Aug 072013

Yesterday I harvested my first crop of celery from the green house. I started three heads of celery indoors after reading a post here:

Started as described in the article, in bowls of water in March or April of this year. About a month or so after starting, I transplanted into flower pots. I kept it mostly indoors for the spring on my kitchen window where it could get the afternoon sun. In May, I started putting the pots outside to give the celery more sunlight, and to give it some colder temperatures so that it could handle being outside. I’d bring them in each day so that the cold wouldn’t kill them.

Late May, early June, after our last snowfall, I planted outdoors in the greenhouse. Transplanting was pretty easy. I was surprised by how many roots had sprouted and wrapped around the flower pot. Here are a few pictures of the greenhouse a week or so after the transplant.


I decided to pull up one of the heads because there were a lot of brown stalks. I thought it was drying out, but after I picked it, it was clear that bugs had eaten some of the stalks. Looked like earwigs and they would get inside and hollow out the stalk. After cleaning the head, there were fewer ruined stalks then I thought, which was good.

Below are some pictures of the harvest:



Sep 062012

Haven’t posted in a while, but have been meaning to post this tidbit. We have been leasing a Prius V (a gas/electric hybrid) since April, and I decided to track our fuel economy. We got this car to replace our Yaris since it was a little cramped with a car seat and the massive stroller that comes along with becoming a parent.

If you are interested, you can see a spreadsheet of each time we purchased gas, the cost, kilometres travelled and average fuel economy over that period. The values in red are values that you can’t trust, as we were travelling, and I misplaced that receipt.

Here is the link: Google Spreadsheet

Dec 022010

Hello Internet Reader. You heard it here first; Failure is heavier than Success. I’m sure that this will turn out to have all sorts of implications in the fields of physics, politics, and athletics. Read on if you want to understand my train of thought that brought me to this exciting discovery.

Recently, there have been rumors that Rogers Communications may be buying shares in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the body that controls the Toronto Maple Leafs (hockey), Toronto FC (soccer), and Toronto Raptors (basketball). This would give them controlling interest in four major professional sports teams in Toronto (they currently own the Toronto Blue Jays (baseball)).

This got me thinking about Toronto sports teams in general. They haven’t had many good years recently:

  • Maple Leafs: Last Championship – 1967 / Last Playoff Appearance – 2004
  • Raptors: Last Championship – Never / Last Playoff Appearance – 2008 (Only once got past the first round)
  • Toronto FC: Last Championship – Never / Last Playoff Appearance – Never
  • Blue Jays: Last Championship – 1993 / Last Playoff Appearance – 1993

To the defence of Toronto FC and the Raptors, they are fairly new teams. However, they have seemed to have latched on to the Toronto sport team legacy of failure.

But this begs the question, why so much failure in Toronto?

Well you see, as any Canadian knows (especially Toronto-ains), Toronto is the centre of the universe. Like most things that are the centre of something, it tends to have the most mass and therefore attracts other things. Looking at the solar system, the Sun is the centre of mass, and other object gravitate towards and around it.

So, all things in the universe are pulled towards Toronto. Of course, this means that both success and failure are attracted to Toronto. However, failure seems to accumulate there faster, and in greater numbers then success. Proving once and for all that Failure is heavier than Success.

But what does this have to do with Rogers Communications? Well, anyone who has tried to get a cell phone signal on the Rogers Network in Newfoundland knows exactly what I’m talking about regarding failure.

Disclaimer: This post is in jest, and if you are offended, you should learn how to take a joke. And if that comment offended you, I’m sorry. Please refrain from fire bombing my car or home. Thank you for your consideration.

Oct 312010

Hello Folks,
Long time and no posting. I’ve been quite busy. So here are some updates:



I’m currently completing a Masters Certificate in Project Management. It is a four month course that prepares you to be a professional project manager. It has been an interesting experience. The skills I’ve learned so far have already been put to good use both at work, and with my business on the side.

Project Work

My company has been awarded a contract to develop a Document Management System, as well as install servers and software to support this system. Work will be starting next week, and I will have very little free time to work on anything else during this. 🙁 But, it will be a great experience and our first big project!

Server Hosting

In the last month or so, the company I had a VPS with (BBB Rating: C – 121 Complaints) was constantly attacked and hacked by outsiders. No matter what lengths I go to, somehow, someone was on the server sending mail and doing bad things. It seems that the company does very little intrusion detection, and the way in which the server was compromised, I suspect that the virtual hosts were actually the source. After 12 hour downtime with no answer from their 24/7 support, I decided to return to my former web host ( BBB Rating: A+ – 0 complaints). Although more expensive, their support has been fantastic, and quality/value of service is good.

Software Plans

That last piece is a great segue into my software plan section. During my migration, I had to move my database (obviously). That experience has pushed me to develop a script that dumps commands to recreate all of your users and all of your grants in the event that you have to migrate your mysql database. By running this script, you will get all of the code you need to recreate all of your users and grants. Coupled with a mysql dump, you should be able to quickly copy an entire database! Hopefully I will find some time in the next few months to write the code.

I’m also planning to write a simple script that will aggregate our logwatch reports from our 15 servers into a single daily report. Instead of the default function, which is to email, the logwatch report will be scp’ed to a central server, and then a script will go over all of the reports, and put something together for all of the servers. I’ll make this available once it is written.


I’ve been playing a bit of Civilization 5 lately. It is an ok game, but I find it is still very rough around the edges. Lots of bugs, incomplete features, and terrible AI. Although I really do enjoy the new combat engine.

I’ve also been playing a bit of Urban Terror. A free realistic FPS available for Linux.


I’ve also run across a few nice software packages that I’d like to recommend:
Adminer: A great PHP script that you can upload to your site, and gain phpmyadmin type access to your databases. Supports a number of database types. Allows you to execute queries, create databases, backup databases and just browse your tables. It is a single file, so there is no installation, and I intend to use it for some light DB admin work.

Firewall Builder: I was looking for a program to help me manage iptables on linux. I’ve run firestarter in the past, but that is a gui app, and I wanted to configure the firewall for a server with no gui. I ran across Firewall Builder and gave it a try. It is dually licensed as commercial for Windows and Mac users and free for Linux users. Being a Linux user, I jumped at it to give it a try.

The interface is a bit daunting for the first time user, I strongly recommend you watch the intro video (and hopefully you already know what a firewall does. ;)) This program lets you use drag and drop to configure rules for your firewall. It creates the rules in a custom format, and then compiles them into a number of different formats for various firewall programs and devices. It even goes a step further and lets you remotely install the firewall on the remote servers. A very nice touch.

I’ve only tried iptables configuration so far, but it ran very well. I intend to use it for all of our servers, and put the configuration files under revision management. So I can manage all versions of our firewall configs from a single box.

That’s all for now.

Aug 172010

Well, today I completed my first harvest of my garden. There were a few dead/dying potato plans that I figured should be picked before the potatoes go rotten. Here is the harvest:

Oh, and one carrot.

Here are more pictures of the potatoes:

Aug 112010

It is tough living in a duplex, with no lawn. My dream of a garden seemed to die with the purchase of the house. But never fear, where there is a will, there is a way.

I got six fish trays filled with dirt. Then added the veggies, two with carrots and four with potatoes. I placed these on the second tier of rock wall in our back yard. This allows the veggies to get reliable sun throughout the day. The height makes weeding and watering quite easy.

Take a look at the pictures below taken last month. Notice the potatoes on the far right. It was the first potatoes I planted, and by far grew the fastest (the other trays had a 1 day disadvantage). However, it was pure top/potting soil, while the other 5 trays also contained a mixture of peat moss. Over the summer, all of the other trays over took the potatoes planted first. There was a 2 to 3 week period before the other 5 trays even started growing. The 5 trays did end up with a lot of weeds, but once the veggies took hold, they really took off.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. I’ll post more pictures toward harvest time.

May 052010

Here are some neat database commands I recently came across while I was trying to get statistics and status information on some mysql and postgres databases.


This will give you a list of all of the databases in the server.*
select datname from pg_database;

* If you don’t know how to connect to postgres from the command line, don’t fear (well fear a little). What I had to do was su to the user that is a DB user, and then run /usr/local/pgsql/bin/psql This launched a command line client (without needing a password), that let me query the server. I can’t provide a better understanding then that, as this is the first time I’ve ever interacted with a postgres server.

This tells you how big a particular database is.
SELECT pg_size_pretty(pg_database_size('xythosdocs'));
The output is like this:
2834 MB
(1 row)


Get all database sizes:
SELECT table_schema "Data Base Name", sum( data_length + index_length ) / 1024 / 1024 "Data Base Size in MB", sum( data_free )/ 1024 / 1024 "Free Space in MB" FROM information_schema.TABLES GROUP BY table_schema;
Produces output like this on the command line:

| Data Base Name     | Data Base Size in MB | Free Space in MB |
| blogadmin          |           0.35750008 |       0.00098896 | 
| blogs              |          90.60342026 |      27.73141003 | 
| information_schema |           0.00781250 |       0.00000000 | 
| musicschedule      |           0.00548172 |       0.00020599 | 
| mysql              |           0.54032421 |       0.00000000 | 
| phpflash           |           0.77745819 |       0.00000000 | 

Get some status information on the sever. Run this from the command line:
mysqladmin -uroot -p status
Phpmyadmin also provides a lot of process status information if you have that installed.

Apr 102010

I’m in the process of migrating multiple blogs into a single installation of WordPressMU. Please stand by as I correct the problems here.

In the end, I promise to have a nice blog post on it. 🙂

Apr 052010

I recently installed the excellent OpenShot video editor for Ubuntu because I had to splice together some video from our curling league. We had two cameras shooting the action from the Semi-Final, and Final games.

OpenShot is a very easy to use program from making some basic movies and it handled the two different format videos pretty well.

However, after installing, I noticed that I could no longer use AMSN, my instant messenger of choice. When launching from the terminal, I would receive an error about GStreamer problems. This also affected Pidgin, and I’ve heard reports of problems with Empathy and others too. The problem lies in frei0r-plugins package, which messes up gstreamer for some programs, and is required by OpenShot. The easy solution to get it working is to remove frei0r-plugins, but of course, OpenShot won’t work anymore.
sudo apt-get purge frei0r-plugins

After searching the net a bit, I ran across a launchpad page that pointed the finger at libgavl. The problem is fixed in libgavl 1.1.1. Of course, 1.1.0 is the highest version you can get with Ubuntu 9.10.

So, to correct this once and for all, you can compile 1.1.1 yourself, or you can download the .deb for Ubuntu 10.04. So, go here: and download the correct version for your architecture, and you should be good to do.

I got some warnings about an older, more supported version being available in the repositories, but you can safely ignore that.

Oct 222009

Just surfing the web and came across this excellent site with advanced awstats configuration information. As you all know, I do enjoy using awstats, and have had to modify it in the past.

Well, this site has lots of cool scripts and modifications to make awstats more useful:

My favourite modifications so far are:

And don’t forget to check out my own tutorial on adding robots (Blog Post/Wiki Entry)