Autism Jobs development

About 3 months ago I decided (after reading something I saw on YCombinator’s Hacker News) that I’d take a look at creating a site for Autism Jobs.

The first step in doing that was really deciding just what I wanted to do.  The Hacker News piece was helpful in giving me some guides as to just how simple it could be left.  So since I was pretty sure that for the absolute most basic part of it, I probably could do my coding and stuff in about 2 hours if I manage to screw things up badly enough.

So over the space of a little over 3 hours, I end up creating the first version of the site which is running on our site.  I posted about it several places, and ended up getting a number of interesting results right away (ie. people were very quickly coming to the site).

After that, I decided I needed to start working on a “better version” of it.  So at I worked on developing a better system.

What have we done so far?

  • Replace existing TypeForm form with something we wrote ourself (but isn’t currently functional).
  • Move static content to a more dynamic MVC format. (at index.php)
  • Moved site (when existing site died and existing host said it was my problem to fix) to linode.

There are a few steps I need to get going before I feel that it is “full launch time”.

  • Setup database
  • Move existing content entirely to MVC system
  • Have data for known listed jobs (4 I think instead of the listed 1) into database
  • Create login/register system
  • Look at account types (job seeker, and job poster)
  • Work on getting payment stuff up and running
  • And get mail setup so I can at least send mail out from site.

I’m not entirely sure that those jobs would be done in that order or not.  But I think they are more or less the way I want them in terms of order (though bits and pieces will have to move about some).

I just really wanted to post a quick update to the autism jobs site.  I think the latest post may have been on some other site.  This really is mostly a project which I am working on for the primary purpose of getting stuff together in a way I feel “better” about how it all works.

Autism Jobs Site Creation

Yesterday I quickly read through a post on Hacker News about creating a site for jobs for older people in the tech industry.  I thought a little bit about it, and thought that maybe someone could do the same for Autistics (and other neurodivergent people possibly) so I put it on the back burner because well heck, I didn’t really want to go through the process of creating such a site at this time.

Where are we now?

I really didn’t want to spend the time doing this at the time I was reading the original post, I ended up going to bed.  In the middle of the night I ended up waking up and getting really oddly inspired to just go ahead and do what I was going to do for it.

Getting Domain Names

I decided that I was going to register a domain name (possibly more than one) so went to Web Names and decided to look around on there. I saw a couple of names that I was interested in that were available, and one which I was interested in which was not.  There was a 4th one where it was clear that someone actually was doing something with it, so I just ignored those.

Web Names offers the ability to “make an offer” on a domain name, so I selected these three options.  The pricing which I was seeing was more or less in line with what the “cheaper” sites were listing so I figured go with the Canadian Registrar.

When I clicked “send” the prices that they were presenting were almost 3 times what it looked like they should have been costing.  I wasn’t looking for anything other than purchasing the domain names (and making the offer on the other domain) so I decided to not go there (but I did ask why the discrepancy, will report back later when/if I get a response).

I have been working with two different companies which offer domain names, as well as other services, and have been happier recently with one of them, so decided to purchase the domain names from them.

But, that ended up being “not possible” for one of the domain names, so looked at the other registrar which I believe I could get that domain name through.  I found that I could, so tried to get that, but it ended up falling through.  So, that will have to wait for a week or so.  Or maybe not.

Setting up hosting

Again, I wanted to try something new with my hosting, so I wanted to look at what would happen with the company “Digital Ocean” so I setup to be able to host there.  The big advantage I see to them is that they seem to have the ability to host in Canada, and living, and being based in Canada, I thought this was a good idea.

I had not setup an account with them, and their pricing is a good bit more than what I am currently paying for hosting at Linode, but I am willing to pay a little more for hosting in Canada (well twice as much for roughly the equivalent to the smallest server I can get from Linode).  When I registered they asked me to confirm that I am who I am, but heck why do I have to do that (they have received a payment actually at this point) and since I’m not really sure how long (or if) it will happen I went over to Linode and set things up there.

The site so far

The site is incredibly basic at this point.  The idea which I got from the post I read was that of a minimum viable product (MVP) which is the “least you can do which actually can be considered an actual product”.  With that in mind (and details from the post) I created a Typeform form for people to submit job listings.

That form I tested for the “Autism Jobs Quality Assurance” job (we’re accepting applications) and then worked on getting a static HTML version of the site up.

As it currently stands, there is that job listing there (that I hand coded) as well as the form itself.

Mentions of the site

I have mentioned the site on Hacker News, as well as on Reddit.  I likely will mention this on my more “normal” social network sites such as Plurk, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  I also consider the combination of this post, the site itself to be a Patreon Supported Thing, and I will see how all of this goes.  I intend to write another post about it on the Open Psychology Project website within the next week.

With luck we actually will be having something more to say before too long.

Latest Update:

Here are a few of the things that have happened in the last month or so:

So let’s take those “to the next level” and actually talk about them.

Patreon Post about Amanda Palmer

I wrote a very brief post sharing a “thing” which Amanda Palmer shared with us supporters of her work.  She was “talking” about (in a funny creative way, by writing a song) how she believes everyone who wants the “artwork” should actually support it.

While I believe very strongly that artwork (including stuff which I do, that people really don’t see, my coding and stuff) does not get created for the purposes of simply creating works of art (for the most part) and we need to support our artists.  I also believe that artwork should be available to everyone.

Oddly, in a way Amanda Palmer seems to have missed that bit of the memo regarding that the purpose of Patreon is to actually provide a means for an artist to more freely release their stuff, rather than to create an exclusive club of people who are supporting, and thus receiving your artwork.

support her artwork.  I actually rather like it.  I do not support her attitude of “give me money now or I’m going to go into the corner and sulk, and not give you any more of what you want.”  I guess part of my not supporting that view is since she started expressing it, she’s been having not a bit of difficulty with getting money, and she knew full well that “the art of asking” really is “knowing the answer is yes, even before you ask”.

I am still trying very hard to learn what my art of asking is.

Updated Todo posts:

I updated my upcoming posts, or whatever I want to call them.  It is a list of posts which I am planning on writing “in the near future”.  Usually, I don’t actually pay a bit of attention to them, except when I go, “hey I need to update the list here”.  And right now I’m close to getting to that point again.


I added (I think) a couple of items to stuff which will show up here.  As well, I also made it clear that I was creating a list which also included the other site, the Open Psychology Project.

Right now, I am thinking that each project I will keep the updated posts stuff separate.  I will link to the “latest at the time” post when I update the other list.  It should make keeping the lists updated a little bit easier.

Open Psychology Project

I also updated the post with the list of topics I intend to cover over at the Open Psychology Project.

Moving of this site

Hey, I think we only managed to get this site moved a little over a month ago.  Or maybe a little less.  I really don’t remember exact timing.  There is a post which was “while in progress” about moving the server now.  That I think was the day I moved this site to where it is currently.  Which was 32 days ago.

Moving of Open Psychology Project

I also moved the open psychology project, I think about 2 weeks later.  A lot of technical stuff has gone on there.

“Last Month’s News”

Last month, I wrote about what had been going on.  I’m glad that I did, because really it seems that by writing a wee bit about every little thing that I managed to do, I actually might have managed a few different looksees at what I have been doing.  I don’t really know for sure.  While I do have some tracking setup, I really don’t know what the traffic really is.

eBook initial thoughts

I received an eBook by a woman writing about her experience as an “Aspie” and wrote a few things about my experience with trying to read it.  Oddly, writing those words about my experience of reading it, did get me to dig in deeper in terms of setting up something more for funding beyond the Patreon which is supporting the creation of content here and elsewhere, and created a Gofundme campaign to help with upgrading my hardware, in part to better do videos and stuff.

Setup of Gofundme Campaign (and video and post about initial setup)

This is the Gofundme campaign I ended up setting up.  It looks like my estimates for what I really intend to purchase are roughly 60% lower than they should have been for some stuff.  I am going to keep the current goals in mind, and let things figure themself out as I end up getting enough money to actually do the updates that I am looking at.

I had intended to create the campaign earlier, but I found that not having a phone to confirm who I am (worked around it in an odd way, which really doesn’t do much to confirm who I am) was likely to be problematic.  None of what I wrote about this (I don’t think) actually addresses the issues I had with the “two factor authentication” which they have instituted (and I think poorly) apparently on the insistence of their payment processor.

Open Psychology post about Gofundme

I wrote about what I want to do in terms of videos etcetera with the Open Psychology Project, and with that, I created a form for people to type in questions they might have about the psychology, or whatever.  There is currently one topic which I wrote out by hand (and will probably mostly type in from that) which will go with that content.  But I might also try to answer the question I posed to myself (or maybe the explanation of the answer I posed for myself) in a video.

Setup of Type Form looking at questions to answer for Open Psychology Project

As I said above, I created a form for asking questions that will be answered in the Open Psychology Project.  Right now I think I have two questions which I would like to take a stab at.  Perhaps they will be videos.  Or perhaps they will be my usual text thing.  Or if I get around to it.  It will be a bit of both.

Several updates on the Gofundme Campaign (it’s going decently)

After 11 days we are sitting at just under 10% done the initial target (I have done an estimate of what I need for the computer I want which is about $1000 more than I set for computer and camera, but that is more of a computer than really I should really “need” for some time, so if I manage that, things will be fantastic, if I don’t, well no big deal).

Work on the theme here (I think it was here).

I also did some work on the theme.  Currently all that work has ended up on the backend.  And I didn’t manage to get it close enough to release another “point release” but the github for the project (develop branch) has been kept up to date with my testing server.  It is pretty rapid fire while I am developing to see what ends up going there.  I hope that by the end of this month I will be able to enter shortcodes to get what I want, and I can configure those shortcodes to put “default text” where I want it, and that the default text actually configurable through some configuration mechanism.

News News News…

Really there isn’t a whole lot of news to put here.  Not a huge amount of stuff has really been going on here, or much with the whole overall business, but let’s look at what might be going on.

  • LedgerSMB
  • Matrix
    • Synapse publicly installed
    • Vector er Riot privately installed
      • Note, not sure about a public install right now.
    • IRC Bridge thoughts
  • Open Psychology Project moved.
  • SSL issues
  • DMP Develop work
  • Linode gentoo install news
  • Patreon updates


We have been working on getting LedgerSMB up and running.  Currently we are running two different versions, and have been finding (and reporting) bugs we find.  I think a lot of what we have needed to do, has actually been done.

We have been trying to find a way to have a pretty easy install of LedgerSMB on Gentoo.  This may be difficult to really do beyond being able to provide enough to know that you have what is needed to run LedgerSMB, but we are working on it.


This is something that we’ve been working on for some time.  Initially we started playing around with the Matrix Chat Protocol mostly because LedgerSMB has been working on their dev/user chat (but a lot of it is dev, not user) on Matrix.

I had been using Slack for the “business end” chatting stuff, and it looked like Matrix could replace most, if not all of the things that Slack was doing for us regarding that.  And, it was trivial to setup registration for our own server once we got it up and running.

Synapse public install

Synapse is what Matrix calls a “home server” or maybe a “homeserver”.  It is the server which the chat services are run off of.  I have a Synapse server setup on DMP Develop.  It is a bit of a tricky setup.  And “rightly so” it requires a SSL certificate which we have decided to get from Let’s Encrypt.

I have recently upgraded so that the server now is supporting end-to-end encryption (if the client supports it, which only Vector Web Riot Web supports right now as far as I know).

Vector Web Riot Web install

I installed Vector Web locally (gentoo server on LAN), which I recommend for most people.  I believe I will be able to provide packages which will allow people to install it locally, possibly even without any kind of webserver at all (as long as they can get your client to open the necessary file).

My reasons for not offering a publicly hosted version of the client, is it opens up to what is usually called “Cross Site Scripting” or XSS.  What this means is that there can be ways that code can be injected into a web page which poses a security issue.  Specifically JavaScript often.

I will be looking at seeing if the built versions actually can be successfully used by other people.  It would be helpful to actually have a few people willing to test some of this out.

IRC Bridge thoughts

I have been wanting to look into getting a bridge to IRC up and going.  There is one channel in particular that I would like to run the IRC bridge to.

I really don’t know what will be involved with this.  But I think I will be giving it a go in short order.  I’m not exactly sure though.

Moving Open Psychology Project

I have moved the Open Psychology Project website from the existing site/server which was hosted on one host, and was probably “further away” than I had intended, but that host was closing that datacentre, and was making it so we had to move our servers either to Europe (Luxembourg, or Paris, France), or move to another host entirely.

My first site I tried to move (and did successfully) was the site.  I found that the process was a huge pain the the backside (I tried to do it 8 times before I managed to get it successfully transferred) and am feeling that I would really rather not be hosting sites which are largely used by people in North America (as best I can tell) in Europe.

So I started asking around.  I found that linode was well respected amongst the community I connected with through Matrix.  So I decided that when I started looking at other sites being moved, I would give it a try.  In fact I posted about moving this site (before I’d got it completed), and was really quite happy with it.

One issue seems to still remain with the Open Psychology Project which I haven’t managed to have addressed.  That is that the “JetPack by WordPress” plugin is not able to talk back and forth between the site, and the “team” seems to be on retreat until Friday (or maybe Monday)?

SSL issues

Been looking at SSL certificate issues.  Currently this site is not running any form of SSL/HTTPS, as the previous one had expired, and I have not managed to get the current one up and running.  So, if you actually care, everything you are sending to this site, is probably being sent as “plain text”.

This actually is not a huge issue for most stuff.  But if you are sending anything which you consider “personally identifying” please consider how valuable you consider that information.  It seems unlikely that it’s being sniffed except maybe for anyone who is on an “unknown network”.  Which includes all unsecured networks, as well as any which are using WEP protocol.

DMP Develop work

I know this really isn’t all that newsworthy.  I have managed to create a bit of a roadmap in terms of direction for the dmp-develop project.  It has been a bit of a trudge getting to this point.  Still, every little bit actually does help.

Currently most of what we are looking at is figuring out how to handle installation, including handling of the database.  And then, probably looking after we manage the basics of that, will be working on “package installation”.  If things go well, by this time in October I hope to at least have a little bit of an actually working site going…

Linode Gentoo install update

After having plugged away at Linode gentoo install, I am now feeling that there probably is a good reason to actually tackle this more manually in the future.  It feels that if I install on pretty much any virtual machine, I should be able to get gentoo to successfully install, but that likely will be a while before actually having it happen.

Patreon updates

It feels that September so far has been a “slow month” for Patreon supported posts.  And it has indeed been such.  I will be putting a “Why support me on Patreon” post up fairly soon, which I hope to accompany with a video.

If you would like to support us on Patreon, we would be very happy.  Even if you are going to simply support us at a $1.00/thing level that would really be helpful for us right now.  And if you want to go well beyond that?  Well, we certainly won’t at all be complaining.  Thank you for taking the time to read, or at least look at this…

Initial steps moving server to linode

Last night I started to work on getting this site moved over to linode, and have some comments to make regarding:

  • pricing structure
  • responsiveness of admin site
  • responsiveness of updating server images
  • server locations
  • image availability
  • process with regards to gentoo on linode

So let’s go and look at those topics at least at some level.

Pricing Structure

With our current host (GANDI) we love the granularity of the pricing structure.  If I have something which is very processor heavy, but doesn’t use much hard drive space, or memory, I can easily build a machine with that focus in mind.  That really is a great way to get systems which are really ideal for specific purposes.

The problem there is in order to provide that kind of granularity of pricing, you end up with a situation where it can become difficult to actually handle all the complexities of setting that up.  On GANDI, we are currently spending about $125-200/month on the hosting for 3 different sites (on 3 different servers).

So, while I initially saw the linode pricing structure of machines based on set bundles as being a bit of a problem, looking a little closer I think that even for the same server sizes, there is about a 20% reduction in price, and I think that their current smallest servers will do well enough (right now) for current needs for each server.

Responsiveness of the admin site

Repeatedly when working on the GANDI site, I have wondered if my click had gone through, and I simply was waiting for a response from the site, or if I failed to get the click to it.  With linode, I have had no such issue.  The server is so responsive that I actually wonder sometimes if I did actually do anything because rather than my usually expected “clear change” something minor just pops up, and is responding to what I asked it to do.

Responsiveness of updating server images

Here is something which I felt was really bothersome with GANDI.  When I updated images, I ended up frequently feeling like I might as well go off and do something entirely different for twenty or more minutes.  I knew I couldn’t really do anything with the machine for that long.

On linode, I am finding that even though I manually shut down the server, manually make the changes, and manually reboot the server, I can usually do so with a minute or less for the entire process.  It also is very clear about where in the process that is.  So I would say even that will make it at least feel snappier rather than “operations in process” which doesn’t really tell me anything.

Server Locations

One of the issues with GANDI which has lead to me feel I really have wanted to move away from them, is that the servers which I was running in Baltimore are getting shut down at the end of November, and that was where I had them located.

I might have been not overly bothered by this and less inclined to move the servers if they provided an option for a more or less “one click” migration, or better yet given the heads up, allowed people to migrate as they wished (one click migration if they wanted to just move the existing image etcetera, but manual migration if they wanted to modify the server), but their migration is entirely manual, and one issue I repeatedly ran into was when creating a new server, or new disk or whatever, it defaulted (for me at least) to the Baltimore data centre, and that setting was not really noticeable enough that I made sure I was doing the right thing.

Linode has servers in North America, Europe, and Asia.  Further, on creating all of my server instances, I have pretty much noticed where they are.  Once my instance was in the wrong US city, but not a big deal, in part because when I notice it, I can recreate it in another datacentre in about 2 minutes (probably less).

While I’d really like to have my servers in Canada, I can’t say I’ve been able to find any host which isn’t really expensive to handle what I am wanting with this in Canada.  Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Image Availability

The server images which are available on linode are pretty diverse.  There are 9 of the top Linux distributions including my favourite gentoo which really surprised me.  I saw that the gentoo image was on the old side, but I went with it, and that may have been a mistake, but after having the server up and running for more than a day, mostly working on getting it to “current gentoo” (most of it the issue that gentoo always takes a long time to setup) and having already figured out about 3 different issues where the install is not working correctly, and why, I have decided to continue to plow ahead.

I do not recommend gentoo unless a person really wants to get into the depths of Linux, or if they have some issue with the politics of certain big names along how certain things are done (systemd comes to mind) as gentoo tends to be for power users.  While it does end up compiling pretty much everything that can be (certain packages are split into a -bin and the usual with no -bin as they are such large packages) and this is claimed to potentially improve performance, I am not entirely convinced that is indeed the case beyond minor improvements for most users.  Though if you are using certain older hardware or whatever, gentoo can allow you to do things you may not be able to on other systems (not tried it on any of the iMacs we have as they have all either been “in use” or “dying”).

Gentoo Server Creation

The gentoo server image which is available on linode is almost 2 years old from what I can tell.  Gentoo does not really do “releases” in the sense that a given release is using a given repository, there is a common repository for every release.

This works great when gentoo is maintained relatively frequently, and you usually end up with hardly any issues most of the time.  When working with gentoo on a system which hasn’t been maintained, you will often have to manually handle a number of issues, in order to get everything up and running in a reasonable manner.

In doing the updates on this, I have run into a number of issues, each one required me to look at why things were not updating the way that I wanted.  First off the first couple of updates were not even attempting to do anything as one package ended up blocking another package.  This can be a difficult situation to figure out, if any of the packages are in the “packages being updated list” (command line options, which can include either explicate packages or one of two (or maybe more) “sets” of package lists) it can be tricky if you try to uninstall a package listed there, especially when using the @world or @system keywords as if the package is listed in either, bad things can happen which are hard (very hard) to back out of once you’ve gone and changed certain things.

Then once I managed to get the system so that it is at least attempting to update @world, I quickly run into problems that certain packages can’t be updated as they are blocked because the package management system doesn’t support them (the system is called portage) so in order to update those packages I’m going to have to see about updating that first (no problem).

Now I am getting a list of all the packages that need to be updated on the system.  This isn’t looking too bad at all.  So I go ahead.  I notice some aren’t updating, but decide that for now I can just skip them.  It actually gets most of the system updated.

Now let’s try again.  Sometimes the issue is as simple as the fact that packages got updated in the wrong order, and just restarting after ending at the “nothing to do” will just fix it.

Sadly, no…  So I see what I need to update (and the failing package is a key package (glibc)).  Oh nice clean error message saying that the version of gcc (also a key package on gentoo) doesn’t reliably compile glibc.  Simple.  Just update that…

Once done, try to update what’s still there…  And right now, it looks like we’re good to go.  At least in terms of having the system up to date.  Loads of configuration I’ll need to work on.

Patreon Supported Post

This post is supported by my Patreon supporters.  If you like this, and would like to see more, I’d love to see you head over there and let me know.  Even “support” me there.  Amanda Palmer may be someone who says things I can’t really say in the same ways I can.  So there is a link there to something I feel she has said in a way that I really can’t.