Review of Ortho Ground Clear

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Ortho GroundClear
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Experience Date:Apr 17, 2010
Good:
Works as advertised, kills Bermudagrass

Bad:
Appears to work for less than a year (although it is “up to 1 year”…)

More Thoughts:
If you’ve known us for long, you have heard us complain about Bermuda grass. Yes, in South Carolina it’s what all the lawns are made of, but I prefer fescue. Since we moved in to our current house, we have been fighting a losing battle to this weed (that’s what we call it anywhere north of SC. It laughs at roundup, and at one point I even purchased a weed killer with arsenic in it to try to kill it. I was scared to use that because of our dog, but wanted to use it because of neighborhood cats (I never used it). Anyway, before I write so much I have to change this review to a review of Bermuda grass, I’ll get on to GroundClear. It runs between $16 (Costco) and $22-ish (Lowes) for a gallon of the concentrate (actually 1.25 gallons at Costco). One gallon treats 325 square feet. I followed the directions exactly, including pretty much drenching the weeds with the mix, and, within 7-10 days, all the green evil it touched was dead. It has stayed quite dead for over 2 months. Go chemistry!

We had, embarrassingly, let some of the edges of natural areas disappear (I like to call it letting our lawn stretch its legs), so I stepped in for a GroundClear assisted demarcation. The brown spots are (obviously) what I sprayed:


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What has technology kept you from today?

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This is not about technology being bad, it’s about balance and priorities.

I’ve been doing some reading/thinking about the recent trends (in major Christian circles anyway) towards discussion of how the flood of data (in general) and social media (in particular) are affecting family and personal lives of believers. Of note recently is Albert Mohler’s article on how the surface interactions of social media and the distractions of technology are replacing the real, intimate interactions that we as humans need. Also, R.C. Sproul Jr.’s thought-provoking article asking if Facebook is helping you progress in your sanctification or is being a detriment to it.

Another interesting set of developments related to technology and social media taking away effort we should be putting toward other things is the research David Rock has been doing related to the limited amount of prefrontal cortex processing we can do each day. Of particular interest (if you are indeed interested) are his book “Your Brain at Work” and his condensed Google talk on the same subject. I find both fascinating. The gist of the concept is that we are truly limited in the amount of real thinking we can do in a day (it’s less than you would imagine), and understanding this should help us direct our brainpower appropriately.

My growing knowledge of how my brain works, accompanied by my desire to do what is right with the time I do have, are really pushing me to evaluate not only my allocation of time, but also my prioritization of it (and of course where technology fits in there). So, not really anything new to add to this other than to share it.

What has this blog post kept you from? (probably not as much as it kept me from, but hopefully there’s something redeeming in it…for both of us)

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Review of iCacti

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iCacti iPhone/iPad App
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Experience Date:Jun 23, 2010
Good:
Supports Basic Authentication, gives access to data needed, developer is responsive

Bad:
UI needs some tweaking, need structured list of graphs (especially on iPad)

More Thoughts:
I found an application that allows access to cacti graphs from the iPhone/iPad. This is great if you need to login and check the trends of some stats on your servers. I have had a few emails back and forth with the developer, and he seems very responsive and willing to help.

My two beefs are related to the UI in general (you cannot edit an entry but only remove and then add one, if there is an error connecting to an instance, the previously loaded items show up but don’t work) and the method of browsing graphs. To browse graphs you choose a host and then have to scroll through the graphs until you get to the one you want. The developer needs to add a tree or menu of sorts so that you can quickly navigate to the graph you want.

On a related note, you will of course need either a publicly accessible installation of cacti or establish a VPN connection prior to accessing with iCacti.

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iPhone IOS 4 offers better device security

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IOS 4 on your iPhone can now protect (with your passcode) the encryption keys used to protect your data (Apple KB, which I also used the image for this post from, here). This, along with the option for stronger passcodes (not just 4 character number passcode) provides MUCH stronger protection against accessing the device offline. If IOS 4 on the iPhone acts like 3.2 on the iPad, a device wipe is almost instantaneous, as it just wipes the keys to the 256 bit encryption. Another step forward towards regulated enterprise compliance. Not positive if this protects against the forensics tools over at iphoneinsecurity.com.

Bottom line: If you even think you’ve lost your device, remotely wipe it proactively.

Bottom Bottom line: Due to the Bottom line, backup your device regularly.

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Girard’s Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

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Girard’s Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Overall Rating: 4
Experience Date:Jun 10, 2010

Good:
Very tasty, unique

Bad:
Expensive

This dressing was on sale at Lowes during a recent shopping trip, and I usually like Girard’s dressings, so I picked it up. It is one of my new favorite dressings, so I’ll try to work it into the grocery budget now and then. It is a hard to describe mix that is much closer to a vinaigrette than any blue (bleu?) cheese dressing. But man, that cheese kick is excellent.

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Skittles Gum

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Skittles Gum
Overall Rating: 4
Experience Date:Nov 01, 2004

Good:
Tastes like skittles but is gum
Bad:
expensive, not widely available

Sarah loves skittles, so I pick these up whenever I see them. They taste just like skittles, but are gum (of a reasonable quality). I like them a lot, but they don’t last very long and aren’t cheap. Skittles, come on! Let me buy a pound bag of your gum!

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Chrome/Chromium view source does not show entire source

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Using Chrome, I was working on a script that was generating an almost-xml (WXR export) document and outputting it to the web browser. From there, I was copying and pasting the results of the View page source command into a text document and attempting to validate the document to import into WordPress. After banging my head against the table many times due to trying to tweak various fields in the document, I realized that “View page source” in Chrome does not display the entire page source. At a minimum (haven’t done much other testing), it leaves off the information at the top of the document. I would love to know the reasoning behind this.

Witness:
Chrome:

Firefox:

Moral of the story: Don’t use view source in Chrome as a reliable means of viewing the source.

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iPad remote wiping nuances with Exchange Mobile Sync

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I was doing some testing with remotely wiping an iPad (via the Exchange ActiveSync Web Administration Tool) today and was impressed with how quickly it wiped. From my preliminary research this is because it actually only wipes the encryption key, not all of the data.

However, as soon as I restored my previous backup and let the device reboot, iTunes would begin restoring applications and then the device would reset into recovery mode again. I began to think this was a problem with my backup, so I restored the device as a new device and re-sync’d my applications. Then as soon as I setup email, the device rebooted. Obviously my judgment was clouded by frustration, but, fortunately, a brilliant coworker pointed out that Exchange was probably re-wiping the device every time it connected to the server (hence the immediate restarts on backup restores and the restart right after email configuration).

So, I had to go into the Remote Wipe portion of the Exchange Mobile Device Settings and CANCEL the wipe (that it had reported was successful). Also not that the web interface does not seem to keep any record of subsequent wipes that are successful.

Another important note:
iTunes made a backup with each “restore” of the device and the successful sync of the device and subsequently overwrote my old backups I had hoped to restore from. So, had I not backed up my iTunes backups (in OSX under ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup), I would not have been able to restore after I discovered this “feature” of Exchange remote device wipe.

At least I have my iPad back to working order…

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AT&T Microcell funness.

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Just a head’s up…if you’re working with one of the new AT&T Microcells behind a firewall, you need to enable outbound ports 500 and 4500 UDP.

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Simple is lovely

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Needed to quickly get a new shortcut out to a group of terminal server users on their desktops and start menus.  Nothing particularly complicated about the script, but it did the job:

for /f “tokens=*” %a in (‘dir C:\Docume~1\ /b *.’) do copy C:\Docume~1\AllUse~1\Desktop\ProgramShortcut.lnk C:\Docume~1\%a\Desktop

Takes a list of all the directories in “C:\Documents and Settings”, loops over and copies ProgramShortcut.lnk to the user’s Desktop folder.  Replace Desktop with StartM~1 to copy to the root of their start menu.

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