Summer 2014 Part 2 and so on

My Exercises

I had a couple people ask me what sort of exercises I’ve been doing since I did Physical Therapy. Although it changes from week to week depending on how busy I am, I’ve been pretty consistent. I actually already have it written down in some of my notes, so I just have to copy and paste it.

Lumbar Workout

  • 10 minutes Recumbent Bike (for warm up)
  • 20x Both Arms Raise
  • 20x Both Legs Raise
  • 20x Both Arms and Both Legs Raise
  • 20x Cross Arm and Leg Raise
  • 20x Quadruped Exercises
  • 20x Bridges
  • 20x Bridge with Leg Lifts
  • 20x Bridge with Single Leg Bicycles (not exactly sure what these are called)
  • 20x Partial Sit-ups (although, not so ‘partial’ these days)
  • 20x Knee push (hip flexion)
  • 20x Cross knee push (hip flexion)
  • 3x Elbow Planks (15 seconds each)
  • 10 minutes Rowing Machine

These take about 35-40 minutes.

I take one or two days off per week, depending on what my body is telling me, usually Wednesday and/or Sunday.

Twice per week, usually Monday and Thursday, I do: Lumbar Workout and 5K Treadmill Run. Once per week, I try to make it a fast-paced 5K.

The other days, I do either:

  • 10K run (either treadmill, on the rural roads around my house, or at the sports park)
  • 13 mile bike ride (although, I do need to establish a better bike route)
  • Every once in a while, I’ll run a 15K, but this is a big time/energy investment, so I do not do this often.

I actually prefer to run outside, but I find I usually end up using the treadmill. A big reason for this is that I have a few dog-owning neighbors that don’t obey leash laws. I’ve actually had to report one of them to animal control because their dog attacked and lunged at me on the road. For biking, this is not really an issue, because I just outrun them. The sports park is convenient because it is just a couple miles away, but it is also inconvenient because I still have to get in the car and drive over there. I usually go over there on the weekends.

I keep my caloric intake to about 2200-2500 calories per day on average.

Other Summer Stuff

Not long after Julie and I found out we were having a baby, we decided to go on a cruise for our 5 year anniversary. We went on a 4 days cruise on July 10-14. We went on the cruise that launched out of Jacksonville. This made things a little easier, since I am already familiar with Jacksonville, and it is not too far away that I couldn’t drive there or back in one day. This was actually the first ‘real’ vacation that Julie and I had gone on since our honeymoon. Our honeymoon cruise was with Royal Caribbean, but this one was with Carnival Fascination. My opinion was that it was not as nice as our honeymoon cruise. That’s not to say that we didn’t have a good time though. The food was good, but not *as* good. For example, there was no sushi. We (or rather I) tried to participate as much as possible this go around (that is to say, I didn’t as much in the first cruise). We went to the comedy shows, and the game shows, and things like that. Compared the our Royal Caribbean cruise, the *one* pool was much too crowded, and the clientele looked a lot more… out of Walmart… than our first cruise, but that was fine. This cruise stopped at Freeport and Nassau. We had purchased a shore excursion in Freeport. It was supposed to be a boat ride tour. However, the group was not where the tickets said they would be, and I had to fight to get a refund for this when I got home. I did not care for Freeport. The city was dirty and the people were rude. Nassau was much nicer, but at the same time, the cruise warned us about criminal activities against tourists, which probably had people nervous. In Nassau, we had a shore excursion to go to Blue Lagoon. I had a lot of fun pushing my wife around in a tube. My biggest complaint was really that they were way too stingy with water.

One of the gifts I “gave” to Julie for our anniversary, which has yet to be implemented, was a rent-to-own cello. Julie hasn’t yet taken me up on the gift though. I think she doesn’t want to get into any new hobby until after Dylan is born.

I did get a nice birthday present.

The only other thing that immediately comes to mind from the summer was we went to Dover, New Hampshire back in May. I’ve not really done much travelling in my life, and this was actually my first time flying. We flew to Boston and then were bused the rest of the way.

So… I got this Chromebook…

One of my early Christmas presents was a refurbished HP Chromebook. I’ve been using it now for a couple weeks. For the most part, I’ve been happy with it; although, I will say I would not recommend a Chromebook to my friends. My main problem with Chrome OS is simply that it is too tightly coupled with Google services. If I wanted to design an operating system as a thin client, the first and absolutely most important thing to me would be to have built-in support for just about every remote service protocol I could think of: Microsoft Remote Desktop, VNC, SSH (including X11 forwarding), SFTP, FTP, Samba (Windows file sharing), etc. Chrome OS has built in support for… none of these… except SSH (without X11 forwarding), which is hidden. There are some apps that fill in some of the gaps. I had to purchase a Microsoft Remote Desktop client. RealVNC has a VNC client, but it has an annoying nagging message at the beginning of every connection. SFTP, FTP, and Samba I’ve yet to find a working solution for. There is an SFTP/FTP client for purchase, but when I used the trial, it was dreadfully slow to upload or download anything. Again, I think a thin client should specialize in all these protocols. Instead, all you really get is the Google Drive cloud, which only gives you 100GB free for two years. The problem with that is that file transfers using a cloud, versus over a LAN, are just too slow. I also found the built-in media player’s supported video codecs to be quite lacking as well.

I have worked on improving my own web based apps to help my Chromebook along. I got my Subsonic server upgraded and working again. This allows me to watch and listen to my LAN media through a flash player. The only real problem I have with Subsonic is when it transcribes audio, in my case AAC to MP3, it cannot fast forward or manually change positions within the stream. For some reason, the player is unable to play AAC directly without transcription. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video all work fine for me. Since Gmail is not my primary mail service, I upgraded and enhanced my Roundcube webmail installation. I set it up with a few Roundcube plugins.  newmail_notifier gives me taskbar notifications of new mail on my Chromebook. google_addressbook allows me to use my Google Contacts from Roundcube, so I don’t have to copy and paste addresses from there. identity_smtp allows me to set specific SMTP servers for different identities, which is useful for my Gmail account within Roundcube, as Dreamhost’s SMTP server won’t allow you to use Gmail as an identity anymore. Maintaining my website is easy on my Chromebook, as I can either use WordPress, Codiad, or SSH. I haven’t really had any trouble working with documents either. I’ve used Google Docs and Google Sheets, and I’ve also used Microsoft Office365 Word and Excel. My biggest problem with both of these is that neither can work directly off either the OpenDocument or Office 2003 formats. Google only allows you to import and work off their own formats, and Office365 only works on the newer docx and xlsx formats. This is annoying, because LibreOffice only really works well with OpenDocument and Office 2003 formats. Also, again, I find it annoying I cannot work directly off the LAN on documents. Everything has to be thrown up into a cloud, which is so much slower than LAN storage.

My HP Chromebook came with 200MB of free T-Mobile data per month for life… which is worth about as much as it costs. Without a 4G or even 3G mobile network, T-Mobile really isn’t even good for a backup. Maybe someday T-Mobile will get their act together, stop advertising that they have a nationwide 4G network when none exists, and start fixing their problems.

Another area I found Chrome OS embarrassingly lacking was VPN. All it has is L2TP/IPSec and supposedly OpenVPN. I tried getting my company’s Cisco VPN working, which actually did work on my VPNC on Linux computers, but it never worked. My company just recently switched to Cisco AnyConnect, which works well with OpenConnect on my Linux computers. Of course, Chrome OS doesn’t support Cisco AnyConnect. My company also has Citrix Access Gateway, but there’s no client for Chrome OS (or Linux for that matter). They also have a Citrix XenApp, but the Citrix Receiver for Chromebook requires Storefront, which my company does not have, I guess. I tried to get my OpenVPN configurations working with the Chromebook (ovpn files). I’ve had no luck at all with any VPN on Chrome OS. So basically, I cannot use this Chromebook for anything productive, unless I use the remote desktop client I had to purchase to remote into a computer that can use VPN. Remote into a computer that can remote into another computer… sad for a “thin client”.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not regret my decision to get a Chromebook. I enjoy using it for the most part. However, I believe the idea of a thin client is to have a minimal computer that leverages more powerful computers on a fast network (preferably LAN). This thin client is unable to leverage anything but Google…

Any yes, I am well aware that I could install Crouton or a Linux distribution, but I’d rather use this Chromebook as it was intended… Maybe the addition of Android apps in the coming future will fill in many of these gaps, as I actually have none of these problems when I use Android. Makes me wonder if it just wouldn’t be better to have an Android thin client, instead of Chrome OS.

Final note… Chrome OS won’t support Java, because they want to push developers to HTML5, right? So, then why does Chrome OS support Flash? Can we say, contradiction…? I could use Citrix Receiver (and lots of other things) if I had a Java plugin… My opinion is the browser should support the Web that is, not the Web that the browser wants the Web to be. We still live in a world of Java and Flash, and a functional browser should still support them.

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