USA – A country in burgers

Over the last 2+ years I have been traveling a lot through the United States and Canada. During that time I tried a lot of burger places. It took me a while to go through my photos, to sort and annotate them. Here are my top three locations. A lot of pictures and impressions are featured in the gallery below. I will continuously update this post, add new pictures and maybe expand the list of top locations.

#3 Paradise Pup, Des Plaines, IL [Facebook | Yelp]

I am not the first reviewer to rate this as a top location for burgers. Every time we landed at O’Hare International Airport we made sure to have cash since there are no cards accepted here.

#2 Octave Grill, Chesterton, IN [ Website | Yelp]

This place features craft beers on tap and one of the best burgers I have ever had. Loved the goat cheese on it. I can’t wait until I can come back. The only downside is that this place is not open every day during lunch hours.

#1 The Thurman Cafe, Columbus OH [Website | Yelp ]

Seriously the best burgers in North America. I went there several times and every burger I tried was fantastic.

Photo Gallery

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Bierstadt Trail – Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday we hiked the Bierstadt Trail at the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is an about 5 km long loop trail with an elevation gain of 200 meters.

The elevation starts right and at the beginning and is there-and-back. Once you climbed up the 200 meters there is an even loop trail on the plateau around Bierstadt lake.

Here’s a screenshot from AllTrails.

You’ll find the most amazing view.

Dragon Brew: Unboxing

I just received my Kickstarter copy of Dragon Brew – Make Beer, Not War from August Games.

Here’s how it looks:

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Here’s a video by Daniel George that shows how to play the game:

Making clang default compiler in Ubuntu

I recently upgraded my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to a pre-release of Ubuntu 17.10 since it comes with recent compilers. The clang compilers currently create faster binaries than gcc does. Also I wanted to use latest C++ features since I started playing around with libint (electronic integrals library) again.

With a new compiler, I want to be able to easily switch back. Here’s what worked for me:


sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/cc cc /usr/bin/clang-5.0 100
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/c++ c++ /usr/bin/clang++-5.0 100

C#: Finding consecutive list items violating an upper or lower limit

Here’s some code I have written today to find segments of a list that violate upper or lower limits. The minimum size is given as a parameter.

I know there are more elegant ways to do this, but the scripting language that I used features only a subset of C#, that is why I had to keep it simple, e.g. without Predicate.

var sequence = [0.25,0.5,0.5,0.5,0.7,0.8,0.7,0.9,0.5,0.5,0.8,0.8,0.5,0.5,0.65,0.65,0.65,0.65,0.65,0.65,0.65];
double lowerLimit = 0.1;
double upperLimit = 0.6;
int minWindowLength = 3;

// return type is a list of lists
var windows = [[0.0]];
windows.Clear();

int consec = 0;
int index = 0;

while (index < sequence.Count){

// store segments here
var window = new System.Collections.Generic.List<double>();

while ((index < sequence.Count) && (sequence[index] > upperLimit || sequence[index] < lowerLimit)) {
window.Add(sequence[index]);
consec = consec + 1;
index = index +1;
}

if (consec > minWindowLength) {
windows.Add(window);
}

window = new System.Collections.Generic.List<double>();
consec = 0;

index = index+1;
}

return windows;

Converting Microsoft Word Files (doc, docx) to reStructuredText (rst)

This article describes how to convert Microsoft Word documents to reStructuredText. Everything should be done within a temporary directory with simplified filenames. So let’s assume you want to convert ‘am.docx’ to reStructuredText. The Word document can contain images.
You need:
A few simple steps:
  1. On the command line (either the old cmd or the PowerShell) go to the temporary directory that contains the Word document (e.g. C:\temp):
    cd c:\temp
  2. Convert ‘am.docx’ to ‘am.rst’ using pandoc
    pandoc.exe -f docx am.docx -t rst -o am.rst
  3. Extract the media files (e.g. images) from the Word document
    unzip .\am.docx

    and move it to current working directory

    mv .\word\media .
  4. All image files should be in the same file format, so convert eml and gif files to png.
    cd media

    to jump into the directory

    dir (to list all files)

    a) Either by hand:

    convert .\image2.gif .\image2.png
    convert .\image1.emf .\image1.png

    b) Or automatically by using mogrify (also part of ImageMagick):

    mogrify.exe -format png *.emf
    mogrify.exe -format png *.gif

    And clean up:

  5. rm *.gif
    rm *.emf
  6. Do not forget to search and replace .emf and .gif with .png in the .rst file with the editor of your choice (gvim or notepad++)
  7. Check the build by creating a quick Sphinx:
    run sphinx-quickstart (and follow the instructions)
    copy the file over the main doc in the source dir
    copy the media folder to source
    run “make.bat html” to create the a website and check the result.

Boosting OwnCloud’s Performance with APCU on Ubuntu with Plesk

Memcaching boosts the performance of OwnCloud dramatically. Read about this here. My server is running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. PHP 5.6 and 7.0 is handled by Plesk. In my experience 5.6 is the most stable running with OwnCloud. APCU is supported by OwnCloud but was not present as a module in PHP (Only on the Sytem providing PHP 5.4). So here’s how you install it.

This is a follow up to my previous post on installing custom modules for PHP handled by Plesk. So I assume that all required software to build the modules is installed.

No ACPU module available
No ACPU module available

For PHP 7.0 simply run:

$ /opt/plesk/php/7.0/bin/pecl install apcu

PHP 5.6 is a bit more stable for running OwnCloud. However you will get an error that you need at least PHP 7.0 for installing ACPU. This is true for the current release (>5.0). So simply install the stable 4.x release:

$ /opt/plesk/php/5.6/bin/pecl install apcu-4.0.10

Register the module with PHP:

For PHP 7.0.x:

$ echo "extension=apcu.so" > /opt/plesk/php/7.0/etc/php.d/apcu.ini

For PHP 5.6.x:

$ echo "extension=apcu.so" > /opt/plesk/php/5.6/etc/php.d/apcu.ini

Reread the config:

$ plesk bin php_handler --reread
ACPU module available
ACPU module available

Now the only thing left is to add

'memcache.local' => '\OC\Memcache\APCu',

to your configuration file of OwnCloud (e.g. /var/www/owncloud/config/config.php).

 

Running Custom PHP Modules in Plesk on an Ubuntu Server: MemCached

This article is inspired by https://devblog.plesk.com/2015/08/adding-custom-php-modules-in-plesk/. It was written for CentOs/Fedora/RedHat servers having yum instead of apt. I run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on a virtual server. Among other applications I host WordPress and OwnCloud here. Plesk allows to use newer PHP versions (5.6.x and 7.0.x) instead of the dated one (5.4.x) that comes with my old Ubuntu.
No MemCached module available
No MemCached module available
Here are the necessary steps:
  1. Install required packages to compile modules for PHP
    $ apt-get install gcc build-essential plesk-php56-dev plesk-php70-dev libmemcached-dev libmemcache0 zlib1g-dev

    Be aware that there may be some other packages that you need to install that I did not list here since they probably were already installed on my server. If you run into missing headers this might be an indicator for that.

  1. Install the memcached module:
    $ /opt/plesk/php/5.6/bin/pecl install memcached
  2.  You will be asked for the “libmemcached directory [no] :”
    The default is “no”. If you have no need for sasl answer:

    no --disable-memcached-sasl

    If you need memcached with sasl2 support you can install it manually following this advice.

  3. After the installation is finished you need to register the module with Plesk:
    $ echo "extension=memcached.so" > /opt/plesk/php/5.6/etc/php.d/memcached.ini
    $ plesk bin php_handler --reread
MemCached module available
MemCached module available

Hiking & board games @Yosemite

Last weekend we visited Yosemite National Park. What a great place to hike. Of course we brought some board games. I just wanted to share some advice and impressions.
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  • If you drive to Yosemite from San Francisco International Airport, a great place to stay is Yosemite Gold Country Lodge in Coulterville. This place is run by Ken, a really nice guy who invited us to his farm. The rooms are spacious, feature a fireplace (gas) and a fridge. Outside there is a grill. So you can get some meat from the store and have a BBQ at night.
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  • From there it only takes about one hour to get to the entrance of Yosemite and about two hours to get to the trails. Probably longer due to taking pictures along the road.
    DSC_0093-002 DSC_0131-002 DSC_0127-002  DSC_0188-002
  • Hotels inside the park are expensive. But you can get a heated tent at a reasonable price at Camp Curry. But be prepared: It can be quite cold in November! But you wake up to an amazing view.
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  • Just right outside the park, at El Portal, there are a few Hotels where one can get a deal through Expedia. We stayed at the Cedar Lodge. But: No free Wifi, , no coffee, etc. But the rooms are ok. However, the food at this place is supposed to be pretty bad if you believe TripAdvisor ratings. It was supposed to be better at next to the hotel Yosemite View Lodge: The River Restaurant & Lounge. So this is where we went. The salad bar was great. Lynns Burger was burned (really totally black) at their first try, but she sent it back and got a good one quickly.
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  • Getting food (some cheese, bread, juice and milk) for the hike at a local grocery store is probably the best option.
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  • Some of the hiking trails are paved with asphalt to be accessible for everybody. Some are a bit more difficult and go into the wilderness. The best way to select one that suits your skills is the Chimani Yosemite App. It is available for Android and iOS. They also have an app that features all National Parks in the USA. I really recommend getting it! The links point to the Android version in the Google Play Store since I do not have any iOS devices.DSC_0251-001 DSC_0270-002
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  • Wildlife in Yosemite Valley is not so wild anymore.
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  • Bringing some games along is a must for every board game fanatic! It is just a lot of fun playing in such a great environment. This time we brought Tash Kalar: Arena of Legends by Vlaada Chvátil (Czech Games Edition), Tiny Epic Galaxies by Scott Almes (Gamelyn Games) and Star Realms by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle (White Wizard Games). All of theses games are very portable. For Tash Kalar I just carry the game board, cards and chips. Tiny Epic is tiny anyway and Star Realms is just a deck of cards.
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  • On the way back to San Francisco we stayed at Ken’s Motel again. Tiny Epic in the hotel room…
    DSC_0932 DSC_0931 DSC_0930  DSC_0928
  • Enjoy!
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