Happy Leif Erikson Day!

Today is the first Leif Erikson day, woot! Attached is the official proclamation, way to go mr President!



On this day in 1825, the ship Restauration landed in New York City after sailing for 3 months from Stavanger, Norway. The 52 passengers aboard represented the first organized emigration of Norwegians to America. These brave individuals set to the seas, following in the grand footsteps of the famous Scandinavian explorer Leif Erikson. Over a millennium ago, Leif Erikson -- son of Iceland and grandson of Norway -- arrived in North America and founded the settlement Vinland, located in modern-day Canada. Today, we celebrate his historic voyage and remember those who journeyed to America from far-away lands.

Our Nation's founding history is marked by millions of individuals who faced great hardship and difficulty as they pursued a brighter future abroad. As explorers, they did not know what they would find, but they were determined not to turn back, in order to learn what lay beyond the setting sun. This same spirit lived within Leif Erikson, and it has inspired countless others who venture from their homes in search of opportunity, uncertain of the possibilities and challenges that await them.

Today, our Nation continues to welcome those descendents of Leif Erickson to our shores. Nordic Americans have contributed immeasurably to the success of America. Their cultural accomplishments have enriched the diversity of our country. And their pioneering spirit continues to embody our Nation's unbounded enthusiasm for discovery and learning.

To honor Leif Erikson and celebrate our Nordic-American heritage, the Congress, by joint resolution (Public Law 88-566) approved on September 2, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 9 of each year as "Leif Erikson Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2009, as Leif Erikson Day, and I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to honor our country's rich Nordic-American heritage.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Thunderbird and multiple accounts on the same server

I ended up having to create a second account on my private IMAP server (don't get me started why ...), and it turns out Thunderbird (at least v3beta) did not like this. It's limited to only one account per server. I tried using a different CNAME for the server, and albeit Thunderbird now lets me configure the second account, it only works until you restart TB. The final solution (thanks Dmose) is to create a new A-record with the same IP, then TBird happily works with the second accounts as well.

The Guild

I have no idea where I've been (well, I do, taking care of a little monster named Peter, and trying to Open Source Traffic Server), but I digress. I've finally found it, and it is absolutely hysterical: The Guild! The music trailer for season 3 is pretty cool too, definitely worth watching. So, better late than never, I've turned back to the Nerd Side again, and enjoying this show immensly.

Drupal and e-commerce

I recently helped a friend setting up his new E-commerce site (http://www.weinerwraps.com/) using Drupal. We were considering a few modules, and finally decided on using UberCart. Now, our site isn't flashy, or have fancy graphics, but getting it functional was really easy. What we currently have working is

  • Paypal payment option
  • USPS shipping (with shipping calculations)
  • Basic cart features, different products, checkout options etc.

We've had a few issues on the way, most notably (and very confusing) was that the shipping cost calculator stops working if you disable the country field from the user entry for the shipping address. This made absolutely no sense to me (since we only ship to the US), and there were no errors or indicators whatsoever. Clearly someone didn't think through a typical use case scenario here ... Other open issues include

  • We have an optional addition to each order, for embroidery, where we'd like the price to be adjusted based on the length of the entered text.
  • There's no way to make the product picture adjust to selected options. There are a few modules that claim to do this, but none that really works.

All in all, setting up an E-commerce site with Drupal and UberCart has been a pretty good experience.


Finally a Solution for Mac OS X printing from Lightroom 2 to an Epson R1800 printer!

I had this nice long post about this problem, but hit the wrong key and accidentally opened up my bookmarks, and lost the entire post, so here's the short story:

If you're having problems (like I was) getting decent prints from Lightroom 2 to an Epson R1800, try this: download the European Epson driver. I saw that solution posted on the Adobe forums, and I couldn't believe it worked, but it did!


Images Darker or Redder in Firefox 3.5? Here's How to Fix It

I installed Firefox 3.5 the other day, and was immediately dismayed to see that whenever I looked at my photos on Flickr, they were red. At first I thought it was my monitor becoming miscalibrated, but then when I viewed everything in Lightroom, it was fine. Leif suggested I try other browsers, so I tried both Camino and Safari, and everything looked fine, which is when we determined it was a Firefox problem.

OpenSourcing Traffic Server

It's been long in the making, Chuck and I have worked hard to get this through all the hurdles and red-tape. But finally, we have submitted this draft to the Apache Incubator:


We'll be making an official "announcement" soon on the Y! Developer Network, but this is pretty exciting for us.


Dell Mini-9 performance

My Dell Mini-9 just came back from Dell service, and it's now a totally different experience. They replaced the motherboard, and possibly the CPU (I can't tell). With these changes, the box is performing just as expected, even when it gets warm. If you own a Dell Mini-9, I'd suggest you download Geekbench and run it at least 4-5 times. With the Ubuntu OS, it should score over 1,000 consistently, and with MacOSX it should score around 900.

The issue seems to be that with the bad mobo (or CPU), the CPU will throttle way too soon, and too much. The CPU is no where near the temperature levels where it'll throttle to save itself, yet it does throttle, severely. Before my repairs, I could get as low scores as 200 (i.e. less than 25% of expected performance). To me, this became painfully obvious when running anything CPU intensive, like watching a very high resolution movie, or compiling something.

Dell were way cool about bringing my unit back for service, and it took about a week from when I sent it until it arrived back home again. I'm very impressed with that.

Dell mini-9

My new Dell Mini-9 just arrived, I quickly unwrapped it and booted it up. Obviously I picked the Ubuntu version (8.04 unfortunately), and I upgraded the memory to a full 1GB (the default configuration is only 512MB). System booted up pretty fast, and brings you through a quick setup "wizard". No problem so far, other than that the keyboard is really tiny for an adult male to type on. And various important characters are "hidden" on the keyboard, and the layout really isn't what I'm used to. But hopefully that'll get better with time. After all, I got this for it's tiny size.

After booting it up, I quickly enabled Wireless WiFi, and this mostly worked well. I had to change the wifi to use WPA Personal 2, and for some reason it wouldn't "remember" this. It took a few times via the Network administration UI to get it to keep this setting. I haven't played with the wifi outside of my home network yet, but hopefully it'll be equally easy to setup different profiles for other WiFi hotspots.

I also went through the Synaptic package manager quickly, uninstalled a few completely uninteresting packages (cleared up several hundred MBs getting rid of Chinese fonts, and Japanese input tools etc.), and I had to install a few missing important packages. In particular, the Mini-9 did not come with Emacs, wtf! There's plenty of space left on the SSD, well over 4GB is left. But of course, I've already ordered a 16MB SDHC card from Amazon, which should arrive on monday.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this little gem. I bought it during one of the Dell sales, with Ubuntu and the 1GB RAM, it was around $260, which isn't a bad price at all. And the system is surprisingly snappy, and battery seems to last quite a while. Now, of course, I haven't tried to compile YTS on it yet :-).


Minime (i.e. the Dell Mini) had to go back to Dell, due to some issues. The suspicion is that the thermal sensor and/or the CPU thinks it's getting majorly overheated, so the CPU throttles itself. Many other people have reported this problem, and it shows up as major performance degradations (anything from 2x - 4x is possible). Since I got a second Mini-9 for Michelle, I quickly swapped her SSD with mine, and ran my installation (and benchmarks) on her HW (CPU + mobo) over and over again, and even though it gets hot, it never once dropped the performance (i.e. no throttling).

Dell is taking Minime back in for service, I really hope they can find something (because it's definitely broken, no question about that). If they don't, well, then clearly I can no longer recommend this HW. I would definitely benchmark my Mini-9, on the Geekbench benchmark I usually get over 900, I've seen as high as 940.


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