Code School transition woes

July 1, 2018 · 2 min read

In this blog post on January 26 2015, Code School became part of Pluralsight. The website codeschool.com continued to operate normally until earlier this year when a banner showed the site would shut down and transition to Pluralsight June 1st. The banner pointed to this url, which gives a great overview of the changes but was sparse on what would take place during the transition.

It wasn't until June 1st that I finally understood the full breadth of the transition and stumbled upon the integration faqs. The important bit of information is this snippet:

Will I be able to access my Code School invoices or course history?

No. Your invoices and course history will not carry over or be accessible as of 6/1.

Code School customers were instructed to generate a PDF of their profile before the migration. Due to finding the integration FAQs after June 1st, sadly I wasn't able to do that in time.

What particularly impacts me the most is a belief that pointing potential employers to a reputable website as a source of truth carries far more weight than a PDF that can be altered. As a web developer in an industry where employers seem to assume a resume is partially or wholly embellished, this seems like a step backwards.

In spite of the transition pains, I do find Pluralsight's Skill IQ to be a fresh way to measure competency with multiple choice questions that cover broad aspects of a given topic. You're shown what is marked wrong so you can learn from your mistake and the equivalent of the old Code School subscription I believe allows unlimited retests. The integration with Stack Overflow's developer story is compelling enough to use it and I did gain quite a sense of accomplishment when I scored in the very low expert level range.

As I finished typing this up I noticed Pluralsight seems to have a fair number of the Code School courses by searching for the keyword "Code School". There are newer interactive courses like the one titled HTML 5 and CSS 3: Overview of Tag, Attribute and Selector Additions but the introductory video includes the Front End Formations title that it was called on Code School. It appears that some of the content is migrating over but things aren't 1:1 so we may never get credit for courses we've essentially completed. I plan on going through the course shortly as I hope at least the challenges have been updated but it would be a terrible experience to go through all of this realizing I've accomplished it recently.

I don't quite know how I feel about the transition a month in and now after noticing at least some of the content was moved over. It's hard to lose the accomplishments but the outcome would've been no different if Code School closed completely. It does have me pause to make sure the course accomplishments I share are worth the investment and that's likely an important thing to remember whenever similar services catch my attention.

Laravel Passport displays Basic Authentication prompt

September 27, 2017 · 1 min read

Laravel Passport prompt

I've been bitten by this issue so many times that I have a form of amnesia where I forget that it happened all over again. This github issue highlights the problem but I'm more of a visual learner.

The problem can be traced back to configuring the redirect_uri parameter incorrectly. OAuth2 highly requires that the callbacks are identical between the server and consumer(s). For consumers that are external to the app, this is almost never a problem. For first-party consumers like Swagger(vel), this is extremely easy to configure incorrectly.

Revisiting Laravel Homestead MySQL Password Expiration

January 8, 2017 · 1 min read

After putting the solution in my previous post through its paces for a few weeks, I realized the less intrusive approach is to patch Homestead v2's scripts/create-mysql.sh with the following snippet:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

cat > /etc/mysql/conf.d/password_expiration.cnf << EOF
[mysqld]
default_password_lifetime = 0
EOF

service mysql restart

DB=$1;

mysql -e "CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS \`$DB\` DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 DEFAULT COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci";

This change pipes the default_password_lifetime setting into the file /etc/mysql/conf.d/password_expiration.cnf and restarts the mysql service. The provisioning process then can proceed as normal.

This approach requires no updated vagrant virtualbox image or other similar adjustments and allows us to keep using version 0.3.3 indefinitely.

I'm likely going to abandon my settler and homestead forks as I couldn't adequately maintain them moving forward. I'll work to push this upstream as I feel it should be implemented there.

Addressing Laravel Homestead MySQL Password Expiration

January 7, 2017 · 3 min read

On November 7th 2016, I was hit with a peculiar issue I've never seen before working in a provisioned Homestead box. The exception:

PDOException in Connector.php line 55:
SQLSTATE[HY000] [1862] Your password has expired. To log in you must change it using a client that supports expired passwords.

Firing up a different vagrant machine, I was greeted with the same problem. This seemed to affect all of the vagrant boxes using version laravel/homestead (virtualbox, 0.3.3).

On the machine, the MySQL version displayed by mysql --version is

mysql  Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.7.9, for Linux (x86_64) using  EditLine wrapper

MySQL 5.7's password expiration policy seemed to point to the culprit.

From MySQL 5.7.4 to 5.7.10, the default default_password_lifetime value is 360 (passwords must be changed approximately once per year). For those versions, be aware that, if you make no changes to the default_password_lifetime variable or to individual user accounts, all user passwords will expire after 360 days, and all user accounts will start running in restricted mode when this happens.

Looking at the list of users with relevant columns shown that the password for the user homestead was set on 2015-11-13 03:50:18.

mysql> select host, user, authentication_string, password_expired, password_last_changed, password_lifetime from mysql.user;
+-----------+-----------+-------------------------------------------+------------------+-----------------------+-------------------+
| host      | user      | authentication_string                     | password_expired | password_last_changed | password_lifetime |
+-----------+-----------+-------------------------------------------+------------------+-----------------------+-------------------+
| localhost | root      | *14E65567ABDB5135D0CFD9A70B3032C179A49EE7 | N                | 2016-11-08 22:28:11   |              NULL |
| localhost | mysql.sys | *THISISNOTAVALIDPASSWORDTHATCANBEUSEDHERE | N                | 2015-11-13 03:50:10   |              NULL |
| 0.0.0.0   | root      | *14E65567ABDB5135D0CFD9A70B3032C179A49EE7 | N                | 2015-11-13 03:50:15   |              NULL |
| 0.0.0.0   | homestead | *14E65567ABDB5135D0CFD9A70B3032C179A49EE7 | N                | 2015-11-13 03:50:18   |              NULL |
| %         | homestead | *14E65567ABDB5135D0CFD9A70B3032C179A49EE7 | N                | 2015-11-13 03:50:18   |              NULL |
+-----------+-----------+-------------------------------------------+------------------+-----------------------+-------------------+
5 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Date manipulation in PHP showed that 360 days from 2015-11-13 03:50:18 is 2016-11-07 03:50:18, about the time this started occurring.

It was later that I discovered this pull request didn't make it into branch revert-56-master used to build the 0.3.3 box. It succinctly described the problem at hand.

I saw 4 possible choices for a permanent solution:

  1. Set default_password_lifetime=0 explicitly in /etc/mysql/my.cnf.
  2. Upgrade MySQL to 5.7.11 or higher as the default was changed from 360 to 0.
  3. Create the homestead user with the keywords PASSWORD EXPIRE NEVER to disable password expiration for that user.
  4. All of the above.

Solution

In looking to correct upstream, the pull request was denied with very good reason. It was a ton of work to seemingly get the 5.6 branch up to master and I have absolutely no guarantee that something wasn't broken in the process.

Not being content with abandoning that work, I pushed a vagrant virtualbox image that should continue the 5.6 branch forward for the foreseeable future. There is one major caveat, it requires a patch to Homestead v2 to accommodate the changes introduced.

Steps required to use the image:

  1. Add the new vagrant image: vagrant box add w0rd-driven/homestead.
  2. Add the line box: "w0rd-driven/homestead" in Homestead.yaml to specify a different vagrant box than the default of laravel/homestead.
  3. Add the line "laravel/homestead": "2.0.x-dev" to the require-dev section of composer.json.
  4. Add or update the repositories section of composer.json:
"repositories": [
    {
        "type": "git",
        "url": "https://github.com/w0rd-driven/homestead.git"
    }
],
  1. Run composer update to change to the new composer package.
  2. Rebuild your box using vagrant destroy -f then vagrant up.
  3. Test everything.

I've enabled issues on both forks of settler and homestead. Unfortunately, I don't have VMWare Fusion to build the vmware provider image. If anyone has the capabilities, I would gladly grant the access to push the image.

Windows 10 Mobile ~14295 downgrade

April 17, 2016 · 1 min read

In the event this causes grief in the future I wanted to point out the steps to downgrade Windows 10 Mobile build 14295 back to 8.1. The Windows Device Recovery Tool fails to detect the phone without the steps outlined in BrunoTrivellato's response on page 2.

To make this easier, I thought I would repurpose the steps as I can't seem to find an independent or direct link:

  1. Unplug the phone from the PC.
  2. Click on "My device was not detected".
  3. Select your model and you will enter the "Searching Screen".
  4. Reboot your phone (pressing volume down + home button for some seconds until it vibrates) and immediately plug it back in the PC.

    1. If you take too long to plug it in the PC you will have to reboot it again (the Recovery Tool will show a message to you).
  5. The tool will recognize your model, but not the OS or Firmware.
  6. Click in "Download Software" and wait the process to complete.
  7. When finished, click next and check your Battery as the screen says
  8. The next screen will try to install the software BUT IT WILL FAIL, don't worry it is normal. Wait (3-4 minutes) until it fails and click Finish. Error
  9. Repeat steps 1-5.
  10. Now you will see that the screen will not show "Download" but "Install", click it. Device Information
  11. You will see the installation progress both in the Tool and in your Phone. Wait until it finishes (2-3 minutes). Software Installation