2019 Year in Review

December 31, 2019 at 8:49 pm

Another year, another year in review. This is going to be kinda short. Nothing really noteworthy happened this year. Partly this was due to some personal issues which I later realized was likely the cause of me "not feeling motivated" to do shooting competitions and the like. So that's been taken care of for the most part but still didn't do any shooting competitions or even really go to range that much. May start picking that up over the winter and maybe start doing it again because I did enjoy it even if I wasn't all that good.

About the only notable new thing I started is wood working. It's always been an interest but just didn't have the tools. I redid some acoustic panels I have setup in some rooms to reduce echos and such and the way I designed the new frames I needed a table saw. So I bought one of those and that started me down a rabbit hole of buying a few other tools and making some stuff in garage. It's a little annoying because I also want to keep parking in garage so I have to move everything out of the way when I'm done at night to park car. Does help keep garage somewhat clean. Haven't made anything to noteworthy yet just a couple storage cabinets and refinished an old plant stand I made in high school.

Really that's about it as far as important things go. This year I'll hopefully get some more stuff happening. I've been tossing around the idea of moving partly motivated by wanting a dedicated workshop area or at least a large enough garage where I can make one part a dedicated workshop. I'll see how that goes.

Posted in General. |

2018 Year in Review

December 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Big event this year was going to Miku Expo in Los Angeles. It all started early in the year when I was talking to a coworker at lunch. He mentioned Miku was coming to the US this year and if I wanted to go. Without hesitation I was like hell yeah. I'm not so much a fan of Miku herself but the idea behind it fascinated me as well as the tech that was used to have her appear on stage. So we get back to work and he messaged me an hour or so later he bought the tickets. Being super excited I asked what the date was and where at and said he booked the first concert and it was in LA. My initial joy turned in to panic. I live in Ohio. Los Angeles is about 2,400 miles away. It's about a 5 hour flight. The last time I was on a plane was back in 2006 when I went to Japan. I've never traveled anywhere west of the Mississippi other than in airports. Main concern was dealing with TSA and making sure I have everything packed properly. Well after he said it was in LA we both came to this realization that now we have to work on flights and hotel and such. So we got all the details figured out and a few grand later we were all set.

It's also worth mentioning that while I've been over this persons house before to watch movies and such I haven't spent an extended amount of time. As the trip to Japan taught me two people that seemed to get along fine once you're stuck with them for extended amount of time can get annoying. But at the same time if this did work out maybe I can pick up traveling again and have someone to go with me as stuff like hotel rooms cost the same if it's one or two people so you can individually save half the cost vs going by yourself.

There were several firsts during this trip. Aside from what I mentioned thus far it was also my first time using a ride share service and we were going to use it the entire time we're there. I live fairly close to the airport and didn't want to bother anyone to come out and take me so I even used it to go from house to airport. I used Lyft the entire time. I installed both Lyft and Uber and comparing the two Uber always seemed to be slightly more expensive or not a lot were around me. At any rate I highly recommend using ride sharing if you ever visit LA. Not dealing with traffic was absolutely worth it. Plus it really wasn't that expensive.

I've already been going on about this but all I'll really say about the concert itself is it was far better than I realized. Like I wish we got VIP tickets and be all the way up front. The projection technology looks way better in person. There's several times where I forgot I was seeing a character being projected on to a piece of special glass. Far and away this was the most spontaneous thing I've ever done in my life and I'd absolutely do it all over again. Maybe this will be the kick I need to travel more?

One other interesting thing we didn't realize at the time we booked everything but the following week was Anime Expo which is one of the biggest anime conventions in the US. If we realized it we would have stayed another week but to make the changes while we were already there would have cost way too much. Also if in LA check out Little Tokyo. We were there pretty much every day eating some place different. Anyway maybe I'll expand on this all in a later post but in summary, it was fun.

While I got some pictures and video we were further back on first floor. But someone recorded the entire thing from the VIP area to give an idea of what it was like. Like I said the display technology doesn't translate well to videos, guessing the higher frame rate isn't captured right or something.

Didn't do many shooting competitions this year. No real reason other than wasn't too motivated so just took a break this year. Maybe I'll get back in to it next year.

I just did the final step for coralize.net and killed the hosting service for it. Hopefully anyone that has used it has reverted back to using a direct url.

Notable things I mentioned last year that I said I was going to do. First off I haven't done anything to this website. The captcha form still seems to work I think. Still not sure what I want to do with this site. Don't want to move it to wordpress because I'd have to constantly keep it up to date. May try one of those site generators that generates a static site.

Check back as the end of the year came up really fast it seemed so I'll likely be updating it (and rss reader isn't going to see the updates. Assume I'll have everything said I wanted to by first week of January).

As always I'm on twitter and github.

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk, Security and Privacy. |

2017 Year in Review

December 31, 2017 at 12:16 pm

I guess this year was fairly uneventful. Made some progress I wanted to in previous year but didn't get to everything.

I wanted to remove the intensedebate stuff since litterally this year I had zero comments, which is fine. Not like I really publicize this much. Removing intensedebate will free up a lot of the rules I have set in CSP that I'll be able to remove. Been interesting to see reports come in about blocked content and it's like google fonts and I saw ads a couple times. Also it seems like the pcname generator is being used in applications, which I'm fine with, but it's not just grabbing the url on it's own but inserting other content which then CSP blocks. Just to make sure I tested the api endpoint I have and running curl https://vrillusions.com/pcname/api works as expected. Also want to enable 100% https on all my subdomains of vrillusions.com. Did that on some but others need work.

Over the past year dreamhost has been having some issues with mail. Seems like they're working on it and have made improvements but it's still having issues. Nowadays with everything using email to confirm your identity on new logins or for certain actions having email working is critical. Also the spam filtering setup isn't as good as I hope. So I'm looking at getting a dedicated server to move mail to. Have one already just need to get it setup. May wait till Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes out. I have a couple other domains using google's custom mail stuff from when that was still free but like not having all email hosted at google.

Also I got a notice about the recaptcha I'm using on contact page is going away in 2018. That'll be fun to update since I'm using a plugin for kohana which it itself is an older version I haven't updated. May just update that although not sure what will break from it. Also I think there's an easy way to add the new recaptcha code so may not be a big issue. Just something I have to look in to.

As of November 27, 2017 I have all requests on corralize.net returning "410 Gone". Also that site expires January 4th. I'm renewing it in 2018 but that will be the last time. So likely shortly after Jan 4, 2018 it's going to be picked up by a squatter. If for some reason you want it (not just to show ads) let me know from contact page and I'll transfer it to you for free. All I ask is you don't touch nameservers till Jan 1, 2019.

The HTML only archive of rexforum.com is still a think I need to do. Haven't really looked for any software to do it.

Nothing particularly new with work. Which I guess is both good and bad. Things are getting More Gooder...

USPSA matches have been going well. Finally got my Open division gun mostly working. Still ran in to some issues so didn't get to go out and shoot open matches too often. Hopefully will be doing more of that next year.

Still going to gym, still not losing as much weight as I want but I seem to feel in better shape so not a complete waste of time.

You can find me on twitter and still doing stuff on GitHub

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk, Security and Privacy. |

2016 Year in Review

December 31, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Good news is I didn't have many goals set in my 2015 Year in Review so not much that I didn't do. I did still want to post more here, but that's still holding on rewriting the site, which I haven't started yet. Still trying to decide on framework to use. Still weighing differences with django and flask.

In other site news you'll see that now it's https. Dreamhost had one click integration with Let's Encrypt and those are domain validate certs that anyone can get. The whole process is automated so it's completely free. Not like I'm doing anything that requires it but it doesn't cost anything. I've also turned setup HTTP Strict Transport Security and setup Content Security Policy. This is basically as secure as I can make it. Setting up CSP was interesting as it reveals just how many places even a site like this contacts. Most of the permissions in there are because of IntenseDebate which I still haven't removed. It was also the final thing I was waiting for before I could be 100% https. I know the rewrite of site isn't going to have comments so it will definitely be gone then.

As you may or may not know I maintain corralize.net which helped generate urls to cached content. Well that server has been off and on for years so I'm working on deprecating it. Right now if you use it you're just redirected to the original site. Eventually I'm going to have it return the "410 Gone" response which tells web browsers and search engines that the site is no longer here and there's no where to go and so it will get removed from search engines. I know once I drop the registration it's going to get snatched up by a domain squater but hopefully by the time I'm done no one is actually using it.

I'm still trying to get an html only archive of rexforum.com. I'm sure if it wasn't for me basically removing any non essential php scripts it would have probably been hacked by now so I just want it to be HTML.

Work has been going OK. The acquisition I think isn't going off as people hoped from a company culture side and the sysops team I'm in has been rearranged several times. We've lost a lot of people and so far no one has been hired to replace them. Perhaps Linux Sysadmins are just that hard to find in Cleveland. I have no plans on leaving. If you take a step back from the daily drama that comes up we're generally going in a positive direction. Hopefully it will continue that way.

When not working I've now started shooting at USPSA competitions. It's a lot more fun than I originally expected. Not particularly that good at it but I'm also shooting with people that have been doing this for 20-30 years. Also I got me a 3D printer for the heck of it. You can get them fairly inexpensive on eBay, mine is by Geeetech (that points to their eBay store) and bought the "Prusa I3 Pro B". Is it as good as the $3000 ones? I dunno but for $250 (as of publishing it's now $200) it's good enough.

I'm also still going to gym. I haven't lost as much weight as I was hoping for but I am losing it. Also my blood pressure that was always borderline high is now staying slightly below high. Still not full of energy after working out no matter what other people say. No real goals set for the coming year other than keep at it.

As usual you can find me on twitter and still doing stuff on GitHub

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk, Security and Privacy. |

2015 Year in Review

December 31, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Keeping up with tradition I haven't really done anything I mentioned in 2014 year in review. Notably this year I was let go from the job I've had for 10+ years. It's a little hard to give a real number since it's rather complicated. I was hired back in 2004 as a PHP developer. I was working for a company that was a spinoff the of the main company. Well it then broke off from that company into another one (yes, it's confusing, and made taxes fun a couple years). That company was founded in 2006 or so but I still worked with the same people throughout. At any rate when this company started I was one of 5 people, including the boss. When I left it was over 40 I think. Had a lot of growing pains and put in a lot of hard hours. Anyway this year they did some restructuring (leaving out details as I'm not sure if it's considered confidential info still) and remove my position as well as several others in department. Don't have any hard feelings towards them and I wish that company the best.

The job hunt now was a lot different from back in 2004. Pretty much every resume I sent out I at least got a call back from. Apparently the Cleveland area is starved for Linux Administrators. After only two months being unemployed I accepted a new job. Took like a month and a half to finally get in there (they were recently acquired so they weren't used to the new process things had to go through).

New job operates in the health care industry and has a really interesting part in it. Also this company is a lot bigger at almost 200 people which has been great to not have to do everything all the time, or be on call 24/7/365 since it's spread across like 12 people or something. Have been getting along with coworkers well which was my big worry starting at a new place and doing more stuff that I wanted to do.

Other new things this year is I finally started going to gym. Partly due to pay increase I got from new job and partly not wanting to be a fat slob. I did jogging after work a few years ago but stopped once it got cold out and then when I would get home late from work I didn't want to go out. I compromised and got a membership at a local gym. Not a fan of running in place on a treadmill but I'll be able to do it year round and I've already seen some improvements after only a couple months. Even see a personal trainer for resistance training / weight lifting which was something I always wanted to do but was always too afraid I'd mess up my back or something. Who knows maybe a year from now I'll be saying I lost 50 pounds...

Due to leaving the previous job, which was where I had this server hosted, I had to move things around. Ultimately I went back to using my Dreamhost account. It's definitely improved since I last used it. I'm still looking at getting a hosted server somewhere because they do some stuff with email that I don't like, also can't tweak spam settings like I can with my own server.

I did some updates to permit cookies addon. I'm looking at updating it again because the API it's using is so old Mozilla is planning on deprecating it soon. Shouldn't be too hard to rewrite but still annoying.

I ended up dropping my ".email" TLD. Two years later and still have a lot of sites not accepting it so I'm using toddeddy.com which I've had for a while now. I've even been considering moving this site over to toddeddy.com since it's always been hard to give out my domain name since I have to spell it out and such. Still have to spell out toddeddy.com but at least then someone will know how to spell my name. Not sure if I want to do that though. Also I want to maintain all redirects so even 10 years ago you type in the url of this page and it will redirect you to the appropriate place on new domain. Still haven't done much with site rewrite. Just changes to a local copy of site.

Other things I did this year was go on vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with parents. It's become a really big tourist trap place though. I did end up doing this blacksmith thing where I made a pretty cool knife out of a railroad spike. Also have made an attempt at trying to get house cleaned up, took a bunch of old computers to recycling place this year. Been hoarding them for close to 15 years so I'm glad to be gone with them.

In 2016 I'm looking forward to being in better shape. Don't have any real concrete goals in regards to working out. Just be in better shape. Things like losing weight are going to happen. I have been considering moving. Current place I live is all right but it's kinda old. If I want to bring it up today, open floor plan, etc it's going to cost a lot. Rather just go somewhere that's newer and have all that done already. Also I've seen enough of those home remodeling shows where they find beams missing or pools of water that I don't want to do work on my place. Probably won't go anywhere but I've been looking at least.

I'm still on twitter and github a lot and probably best places to see what I'm up to throughout the year.

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk. |

2014 Year in Review

January 9, 2015 at 11:06 pm

As usual most of what I mentioned in 2013 recap I didn't actually do. While I have been working on moving site over to django it's been slow going. Work has been keeping me busy. I do still plan on hosting images locally and moving the site to https everywhere. Especially since the EFF and several others are working on making basic ssl certificates available for free. I'm fully verified at CACert but I still don't think any browsers actually have their certificate installed by default.

Some things I did actually do though, I moved my home servers to a single HP Microserver N54L running VMWare ESXi. Been working nicely and like that now I just have this single small server instead of just using my old desktops computers. Also I did create a new PGP key, you can get the new one on my contact page.

In 2013 a new TLD, ".email", was available and I thought maybe if I got a lastname.email domain I could setup email on that since I always end up having to spell out "vrillusions" when I give my email anywhere. Now the problem is a lot of websites don't think "user@example.email" is a valid email address. So for the time being I'm using both addresses. I'll never get rid of "vrillusions.com", but was hoping to phase out using it for email though.

Most of my spare time has been spent doing stuff for work. One notable thing is I got very familiar with how Amazon's AWS services work. We deployed a new environment that's entirely hosted in aws and has high availability and auto scalers and all that fun stuff. To say it's been a lot of work is an understatement but it has turned out pretty well.

Haven't really been doing much in the way of photography as of late. For whatever reason I haven't really been too motivated to go out and take pictures. Pretty much only time I took out my camera was for Ohayocon last year.

This year I'm not really planning anything too big. Maybe this year I'll do the website stuff. Also I need to get around to updating the version of Ubuntu the server is running (it's still getting security updates but some of the new fancy stuff for SSL isn't available in it). I'm also debating dropping my dreamhost account. Have a couple sites on it but none of them are high traffic or anything. Also this may be the year I drop my usenet account. Another one of those things I haven't used in years.

As usual I can be found complaining about stuff on twitter and my github account is usually somewhat active. Notably I plan on doing some updates to permit cookies extension that are a little overdue, at some point.

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk, Security and Privacy. |

Ohayocon 2014

March 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Ohayocon 2014

First off sorry about taking so long to get these up. I know I gave my card to a couple people I took pictures of so sorry to keep you waiting.

Didn't have any photo shoots this time around and was a nice change. Didn't have to worry about meeting up with anyone, getting stressed over the photoshoots themselves, etc. I always have trouble taking pictures just roaming around. Usually it's so crowded I don't want to block the flow of traffic, even if most people don't seem to care too much.

Anyway, rest of pictures can be found here.

Posted in Anime, Photography. |

2013 Year in Review

December 31, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Another year of hardly any updates another year of summing it all up in one post at the end of the year.

Hopefully 2014 I'll be paying more attention to my site.

One thing you probably didn't notice is I've finally stopped using the "All rights reserved" copyright notice. This is a carry over from years gone by where I saw a lot of company sites put that on their pages. Not knowing what it even meant I stuck it at the bottom of my pages. Well that was just silly of me so now all content on this site is licensed creative commons by-nc-sa v4.0. This means you can use anything on here so long as you give me credit for it, any modifications are also similarly licensed, and that you don't make money off my content. This is actually how I've always been but never updated the site accordingly. Note that these are just your default rights but if you're doing something where you really don't want to give me credit or something then contact me and we can work something out. Coincidentally since the prior license was all rights reserved it's easy for me to now declare all past content on this site is also CC BY-NC-SA. This probably isn't a huge deal for anyone but I wanted to put that wording in there to show my full intent of re-licensing all content in case a lawyer comes by one day and needs to make sure it's all good.

With all the security news recently I'm going to enhance the security of this site. First off I'm moving all content hosted elsewhere and host it locally. The main things this includes are the images (currently hosted on flickr) and comments (currently hosted by intense debate).

The images should be simple enough to do (I'll still have links to the flickr page as there are some comments there from people).

Comments are going to be a little more tricky. What I'm thinking of doing is dropping comments from the site. Instead I'd come up with a hashtag and say if you want to comment on this then use that hashtag. While I'm not a big fan of saying "post the comment elsewhere" I also realize that the last comment made by anyone was January 2011. Could that be because I'm using intense debate? don't know. This is also something I'm still thinking about. I may go back to the standard name, email (hidden), and comment. Let me know if you have any suggestions. As for old comments, I'll get a dump of the comments from intense debate and have them statically included in the page. As a nice side effect of all this you don't have to allow third party cookies or have javascript on to use the site (only existing thing will be google analytics and if you keep javascript off for that it's not going to prevent anything on the site)

One thing I'm still dedicate to doing, no ads. Mostly this is just the realization that this is such low traffic that any ad revenue would take years before I earned enough for payout. I will still do the amazon referral links because it doesn't affect the price you pay and it gets me something although to be fair I have yet to make enough on there to see any money, and I think the minimum is $1

Also thinking of finally switching away from PHP. It's served it's purpose but it's just always been annoying to use. I've been looking at django and it seems nice enough. Aside from my gripe about versioning (seriously people, Semantic Versioning). At least python itself follows it (unlike ruby's "versioning format" if you call it that. Interestingly rails seems to follow it though). Also django has a documented process on how they do versions and what versions are supported. Yes, this paragraph was mostly a rant against project versioning. Heck even this site I have internal versions (currently at v5 and will be on v6 when/if I rewrite for django)

Aside from website stuff I plan on recreating my pgp key soon. 2048 bit keys are perfectly secure but nowadays computers can handle 4096 bit keys.

Although still not complete, I'm working on moving all the server stuff at home to a server running ESXi. I still have to move most things over but it should reduce the heat and electric bills. Also with virtual machines I can do things like have production scripts (for example my xkcd twitter bot) running on a separate server than the one I'm developing on.

In other geeky news, I've slowly converted to using Vim pretty much full time. It was always my editor of choice in terminal but I've been using the gui versions in windows and mac as well.

So if you have any input on anything either leave a comment here or the main social site I'm on is twitter

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk, Security and Privacy. |

Ohayocon 2013

January 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Unknown character from Ohayocon 2013

Don't really have much to say about this year's Ohayocon. I hope they figure out the line situation because it seems to get worse with each year. Number of attendees grows but the rooms are still the same size. So you wait in line and then usually fills up before you get in.

Picked this picture since in my ever growing challenge to get close-up shots this is as close as I got this year. I do feel like I may have done a little too much tweaking with the levels. Straight out of camera it was really good, didn't have to touch exposure compensation or even white balance. I do have a flash shooting into a Flip-It which helped fill in shadows.

With the photo shoot I did this year I again didn't feel too energetic about it and unfortunately I think shows in the results. People end up enjoying them but I always feel like I could have done better. Even in the general photos from walking around I feel like I could have done better. Maybe I need to do some more urban exploring for inspiration?

Posted in Photography. |

2012 Year in Review

December 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm

As you can probably tell I've been slacking on keeping this up to date with information. So without further adieu I'm just going to smash all the year's happenings into a single post.

With that last post being from an Ohayocon I'll start there. That was the only anime convention I went to this year. Usually I also go to anime punch but this year they added a second convention for gaming specific stuff which took up their usual April spot. The anime one happened a couple weeks ago just before christmas. As I had family plans I couldn't go to that either. Finally the other convention I've gone to a couple times, colossalcon, I just forgot about again. Next year I do plan on going to Ohayocon again. Don't know if I'll go anywhere else.

The other thing I usually post on here is pictures I take. Well, aside from Ohayocon I haven't taken any pictures. Meant to do some more urban exploring but never seemed to get enough motivation to go out. Haven't gone out on any photo walks or anything either. Did still mean to go through my old photos and post those maybe once a month. But again I wasn't really all that motivated to do it. Not sure if any of this will change next year or not, we shall see.

For a while this year I got into a soldering kick. I made a few jeenodes. Not using them for anything yet but was going to experiment with remote sensors around the house. Other big projects was the O2 amp. I use the amp daily at work (I also have the ODAC so it connects to computer over usb). If you need a good headphone amp it's a nice intermediate project and you can build the amp and add the dac for about $250 and have a pretty darn good amp. Or you can just be lazy and order them prebuilt from jdslabs. I'm looking at other stuff to build but nothing else has really peaked my interest.

I also looked in to inexpensive VPS (virtual private servers) providers. They can be really inexpensive but some also have horrible service. One I have a few now is BuyVM. They're most well known for 128mb openvz (it limits you on what OS can be installed) for $15/year. You can run a small static website and a mail server without any issues. For $3/mo extra (I think) you get access to a shared MySQL database which is a pretty good deal since you then don't have to run one yourself. Also they have native IPv6 support, even if everyone is still trying to avoid IPv6 as long as possible.

Not really a VPS but I also got a dedicated server from kimsufi (it's the econo line for OVH). For about $20/mo I get a server with 2gb RAM and 1tb hard drive. So I'm using it for cheap offsite backups. And when I mean offsite I mean it. The server is located in France. It also lets me really verify if a site is working because I'm testing it from France.

Towards the end of this year I've been playing Guild Wars 2 constantly. You can see how much game time you've had and mine shows 498 hours... Yeah. Not really a lot to say about it other than it's good and has no monthly fee so if you like MMO's I'd give it a shot.

So there you go, in a few paragraphs that's about all I did this year. Maybe next year I'll update this more often and if not I guess I'll post another year in review next year.

Posted in General, Website, Geek Talk. |

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