Archive for 2012

Navigating the I-94 Emergency Route

miqrogroove
2012-06-17T01:52:54+00:00
A portion of the map of I-94 Emergency Route between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Michigan.

E-Route Map Preview

The I-94 Emergency Route in Michigan, also known as Emergency Interstate 94, is a series of public highways that parallel I-94 across most of southern Michigan.  It is sometimes necessary to use this second route due to accidents, planned lane closures, or other traffic jams.  Without the secondary highway, the alternatives would involve driving on gravel roads or going far off course to get to a different freeway.  On the other hand, with a parallel highway available, getting around problems on the road should be easy.

In theory, this is a great system of redundancy for transportation.  But in practice, nobody actually knows where the Emergency Route is located!  That’s because the route was never published on any road map.  Ask any road warrior of southwest Michigan about the Emergency Route, and they will probably tell you about the times when they had to get off the Interstate and try to find their way through scenery of unfamiliar farms and small towns.  That’s what it feels like during the day, with plenty of gas in the tank.  Attempt this at night, and it becomes too intimidating for most drivers.

A favorite story of my own is about the night I was driving west from Ann Arbor in moderate Art Fair traffic.  There was a major accident near Exit 139 and I encountered a total closure of the westbound side of the Interstate at that point.  I knew all I had to do was turn south and then find my way back to the Interstate farther west where it was still open.  I might have been the only person around who knew how to do this, though.  Nobody was smart enough to follow me on my detour, and when I rejoined the westbound lanes, I was the only driver on that side for miles.  Even the truckers were turning around and heading back east.

To make commuting easier, I created my own map of I-94 to keep in the car with me.  I’m going to share it now for personal use by fellow drivers.

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17 Jun 2012

Category:
Places To Go

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Don’t Use min-width Media Queries

miqrogroove
2012-03-16T01:31:24+00:00
Opera Mini Screen Shot

Mobile Friendly

Two weeks ago, I tried to point out a shortcoming of example CSS code over at the Opera.com website.

The point in question was the use of the “min-width Media Query” which I felt was incompatible with Internet Explorer.

Since this is tricky to describe without drawing a picture, I decided to set up a few sample web pages here to serve as a live demonstration of the problem.

The demo is: My min-width Media Query Test Case

For readers uninterested in the demo or the raw code, I am providing a set of screen shots below to fully illustrate the results.

My scenario begins with a page that looks fine in most browsers, but renders poorly in Opera Mini, a mobile web browser.

In an attempt to make the page mobile friendly, I used the min-width CSS media query to cause Opera Mini to ignore parts of the code.  Unfortunately, this rendered poorly in Internet Explorer 8 and older versions.

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16 Mar 2012

Category:
Systems Engineering

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XMB Forum Offline

miqrogroove
2012-02-01T14:52:47+00:00
XMB Logo

XMB

The open source community website for eXtreme Message Board forum software went down Friday afternoon.  It is now going on two days of down time, and has been replaced by an “Apache 2 Test Page.”

I wanted to share the news and offer a place for comments.  I am one of the more active members of the community and already received some inquiries about this.

My position as a volunteer developer actually does not include administration of the xmbforum.com server computer.  I was informed yesterday that the server was no longer running and would be restored from a backup copy.  However, there is no current estimate for when the restoration will be done.

Update: A new server has been established at www.xmbforum2.com

22 Jan 2012

Category:
Website Updates

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Photo Privacy Broken on Facebook Timeline

miqrogroove
2012-01-10T16:31:14+00:00
Facebook Profile with sensitive areas blurred

My Public Profile Should Not Look Like This

Have you ever added one of your photos to a Facebook group?  If yes, you might want to delete your photo albums right now.  I discovered today that the Facebook privacy settings for photos do not work.

Inspired by a discussion about social media I heard on NPR, I went into Facebook to do a thorough check and re-check of all of my privacy settings.  Guess what?

Dozens of photos I have on my Timeline are now publicly available.  >:{  Every one of those photos is set to “Friends” only privacy.  When I click the “View As…” option and then “Public”, all of those photos are now appearing on my public Timeline profile.

To confirm this, I registered a fake account that has no friends.  I viewed my own profile using that new account and a different web browser.  When I scrolled down far enough on the Timeline, my old photos started showing up to this newly registered user!

The fake user gets nothing by clicking on the “Photos” section near the top, suggesting this bug is specific to the new Timeline profile feature.

In an unsuccessful attempt to hide the photos, I used my real account to reset the album privacy to “Only Me”.  At this point, the photos were still appearing in the public preview as well as the fake account viewing my real profile.

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10 Jan 2012

Category:
Security

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Server Monitoring Through DD-WRT

miqrogroove
2013-08-18T19:09:04+00:00
DD-WRT Commands screen with a server monitoring script.

Powerful Little Script

Happy New Year!  I’m kicking off my 2012 blog entries with a fun little hack for Linksys routers.

There are plenty of articles on the web about using DD-WRT to enable router monitoring.  I decided to turn this idea on its head and use my router for server monitoring!  When I realized DD-WRT comes with a sendmail command, I knew this was going to be quick and easy to set up.

This is great for anyone who would like their celly to light up as soon as something goes wrong with an important computer or website.  All of the needed software is already built in to compatible routers, so there is no need to purchase or install a dedicated monitoring system on a separate computer.

By following these easy steps, you can create your own reliable monitoring service.

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1 Jan 2012

Category:
Systems Engineering

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