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easter in quarantine

I have been so busy with pandemic-related tasks that I barely saw Easter approaching and, when I did, I discovered that getting Easter swag was going to be a challenge.

Now, mind, Matthew and Joshua are teenagers and particularly mature ones at that. They don’t think that a bunny comes around and hides eggs in the yard or poops out little foil-covered confections. As for myself, I’m not a fan of cheap milk chocolate in quantity. If I am going to take on the calorie load of some chocolate, I’ll opt for quality over quantity. So our tradition has become that the children wake up to a tasteful basket, usually from a fabulous local chocolatier, usually with one large chocolate bunny and a small, tasteful assortment of miniature chocolate bunnies and eggs of exquisite quality. Continue reading

don’t Zoom our children!!

 

Privacy seems to be the latest casualty of COVID-19. I guess because I am involved in the information security community, I thought everybody knew about the atrocious privacy policies and reprehensible actions of Zoom. I was shocked to discover that Matthew and Joshua’s school district is planning on forcing children to use this platform whose policies probably make Mark Zuckerberg envious. Here is what I wrote to them today:

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3-D printed PPE

3-D printed mask partsWhile I was searching the net for ways to get testing for my patients with upper respiratory infections who might have COVID-19, I stumbled on a local effort to fill the shameful gap in the availability of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers by getting volunteers to 3-D print face shield parts. I am transitioning my practice to telemedicine, which means I’m home a lot more. I can babysit my 3-D printer while I’m working on the telemedicine gear and helping my home-from-school children with their educational enrichment activities. I’ve fired up the printer and my first mask is printing as I type.

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unringing the new year

I installed a Ring doorbell camera a couple of years ago, when the product and company were relatively new. I thought it was a fine idea: a way to see who was at your door and even “answer” the door  (through a two-way audio chat) from anywhere.

I was mildly disappointed in the product.

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a car worth washing

I took delivery on my second Tesla Model S back in February. I bought it used from Tesla so it didn’t break the bank, though it is still the most expensive car (to purchase) that I have owned.

The Tesla has completely changed my driving experience.

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great migration

Back in 2014, most of my servers were using Ubuntu. In April of that year, a long-term support (LTS) version was released and I migrated the servers to it. LTS releases are supported for five years—it seemed an eternity at the time.

In April 2016, the next LTS release came out. By then, I probably had close to 50 servers running a handful of distributions. All the Ubuntu-based servers migrated successfully except for two (four, actually, as each of those servers had a hot backup). One of those handled the office phones (asterisk, hylafax, IAXmodem), the other mostly handled email (postfix, dovecot, spamassassin). Those machines died horribly when I attempted to upgrade to 16.04 (saved by backups!) and, since they handled critical services, I decided to leave them on 14.04. After all, I had until 2019 to upgrade.

Plenty of time.

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halfblind

Over the past many months, I have been having a harder and harder time seeing to read (and I spend 80+% of my waking hours reading). I wasn’t really consciously aware that anything was wrong, but I did find that I’d take out my contact lens far more often, I had all my devices set to dark backgrounds, and I was spending more time in my darkened room. I would also get terribly fatigued when I read for more than a few minutes (which, generally, meant all the time). I was getting increasingly behind in reading and responding to email. After months of things getting gradually worse, I realized suddenly that I couldn’t read at all without a lot of squinting and straining.

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