Labor Day Weekend 2018 at Disney: Day 1

Labor Day weekend 2018 … time again for our annual family mini-vacation to Walt Disney World (probably our last one as a family since my daughter will be heading off to college next year).

Like last year, we couldn’t drive over to Orlando until this morning because of Friday night high school football yesterday. I also had to stop in the office on Saturday morning to address some overnight issues, so we started heading over a little later than usual. Plus, on our way, Waze alerted us to a big accident on I-4 and re-routed us via the back roads of Polk, Lake, and Orange counties to avoid the heavy traffic. But we made it to our hotel (the Port Orleans Riverside) by 11:30am, parked, and took the Disney bus over to the Magic Kingdom.

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Kwikset SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt

We’re finishing up hurricane-proofing this summer by finally replacing all the exterior entries with impact-rated doors. We had our impact windows installed back in 2008, and replaced the overhead garage door in 2015, but last year’s close call with Hurricane Irma reminded us we still needed to replace the doors. Since we’re getting new doors, we also need to get new door hardware!

There’s a wide variety of electronic and automation-enabled deadbolts and locks on the market now-a-days: I decided to expand my Z-Wave/ADT Pulse automation network by installing the Kwikset 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt.

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Ubiquity Unifi Switch 8 POE-150W

Unifi Switch 8About two weeks ago I started experiencing some strange network issues: Nagios kept reporting devices dropping off the network and reconnecting, the TiVo Minis would lose their connection to the Bolt, etc. I eventually traced it to one of my TRENDnet TPE-TG44g switches (specifically the one in the closet that most of the home network traffic travels through on its way to the router) constantly rebooting. It was out of warranty so I had to buy a new switch to replace it. Since I already two Unifi wireless access points on the network (and I run the Unifi Controller software to manage them), I decided to spend a little extra and get the Ubiquity Unifi Switch 8 POE-150W.

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Golden State dynasty sweeps the Cavs out of the Finals

For the fourth year in a row, my Cleveland Cavaliers were the Eastern Conference Champions!

2018 Eastern Conference Champs

For the fourth year in a row, they faced the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

And for the second year in a row, they lost. 🙁

That photo (from the end of Game 1 when JR Smith dribbled out the clock in a tie game which the Warriors went on to win in overtime, setting the tone for the rest of the series) pretty much sums up the 2018 Finals for the Cavalier as they were swept in four games, ugh. But it was an improbable Finals run for the Cavs (with the pre-season trade of Kyrie Irving to Boston and the massive trades at the deadline in February) and yet they still managed to make it to the Finals. Unfortunately, the Golden State dynasty seems unstoppable right now.

So now the big question is: where will Lebron (who is now a free agent) be playing next year? Will he stay in Cleveland? Or will he leave again? If he does leave, at least Cleveland finally got one.

A New Orleans Tricentennial Celebration with Harry Connick, Jr.

My wife and I last saw Harry Connick, Jr. when he came through Clearwater on his “Your Songs” tour back in 2010. Back in March he announced a short tour in June to celebrate the New Orleans Tricentennial. Clearwater was lucky to have two dates on the tour so I of course got us tickets to the second show at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Like last time, we couldn’t remember if this was now the fifth or sixth time we’ve seen Harry in concert. I think this was #5 as I’m pretty sure we’ve seen him three times now here in Florida and twice when we still lived in Cleveland. No matter, every show has been amazing and this one was no exception. For just under two hours (with no intermission) Harry and the band entertained the audience with New Orleans-style jazz (including a jazz funeral with “When the Saints Go Marching In”) and other musical styles he’s played over his career (big band, gospel, funk, etc.). Familiar tunes included “We Are,” “Here Comes the Big Parade,” “Come By Me,” “What a Wonderful World,” “Yes We Can Can,” and a medley of songs from “When Harry Met Sally” including, of course, “It Had to be You” (a personal favorite). Like before he showed off his talents by not only singing and playing the piano, but playing the trumpet, tap dancing (!), and even playing the drums and two pianos during the encore number (“Big Chief”). Just incredible.

The entertainment wasn’t just the music, however. Harry is great with the crowd and the show is a nice mix of musical numbers and him talking (which gives the musicians a break). He spoke to a 9-year old kid in the front row and even brought him up on stage to play piano!

So it was another great show. I did find it funny that, despite the hall’s policy against photos and video recording, a lot of people were using their phones to take pictures and recording. Even funnier, they were all older folks. I joked to my wife “I wish these old people would put away their phones and enjoy the show!” 😀

Long Memorial Day Weekend at Disney

Last Wednesday night my Tampa Bay Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Washington Capitals, so there will be no Stanley Cup Finals games here in Tampa this year. 🙁 Go Vegas?

With the end of the hockey season also came the end of the school year for my daughter. So with the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, we headed over to Orlando for a mini vacation at Disney World. The 2018 hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1 but already the first named storm of the season (subtropical storm Alberto) was threatening to rain out our plans!

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Braving the Bionic Beaver

The NFL Draft is done (will the Browns overall #1 pick, Baker Mayfield, help them win at least one game this year?), the Lightning are in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (facing off against the Boston Bruins), the Cavs survived a seven game first round series against the Pacers, and one month of baseball is in the books (the Rays have won eight straight but are still close to last in the East, and the Indians are in first place in the Central). Yeah, it’s Spring in late April, which means it’s time for the latest Ubuntu LTS release, 18.04 Bionic Beaver.

Just like last time in October, the upgrade process itself was smooth: I issued the do-release-upgrade command and the whole process took just under 15 minutes to download the new packages and execute the reconfiguration. I then re-applied my customizations to a few configuration files, rebooted the server, and was back in business:

$ lsb_release -a
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
Release: 18.04
Codename: bionic

$ uname -a
Linux nucleus 4.15.0-20-generic #21-Ubuntu SMP Tue Apr 24 06:16:15 UTC 2018 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

But also like last time, I had a handful of post-upgrade, early adopter issues:

  • I had to enable the PHP 7.2 for Apache (a2enmod php7.2) so it wouldn’t serve up PHP files as plain text (I had this same issue last time)
  • I had to manually install the php7.2-xml package for (Piwigo and phpSysInfo)
  • I had to manually re-install the smbclient package (for Nagios)
  • Pulseway won’t start due to a “undefined symbol: CRYPTO_num_locks” error (forum post)
  • I had some errors in phpMyAdmin (due to the PHP 7.2 update) that I fixed with this manual patch (it’s also fixed in the latest release,
  • the Unifi controller wouldn’t start which turned out to be a problem with MongoDB being upgraded from 3.4 to 3.6. I had to downgrade back to 3.4 to get the controller running again, issue a db.adminCommand( { setFeatureCompatibilityVersion: "3.4" } ) command to get my database upgraded (it was actually still in a 3.2 structure), and then re-upgrade to 3.6. I also had to copy /usr/bin/mongod to /usr/bin/mongod.bin and create a workaround script named /usr/bin/mongod to get the controller to start (forum post)

Check back here in October for 18.10!

hp Pavilion 24-r014 All-in-One PC

hp Pavilion 24-r014

For the past few months our family PC (the Dell XPS 18 all-in-one) had been giving my daughter fits. It was time for a change.

I looked at the latest Dell all-in-ones but wasn’t able to find one that acted like a tablet like the XPS 18. It was pretty convenient for my daughter to be able to unplug the PC in the family room and take it back to her room without the need to shut down or move a bulky AC adapter. But apparently most all-in-ones now-a-days don’t have batteries anymore. Considering the reason I was replacing the XPS 18 was because of battery issues, I decided that wasn’t a big deal. After my usual research, I decided on the hp Pavilion 24-r014.

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