Author Archives: Scott

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Office Project

Office Done

Thoughts Before the Project:

Office BeforeI have a new office project starting up next Monday. The flooring for the hardwood – site finished – floor has already been delivered. They put the raw lumber in my dining room / office, and I have been smelling it all week. Needless to say, I am very excited to have the contractor start on the new office soon.

I will try and take before pictures this weekend so I can show you how the house looked before the project. I’ve been trying to think of all the little things that should be done during the construction phase so I can take advantage of them afterwards. For example, relating to the electrical work, I would like to put passive monitor speakers up near my workstation. Each speaker is self driven, and self amplified, therefore, I would like to locate some A/C receptacles near the speaker locations to plug them in. In addition to the electricity, I would also like to run low-voltage TRS signal cables to these locations for connecting to the audio system.

Thoughts During the Project:

Office DuringI would like to jot down some notes about the office project before I forget. First, the contractor managed to talk me into staining the floor a dark brown color. I originally wanted to have hardwood floors put into the whole house. And, therefore wanted the office to match our new idea, even though it may be some time before I get around to doing the rest of the floors. My original idea was to match the floor to the railing in the middle of the house that goes up the stairs and along the hallway upstairs. His main reasoning for staining the floor a darker color was that the railing would then be a trim piece, requiring contrast with the floor. Going along with the contrast concept, I choose to have the floor dark and the trim stained to match the railing.  I think it looks good.

Another thing I specifically asked for was that the fan be moved from it’s old location (would be in the office) to a new location centred above the foyer. Part of moving the fan would be keeping some kind of switch to power off the fan in case of problems in the future. The electrician was going to put the fan on the same circuit as the hallway lights, so you would have to turn on the hallway lights in order to operate the fan. This was after they had already wired everything, and drywalled, and I painted. He ended up cutting a hole in the drywall and fishing the old fan wire back down into the required electrical box. Man, I wonder why I even try to keep this stuff organized. I swear I asked two or three times for them to explain the circuit to me before they left the first time and everything was drywalled.

I’ll come back and write more later…

Thoughts After the Project:

Office Floor

Overall, the project turned out very well. I now have a new usable space for working. The square footage of the house just went up by like 100 ft2! I’m still waiting to save up for a ergonomic computer desk, but I have all my computer stuff setup on my old desk, and it’s just fine with me for now. I left the areas in front of both windows open so I can access them, sand by them, etc.

There was quite an echo in here at first. My mom brought an old Persian rug runner thing from their attic for me to put down in front of the desk. This helped some. It’s weird to walk on it because part is really spongy and part is really thin. It’s her mom’s rug from her house in Chicago. It was over the threshold between the kitchen and dining room I think. Then I hung up a decorative blanket on one of the walls. This also helped. There is still a little echo, but it’s not nearly as noticeable.

On cost -> What a pain. If he would have been a little more realistic about the cost, I wouldn’t complain as much. It’s the logical thing. He didn’t do a bunch of work he said he would, and didn’t take of equal value for the work. I even had him do some extra stuff to offset the difference, so he would get paid what he expected, and he took advantage. It ended up being way more than it should have been.

I know I complain a lot in this post, but that’s what blogs are for!

I just uploaded an action shot of the office in use here, enjoy.

Desk in Action

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How to keep things safe?

I’ll start by classifying the pronoun ‘things’. By ‘things’, I mean to say data. I would like to keep my address books, personal thoughts, and other important stuff safe from prying eyes. Let’s face it, there are some real weirdos, freaks, and just down right mean people out there. Some of them live in dark places, and eat worms to survive. Strange as it sounds, these same people found some way to get their hands, and brains, on some computers. Once they figured out how to turn worm guts into touch pads for their refurbished laptops, they were online, and everything went down-hill from there. So, in summary, we need to try and keep things locked down a little.

I’ve been talking to a co-worker about this, and found out about a handy tool called the KeePass, made by PortableApps. To get started, download PortableApps Suite Lite, then pick out what apps you need to use at remote locations. The SourceForge File List for this project is a complete list of applications supported.

I recommend checking the MD5 Hash of each file you download to make sure you are getting what you want. There is always a possibility that the worm eaters intercept your download request and replace the good file with one they doctored up with viruses and stuff. Running a MD5 Hash on the file after you download it and matching the results with what’s listed on the main website is a good way to prevent this from happening. At the time I downloaded the Lite v.1.0, it’s MD5 Hash was da9d15132d82bb9163f2d8274a842508. A handy tool to get the MD5 Hash of your downloaded file is called MD5Summer.

After checking the file, install it to the root of your portable device.

Download KeePass, check it, then install it. Other utilities I might find useful are WinSCP and FileZilla, Notepad++, PuTTY, Sumatra PDF, VLC, XAMPP Launcher, Eraser, and WinMD5sum.

Now that we have enjoyed playing with the many portable applications available, it is time to setup some security on our Linux host using SSH. I will be following Jason’s document here. He describes how to turn off password authentication completely, relying on long keys, which can have passwords of their own. I already have a key generated for my ‘normal’ non-root user that doesn’t have a password assoiciated with it. For this task, I’ll create a new user called something else.

I turned off password authentication, and it won’t let me in.  Oops

Reminder for later – Ask your co-worker if they have investigated using RADIUS for this security.  Would RADIUS be more secure than this?

I’ll come back later and update with my fix.



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Wiki Development

Category : Uncategorized

I have started up a wiki, and am in the process of finding cool implementations online.

I would like to use this post as a place to list some of the really cool wiki implementations out there.

GuildWars Specific Wiki Page

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The Gallery

Category : Uncategorized

Much work has gone into uploading photos from a San Francisco assignment into the gallery 2 application here at BlueHost. It ate up too much CPU resources for my humble hosting package for each page to generate thumbnails, so I had to wait a couple minutes for my account to become un-locked.

However, I think it is at a state that is good enough for you to see. With no further chatter, here it is:  Scott’s Gallery

I’ll do a lot more work to it, like branding etc. Let me know what you think so far.


Hosting Packages

Category : Uncategorized

In case anyone was interested, this blog site is hosted by BlueHost.

I have been very happy with the features and cost of this hosting provider.

I would like to note that some web applications use quite a bit of processing when creating image thumbnails etc. I have noticed that while I’m setting up gallery pages and things, I run out of CPU resources on the web server.

It is interesting at this point to think about the criteria put forth in choosing a web host. One criteria that doesn’t seem to be listed as often is CPU quota. Every couple minutes it seems to sample how much CPU my site is using, and actually turns off all access to any page on my site when I use too much.

And now for a comment I posted to Matt Heaton’s blog:

The solution is great.  I don’t know how you do it for so many people.

I have a support question about my account that I’m not getting anywhere with support on.  I was wondering if you offered another form of communication for answering my questions.

Recently, the security key changed for the bluehost server I’m using and it took quite a while for someone to tell me it was OK to proceed.  However, when I ask for details, I get none and the ticket changes to ‘resolved’ without asking me if I felt it was resolved.  I have the feeling they think it’s my first time logging in, and don’t feel very secure about the connection.  If someone said that they reinstalled something on the server or moved the hardware or rebuilt the OS, I would be fine.  I’m not satisfied with ‘it’s OK’ .   It’s important to maintain security on the Internet, and blindly accepting man-in-the-middle attacks should not be something promoted by a major hosting company.

Sorry for this, but one more thing for now.  I believe in saving time and money by implementing a support ticketing system.  However, if the users are not trained properly, and clients need to phone in to resolve all issues, it may not help as much as it could.

Thanks for listening, again if there’s another venue for this communication, please let me know.



I’ll be editing this post a few more times, so look for more info in the future.


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Time to Blog

Man Walking  As my role at work forced me to notice the buzz on Web 2.0, I decided to kick start my web presence here. There are many options for blogging and communities, and I decided to jump in.

My wife has hooked me up with her friends and I thought it might be a good idea develop a plan.

Here goes nothing…

What’s with twitter? Should I use it?

How about some logo ideas for the Graphic Design? I like this eye clipart here.