7 Minute Miles

We have insulation

Posted Saturday, June 12th, 2021 08:00 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 8:00 PM

…and the foundation frames are gone

Originally published by DK on June 12, 2021 at 8:00 pm

Here we go again

Posted Sunday, June 6th, 2021 01:15 pm GMT -5 in Family,Housekeeping at 1:15 PM

Way more progress than I was prepared for…

Originally published by DK on June 6, 2021 at 1:15 pm

So many changes in a month

Posted Monday, May 17th, 2021 08:41 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 8:41 PM

Can’t believe the neighbor lot went from nothing to framed up in about 30 days

Originally published by DK on May 17, 2021 at 8:41 pm

Electrical Meeting ✅

Posted Sunday, April 11th, 2021 02:49 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Shopping,Technology at 2:49 PM

That one was rather fun – ordered all the cat 6

Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 2:49 pm

15 Years of Publishing

Posted Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal,Technology at 10:20 PM

Happy 15th birthday, 7 Minute Miles! Current stats:

  • 12,192 Posts
  • 216 Pages

Skipping unique visitors or page counts this year, as my web server logs are all mixed up after the big move to AWS Lightsail. I do hope to get that cleaned up soon – want to learn how the new nginx logs differ from Apache (which I used for years). WordPress.com stats report 8,066 visitors in 2020, along with 20,522 views, but I don’t really know how they calculate that. They also report that the “Reflections on Spring Hill Golf Club” post continues to be one of my most visited stories of all time. Rather hoping this will be the year I actually play there…

Won’t get too much into the technical weeds this time, as I have a lot of things cooking right now that I’m sure I’ll cover in more detail soon. Aside from the move to virtual AWS servers, I’m still on WordPress (v5.7) with the same old custom theme and the same set of plugins I had last year. Hoping for a new look in 2021, but I don’t know the timing of that launch yet. No new functionality recently – just lots of under the hood things (including a fix for the weird SSL/emoji issue).

Thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2021 at 10:20 pm

Back at it this week

Posted Monday, March 15th, 2021 08:54 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 8:54 PM

It was really, really nice to have an entire week off work (and someone else to cover on-call). It’s also great to see some movement in the fight against COVID-19, both on the vaccine front and in the sports and entertainment world. I really felt recharged and ready to move forward this morning, as there are a lot of things that need my attention right now:

  • Find a vaccine – my tier is up now, so I’ve got tabs open in my browser for all the big providers. Also discovered vaccinespotter.org (above), which is a big help. Briefly thought I snagged one for this afternoon, only to be kicked out of the process at the end (just like a hot concert ticket). And as the new South ParQ Vaccination Special said, “There’s a place in town, very hard to get into, very exclusive. Walgreens.
  • Reconnect at work – continuation of the file server saga, spring cleaning on software licensing and backups, starting a new firewall upgrade project and generally preparing for the return of ticketed guests to the building. Sounds like I might even get to hire some help this summer, which would be super awesome.
  • AWS servers – the $100 credit I received from the re:Invent survey is almost used up, so I need to get back to moving this site off of virtual server one and over to the new virtual server I started experimenting with. That way I can shut the first one down and start figuring out a bunch of things on Ubuntu Server 20.04, including virtual host management, transfer of Let’s Encrypt certs, log analysis and WordPress theme development. It’s already been (nerdy) fun switching from Apache to nginx and from MySQL to MariaDB and kicking the tires on PHP8. WordPress 5.7 is the first release in a long time that did something to my (admittedly) ancient theme: the spacing below quote and status posts on the front page is off. Since I use Masonry and jQuery for layout, I thought it had to do with the upgrade of core WP jQuery from 1.12.4 to the 3.5.x tree mentioned here. After testing with the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin, however, I don’t think this is the root cause (my version of Masonry is also pretty old). Stayed tuned…
  • Construction – the design center meeting for the new house last week lasted just under four hours and everything has now been finalized and signed. Next, we move on to the electrical meeting, which has been scheduled for early April. So excited!
  • Baseball – the announcements last week about fans at CHS Field (2,700) and Target Field (10,000) mean both of our ticket groups are about to fire up again. The Saints begin their new Triple A life at home on May 11th, while the Twins welcome fans back to Minneapolis on April 8th. I don’t know yet how many games we will end up with, but I’m very excited to watch more outdoor baseball in 2021.
  • Exercise – my Apple Watch move streak hit 333 days last night, so I’m getting very close to my goal of one full year. Also found out last week that there will be a limited, in-person field for the 2021 Get in Gear 10K, which will include multiple waves and a sidewalk-only course. I was able to snag one of the spots and look forward to running outside more in the coming weeks to prepare.
  • Taxes – ugh, just don’t want to start this yet. Also need to do my dad’s taxes one last time too, so that’s a double bummer. Not too scared of the potential financial hit for 2020, just thinking it will be more complex than normal. Hopefully TaxAct is up to the task (as they usually are).

Now back to refreshing those vaccine screens…

Originally published by DK on March 15, 2021 at 8:54 pm

Build house here

Posted Saturday, March 6th, 2021 06:53 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 6:53 PM

Coming soon to Newport

Originally published by DK on March 6, 2021 at 6:53 pm

Lombard Revisited

Posted Friday, February 19th, 2021 07:40 pm GMT -5 in History,Housekeeping,Personal at 7:40 PM

Today I needed to get from I-94 to Brake Bread on West 7th, so I exited at Snelling and headed over to the infamous Short Line. When I got to St. Clair, I thought, “why not swing by Lombard?” Lots of changes starting to appear at the two former family residences (more pics after the jump).

Originally published by DK on February 19, 2021 at 7:40 pm

Coming Soon

Posted Thursday, February 4th, 2021 01:16 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal,Shopping at 1:16 PM

This year will fly by, right?

Originally published by DK on February 4, 2021 at 1:16 pm

DK’s January Journal

Posted Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 01:11 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 1:11 AM

Haven’t really written much lately – both here or on Twitter (my last remaining social media account). The Banff trip from January 2020 seems like an eternity ago and while I’m very grateful for our health and stability, it’s been a mentally tough twelve months. There are so many things I miss right now: attending live concerts and sporting events, eating out, happy hours with co-workers, walking around the Great Minnesota Get-Together, traveling to Disneyland and Vegas. Luxuries, to be sure, but I still miss them.

So what else is going on? The kids are both doing well. Work for Colleen has been intense (as it is for everyone in healthcare these days). With football season complete, my job is all about planning, budgets and maintenance until the future of events becomes a little clearer. It’s stressful being a department of one (and the 24/7 on call), but I’m trying to balance things as best as I can. The days and nights really all blend together now, as do weekdays and weekends. I’ve noticed a shift lately of time seeming to pass by faster, which is definitely a different vibe from a few months ago. Looking forward to the new Boludo to open near the office.

We’re in house search mode and it’s been absolutely bonkers (that’s my nemesis website above). Everything you read about the real estate market right now is true – almost every new listing is receiving multiple offers on the first day. If it doesn’t, you wonder what’s wrong with the place. We’ve only made one offer so far and were outbid (by a lot). Many showings get canceled before we even get there because they sell so quickly. Hoping more inventory comes online as the weather gets better. We are being patient and prudent for now – it will happen when it happens.

Health-wise, I’ve been feeling pretty good. My move streak is closing in on 300 days, so I’m doing something every day. With the cold weather, that’s mainly been hill walking on the treadmill while I watch Netflix. MK and I did ski a few weekends ago at Spirit Mountain and SK wants to hit up Afton next weekend. Still need to read up on the new Nordic walking sticks and get them configured for my height – it hasn’t been *that* cold out so far (and it would be good to get outside on the sunny days that occasionally roll around). Mixed messages on my eyesight these days: still prefer no glasses with most computer work, but finding I need them more and more for reading and watching TV. Stress eating definitely still an issue.

Lastly, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time at night learning new cloud technology stuff on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Inspired by the free sessions and keynotes posted during the online re:Invent conference, I wanted to build on my experience with moving this site to a Lightsail instance a few months ago. After re:Invent, Amazon sent me a feedback survey and gave me a $100 account credit. About a week ago, I decided to use some of that credit to spin up a second virtual server and learn the LEMP stack on Ubuntu Server 20.04, building it from scratch (instead of using a Bitnami bundle). I’ll write more about that experience soon…

Originally published by DK on January 27, 2021 at 1:11 am

Still an absolute mess

Posted Thursday, January 21st, 2021 12:35 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Technology,Work at 12:35 PM

…but a more organized mess

Originally published by DK on January 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Early 2021 Brain Dump

Posted Monday, January 4th, 2021 09:37 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 9:37 PM

It’s already been eight months since the last one, so let’s do this:

  • For my Christmas and birthday gift this year, I got new skis and bindings (returning to my classic Rossi/Marker combo). Had a mixed experience at The House – will probably go back to Joe’s next time.
  • With the skis finally here, trying to figure out when I can break them in. Lutsen has some really appealing midweek flex pricing, so that is a leading contender. Might do an Afton or Welch day and still really want to hit Beaver Creek someday (as well as return to Schweitzer).
  • I got all excited about responsive, mobile-friendly WordPress themes this week, but have hit a testing roadblock. MAMP worked out of the box with a plain vanilla WordPress install, but I haven’t been able to get this site transferred over successfully.
  • Thought about tossing my current theme completely (instead of retro-fitting for mobile) and customizing a theme like this one, but now I’m not sure which direction I want to go.
  • Also not entirely 100% behind WordPress these days: don’t like Gutenberg and complexity seems to be increasing overall. Don’t see any great alternatives on the horizon, though.
  • I’ve been happier with my transition to AWS, but maintenance and upgrade issues with the Bitnami WordPress Stack are making me reconsider moving to a straight LAMP virtual server instead.
  • Yes, I do keep my iPhone boxes (but I’m trying to get better about recycling them).
  • We’re house shopping, but this market is crazy aggressive right now. If you know someone in the Twin Cities thinking about selling a good “old people” house, please hit me up.
  • Adult ear infections are not for the faint of heart.
  • My Apple Watch move streak is closing in on 270 days – shooting for a year, then it can restart whenever.
  • I bought a pair of Exerstrider Nordic walking poles after reading the story in the Strib, but I haven’t read the setup and training instructions yet. Seems like it will be fun.
  • OWC has agreed to refund the SSD purchase, thereby ending my iMac kernel panic trauma.
  • I have temporary computer options in place, but do want to move to an M1 machine. At first I thought I would do a Mac mini with a large, third-party monitor, but the retina screens on the iMacs just look so much better to me. I’ll probably wait for the M1 iMac later this year (with lots of RAM and SSD storage).
  • I’m craving a Fuddruckers burger so badly I would consider an eight hour round-trip drive to South Dakota to get one.
  • Sad the Vikings season turned out the way it did, but at least we get the Dallas circus back in town later this year. It will be nice to have Wild hockey again soon (helps to be a night owl) and I’m cautiously optimistic about the Twins and the Saints (but don’t get the whole “we’ve invited” thing – is there a deal or not?).
  • The first Sunday of the Charlie Parr online residency at First Avenue was so emotional – make sure and catch the rest of them (every Sunday in January at 8 p.m. on his YouTube page) and drop him some money via GoFundMe.
  • Speaking of music, we really enjoyed the Bee Gees documentary on HBO – nice job by Frank Marshall (with lots of fun cameos).
  • Long live Grogu!

Welcome 2021, nice to have you around…

Originally published by DK on January 4, 2021 at 9:37 pm

Life After Zuckerberg

Posted Thursday, August 6th, 2020 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal,Pop Culture,Technology at 10:20 PM

It’s been two and a half months since I last posted to Instagram (and about two months since I officially deleted both my Facebook and Instagram accounts). It wasn’t that hard to give up Facebook – I really only used it to sync status with a couple of games, promote posts from this site and to communicate with more distant family members. Add to that all of the other reasons people don’t like Facebook and it became a pretty easy decision. Now I just need Two Dots to continue to improve the Facebook-free experience and I’ll be fine (LEADERBOARDS).

Instagram, on the other hand, was a much tougher decision for me. From what I can tell, it launched on iOS in October of 2010 and I posted my first image on Christmas Day 2010. The original pictures were 640×640 and I used Iain Poulson’s excellent Intagrate WordPress plugin for many years to automatically pull my pics from Instagram and create image posts on this site. Facebook purchased the service in April 2012, but largely left it independent (image sizes did increase to 1080×1080 in 2015).

Instagram is the de facto social media standard for restaurants and foodies, so that’s really what I used it for in the beginning. I don’t like accounts that post the same thing across all platforms, so I’d use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in specialized ways to help prevent overlap. Now that I’m only on Twitter, I initially tried to recreate some of that there, but I’m finding that I need to continue to prune my Twitter follow list and just move on from some things that I know I’m missing. Some examples: Instagram stories from Armon and Meredith, donut pictures from Erin and everything posted by my wife and daughters.

I finally finished merging all of the Instagram metadata they sent me in JSON format with the image files that I uploaded here. Also starting to get back to equilibrium on my main @kingsbury Twitter account (and will continue to use @7minutemiles to link to stories like this one). Really trying to get most of the politics out of my feed too – no real appetite for doomscrolling these days…

Originally published by DK on August 6, 2020 at 10:20 pm

The Transition to AWS Lightsail

Posted Sunday, July 26th, 2020 12:00 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology at 12:00 AM

After nine plus years of running this site on a Mac mini in a Las Vegas data center, I decided it was time to transition to the big leagues of cloud infrastructure. This world is dominated by Amazon, Microsoft and Google, all of which have a dizzying array of available services at various price points. I messed around with Amazon Web Services (AWS EC2) last year, when they were promoting a limited free tier for nerds to experiment and evaluate. This year I decided to give Lightsail a try, which is basically an easier-to-use, fixed-priced version of AWS that gives you a virtual cloud-based server.

As you can see in the screenshot of the Lightsail console above, I created an instance with 4GB of RAM, two virtual CPUs and 80GB of storage running in Virginia Zone A. I was tempted to just pick a version of Linux and manually compile and install the various components I wanted. In the end, though, I decided to go with the Bitnami WordPress stack (version 5.3.2-3), which gave me Ubuntu Linux 16.04.6, Apache 2.4.31, MySQL 8.0.18 and PHP 7.3.14 (i.e., the LAMP stack). Throw in phpMyAdmin and certbot and you have a good preinstalled foundation on which to built and troubleshoot. I also decided to switch my DNS management from DNS Made Easy to Amazon’s Route 53, but kept domain registration and management at Hover.

I’ve owned a Tenacious D themed domain name for some time now that I use for testing and initially used that when I signed up for Lightsail (“All of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon in the middle of the road.”). Amazon and Bitnami both have great tutorial and support pages and I also need to give a shoutout to Sanjeev at MetaBlogue, who wrote two very useful posts. Also found this post from Amazon to be very helpful for setting up new certs from Let’s Encrypt (who I love). Speaking of certs, I spent some time adjusting the Apache TLS settings to get an “A” rating from Qualys on their cool SSL test site.

It took a while to transfer 15 years worth of site files from the old server to my iMac, then on to the new instance. The database files were also quite large, requiring an increase in the file upload settings in PHP. Switching from the test domain to 7minutemiles.com seemed to go smoothly at first, but I had a problem with my theme files that took longer than I wanted to troubleshoot (it was a case-sensitive URL thing). All seems well now, though, and even my stupid emoji issue from December 2018 seems to have been resolved on the new server. Lightsail offers the ability to create snapshots of the instance (yay!) and it appears that Vaultpress is successfully backing up from the new server too.

Now on to those elusive mobile theme enhancements and new data entry screens…

Originally published by DK on July 26, 2020 at 12:00 am

Lowertown Brain Dump

Posted Sunday, April 19th, 2020 09:17 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 9:17 PM

A few random Sunday night notes:

  • The introvert in me is doing just fine, thank you very much.
  • Started Yale’s free Science of Well-Being online class and I’m really glad I did (h/t Charles).
  • Inspired by Ms. Rosner, I’m going to switch to unleaded for the immediate future.
  • The scale is not my friend these days, but I’m still trying to close those three damn circles every day.
  • Need to pick a day this week to run the virtual Get in Gear 10K and submit my (likely very slow) time.
  • News and social media can be soul-crushing these days, but I just can’t turn it completely off. As the great Sandra Boynton said, don’t let the turkeys get you down.
  • When this is all over, I want to buy drinks (in person) for all the cool people I follow on Twitter and Instagram.
  • This weekend’s focus was deciding which physical CDs and DVDs we could do without. Once it reopens, Electric Fetus will be gifted the whole pile.
  • The plan this week is to get the food page updated with those spots now offering great take-out. I don’t have an unlimited budget, but we should all try and support as many of our local favorites as we can.
  • Finished all the taxes (ours and my dad’s) before the original April 15th deadline, but will hold on to those checks until July.
  • Still can’t believe we are all done with Lombard – such a huge relief (thanks again Kary).
  • Photos + iPhone + Catalina = fubar. All I want is to sync albums from Photos to my phone, but all I get is “Photos cannot be synced to the iPhone because your Photos Library is not yet available. Please try again later.” Never thought I’d yearn for iTunes.
  • Starting week three with the CPAP and so far I’m not a big fan. Can’t sleep on my stomach or side, I don’t like breathing only through my nose and it hasn’t improved my sleep quality much. Definitey quieter for everyone else, though.
  • Looking forward to my first socially-distanced round of golf this week at the always excellent Willingers in Northfield.
  • Scheduled to see my long lost friend Eric at James Irving on May 4th. Fingers crossed…

Wishing you all peace, love and happiness ❤️

Originally published by DK on April 19, 2020 at 9:17 pm

7 Minute Miles Turns 14

Posted Monday, March 30th, 2020 08:00 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal,Technology at 8:00 AM

It’s blog birthday time again – the first 7 Minute Miles post appeared on this domain fourteen years ago today.

Current stats:

  • 11,119 Posts
  • 208 Pages
  • 41,174 unique visitors in 2019
  • 2,169,487 pages displayed in 2019

Currently running WordPress 5.3.2 with my custom theme and 19 plugins on the old Mac mini server colocated in Las Vegas. Favorite plugins: Wordfence Security, VaultPress, Intagrate and Really Simple SSL (with a Let’s Encrypt cert managed via Certbot). Still want to write some custom data entry forms for the golf, run and bike pages, but those (along with making the theme more mobile friendly) have still not made it off the to-do list. Also never figured out the solution to the weird SSL/emoji issue.

Haven’t changed the overall site structure much this year, adding only a new Concerts page that I’m experimenting with using the Vimeo hosting platform. I made some major updates to the Résumé page and just realized that the Biography page now needs a refresh too. After prepping photo boards for funerals in back-to-back months, I should also spend some time on updating the Photos section. I finally moved our Christmas samplers to online-only last year and might do a Hummel section soon too (hit me up if you need any).

As always, thanks for visiting and stay safe out there!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2020 at 8:00 am

A Quick Health Update

Posted Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 10:30 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 10:30 AM

As promised, a quick health update from the halls of Hennepin Healthcare. I’m still wearing my prism glasses to treat double vision, but ophthalmologist Dr. Amy Chang is happy with the progress so far. She has reduced the strength of the lens twice now and said I can stop bi-weekly occupational therapy after my next appointment later this week. The hope is still to get to no glasses by October, but surgical options remain available if it takes longer than that. I can read my phone without them now and my left eye is really good at seeing far away, while my right is better close up. This has been mildly annoying, but my first attempt at golf while wearing glasses went much better than expected.

Last week’s big news was a successful third cerebral angioplasty to assess the stent and arteries in my head. The procedure had more risk than I realized before getting there (about a 1% chance of the catheter breaking something loose that would cause a stroke), but vascular neurosurgeon Dr. Adam Khan calmly explained everything before I signed the release form. It really amazes me that they can run a tube up the 8mm-wide artery in my leg, past my heart, up to my brain, inject contrast and take an x-ray of the blood vessels in my head. Science, for the win!

With the stent looking good and no signs of other aneurysms, they took me off the blood thinner. Neurologist Dr. Ann Hoang-Tienor has been managing my seizure care, which consists of anti-seizure medication and a review of activities that may be dangerous. At our last appointment, the doctor reduced my dosage a second time (with a goal of eliminating it altogether). She also gave the green light to all outside activities (with the exception of swimming alone), so I purchased a new bike helmet and ordered a new bike that will hopefully arrive in time for the bike challenge at work. Still haven’t returned to any alcohol yet, but she said it would be OK to take it slow and see how my head reacts. I’ve never been a big drinker, but these six months have really revealed what a huge part alcohol plays in fine dining and in many social situations.

Continued thanks to the staff at Hennepin Healthcare and everyone out there who has supported my recovery (and our family).

Originally published by DK on April 30, 2019 at 10:30 am

Thirteen Years of Publishing

Posted Saturday, March 30th, 2019 01:15 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 1:15 PM

It’s that time of year again – the first 7minutemiles.com post appeared on this domain thirteen years ago today.

Current stats:

  • 10,066 Posts
  • 204 Pages
  • 383 Comments (which are now turned off)
  • 54,914 unique visitors in 2018
  • 1,687,856 pages displayed in 2018

Still running WordPress (currently 5.1.1) with my custom theme and 17 plugins on the old Mac mini server colocated in Las Vegas. Favorite plugins: Wordfence Security, VaultPress, Intagrate and Really Simple SSL. Yes, I finally made the move this year to SSL using Let’s Encrypt, Certbot and that SSL plugin. I experimented with some form plugins for data entry on the golf, run and bike pages, but I didn’t like any of them. Planning to just write some custom code when I find the time. I’ve also given up on using a plugin to make the site more mobile-friendly, so at some point I’ll just have to learn the design and coding techniques to deal with that using my existing theme.

The old Tapemark Charity Pro-Am online leaderboards have a historical home now here. We had a new foodie join our team at the stadium, so I created a food page to summarize some of my favorite places in Minnesota. My upcoming races, concerts and sporting events are now displayed in the home page footer (and stored in a new database). The Biography and Résumé pages have some small updates. Video and photos still need a lot of love in the coming months and the mysterious SSL/emoji issue still needs resolution…

As always, thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Security broke my emojis

Posted Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 10:49 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology at 10:49 PM

This site has always been a tool for me to stay sharp on new web technologies and lately it’s been a great way to test my cognitive skills since the little incident in October. I’ve had three things on my web development to-do list for a long time: 1) use Let’s Encrypt to add TLS/SSL security, 2) make my WordPress theme mobile-friendly and 3) create some dedicated data entry screens for golf scores, runs and bike rides. During my recovery at home, I decided to tackle item #1…

Since I still had Homebrew installed on this server, I was able to get Certbot installed early on in the process and had a valid certificate ready and waiting. I haven’t tried automating the renewal process yet, but can manually renew the certificate with no problem (had to do this once already, in fact). For whatever reason, I had trouble finding examples online of people with similar setups and had several false starts in getting Apache configured correctly to use the certificate for this domain. This post got me most of the way there, but had more of a focus on Mac OS X Server and not plain old Mac OS X client. A few other helpful links here, here and here. And this thread on the Let’s Encrypt site helped me figure out what can/should go in the httpd-vhosts.conf file versus what should go in the httpd-ssl.conf file.

Combined with the Really Simple SSL WordPress plugin, I was able to get a green “B” rating on the Qualys SSL test site. After adding a SSLCertificateChainFile line to my VirtualHost config, I got the top A+ rating and just needed to figure out why my main page was still showing a “not fully secure” message in Chrome. After upgrading the Really Simple SSL plugin to the pro version, I was able to run a full scan, correct a few issues it found, enable HSTS and make cookies more secure. Now all pages in Chrome have the coveted padlock (with no warnings) and I still had the A+ rating. All was right and good in the world.

Then I looked at some old posts…

Almost everything looked fine, but posts and pages that had emoji in them were now messed up (hearts seem to display OK, but everything else was either a question mark or some other image). Emoji support in WordPress started back in version 4.2 and I remember having issues back then too. For this site, it was due to the MySQL tables on the backend not being configured correctly. I verified that the database was using utf8mb4_unicode_ci collation on the posts field and also discovered that phpMyAdmin wasn’t having any issue displaying the emojis (it runs under the same domain and those pages were getting a padlock from the Let’s Encrypt certificate, so this has to be a WordPress issue). I thought maybe this had something to do with the newest emoji release, which WordPress contributor Brandon Kraft writes about here. After I tried matching his page source code for things like charset=”UTF-8″, I still couldn’t get these emojis to display (which they did when the site was not secure).

After Google failed to turn up much for WordPress, SSL and broken emoji, I contacted Really Simple SSL pro support. Their first question was if this happened to new posts in addition to the old ones (yes), then asked if I had looked at all the character encoding angles (like this post). My wp-config.php file didn’t have DB_CHARSET or DB_COLLATE lines, so I tried various combinations of adding that back in and commenting it out, with no success. Made sure to check caches and different browsers too. They hadn’t seen this before, so I’m guessing it’s something with my custom theme and combination of various plugins that is causing the issue. If I paste the same emojis into a test post on a different domain on the same server that hasn’t had SSL added (and with the same version of MySQL and WordPress), the emojis display fine. Huh.

Standard WordPress troubleshooting would have you disable all your plugins and I have tried to go back and disable Really Simple SSL (I don’t want to turn them all off). I also started researching how WordPress implemented emoji display and found some core javascript code that gets inserted automatically (it’s a section that starts with window._wpemojiSettings and references a baseUrl of “https:\/\/s.w.org\/images\/core\/emoji\/11\/72×72\/”). I thought maybe this was the issue, as I can’t seem to access that s.w.org domain using https, but when I compared the page source from my site to the javascript on Brandon Kraft’s page, it was exactly the same (and emojis appear fine on his site).

So in the grand scheme of things, I’d much rather have the A+ security rating and not worry about displaying emoji in posts. It does bug me, though, that I can’t find anyone else online with a similar problem and that I haven’t been able to successfully troubleshoot this issue. If you have any ideas, please contact me via email here.

Originally published by DK on December 5, 2018 at 10:49 pm

Unscheduled Downtime

Posted Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 10:44 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Technology at 10:44 PM

Nights like tonight are when I remember just how stressful it can be to have servers remotely hosted 1,300 miles away. As I’ve written many times, this site runs on a Mac mini located in Las Vegas in a data center run by the fine folks at Mac Stadium. While trying to fix my SSL/WordPress/emoji issue (which I’ll write about later), I managed to almost completely lock up the server. I could ping it, but the Screen Sharing session dropped and SSH was unresponsive at first. Eventually I was able to login via SSH and issue a quick “sudo shutdown -r now” command before getting kicked out again. About ten minutes later, I was able to get in via Screen Sharing. Since I had a couple of security updates to install that required a restart, I decided to just continue the unexpected web server downtime and run those installers too. This ended up taking nearly an extra hour, so I apologize if you were trying to load the site and got nothing.

Now back to researching just how WordPress core supports and displays the latest emoji characters…

Originally published by DK on December 2, 2018 at 10:44 pm

First full blown alarm

Posted Sunday, September 30th, 2018 04:39 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 4:39 PM

…since we moved in, anyways

Originally published by DK on September 30, 2018 at 4:39 pm

What a world we live in

Posted Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 01:40 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Pets at 1:40 AM

Doggie dingles

Originally published by DK on September 22, 2018 at 1:40 am

NotATweet: first week

Posted Saturday, August 25th, 2018 09:07 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal,Tweets at 9:07 PM

The first week away from social has been a good learning experience

Originally published by DK on August 25, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Social Serenity

Posted Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018 09:10 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal,Technology at 9:10 PM

Decided to try something this week that I’ve been thinking about for a few months. I stopped visiting Facebook regularly a while ago, as I become tired of all the BS there (even after I massively limited who and what I was viewing). Twitter had been my favorite of the social networks, but lately my more political friends (both to the right and left of me) have made that platform as bad as Facebook (if not worse – thanks for nothing, @jack). No major beefs with Instagram, aside from the fact that Facebook owns them.

So what’s the plan? Well, I don’t want to close those accounts, as I’ve “owned” the kingsbury handle on all three for years. The main reason I’ve kept the Facebook account open is all of the other services that use it for authentication and tracking of progress/levels in various games. You can close your Facebook account and still prevent others from taking it over, but anytime you use one of those other services, it reactivates your profile automatically. Not sure what the rules are for Twitter and Instagram, but I imagine they would eventually allow someone else to take over those handles at some point if I closed them.

For now, I’m keeping the accounts open, but removing the apps from my phone. I closed Tweetbot on all of my computers and will try to go a few weeks without checking the timeline. I spent a few hours going through the layout of my phone apps, deleting a bunch I never use, eliminating folders and grouping apps by pages (primary, secondary, content and media, work and games). I have a great fear of missing out, but I feel like I need to compartmentalize these groupings and look for “cleaner” sources of information. I really just want to know about sports, food, concerts and unbiased business, technology and (I guess) political news. I’ll have to make a concerted effort to reach out to family and friends in others ways to stay up to date with their lives…just like the old days.

I will post more original content here, including short tweet-like status updates. I know the “audience” won’t be as big as the other networks, but I own the content, the platform and the server. You won’t be served ads or tracked (at least not beyond the generic web server log stuff) and I’ve done what I wish more sites would do – turn off comments. My email and phone number are on every single page of this site, so please feel free to reach out directly if you feel the need. And watch for TLS, video and mobile-friendly enhancements coming soon.

Thanks for reading!

Originally published by DK on August 22, 2018 at 9:10 pm

Dad’s new sidewalk

Posted Sunday, July 1st, 2018 12:50 pm GMT -5 in Family,Housekeeping at 12:50 PM

Lookin’ good

Originally published by DK on July 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm

MySQL issues on High Sierra

Posted Monday, May 28th, 2018 11:16 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology at 11:16 PM

Just a short post to document an issue I needed to troubleshoot the past few weeks on my web server in Vegas (Go Knights Go!). I’ve been running Homebrew versions of MySQL for some time now with no issues, but recently was receiving quite a few “Can’t connect to MySQL server” errors on all of my virtually hosted WordPress sites. It was particularly difficult to troubleshoot at first because it wasn’t an all or nothing situation – some database calls would go through, while others would not. All I knew was that the old “brew services restart mysql” command would clear things up for a few hours before the flakiness would return.

When I first started looking at the web server logs, I found a lot of error messages like this:

WordPress database error Table 'wp_termmeta' doesn't exist

There were a ton of these – guessing this was relating to the earlier database corruption issues I had related to InnoDB. Turns out that table really didn’t exist and I found this post that had the required SQL to properly recreate it. I wasn’t really sure if any of the themes or plugins that were looking for this table would actually re-populate the table with data (it doesn’t appear so), but the error messages in the logs have gone away (and everything seems a little faster now). Unfortunately, this did not have any impact on the MySQL connection issue.

Going back to the web server log, I found a number of mysqli errors:

PHP Warning: mysqli_connect(): MySQL server has gone away
PHP Warning: mysqli_connect(): Error while reading greeting packet.

These made me think it was on the database side and not an issue with Apache or PHP. I had tried messing a little with the my.cnf file, but it didn’t seem like any of the changes were having any impact. When I started looking for Homebrew MySQL tips, I first decided to reinstall MySQL while keeping the data directory in place (brew reinstall mysql). That seemed to work fine, keeping users and permissions in place while just recompiling the latest MySQL. All of the virtual sites came back up, but the can’t connect errors reappeared later in the day.

Next up, I was fully prepared to follow these instructions to blow away every sign of MySQL and reinstall from scratch (dumping all of the tables first using the awesome Sequel Pro). While looking at the /usr/local/var/mysql directory, I realized that Homebrew MySQL stores a local.err log in that same directory, which I hadn’t looked at (since Console doesn’t include it by default). This log was chock full of lines like this:

[Warning] File Descriptor 1024 exceeded FD_SETSIZE=1024

That lead me to this excellent post by Derek Jones that had me change a number of lines in the my.cnf file (specifically interactive_timeout = 300 and wait_timeout = 300). Some of the comments in this thread were also useful. I restarted the database server yet again and so far it’s been up and running for 24 hours straight (fingers crossed).

So to summarize troubleshooting 101: read all your logs, Google the errors and be thankful for those that blazed a path before you (and took the time to document it online).

Originally published by DK on May 28, 2018 at 11:16 pm

Overwhelmed

Posted Sunday, April 29th, 2018 11:54 pm GMT -5 in Family,Housekeeping,Personal at 11:54 PM

So much work left to do

Originally published by DK on April 29, 2018 at 11:54 pm

Twelve Years of Publishing

Posted Thursday, April 5th, 2018 12:48 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 12:48 AM

From what I can tell, I didn’t do an anniversary post last year (lots of moving and Final Four posts, but no birthday cake pics that I can find). The first 7minutemiles.com post appeared on this domain twelve years ago last Friday.

Current stats:

  • 8,934 Posts
  • 201 Pages
  • 386 Comments
  • 50,616 unique visitors in 2017
  • 691,339 pages displayed in 2017

Still running WordPress (currently 4.9.5) with my custom theme and roughly a dozen plugins on the old Mac mini server colocated in Las Vegas. Probably too much of my content gets auto-generated these days from social media (Twitter and Instagram), but that’s OK. I feel lucky that I get to publish most of what I want without interference from trolls or stalkers, which unfortunately isn’t the case for some people I love to read (RIP Daily Angst).

After the technical difficulties last year, things have seemed to stabilize. The highest priorities for enhancements right now are moving to https via Let’s Encrypt, making the theme more mobile-friendly and finally adding a video post type to the mix. I’d also like to experiment with some form plugins for easier data entry of golf scores and adding to the run log. If I ever get my iMac photo library organized, I’d like to add more to the photo gallery section as well…

As always, thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on April 5, 2018 at 12:48 am

So. Much. Easier.

Posted Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 08:54 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Technology at 8:54 PM

Took a bit to install, but I already like it a thousand times better than the old model

Originally published by DK on November 29, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Web Server Struggles

Posted Saturday, October 21st, 2017 07:34 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology at 7:34 PM

It’s been a long time since I wrote a longer post here, which actually wasn’t caused by being busy. I’ve been battling technical issues with my web server for months, which is a co-located Mac mini in Las Vegas (now at MacStadium since their merger with Brian Stucki’s excellent Macminicolo). I created my own perfect storm by trying to remotely upgrade the OS (which was two versions behind) *and* moving it from the old Macminicolo data center to the new MacStadium data center across town. Somewhere along the way, I also ended up corrupting my database backups and discovered my old backup processes weren’t working the way I thought. Thankfully I didn’t lose any data, but it wasn’t the best example of being a good sysadmin.

With work being work, I haven’t had time to focus on fixing these issues, so it’s been little bits and pieces here and there to finally get back to a semi-functioning site. I messed with moving to AWS for a little while, but decided to just rebuild my mini server from scratch. I use Homebrew versions of Apache, MySQL and PHP for the core stack, which I’m now familiar with enough to mostly breeze through those configs. I learned that over the years, my MySQL data got split into MyISAM and InnoDB islands, which caused some major problems with restoring the InnoDB side. Then I found out that I had MySQL collation setting issues, which created a bunch of weird characters (and a loss of emoji support).

This site uses a number of WordPress plugins to help automate things and several of those plugins stopped working due to the issues mentioned above. I needed to blow away both WordFence (security) and Intagrate (Instagram integration), reconfiguring both from square one. I’ve also had some general response issues with the server, which was mostly fixed with an ARP patch from MacStadium. I still need to go through the web server error logs to clean up a few other performance issues, but those are a little harder to research and isolate (wordpress termmeta doesn’t exist, anyone?).

So now that I can reliably post from the mobile app and have Twitter and Instagram integration working again, it’s almost time to get back to my enhancement wish list:

  • Recreate my Coda web development environment on the new iMac
  • Add Backblaze support to the server
  • Rewrite and test my database backup scripts
  • Move to https with Let’s Encrypt (this should help)
  • Create data entry screens for golf scores and runs
  • Make my default theme more mobile-friendly
  • Add a video post type
  • Make my header photos retina-ready
  • Update the about and biography sections
  • Bring back more of the old photo gallery pictures

As always – thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on October 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm

Collegiate housing

Posted Saturday, September 9th, 2017 04:11 pm GMT -5 in Family,Housekeeping at 4:11 PM

SK has built an awesome spot

Originally published by DK on September 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Happy to be home

Posted Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 09:23 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 9:23 PM

Haven’t been here much the past two weeks

Originally published by DK on July 5, 2017 at 9:23 pm

I love this building

Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 07:02 pm GMT -5 in Food,Housekeeping at 7:02 PM

Revival chicken and Easy/Easy & Oskey gimlets @ Rayette Lofts

Originally published by DK on June 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Wonder vacuum has arrived

Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 12:43 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Shopping at 12:43 AM

Thanks again, Mystic Lake

Originally published by DK on June 7, 2017 at 12:43 am

Life in Lowertown

Posted Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 12:15 pm GMT -5 in Family,Food,Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 12:15 PM

Change is good, right? Well, we’ve been charging ahead full force the past month. Kid one moved out and into her own apartment mid-February, while the rest of us decided to pack it up and move back to the city. Today marks three weeks in our new loft in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood, which the local boosters describe as:

A vibrant artists’ quarter filled with beautiful workspaces, hip cafes, fine dining and the stunning CHS Field.

We are kitty-corner from the wonderful St. Paul Farmer’s Market in the Rayette building, which we share with the home of my all-time favorite cheeseburger, Saint Dinette. The building has had an interesting history, opening as a millinery in 1911, with stints as the home of Aqua Net hairspray and as a parking ramp before being converted to lofts in 2014. We downsized from three bedrooms to two, but added 13 foot ceilings, huge windows and a layout that seems much larger than before (ours is the Monroe, with 1,459 square feet). I love the exposed brick, industrial columns and lack of carpeting throughout (finally got to toss our crappy vacuum cleaner).

In addition to the suburb-to-city change, transportation has also been turned on its head. We still have two cars, but one is parked here and the other is in storage. Colleen gets a discounted transit pass from her employer and now rides the bus to work (express plus a short transfer). I bought a monthly Go-To card from Metro Transit and ride the Green Line trains to and from the stadium. The Union Depot station is a block over and takes just under 40 minutes to drop me off right across Chicago Avenue from the Legacy Gate (and/or the skyway entrance). I can’t express how much of a quality of life improvement it is to not drive in metro rush hour traffic any longer. Now I plug in my headphones, check social media, read stories, play games and just relax. Hoping to eventually sell one car and just stick with one (which kid two uses to drive herself to school).

We lived in downtown St. Paul the first year out of college at Galtier Plaza, but this area is now completely different. I read somewhere that Lowertown now has 3500 residents and I’m pretty sure about half of them have dogs, which makes me very happy (even though allergies still prevent us from adding to the total). Mears Park is a block west and has a mini restaurant row, with Bulldog, Barrio, Public Kitchen + Bar and Handsome Hog. Big River Pizza is across the street, with the eclectic Golden’s Deli a few doors south of that. There are a ton of additional restaurants nearby and we are super excited for Saints games to start. Our Twins ticket group also has Saints tickets, so we are buying one share this season to see how it goes. The stadium is literally on the other side of the building you see above.

In addition to having the option of that cheeseburger downstairs six days a week, the building has a bunch of other great amenities. The workout room is just perfect – it’s exactly what I would design if I had the opportunity: all Life Fitness gear, two treadmills, a room full of spin cycles, free weights, an elliptical, squat rack, benches and more. There are two large TVs with DirectTV and a speaker system that you can supposedly plug stuff into (can’t seem to get that part working so far). It’s conveniently located one floor below our unit and now I don’t have to go outside in the winter any more to exercise. The downtown YMCA teaches a free spin class one night a week and may bring back a yoga class later in the year too. Once it gets warmer, I will have some great new running and biking routes along the Mississippi that I can’t wait to try.

Directly across from the exercise room is the “Sinatra Lounge,” which is a shared community space that has a fireplace, bar, multiple TVs and a pool table. We’ve already spent a lot of time shooting pool – I really like having access to that again (and free is even better). Up on the roof, there is a community patio that includes a gas fire pit, grill, all-season TV and speaker system. The views of the river and surrounding areas are stellar, day or night. The office manager and maintenance guy are great, the mail and package delivery systems seem to work well and I love having chutes for trash and recycling. My only (small) issues so far are the overly complicated thermostat and the noise from one of the garage door openers.

We are mostly unpacked now, with just a few areas that need to be cleaned up (and a few more things to hang on the walls). Once that’s done, we’d love to have visitors – drop me a line at dk@7minutemiles.com and we will see you soon in Lowertown!

Originally published by DK on March 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Got stuck in this one

Posted Saturday, March 4th, 2017 07:39 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 7:39 PM

Staircase A is emergency exit only

Originally published by DK on March 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Seriously, IKEA, WTF?

Posted Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 11:23 pm GMT -5 in Design,Housekeeping at 11:23 PM

Top 3 worst for sure – maybe #1

Originally published by DK on March 1, 2017 at 11:23 pm

Fingers crossed

Posted Saturday, December 31st, 2016 10:54 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 10:54 AM

Really hope this works out

Originally published by DK on December 31, 2016 at 10:54 am

Is this place even real?

Posted Thursday, December 29th, 2016 02:07 pm GMT -5 in Art,Design,Housekeeping at 2:07 PM

Rayette Lofts, Lowertown, St. Paul

Originally published by DK on December 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Option #1 – Uptown

Posted Monday, December 26th, 2016 04:29 pm GMT -5 in Family,Housekeeping,Personal at 4:29 PM

Searching for a new place in 2017

Originally published by DK on December 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Code is Power

Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 11:24 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal,Technology at 11:24 PM

When my automated Twitter plugins stopped working last week, I started thinking about ways to replace the tweet section at the top of 7 Minute Miles. Twitter Tools and Social used to pull in the last 7 tweets automatically, but the plugin authors decided to stop supporting them back in February (RIP Alex King). Twitter also seems to change up their developer connections from time to time, so all plugins will break at some point if they aren’t maintained.

Since the updates stopped, I learned that my wife and dad both read that section regularly for information instead of visiting Twitter itself. I looked at a lot of other Twitter WordPress plugins and couldn’t find anything that did exactly the same thing as Twitter Tools, so I looked at other ways to incorporate tweets into this site.

What I’ve decided to try is a new, automated post for each tweet. I’ve installed the Import Tweets as Posts plugin by Chandan Kumar and modified it to change the post format to “status.” It’s set to look for new tweets every two minutes and assign each post to a new “tweets” category.

I had to modify my functions.php file to add status to the post-formats array and wrote some new code for the homepage to style the display of these new tweet posts. The plugin even supports URL links and sets attached photos as the featured image. I’ll still need to find a way to automatically send links of full posts to Twitter, but this works for now.

Code rules…

Originally published by DK on December 7, 2016 at 11:24 pm

A Decade of Publishing

Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 08:49 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 8:49 AM

Today marks ten years since the first post here at 7minutemiles.com.

Ten. Flipping. Years.

I can hardly believe it. As I do every year, here are the latest stats from the server logs:

6,769 Posts
198 Pages
351 Comments
61,428 unique visitors in 2015
1,617,437 pages displayed

As of today, I’m running WordPress 4.4.2 with a highly-customized theme and 18 active plugins (Wordfence Security, Twitter Tools, Social and Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram playing key roles on the home page). Just noticed that several of my plugins aren’t really being supported or developed any more, so I should probably start cleaning those out and/or looking for replacements.

Speaking of replacements, I used to use a plugin called WP Audioscrobbler to pull my last played information from last.fm. That feature broke when they updated their API to version 2, so I’ve been looking for a way to replace that. A UK developer named Sam Kitson wrote a nice blog post about using jQuery and JSON to access that data, but I haven’t spent enough time trying to figure it out. He was kind enough to respond via email with an offer of assistance, so hopefully I’ll get that working again shortly.

Also on the list of (hopeful) future development: coding new mobile-friendly data entry screens for the run log and golf scores database, adding my long-delayed video post type and creating a responsive design option for smaller screens. It’s getting tougher and tougher to find free time to work on these things, but it would be good to keep those web development skills somewhat fresh.

I’d also like to give a quick shout-out to Brian Stucki and his company Macminicolo. I’ve been a customer of his operation for many years and have always received great service and fair pricing. This site runs on a five-year-old Mac mini with the AMP stack (Apache, MySQL and PHP) in their Las Vegas data center and has never had any major issues (remote OS upgrades are sometimes a bit scary, but that’s the case with all colocated machines).

As always, thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2016 at 8:49 am

Overheated

Posted Sunday, March 20th, 2016 01:11 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 1:11 PM

So much to shred

Originally published by DK on March 20, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Nine Years of Publishing Fun

Posted Monday, March 30th, 2015 06:27 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts at 6:27 PM

Today is the ninth anniversary of the first post here at 7minutemiles.com. As I tend to do every year, here are the latest stats (based on server logs, not Google Analytics):

  • 5,866 Posts
  • 191 Pages
  • 339 Comments
  • 73,896 unique visitors in 2014
  • 1,248,423 pages displayed

This past year saw a few tweaks here and there – added the last nine Instagram photos to the bottom of the front page, edited and rewrote the biography, made some changes to my résumé, added a new coursework page (with transcripts) and changed the format of the list of lists page. Wanted to add a video post type, but still haven’t quite figured out how to best do that between the smaller, three-column front page and the single post format that appears when you click on a story.

I’ve also been experimenting with options to make the theme “mobile-friendly” per Google’s new guidelines, but 1) the easiest method (the WPtouch plugin) doesn’t work well with my content and 2) I really don’t care all that much what Google thinks about my personal site. That said, I do like some of the responsive design things other people are doing, so I’ll probably make it work eventually.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Happy Eighth Birthday

Posted Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 01:55 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 1:55 PM

Last Sunday was the eighth anniversary of the first post here at 7minutemiles.com. Some current stats:

  • 4,662 Posts
  • 184 Pages
  • 989 Comments
  • 72,947 unique visitors in 2013
  • 577,953 pages displayed in 2013
  • 486 average unique daily visitors last month

Still running WordPress on a Mac mini co-located in Las Vegas. Not much in the way of theme design changes this year – I’m pretty happy with the way it looks and functions (particularly the ability to update easily from mobile devices). There are some new things I’d like to experiment with this year, but I’ll probably use a different domain for that.

Thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on April 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Daaa!

Posted Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 04:32 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 4:32 PM

At the risk of sounding like an arrogant narcissist, I love this site. 7minutemiles.com has been alive for about six years now and has always been a non-commercial, personal site. My kids call it “Daaa!” on their phones, my family and friends read it occasionally, it’s a test bed for my other WordPress sites, the design has evolved to a place I really like and somehow it currently averages around 600 visits a day (who are you people?).

I much prefer sharing information here over social media sites and really love the ability to publish Tumblr-style posts that don’t involve a lot of writing (image, link and quote posts – someday video). The latest WordPress iOS app makes it relatively easy to post on the road and the design auto-flows on the front page to keep things fresh (along with the automatic Twitter updates).

A podcast I listened to recently had Marco Arment on as a guest. He talked about his personal site, marco.org, and how that’s always been his personal site, separate from any project or employer, and how proud he was of it. I feel the same way about 7 Minute Miles, which I plan to publish indefinitely.

Thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on July 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

My favorite kind of IKEA

Posted Saturday, March 9th, 2013 05:43 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 5:43 PM

The Lerberg – sturdy, lightweight and cheap (under $20)

Originally published by DK on March 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm

The new exercise room

Posted Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 05:01 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal,Running at 5:01 PM

Trying out the clubhouse exercise room, Eagan, Minnesota

Originally published by DK on March 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

These guys are good

Posted Sunday, February 24th, 2013 12:01 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 12:01 AM

Very pleased with our POD experience

Originally published by DK on February 24, 2013 at 12:01 am

The end is near

Posted Saturday, February 23rd, 2013 05:42 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 5:42 PM

The pod leftovers, Eagan, Minnesota

Originally published by DK on February 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm

The Move

Posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 10:02 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 10:02 AM

The adventure continues this week, as we reverse the process started a week ago when we moved out of the house we’ve lived in for more than twelve years. I haven’t written much about it until now, as it’s been stressful, humbling and a whole host of other emotions. There are many, many others in the same situation, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to process.

I would like to thank a few people, starting with attorney Jerry Probst. I can’t say enough good things about the work he and his team did to assist us through the short sale process. Special thanks to Michelle, Stephanie, Jacqueline, Genna and closer Kelly – I was delighted by your professionalism, attention to detail, tenacity and kindness throughout the long, long process (it took nearly eight months).

Our realtors Shirley and Phil Larson also stuck with us throughout the arduous journey. This type of transaction requires a special type of marketing and specific knowledge on how lenders and appraisers operate and there is a huge advantage if you have agents with those skills. If you need to sell your house, you should email or call them at 952-997-9466.

The saga started back in July when the house was first listed. We had an offer a day after the first open house, but the bank countered back. We had to re-list the house at a higher price and start showings again after the first buyer dropped out.

After a few weeks, we actually had two new offers and submitted the higher of the two bids. Thanks to the miracle workers at Probst Law, an agreement was reached with all of the parties, but the new buyer didn’t think they could meet the time deadlines. Eventually a closing date was set – one week out. We weren’t sure we could get everything out of the house that fast, but it all worked out and we closed on February 8.

The move out was quite a circus. I rented a huge 17-foot dumpster that was full within a day. We took multiple trips to Goodwill, sold a few things, gave some furniture to relatives and took many car trips to my parents and other family members for temporary storage. Then the largest POD they have arrived and we jammed that full from floor to ceiling. Oh, and filled another dumpster too. We left with the last car load full of stuff five minutes before the final buyer walk-through on Thursday night.

The lease on our new place was originally scheduled to start March 1, but we were able to move that up a week. That still left two weeks of floating, which has actually now involved five hotels (if you count Fortune Bay). That all ends on Friday morning, when I can sign the final papers and get the new keys. The POD should be delivered sometime that day and there will be a long weekend of hauling stuff around again.

I’m really hoping the new place works out. It’s a two-story, three-bedroom rental town home in Eagan with underground parking, a workout room and outdoor pool. There are bus stops for each kid right outside that go to their same exact schools, which is way cool (and surprising). They will still have their own rooms and painting and nails are on the approved list. Hopefully noise is not an issue (both from the neighbors and the kids).

It feels weird not owning a house any more, but I won’t miss mowing, shoveling, yard work and a whole slew of other things. My credit rating took a hit for the first time in my life and taxes might be interesting next year, but I plan to hire an expert for that (also for the first time in my life).

Suburban homeowner life was…different. After growing up in the city, I never thought I would end up living like that for as long as I did. If it weren’t for the schools, I would’ve found an apartment in Minneapolis or St. Paul for sure (or a lake cabin). The new setup is the best education option for the girls, though, so we’ll make it work.

I have a lot of great memories from that house and neighborhood – it’s the only house kid two has ever known. There were also a lot of rough times, but it’s best to move on and not dwell on the negativity. As Nina says, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good.”

Originally published by DK on February 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

Farewell Oakbrooke

Posted Friday, February 8th, 2013 11:52 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 11:52 AM

Thanks for the memories…

Originally published by DK on February 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

Basement finally clear!

Posted Thursday, February 7th, 2013 03:35 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal at 3:35 PM

Never again…

Originally published by DK on February 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

WordPress Pagination Issue

Posted Saturday, November 17th, 2012 01:26 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology at 1:26 AM

Not sure when it started happening, but if you scroll to the bottom of the 7minutemiles.com home page and hover over the “Older posts” link, the URL shows as 7minutemiles.com/page/2. My web server, though, is redirecting that back to 7minutemiles.com via an Apache 301 redirect. Not good.

The older posts can be viewed by using a different URL – 7minutemiles.com/?paged=2 for the second page of posts, 7minutemiles.com/?paged=3 for the third page, and so on. So at least I know they are still there.

This type of problem is usually related to the Permalinks section in WordPress Settings and the .htaccess file it manipulates. I checked out the current .htaccess file, recreated it, restored an old version from backup to compare and tried various structural settings within the admin section (default works, but I want my standard day and name URLs that match what Google has indexed).

What’s weird is that pagination within category pages works fine (i.e. – 7minutemiles.com/category/golf/page/2 for example). My web server log isn’t throwing any errors and seems to be configured the same as it ever was (no recent upgrades). I did have a few Jetpack plugin upgrades recently, but deactivating that made no difference. I’m also not using any add-in pagination plugins.

A WordPress support site had a few threads mentioning that the 3.4 upgrade changed some things with pagination, but I’m pretty sure it was working since I moved to the 3.4.x series (currently on 3.4.2). My issue is a little different than that post, plus you wouldn’t think you’d need a function.php fix for basic pagination on the home page. Here is my theme PHP code that generates the link:

next_posts_link('« Older posts')

That generates the right URL, so I’m confused as to whether this is a WordPress issue or an Apache issue. Guess I’ll look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow…

Originally published by DK on November 17, 2012 at 1:26 am

New Photo Gallery

Posted Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 11:18 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Photography at 11:18 PM

Tonight I decided to switchover to the new photo gallery I started building last month. I still have a ton of golf photos to load (among others) and I haven’t re-written the random photo code in the footer yet, but it’s time.

The old Gallery2-based section is still live for now, but it’s not linked from any of the toolbars. Once I have most of the photos moved over, I’ll take down the Gallery2 code too.

Originally published by DK on October 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm

A Return to Facebook

Posted Sunday, October 9th, 2011 11:15 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 11:15 PM

My two month Facebook sabbatical ends tonight. It was a nice, productive break, but the influence of Facebook has expanded so much that you really do miss out on a lot of things now if you don’t have an account. I also needed to get back to being an admin on a few pages, watching out for kid one’s safety and catching up with friends who I only see online via Facebook.

I’m very proud of the changes I’ve made on this site and will continue to post (almost) daily here. My Twitter account is also still very active and automatically feeds the 7 Minute Miles home page.

I reinstalled the iPhone Facebook app, but I’m not sure yet how much I’ll post going forward. I don’t see what all the fuss was about regarding the layout changes, but I think the big stuff talked about at F8 is still yet to come, no?

Originally published by DK on October 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Publishing Plans

Posted Thursday, September 15th, 2011 11:01 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 11:01 PM

As posted earlier this week, I finally implemented a few design changes on 7 Minute Miles. I discovered that the updated news feed still has some issues that I need to test out further (thanks Joss Crowcroft), but overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

With the additional of post formats, I should be able to post something almost every day – favorite quotes, links to other sites I like and single images are quick and easy. I also want to write regular posts more often and will focus on my usual food, golf, running and travel stories, along with some personal posts about whatever grabs my fancy on that particular day.

I haven’t decided yet just how personal I want to get here – there is definitely a school of thought that says you need to cultivate your “online brand” and be aware of what a potential future employer might read. Others get all uptight if you swear, become too political or say something that’s out of the ordinary. And it’s much easier to write crazy stuff if you are anonymous (or an idiot).

Online publishing platforms like WordPress create an incredible opportunity for self-expression and wide dissemination of thoughts and ideas. Everyone likes to hold up freedom of speech as an ideal, but the reality is that words have consequences and must be wielded carefully. I hate self-censorship, but I’ve also been burned enough times by things I write to know I need to think twice (or more) before hitting the publish button.

I am who I am, though, and don’t plan to be anonymous or (hopefully) boring. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show…

Originally published by DK on September 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Site Changes

Posted Saturday, September 10th, 2011 12:12 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Technology at 12:12 AM

I’ve spent a fair amount of time this week finally studying up on the latest and greatest features of WordPress, CSS and JavaScript. This was mainly in anticipation of the work I need to finish this month on the new Fortune Bay website, but I also wanted to change up the look and functionality of this site.

The biggest items involved adding post formats to my custom theme (which now supports standard, link, quote and image posts) and integrating a three-column formatting structure based on the jQuery plugin Masonry. I also modified the RSS feed to deal with post formats, tweaked the Twitter section and cleaned up the style sheet.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about how I spend my time online and how I present myself in various venues (I’m currently on a Facebook hiatus, quit Google+ before I really started and came very close to shutting down my LinkedIn profile). The simplicity of Tumblr drove the implementation of post formats and I like the idea of having full control over my content. Also have high hopes for the next version of the WordPress iOS app.

All of these things will hopefully mean I get back to posting more often, but no promises…

Originally published by DK on September 10, 2011 at 12:12 am

7 Minute Miles Turns Five

Posted Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 07:09 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal at 7:09 PM

The oldest post on 7 Minute Miles was written five years ago tomorrow. I’ll skip the usual “time flies” references and all that – just glad to still be around to publish anything…

A lot has changed in my life during this timeframe, but the look of this site has not. I was kicking around the idea that I should write a new theme and incorporate all of the new features that WordPress has added over the years, but I’m both lazy and a slow learner. In the end, I decided to mostly keep things the way they’ve been, but did tidy up the joint a little:

  • Added new background image
  • De-cluttered the title bar and re-named some links
  • Modified the color scheme a bit and cleaned up the style sheet
  • Removed the sidebar and created a new sub-footer section
  • New social media and contact buttons in the sub-footer
  • Moved the bucket list items to the footer area
  • Upgraded the photo gallery to the latest version
  • De-activated and removed unused plugins (and added some new ones)
  • Adding a new running log section (not quite ready yet)
  • Re-writing the about section and merging it with the old bio and fetish sections (in progress)

I’ve been thinking a lot about how personal web sites fit in with the current social media landscape and decided I’ll keep this site as my online home base and have Twitter continue to feed the home page with short updates. When I do write the occasional longer post here, Twitter and Facebook will announce those posts automatically. And I still like the concept of owning the box (and the contents) and not worrying about the (sometimes) arbitrary policy changes of other companies. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all serve various purposes for me, though, so they will continue to stay in the picture (despite my occasional idiot freakouts).

A few stats as of today: 919 posts, 95 pages, 182 approved comments (78,255 blocked spam comments), 39,194 unique visitors in 2010 (who viewed 400,295 pages).

Originally published by DK on March 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Dead or Not Dead

Posted Thursday, August 26th, 2010 09:07 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal at 9:07 PM

I know, I know, it’s been more than a month since I wrote a post here, but I’m not dead (yet). I promise I’ll get back to a more regular publishing schedule soon.

In the meantime, here’s a nice relaxing photo from God’s Country to liven up the 7 Minute Miles home page.

Originally published by DK on August 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

7 Minute Miles Turns Four

Posted Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 01:27 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts at 1:27 PM

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the first post on 7minutemiles.com. An update on stats:

  • 882 Posts
  • 128 Pages
  • 29 Categories
  • 167 Non-Spam Comments
  • 42,621 Spam Comments

These numbers reflect the integration of the old golfing, hockey, run and skiing in Minnesota sites.

I’ve been thinking about new designs and features lately – stay tuned!

Originally published by DK on March 31, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Welcome to 7 Minute Miles, LLC

Posted Friday, September 18th, 2009 01:18 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology,Work at 1:18 PM

As some of you may have noticed, there have been a few changes here at 7minutemiles.com:

  • All of my former .mn sports sites now re-direct to this site. New sections have been created for golf, hockey, running and skiing. Archived posts from each site have been consolidated on 7MM and separate RSS feeds are available for each category.
  • Photo gallery images from the old sites have also been consolidated in the main 7MM gallery.
  • Links to other sites we like have been consolidated in the 7MM blogroll area in the sidebar.
  • I added page anchors to the fetishes page, along with a drop-down selector so you can jump down to the exact section you’d like to read.
  • A new 7 Minute Miles, LLC services randomizer box replaces my personal “to-do” bucket list section, which has moved to the footer.
  • Information on the contact page has been updated to add the new 7MM PO box mailing address and the return of my iChat/AOL account name.
  • Minor updates to the about page and the biography sections.
  • A new company page has been created to describe services the new 7 Minute Miles, LLC, organization is now offering.

Speaking of the LLC, I decided at the end of the summer it was time to start a new company. With the help of Doug Podolak and attorney Kevin Johnson, I founded 7 Minute Miles, LLC, on August 28, 2009.

The legal framework is now in place and I opened new business checking and savings accounts with U.S. Bank earlier this week. A former co-worker from Northwest Airlines, Mumtaz Walli-Ware, will be providing small business accounting and tax services and I will be purchasing business insurance from Tapemark Charity Pro-Am presenting sponsor, Anderson Agency.

The new company is a technology consultancy that specializes in WordPress web publishing and Apple system administration and management. Our first two new clients are the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am and the Macalester College Relations department. With are in negotiations with several other organizations and hope to have more news to announce soon.

Please take a look at the services we offer and contact us for a free initial consultation today!

Originally published by DK on September 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm

7 Minute Miles Turns Three

Posted Monday, March 30th, 2009 08:46 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 8:46 PM

Today is the third anniversary of the first post on 7 Minute Miles. Wow, how time flies…

The Dashboard reports:

  • 382 Posts
  • 40 Pages
  • 25 Categories
  • 97 Non-Spam Comments
  • 20,787 Spam Comments

We hit a new high for number of pages displayed last month (21,955) and visits this month (5,371). On an average day this month, almost 180 people dropped in to read my ramblings. Crazy.

Note: Due to server maintenance, this site will be off-line from approximately midnight tomorrow until around 8AM Wednesday morning.

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Old Photo Scans

Posted Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Photography at 10:20 PM

Today I decided to upload all of the old photos I scanned a few months ago to the photo gallery here on 7 Minute Miles. Most of them had already been uploaded to Facebook, but I only allow people on my Facebook friend list to view photos on that site. These are available for all to view and have the added benefit of a link below each photo to download the original, full-sized file.

Lots of great memories in there…

Originally published by DK on March 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm

7 Minute Miles Site Clean-Up

Posted Monday, March 2nd, 2009 12:15 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 12:15 AM

I’ve finished some site maintenance the past few days:

  • Upgraded to the latest version of WordPress (2.7.1)
  • Upgraded to the latest versions of all my plug-ins (except for Exec-PHP)
  • Added back my office webcams to the contact page (see sample above)
  • Updated and consolidated all of the fetishes information on one page
  • Made some minor edits on the biography and résumé pages
  • Changed the menu bar “stamps” link to start on the 1980 first day covers page (still adding more)
  • Added the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon medal to the background image

Seems like the new version of WordPress is allowing much more comment spam than before (despite using Akismet)…

Originally published by DK on March 2, 2009 at 12:15 am

Just in Time for Holiday Shopping

Posted Saturday, December 13th, 2008 11:12 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 11:12 PM

I’ve been a member of the Amazon Associates program for a long time. I publish special links to items in their online store and when people follow those links and buy something, I get a small commission from the sale. This has never been a big revenue source on any of my sites, but it was easy to set up, so why not.

A few weeks ago, I found out that Amazon started offering a new feature called aStores. Associate members can basically build their own custom store: custom look and feel, hand-picked items and a localized shopping cart.

I’ve built a new aStore I’m calling the DK Depot. It’s linked from the banners on this site and all of my MN sports sites (golfing.mn, hockey.mn, run.mn and skiing.mn). There are sections for each of those sports, along with areas of interest such as iPods, laptops, music, movies and cameras. All of the items listed are things I either own, have used or would like to buy.

Visit the DK Depot today for all of your last minute holiday shopping. Cheers!

Originally published by DK on December 13, 2008 at 11:12 pm

7 Minute Miles Turns Two

Posted Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 09:20 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 9:20 AM

Last Sunday was the second anniversary of the first post on 7 Minute Miles. My how time flies.

A few stats:

  • 308 posts
  • 72 comments
  • 5,875 attempted spam comments
  • current average daily visitors: 109
  • current average daily page views: 484

Thanks for visiting!

UPDATE: Here’s a graph of page views and unique visitors since the beginning:
7MM Traffic Chart

Originally published by DK on April 1, 2008 at 9:20 am

On Vacation

Posted Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 07:32 pm GMT -5 in Hockey,Housekeeping at 7:32 PM

This week I am on the road for spring break and will have limited posts, as the only Internet access I have is on my phone (I sound like Russo).

One quick note, though. I was riding the train west just south of Edmonton yesterday night and I could just feel the bad vibes coming from Canada when I read Butch and Demitra were out.

The final score didn’t surprise me, but it’s still disappointing…

Originally published by DK on March 25, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Hockey in Minnesota Now Live

Posted Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 12:25 am GMT -5 in Hockey,Housekeeping at 12:25 AM

Finally decided to just launch the damn thing tonight. Hockey posts I used to write here will now be on the new site (just like what happened with golf before).

Thoughts and opinions on Minnesota high school, collegiate and Wild hockey, plus whatever else I find time for before the season ends…

Originally published by DK on March 12, 2008 at 12:25 am

First Day Cover Update

Posted Monday, March 3rd, 2008 09:25 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 9:25 AM

Spent some time this weekend working on the first day cover archive project. I realized it’s been almost 30 years of collecting for me now, so I’d really like to get all of them photographed and added to the database.

This weekend I finished 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Still a long ways to go, but it’s a start.

Originally published by DK on March 3, 2008 at 9:25 am
 

Personal Records & Mileage

  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Full - 3:43:32
  • 50K - 7:37:00
  • 2021 Run Mileage: 264.3
  • 2021 Bike Mileage: 292

DK on Twitter Email DK 7 Minute Miles RSS Feed

Upcoming Races

  • Milk Run 5K - 8/29/21

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Saints vs. Omaha - 7/1/21
  • Twins vs. Detroit - 7/28/21
  • Saints vs. IND - 7/28/21
  • Saints vs. IND - 8/1/21
  • Vikings vs. Denver - 8/14/21
  • Saints vs. Iowa - 8/18/21
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 8/18/21
  • Vikings vs. Indy - 8/21/21
  • Saints vs. Omaha - 9/12/21
  • Vikings vs. Seattle - 9/26/21
  • Vikings vs. Browns - 10/3/21
  • Vikings vs. Lions - 10/10/21
  • Vikings vs. Cowboys - 10/31/21
  • Vikings vs. Packers - 11/21/21
  • Vikings vs. Steelers - 12/9/21
  • Vikings vs. Rams - 12/26/21
  • Vikings vs. Bears - 1/9/22

Upcoming Concerts

  • Robert Cray Band - 8/16/21, Canterbury Park
  • Doobie Brothers - 8/31/21, Grandstand
  • Semisonic - 9/10/21, First Avenue
  • Trampled By Turtles & Wilco - 9/18/21, Treasure Island
  • George Strait - 11/13/21, USBS
  • Dave Simonett - 11/26/21, Fitzgerald
  • Elton John - 3/22/22, Xcel
  • Cloud Cult - 4/1/22, Orchestra Hall
  • Rage Against the Machine - 5/15/22, Target Center
  • Kenny Chesney - 8/6/22, USBS
  • Def Leppard - 8/14/22, USBS
  • Rammstein - 8/27/22, USBS

Looking for something?