15ºC and Cloudy

It’s 15ºC and cloudy here in Charlottetown today, which, to my taste, is about as good as it gets weather-wise, especially if you want to do things outside. And, looking at the current temperature map for North America, it appears to be the best weather on the eastern side of the continent right now. Those pink shades of the map in Georgia and Arizona? 100ºF and higher.

North American temperature map for July 2, 2019

Vestigial Sign

Oliver and I have been experimenting with new and interesting ways of getting from Stars for Life back home: today’s experiment involved walking down Beach Grove Road, across North River Road to the Hermitage Creek Trail, and then along the trail to University Avenue where we caught the bus downtown.

Along the trail, just in front of Tremploy, we came across this “Freshwater Marsh & Pond” sign, with both the CADC and West Royalty logos on it:

Freshwater Marsh and Pond Sign

West Royalty hasn’t existed as a separate community since 1995, meaning this sign must be at least 24 years old. It’s held up surprisingly well.

I wonder when CADC (now also defunct) built its last nature trail.

Where is 1Password made?

I was updating 1Password on my Mac this morning and took the occasion to look at the “About 1Password” dialog:

Screen shot of the 1Password about box.

I was intrigued by that long list of places: it seemed to suggest that 1Password is maintained entirely by remote workers. And, sure enough, it turns out to be true; from the 1Password jobs page:

Work remotely, from anywhere, flexibly. You could be in a sweet home office, then a café for part of the day, and even in your camper on a caldera – so long as there’s a reliable Internet connection. We’ve got folks in over 30 cities, from New Zealand to Germany to our office in Toronto.

I pasted that list of places into MapCustomizer.com to generate a map of all of them; here’s what I got:

Map of 1Password workers (from MapCustomizer.com)

It turns out that a good number of those workers are in southern Ontario, not surprising as it’s a Toronto-based company:

Map of 1Password workers in southern Ontario.

I see they have workers in Burlington (where my parents live) and Brantford (where my grandparents lived) and Peterborough (where Catherine and I used to live).

I like being about to put a geography to my software creators, especially those that create software that’s as mission-critical to my everyday as 1Password is.

John Andrew for District 9

I just made a donation to John Andrew’s Green campaign for the deferred election in District 9.

Everything I’ve learned about John over the past month has shown him to be a thoughtful, intelligent, universally well-regarded person with a deep connection to his home, his watershed and his district.

John is never going to win points for theatricality. I wouldn’t look to him for a disabling political barb levied at his opponents.

But we’re not casting a drama, we’re hiring someone to help solve gnarly problems, and John’s had a career of doing that. He is the right person for this job.

And if that isn’t enough, the view from his back porch is about the greenest possible view you can imagine.

Andrews Pond from John Andrew's House

Mercantile Notes from All Over

If you’re at Receiver Coffee on Victoria Row this summer, and Joel is behind the bar, order up “The Joel” for a delightful iced summer drink.

Speaking of Receiver: they’re about to open a third location, out on the North River Causeway, and roasting and baking operations will be relocated out there. They’re still casting about for a name; I’m advocating for Receiver Underwater, as a tip of the hat to climate change, but it’s not garnering much support.

Caledonia House Coffee at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market has a perpetual summer problem, as the newly-arriving hordes of irregulars clog up the coffee line. Bret is working to mitigate this issue by opening up a second coffee stand, outside in the trailer formerly occupied by 4S. The coffee’s just as good, and the line–at least for now–a lot shorter.

Speaking of the market: don’t forget that it’s now open on Wednesday–in addition to the regular Saturday–for the summer. It’s a lot less busy, but there’s still a good complement of vendors, and it’s a great place to stop for lunch.

The best thing ever to happen to the downtown Sunday flea market in Charlottetown has been to close Queen Street below Grafton: the result is that the vendors are now facing in to the street rather than out to the sidewalk, rendering the sidewalks clear and the street a pleasant place for a car-free stroll. I had a very nice rajmah chawal from The Great Indian Curry for lunch today.

If you’re a fan of the A&W Beyond Meat burger, you can now get a similar vegetarian concoction at Tim Horton Donuts, the Beyond Sausage. It appears to be popular–or at least more popular than anticipated–as I’ve encountered a couple of situations where a outlet doesn’t have any stock. And don’t let them tell you that you need to order it with egg: the Beyond Sausage Lettuce Tomato is just that; this hasn’t been internalized by all staff yet.

A reminder that, as reported earlier, Riverview Country Market now has a Downeast Soap refilling station. I’ve started to regularly buy our hand and laundry soap there and not only is it great to not be buying new plastic bottles every time, but the price is significantly less than buying a brand new bottle at Sobeys.

And, finally, my annual recommendation for The Best Thing Ever, the Factory Coffee at Island Chocolates in Victoria. It’s the one regular concession I make to avoiding sugar and it is fantastic.

Factory Coffee at Island Chocolates

Tasker + Termux = Android + Mac

Thanks to a helpful post by William Denton, I remembered the Android utility Tasker, and realized that I could use it to automate the gluing together of my Android phone and my Mac.

Here’s what I did.

First, I installed Tasker on my phone from Google Play and then the Termux:Task add-on from F-Droid.

Next, on my phone I launched Termux, created a directory ~/.termux/tasker, and created two scripts there.

The first, start-ssh, to start the SSH server on the phone (after killing it first, in case it was running already):


pkill sshd

The second, mount-phone-on-mac, to mount the phone on the Mac (by SSHing to the Mac and doing the mount from there, unmounting it first in case it was already mounted):


ssh peter@ "umount ~/motog7"
ssh peter@ "/usr/local/bin/sshfs phone:/storage/emulated/0 ~/motog7 -o volname=motog7 -p 8022"

To allow this second script to work properly, I had to do a couple of things.

First, in System Preferences on the Mac, I had to check the “Remote Login” box on the Sharing sheet.

Second, on the phone, in Termux, I had to create an SSH keypair:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 -f id_rsa

This left me with a public key file ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub that I then added to the end of ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on my Mac.

I made these two scripts executable with:

chmod +x ~/.termux/tasker/*

I then tested them out to make sure they worked.

Next, I set up Tasker.

I created a new Profile called Reinventorium with the trigger of State > Wifi Connected and the SSID of my office’s wireless network:

Screen shot of Tasker Profile

I added a new Task called Mac to this Profile, and added two Actions to that Task, one for each of the two scripts I created above, selecting Plugin > Termux:Task from the Action category and entering the name of the script:

Screen shot of Tasker Task

With all of this in place, every time I come into the office with my phone and it connects to the office wireless network, it automatically launches its SSH server, and tells my Mac to mount its storage.

The more efficient your house, the lower the interest”

Following a link on Frank’s blog, I learned about an innovative mortgage product from the Dutch Triodos Bank, the sustainable mortgage:

With the Triodos Mortgage you get a discount on the interest when your house becomes more sustainable. We offer the Triodos Energy Saving Loan for the renovation. With this loan you can finance up to 25,000 euros in sustainable adjustments to your home. The great thing is that the interest on this loan is only 50% of the interest on your mortgage.

This is an excellent idea.

How To Fuck Up An Airport”

Back in 2012 I booked a flight to Berlin that was scheduled to land at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Before I flew, however, I received a message from the airline telling me that the new airport’s opening was delayed and that I’d be landing at the venerable Berlin Tegel instead.

Remarkably, Berlin Brandenburg still has yet to open, and the reasons behind this are the subject of the four-episode podcast, How To Fuck Up An Airport, from Radio Spaetkauf:

Every Berliner knows the new airport is late. Few know exactly why. We’re here to explain. BER is the international airport code for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, nickname Willy Brandt. It has also become a signifier of failure, incompetence, corruption and Berlin’s general inability to get its act together.

If you’ve flown to Berlin Schönefeld Airport in the last few years, you’ll have seen BER as your plane taxied along the runway. But despite outward appearances, BER is far from finished. It has been under construction for 11 years, blown through six opening dates, three general managers and two state leaders. Costs have ballooned from around €1 billion to at least €5.4 billion.

Across this series, you’ll learn why the escalators are too short, why the lights are always on, and why the rooms seemed to be numbered by bingo. We’ll interview insiders and disgruntled workers, chase ghost trains running to the terminal, and go inside the unfinished airport.