Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D printer

Ender 3 ProI have a new hobby!

For Christmas, my wife and daughter surprised me with a 3D printer, the (SainSmart-branded) Creality Ender-3 Pro. It was a well-timed gift since we were stuck at home for the holidays and winter break so I had a whole week to immerse myself in a brand new area of tech, learning about new acronyms (FDM, PTFE, PLA, TPU), terminology, filaments, web sites, and, of course, printing stuff!

Where to start?

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Victory Monday! (NFL Playoffs)

2020’s sports season continues to deliver. Both of my teams finished the regular season 11-5 and ended long playoff droughts. It’s been a long time since I got to watch my Bucs and Browns play football past early January but both of them won their wildcard games this past weekend and are advancing to the divisional round this Sunday!

The Browns last played in a playoff game in 2003 (losing to the Steelers) and before that was 1995 where, with head coach Bill Belichick, beat Bill Parcel’s Patriots (but then went on to lose to the Steelers) and last won a playoff game on the road back in 1969. So beating the Steelers two weeks in a row, in Heinz Field, eliminating them from the playoffs, despite all the COVID-19 issues, is sweet revenge (ok sure, no fans or terrible towels). The Browns now have to face the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs (another old rivalry from the Marty Schottenheimer days).

Tom Brady continued his playoff streak, guiding the Bucs to their first playoff appearance since 2007 and first playoff victory since 2002 (the year they won the Super Bowl). It was hard to believe that with an 11-5 record they had to play a road game against the 7-9 Washington Football Team (wow, the NFC East was terrible this year), but they won and will face Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

With Super Bowl LV here in Tampa on February 7, you know I’m pulling for both teams to make it, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Both teams have a tough road ahead.

NFL bracket

Go Bucs! Go Browns!

Advent of Code 2020

For the past few years I’ve “watched” some fellow sysadmins (from the community I’m a member of) participate in the Advent of Code: “an Advent calendar of small programming puzzles for a variety of skill sets and skill levels that can be solved in any programming language you like.” I’ve never really had the time to participate before, and I’m certainly not a hard-core programmer, but I like to code and enjoy solving puzzles so I figured this year I would give it a shot.

I’m already a little behind (it’s Day 5 and I’ve only finished Day and Day 2) since, you know, I have to work during the week, but I hope to make a little more progress this weekend. I’m sure I’ll hit a wall at some point where the complexity of the puzzles are no match for my meager skills. I’ve started with Python just because it was the easiest language I had access to on my Linux box, I’ve messed around with it before on some of my other projects (like the old TiVoToGo plug-in for Plex), and I figured this is another good way to get experience with it.

My code solutions (such as they are) are out in my Github repo.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro MaxIt’d been almost four years since I got a new phone, still rockin’ my trusty Apple iPhone 7 Plus. But recently I’d been having charging issues due to a loose Lightning connector port, and with Apple’s advances in processor and camera technology for the latest generation of iPhones, I decided it was finally time to upgrade.

After researching and comparing the four new iPhone 12 models, I had a few decisions to make. First: size. The 12 and 12 Pro are just slightly smaller than my 7 Plus, so that eliminated the Mini. Next, the camera. I’ve always preferred my point-and-shoot cameras to my phone’s camera, especially when it comes to low light and zoom situations. If I was ready to pay a little more for a better phone camera (going with “the best camera is the one you have with you” mantra) than that meant the 12 Pro. Once I had decided that, though, it was an easy jump to just go all the way and get the top-of-the-line 12 Pro Max.

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Weekend getaway to Fernandina Beach

This past weekend we were up in the Amelia Island area at a beach rental in Fernandina Beach visiting with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. We drove up Thursday evening after work and then worked from the beach house on Friday while we waited for my wife’s sister and her husband to arrive (they were renting the other side of the duplex so we could appropriately social distance). We had dinner delivered from Fancy Sushi and then sat outside on the deck (bundled up since it was actually kinda cold!).

Saturday (Halloween) morning we started with a walk along the beach and over to Starbucks for breakfast and back. We grabbed lunch at Cantina Louie (sitting outside at separate ends of a large table) and then walked around Centre Street before it started raining. Since I had my growler in the car, I got it filled at the Amelia Island Brewing Company before we headed back to the house. My wife and sister-in-law set up a tent outside so we were able to sit (again, appropriately distanced) outside in the rain and still visit. Quite the odd Halloween, but at least it was warmer than last night.

We had to check out of the VRBO by 10:00am on Sunday, so after our morning walk on the beach we had to clean up and pack up. Since it was a beautiful day we went back to Centre Street to actually walk around in the sun. For lunch we ate at the Salty Pelican (mmmm … fish and shrimp tacos) near the river. Then we had to say our goodbyes and headed back home. It was a quick weekend, but nice to get away to the beach for a while with family.

Grappling with the Groovy Gorilla

It’s late October which means (I’ve been working from home for seven months! and) it’s time for the latest Ubuntu release, 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla).

But first, another fall sports re-cap. What a 2020 it’s been for my teams! First the Lightning win the Stanley Cup for the second time in franchise history, and now the Rays are in their second World Series, down 2 games to 1 against the LA Dodgers. The Bucs, with Tom Brady at the helm, are on top of the NFC South with a 4-2 record. Could a trip to the Super Bowl (here in Tampa, probably in March?) be in the cards to complete the trifecta? I don’t follow soccer, but even the Rowdies are one win away from the USL Championship! What’s up with Florida sports right now? The Indians exited the playoffs quickly, swept out by the Yankees, but even the Browns currently have a winning record at 4-2 (their best start since Bill Belichick was head coach)!

COVID-19 is still with us (I naively said the world would be back to normal by the time this Ubuntu release was out) so maybe I need to include that in my bi-annual updates.

Ok, back to the upgrade.

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My pandemic reading list

I stopped WIJFR posts five years ago (switched to Goodreads), but during the COVID-19 pandemic I found myself tending towards related topics. Such as:

Obviously missing is Stephen King’s “The Stand” which I’ve been meaning to re-read to since finishing the Dark Tower series back in 2018. That might be next.

Odd observation: all of these books start with “The”.

2020 sports: post-season post!

2020 may be an overall dumpster fire (with literal fires!) but the return of sports continues to be good to me. Except that I can’t actually go see any games in person! Oh well, I’ll take what I can get, and I’m getting a lot:

Go teams!