help. If you have cruised through this site you know how often I make use of a YouTube video to help folks quickly learn how to make the best use of an application.
The sub-domain, Embedding YouTube Videos, includes some good suggestions to make sure your visitors remain at your sight while watching the video you post.
Be sure to check it out if you make use of a video like this on your web site.
Have you ever had to come up with a GOOD password that would be nearly impossible to crack? Well you have one now when you need it. It is the newest addition to the mrkent.com website. As I was re-arranging things and coming up with tighter security for the site following the issue we had on March 26, 2015, I tried to find a place on the Internet to generate a good password.
I was a little doubtful of the sites I found. You see, it is possible to generate a password for a visitor and place some tracking code back onto his computer. Then, you just look at your logs to see where he goes over the next few days to use the password you generated for him. Then you are able to get into his secure areas that he thought you were helping him protect.
So I created my own password generator which simply puts random letters, numbers, and punctuation together - along with the phonetic description of each character in your password, and prints them off. A sample is shown below:
quebec, left-parenth, Zulu, exclamation, Xray, Whiskey, asterisk, Delta, alpha, Lima
plus, double-quote, papa, single-quote, bravo, juliet, nine, zulu, plus, henry
You are welcome to make use of this tool next time you have to have a difficult-to-crack password.
The Punch Clocks
I must apologize to all of you who were affected by the problem we had with the Punch Clock and Time Clock databases. Sometime during the morning of Thursday, March 26th the database for those two applications was wiped out. The only way that could have happened, to my knowledge, was for someone who was able to retrieve the password necessary to get into the server.
So, I am saying, "I am sorry." to over 17,000 folks who lost the data for the three days prior to that time.
I have taken much more severe measures to prevent this from happening again but there never is a guarantee when it comes to activity using the Internet. For those of you who make use of this free application I would strongly suggest that you go to your Admin page every few days and do a "Batch Download" of the database records.
Also, while you are in the Admin section I would suggest that you download the PDF document that is available to keep track of times on paper whenever this site may be having downtime issues. That is something that always comes by surprise.
Again, I apologize.
Several New Pages
Check These Out
The latest addition to MrKent.com is a sub-domain named, "MOBILE PHONE HTML TEMPLATE." It contains the complete code necessary for a programmer to copy and paste as a template to build a web page for mobile phones (smart phones).
Just prior to that I put up another sub-domain called, "YOUR PRAYER LIST." It is available for folks who spend time in prayer each day and desire a neatly printed list that can be easily edited.
Prior to that page I put up a sub-domain called "AS FOR ME AND MY MOUSE." It provides several helps and resources for those who are trying to break the addiction to on-line pornography.
I also need to apologize for not keeping this blog up to date.
International Time Clock
Mobile Log In
I have to apologize to the many folks who have tried to log into the mobile version of the International Time clock. Since moving to the current server way back last fall there has been an issue with the database connection. No one has let me know and I just realized the issue and have resolved it.
Any time you folks find something wrong on this site please let me know by sending an email to email@example.com. It is that simple.
Again, I am very sorry this issue has been plaguing users all this time.
Thanks For Your Patience
On the morning of January 27, 2014 I awoke to find the website down. I called tech support at the hosting service and was told it should be up and running within the next ten minutes. Well, after waiting much longer than ten minutes I realized there was an issue larger than that expressed by the tech support person.
Times are changing. When I originally set up mrkent.com it seemed I never had problems like I have seen over the past six months. As those of you who have faithfully continued returning to the site you know about some of the issues we have faced.
In an effort to try to solve some of these issues I have moved the site to two different server providers in that time and haven’t been truly satisfied. It seems as if the technical staff at these facilities doesn’t seem to be able to find the root of the problems as quickly and efficiently as used to be the case. Back when I handled my own dedicated server it was up to me to fix what was broken, and sometimes it took a while. But then the monkey was on my back. Because of the cost of a dedicated server and a smaller visitor base I was forced to move the site to a virtual dedicated server, over which I have very little control. The problem with that: I am helpless to fix what is broken. I am as helpless as the faithful visitors to mrkent.com.
So, I ask for your patience when things happen like those which have happened this morning.
If you were trying to use the online punch clocks you will need to go to your admin page and click on the "View / Edit" button and make adjustments to the time you arrived at work. Your administrator may have to do this for you.
Once again, Thanks for your patience.
Thank You Tommy
Punch Clock Glitch Fixed
Several months ago I added a feature to the punch clock (and Time Clock) which allowed employers to make it possible for their employees to punch in their own vacation days. But, with all of the little programming variations that went along with that I forgot to check how well it worked as the employer batch downloaded all of the employee hours for a pay period.
Well, it didn't work. But no one let me know about it until today when I received an email from an employer named Tommy. It took just a few hours of reprogramming a couple of pages to get it working properly. So I say, "Thank you Tommy."
By the way, if you ever need to contact MrKent go to the home page. On the far-right of the page is a tab labeled, "Misc Misc." The drop-down menu has the email address you can copy and paste into your mail application. I appreciate all the help I can get.
One Thing Leads to Another
I have added a couple of new sub-domains recently. Page-Packer is a template for programmers wishing to get started in making applications viewable on smart phones. A standard html page is contained in what is known as a window. For the same page to be viewed easily on a smart phone it needs to be written in the form of a viewport.
Page-Packer gives the code for that along with some cool ideas on how to pack more content into the viewport without the need to scroll down.
That page was developed following the need to create a viewport for the Time-With-Jesus Blog I recently created. I had not planned on creating a vewport for it until my daughter-in-law, who suggested the page, took her first look at it on her cellphone. That's when I noticed the problem: She was scrolling around on her phone trying to find the buttons to push, etc.
Both of these applications are now set up as sub-domains.
Fix Your Keurig
Last April I put up a YouTube video on how to reset the Keurig coffee maker when it quits working. It fixed mine and I guess it must be helping others get theirs fixed also.
Since it has been a very successful YouTube video (over 6500 hits since April, 2014) I thought I might as well make it available on the web site. You can take a look at it at: keurigissues.mrkent.com
If you know of anyone having difficulties with their Keurig recommend they take a look at this possible solution.
Moving from one server to another is always a little scary. Even though they all have the same operating system the configuration can vary from one to another. One thing I missed on the latest moves was the Ten-Key Tutor.
I was doing some experimenting a few days back and realized there was an issue with that application. As soon as you started pressing keys the visual key pad jumped out of site toward the top of the screen. That made it a little difficult to see the results of your response.
The problem was a little component called an iframe. I had placed it at the bottom of the screen and that worked fine on the previous servers. But something was different enough on this server's configuration and it took a while before I discovered it.
It is now fixed and working like it is supposed to.
Please remember that you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org when something is broken. I am always interested in knowing that kind of information. As I have said, this website is here to bless folks like yourself. Everything is free and the ads you see keep the bills paid.
Thank you for your patience.
The Latest Version
The timeclock application is the latest version, version four. In 2011 I decided to create a punch clock that could be used world-wide. It was designed so that when opened by a client computer it would use the time/date setting in the computer to detect the time zone. I also kept track of time by using the epic time. That is the number of seconds from midnight, January 1, 1970 until now. That turned out to be much more accurate and faster to manipulate than the M/D/Y string date.
Then, earlier this year I upgraded it to the current International Time Clock which folks are now using. There are a few more bells and whistles on the latest version which simply provide short-cuts to logging in and out.
That's as far as we have come and I don't plan on making any changes in the near future - including moving to a different server.
As the popularity of the punch clock grew so did the opposition. As you may know, there are a lot of punch clock programs on the market and many provide the same services as the one at mrkent.com. But they charge for their services.
The punch clock at mrkent.com (free) was cutting into their profits and that meant war. I never knew who may have been at the bottom of the attack but it was real.
Those folks would create an account and after creating a large amount of records, would begin refreshing page where the records were displayed. It may have only taken less than one second to build the php page and send it to the user but one second was too long when the request is made many times per second.
They also seemed to know when the most busy times of the day for the punch clock were and that is when the attack would take place. My only defense was to make it difficult for anyone to refresh one of those pages as well as many others that drew heavily on the server's resources. That is why that little annoying message pops up whenever you try to refresh any pages.
I know it is no fun to have to go back to the home page and click on the "refresh" button but that is really necessary for the site to reply to your requests in a quick, timely manner.
The Dedicated Server
As the punch clock became more and more popular the traffic to the server became heavier and heavier. Originally mrkent.com was hosted on a general purpose website provider - like the ones you see for $5.95 / month. Those were the days.
But with the higher bandwidth and heavier traffic the Internet service provider began charging higher rates. And, that kind of hosting service is not the fastest responding to Internet users in heavy traffic.
The next step was to move the site to a virtual private server which is similar to a dedicated server but is actually on a computer with just a few other sites. That worked well for a while but the providers I had chosen turned out to be less-than-reliable than I needed for my client users.
Eventually I moved the site to a honest-to-goodness dedicated server and paid the price for such. That solved a lot of problems for a long time.
As the years have passed and there are a larger number of on-line punch clocks the number of visitors to mrkent.com has dropped off some. Also, one of the other sources of heavy traffic in the beginning was the typing tests and typing tutors. Would you believe - they are not in demand nearly as much as in the past. So many folks have gone to using touch-pad devices that a computer keyboard is less in demand.
Therefore, a few months ago at the time of this writing mrkent.com was moved from an expensive dedicated server to a virtual private server. The first move went without any issues. But the provider of that VPS would turn my site off without warning to do maintenance. Then, when the site came back up the computer times were set wrong. When that happened two times in a row I decided it was time to move again.
Moving was a good choice but it didn't go as smooth as before. During the second move the domain registration apparently got bogged down, and the server's clock was not set incorrectly. It took several days to get that all fixed. In the mean time I let over 16,000 faithful users down again.
At the time of this writing I believe everything is now "fixed."
The First Punchclock
The first punch clock was written using .asp pages and a Microsoft Access database. It didn't have many bells and whistles. The user had to pick their time zone from a list of zones in and near the US.
It worked well and became very popular on the web. But, as in all ventures, there came a day when the database basically crashed: Using an Access database works great until you reach 10,000 records. When the list of users grew to that size it began to lock out all but one user at a time. That was a catastrophe for a short while.
Fortunately, at the time, I was learning to code with php and using mySQL as a database. So, within a short time I had all of the code converted and the new database up and running.
Unfortunately, in the process, I had let a bunch of my users down. It's a shame that couldn't have been the only time, but it wasn't.
That punch clock is still up and running and there are still some folks and businesses using it. But I do not try to support it any longer. If someone has difficulty I always direct them to the latest version.
This Site, MrKent.com
I, MrKent, was a teacher for much of my life. In 1995 I took on a teaching job at a computer training school. In order to graduate the students needed to be able to type at a fairly high speed. In order to be able to practice at home they needed to purchase typing practice software which cost $30 to $40 at the time. They came to me, knowing that I enjoyed programming, and asked if I could put a typing tutor and typing test program online for them. That sounded like fun so I agreed and set up a site called "mrkent.com."
The students were also required to spend a given number of hours in the lab each week. Calculating total time was confusing for many of them so I developed a simply program that they could use for that. It is still available on the web at this time at: http://www.mrkent.com/Calculators/menu_calculator.htm. Although it was easy to develop it took time to enter all of the information. That's when I decided to put the first punch clock together so they could clock in with a single click and clock out with a single click and then print off the totals to turn in at the end of the week. That was the beginning of the typing tests and time clocks at mrkent.com.