New Photo gallery

I’ve updated the look of my photo gallery and changed how the photos are stored. My goal is to make the gallery work better on mobile devices and modernize the look and feel. I also moved the hosting of all the photos from my website to Amazon S3. I’m planning to switch my web hosting to a private server and it will cost less if I don’t store my photos on that server.

Here’s a comparison of the look of the old gallery to the new:

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Fall Fun

I’ve done some short trips this fall with friends. In September I went down to Colorado Springs for the balloon festival.

In October I went to Glenwood springs.

I’ve also been to a couple shows at the center for performing arts: Verdi’s Requiem and Barber of Seville. Both were quite good!

For Halloween I dressed up as Spock:

Divorce

My divorce was finalized last week. Bill has stayed in the house while I moved to an apartment.

I doubt anyone will be surprised to hear that getting divorced after a 25 year relationship has been emotionally and logistically difficult. Dividing up our stuff and money, transferring accounts and titles, switching utilities, and moving have taken a lot of time and energy. I’m thankful that I wasn’t working during this period.

I’m changing the name of this blog from “Assistant to the Lounge About” to “Act III”. I’m thinking of Act I as childhood and education; Act II, my years with Bill. This all very arbitrary, but life feels different now, and the changes feel similar to how it felt when I graduated college, moved into an apartment and got a job.

I’m also changing the sub-title. This blog started as the chronicle of my retirement: “The fun begins when you quit your day job.” But that doesn’t fit anymore, so I’ll be updating the sub-title to match my current activity or goal.

The first sub-title is “letting go”.

Digital Ocean Review

I converted billandchad.com from a physical machine in my house to an online server at DigitalOcean. I’ve been wanting to try out Digital Ocean for hosting chadweisshaar.com, but haven’t made the switch because of the size of my photo galleries. billandchad.com hosts my NextCloud instance and the touch table game repository and it is less than 5GB. This means I can use the smallest Digital Ocean server which costs $5 per month. Running the server in my house was more expensive. I was paying $5 for a static IP (which probably wasn’t required, but did make it easier) and about $3 for electricity. Plus the cost of occasional hardware replacements.

Getting setup at Digital Ocean was easy. One of their preconfigured machine setups is a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) server which is what NextCloud needs. I had to setup SSH keys, had to install a couple extra PHP packages, and make some apache configuration changes for NextCloud. Doing the NextCloud migration was a bit of a hassle, but that was a NextCloud issue.

Since setting up NextCloud, I’ve also built a stand-alone web app on this server. To do that I installed GIT and the SSH plugin for Visual Studio Code so that I could develop right on the Digital Ocean server, but also have source control and a backup on my home machine.

Everything has been pretty simple and convenient. Their monitoring tools are adequate for diagnosing performance issues and their billing is automatic. I do need to log in occasionally to do software updates, but I was having to do that for my local server anyway. Overall I’m pretty happy and will probably move chadweisshaar.com over to them eventually. I “just” need to re-write my gallery webpage to use AWS instead of storing the photos locally.

Not having a home linux server does have some downsides. For one, it was just cool to have part of the internet in my house. But I also used the server to run my own DHCP and DNS. I had an ad blocking DNS server for my phone and also allowed me to create some short urls (like tt.com) for friends to use to connect to the touch table. I miss both of these capabilities.

Touch table Space Base

I’ve finished converting Space Base for the touch table. Space base is a fairly quick card drafting game where you buy cards to fill in 12 columns. Each turn two die are rolled and you can take rewards from either both die or the sum of the dice. Cards give money, income, victory points and some have more complex abilities that need to be charged before use.

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Hostgator: New webhost and review

I recently switched web hosting companies from HostMoster to HostGator. I have a fairly large website with two sub-domains, several mySQL databases, and lots of photos. This post will describe the transfer process and give a brief review of my experiences with HostGator.

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Touch table Brass: Birmingham

The original Brass has always been one of my favorite games. It’s a complex economic and network building game that rewards both multi-step planning and quick adaptation to board conditions. Brass: Birmingham is a 2018 re-design of the original that slightly changes the theme, simplifies some rules and adds a third resource but leaves the feel of the game intact.

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Touch table King and Queen Domino

I’ve completed a touch table conversion for King Domino and Queen Domino. King Domino is a relatively simple tile placement game with the interesting mechanic where the player who chose the “best” tile goes last in the next round. Queen Domino takes the kingdom building and tile placement mechanics from King Domino and adds city tiles that can have buildings added to them.


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Netbrix/Lego Review

I’ve been wanting to put together a large Lego set, but I don’t really want to display or keep the finished product, so I gave netbrix.biz a try. It is a Lego rental service – kind of like Netflix for Legos.

I rented a Technic Excavator set and the large London Bridge set.

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Fitbit Charge 3 review

This Christmas I got a Fitbit Charge 3 fitness tracker that tracks steps, heart rate and sleep quality. It has a grey-scale touchscreen that displays the date and time along with steps or heart rate when tapped. It can also display text messages, calls, and email from a phone.

I really like having a fitness tracker that also displays the date/time. I also appreciate having heart rate data for workouts and getting notifications on the watch.

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