Random musings about food, tech and life

Alright, so it’s not technically magic, but it’s a workaround to a problem not easily solved by using phpBB3 directly. Ok, let’s get started.

Before you begin, you’ll need to be able to access your phpBB3 database, either through your host’s control panel or by using an external utility such as Sequel Pro. It doesn’t matter how you get your data, so do whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Exporting your data

Right, so the first step is to export the data from within your phpBB3 database. The data we want is the user registration date which is stored within the ‘phpbb_users’ table. Within that table is the ‘user_regdate’ column which contains the data we need. One of the things you may notice is that the text contained within this column is not stored in the usual MySQL timestamp format. Instead, it has been captured in Unix Time format. To get around this, submit the following query via phpMyAdmin or through your SQL client:

SELECT from_unixtime(user_regdate,'%Y/%m/%d') FROM phpbb_users

This will then convert the date into a more readable format (Year/Month/Day). If you like, you can replace the tokens in the argument above with any valid date/time specifier, as detailed in the MySQL Reference Manual.

With the query result returned, you now need to export your data, preferably in CSV format. Using Sequel Pro you can export your query result via File → Export → Custom Query Result → CSV File

Plotting your chart

Great, so you now have your data. It’s now a simple matter of importing this data into your spreadsheet application of choice (I’ve used Numbers/iWork). With a little bit of work you can get something like this:

Chart: Origami Forum Registrations

Okay, I admit that time (denoted on the y axis) really ought to be on the x axis seeing that it’s considered to be discrete, however I struggled to get Numbers to inverse the scales. If you know how to correct this, please let me know!

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No matter how bad I may be feeling, the Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, always manages to cheer me up. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.


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