Dodge Viper Maintenance Status Update

I really need to blog more so I thought I’d write about my continuing adventures with my Dodge Viper.

About 18 months ago, my passenger-side window regulator failed. The window regulator is the part that makes the window go up and down and mine was making lots of clunking noises as it moved. It’s notorious for failing and is insanely expensive — $1200! For the 2013 Gen 5 Viper, they redesigned the part to make it more reliable and cheaper while being backwards compatible with my car. It now costs only $360 which is a huge savings.

Anyway, a week ago mine failed once again. It was replaced under extended warranty before and my dealer is trying to get Chrysler to cover the cost of replacing it again, this time with a Gen 5 part so it won’t fail yet again. Funny enough my driver’s side one has been working fine. Fingers crossed.

Additionally Vipers have a bit of a design flaw in that their cable-actuated parking brake calipers (separate from the normal brake calipers) don’t always retract all of the way. This causes the inner pads to drag a bit and wear down rather fast. I avoid using my parking brake whenever possible to avoid ratcheting the pads in closer and closer to the rotor but it can still be an issue.

Yesterday morning, my dad helped me take off both of my back wheels so that we could inspect both inner parking brake pads. The driver’s side had seen some wear but still had plenty of pad left even though it squeaks at low speeds. My passenger side pad though was nearly worn down to nothing. I caught it just in time to avoid having to replace the rotor too. Phew! I’m currently having those replaced at the dealership as it’s worth the $160 in labor to avoid having to do it myself in my tiny garage. I had to park my car as close as I could get it to one wall in order to have enough room to get the 13 inch wide wheel off the car (345mm tire).

Here’s a bonus photo of my super dirty suspension:

Dodge Viper Brakes And Suspension

Ideal WordPress Plugin Development Using PhpStorm 8

The upcoming PhpStorm 8 features built-in WordPress support, as explained in this support document. However what’s the best way to set up your WordPress install in order to write plugins? Here’s my personal answer — feel free to suggest alternatives in the comments section.

When working on a WordPress plugin, you don’t want functions, classes, variables, etc. from other plugins to leak into your current plugin through auto-complete or other types of automation. For this reason, I suggest avoiding opening a whole WordPress checkout with all of your plugins inside of it using PhpStorm. At the same time, you don’t want to have a separate copy of WordPress for each plugin that you work on. This is redundant and makes keeping WordPress up to date harder.

So instead do a single checkout of WordPress to its own folder and then define WP_PLUGIN_DIR and WP_PLUGIN_URL, as described on the Codex, so that your plugins folder will live outside of your WordPress folder. This way you can open and index the WordPress folder without getting all of your plugins along with it.

Now create a new project for each individual plugin. When doing so, you’ll want to add the WordPress folder as an include path in PhpStorm, as described in their documentation.

All of this will result in only your individual plugin’s folder showing up in PhpStorm but with WordPress showing up under the “External Libraries” list. This one WordPress install can be used in your browser to test all of your plugins but the plugin codes won’t overlap.

Four (Nearly Five) Years At Automattic

Today marks my official fourth anniversary at Automattic of being a proper full-time employee! In reality I started working for Automattic in about July of 2009 but due to an oversight, most of my coworkers thought I was already hired on as a normal employee. Meanwhile I just kept submitting my monthly contract report. Our hiring process has thankfully changed quite a bit since then!

Four years is a big milestone at Automattic as that is when you get your really cool custom WordPress MacBook. Unfortunately for me I’m one of the handful of Windows users at Automattic so it doesn’t make a ton of sense to get a MacBook just to run Windows on it. Oh well. :)

Working at Automattic really has been a dream come true for me. Besides getting to work on something I’m passionate about, WordPress, I also get to work with some of the most amazing people. I’ve made some life-long friendships here that I truly cherish. I can’t speak highly enough of the company and my co-workers. And as always, we’re hiring!

I hope my next four (nearly five) years at Automattic are at least half as good as these past ones have been.