7 Minute Miles

Bucky needs to be smarter

Posted Monday, October 19th, 2020 11:32 am GMT -5 in Business,Links,News,Politics,Technology at 11:32 AM


Originally published by DK on October 19, 2020 at 11:32 am

Use WordPress? Wordfence Live

Posted Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 02:41 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology,Video at 2:41 PM

Originally published by DK on October 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm

The iPhone camera is 💯

Posted Friday, September 18th, 2020 10:03 pm GMT -5 in Golf,Photography,Technology at 10:03 PM

Miracle in your pocket

Originally published by DK on September 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm

This is pretty cool

Posted Sunday, September 13th, 2020 09:48 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Sports,Technology at 9:48 PM

Move streak hit 150 days this week

Originally published by DK on September 13, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Well…how did I get here?

Posted Friday, September 11th, 2020 11:21 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts,Technology,Work at 11:21 PM


es • o • ter • ic
adj. Intended for or understood by only a small group, especially one with specialized knowledge or interests: synonym: mysterious.


Today was one of those days when I worked on so many strange things, I don’t know how I ever learned all this random stuff. I’m sure there are a million people that could step in and learn my job over time, but right now I don’t know what my colleagues will do if I get a fever and can’t go to work. I’m trying to diversify that risk through delegation, training and documentation, but there is a ton of specialization in our environment (which I’m sure is true for many other professions as well).

Seriously, though:

switchport access vlan 360
switchport mode access
power inline auto max 30000
spanning-tree portfast
service-policy output softmax

Who talks like that?

Originally published by DK on September 11, 2020 at 11:21 pm

Another nerd like me

Posted Saturday, August 29th, 2020 08:45 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 8:45 PM


Originally published by DK on August 29, 2020 at 8:45 pm

RIP Apple Extreme, 2013-2020

Posted Thursday, August 27th, 2020 08:02 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 8:02 PM

I think this was a 6th generation, but I’m not 100% sure

Originally published by DK on August 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm

Making do with what we have

Posted Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 01:35 pm GMT -5 in Business,Technology,Work at 1:35 PM

The SSD drive upgrades do help

Originally published by DK on August 19, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Forgot about PROFS/OfficeVision

Posted Saturday, August 15th, 2020 08:23 pm GMT -5 in Business,History,Links,Technology at 8:23 PM


Originally published by DK on August 15, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Life After Zuckerberg

Posted Thursday, August 6th, 2020 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,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

Free tech training rules

Posted Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 06:02 pm GMT -5 in Schools,Technology at 6:02 PM

Thanks, Amazon

Originally published by DK on August 5, 2020 at 6:02 pm

The Al Michaels seat is 🔥

Posted Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 03:41 pm GMT -5 in Football,Technology,Work at 3:41 PM

Testing broadcast connections

Originally published by DK on July 28, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Sign up for COVID science

Posted Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 11:41 am GMT -5 in Links,Science,Technology at 11:41 AM


Originally published by DK on July 28, 2020 at 11:41 am

The Transition to AWS Lightsail

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

82 days and counting

Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 08:30 am GMT -5 in Personal,Sports,Technology at 8:30 AM

All three rings

Originally published by DK on July 7, 2020 at 8:30 am

Couldn’t believe it

Posted Monday, July 6th, 2020 01:37 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 1:37 PM

Restarted after return from vacation and it’s been fine so far, but nearly had an emotional breakdown

Originally published by DK on July 6, 2020 at 1:37 pm

The Art of Email

Posted Monday, June 22nd, 2020 10:12 pm GMT -5 in Business,Technology at 10:12 PM

When I first heard that the company behind Basecamp was going to release a new email product, I was skeptical. Many others have tried to improve on the pitfalls of email, but nothing has really stood out. I’ve gone through several phases of email management, both personally and professionally. Running your own email server is not for the faint of heart, but I very briefly tried to do that with a mix of Exim, Postfix and a few other tools that tried to deal with the huge amount of junk mail on the internet.

For my personal email, I got in early enough with Google that I get to use their current G Suite service for free. On the work side, one of the first decisions I made in my current job was to move to Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) instead of having an on-site Exchange server. So right now I use the Apple Mail clients for my 7minutemiles.com account and the Mac Outlook clients for work (I like to keep them separate and use both iOS and macOS apps). Spam prevention could be better (especially on the Microsoft side), but I’m mostly OK with my current setup and routine.

I’ve been a fan of Basecamp CTO (and Ruby on Rails creator) David Heinemeier Hansson for quite a while. I agree with a lot of his business philosophies (“It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work”) and he is usually a good follow on Twitter (just avoid the weeks when he is feuding with Apple). When DHH announced that they were doing a new email thing called Hey, I sent in a request to be one of the early adopters. When my invite code came last week, I grabbed kingsbury@hey.com and started to kick the tires.

Things were kinda hard to test out until I auto-forwarded my 7minutemiles.com traffic to this new account (custom domains are not yet supported). The video I watched from Basecamp CEO Jason Fried got me pretty excited about the features, so I was starting to think this might be worth $99 a year. They give you a free 14 day trial to test things out and here I sit with seven days left, an “Imbox” full of sample messages and a growing sense that this is not really for me. So, what are my main issues with Hey?

  • Just can’t seem to get into the right flow of managing messages in any of the client instances (web, iOS or macOS).
  • Privacy and “spy” trackers: Hey makes a big deal out of this, but you know what? Most of the emails flagged with this are from senders that I already opted in, so I don’t consider this an invasion of my privacy. From what I can tell, there is no way to tell Hey that I consider these OK. It’s a cool feature for junk mail, but I don’t want to see those messages at all.
  • Can’t even imagine what sort of infrastructure is required to store all of this data (email, file attachments, added metadata). Curious to see how this scales and how their privacy and security policies will work in practice.
  • The logo and overall design esthetic seems a bit…off to me. “Imbox” also rubs me the wrong way – looks like a mistake.

This would really only be worth $99 to me if I could move over my domain name, which they say is coming soon. Do I roll the dice and subscribe next week (both in anticipation of that feature and to keep the vanity address)? Most signs point to no – Google doesn’t charge me anything now and I’m mostly happy with how I manage email overall. I will keep messing with Hey until the trial expires, though. Who knows, maybe things will click in another day or two?

Originally published by DK on June 22, 2020 at 10:12 pm

iMac Kernel Panics

Posted Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 12:59 am GMT -5 in Shopping,Technology at 12:59 AM

If you’ve been following along with the upgrade saga of Mr. Jackpot, I’ve got good and bad news to report. The good news is that I think I’m finally back on track now, but the bad news is that I basically need to start all over from scratch. When we last left the story, I had the fan cable problem resolved and was busy clean installing all of my apps and re-building the Music library. This was progressing nicely – I had made my first pass through all of the old music files, adding only songs and albums I wanted to keep, along with finding or updating album artwork for every file. That was about as far as I made it before we went out of town for a few days. When I came back home, the iMac was on with the dreaded flashing question mark folder.

It didn’t seem like we had experienced a power outage, so I first tried a hard restart. The Apple logo appeared and the progress bar started across, but just before it reached the end, the screen went black and the iMac appeared to shut off. I connected the external clone drive I made of the original internal SSD and rebooted again holding down the option key. This brought up the screen that allows you to select which drive you want to boot from, so I selected the clone and hit enter. That made it through to the user login screen, followed by the multi-language kernel panic message. After that went away, the panic log window appeared:

panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff7f8e24b231): nvme: “Fatal error occurred. CSTS=0x1 US[1]=0x0 US[0]=0xb VID=0x126f DID=0x2262
. FW Revision=42A0S63A\n”@/AppleInternal/BuildRoot/Library/Caches/com.apple.xbs/Sources/IONVMeFamily/
Backtrace (CPU 0), Frame : Return Address
0xffffff83cb2c39e0 : 0xffffff800c51f5cd
0xffffff83cb2c3a30 : 0xffffff800c658b05
0xffffff83cb2c3a70 : 0xffffff800c64a68e
0xffffff83cb2c3ac0 : 0xffffff800c4c5a40
0xffffff83cb2c3ae0 : 0xffffff800c51ec97
0xffffff83cb2c3be0 : 0xffffff800c51f087
0xffffff83cb2c3c30 : 0xffffff800ccc27ec
0xffffff83cb2c3ca0 : 0xffffff7f8e24b231
0xffffff83cb2c3cc0 : 0xffffff7f8e236362
0xffffff83cb2c3e20 : 0xffffff800cc33409
0xffffff83cb2c3e90 : 0xffffff800cc33329
0xffffff83cb2c3ec0 : 0xffffff800c561565
0xffffff83cb2c3f40 : 0xffffff800c561091
0xffffff83cb2c3fa0 : 0xffffff800c4c513e
Kernel Extensions in backtrace:
dependency: com.apple.driver.AppleMobileFileIntegrity(1.0.5)[0425E074-601A-3487-A54F-1E675D065186]@0xffffff7f8cf87000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(2.9)[3C56BB73-D149-3E84-A2EB-DF806779B96C]@0xffffff7f8d101000
dependency: com.apple.driver.AppleEFINVRAM(2.1)[4E64E519-CD9C-3D03-8E62-1074E9AD54A7]@0xffffff7f8d309000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)[E13E9C61-F1F5-3A81-B1EF-65669C3CBDBF]@0xffffff7f8ce65000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOReportFamily(47)[1FB49168-0280-3F04-A99A-F830C915E994]@0xffffff7f8d02f000

BSD process name corresponding to current thread: kernel_task

Mac OS version:

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 19.5.0: Thu Apr 30 18:25:59 PDT 2020; root:xnu-6153.121.1~7/RELEASE_X86_64
Kernel UUID: 7B7F06EE-1B75-345E-B898-2FD4FEC20F0D
Kernel slide: 0x000000000c200000
Kernel text base: 0xffffff800c400000
__HIB text base: 0xffffff800c300000
System model name: iMac18,2 (Mac-77F17D7DA9285301)
System shutdown begun: NO
Panic diags file available: YES (0x0)

This wasn’t super helpful while Googling, but I thought I could at least stay booted to the clone. Unfortunately, when I tried to launch Disk Utility and check the new internal SSD, the screen went black again and the iMac shut down. I tried this process several times and every single time it would eventually shut down. My initial thought was that the new RAM was bad, since it was happening on both internal and external drives and I had that happen once before when I worked at Northwest Airlines.

I sent Other World Computing a support request and went back to work using my phone and laptop. OWC didn’t reply to my initial support request, so a few days later I started an online support chat with them to ask about the status of my ticket. Even that took a few hours before someone popped up, but eventually a tech suggested I get a wired keyboard and try to 1) reset the PRAM and 2) boot into diagnostic mode.

Since I didn’t want to buy a new keyboard, I rode into work and borrowed an extra Windows keyboard. The PRAM reset (option-command-P-R) didn’t make any difference, but I was able to boot into diagnostic mode (hold the “D” key while starting up). It ran tests for about five minutes, but then came back with “No issues found. Reference Code: ADP000.” I left the machine up for about 30 minutes in that mode and it never kernel panicked. I tried to reset the SMC by unplugging the power for 15 seconds, then plugging it back in, but that made no difference. Lastly, I tried to boot into recovery mode (option-R) and was able to get as far as launching Disk Utility before it crashed. I did recovery mode one more time in an effort to launch the Catalina installer, but that also ended in a crash midway through installation.

I then talked to Armon (who was an Apple Genius when I hired him) and he said to try booting into verbose mode, then single user mode. When I did verbose mode (option-V), all of the usual junk appeared on the screen, then it switched back to the white Apple logo with the progress bar. It did finish all the way across, then launched a Catalina install screen (!?). That stayed up for about two minutes before crashing and shutting down. I got to the command prompt in single user mode (option-S), but when I tried to mount the drive (/sbin/mount -uw /), it kept displaying “disk2s1: device is write locked.” I then tried to use internet recovery mode (shift-option-command-R), which connected successfully to my WiFi network and loaded a disk image into memory without crashing. I started Disk Utility to reformat the internal SSD, but it did not appear in the window of available drives. Commands in Terminal couldn’t see it either. Huh.

At this point, I asked OWC support via email if this model could really support 32GB of RAM, as some online sites listed 16GB as the maximum. They told me that it could actually support up to 64GB of RAM and that they were highly suspect of the RAM being bad. I told him that I was going to open it back up and reinstall the stock RAM, then see what happened. I really didn’t want to go through that whole process again, but I really didn’t have any other option (aside from taking it somewhere like The Foundation). I spent an hour or so doing the surgery, then tried to boot up from the internal drive. Fingers crossed, but startup ended with yet another kernel panic. ARGH!

I did the surgery *again* and reinstalled both the new RAM and the old internal SSD. Fired it back up and it’s been running without a kernel panic for two days now. I emailed OWC and told them I needed to RMA the new SSD and I’m still waiting for a reply. I know they have a COVID note on their support page (“we are seeing increased levels of engagement across all of our customer contact systems”), but it’s been a bit disappointing to go through this experience. At least I’m getting very familiar with the inside of this particular model. Which, of course, means that there will definitely be an extra cool new iMac announced at WWDC

Originally published by DK on June 17, 2020 at 12:59 am

Hey, this isn’t Las Vegas

Posted Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 11:09 am GMT -5 in Business,Technology at 11:09 AM

Virtual Cisco Live! 2020

Originally published by DK on June 16, 2020 at 11:09 am

iMac Upgrades

Posted Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 11:02 pm GMT -5 in Shopping,Technology at 11:02 PM

After several months of frustration with managing my (admittedly) large collection of music and photos on our three-year-old iMac, I decided it was time to either look at a new machine or try to rebuild and optimize the current one. Since the new options I liked were all in the $3,000 or more category, I decided to research cheaper options with Mr. Jackpot, our 2017 21.5-inch Retina 4K model (iMac 18.2).

The 3GHz quad-core i5 processor should still be OK for a few more years and I really like the quality of the screen. I’ve been running just the standard 8GB of RAM, though, which seems meager now. For storage, I originally picked the 256GB SSD option internally, with two external 2TB drives connected via standard USB ports. My gut feeling was that this was now a major performance bottleneck, since the operating system was the only thing on the fast SSD and the photo library and music files were on the slower spinning disc drives with no Thunderbolt interfaces.

I’ve been a customer and fan of Other World Computing in Illinois for most of my IT career. I looked at the upgrade options for this model on their site and reviewed the excellent installation videos several times before deciding to place an order. My goal was to upgrade the RAM from 8GB to 32GB, replace the small internal SSD with their 2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 product, then find a suitable Thunderbolt 3 external SSD option. After consulting with my friend Terry, I opted for a non-OWC option, ordering the 2TB Samsung T5 Portable SSD from Amazon (which, of course, was just made obsolete a few days ago with a T7 version).

OWC rated these installs “skill level: advanced” and I was a little nervous. They provided all of the needed tools and parts, but it was still a challenging installation. Last Sunday was rainy anyways, so the timing for this project was spot on. It ended up taking most of the afternoon, with only one initial issue. The Torx screwdrivers OWC provides don’t have very big handles, so I needed to improvise the T8 by attaching a wrench for more torque to loosen the screws on the power unit (which also had some tricky cable connections). Once everything was apart, popping in the RAM and the SSD chips was easy. I reversed the process to close it back up, then started a clean install of macOS Mojave.

Mojave doesn’t have the greatest reputation right now. Personally, I haven’t had a lot of direct issues with it, but I’ve been carrying along a lot of cruft over the years by doing upgrades and not clean installs. I figured a lot of the issues I’ve had with photos and music are probably related to this, so I wanted to make backups of everything (in multiple places), create a clean install of the operating system, load the latest versions of my applications, then copy over personal files. Time Machine was used for backup number one, Carbon Copy Cloner was used for backup number two (and to create a bootable external drive) and Backblaze was used for backup number three.

Finding license codes for my purchased software took a bit of time. Some companies do a great job of helping with this (thanks, Panic), while others sent me emails after purchase that I archive. It’s interesting how many apps are now subscription services – you just need to remember your credentials to log in, download and activate those products (which now include all of the Office 365 apps, Photoshop Creative Cloud and services like Backblaze). The App Store for Mac remembers your purchases made via that sales channel, so those were easy. Had to use my Cisco login to get access to the AnyConnect VPN client, but otherwise I was able to get everything back in an hour or so. I did end up upgrading 1Password to the latest version, which is also now subscription based.

One area that I need to spend more time on is iCloud. So many things are now tied my AppleID, but it seems like the process is cleaner on iOS than it is on the Mac. I’ve used iCloud for contacts and calendars since it was introduced, but only recently upgraded to the 2TB storage tier for iPhone backups and iCloud Drive usage. I apparently also used my Google Apps account for synching some contacts and calendars, so I need to get that sorted out (and all moved under iCloud). Throw in Facebook and Office 365 integration and my Contacts app is a disaster right now. I do really like how iCloud Drive works, so I will likely move most of my non-media files to that. Also a big fan of using iCloud with the Notes app – super easy to share across devices and basically replaces Stickies for me.

As I progressed with the customization of the new SSDs, I wasn’t very happy with performance. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was, so I turned on the screen saver and went for a walk. When I got back, the machine locked up on me and I had to do a hard power reset to get it to reboot. I noticed the middle of the screen was really hot, so I went back to the install videos and realized I might’ve missed plugging the fan back in. I downloaded the free version of Macs Fan Control and sure enough, the fan was not spinning (and all the temp indicators were high). Guessing the heat was throttling the CPU performance, so it was back to the screen removal tool to pop back inside and reconnect the cable. Thankfully, I was able to reach it without having to take everything apart again. It’s been blazing fast (and cool) ever since and now I’m a very happy camper.

There is still a lot of work ahead of me, but everything is humming along. I’ve started to rebuild the music library using Music, with the files stored on the external Samsung. So far I’ve just downloaded past purchases and ripped a couple of new CDs, but my old library will get added next. I turned off all of the Apple Music and online syncing stuff and performance seems to be fine. I’m hoping Photos running on the internal SSD will also work better, but I haven’t started that yet. Also hoping I don’t need to reset my iPhone to factory default to get photo sync to work correctly in the Finder, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Isn’t technology grand?

Originally published by DK on May 20, 2020 at 11:02 pm

A rainy day project

Posted Sunday, May 17th, 2020 05:06 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 5:06 PM

Replacing the RAM and SSD – “advanced”

Originally published by DK on May 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm

Happy Birthday Apple Watch

Posted Friday, April 24th, 2020 09:46 am GMT -5 in Design,Links,Technology at 9:46 AM


Originally published by DK on April 24, 2020 at 9:46 am

Totally forgot about this one

Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2020 10:25 pm GMT -5 in History,Technology at 10:25 PM

PowerBook 5300cs

Originally published by DK on April 3, 2020 at 10:25 pm

Empty stadium, empty office

Posted Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 12:43 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 12:43 PM

Not too shabby

Originally published by DK on April 1, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Survived the first night

Posted Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 12:40 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Technology at 12:40 PM

CPAP for sleep apnea (and the snore score)

Originally published by DK on March 31, 2020 at 12:40 pm

7 Minute Miles Turns 14

Posted Monday, March 30th, 2020 08:00 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,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

I’m just like Star Wars

Posted Friday, March 27th, 2020 01:29 pm GMT -5 in Disney,Movies,Technology at 1:29 PM

That’s pretty cool, actually – WTG, Let’s Encrypt

Originally published by DK on March 27, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Johns Hopkins Dashboard

Posted Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 07:33 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 7:33 PM


Originally published by DK on March 17, 2020 at 7:33 pm

Entry-level nerds needed

Posted Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 11:40 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology,Work at 11:40 AM


Originally published by DK on March 3, 2020 at 11:40 am

THE most powerful tool

Posted Friday, February 21st, 2020 03:40 pm GMT -5 in Family,History,Personal,Technology at 3:40 PM

I wonder if that IIc in the corner will boot up

Originally published by DK on February 21, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Not in DevOps, but still laughed

Posted Sunday, January 26th, 2020 03:56 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 3:56 PM


Originally published by DK on January 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Looks like Bucky got duped

Posted Friday, December 13th, 2019 02:50 pm GMT -5 in Business,Links,Politics,Technology at 2:50 PM


Originally published by DK on December 13, 2019 at 2:50 pm

From an 8 to a red XR

Posted Saturday, November 30th, 2019 02:10 pm GMT -5 in Family,Shopping,Technology at 2:10 PM

Happy iPhone Upgrade Day for kid one

Originally published by DK on November 30, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Congrats to Brent on 20 years

Posted Monday, November 11th, 2019 03:34 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 3:34 PM


Originally published by DK on November 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Apple has finally made it

Posted Thursday, October 24th, 2019 12:38 pm GMT -5 in Business,Shopping,Technology at 12:38 PM

Computers are so last year

Originally published by DK on October 24, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Let the testing begin!

Posted Monday, October 7th, 2019 05:08 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 5:08 PM

Catalina (10.15 arrives on my MacBook Air)

Originally published by DK on October 7, 2019 at 5:08 pm

iPhone 11 Pro Impressions

Posted Thursday, September 26th, 2019 10:21 pm GMT -5 in Photography,Technology at 10:21 PM

I wasn’t going to do a write-up of my latest phone, but kid two was like, “when are you going to do the post on your new phone?” Can’t let the kid down, so here goes…

My overall satisfaction with the iPhone Upgrade Program continues. The entire upgrade process was as simple as deciding which model, color and capacity I wanted, filing out a pre-approval form in the Apple Store app and placing the pre-order when that window opened at 7am on September 13th. Then it was just a matter of stalking the UPS tracking site until it got dropped off in our package concierge. A few days later, I received a shipping box to send the old one back. Unfortunately, when I removed my GelaSkin sticker, I found a big crack on the back case. When Apple gets it back, my AppleCare will kick in, but I’ll likely have to pay $99 before they retire the old loan. A new GelaSkin sticker is on the way, but those aren’t shipping until next month.

At this point in the evolution of the iPhone, the three things that are most important to me in terms of improvement are the camera, battery life and storage capacity. Everything else is pretty much perfect now (email, social media, web browsing, music and movie playback), but I can always use a better camera, longer battery life and, since I’m still old school about not streaming most types of media, storage space. The midnight green 512GB iPhone Pro 11 that I selected checks all of those boxes.

You can get way more detail in Nilay Patel’s review at the Verge, where he calls my model “the best camera you can get on a phone.” I also love reading Matthew Panzarino’s iPhone reviews, which he writes from the point of view of Disney park visitors. With the simultaneous rollout of iOS 13, I haven’t had a lot of time to play with all the new features, but the camera has been impressive so far. The new third “extra wide angle” lens will offer a great deal of new shooting options and Night Mode seems to work as advertised. I don’t do a lot of video, but what I have shot so far is impressive. Battery life is much improved over my old XS and it’s nice to have extra storage space, as I was under 10% free space before.

It still amazes me that we continue to have platform wars with just about every form of technology ever invented. I’ve played that game before, but seriously, use whatever works best for you. I live in the Apple ecosystem and yes, it is a walled garden and yes, it’s expensive. But I love my Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac and MacBook Air – they work great together and I don’t see any advantage on the Android/Windows side that would get me to make the significant investment in time and money to switch.

Vive la différence, no?

Originally published by DK on September 26, 2019 at 10:21 pm

Night Mode on the new phone

Posted Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 07:37 am GMT -5 in Football,Technology,Work at 7:37 AM

All the field lights were completely off when I took this…

Originally published by DK on September 22, 2019 at 7:37 am

Twins Arete

Posted Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 06:34 pm GMT -5 in Baseball,Friends,Sports,Technology,Work at 6:34 PM

John Avenson bringing the heat

Originally published by DK on September 18, 2019 at 6:34 pm

iPhone 11 Pro + Disneyland

Posted Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 12:11 am GMT -5 in Disney,Links,Technology at 12:11 AM

Review: The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 do Disneyland after dark

Originally published by DK on September 18, 2019 at 12:11 am

Wish I knew PHP better

Posted Monday, August 19th, 2019 10:36 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 10:36 AM


Originally published by DK on August 19, 2019 at 10:36 am

Ticket system #4

Posted Monday, August 12th, 2019 08:15 pm GMT -5 in Football,Technology,Work at 8:15 PM

Technically five, I think

Originally published by DK on August 12, 2019 at 8:15 pm

This still cracks me up

Posted Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 03:08 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 3:08 PM

Nerd humor, amirite?

Originally published by DK on April 23, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Masters broadcast perfection

Posted Thursday, April 11th, 2019 01:05 pm GMT -5 in Golf,Mini Posts,Technology,Television at 1:05 PM

People have said a lot of thing about the Masters over the years, but the ability to follow Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia for their entire first round in HD on my AppleTV with no commercials, announcers that don’t scream and silence the majority of the broadcast (aside from the birds chirping) is about as good as sports TV gets, in my opinion. Add in a work-from-home snow day blizzard outside (with wife and daughter safely inside) + hot pizza from across the street + new levels in Two Dots = my favorite day in weeks.

Originally published by DK on April 11, 2019 at 1:05 pm

The Automattic Creed is cool

Posted Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 07:07 pm GMT -5 in Business,Links,Technology at 7:07 PM

The Automattic Creed

Originally published by DK on March 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

RIP Easy Chart Builder

Posted Monday, March 18th, 2019 09:03 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts,Technology at 9:03 PM

Either the Google API is down or my last-updated-in-six-years charting plugin is dead…

UPDATE: Looks like both the plugin and the API are dead.

UPDATE 2: The API seems to be back (on a new server).

Originally published by DK on March 18, 2019 at 9:03 pm

Not enough $$$ in the world

Posted Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 12:02 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics,Technology at 12:02 PM


Originally published by DK on February 27, 2019 at 12:02 pm

WorldWideWeb nerd coolness

Posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2019 02:32 pm GMT -5 in History,Links,Technology at 2:32 PM


Originally published by DK on February 20, 2019 at 2:32 pm

Things that make me happy

Posted Sunday, February 17th, 2019 03:27 pm GMT -5 in Food,Golf,Mini Posts,Music,Technology at 3:27 PM
  • My wife and daughters, who are so kind and whip-smart
  • Everyone who has supported my recovery
  • Driving on my own
  • The Saint Dinette cheeseburger
  • Our Lowertown loft
  • The choo-choo
  • Progressive jackpots
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Code (that works)
  • Live music
  • A well-struck golf shot
  • Sunshine (on my shoulders)

The flip side of that other mini-post

Originally published by DK on February 17, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Today at the stadium

Posted Saturday, February 9th, 2019 04:29 pm GMT -5 in History,Sports,Technology,Work at 4:29 PM

I thought I felt a little déjà vu

Originally published by DK on February 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm

HTTPS adventures (cartoon form)

Posted Saturday, February 9th, 2019 04:19 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 4:19 PM


Originally published by DK on February 9, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Super long CES 2019 report

Posted Friday, January 25th, 2019 04:20 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 4:20 PM


Originally published by DK on January 25, 2019 at 4:20 pm

From the Ground Up (Déjà vu)

Posted Friday, January 18th, 2019 08:29 am GMT -5 in Business,Football,Links,Technology at 8:29 AM

Originally published by DK on January 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

Everybody does it different

Posted Thursday, January 10th, 2019 07:48 pm GMT -5 in History,Sports,Technology at 7:48 PM

Like the surface charge space, though

Originally published by DK on January 10, 2019 at 7:48 pm


Posted Thursday, January 10th, 2019 10:56 am GMT -5 in Quotes,Technology at 10:56 AM

I’d rather retire from using computers than use Windows 10. What a mess…

Originally published by DK on January 10, 2019 at 10:56 am

Roy & Moss versus El Chapo

Posted Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 02:03 pm GMT -5 in Business,History,Links,News,Technology at 2:03 PM

Originally published by DK on January 9, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Starting over

Posted Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 12:15 pm GMT -5 in Art,Design,Family,Technology at 12:15 PM

Thanks for sticker #1, SK

Originally published by DK on January 9, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Goodbye, Duluth Pack

Posted Friday, December 28th, 2018 03:38 pm GMT -5 in Fashion,Shopping,Technology at 3:38 PM

Hello again, Brenthaven

Originally published by DK on December 28, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Another XR in the family

Posted Thursday, December 20th, 2018 06:25 pm GMT -5 in Family,Holidays,Shopping,Technology at 6:25 PM

Going from a 6 to a X will be a shock for her

Originally published by DK on December 20, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Merry Two Dots

Posted Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 10:18 pm GMT -5 in Design,Games,Holidays,Technology at 10:18 PM

Best iOS game ever, no?

Originally published by DK on December 19, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Laptop sticker retirement

Posted Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 08:16 pm GMT -5 in Art,Design,Technology,Work at 8:16 PM

They just don’t come off

Originally published by DK on December 18, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Security broke my emojis

Posted Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 10:49 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,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

iPhone upgrade day for MK

Posted Friday, November 9th, 2018 04:12 pm GMT -5 in Family,Shopping,Technology at 4:12 PM

The key to teen happiness

Originally published by DK on November 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Caring Bridge is A+ tech

Posted Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 09:43 am GMT -5 in Personal,Technology at 9:43 AM


Originally published by DK on October 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

Shot on iPhone, but…

Posted Friday, October 5th, 2018 02:21 pm GMT -5 in Nature,Photography,Technology at 2:21 PM

…how many times does it get compressed or down-sampled?

Originally published by DK on October 5, 2018 at 2:21 pm

And it’s all in my pocket!

Posted Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 03:46 pm GMT -5 in Links,Photography,Technology at 3:46 PM


Originally published by DK on October 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm

NotATweet: AvigilonTempOut times one million

Posted Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018 12:18 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Tweets at 12:18 PM

415,978 temp files for one program seems like a lot, no?

Originally published by DK on October 2, 2018 at 12:18 pm

My smartass watch

Posted Saturday, September 29th, 2018 12:01 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 12:01 PM

You smashed one ring yesterday!

Originally published by DK on September 29, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Remember when upgrades cost $129?

Posted Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 11:28 am GMT -5 in Shopping,Technology at 11:28 AM

macOS Mojave 10.14 is all about Dark Mode

Originally published by DK on September 25, 2018 at 11:28 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
  • 2020 Run Mileage: 161.4
  • 2020 Bike Mileage: 604.5

DK on Twitter Email DK 7 Minute Miles RSS Feed
Mobile: 612.224.5422

Upcoming Races

  • Get in Gear 10K - 4/24/21
  • Milk Run 5K - 8/29/21

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Tommie-Johnnie Football - 11/7/20
  • Vikings vs. Lions - 11/8/20
  • Vikings vs. Dallas - 11/22/20
  • Vikings vs. Carolina - 11/29/20
  • Vikings vs. Jacksonville - 12/6/20
  • Vikings vs. Bears - 12/20/20

Upcoming Concerts

  • Dave Simonett - 11/27, Fitzgerald
  • Cloud Cult - 1/18, Orchestra Hall
  • Kenny Chesney - 6/5, USBS
  • Rage Against the Machine - 7/2, Target Center
  • Def Leppard - 7/8, USBS
  • George Strait - 7/31, USBS
  • Doobie Brothers - 8/31, Grandstand
  • Rammstein - 9/3, USBS
  • Trampled By Turtles & Wilco - 9/18, Treasure Island

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