Month: March 2007

Moving into the Mission

A friend of mine from spinning class, Liz, finally made her dream come true and bought an apartment in the Mission. I really love her a ton, so I offered to help her with the move, and that's how I spent my usually sacred selfish Saturday.

We moved from the Northern reaches of Daly City. The neighborhood was mostly minority, with the black families living with their backs to the freeway, while the more affluent Asians dominated the upper reaches. Liz's sister-in-law pretended we were not there, almost refusing to say hello. We packed the truck within an hour and disappeared into Liz's new digs in the Mission. 


PSC Database Structure

After thinking about the component, it's time to define how it is going to work within the Joomla framework.

We will need two database tables:

  1. The per-user settings like passphrase, security question, etc.
  2. The notes themselves, tied to users

The first table needs to have the user id as primary key. Other columns will be:

  • encrypted passphrase
  • encrypted temporary passphrase
  • security question
  • encrypted answer to security question

The second table will be more complex and have the following columns in addition to an integer ID:

  • note title
  • note text (safe)
  • note text (encrypted)
  • creation time
  • last modification time
  • last access time
  • folders (for later use and expansion) 


Nightly ALC Class

AIDS Lifecycle LogoIt's been now six weeks that my friend Steven started teaching a spinning class at 7p at the Brannan Gold's gym here in San Francisco. The unusual thing: it's his way of getting to his pledge for the yearly AIDS Lifecycle Ride (ALC). 

If you don't know, the ALC is a charity ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, just like the more famour AIDS Ride. The latter has gotten a bad reputation for mismanagement of funds, so there has been an effort to create a ride where as much of the funds goes to AIDS research as possible: ALC.

Every year, a big contingent leaves San Francisco in June to ride to L.A. It's a grueling ride (545 miles), mostly performed by people that don't really spend a lot of time on their bikes, for whom the ride is as much of a challenge as the fundraising before. 


Commuting on 280

{moszoomimglink:Crystal Springs Reservoir – San Andreas fault}I decided on a whim to ride down 280 instead of the more obvious choice, 101. It's a much more beautiful ride, but it entails a 15 minute rush through Menlo Park, which is book-ended by the two freeways.

It was a gorgeous day; maybe a little chilly, especially considering it is almost April. The sides of the freeway were that lush green that happens only for a few weeks every year, and no fog greeted me at the Half Moon Bay gap. Traffic was mostly light, getting congested only where three or more cars would go up a hill in parallel, slowing down everybody behind them.

This has no point other than reminding myself of just how beautiful that ride is – possibly one of the most beautiful freeway rides in the world. 

Sierra Snow Alert

Just as I thought the seasons was over, I get an alert from Yahoo! telling me there are 19" of fresh powder in Sierra! Check out the picture from the Sierra webcam! {moszoomimglink:sierralift}

Password Store Component

I decided I need to do something useful with my spare time, and instead of continuing with useless trial projects, I will create a component that is of general use: a note taking tool that allows for strong encryption, defines password areas, and uses its own authentication schem. It is meant to store user account information in a secure fashion.

Given the amount of security coding I do, I have a clear idea of what I want: the component will store per-user specific notes whose first line becomes the title of the note. The content will be split in two categories: sensitive and highly sensitive. Sensitive content will not be encrypted in the database (but fully protected by the component). Highly sensitive content (essentially, passwords) will be encrypted using a specific passphrase. 

Users can search for a note, get the content, then enter the passphrase if they want to see the actual passwords. 

In addition to the note text, the system will keep metadata such as note creation and note modification, as well as note last access time.


Motorcycle Category

{moszoomimglink:cbr600rr_01_}Now that I have a motorcycle and actually get to spend some time on it, I decided to create a brand new category/section on Joomla. So far, it's just going to be a motorcycle specific blog, but some time later I may add specific stuff about trips I am taking, or reviews of hardware I mean, bikes and accessories.

Put Myself on Diet

It was with surprise I stepped on a scale and found myself at 180 pounds. That's a record for me, and not a good one. So I revived my old Joomla weight component, and made it track my weight on a daily basis. For historic reasons, I added a food diary, but stopped short of Joomlifying it.

What do you know, the new focus seems to be making a difference. Within a couple of weeks, I went down five pounds, and I plan on moving even more. What helped? I think it's just the realization that consciousness of what you eat makes you eat less. Or, to put it in a different way, having to remember what you ate all day makes you want to eat less. 

Season’s Almost Over

Sometimes a year is not as good as all other ones. 2007, for instance, was a seriously crappy year for snowboarding in Tahoe. The season started late, was marginal at best, and is likely to end soon. 

Highlights? Disappointing visits to Northstar and Sierra, making friends on and off the slope, and a few good days in Heavenly. Then there was spring skiing in early March – so hot people started shedding clothes like it we were on the Bahamas.

And of course, my love of snowboarding has not shrunk in any way. I am still learning every time I go out, now starting to learn more about tricks, and gotten a lot of reckless speed on the board. I keep up with decent skiers already!