Rick Glos Life in Portland, Oregon.

Portland Food Carts

12. November 2009 09:42 by Rick Glos in

We’ve recently been praising the food we are eating at lunch time at the office by going to what we call ‘cart row’.  Eric, my co-worker, and I make it a point to head to the carts for lunch each Wednesday – the only day I need to be in the office.  We are one of the those progressive companies that work from home and only meet once a week together as team.  Otherwise we use all the modern tools, instant messenger, live meeting and even Ventrilo to have discussions.

Anyway, we been surprised at the quality and freshness of the food at such a reasonable price.  It’s just over your standard $5 McDonald's price range – around $6-7 ish dollars for a meal but the quality is easily in range of some of your best restaurants – sometimes better.  Just yesterday Eric bought a sandwich and soup from the Portland Soup Company cart and they sliced the apple right in front of us that was making his topping for his Pork Butt with Apple and Cabbage Slaw.  How cool is that?

We both got the Beef Borscht soup.  I’ve never had beets in soup before, and it was a fantastic and a brilliant bright purple soup.

It seems to come in a wave and this seems to be a movement that has been going on in the background for awhile.  That same day, another co-worker, Serena, email us a link to a video touting the Portland Food Carts.  Then via twitter this morning I see Sam Adams, the Portland Mayor, has tweeted the same video plus an additional one.

I guess Portland is proclaiming itself the Food Cart Capital.

I have been thinking lately of posting some things about my cooking at home.  I’ve gone native.  Before moving out here I was easily your glorified meal guy.  Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper.  I bought things in boxes at the grocery store with 30-40 ingredients of things you can’t even pronounce.  Today I cook mostly everything from scratch, buy veggies and fruits at the farmers market, and try to eat in season.

I don’t know if it’s the culture here or more of a national thing.  My Dad says there’s not the choice of grocery stores back in Illinois like we have here.  Portland does seem to love good food.  I sure do love eating it.

Here’s a couple videos just recently created about it.  There’s even supposed to be some kind of late night, evening food cart area where you can buy a beer and eat food under this tent that Eric has been mentioning at work.  Some kind of new hang out.  I see they mention what looks to be that place in video #2.

Video #1

Video #2

Perspective

2. November 2009 15:58 by Rick Glos in

I’m mostly jotting this down because I want to remember it and reference it in the future but thought it might also be interesting to share.

On my last stop today on my meals on two wheels route I had a longer than normal conversation with Dorothy Yoshida.  Dorothy is a first generation Japanese American.  Her parents moved here from Japan and her and her 8 siblings were born here in the Portland Oregon area.  Only 12 years separate those 9 siblings.  That in itself amazes me.

Dorothy is 92.  She told me today she was born in 1917.  Among other things I asked her if she remembered World War 2.  Why she sure did.

She spent 4 and 1/2 years in an Japanese internment camp.

She says she thinks about it alot and how hard it was.  She was trying to provide for her two children.  Dorothy said she was 26 when she went.  She said she was shipped to Idaho, specifically to Minidoka, and which I can see from the Wikipedia article. 

Barracks-group-shot1

This is history alive.  One of only 9,397 people.  She said she had all her possessions taken away.  That is was very cold and hard and dry.  I sort of remember driving across Idaho to get here to Portland and how it was a dry, high desert sort of place.  I remember discussions of this in history class and the history channel but it’s something else to run into someone your delivering a lunch time meal for.

While she was talking I had to hold back for not getting teary eyed in front of her.

She said she lived in the barracks and that she made $12 a month delivering mail as a volunteer.  There were other jobs but the most you could get paid was $18 a month.

Perspective.  I was just thinking about how would i have felt at 26 to lose everything and get sent somewhere for 4 1/2 years and all of a sudden I’m almost 31 with nothing.  I’m amazed.  Something to think about when you’re thinking about your lot in life and how you got here and where you are going.  Doesn’t seem to bad compared to others does it?

New Home Done

19. October 2009 19:46 by Rick Glos in

Well we are in the new home finally.  Took longer than expected.  We moved out in November of 2008 and our old home was then promptly demolished.  The builder guessed 4-6 months, the contract said 9 months and the bank said no longer than 11 months.  It ended up at 10.5 months basically.  We moved in this weekend.

Old Home New Home
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Still getting acclimated but it is great.

I took over 500 photo’s while it was being built.  Some of it to document the process, document where the wires were behind the walls and most of it due to just plain excitement.

My favorites right now are the new appliances, no more making ice by hand – love the ice cube maker in the fridge, the stacking washer and dryer are quiet, the dishwasher is quiet but my highlight is the fireplace.

Fireplace turned out nice.

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Of course I had to get one going this weekend.

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The kitchen…

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Heidi’s new favorite spot.

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Stairs and open landing to the three bedrooms upstairs.

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My truck actually fits in the garage.  Well barely.  But not bad for a 3/4 diesel truck.

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And of course you know what moved in first.

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I’ve had a few people ask about a house warming party.  Never had one so I don’t know what that entails but we should do something so that if you are wanting to check it out then cool.  If not then it’s an excuse to get together.

Updated bandwidth test – Oct 2009

16. October 2009 07:38 by Rick Glos in

This is the first test of the bandwidth in our new home.  Dramatic improvement by 33% down and 300% up (16Mb/5.7Mb).  I did this at ~7:00 am on a Friday morning.  Interesting to note that if I use a local server to test, Portland, the numbers are dramatically better at 23Mb down and 8.5 Mb up.

Oct 2009

May 2008

Aug 2006

Blog comment spam

6. October 2009 11:25 by Rick Glos in

I’ve been getting quite a bit of blog comment spam the past few days.  When someone leaves a comment, I currently receive an email.  It’s a nice feature of BlogEngine.NET which is the blogging software I currently use to power this site.

After 3 years of mostly clean comments, apparently I’m now the target of an automated spammer called a bot in the techie world.  It leaves your inbox looking like this:

9-30-2009 6-33-06 AM

In the course of a few minutes you can receive hundreds of these.

So now you’ve got multiple problems:

  1. Clean out your email inbox.
  2. Stop this from happening on your blog.
  3. Do it in a manner that isn’t annoying to users that want to leave comments.
  4. Clean out the spam on your blog.

Clean out your email inbox

Not sure if there’s a better way to do this but shift clicking and or selecting all and clicking delete.  Using gmail this wasn’t too painful.

Stop this from happening

It had been awhile since I’ve upgraded the BlogEngine.NET code.  I think 2 years.  I was one 1.2 and they are now on 1.5.  First step was upgrade.

The latest version of BlogEngine.NET has the ability to add Extensions.  I was hoping that there would be some kind of spam management built into the engine but there is not.

One method would be to turn on comment moderation.  I don’t want that.  That means every single comment, good or bad, would need me to click and ‘OK’ button before it gets posted.  Sounds like work and I want automation.

Unfortunately there isn’t a clear list of extensions available for BlogEngine.NET.  Sure there’s an extensions page on their website but the list is certainly not complete and some of the links are link dead.  In particular, of the two ‘Anti-Spam’ extensions, SpamFighter is link dead and Akismet Anti Spam is outdated.  With some googling, I found an extensions project on CodePlex, that however has gone stale, the last release over 1 year ago. 

I finally found one that was somewhat recent called AkismetExtension (initial post|update).  It basically uses a service to check the body of the comment for spam and if it passes then it posts.  Ok fine.  Sounds good for now.  I’ll have to see how it pans out.

In the mean time the only change you the user should see is a new blog style.

Do it in a manner that isn’t annoying to users that want to leave comments

My wife was looking to leave a comment on blogger and I’m sure you’ve all seen those images where you have to figure out what the word is from some image.  She could not read it.  I could barely make it out.

How many users get turned away from using that method?

I also don’t want to have to do registration or force moderation, etc.

Compounding this is two types of spam.  Automated spam and spam from someone who is actually paid to manually add a spam comment.  I have been getting these for some time but the volume is very low so it’s easy to delete these.

Clean out the spam on your blog

Now I have to individually delete each spammed comment on blog.  This is going to be pretty tedious.  Logged into the blog, I get a few extra LinkButtons that you normally don’t see.  Like the IP address of the comment, the users email and a Delete option.

10-6-2009 9-17-27 AM

I’ve left a post lamenting the lack of comment management tools in BlogEngine.NET.

Looks like I have some work to do…

Access your programs using Start in Vista and Windows 7

10. September 2009 15:46 by Rick Glos in

I was watching someone today launch a program in Vista by clicking (with the mouse) Start then All Programs then scroll through the list and try to find the right Program folder… 

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This isn’t the first time and I watch people over and over do this.

Don’t do this.  It’s taking you minutes for what could be seconds.  Imagine all the time added up and you might get a week back to your life in just a year…

Built in the Start menu is a very handy search ability.  In fact, you could improve your productivity immensely by not touching your mouse at all.

Simply hit the Windows key, and start typing the name of the program, the website, the filename or whatever you’re looking for.

Imagine I want to launch Excel.  Windows key then two words ‘Ex’ and I get Excel second in the list.  I could then use the down arrow key (remember to keep your hands off your mouse to save you from wasting your life) to highlight Excel and hit the Enter key.  (note I could just type one extra key ‘Exc' and hit enter as well).

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Remember.  Start.  Type.  Enter.  Hands off of mouse.

7-Zip

9. September 2009 15:45 by Rick Glos in

My wife asked me today, “where’s safe place to look for software to zip a 26 MB file?”

I think this happens a lot too people that don’t have technical jobs day in and day out.  Where do you go to get software and feel safe that it doesn’t have any malicious or devious intentions when you install it?

Well I don’t have an answer for that.  But if you are look for the best software for packing and unpacking files.  You should be using 7-zip.

It’s open source (read free), it handles multiple formats (zip, tar, rar), it compresses 2-10% better than PKZip and WinZip, it’s easily accessible from the windows shell, etc.

The clean windows shell integration is my favorite feature.  Right click on any file or folder and you have what you need.

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Internet Personas

27. August 2009 05:54 by Rick Glos in

I always have trouble describing to people what I do for a living.  I usually just say software developer.  If someone wants to know more though, how do you make it an elevator speech?  Does someone know what data warehouse or business intelligence means?  It seems that my niche at the office has become creating tools for this, mostly in Silverlight lately but it’s always evolving.

I like finding examples that people can relate to.

MIT Personas Web Page

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MIT has an interesting example of mining the internet to create a portrait of your identity.  After all the internet is like another vast database.  Unstructured but still. 

Try it out for yourself.

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Funny developer quirks

26. August 2009 06:51 by Rick Glos in

I was reading a funny stackoverflow post on ‘What technologies are you using even though they are embarrassingly out of date’.

There are some funny responses.

One that made me laugh is ‘Give up and use tables.’  For those of us who have fought the good fight to try and use CSS for layout and looked up at the clock hours later without any progress…

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I’m finding myself using Silverlight more and more and less HTML and I don’t miss it…