California road-trip 2013: Day 3, travel in theory, and in practice

Left Yreka, CA in full sun this morning, with kids very eager to reach destination.  We had lots of discussion today about how far the trip was in miles, and how long that would take.

Are we there yet ?

Many teachable moments along the way including looking at the road-signs, and seeing how many miles to the target, and then checking our average speed to see how long it might take to get there.

Travel to our destination definitely takes longer in practice.

We made a playground stop in Stockton, before calling it a day in Tracy, CA.

I have fond memories of the last visit to Tracy, when I found this Indian sweet shop at the edge of town, and grabbed a box of sweets for the trip north.  This time, I ordered us a 24″ pizza from Milano’s and GADZOOKS that was a massive meal.  Got quite sleepy after that, so no trip out for sweets….


California road-trip 2013 : Day 2, many Oregon miles

Was kind of nice to be pulling out of East Vancouver this morning, taking a different route south over the Columbia River than in the past.

We were on the 205 southbound, so headed through a different stretch of freeway than usual.  Soon it was on to the I-5, and more familiar stretches of asphalt.

Made a great stop in Cottage Grove.  As in the past, Cottage Grove always has a pleasant surprise or too.  This time, I spied an espresso trailer on the main strip into the downtown area, so did a U-turn to double-back and take decisive action on ordering a coffee or two.  Well, not so fast Coreman.

The view from the road concealed the rather extensive menu of items that they offered, posted near the back patio.  Milkshakes, smoothies, and all sorts of different coffee drinks were on tap.  Huh!  Well, the kids sorted their way into a 16 oz. milkshake split into 2 cups, and I teed up a coffee of some sort – and we were only having a wee bit of drama on their front-patio assembling that order. You see, splitting 1 big drink into 2 is apparently too much like sharing. *ahem*. Anyhoo, all was going well until it came time to pay. Too bad I failed to notice the little sign politely advising that they accept CASH only.  You can imagine my surprise when the owner there offered me the drinks on the house, as she could see I was only packing plastic!


Anyhoo – it all worked out.  I dug up 2 $1 American coins, and a $5 Canuck bill that I assured her the bank would take roughly at par.


Back on the freeway, with more adventures to come…..we landed in Rogue River, had a pizza, then got back on the road, landing in Yreka, CA soon after.

California road-trip 2013 : Day 1, south, north, south

Just spent a week in Austin, Texas on a business trip, that I might also describe as a teaching and learning trip.  I was down at SailPoint, learning all about their enterprise identity management product called IdentityIQ. That whole trip deserves a blog of it’s own, so I’ll focus here on the family-vacation.

The flight back from the USA went fairly smooth : AUS to SFO to YYJ.  The transfer in San Francisco was a little tight, with only 40 minutes between landing and take-off.  My bags made it, and so did I, into YYJ at 11:40 PM or so.  Shared a cab into downtown, so home shortly after midnight.

Just enough time to put on some laundry, and re-pack the bags.  Also did some household chores, and hit the sack at 3:30 AM or so.

Managed to rise about 5:30 AM to put the dog out, and then decided to stay up and keep packing.  Oh yah, needed a trip to the bank downtown, and the grocery store for last minute pickups.  Not feeling too bad after that nap, but I’m sure it would catch up with me later.

Managed to pack the fam into the van, and arrive at the COHO dock around 9:20 AM to secure our reservation.  Full-on sunshine for the trip south, and we spent most of the voyage on the outer-decks running up and down the length of the ship.  Kids with beans for sure.

Quick stop in Port Angeles for groceries, then a gas-up just past Sequim.  The usual stop at Hoodsport Coffee for ice creams, and americano.  I see they have a sign in their window : Thinking of Retirement – Business for Sale.

We ended up in Vancouver, WA, slightly east of downtown at the Best Western.  The indoor pool and hot-tub did the trick for an hour or so after we landed.

The fatigue never really caught up with me, and we had a pretty good trip down the 101 and the I-5.  Onward, and southward tomorrow!


Hangin at the beach

Long weekend, sunshine, and sand. Here we are at the beach, making like it is summertime.  Ok, so more like spring-time in BC, and it is a hot day.  And, while I was down at the beach, I posted this entry using the WP app for iPhone – pretty slick I say – something I’ve wanted since oh, 2003 or so – real device-based blog-authoring.


WordCamp 2013 notes

I attended WordCamp 2013 (Victoria, BC) this past weekend, my first time at the event.  As a WordPress enthusiast, I was looking forward to meeting some like-minded folks, to network, and learn some techie stuff about WordPress.

I really enjoyed the Experts Panel which was a solid un-moderated hour of Q & A.  I have an interest in how to build out WordPress network sites that can handle a lot of concurrent read and write traffic.  There is a lot of information online about clustering WP, setting up caching servers, database performance tuning, webserver tuning, etc.  At the panel I learned that:

  • high-volume sites are often hosted using nginx, instead of Apache (does that turn LAMP into LNMP?)
  • there is the web site
  • object-caching can be performed with memcached and APC
  • there is some debate about fastcgi mode WP
  • among the core WP developers, Mark Jaquith has online info about scaling WP, even on a budget.
  • another core WP developer of note to research scaling WP is Pete Mall
  • there are consulting agents out there that can provide scaling skills, who have been there and done that
  • HTTPS configuration in WP is not necessarily a slam-dunk.  You may have to resort to hacking plugins, as the whole framework is not necessarily united on how to provide HTTPS links
  • lots of talk about HyperDB for database scaling

I also enjoyed a session by John Overall on 10+1 essential plugins for WordPress.  That is where I learned about the LoginRadius plugin for social identity integration – a neat Canadian SaaS startup!  John posted the slide show on the Meetup site I think….

Ben put up a blog post with his notes from the session here.

getting wpa2 wifi going on Acer Netbook with Linux

I’d like to issue thanks to everyone in the world who has posted anything online that relates to getting an Acer Aspire One Netbook, running any Linux distro, connected to an enterprise WPA2 wireless segment.  Turns out your mileage may vary, depending on if you want to get it working “out of the box”.

With the goal to have it “just work”, I went through 3 distros in 3 days, finally landing on Ubuntu 11, where things just worked.  Ok, I had to select the correct CA cert, but got that sorted out fairly quickly (used /etc/ssl/certs/Thawte_Premium_Server_CA.pem)

I gave it a go with the latest crunchbang linux distro, and that failed on connecting to the SSID segments I was trying here at UVic, both EDUROAM, and UVIC.  I got connected to UVicOPEN segment, with a Cisco VPN tunnel, so that was a work-around.

On trying Ubuntu 12, I ran into some known issues with the level of openssl packages that are installed with the distro, so backed out to Ubuntu 11, and that worked for me.

I really dig the EDUROAM connectivity, so just want that to work with a minimum of futzing.  Yes, I still truly enjoy Linux futzing, and all the learning involved, but find myself with less time for such things than when I was running Slackware in the 90s.

Anyhoo, it’s all good for now…thanks all!

2 step OAuth app registration process

Decided to upgrade to Echofon Pro Twitter app for iPhone. Why not, only $4.99 and is one of the most-used apps on my device. To authorize the app to access your Twitter timeline, you:

  • authenticate to Twitter with your account
  • retrieve a one-time PIN code that you then load into Echofon

Nice and easy. Went back through my authorized applications list in Twitter, and pruned out those apps that I am not using anymore, a good thing to do if you want to maintain a privilege of least access approach.

self-serve online registration processes

I’ve got an interest in self-serve, web-based registration processes. It just comes with the IDAM territory.
I’m just signing up for another web-based service right now. Self-serve, web-based, and had to submit an email address, self-selected username, and password. I tried a phrase with spaces, but that was out of scope for their password policy, so I backed off the spaces. Up to 64 chars MAX. They’re sending me an activation email, so they can be sure that I am me. Oh yah, I also had to pass a CAPTCHA.
Got the email in near real-time. I could click on the embedded Confirm Registration button, or enter the Activation Code on the site. I clicked on the Confirm Registration link, and it kicked an HTTP request back with GET params, including username, and unique activation code.
They also created me a personalized email address that is connected to the account. If I wish, I can email stuff to that address, and it will gateway the content into the back-end storage connected to my account.
See, boot-strapping the identity takes a number of shapes. In this case, they don’t have to request too many attributes from me, and don’t have a high burden of verification. They’ll issue the activation email, and if I get it, I’ll do something about it. If I don’t I imagine the account would get stale, and they would flush it.
Welcome to Evernote.