Winter Urban Garden: Salad time!

Dateline: 2016-01-21

IMG_20160121_125833As promised in the last post, this one is all about the fruits (well, technically vegetables) of our garden labor. The lettuce has gotten ripe, very ripe. In fact I suspect that it was allowed to go slightly too long. Some of the leaves were starting to yellow and overall the plants were starting to get unruly. So let the nom begin.

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Please Google, Don’t shame HTTP (yet)

Lock-icon Last week there was a big hubub around the revelation that “Google Will Soon Shame All Websites That Are Unencrypted“. People were freaking out and cats and dogs were running loose in the streets. Sheer pandemonium. The reality was that Google didn’t announce it, but someone talking at a conference had the feature flag turned on in Chrome. Google did explain that they wanted to do this eventually for “security” reasons, which makes sense when you dive into the topic. At first as a security conscious person I thought this was a great idea, after all HTTP is inherently not secure. However engineers need to step back and think about this from a user perspective. There is one truly key problem with a red-lock for all HTTP: Alarm Fatigue.

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Winter Urban Garden: All the lettuce!

IMG_5098Dateline: 2016-01-10

The holidays have come and gone, but the urban garden is not forgotten. While we were gone for Christmas and New Years, the plants have survived. Fortunately for the green things it’s continued to be a wet winter in San Francisco. Unfortunately for said plants, it’s also been quite cold. We’ve had a few days of frost warnings and several more that were cold, but not quite cold enough for the warnings. Even though I know we should have, nothing was done to cover/protect the GreenStalk tower-o-plants. It will probably be detrimental to the long term viability of some of our crop, but as you can see from the photo – things are looking great. While the strawberry is looking a little worse for the wear, all of the lettuce type crops are growing gang buster. A couple of leaves were removed for an impromptu snack as well. No further details today, but I expect our next WUG post will be salad based.

Pushing successful SSH logins to PushBullet

Screenshot_20160125-114003 On Friday I ran across Sandrino Di Mattia’s post “Posting successful SSH logins to Slack” which was very easy and a very nifty idea. Already most of my notifications from various systems (Datadog, Tutum, Twitter, etc) are gathered into a notification channel on Slack, so I jumped on the chance to try out this script. It worked great, but I realized there was one major issue: my slack notifications are plentiful and passive. I have only a few internet accessible servers and I care about them a great deal, so I want to know if anyone is accessing them (since it should only be me). So I added push notifications for successful SSH logins!

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Snowglobe 2015 – Logistics need not apply

IMG_3821We decided to spend this past New Years up at Lake Tahoe. Specifically we went to the 3 day concert extravaganza known as the Snowglobe Music Festival (or sometimes ‘Snerglerb’). There were a lot of good acts, some great acts, and it generally wasn’t horrible. However it appeared to me that the Snowglobe organizers really did not have a great grasp on the core logistics relating to putting on a music festival in Tahoe. Yes, the artists were there, music was played and alcohol was available. Beyond that there were numerous ways in which the event started to unravel. Depending on how cold (or grumpy) you were, it could make for a fairly miserable experience. I know I’m going to sound like a nitpicking a$$hole, but my post here is an honest attempt to highlight the failings I saw, in hopes that event organizers can be aware of these issues and potentially rectify them for next year.
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The Xbox One on-boarding kinda sucks

xboneelite Way back in 2001, I was lucky enough to get an (original) Xbox shortly after launch. At the time, the Carson City Target was not a terribly popular place to buy video games. Jumping up to 2005 I had become a fairly solid fan of the platform and managed to get an Xbox 360 a few months after launch. However by the time the Xbox One came around, real life had struck and I had much less free time and money for video games. There was always a longing for the XBone but never strong enough to actually get one. That was, of course, until this Christmas when my girlfriend got me the Xbox One Elite Bundle. However, this is not a story of love so much as it is a study of on-boarding.

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Winter Urban Garden: I have no idea how to water

IMG_3378Dateline: 2015-12-17

The GreenStalk Garden System that I’m using provides many cool features, including a handy water reservoir. As you can see from the image it provides markings for how much water to add based on the number of tiers your using. The only problem is that it also has a sizable drain to flow down to the lower tiers. Filling it up to the “5” mark is almost impossible (or at least requires a HUGE amount of water) since it drains quickly. So I’m back to “winging it” for watering. Fortunately we’ve had a bit of rain in SF this winter so far, so the plants won’t die (yet).

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Winter Urban Garden: First checkin

2015-12-07 08.00.19 HDR-2Dateline: 2015-12-07

It’s been about a week and a half since the winter garden was planted and things are looking fairly good. The plants were watered twice in the intervening time and also got a little extra from some much needed rain. There isn’t a ton to report since it’s been such a short amount of time, but nothing is dead (yet). Overall the GreenStalk makes for a tower of nature greenery in an otherwise concrete city. It is a surprisingly awesome sight to behold every time one looks out on the patio.

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Installing nginx 1.9.7 on Ubuntu 15.04 / 15.10

nginxHistorically I’ve been one for the LAMP stack. However over the past year or two I’ve spent a lot more time working with new fun technologies like Node.JS and Meteor. While there is nothing wrong with running these applications inside the LAMP world, some things like Websockets just don’t work well with Apache. As such I’ve been exploring the dark and dangerous world of nginx. Being one to love the latest and greatest (along with a desire to get in on this cool HTTP/2 train), I figured out how install the latest edition of nginx on Ubuntu 15.04/15.10

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Planting the Winter Urban Garden

Dateline: 2015-11-24

IMG_2777Time was of the essence. The trip to Half Moon Bay Nursery was a huge success and lots of plants were ready to be planted. However there was a kink in the works, by the end of the night we’d be off to our Thanksgiving holiday. Being gone for the better part of a week without getting our sproutlings in the ground sounded like a Bad Idea™ so the clock was ticking to start planting. Since there was no time to waste, I started planting first thing in the morning.

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