You Should Use Your Local Public Library to Do Work

You should use your local public library to read, do tech related work, catch up on e-mails, etc. on the weekends or nights after work when others are not around. Over the last year or two, I’ve found working at my local libraries has been easier than working in a coffee shop. It’s also a change of pace from working at home.

Using the library is easy on your budget. Doing this means you don’t have to buy another latte or fancy pastry or sandwich or salad or Gelato so you can get another hour and a half of internet connection. Or so you do not feel guilty that you stayed there for a few hours more without buying anything. Plus, if you’re drinking lots of coffee or tea, you won’t be all hopped up on caffeine by the end of the day. Even though some libraries let you bring in beverages in a fixed lid container. I think the main Columbus library sells drinks on the first floor.

Over the last year or so I have gone to a few of the Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC, libraries. Did this on a few nights and most weekends when I’m home. I spend my time working on improving my list of restaurant’s I want to visit when I travel or even at home application (jfc iii Ate Here). A lot of the time is spent finding the details about a restaurant. Such as their address, phone number, a description of the place and what they serve, and URL. Once, I have that information I put it in a GitHub issue so I can add them to the proper city or state JSON file when I have the time.

I especially like visiting the central libraries in bigger cities when I’m there visiting for work or on vacation. It’s great seeing how grand some of the older libraries are. In the last year or two, I have been to the following cities and their libraries.

Libraries are Listed Alphabetically by City Name

I have found at the smaller libraries, the earlier you get there doing so allows you to locate a power outlet. Be they in, on, or under some tables. Other time you need to find a chair along the windows of the walls for an outlet. To avoid having the problem of lack of power I make sure to charge my laptop the night before. Or in the morning if the library doesn’t open until late morning or early afternoon.

Bringing headphones to help cancel out some of the noise can be useful depending on the library. Sometimes having headphones in or over your ears is enough to cancel out most of the sound so you can think. Doing so gives you that option if that is what you need to do.

No matter the size of the library they now all seem to have wifi so you can get to the internet. With not knowing how good the wifi is or how much content other people are going to be downloading I tend to bring my “Your Karma” mifi. Doing so allows me not have to worry about what others are doing on the internet.

Conclusion

Use your local libraries to get work done, so they continue to get the funding they need and are open for others to use. It beats sitting at home all the time. You might even see people you know or meet some new people.

On hot summer days or cold winters ones too it’s a pleasant place to relax and get out of the weather when you are traveling be it for work or vacation.

Bonus Location to Work

Use your local libraries to get work done, so they continue to get the funding they need and are open for others to use. It beats sitting at home all the time. You might even see people you know or meet some new people.

On hot summer days or cold winters ones too it’s a pleasant place to relax and get out of the weather. When you’re home or traveling be it for work or vacation libraries are a great place to be. Another great place to get some work done is your local auto dealer. I know you’re thinking I’m crazy. But if you can get an appointment on the weekend when they open. You then tell them you are waiting and will be sitting in the salesman’s section out front. Doing this is great if you have your own wifi/mifi. Because the service section has desks and opens an hour or two before the sales people get there. Giving you plenty of time to work quietly. Usually, the only person running around is someone either sweeping or mopping the floor so it looks good for customers buying cars.

Plus, it’s interesting on a Saturday towards the end of the month. Doing so lets you listen to the dealership manager or owner come to talk to the sales team to get them pumped up to sell cars. Along with reminding them they have to sell a certain amount of vehicles to meet quotas and they can get bonuses.

Use your local library to get work done.

Missed Two Weeks of Project 52 Blog Posts

In case you have been keeping track, yes, I did miss two of the last three weeks of Project 52 blog posts. Between working from home because of the back to back snow storms here in Washington, DC and the 11+ hours of shoveling a few weeks ago and just busy with a bunch of after work activities. Like planning the next Accessibility DC event and this falls Accessibility Camp DC event, I missed a few posts.

It was about 11:45 PM on Thursday night that I realized I had all of 15 minutes to get a quick blog post out, so made my preordained promise to write a blog post a week for a year. I figured it was not worth it to me to just throw together a quick few lines or paragraphs just to fill my quota.

As you might know this means,  I now owe $20 to one of two charities, because I had decided donate money to charities like Martha’s Table or Kiva if I missed a week. I figured this would give me an incentive to make sure to write each week and help out those in need if and when I failed to write in a given week.

I have heard that Project 52 is doing a bit of a reboot starting on March 17, 2010, since a lot of others seem to have miss post as well.

Good luck to you if you decide to take up the challenge of attempting to blog every week for a year. I plan on being more focused once I get back from SXSW.

Another Long Frustrating and Sometimes Fun Week

Last week was a bit frustrating and somewhat fun at the same time.

Work was busy and somewhat of a pain. I need to get about four projects done before I head to SXSW on the 6th of March, 2008. A bunch of my users/clients want all the work completed, but do not have time to give me the necessary information or they just have no time to just review the finished work so we can move it to PROD.

On one project I finally, suggested that we put in what we had, which was about 90 – 95% of what was needed. This way they could start using the much better version of the web application instead of waiting. they agreed and next week I still have to work on three pages that are still in the old layout and then I will be done with this pass. We finally moved the new pages to PROD on Tuesday.

After work on Tuesday’s most of you know I normally go to a wine tasting/class. Well this Tuesday the Washington, DC, metro area had some really bad weather. It consisted of some rain, freezing rain, sleet, or snow depending on where you lived. So I figured I would just stay home and do stuff around the house, since people around here just need to learn to drive in bad weather. After talking with a bunch people I usually meet there, we all decided to try and make it to class, which is normally a 30 – 40 minutes drive (12 miles).

I suggested that a few of us that live near each other should carpool. I told one of my friends I would pick her up and then we would go to another friends that is on the way. They both live like two or three miles from me in different directions. I left for the first friends at like 6:45 PM, but first I had to remove ice from car. This drive usually takes ten minutes or less on a bad day, since it is all of 2.25 miles and has a few stoplights. The second half of my trip should take 15 minutes to go to our other friends place and then a final drive of eight miles (15 minutes).

Well, as you can imagine the first part took forever. I was on the phone most of the time off and on keeping everyone inlvolved informed of me progress, which was going poorly. The first three quarters of a mile went well. Once I got to the hill on Braddock Road that’s when the problems started. It took over an hour to get to the top of the hill and it is only like a quarter of a mile long. We moved about two or three car lengths about every few minutes. A few times I had to put the emergancy brake on after putting the car in neutral so I could get the feeling back to my feet. This is the one big problem with having a manual car in this town.

The second friend decided to leave without us. He got to class before I even made it half way to my other friends place. The first friend ended up having enough time to balance their checkbook, watch a full episode of “The Simpson’s”, have dinner, and do a few other things. A few people told me to just head home and call it a night. I told them it was not that easy, since the road going the other direction was backed up too, so I could not make a U turn.

Of course I did not turn around and go home, since now it had became a matter of principal.

At some point I made it to a street that I thought I could get to my friends from. I called her and had her work me through the neighborhood to her place. At one point she told me to make a right on a road that I thought was going the wrong way. She told me now that I was heading uphill I should look for some street, I can’t think of now. I told her I was headed downhill and she said “No, you I should not be”. She had gotten confused to which way I was traveling , because this street was a big loop and she normally comes in to that street another way. After I got turned back around things where just fine.

I then picked up my friend at her place and the last part of the trip to wine class was like ten miles and took all of 18 minutes to get there. Even the Key bridge (named after Francis Scott Key the same guy that wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner”) had no traffic on it, which is really odd, since that is one of the places that I spend most of my time getting to class normally.

When we finally got to class about an hour after it started the other 15 or 20 people started to cheer that we had finally made it. By being this late we had to catch up on like three wines that they had already tried. Not that hard to do, since I could use a drink after spending almost two hours in my car.

On an unrelated note while at class my second friend mentioned that the wine blog, I started for our wine group had gotten a bit of spam comments under one of the blog posts that with the title “Two Blondes, a Brunette and Five Reds – Big Bodacious Blends Part 1“. I have him set up be one of the authors to the blog so I don’t have to do all the work. He said he had deleted about 70 or 80 spam comments. I said I would look into it when I got home.

When I got home we had like 40 or so more comments. I had forgotten to turn Akismet on this blog for some reason, which would have made this a bit easier. So this meant I had to manually delete all the comments from the posts. Just what I wanted to do. I tried to activate Akismet and it was looking for an activation key, which I could not find the e-mail with it in it. I figured it would stop soon anyway and I was tried and needed to sleep. When I woke up early after like six hours of sleep I noticed the spamming had not stopped. I had to delete another 180 comments. What a pain in the rear.

At this point I found my Akismet activation key and got it going, but the spam continued coming. I noticed that it was just a bunch of comments that dealt with casino’s, gambling, slot machines, lounges, etc. and all coming from one I.P. address – 195.225.178.29. It is from a company called “RIPE Network Coordination Centre” in Amsterdam, NL. It finally stopped after like a day and a half. At this point Akismet had stopped about 100 or more comments by Thursday afternoon. I still do not get why comment spammers do this.

The fun part of the week was when about five other single friends (four women, my buddy, and myself) of mine got together on Valentine’s Day at my friends house to have nice relaxing evening. The night consisted of a bunch of appetizers the rest of us brought, that included champagne (really sparkling wine from France), shrimp with cocktail sauce, shrimp cooked in basil pesto sauce, a bread bowl with different types of flat breads, crackers with pate, olive spread, and a cheese spread.

Once all that was done we got to the dinner part, which was just fabulous. We started the meal with a roasted pumpkin soups shooter with one shrimp. Next we got to the dinner, which was filet mignon seared and placed in a beef stock, shallot, and course ground mustard sauce. With all this we had broccoli rabe and roasted fingerling potatoes. During dinner we drank three different years of the same wine the same producer from Argentina.

The following is the list of wines we had during the evenings events in the order that we had drank them.

  • NV – Kirkland Rose Champagne
  • 2000 – Concha y Tora Don Melchor Cabernet Puente Alto – Chile
  • 2001 – Concha y Tora Don Melchor Cabernet Puente Alto – Chile
  • 1999 – Chateau Lalande Saint-Julien
  • 2004 – Concha y Tora Don Melchor Cabernet Puente Alto – Chile

If all this was not enough my buddy was reading reviews about the wines from the internet. He mentioned that the second wine we had was similar to French wines from the Saint Julian region. One of the women that was there said something to the effect of I have never had one of those. So what did my buddy do, he went to where he stores his wines and brought out a 1999 of one of them. Great wine drinking just wonderfully now.

We finished the the night off with a flourless chocolate tart with home made fresh whipped cream and a dusting of coco power. the final thing to top off the evening was my friend had made each of the women a box of home made chocolate truffles. He had asked me to get a single rose for each one , which I told him I had thought of doing. From what I heard from all the women these two things topped off and already perfect night.

Now that the fun is done it’s back to work projects. I moved my second project’s the code into PROD on Friday without any error checking, since it is only used by one maybe two people. I figured that they can be careful for a few days while I get that done. The only reason I’m doing it this way is they really need to get to entering information into the system and they know they should enter information for every field and there is field formatting examples as part of the LABEL text. Now I can get going on two other projects and at least move the new and improved code for now. There is still going to be a second phase to add new fields, reports, and functions in the near future (after SXSW) anyway.

Last night (Friday) I went back and checked to see if the spamming had stopped and of course it had started again. Now they are trying to post to another one our spots that has the title “Two Blondes, a Brunette, and Five Big Bodacious Reds Redux“. We are now up to almost 700 spam comments from them stopped by Akismet, since Wednesday morning, plus the 250 or so we manually deleted. They are spamming the website every four or five minutes from different websites and blog posts, but the same I.P. address.

So in conclusion if you want to get your blog post comment numbers really high without having to write a really lot of ground breaking information and not getting hit by Mixx, Digg, or Slashdot, just have a post titled with the words “Two Blondes and a Brunette” in it. By writing about this subject I could be asking for comment spam on this blog too.

Have any of you had similar stories of getting spammed, just because of a blog post title? If so what did you do to stop it?