OpenVPN scaling

Previously: OpenVPN in a container Also previously: Split tunnels considered harmful I have this running in a staging environment and a test environment; it properly isolates OpenVPN from the underlying operating system, and seems to do the right thing performing rather well. However, its biggest limitation is that it runs on a single host & thus provides neither high availability in the case of Amazon funkiness nor scalability to handle lots of clients. »

I am eating a sandwich, with a recipe in Github

Twitter is, of course, for telling people that you are eating a sandwich. That’s been the point of the system the whole time - long before selfies, even long before it took pictures at all, you might get a proper narrative of what people are eating for lunch or a snack. Using the net to keep track of food is an old tradition; I need only point you at the Usenet Cookbook, developed from 1985 to 1987 by Brian Reid, as an archetype. »

Thanks to everyone for birthday wishes, 2015 edition

Thanks to everyone for birthday wishes this year. It is increasingly clear that the place to go for birthday greetings is Facebook, which is absurdly efficient both at providing “happy birthday” messages as well as acknowledging them. Additional greetings came in via email, Skype, Twitter, and paper mail (hand written!, complete with reply postage!) Lunch at a2b3 was a Thursday event, with 14 at the table at Blue Nile. The topic of the conversation was roughly “places to take a walk outside in the winter”, and the dog-owners among us amended to include “with a dog”, and we got a pretty good list that I want to get onto Arborwiki. »

Edward Vielmetti

Requesting meeting minutes under the Open Meetings Act

I’ve been frustrated in the past at the slow pace of getting meeting minutes through Freedom of Information Act requests. Queries to the City of Ann Arbor routinely get the full round of routine delays, with several cases where I’ve had to wait 15 business days to get routine meeting minutes. As it happens, there’s an alternative to asking for minutes, using the Michigan Open Meetings Act directly as your guide. »

Edward Vielmetti

Kodi, formerly XMBC

I’ve been looking at Kodi as a possible software core for home media player for the living room. We have a whole rack of CDs and a shelf of LPs from our music-buying days, and I miss being able to listen to them. Kodi is the software formerly known as XMBC, and XMBC is still the name of the foundation that supports the work. It runs on most systems, and there are several distributions of it specifically for systems like the Raspberry Pi. »

Edward Vielmetti

Dave Farber talk at Stanford

In this talk at Stanford, “Backwards towards the Future”, Dave Farber goes over some Internet history on the way to suggesting some necessary features of the future network. »

Edward Vielmetti

Split tunnels considered harmful

Previously: Considered harmful essays considered harmful, Eric Meyer, 2002; also Go To Statement Considered Harmful, CACM, 1968; also Encyclopedia of things considered harmful, from Split tunnels are a VPN construction where instead of sending all of your traffic for the network in a single encrypted tunnel that collects everything, you instead route some traffic down the encrypted link and other traffic goes in the clear through your default connection. It’s possible that you might have a tunnel configuration with multiple splits if e. »

Edward Vielmetti

The productivity oscillator

I have been using Github issues for a long time as a todo list tracking and general productivity tool. It works well enough that I’ve opened over 4000 issues and have closed most of them. The perpetual management challenge is in deciding how many issues is OK to leave open. Put too few in, and it feels like you have things to do that are not written down; put in too many, and you’re likely to have duplication and you forget what it is that you were trying to do in the first place. »

Kicked out of Nextdoor

Subject: Recent Tweet about Nextdoor Hi Ed, My name is Michael and I work at Nextdoor. Recently it has come to our attention that there isn’t a Nextdoor for your neighborhood, and that you have registered in a nearby Nextdoor neighborhood. Thank you for your interest in joining Nextdoor and becoming part of your community on our website. However we do need people to register at their real addresses, as it helps us add a sense of accountability, security and transparency to the website. »

Edward Vielmetti

Help Wanted, Ann Arbor City Administrator, via Craiglist

As seen on Craigslist. City Administrator (Ann Arbor) compensation: $150K/yr employment type: full-time Ann Arbor City Administrator Job Responsibilities Feed Council Members information on a bi-weekly schedule, sometimes more frequently. Remind Council Members of basic stuff like how object permanence is an actual thing. Respond appropriately when Council Members insist “I can do it all by my self.” Respond appropriately when Council Members say “I don’t know how, you do it. »

Edward Vielmetti

October 2015 food inspections for Washtenaw County

Every month or so the Washtenaw County Health Department releases the previous month’s health inspection reports. These are published to the county’s contracted web service, and a copy of those is extracted for the Food Inspections service designed by Wayne Eaker. There are 272 inspections for October 2015 and 50 more for November 2015 available. Here are some of the low lights of this month’s round of inspections, places where you might want to think about twice before making a visit. »

Edward Vielmetti

First snow of the 2015 season

The first snow of the 2015 season for Ann Arbor happened today, November 21. The forecast is 6 to 10 inches. Roads are slippery, and there are reports of a number of crashes and cars in the ditch on area freeways. I’m listening to the Washtenaw scanner on Broadcastify and it’s a steady stream of road run-offs. Farmers Market was busy but snowy. Holiday greenery was well in evidence. We picked up smoked lake trout, cabbage, garlic, rapini, and a cookie and a donut for my market companions. »

Edward Vielmetti

OpenVPN in a container

A few notes on setting up OpenVPN in a container. I’m using CoreOS, which gives me Docker 1.7.1 in the “stable” branch. Two different Docker configurations are available that take on this task, with slightly different setups. Kyle Manna’s docker-openvpn is what I’m working with; it in turn is derived from jpetazzo/dockvpn which solves the same problem slightly differently. There’s a tutorial on Digital Ocean that describes the setup including client-side support. »

Stage lighting protocols

Some notes on stage lighting protocols and networks. Helpful reference pages: Ujjal’s DMX512 Website - protocol information, tutorials, how to etc., the Entertainment Technology Website. Open Lighting Project Standards bodies USITT Lighting Some protocols Art-Net is DMX512 over UDP. libartnet is an implementation of Art-Net. There’s much much more, but this is a start. »

Edward Vielmetti

Enjoy the attic while you can

Our attic is a three season room at best. In the depths of winter it’s really cold, and in the summer time it can be very hot. There’s a nod towards climate control but it’s a long way from the furnace and the space is just not really practical to equip as full fledged living space. I have a work table up there (where I am now) with some tools, a few working shortwave radios, a couple of mostly working computers, and a fair measure of junk. »

Edward Vielmetti

Write one paragraph, floss one tooth

The a2b3 lunch today was at Madras Masala, we had a crowd of 10. I had a question about productivity - “what do you do every day” - and the answers were a good mix of attempts to be diligent and questions about whether narrowly focused productivity was even a good goal. The small productivity approach that has stuck with me is BJ Fogg’s “Tiny Habits” approach, which he writes about on http://tinyhabits. »

Edward Vielmetti

Alpine, old school email

alpine is an old school Unix mail user agent. It first arrived on the scene as pine in 1992, and when it appeared I remember how happy I was that there was finally a mailer that I could hand to people who had never seen Unix before and that they would get it and be productive on their 14.4 kb/sec dialup modems. alpine appeared in 2007 as a rewrite of pine with Unicode support and a new Apache license. »

Edward Vielmetti

Summer 2016 construction plans for M-14 near Ann Arbor

MDOT plans to do major road construction work on M-14 in Ann Arbor between Main Street and Miller Road during the spring and summer of 2016. A construction start date has not been set yet as of November 2015. In addition, bridge work will reduce M-14 to one lane between I-94 and Miller Road, and betwen Main Street and US-23. A detailed set of plans is available on the MDOT web site and in a helpful brochure. »

Edward Vielmetti

Can I give up on LinkedIn yet?

I’m thinking about deleting my LinkedIn account. I was an early adopter of LinkedIn back when it first got started. It was interesting, fun, cool to collect all your friends. Now, my sense is that my LinkedIn profile is useless at best and actively unhelpful at worst. Why would I want to publish a standardized autobiography of work experience in a medium that doesn’t reward complicated life histories? It’s not helpful - what’s more, it’s not clear that it’s ever been helpful for the narrowly defined task of getting work. »

Edward Vielmetti

A Localwiki for Jackson, Michigan

There is now a Localwiki instance up and running for Jackson, Michigan. See for the details. Like any Localwiki just starting out, it is woefully incomplete. You’re welcome to contribute to it, especially if you have some local knowledge of the area. The site was seeded with a handful of articles that had been created from the adjacent Arborwiki, and while it’s starting up we’re using the Arborwiki Facebook page to help push things along. »

Edward Vielmetti

Ann Arbor's The Melting Pot is closing

The Melting Pot in downtown Ann Arbor is closing as of today, November 16, 2015, according to a post on the restaurant’s web site and a story in MLive. The last regular inspection of The Melting Pot by the Washtenaw County Health Department was on May 26, 2015. It turned up 11 violations, and some of them would be the sort of problems that would make you not want to go back. »

Edward Vielmetti

FOIA update for tonight's City Council meeting

It seems that my pattern of going to public meetings includes writing FOIA requests during the meeting, to try to unearth some details of a matter observed at that meeting. Here’s a brief update on some FOIA requests in progress. Washtenaw County Health Department. I’m temporarily stymied in my quest to determine how often restaurants ask the county to change their inspection reports before they are published. An initial request came back with an estimate of $6000 to comb through every file in the department; an amended request looking for only 30 days of records only limited the cost to $1000. »

Edward Vielmetti

Every day people

I admire people who can tackle an ambitious task every single day. Heck, I even admire them for doing some kind of nuisance task that still needs to be done every day. My every day challenge is to write. It’s easy to get off that habit if you make too much of it, and it’s way too easy to endlessly read the endless Internet, mutter under your breath about how foolish it all is, and not write down your bit of foolishness in return. »

Edward Vielmetti

When the FOIA request costs too much, ask for less

I asked for some documents from Washtenaw County, and they estimated that it would cost over $6100 to produce the records. Apparently the nature of the request was such that they would have had to review 1200 separate files each individually on paper to determine a response. I didn’t have a $6100 line item in my budget to pay for it, so the best charitable response is “no thanks”. There is a question that I want to get at, though, and I think it’s attainable for less than $6100. »

Edward Vielmetti

Minutes and agendas

The City of Ann Arbor planned 49 public meetings last month; 5 of them were cancelled. Of the remaining 44, 25 have meeting details posted to the city’s Legistar calendar, and 19 have no record of the meeting beyond its date. City boards and commissions and committees that routinely meet without publishing minutes or agendas to Legistar include the following: Cable Communications Commission Commission on Disability Issues Council Administration Committee Council Rules Committee Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council Downtown Development Authority Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee Human Rights Commission Park Advisory Commission Dog Park Subcommittee Of these, the Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council and the Downtown Development Authority post minutes to the DDA’s web site. »

Edward Vielmetti