I've updated my MediaWiki vendor branch to 1.22 for Mercurial users.
hg pull https://firstname.lastname@example.org/rianjs/mediawiki-vendor
You'll do something like this to update:
$ cd your/personal/mediawiki/branch
$ hg pull && hg up
$ hg pull https://email@example.com/rianjs/mediawiki-vendor
$ hg merge tip
$ hg commit
$ hg push
Then deploy however you deploy. Check Special:Version to see that it's updated.
This is a distillation of the instructions at The Hitchhiker's Guide to Python, mostly for my own future benefit when I inevitably forget how to do it:
- Install Python, if you haven't already
- Install distribute by running the
easy_installto install PIP. PIP is actively maintained, and supports package removal (unlike easy_install)
This took a grand total of about 60 seconds to complete.
If you've wanted to filter by attachment size, or find unlabeled emails… you're now in luck. Gmail has added some search operators recently.
My favorite is the ability to filter by attachment size:
size:2msearches for attachments of 2MB
larger:3msearches for attachments of 3MB and larger
smaller:5msearches for attachments smaller than 5MB
You can combine these searches with the other Gmail search operators:
Need to find unlabeled messages?
has:nouserlabels will show you stuff you haven't labeled.
It's useful to be able to send email from a Linux webserver. I do it to get MediaWiki page change notifications and other automated status updates. I wanted something that supported two-factor authentication, and this does.
This guide is for you, if:
- You don't want to run a mail server
- You want to send email, and you don't care about receiving it
- You want people to receive the emails that your server sends
I've used this method with Linode, and it works perfectly.
~ sudo apt-get install mailutils
When the setup wizard launches, choose the unconfigured option. You don't need to do any special configuration to get this to work.
Install and configure sstmp
~ sudo apt-get install sstmp
~ sudo vim /etc/sstmp/sstmp.conf
- Hit "i" to enter Insert mode.
FromLineOverride=YESby deleting the
- Add the following to the file:
- Save and close the file:
- Hit Escape
- Hit Enter
If you're using two-factor authentication
Create a new application-specific password to use in the config file above. (If you're using Gmail, you can manage those passwords here.)
Test it out
~ echo "This is a test" | mail -s "Test" <user>@<email>.com
Using a webmail service other than Gmail
You can follow the same pattern that I used above. You'll need to:
- Subsitute the SMTP address and port for your email service (e.g. Yahoo!) where it says
smtp.gmail.com:587. (587 is the port number.)
- Set up an application-specific password if your webmail provider allows it, and paste that into the password line, the way I did with Gmail. (Yahoo! appears to have something similar.)
One area I've struggled with consistently as far back as I can remember has been finishing things. I've always been good at having good ideas, and–just as often–not carrying them out. IOW, really good at the R part of R&D, not so great at the D. This is something I've resolved to change about myself, and tomorrow (Friday) marks the end of four weeks of a focus on finishing things. Some stuff was important, a lot of it wasn't. At work, I tried to finish the highest-value tasks, or things I'd promised others, and at home, I tried to finish the most important things, and the things that brought me happiness or satisifaction.
- Finished two books, on my way to finishing a third
- Finished 3 different long-term projects that I'd had on my back burner for months
- Started and finished some high-value policy guidance, from development through socialization
- A bunch of housekeeping on my Linode backend (more than six months overdue!)
- My SO and I restructured our finances to better plan for the future
- Got numerous things with external gating factors back on track
Anyway, this hasn't been a month where I've worked harder. It's been a month where I've worked smarter. I've never been an adherent of any particular productivity school, but I do borrow from several (GTD, kanban). Here are a couple of things I did:
- Didn't even try to start new things if I could avoid it; I simply added them and added them to my backlog
- Eliminated some low-value stuff entirely (why do low-value stuff at all?)
- Carved out calendar time in my day for next steps, immediately after completing pre-requisites. (This ensures adequate time, and a regular delivery cadence.)
- I've always been an inbox zero kind of guy. That didn't change, and it remained a producitivity (and happiness) multiplier.
It's not all sunshine and daisies, however. Balancing the reactive, "operational" side of my job with the planful, inside-your-own-head development stuff that provides the real, long-term organizational value remains a challenge.
Here's a good talk by Adam Savage–of Mythbusters fame–that really resonated with me. I feel like I'm good at (and regularly do) all the stuff, except for maybe the last three minutes. That I saw this video while working on finishing stuff was purely coincidental.
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Note: this is applicable to fixed rate mortgages.
Mortgage brokers typically use your gross monthly income to calculate the amount they're willing to lend you. Frankly, this is a very bad way of calculating what you can actually afford. It is more useful to know what you can reasonably afford each month before you go house shopping.
If you've got a monthly payment in mind that you're comfortable making, you can use a present value calculation to come up with the amount you can afford to finance. In Excel, this is very easy with the
=pv(interest rate, number of payments, payment, montly payment)
- Interest rate: If annual percentage rate (APR) is 3.5%, this number will be 3.5%/12 = (0.035/12).
- Number of payments: 12 months * 30 years = 360
- Payment: What you're comfortable paying on a mortgage each month.
- You're willing to spend $1,750 a month on a house
- APR: 3.5%
- Term: 30 years
=pv((0.035/12), 360, 1750)
You can afford to finance: $389,716.22
When determining what you can afford each month, don't forget the following:
- House insurance
- Mortgage insurance (PMI)
- House taxes, typically calculated as some amount per thousand dollars of assessed house value
- Homeowners' fees, if applicable
These are things that many renters don't need to pay, and thus forget to think about when buying their first home.
This past Saturday marked my second cheat day on the slow carb diet. This will be a much shorter post, with the addition of Recipes section.
This week we decided we wanted to eat more savory foods, as the diet can be quite bland. We tried spaghetti squash with home made marinara and turkey meatballs with almond flour. It was OK… the squash wasn't cooked enough, and the marinara recipe we used wasn't very good, either (it was essentially tomatoes with onions, and not much "sauce" ugh). Next time we'd bake the squash longer, and use a better marinara recipe.
We also made chili with black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). We added WAY more veggies: mushrooms, broccoli, red peppers, and we also threw in one ear of raw corn cut off the cob. (Yes, we "cheated", if you could call < 1/8 of an ear of corn per serving "cheating".)
It was amazing. So. Bloody. Good. Best food we've eaten since being on the diet.
- Weight: 222.5 (down ~1lb)
- Waist: 40" (no change)
- Hips: 40" (no change)
I spent first 3 days after my cheat day above my weigh-in weight. I suspect I may have weighed in at the perfect time: just evacuated everything, slightly dehydrated, didn't eat much the day before. (All of these things were unintentional.)
- Energy levels are still higher and smoother than what I've been used to (more on that below)
- Weight loss was much less than the first week. I believe my assertion that most of the weight was water weight in the first 3 days was incorrect, and that I continued to shed water weight for most of the week.
- I'm really at a "new normal" now as far as preparing food, making lunches, eating food, etc is concerned. It's easy to say no to most foods, and I cook without thinking.
- My allergies seem to be gone. (Weird!) I don't breathe heavily, nor have I been congested. This doesn't seem connected to the air quality, so I don't have any idea why this is true.
The most illustrative thing, though, is the bike ride I went on. I hadn't been on a bike in a month, and I decided to go on one about 2 hours after lunch. Up until that point, I'd had breakfast (two eggs, lentils, half a thick sausage patty) and lunch (cereal-bowl-sized bowl of chili with melted cheddar). I knew I'd be hungry by the end, so I brought some carrots with me to eat when I was done.
About halfway through, I got hungry. In the past, this would have meant I would have hit the wall, unable to bike with any appreciable energy. I did not have this problem. I had no problem sustaining 18-20mph, and when I turned back, I was sustaining 20-22mph, despite being hungry. In fact, these are the fastest speeds I have ever sustained on this course… even though I hadn't been on a bike in a month, and my weight loss wasn't much as a percentage of my starting weight.
It was very strange to have my energy levels largely decoupled from my hunger. Similarly, my leg strength was the limiting factor, not my cardiovascular system. This hasn't been the case since I was in high school, so this is A Very Good Thing.
I've been asked what I ate during week 1. The answer: pretty boring stuff, mostly. I actually took pictures of most of the food I was eating to send to Laurel, because she was planning on doing the diet, but was away in Israel when I started.
The trick is to cook more than one serving at a time, even for things like cooked vegetables. I don't like frozen veggies, so I generally buy fresh and make 2-4 servings at a time because it saves time and energy. Hooray for dishwashers.
Things cooked in bulk:
- Lentils: one package tends to last me about a week. I like them a little softer, so I boil them for close to 30 minutes.
- Bacon: one package of center cut bacon at a time. I save the bacon rendering for later. Haven't used it for anything yet.
Breakfast tends to be the same thing every day:
- Lentils (often fried in some oil; the texture is nicer)
- 3 scrambled eggs, Gordon Ramsay style
- 3 strips of bacon (microwave them for 20 seconds, and they taste like they're right out of the pan!)
- 1 serving (8oz) of V8 juice. This was my savior at the beginning, as it the thing with the "loudest" flavor, and until I adjusted to the subtleties of the other things I was eating, it was the most interesting thing on a daily basis
- 2 cups coffee with 1 tablespoon of cream per cup
- Steak spiced with a rub or seasoning
- Chicken spiced with a rub
- Boneless pork chops spiced with a rub
- Breadless cheeseburger, using aged swiss cheese, and often topped with salsa
- Tuna (usually wrapped in lettuce like a lettuce+tuna roll)
- Chicken sausage (grilled or broiled)
- Black beans or lentils
- Raw cucumbers and carrots
- Nathan's dill pickles
- Asparagus (sauteed in olive oil with spices, or steamed)
- Green beans (steam a bunch, and eat them over the next 2-3 days)
Other dishes I make regularly or would make again:
- Spaghetti squash + slow carb tomato sauce + turkey meatballs, and shredded parmesan on top. Surprisingly good. Make the turkey meatballs with almond meal instead of breadcrumbs.
- Two slices of Thin n trim chicken from the deli with a slice of aged swiss in between. Brown it up in a pan (no oil needed!), which melts the cheese. Top with salsa, and eat with a knife and fork like a thick slice of ham.
- Lentils mixed with salsa.
Things I'd like to try:
- Grilled kabobs with meat and veggies
- A cooked black bean salad/stir fry thing with meat and veggies and beans
- A stir fry over lentils or beans.
I eat the same things over and over again, which is what most people do (and certainly what I did before the diet). The only real difference is that I've changed the things that I repeat.